1 9 8 6 – 1 9 8 7 (UK)
14 x 50 minute episodes
This BBC drama series was devised by producer Joe Waters and concerned a small news agency in the City of London which, after years of ploughing money back into the company, suddenly starts to make enormous profits.
This leads to a struggle between those on the board of the Bentley News Agency who want the company to go public and those – led by Lady Bentley (Louie Ramsay) – who don’t.
The balance of power is held by missing shareholders who are living throughout England, and a desperate race begins between ex-policeman Baxter (Victor Winding) – representing Lady Bentley – and his rival Paul Stafford (Michael Siberry) – of the County Newspaper Association – to locate the group of unrelated people who suddenly find themselves in the middle of the ensuing boardroom battles and high finance power games.
Each block of the original shares that were sold for £25 is now worth £250,000, and as the missing shareholders are located and informed of the news, each reacts in their own individual way.
Decorator Joe Pearce (Brian Miller) and his family go on a spending spree; failing antique dealer Jack Kingsley (John Stone) causes a family quarrel when he asks his father to hand over the trust that controls their shares; small-time crook Kelly (Robert McIntosh) is on the run from a villain called Big John; Tim Boyd (Ken Sharrock) is paralysed in a paraplegic hospital after a climbing accident, and Jeanette Mayne (Annabel Leventon) is tied to her ailing mother’s apron strings, running a small hotel and trying to hang on to her boyfriend, Ken Stevenson (Tom Adams).
When the series returned in 1987, it introduced two new characters: 70-odd-year-old widow Mrs Morris (played by much-loved character actress Megs Jenkins), who discovers that amongst the worthless papers left by her recently deceased husband are Bentley shares worth a fortune, and Kirstie Munro (Julie Graham), an orphaned girl brought up in a children’s home whose sailor father leaves her shares in Bentley’s now worth a million quid. But she can’t be found and is unaware of her good fortune.
Location filming took place in Manchester, London and Bognor Regis, and in Denham and Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. Studio work was completed at BBC Manchester.
Wildest Dreams | Spend | All That Money Can Buy | Over the Rainbow | Suspicions | Extraordinary General Meeting | Counter Attack | Spy in the Camp || The Root of All Evil | Poor Little Rich Girl | Second Childhood | Contract | Search and Find | Showdown