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From The Top

1 9 8 5 – 1 9 8 6 (UK)
12 x 30 minute episodes

Former Goodies star Bill Oddie took the lead in this comedy series, which was also written by himself and his wife Laura Beaumont. Oddie starred as William Worthington, a well to do bank manager who had always wanted to be a star.

William enrolled in the only Theatre school that would have him – the down on its luck ‘Jolly Theatre School’, which was run by sisters Annie (Moyra Fraser) and Dolly (Maggie Rennie) Jolly and had only six other students – and one of those was related to the headmistresses.

Being much older than the other students, Worthington offered to pay four times the usual fee – which the sisters jumped at.

William soon became best friends with another new student, Humphrey Kulumbebwe (Scott Sherrin), and an enemy to small but strong class bully Wayne Layne (Michael Quill).

The other students were tiny Janis Koplowitz (Catherine Holman), who was full of phobias (including a fear of being looked at by other people), tall Joyce Torrington-Hawksby (Erica Sheward), who wanted to be a ballet dancer but would settle on becoming a policewoman if her first dream didn’t pan out, overweight Leslie Finsberg (Gavin Forward), who was practising to become an agent rather than a star (though each time he took a puff on his big cigar he’d throw up), and Polly Jolly (Joiese Waller), daughter of Molly and Solly (John Burgess).

Coming from a showbiz family, Molly was especially certain of young Polly’s star-power. Solly meanwhile helped to finance his sisters’ struggling school.

Each episode featured an Oddie-composed song, including an extended version of the theme tune, some fifties-style rock & roll, a country pastiche, and a tribute to The Wizard of Oz in the first series finale.

The first series was produced and directed by Micky Dolenz from The Monkees.

William Worthington
Bill Oddie
Annie Jolly
Moyra Fraser
Dolly Jolly
Maggie Rennie
Polly Jolly
Joiese Waller
Wayne Layne
Michael Quill
Leslie Finsberg
Gavin Forward
Janis Koplowitz
Catherine Holman
Joyce Torrington-Hawksby
Erica Sheward
Humphrey Kulumbebwe
Scott Sherrin
Solly Jolly
John Burgess
Mr Spadley
Stan Holt Stan Holt