“Country Matters” was an award winning series produced by Derek Granger of Granada TV. Later Derek produced “Brideshead Revisited”. These films were adapted from the short stories of A E Coppard and H E Bates. This story, “The Black Dog”, was shot on location near Bakewell in Derbyshire. Stephan Chase starred with Jane Lapotaire, who was later to marry Roland Joffe, the director of “The Killing Fields”. America’s longest-running weekly prime time drama series, “Masterpiece Theatre” included Country Matters among a collection that garnered 33 Primetime Emmys, seven International Emmys, 15 Peabodys, and two Academy Award nominations.

Walter Scott wrote “The Talisman” which the BBC produced and which won a public broadcast award in the USA. Damien Thomas played Saladin with Patrick Ryecart as the Knight Glenalmond. Shot in Wales and Dorset, there was a fictional “big-meeting” scene between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin set in a gravel pit in Dorset, in which the sole animal hired, a camel, was placed behind and between the two great adversaries. As they made their greetings the camel produced his only contribution to the scene by emitting a giant fart which loosened Saladin’s beard, amid peals of laughter from cast and crew: needless to say, though the light was going, there was time for one last non-fart take. The series was produced by Barry Letts. The BBC could only afford a Dorset sandpit to serve for the deserts of the Middle East, and the extras’ call was late, since they were more expensive en masse per day than the principals. This meant that early transport to the sandpit for Coeur de Lion, the King of France, Saladin, Berengaria and a wild monk was in Chase’s car, which needed refuelling at a remote Dorset garage at 8am. The attendant’s face was a picture when all got out to stretch their legs in full fig.

“Arthur of the Britons” is mainly remembered by the actors for the costumes. Ancient Briton cossies of smelly skins, naked limbs and thongs did not seem best suited for the Brecon Beacons in winter.

“Money with Menaces” was scripted by Donald Churchill from a short story written by Frederick Forsyth. The Anglia TV production and “Play of the Week” was produced by John Jacobs and directed by Philip Saville, the triple BAFTA award winning director, who first brought Bob Dylan to the UK to act and later filmed his first controversial tour of the UK. Donald Churchill starred as Nutkin and Sharon Maughan, later married to Trevor Eve, also appeared, as did Don Henderson of “Bulman”.

This episode of “The Orson Welles Great Mysteries” entitled “Death of an Old Fashioned Girl”, produced by Anglia Television’s John Jacobs, was memorable as it starred the Hollywood actress Carol Lynley. Also appearing were John le Mesurier, Jack Shepherd, who later starred as the Cornish detective Wycliffe on TV, Francesca Annis and Anne Stallybrass. It was directed by Alan Gibson and the theme music was by John Barry. Stephan Chase knew Elmyr de Hory, the infamous international artist-forger, who was the subject of the documentary film “F for Fake” directed by Orson Welles.

Arnold Bennett’s small town story of disappearing funds is set in the Potteries in the early part of the 20th C. It was produced by Mark Shivas for BBC drama as a 90 minute “Play of the Month”. In the story Stephan Chase as Louis Fores gets married. By chance the church chosen for shooting the fictional ceremony was just round the corner from the flat where Stephan had just moved in with his new wife. As he was standing on the church steps being photographed with his “film bride” it just happened that Mr White, the caretaker of the flats where Stephan lived in Barnes, walked by. When White spotted Stephan’s bigamist act and the confetti flying on the church steps, he stopped in his tracks, glared and gestured a deadly slit-throat sign. For months his face carried the secret knowledge of this dastardly act!

“Secret Army” was a huge hit for the BBC, a kind of top soap of its day set within the resistance movement in France during the Nazi occupation in WW2. Bernard Hepton starred with Angela Richards and Juliet Hammond-Hill and there were about 19 million regular viewers. A top-line cast served throughout.
The series was produced by Gerard Glaister.

A film about the FA Cup Final, with Danny Blanchflower, the celebrated Irish international cap, playing himself, this was a light, whimsical romantic comedy about a young girl’s determination to obtain seats at Wembley to see her hero play in the final. Philip Saville, the award winning and legendary director, is noted as having directed the first full-length feature documentary about Bob Dylan’s first UK tour.

“Wives and Daughters” was an earlier BBC TV version of the classic story by Mrs Gaskell and produced as a flagship series for prime-time viewing by the BBC.

Death Of An Old-Fashioned Girl (1973)
A lead role in ‘Death Of An Old-Fashioned Girl’ from the 1973 TV series ‘Great Mysteries’, introduced by Orson Welles. Stars Carol Lynley. Available on YouTube