Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures August 2020: Hazell, The Brack Report, Lytton’s Diary and Danger UXB

An occasional look at what classic TV shows Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon

The week starting August 31 is packed with new shows. Well, they’ve all been on before, but you know what I mean.

The Brack Report

Starts: Monday, August 31, 6pm (weekdays)

So here’s remarkable. Literally the only information about this 1982 Thames TV show comes from Talking Pictures – there’s almost nothing on the Internet. Not Wikipedia. Not IMDb. Not the BFI.

Here’s what they say: “Scientist Paul Brack is working on a project at one of Britain’s nuclear power stations, which suddenly becomes the focus of a potential disaster.”

Stars: Donald Sumpter, Jenny Seagrove, Patricia Garwood, Neil Nisbet,
Richard Hampton.


Starts: Monday, August 31, 9pm (weekdays)

Nicholas Ball stars in his best-known role as a tough, charismatic private detective in this hit Thames series, first aired in the late 1970s and created by journalist and novelist Gordon Williams, and future England coach Terry Venables.

Hazell paid homage to classic film noir while boasting rounded characterisations, sparkling Cockney dialogue and highly credible action scenes, all set in the kind of seedy London locations that would be revisited in Minder – the series created by screenwriter Leon Griffiths following his work on Hazell. Other high-profile writers included Trevor Preston (The Sweeney) and author Richard Harris (A Touch of Frost).

Following the curtailment of his police career after an injury and subsequent slide into alcoholism, the newly reformed James Hazell sets himself up as a private eye. Utterly ruthless when he needs to be, Hazell is also blessed with a breezy charm, effortless style, robust sense of humour and the ability to think on his feet – vital when tackling blackmail, missing persons cases, organised crime and the drugs trade… or dour Scottish CID adversary ‘Choc’ Minty (Roddy McMillan).

Desmond McNamara stars as Hazell’s cousin and assistant Tel, with Barbara Young as landlady and sometime employer Dot – one of British TV’s first regular gay characters

Lytton’s Diary

Starts: Tuesday, September 1, 3am (weekdays)

London gossip columnist Neville Lytton exudes a sophisticated charm that masks a tenacious commitment to his job. All the while, Lytton struggles to keep his love life in order, write a novel, and fend off an old rival at the Daily Post.

Stars: Peter Bowles, Holly De Jong, Adam Norton, Harriet Keevil, Bernard Lloyd, Lewis Fiander, Bernard Archard, Anna Nygh, Jeffrey Segal

Danger UXB

Starts: Tuesday, September 1, 5am (weekdays)

Danger UXB chronicles the exploits of the fictional 97 Tunnelling Company, which has been made a bomb disposal unit, and specifically 347 Section of the company, to deal with the thousands of unexploded bombs (“UXBs”) in London during the Blitz.

As with all his fellow officers, Lieutenant Brian Ash must for the most part learn the techniques and procedures of disarming and destroying the UXBs through experience, repeatedly confronted with more cunning and deadlier technological advances in aerial bomb fuzing.

The series primarily features military storylines, though among them is a romantic thread featuring an inventor’s married daughter, Susan Mount, with whom Ash falls in love, and other human interest vignettes.

Stars: Anthony Andrews, Maurice Roëves, Ken Kitson, Kenneth Cranham, Judy Geeson

Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures August 2020: Together

An occasional look at what classic TV shows Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon

The week commencing August 24 gives us one new show from Talking Pictures, although it’s not the first time it’s been in the schedules.


Starts: Monday, August 24, 2pm (weekdays)

Originally broadcast from 1980-1981, Together was a daytime soap opera made by Southern Television. Rutherford Court was a modern block of sheltered accommodation flats run by a housing association – where each home had its own share of dramas, tensions, happiness and heartbreak.

The warden in charge was played by Sheila Fay, her husband was the odd-job man about the place, played by John Burgess, and their teenage daughter, who had countless problems with her love life, was played by future Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene. Other residents included a newly-wed couple who were having marital difficulties, with realistic scenes because the actors, Richard Everett and Gillian Bailey (who played Billie in Here Come the Double Deckers!), were married in real-life.

Two sisters shared another apartment, one enduring a messy divorce, a nervous breakdown and a battle with the bottle, providing ample gossip for the other characters, including a recently bereaved pensioner, a retired hospital matron and an ex-London cab driver with a roving eye, played by Victor Maddern.

The second series was broadcast live with a Cleo Laine recording for the theme tune. Made with the intention of targeting a daytime audience, the series soon had dedicated viewers. Ground-breaking at the time, the scripts tackled current issues such as marital problems, divorce, mental illness and relationships, paving the way for future TV dramas and soaps.

Regular Cast: Victor Maddern, Kathleen Byron, Hilda Fenemore, Margaretta Scott, John Burgess, Sarah Greene, Sheila Fay, Jonty Miller, Derek Harding, Richard Everett, Gillian Bailey, Paul Hastings, Sheila Gill, Christopher Burgess, Delena Kidd, Stephen Churchett, Carol Hawkins, Brian Jameson, Christine Pollon, John Malcolm, Wally Thomas, Gina Maher, Annie Leake, Ernest Hare, Raymond Francis.

Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures August 2020: The Likely Lads, Widows and No Hiding Place

An occasional look at what classic TV shows Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon

The week commencing August 17 doesn’t bring a huge number of new shows to Talking Pictures, but crawling through the schedules, there’s some interesting ones.


Starts: Tuesday, August 17, 4.00am (weekdays)

It’s not the first time Lynda La Plante’s TV writing debut has been on, but if you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a watch.

Three armed robbers – Harry Rawlins, Terry Miller and Joe Perelli – are killed during an armed robbery. They are survived by their widows, Dolly Rawlins (Ann Mitchell), Shirley Miller (Fiona Hendley), and Linda Perelli (Maureen O’Farrell). With the police applying pressure and a rival gang intending to take over Harry Rawlins’ crime business, the widows turn to Dolly for leadership.

She uses Harry’s famous “ledgers”, a cache of books detailing all his robberies over the years, to find the details of the failed robbery, and, enlisting the help of a fourth woman, Bella O’Reilly (Eva Mottley), they resolve to pull off the raid themselves.

No Hiding Place

Airs: Thursday, August 20, 1.00pm

This show was a sequel to Murder Bag (1957–1958) and Crime Sheet (1959), all of which starred Raymond Francis as Detective Superintendent, later Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Lockhart. The new, longer one-hour format allowing for more story and character development, and while still largely studio-based, the series now included more pre-recorded film segments.

A decision was made to cancel the series in 1965, but there were so many protests from the public and the police that it started again for another two years, with 236 episodes made in total

Only one episode is airing, but it’s a doozy: 1963’s A Pocketful of Bones. It’s actually a previously missing episode that Talking Pictures discovered! How amazing is that?

Of course, it’s not the first time they’ve done that and you can watch Music For Murder on Tuesday, July 21 at 3am…

The Likely Lads (1976)

Airs: Saturday, August 22, 6.00pm

Film spin-off from Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?

Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures August 2020: For the Love of Ada, Shadows, Monty Nash and Stagecoach West

An occasional look at what classic TV shows Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon

There are plenty of ‘new’ shows starting on Talking Pictures in August. Details for the highlights of the first couple of weeks (it’s all I’ve got!), including For the Love of Ada, Shadows, Monty Nash and Stagecoach West, are after the jump.

Continue reading “Talking Pictures August 2020: For the Love of Ada, Shadows, Monty Nash and Stagecoach West”
Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures July 2020: Night Prowl

An occasional look at what classic TV shows Talking Pictures (Sky 328 | Freeview 81 | Freesat 306 | Virgin 445) is going to be airing soon

There’s been a late addition to the 19th July schedules at Talking Pictures. Airing at 6am is Night Prowl, a ‘lost’ 1958 sitcom pilot that aired as part of Studio 57, in which Dennis O’Keefe plays the editor of music magazine Take 5 – and solves crimes as a side line. Guest stars are Dennis Day, Bethel Leslie and Ray Anthony.

I also appreciate I’ve not been too comprehensive in my schedule-checking, so I’ve had a quick data mine of the schedules for June and July. Starting/being repeated at some point are the following shows: Hannay, Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans, Jack the Ripper (the mini-series with Michael Caine and Lewis Collins), Rooms, Special Branch, and Target: The Corruptors! Some of those have already started, in fact, so rush to the Talking Pictures schedules page to see when you can see them, as I’m in a rush.

All the same, that brings everything up to date – only new things from now on! Well, new old things, obviously…