Danger UXB
Classic TV

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