COLOSSUS OF small screen blue light institutions, dreamed up by the great TROY KENNEDY MARTIN as a response to “tame” DIXON OF DOCK GREEN, only to see it drag on right through to, incredibly, a post-SWEENEY late 70s graveyard. Early years the best, with crazy “live” transmission policy meaning tense, rough and ready edge to scenes and dialogue, plus plentiful reliance on the old “out the rear window” back projections. DCI Charlie Barlow, aka STRATFORD JOHNS, was number one bad bastard cop, aided by “nice” FRANK WINDSOR (DS John Watt) and BRIAN BLESSED (PC William “Fancy” Smith), with PCs John Weir (JOSEPH BRADY) and Herbert Lynch (JAMES ELLIS) completing unique titular patrol combo. Much acclaimed depiction of force as “real people”, i.e. drunks, gamblers, wife-beaters, but inevitably tame compared with later decade displays of rank-filled vice and corruption. Switched from 50 minute eps to twice weekly 25 minute doses in 1967, when Johns and Windsor left for SOFTLY SOFTLY and were replaced by JOHN BARRIE (DI Sam Hudson) and JOHN SLATER (DS Stone). Proto-soap format didn’t work, however, so it was back to the 50 minute affairs from ’71. Passing through Newtown Station over the years were COLIN WELLAND (PC Graham), STEPHEN YARDLEY (PC May), GEOFFREY WHITEHEAD (DS Miller), ALISON STEADMAN (WPC Bayliss), GEORGE SEWELL (DI Brogan), JUNE WATSON (WP Cameron), JOSS ACKLAND (DI Todd) and several constabularies’ worth of extras. JOHN THAW was a trainee copper; JUDI DENCH a teenage runaway; TERENCE EDMOND drowned while saving a young boy; LEONARD ROSSITER was a foul-mouthed temporary boss; KENNETH COPE and IAIN GREGORY hammed it up as “the notorious Hancock brothers”; PATRICK TROUGHTON served as a local councillor; PAUL DARROW thieved and PATSY KENSIT blubbed. All crowned with peerless whistle-along theme “Johnny Todd” by Johnny Keating.Read More
Posts Tagged With 'Stratford Johns'
Floundering Victorian sci-fi comedy in which the effects of Les ‘Vampire Circus’ Bowie vie with Dennis Price’s weird northern accent, as Burl Ives plays a moonshot-instigating, Phineas T Barnum, Gert Frobe an exploding German nutcase, Terry-Thomas and Lionel Jeffries, er, themselves, and Stratford Johns, Graham Stark and Jimmy Clitheroe – Jimmy Clitheroe! – fill out the bowler-hatted cast. Cheap fruity daftness for a damp afternoon.Read More
The proper Titanic film, of course, in which Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Kenneth Griffith, David McCallum, Geoffrey ‘Catweazle’ Bayldon, Bee ‘are you saying ‘Ni!’ to that old woman?’ Duffel, Gerald ‘Adamant’ Harper, Andrew ‘Quatermass’ Keir, Stratford ‘Barlow’ Johns, Desmond ‘Q’ Llewelyn, Derren ‘Special Branch’ Nesbitt and Norman ‘Simon Simon’ Rossington all conspicuously fail to wear white trousers with racoon-tail key rings on their belts, invent the moonwalk and stiffly mime pouring a drink in front of a bunch of bewildered-looking teenagers who only came to see Depeche Mode.Read More
Adaptation of the melancholc fantasy from author of Peter Pan JM Barrie, with a group of guests (including Frank Finlay and Stratford Johns), each with a secret regret, gather at a country house for midsummer, and find themselves entering a magic forest wherein they witness their longed-for alternative lives.Read More
ILL-ADVISED FORAY into sitcommery by STRATFORD “BARLOW” JOHNS, playing bombastic mainman Lord Mountainash (ho ho) in charge of made-up Confederation Of Shop Stewards And Allied Workers (COSSAW). Much early-80s badinage of a closed shop/arbitration hue ensued as the ennobled one squared off against union-hating butler Wordsworth (MORAY WATSON) and obligatory loony leftie Elizabeth Steel (CAROL MACREADY).Read More
STARCHED SPIN-OFF of Z CARS with STRATFORD JOHNS and FRANK WINDSOR initially trying to keep order in the fictional west country crime capital of Wyvern, grappling with irresponsible bulldog clips, winkle-picker-wearing shafers and eternally suspicious big-jowled locals. Soon became SOFTLY SOFTLY: TASK FORCE with our heroes now in the employ of Thamesford Constabulary CID. Then Johns pissed off to do his own solo copathon, BARLOW AT LARGE, which then became simply BARLOW (keep up), before getting back together with Windsor for, of all things, a Jack the Ripper caper, all of which culminated in SECOND VERDICT, a whole series of old-mysteries-solved-in-the-present-day. Somehow this whole palaver was eked out over 10 years. Along the way came Harry the Hawk and his extraordinary propensity for opening and walking through doors (thanks Clive). GARFIELD MORGAN, WALTER GOTELL, SUSAN TEBBS, WARREN CLARKE and TERENCE RIGBY also looked in from time to time.
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