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One by One

ROB “WHO?” HEYLAND starred as stupidly named “zoo vet” practicing in 1960s backwater of Britain where no-one had seen an elephant before. Initially hyped as latest Sunday-night ratings beater, series succeeded in clearing the stage for grim HEARTBEAT and PEAK PRACTICE domination a decade down the line. Later episodes rubbished Noah-sentiments of the title still further by moving to, erk, a safari park.



  1. THX 1139

    January 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    The only episode that sticks in my mind was the one where they moved the animals out of the zoo but the elephant didn’t want to go so it died. Really set the Saturday night off to a swinging start, that.

  2. Richard Davies

    January 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I remember my Mum really liking this.

    One episode I remember was when someone tryed sabotaging a zoo but ended up bring trampled to death by an elephant.

    In another a chimp when totally ape (no pun intended) & had to be shot.

  3. THX 1139

    January 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    For a “cute animals” programme it really was depressing. You wouldn’t have Animal Magic ending half the episodes with Johnny Morris informing us at home that the animals featured had been humanely destroyed, would you? Maybe One By One would have been improved by Johnny Morris voices. Or maybe that would have made it even more tragic.

  4. Applemask

    January 3, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    What’s so stupid about the name Donald Turner?

  5. Sidney Balmoral James

    May 10, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    This was despite the disparaging review quite an engaging programme of the Tripods era, with Peter Gilmore and James Ellis; a memorable episode had someone eaten by lions (or was it tigers), again unusual fare for Saturday night telly. Rob Heyland despite the ‘who’ has had quite a varied career, more as a stage actor and a TV writer, than a TV face. I seem to recall he was fine in this, coming cross as a real person rather than AN ACTOR, which is the besetting sin of a lot of TV these days, in which smell the fart acting seems to predominate.

  6. Richardpd

    May 10, 2024 at 10:39 pm

    I remember one episode had the main character savaged by a lion in the middle of a safari park & unable to summon help, with hardly any scenes set elsewhere & no B plot.

    Other tense moments were when a woman threatening to jump into a bear pit, & when a killer whale being transported between marine parks fell ill & needed covering with ice lollies!

  7. Glenn Aylett

    May 12, 2024 at 2:44 pm

    It was one of those middling dramas that the BBC tried to use to beat ITV’s new found confidence on Saturday nights 40 years ago, but a cute animals story it wasn’t as I do remember someone being killed by a lion and the suicide plot Richard outlined with the bear pit. One By One, like Driving Ambition of the same era about a bored housewife wanting to be a racing driver, was meh and at times not really family viewing.

  8. Richardpd

    May 12, 2024 at 10:17 pm

    I remember my Mum used to watch it, probably because All Creatures Great & Small wasn’t being made at the time.

    The recent past setting from the books it was based on never worked so well as it mostly amounted to the casting having 60s-70s hairstyles & clothes and driving period cars.

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