Sixties City Index Page
Cult Television Shows - Sixties City
Robin Hood - Sixties City cult television

Many programmes originally produced in the Fifties were still enjoying regular broadcasting in the Sixties, particularly imported westerns and action / adventure series. These made a very personal impression on my own viewing memories of the 60s and so are included below.
For 1950s and 1960s 'Swashbuckling' television series, see here.

Sixties Television
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 Action / Adventure 'Wild West' TV Series          Cult TV Main Page

African Patrol
ITV 1958
Grosse-Krasne Prodns
Kenya Prodns
39 x 30 minute episodes followed the adventures of a white policeman in Kenya. Patrol Inspector Paul Derek was played by John Bentley. The show was filmed on location in the Kenya National Game Reserve with fabulous scenery and wildlife action backgrounds.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
ITV 1957
Shamley Productions / Revue
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265 episodes of this mystery thriller anthology series were introduced and closed by the dry grave humour of Alfred Hitchcock. A further 93 one-hour shows were made under the title 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour'. All the shows were produced by Joan Harrison and 18 of them were directed by the master of the macabre himself.
Armchair Theatre
ABC 1956
later, THAMES
A long-running series of both live and recorded drama presentations, many by famous authors, some of which led to the birth of various other series and anthologies including 'Out of This World'. The show was also variously known as Armchair Summer Theatre and Armchair Mystery Theatre. The many productions over the years included included 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1962), 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz' (1961), 'Dumb Martian' (1962), 'Hot Summer Night' and 'The Last Tycoon' (1959).
BBC Television News
BBC 1954
First presented by Richard Baker at 7:30 p.m. on 5th July 1954 as a news summary compilation of stills, newsreels and interviews. The actual newsreaders were not visible to the viewers until 1955.
Criss Cross Quiz and Junior Criss Cross Quiz
GRANADA 1957-67
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342 shows were made of this TV version of noughts and crosses, presented by Jeremy Hawke (until 1962) and Barbara Kelly. It featured two contestants battling against each other to complete a three-in-a row line. Noughts or Crosses were 'won' by answering questions correctly to win games worth up to the princely sum of £100. There were also 391 shows made of a children's version called 'Junior Criss Cross quiz', for the 12 - 14 age group, which screened early on Wednesday evenings, presented at various times by Chris Kelly, Bob Holness, Mike Sarne, Chris Howland, Gordon Luck, Peter Wheeler, Bill Grundy and Danny Blanchflower.
Blue Peter
BBC 1958

Original Presenters Pic
The long-running children's programme started as a 15 minute slot presented by Christopher Trace and Leila Williams under the general heading of Children's Television. This was later increased to 30 minutes under its own title and Trace was joined by show doyen Valerie Singleton when Williams departed in 1962. Also joining the show in 62 was Petra, the seriesfirst pet dog. John Noakes joined the crew in 1965 with 'Shep' and Peter Purves replaced Trace in 1967. The leading light behind the production and success of the show was Biddy Baxter. Here's one I made earlier..........
Billy Bunter
of Greyfriars School

BBC 1952
30 minute children's show based on the MAGNET comic character created by Frank Richards. The food-loving schoolboy was played by Gerald Campion withKynaston Reeves as his schoolmaster nemesis, Mister Quelch. Yarooh!
Dixon of Dock Green
BBC 1955-76
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For 21 years and 429 episodes, originally154 x 30 minutes, later 275 x 40 - 45 minutes, Jack Warner starred as the famous P.C. (promoted to Sergeant in 1964) whose character (created by Ted Willis) originated in the 1949 Ealing film 'The Blue Lamp'. Billie Whitelaw played his daughter in early episodes.
BBC 1959
Warner Brothers
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This was the 68 x 60 minute episode replacement Western 'drifter' series for 'Cheyenne' and starred Ty Hardin as the almost impossibly good-looking ex-Confederate soldier Bronco Layne. A hallmark of virtually all the American 'westerns' of the 50s and 60s were the memorable title songs, this one being no exception. Bronco, Bronco, tearin' across the Texas plain......
ITV 1959
CBC / Normandie / Robert Maxwell
The rumble of the diesel, the shifting of the gears, name your destination and brother, he'll be there, Cannonbaaaaaaall!! Brilliant 39 x 30 minute Canadian series starring Paul Birch as Mike 'Cannonball' Malone and William Campbell as Jerry Austin, co-drivers of an eighteen wheel road hauler and their adventures along the highways of North America. Other main characters were played by Beth Lockerbie (Beth Malone), Howard Milsom (dispatcher Harry Butler), Beth Morris and Steve Barringer Ginny and Butch Malone ). The series was directed by Les Selander and Les Goodwins.
ITV 1958
Warner Brothers
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This American western drama series set just after the American Civil War starred Clint Walker as the quick-draw drifter Cheyenne Bodie, notable for his long-fringed jacket. The 107 x 60 minute series ended when Walker walked out after a contractual dispute and it was replaced with a similar programme called 'Bronco'.
BBC 1955
Different Pic

This long-running children's show, 439 x 40/50mins, originally compered by Eamonn Andrews assisted by Leslie Crowther, Peter Glaze, Pip Hinton and Jillian Comber featured Richard Hearne's character Mr. Pastry as a regular 'guest'. Highlights included the 'Double or Drop' quiz with losers getting a cabbage and the winner receiving, amongst other prizes, the legendary 'Crackerjack pencil'. Other hosts of the 50s and 60s included Jack Douglas, Ronnie Corbett and Michael Aspel.

ATV 1958-60

50 dots concealed the portrait of a personality, which was slowly uncovered by the correct answering of contestants in this early quiz show. Presented initially by Robert Gladwell, later Jimmy Handley then Shaw Taylor, the prize money consisted of £5 for each dot not filled in, by the contestant guessing the personality first.
Double Your Money
A-R 1955 - 68
Arlington Television and Radio Ltd
Hughie and Monica
In tandem with 'Take Your Pick', this was one of ITVs first, and most successful quiz shows. Hughie Green presided over proceedings assisted, at various times, by Nancy Roberts, Jean Clarke, Valerie Drew, Julie deMarco, Sabrina, Alice Earrey and Monica Rose. The finale, a £1000 'treasure trail' saw the contestant answering questions in a soundproof booth.
ITV 1955
Mark VII - MCA

Jack Webb
30 minute episodes featured the activities of two Los Angeles detectives. Sgt Joe 'just the facts, ma'am' Friday was played by Jack Webb (who also produced and directed the show) with Officer Frank Smith played by Ben Alexander. This character was later replaced by Officer Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan). 'The story you have just seen is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent'.
Emergency - Ward 10
ATV 1957
Cast pic
This was the first, and extremely successful, twice weekly soap opera produced by ITV. It was set against the medical background of Oxbridge General Hospital, following the private and public lives of the doctors, nurses and patients. It enjoyed half-hour slots on Tuesdays and Fridays and ran for ten years, also producing a spin-off series in 1961 titled 'Call Oxbridge 2000'. The series was created by Tessa Diamond and regular early stars included Jill Browne, Richard Thorp, Glyn Owen, Ray Barrett and Charles Tingwell. John Alderton joined the cast in 1963 as Dr Richard Moone.
Face To Face
BBC 1959
John Freeman was the hard-nosed presenter of this 15 minute (later 30min) interview programme produced by Hugh Burnett. Famous names to suffer his inquisition included Adam Faith, Gilbert Harding, Tony Hancock, Evelyn Waugh, Professor Carl Jung and Doctor Martin Luther King. The programme series lasted three years and is memorable for the opening and closing credits which frequently featured charcoal drawings of the week's victim by artist Feliks Topolski.
Frontiers of Science
BBC 1956 - 60
BBC2 1968 - 69
A 30 minute programme which examined many and various aspects of modern science, including the possibility of space travel. Originally produced by James McCloy.
Gardening Club
BBC 1955

Percy Thrower
Popular, long-running programme presented by Percy Thrower which began life from the roof-top garden of the Lime Grove studios. It later evolved into Gardener's World (BBC2 1968) with guest appearances and location filming.
Garry Halliday
BBC 1959
Silver City Airways of Lydd provided the real-life facilities for this series about the 'Biggles'-style adventures of Garry Halliday (Terence Longdon), a pilot for a commercial airline company. The other main characters were played by Terence Alexander and Ann Gudrun. Richard West produced.
BBC 1958

David Coleman
This Saturday afternoon non-stop sports programme remains the longest-running of its type in the world. Based at Lime Grove studios, it was fronted in the 50s and 60s by Peter Dimmock (2 weeks), David Coleman (until 1968) and Frank Bough. Football results were read by Leonard Martin. Horse racing commentators were Peter O'Sullevan and Clive Graham with results read by Tim Gudgin.
Gun Law / Gunsmoke
ITV 1956
Matt and Kitty
Later: Gunsmoke - 30 minute episodes later increased to 60 minutes. One of the earliest and, next to Rawhide, most famous of the western shows to be shown on ITV. The series was set in the wild west 'frontier' town of Dodge City and starred the local hero, Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness. Other characters included Dillon's Deputy, Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver), Festus (Ken Curtis), Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) who was keeper of the Long Branch Saloon with more than an affection (apparently unfulfilled) for the Marshal, and 'Doc' played by Milburn Stone.
Hancock's Half Hour
BBC 1956, ATV-MacCONKEY 1963
ABC 1967

Hancock and James

The classic Galton & Simpson 30-minute TV comedy series starring the tragic genius started life as a radio show in 1954. He was ably supported by other comedy giants including Bill Kerr, Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Williams and Warren Mitchell. The episode that everyone knows is 'The Blood Donor' (a pint? that's nearly an armful!). The show became 'Hancock' in 1961 and 'Hancock's' in 1967 where he played the owner of a night club in swinging London.

Hawaiian Eye
ITV 1959-63
Warner Brothers
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134 x 60 minute episodes were made of this detective / action series which starred (at various times) Robert Conrad as Tom Lopaka, Troy Donahue as Philip Barton, Anthony Eisley as Tracy Steele, Connie Stevens as Cricket Blake and Poncie Ponce as 'Kazuo Kim' Quisado. Similar in style to '77 Sunset Strip' (not surprising as the two series were made at the same studios at the same time) this Private Eye series was set in Hawaii where the team were house detectives at the Hawaiian Village Hotel.
Hawkeye and The Last of The Mohicans
ITV 1957, Normandie Productions (Canada)
Magazine cover image
A Canadian western-type action series consisting of 39 x 30 minute episodes and 4 telefeatures based on stories by James Fenimore Cooper. Set in North America before the revolution it starred John Hart as the buckskin-clad Nat 'Hawkeye' Cutler and Lon Chaney Jr as Chingachgook, 'the last of the Mohicans'. The titles of the telefeatures were: 'Along The Mohawk Trail', 'The Pathfinder and The Mohican', 'The Redmen and The Renegades' and 'The Long Rifle and The Tomahawk'.
Highway Patrol
ITV 1956
The classic American police action drama shot and chased its way through the 30 minute episodes which starred Broderick Crawford as Highway Patrol Chief Dan Matthews and ensured that the expression 'ten-four' would become, forever, a part of our language.
I Love Lucy
ITV 1955
CBS, Desilu Prodns

The179-episode classic American sitcom which featured Lucille Ball and real life husband Desi Arnaz. (They founded Desilu studios which was later to be the home of Star Trek). Long-suffering neighbours Fred and Ethel Mertz were played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance. The show was resurrected twice in the sixties as The Lucy Show, minus the now-divorced Desi, and Here's Lucy, with Gale Gordon as her bank manager employer.
ITV 1958
Sydney Box Prodns
Screen Gems / ITC
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Based on Sir Walter Scott's historical character and set in the time of Robin Hood, 39 x 30 minute episodes of this action show saw Roger Moore play the title role in his debut on British television. Other characters were portrayed by Andrew Keir (Prince John), Robert Brown (Gurth the squire) and John Pike (Bart, Gurth's son). Herbert Smith and Bernard Coote produced the series, filmed at Beaconsfield studios. Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe, to adventure, bold adventure, watch him go....... also see Swashbucklers
Jim's Inn
A-R 1957


This was probably the best-known of a peculiar type of programme known as an 'Admag'. Essentially one long advert for various products in a contrived storyline framework, admags were banned in 1963. This particular one centred around a pub in 'Wembleham' which was run by Jimmy and Maggie Hanley who happily spent their time discussing the merits of various products over the bar with their customers. Other admags included 'About Homes and Gardens' (ATV 56), Elizabeth Allen Goes Shopping in London', 'Where Shall We Go?' (ABC 56), 'What's In Store?' (ABC 56), 'Shop In The South', 'Over The Hills' (AR 56/57), 'Slater's Bazaar' (ATV 57/59) and 'What's New?' (AR 57).
Jungle Boy
ITV 1959
a.k.a. 'Adventures Of A Jungle Boy', this junior tarzan-like lad swang through the trees of East Africa for 39 half-hour episodes after being made an orphan when his parents failed to return from a jungle expedition. The friends sharing his bamboo tree-top house (or its surrounds) were Cheetah (no prizes here!), Simba (nor here!) and Quaggo the Zebra. Michael Carr Hartley played the title role.
Knight Errant 59
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The action/drama stories of a team of mercenary adventurers starring John Turner as Adam Knight and his partners Peter Parker (Richard Carpenter) and Liz Parrish (Kay Callard). The series curiously changed its name with the times, becoming first 'Knight Errant 60' then 'Knight Errant Limited' for the 60/61 series. The lead characters changed, being taken over by Wendy Williams and Hugh David for the 61 shows with Kay Callard returning for the final series.
Life With The Lyons
BBC 1955-6
A-R 1957
A fortnightly TV domestic comedy spin-off of a radio programme which featured a real-life family. Bebe Daniels, Barbara Lyon, Ben Lyon and Richard Lyon. The show switched channels in 1957, retaining the same format and 'guests' which included Molly Weir and Richard Bellaers as Robin.
BBC 1955
A long-running series of wildfe programmes shot in exotic locations and introduced by Peter Scott. There was also a children's edition shown in an early time slot.
Mark Saber
ITV 1957-62

This was essentially a series of stories derived from a US series called 'Mystery Theatre' in which a British police inspector was working for an American police department. During i's life it went through an extraordinary number of title changes which were: 'Inspector Mark Saber - Homicide Squad', 'The Vise', 'Mark Saber', 'Saber of London'. Characters were played by many different artists and the storyline basis also changed as it switched between being an American and a UK series. The first Saber was played by Tom Conway. Donald Gray took over the part for 'The Vise'.

ITV 1959
Warner Brothers

Colour Picture
Light-hearted 60min semi-comedy western series about a gambler, Bret Maverick, brilliantly played by James Garner. Curiously, alternate weeks featured Bret's brother Bart, played by Jack Kelly and later, even more of the Maverick clan as they were joined by another brother, Brent (Robert Colbert of 'Time Tunnel') and an English cousin Beau played by Roger Moore.
No Hiding Place
A-R 1959
236 x 60 minute episodes of this police drama series were made, which evolved from two earlier series:' Murder Bag' (55 x 30 min episodes) and 'Crime Sheet' (17 x 30 minute episodes). The central character throughout was Chief Detective Superintendent Lockhart, played by Raymond Francis. The other main characters were DS Russell (Johnny Briggs), DS Perryman (Michael McStay), DS Gregg (Sean Caffrey) and DS Baxter (Eric Lander) whose character, promoted to Detective Inspector, appeared in a 10 x 30min spin-off series called 'Echo Four-Two' (A-R 61). Francis, as Lockhart, also appeared in a Rediffusion Christmas special called 'Deep and Crisp and Stolen' which was essentially a comedy.
On Safari
BBC 1957-59 1961-65

A superb series of beautifully-filmed wildlife programmes made mainly in Kenya and Uganda by the husband and wife team of Armand and Michaela Denis. Previous series by them included 'Filming Wild Animals' (BBC 54/55), 'Filming In Africa' (BBC 55), 'Michaela and Armand Denis' (ATV 55/58).
Opportunity Knocks
A-R 1956 ABC 1964-67
Hughie Green
Hosted by the legendary Hughie 'I mean that most sincerely folks' Green this was a talent show which boosted many of its participants to stardom. The studio audience voted for their favourite by means of the 'clapometer' which registered the loudness of their applause and the home audience were invited to send in votes to decide the winner.
BBC 1953

Originally a fortnightly magazine programme this grew into TVs oldest-established current affairs programme. Presenters included Richard Dimbleby, Chris Chataway, Michael Barratt, Leonard Parkin and Robin Day.
Picture Parade
BBC 1956
Peter Haigh and Derek Bond (later Robert Robinson - 1959) presented this weekly magazine programme featuring film previews, new cinema releases and the world of cinema in general, often with famous studio guests.

Pinky And Perky
BBC 1957

Pinky and Perky
Highly successful pig puppetry show based on popular music, created by Czech puppeteers Jan and Vlasta Dalibor. The extraordinary success of this format continued through various series right up until 1970. Many famous names appeared as guest stars on their shows, which always took on the appearance of a number of 'cabaret-style' scenes. By the way....Perky wore the hat.
Probation Officer
ATV 1959-62
A 55-minute series which was fictional, but almost a documentary drama about the probation service and problems faced during their operations in London's Notting Hill area. The original cast featured David Davies, John Paul and Honor Blackman, later joined by Jessica Spencer.
ITV 1959

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Head 'em up! Move 'em out! Rollin', rollin', there anybody who does not know the title theme to this series, so superbly sung by Frankie Laine. Eric Fleming starred as trail boss Gil Favor and featured 217 x 60 minute stories about the drovers problems as they steered their longhorns along the Sedalia trail of the 1870s. Top hands assisting in fighting off everything from indians to outlaws to women of dubious virtue were Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood), Pete Nolan (Sheb Woolley) and the chuck-wagon masters Wishbone (Paul Brinegar) and Mushy (James Murdock). Brilliant!
Saturday Playhouse
BBC 1958-61
A long-running collection of plays derived from stage productions and recorded at various studios.
Sea Hunt
ITV 1958
Lloyd Bridges - Sea Hunt
Highly popular and superbly filmed action / drama series starring Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson, who found himself involved in many underwater adventures as the result of being hired by treasure-hunters, sub-aqua expeditions and diverse, unscrupulous people for devious means. 30 minute episodes.
A drama series surrounding the life, loves and innumerable problems of a large commercial airport. 52 x 30min shows were made starring George Moon, Gerald Harper, Barry Foster and Lisa Gastoni.
BBC 1954

Originally introduced by Peter Dimmock, later Brian Johnston. Features included the first 4-minute mile and a studio boxing exhibition by world champion Floyd Patterson. A children's version, Junior Sportsview, was presented by Danny Blanchflower and Billy Wright from 1957.
Spot The Tune
GRANADA 1956-62
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209 x 30 minute shows featuredthis musical quiz show in which the contestants had to guess the song from only a few bars of the tune. Resident singer was Marion Ryan (pictured - mother of Paul and Barry) backed by the Peter Knight orchestra. The show's presenters included Ted Ray, Jackie Rae (pictured) and Ken Platt.
BBC 1959-61

Bernard Archer starred in this wartime series based on the true life stories of spycatcher Lt Col Oreste Pinto. 19 x 30min episodes were made telling the tales of Britains attempts to prevent enemy infiltration by any means at its disposal. Written by Robert Barr and produced by Terence Cook.
Val Parnell's
Sunday Night At The London Palladium

ATV 1955-67
The Tiller Girls

Superb all-round entertainment show with world-class variety guests topping the bill and featuring the fabulous high-kicking Tiller girls. The shows were produced by Val Parnell and included a game segment called 'Beat The Clock' in which members of the audience had 60 seconds to perform a variety of inane tasks, usually including balloon popping. Top-line comedians acted as hosts and MCs. The first of these was Tommy Trinder, followed by Dickie Henderson, Bruce Forsyth, Norman 'swingin, dodgy' Vaughan and the irepressible Jimmy Tarbuck. Probably the most memorable feature was the revolving stage finale at the end in which famously, the Rolling Stones refused to take part.
Sword of Freedom
ITV 1958
Weinstein Prodns / Sapphire Films

One of Sapphire's classic historical action shows set in Florence during the Italian renaissance. Edmund Purdom swashbuckled his way through 39 x 30 minute episodes as freedom fighter Marco del Monte, pitting his wits against the evil Machiavelli and the de Medicis. The series also starred Adrienne Corri as Angelica and Rowland Bartrop as Sandro. Original series title was 'The Florentine'. Also see Swashbucklers
Take Your Pick
A-R 1955-68
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The highly entertaining quiz-show stablemate to Double Your Money which featured Michael Miles as the questionmaster and the voice of Bob Danvers-Walker announcing the prizes. The two sections of the show were a 60 second 'Yes / No' interlude with the famous gong, wielded by Alec Dane, following which the winner, if they answered a further three questions correctly, was tempted to 'take the money' offered by Michael or withstand his appeals and choose to 'open the box', the choice of one of ten, which possibly contained the Star Prize, a chance to open 'Box 13' or, in three cases, a Booby Prize. The organ riff between segments was played by Harold Smart.
The Adventures of Champion
BBC 1956
Flying 'A' Prodns (Gene Autry)

26 x 30 minute episodes featured Champion the Wonder Horse, Ricky (Barry Curtis) and Rebel the dog in this children's adventure programme originally intended to promote Gene Autry's horse. The ranch owner , Uncle Sandy, was played by Jim Bannon with another regular, Will Calhoun (Francis McDonald) providing a light-hearted element. The memorable title song was sung, yet again, by Frankie Laine.
The Adventures of Long John Silver
ITV 1957
Isola del'Oro Productions - Australia
26 x 30 minute colour episodes were made of this Australian series which featured Robert Newton as the one-legged swashbuckling hero immortalised in Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island'. Connie Gilchrist played Miss Purity Pinker and Kit Taylor played the young Jim Hawkins.
Also see Swashbucklers
The Adventures of Robin Hood
ITP 1955
ABC / Sapphire Films

143 x 30 minute episodes and a spin-off film featured Richard Greene as Robin Hood, Bernadette O'Farrell (later Patricia Driscoll) as Maid Marian, Archie Duncan (Little John), Alexander Gauge (Friar Tuck), Paul Eddington (Will Scarlett) and Alan Wheatley as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Donald Pleasence made an occasional appearance as Prince John. Hugely successful in both the U.K. and U.S.A. Also see Swashbucklers
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot
ITV 1956
Sapphire Films
30 x 30 minute episodes starred William Russell (later to appear in Doctor Who) as the gallant Arthurian knight of the round table along with King Arthur (Bruce Seton, Ronald Leigh-Hunt), Queen Guinevere (Jane Hylton) and Merlin (Cyril Smith). Made at the Nettlefold studios, Walton-on-Thames.
Also see Swashbucklers
The Adventures of William Tell
ITV 1958-59
Fabulous action / adventure series starring Conrad Phillips as the famous freedom fighter in 14th century Switzerland. 39 x 30 minute episodes were made at National Studios and on location in the Welsh mountains, telling the story of Tell's outlaw struggles against Austrian overseer Landburgher Gessler, played by the wonderful Willoughby Goddard. Jennifer Jayne played his wife Hedda and his son by Richard Rogers. Nigel Greene turned up periodically as Tell's friend and ally, 'The Bear'. Series producer was Ralph Smart. Also see Swashbucklers
The Army Game
153 x 30 minute episodes featured the motley British Army equivalent of Bilko based in hut 29 of the Nether Hopping Surplus Ordnance Depot. The mainstays of the series were Sgt Major Bullimore played by William Hartnell (replaced by Bill Fraser as CSM Claude Snudge in 1958) and Private 'excused boots' Bisley played by Alfie Bass. Pte Popplewell was played by Bernard Bresslaw whose catchphrase 'I Only Arsked' became the title of the 1958 Hammer feature film. A 1960 spin-off series was entitled 'Bootsie and Snudge'.
The Arthur Haynes Show
ATV 1956
A comedy mixture of sketches written by the great Johnny Speight, and music, starring Arthur Haynes and featuring Nicholas Parsons, Patricia Hayes, Graham Stark and Dermot Kelly. Probably most famous for its 'tramp' characters and sketches.
The Benny Hill Show
BBC 1955-57, 61
BBC1 1964-66
ATV 1967, BBC1 1968
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The king of innuendo and light-hearted smuttiness and slapstick started his television career a lot earlier than most people realise. Early shows contained, besides the ubiquitous gorgeous girls, parodies of current hit shows, later moving on to comedy playlets and the famous sketch sequences.
The Billy Cotton
Band Show

BBC 1956
50 minute shows featuring non-stop dancing, music and comedy fronted by the all-round entertainer. This show evolved from the earlier 'Wakey, Wakey', (Billy's catchphrase) and was to become Billy Cotton's Music Hall in 1965. Resident entertainers included Russ Conway and Kathie Kay. Billy Cotton Jr produced the show.
The Buccaneers
ITV 1956
Sapphire Films
39 x 30 minute episodes told the swashbuckling tales of a band of pirates set in the Bahamas in 1722. Robert Shaw made his TV debut in the show as Captain Dan Tempest, battling against Blackbeard and other undesirable cutthroats in a bid to earn their pardon from Governor Woodes Rogers, played by Alec Clunes. Produced by Sidney Cole. Also see Swashbucklers
The Count of Monte Cristo
ITV 1956
Vision Prodns - TPA

Edmund Dantes, the nineteenth century Alexandre Dumas hero flashed his sword through 39 x 30 minute episodes, played by George Dolenz and accompanied by a bearded mute and Fortunio Bonanova. The series recounted episodes of his life following his acquisition of the Monte Cristo fortune. First shown in America a year earlier. Also see Swashbucklers
The Gay Cavalier
A - R 1957
George King Prodns
Hardly a title which would be considered for an action series these days! 13 x 30 minute episodes were made of this historical action drama which starred Christian Marquand as Captain Claude Duval, swashbuckling his way through the English civil war, directed by Terence Fisher and Lance Comfort. Also see Swashbucklers
The Good Old Days
BBC 1953
Old-time Edwardian music-hall format show originally chaired by Don Gemmell, later Leonard Sachs. The show was transmitted from the Leeds City Varieties Theatre and produced by Barney Colehan.
The Invisible Man
ITV 1958
Official Films
26 x 30 minute episodes saw scientist Peter Brady, (anonymous in the credits but voiced by Tim Turner) rendering assistance by virtue of his unique talents to the police and the government. This was in exchange for being allowed to conduct experiments to try and return himself to normal after a laboratory accident experimenting with the refraction of light had left him completely invisible. Superb special effects, rather than strong storylines, were responsible for the success of this Ralph Smart produced series based on the story by H.G.Wells. Lisa Daniely starred as Brady's sister and Deborah Watling as his young niece.
The Ken Dodd Show
BBC 1959-63, 1966
The first of various series of shows starring the genius of the buck-toothed, shock-haired Liverpudlian who made Knotty Ash world famous and introduced us to the delights of the Diddy Men. Despite his manic appearance, comedy and trademark feather duster he actually had an excellent singing voice, evidenced by his success with various songs in the British charts of the Sixties.
The Kilt Is My Delight
BBC 1957-63

The White Heather Club
BBC 1957-68
'Kilt' was a traditional offering of Scottish dancing and song , produced in tandem with the possibly more famous and slightly more 'commercial' White Heather Club. Both productions emanated from the BBC's Glasgow studios. These types of show were almost compulsory viewing every New Year's Eve and regularly featured the talents of Moira Anderson, Duncan Macrae, Andy Steweart, Jimmy Shand, Jimmy Logan and Roddy McMillan. The Clan Hay dancers and the Royal Scottish Country Dance Orchestra were also frequently featured. 'Kilt' was produced by Alan Rees and 'Heather' mainly by Iain MacFadyen.
The Larkins
ATV 1958-60, 1963-64
The original 'Eastenders' - featured the comedy and farce surrounding the lives of this Cockney family headed by the long-suffering Alf, played by David Kossoff. His nemesis, henpecking battleaxe wife was played by the wonderful Peggy Mount. The series was created and written by Fred Robinson and produced by Alan Tarrant. Other series regulars included son-in-law ex-GI Jeff Roger (Ronan O'Casey), his wife Joyce (Ruth Trouncer) and Shaun O'Riordan as son Eddie. Their neighbours were the Prouts, Myrtle (Hilary Bamberger - the pretty one) and Hetty (Barbara Mitchell - the nosy one). A film spin-off called 'Inn For Trouble' was made in 1959.
The Lenny the Lion Show
BBC 1957-58
A Johnny Downes-produced show which started out as part of Children's Television but which gradually saw host ventriloquist Terry Hall and his mickey-taking lion-shaped doppelganger Lenny evolve into a general entertainment show, often featuring top ten chart acts. These series were followed in 1959 by 'Lenny's Den' which was a series of 10min shows and another popular family entertainment show from 1962-63 called 'Pops and Lenny'.
The Lone Ranger
BBC 1957-
Apex / Jack Chertok / Clayton Moore
Jack Wrather Corporation

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If you know nothing about this American series you shouldn't be here. The classic 'Batman' of the wild west, the Lone Ranger, had been championing justice on American TV since 1949. The masked man, accompanied by his horse Silver and faithful indian companion Tonto galloped through a huge number of 30 minute episodes. Although armed with silver bullets, he hardly ever shot anyone, preferring to capture 'em alive, leaving behind a trademark bullet. Clayton Moore (and briefly John Hart) played the masked lawman, and the role of Tonto by Jay Silverheels. The series was based on radio stories written by Fran Striker which were developed with George Trendle for television. Two spin-off films were made - 'The Lone Ranger' (Warner Bros 55 ) and 'The Lone Ranger and The Lost City of Gold' (United Artists 58). Hi-Ho Silver.....awaaaaaay and another great theme tune. Who was that masked man?
The Phil Silvers Show
BBC 1957
Different large picture
One of the all-time classic 30min sit-coms, created and produced by Nat Hiken, still being networked today.The series, more popularly known as 'Sgt Bilko' featured the layabout, scheming, money-grabbing members of the motor pool platoon based at Fort Baxter, Kansas (later Fort Fremont, California). Silvers played the part of Master Sergeant Ernie Bilko, whose get-rich-quick schemes were always to the detriment of his men and long-suffering Camp Commander, Colonel Hall (Paul Ford). Platoon regulars were Cpl Barbella (Harvey Lembeck), Private Duane Doberman (Maurice Gosfield) and Cpl Henshaw (Allan Melvin). The series was originally named 'You'll Never Get Rich'.
The Sky At Night
BBC 1957- 2013

Unbelievably long-running monthly (sometimes live) astronomy and space-related informational series which began on 24th April 1957 and ran until 7th January 2013, every episode presented by the ebullient Patrick Moore until his recent death. It began life six months before the launch of Sputnick and has been a feature of late night viewing ever since. A junior version called 'Seeing Stars' ran for 8 x 4 minute episodes during children's television in 1970.
This Is Your Life
A British version of the successful NBC TV show which was presented by Eamonn Andrews where celebrities were treated to a 'surprise' at his appearance with 'The Red Book' and an invite to the studio to have revealed publicly the story of their life. Things didn't always go according to plan. Danny Blanchflower famously refused to appear on the show, leaving Andrews, his guests and a large studio audience in the lurch.
This Week
A-R 1956-68

This show - 'A window on the world behind the headlines'- was a weekly public affairs programme whose presenters included Rene Cutforth, Michael Westmore, Ludovic Kennedy and Daniel Farson.
BBC 1957-65
A current events programme which occupied an early evening spot on weekdays, highlighting both the important and less important, but always controversial, news items of the day. Early reporters supporting main presenter Cliff Michelmore included Alan Whicker, Julian Pettifer, Kenneth Allsop, Magnus Magnusson, Derek Hart, Macdonald Hastings, Brian Redhead and Geoffrey Johnson Smith. The show often ended with a musical finale featuring the talents of Jimmie MacGregor and Robin Hall. In 1965 the programme was superseded by Twenty-Four Hours (1965-72) which was a 10:30 late night programme but which still featured virtually the same presentation team.
Wagon Train
ITV 1958
BBC 1962
Revue / MCA

Larger image
Another entry from the seemingly endless supply of American classic western series. This one featured Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams, a wagon-master in charge of a pioneer wagon train travelling from Missouri to California in the wild west 1860s. Story lines included all the usual elements such as outlaws and indian attacks, but there was also a strong human element involved, examining the nature of the various main characters. Co-star was Robert Horton as trail scout Flint McCullough. Assistant wagon master Bill Hawks was played by Terry Wilson and Charlie Wooster the cook by Frank McGrath. John Wayne appeared as a guest star in the episode 'The Colter Craven Story'. Most, but not all episodes were called 'The........Story'. After Bond's early death, John McIntire took over the role of wagon master as Chris Hale. Robert Fuller succeeded Horton in the chief scout role after 5 seasons.
BBC 1956

A sitcom which featured the great Jimmy Edwards in his most famous comedy role as headmaster of Chiselbury public school, assisted by the less-than-competent Mr. Pettigrew, played by Arthur Howard. Frank Muir and Denis Norden were the main scriptwriters and a spin-off feature film 'Bottoms Up' was produced in 1960.
What The Papers Say
A topical current events programme which analysed the press's handling of news stories during the previous week. Introduced by Kingsley Martin and Brian Inglis, the programme became 'What the Weeklies Say' in 1968 before being succeeded by 'The Papers'.
What's My Line?
BBC 16th July 1951 to May 1963
Revived for short periods in each decade since
One of the first British TV panel games, based on an American idea. A panel of players tried to guess the occupation of various guests with strange, and unlikely, jobs by watching a short mime of their vocational activity and then asking questions, to which the guest could only answer 'yes' or 'no'. Originally chaired by Eamonn Andrews, the panel consisted of David Nixon, Lady Isobel Barnett, Barbara Kelly and Gilbert Harding.
Whicker's World
BBC 1959 - late 60s
ITV (Yorkshire) late 60s - 1980s
BBC 1980s on

The general title for many series of worldwide exploration and culture sampling by the globetrotting reporter Alan Whicker. The programme began life as a revisit to the slots that Whicker had made for the Tonight programme, but soon blossomed into even more exotic travels. Other (Sixties) Whicker series include 'Whicker Down Under' (BBC 61), 'Whicker On Top Of The World' (BBC 62), 'Whicker Down Mexico Way' (BBC 63), Alan Whicker Report Series: The Solitary Billionaire (J. Paul Getty)(1964), Whicker's World (1965-67), General Stroessner of Paraguay (1968), Count von Rosen (1968), Papa Doc--The Black Sheep (1968), 'Whicker's New World' (YTV 69) and 'Whicker In Europe' (YTV 69-70).
White Hunter
ITP 1958
Beaconsfield Prodns
Filmed in East Africa, this 39 x 30 minute episode action drama series was based on the life of big game hunter John A. Hunter. The storylines were fairly predictable, but none the less interesting for that, and the various ill-behaved wild animals and jungle villains were kept in their place by Rhodes Reason in the title role.
Your Life In Their Hands
BBC 1958-64
Revived several times in the 1970s and later

A series of programmes which took television cameras into hospitals and, controversially, operating theatres to give the viewing public a 'behind-the-scenes' look at the health service. The first presenter was consultant physician Dr. Charles Fletcher. Mobile units were used to record the operations on videotape, using up to six cameras to catch the 'action' from all angles.
Zoo Quest
BBC 1954-63
a series of multi-part nature documentaries broadcast on BBC television between 1954 and 1963. The 30 minute reports were based on zoological expeditions jointly sponsored by the Television Service and London Zoo. The first show featured David Attenborough in the West African forests.
Zoo Time

331 x half hour shows by the Granada TV film unit based at London (later Chester) Zoo were introduced by Desmond Morris (later Harry Watt and Chris Kelly) and examined animal behaviour. Very much aimed at the younger viewer, Morris was no less popular with the adult audience.
Fanny's Kitchen
AR 1955, 1957, 1961
Phyllis 'Fanny' Cradock and her third husband Major John Cradock moved from the BBC's Kitchen Magic in 1955 to present ITV's first cookery programme where they established themselves as the country's leading culinary experts. With post-war food restrictions lifted Fanny, who often appeared in an evening gown, introduced gourmet cooking to the British public. A feature of her shows was her gruff ordering about of her husband, who seemed to take it all in good grace. Various other series included 'Chez Bon Viveur' (1956), 'The Cradocks' (1962) and 'Giving A Dinner Party' (1969).

Some other 50s television shows that you may remember from the Fifties and Sixties ....

Roving Report
ITN 1957-64

Educating Archie
AR 1958/59
Land Of Song
TWW 1958-64
BBC 1958-65
This Wonderful World
ScottishTV 1958-65

The Four Just Men
Sapphire Films 39 x 30 mins 1959/60
Interpol Calling
ATV / Rank-Wrather 39 x 30mins 1959-60
Para Handy - Master Mariner
BBC 1959/60
BBC 6 x 30mins Oct/Nov 1959

Tell It To The Marines
AR/Jack Hylton Prodns 1959/60
The Third Man
Third Man Corpn / BBC / British Lion - 1959/60
World Theatre
BBC 1959
The Dickie Henderson Half Hour
AR / Jack Hylton - 1958/60

The Men From Room 13
BBC - 1959-61
Twenty One
Granada - 1958-? - Quiz show hosted by Chris Howland
ITV - 1959-73
Quiz show originally hosted by Barry McQueen

Lucky Dip
AR 1958-61
Forerunner of Tuesday Rendezvous and Five O'Clock Club

US CBS - 1954 - 451 x 30 minutes
Drama series about a clever Collie and its various owners
Desilu 1957-60 - 111 x 30 minute episodes

US helicopter action / adventure series

          Imported U.S. Western Series Made In The Fifties             
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I can remember seeing episodes from most of these at one time or another, but I am not certain whether the entire series was bought / transmitted on U.K. television in all cases.

Sixties productions screened in the UK appear on the page relevant to the year. A 'complete' production list can be seen below

The Cisco Kid
Ziv / UA
156 x 30 mins
Duncan Reynaldo
Circus Boy
Screen Gems Productions
49 x 30 mins
Mickey Dolenz
The Range Rider
Flying 'A' Productions
78 x 30 mins
Jock Mahoney
Davy Crockett
Walt Disney
5 x 60 mins
Fess Parker
The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin
Columbia/Screen Gems
164 x 30 mins
Lee Aaker
Tales Of Wells Fargo
164 x 30 mins
Dale Robertson
Have Gun Will Travel
Julian Claman for CBS
225 x 30 mins
Richard Boone
Walt Disney/ABC
78 x 30 mins
Guy Williams
Boots And Saddles
California National Prodns
37 x 30 mins
John Pickard
Tenderfoot ( Sugarfoot )
Warner Brothers
69 x 60 mins
Will Hutchins
Man Without A Gun
33 x 30 mins
Rex Reason
Wanted Dead Or Alive
Four Star / Malcolm
94 x 30 mins
Steve McQueen
Cimarron City
26 x 60 mins
George Montgomery
NorthWest Passage
26 x 30 mins
Keith Larsen
Casey Jones
Columbia/Screen Gems
32 x 30 mins
Alan Hale Jr
The Texan
Desilu Studios
80 x 30 mins
Rory Calhoun
The Rifleman
Four Star/Sussex
168 x 30 mins
Chuck Connors
Rough Riders
39 x 30 mins
Kent Taylor
Union Pacific
California National Prodns
39 x 30 mins
Jeff Morrow
124 x 60 mins
Robert Fuller / John Smith
44 x 60 mins
Burt Reynolds
The Deputy
MCA/Revue/Top Gun
76 x 30 mins
Henry Fonda
The Alaskans
Warner Brothers
36 x 60 mins
Roger Moore

This is a fairly comprehensive list of Action Western TV series made from the Forties to the end of the Sixties:

26 Men
The Adventures of Jim Bowie
The Adventures of Kit Carson
The Alaskans
Annie Oakley
Bat Masterson
Big Valley
Black Saddle
Boots and Saddles
Brave Eagle
Broken Arrow
Buffalo Bill Jr.
The Californians
Casey Jones
Cimarron City
Cimarron Strip
The Cisco Kid
Colt 45
Cowboy in Africa
The Dakotas
Davy Crockett
Death Valley Days
Dundee and the Culhane
Frontier Circus
Frontier Doctor
Gene Autry
Gray Ghost
Guns of Will Sonnett
Have Gun Will Travel
Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans
Here Come the Brides
The High Chaparral
Hopalong Cassidy
Hotel de Paree
Iron Horse
Jefferson Drum
Jim Bowie
Johnny Ringo
Judge Roy Bean
Kit Carson
Law of the Plainsman
The Legend of Custer
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
The Lone Ranger
Mackenzies Raiders
A Man Called Shenandoah
The Man From Blackhawk
Man Without a Gun
The Men From Shiloh
My Friend Flicka
The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca
Northwest Passage
Overland Trail
The Range Rider
Restless Gun
Rin Tin Tin
Road West
Rough Riders
Roy Rogers
Sgt. Preston of the Yukon
Sheriff of Cochise
Sky King
Stagecoach West
Steve Donovan, Western Marshal
Stoney Burke
Stories of the Century
Swamp Fox
Tales of the Texas Rangers
Tales of Wells Fargo
Tall Man
Temple Houston
The Texan
Texas John Slaughter
Tombstone Territory
Union Pacific
The Virginian
Wagon Train
Wanted:Dead or Alive
Wells Fargo
Whispering Smith
Wichita Town
Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Wild West
Wyatt Earp
Yancy Derringer

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