Press Gang

Series Four

A Richmond Films & Television Production in assocation with Central Independent Television. Episodes are approximately 25 minutes in duration.

Written by Steven Moffat
Series based on an idea by Bill Moffat
Produced by Sandra C. Hastie
Executive Producer for Central Television Lewis Rudd
Music by Peter Davis
Casting Director Liz England
Directors of Photography Alec Mills BSC [1,2,5,6] and James Devis BSC {3,4]
Designer Maria Price

REGULAR CAST: Lynda Day Julia Sawalha, James "Spike" Thomson II Dexter Fletcher, Julie Craig Lucy Benjamin [not 4], Sarah Jackson Kelda Holmes [not 2,4], Colin Mathews Paul Reynolds, Frazer "Frazz" Davis Mmoloki Chystie [not 4], Toni "Tiddler" Tildesley Joanna Dukes [not 3,4].

4.01   Bad News 7 January 1992

Directed by Bob Spiers
Lynda is reunited with Spike on a live children's television show called "Crazy Stuff" leading to them becoming celebrities. It takes Colin to turn this to their advantage when the Junior Gazette's future is in danger due to poor sales...
GUEST CAST: Matt Kerr Clive Wood, Zack Henry Naylor, Bobby Campbell Keith Allen, Mrs Campbell Carolyn Pertwee, Newscaster Sarah Heenahan, Breakfast Television Man Paul Raffield, Points of View Woman Alwyne Taylor (incorrectly credited as Alwynne Taylor), Pompous Man Roger Leach, Cool Cat Puppeteer Paul Fulton, Voice of Cool Cat Andy Parsons.

NOTES: This season was made back to back with series three. However, Lee Ross was unable to commit to all 12 episodes due to the possibility of a film role. Although he did not get the part, it was too late and Lucy Benjamin returned as Julie (from series one) to replace him. As usual, the series opens with a pre-credits sequence that ends with the presenter of "Crazy Stuff" telling Lynda that she should get her own series. Later, Colin mentions the possibility of a television series about Spike and Lynda, assuring Spike that he'll get a genuine American to play him - a clever reference to Dexter Fletcher's distinctly British origins. The episode features Clive Wood's annual appearance as Matt Kerr.

TRIVIA: Following the death of David Campbell, the Junior Gazette is now owned by his nephew, Bobby Campbell. Kenny has emigrated to Australia. "Crazy Stuff" features a regular cartoon called "The Karate Pigs" (presumably intended to be a parody of the Ninja Turtles, who were very popular at the time). The postal address of the Junior Gazette is now Unit 2, Nelson Trading Estate, Norbridge, NOR 8BT. The paper employs 23 people. Kate's surname is Roberts.

CONTINUITY: Spike mentions Lynda's trick with Zoe's personal stereo (Holding One), although we aren't told the outcome. Sam is also mentioned when Lynda keeps getting her mixed up with Julie. There is a reference to an important meeting when Lynda lost her temper and threw an ash tray that was also referred to in The Last Word. Another nice touch is when Julie comments on Sarah's new hairstyle, which she has acquired since Julie had last seen her.

CHOICE QUOTES: "I expected a serious interview. What I didn't expect was to find myself talking to an improbable looking domestic pet that has somehow acquired the power of speech!" (Lynda).
      "Strangely enough, I don't feel like taking advice from a man who spends his time behind a sofa with his arm up an artificial cat." (Lynda).
      "You are a lady of unexpected depths Lynda, to which you regularly sink." (Matt Kerr).
      "Sex and violence. I love children's television." (Frazz). Spike: "I don't believe this. You're using our personal lives to publicise the paper."  Colin: "Look, someone's going to a biggy on this story. At least if it's us it will be done with tact, taste and discretion. With free Spike and Lynda dolls!"

4.02   UnXpected 14 January 1992

Directed by Lorne Magory
Frazz is somewhat disturbed when he is visited by Colonel X, the eponymous hero of an old tv show that was axed when its star was killed in a car crash. Meanwhile, Lynda is looking for someone to have dinner with - in order to win a bet with Spike.
GUEST CAST: Dr Threeways Brian Glover, Dr Gillespie Brian Mitchell, Dr Clipstone Michael Sheard, Sir Edward Eric Dodson, Miss Madden Gillian Tompkins and Colonel X (John England) Michael Jayston.

NOTES: There is great attention to detail with the creation of the "Colonel X" show. We see lots of Colonel X merchandise, including pre-recorded videos, books, records and a TV Times cover, plus newspaper reports of John England's apparent death. There is a clever scene when Spike suspects everything to be a dream when Colonel X arrives at the newsroom, since this is a plot device which the series occasionally uses.

CONTINUITY: In Colin's office there is clearly a poster for the hypnotist Mister Maringo from Holding On on one of the walls.

CHOICE QUOTES: Frazz (being visited in hospital): "So where's Spike?"  Julie: "Well he came along but we lost him somewhere. You know how it is. This place is full of nurses. But do you get it though? It's such an ugly uniform."  Lynda: "And so uncomfortable."
      "It's very funny. If most people get knocked on the head they get a migraine or something like that. I start picking up children's television." (Frazz).
      "I don't like socialising with fictional characters." (Frazz).

4.03   She's Got It Taped 21 January 1992

Directed by Bob Spiers
Archie Pressman is involved with a gand who bombed a Norbridge restaurant, and Sarah Jackson's tape recorder contains some information that would incriminate him. Archie needs to get hold of it - at any cost...
GUEST CAST: Archie Pressman Jay Simpson, Peter Quail James Bingham, Mr Quail Dave Atkins.

NOTES: This episode focuses virtually exclusively on Sarah, with the rest of the regular cast (even Dexter Fletcher and Julia Sawalha) appearing only briefly. In particular, Mmoloki Chrystie has no dialogue and appears only as background character in the newsroom.

TRIVIA: The telephone number of the Norbridge restaurant being bombed by the gang is 0723 3465. At the time that the episode was made 0723 was actually the STD code for Scarborough.

CONTINUITY: During her date with Archie, Sarah talks about her old boyfriends; she mentions the events from Love And The Junior Gazette involving Raymond Adams and her experiences with Brian Magboys (The Big Finish?) and Gary Morris (Deadline). Earlier in the episode Lynda mentions Kenny, absent-mindedly believing that he is still at the Junior Gazette.

CHOICE QUOTES: None (sorry, it's my least favourite episode!).

4.04   Love And War 28 January 1992

Directed by Bill Ward
Late one night Spike and Lynda are persuaded by Colin to deliver a talking suitcase to one of his uncle's associates. Spike doesn't seem his usual self, and why does he keep talking to his father's telephone answering machine?
GUEST CAST: Marvin Bixby Kenneth MacDonald, Security Guard (Saunders) John Ashby.

NOTES: This emotional episode starts a trilogy of linked episodes to end the season and repeats the formula from At Last a Dragon with Dexter Fletcher, Julia Sawalha and Paul Reynolds being the only regulars to appear. This is the first episode to be directed by Bill Ward, one of the founders of Richmond Films and Television, who played an important part in the creation of the series. The end credits are accompanied by a sombre piece of music. The first few credits are also over a still of a photograph of Spike and his father (who never actually appeared in the series) instead of stills from the episode as usual.

TRIVIA: We finally discover how Spike acquired his nickname - it is after the dog in "Tom and Jerry". Judging by one of the photographs seen in the episode Spike's father was a former army officer.

CONTINUITY: Kenny is again mentioned. Spike compares the situation to the last time he tried to leave Norbridge and was stuck to Lynda (Holding On). The gunshot wound that Colin got from the siege in The Last Word Part Two also apparently flares up when things get awkward for him (pretty much as it did in Holding On).

CHOICE QUOTES Spike: "Colin, I'm not taking your damn case anywhere."  Colin: "Don't be silly, it's chained to your wrist."
      "I'm having a major personal crisis chained to a talking briefcase!" (Spike).

4.05   In The Picture 4 February 1992

Directed by Bill Ward
Colin goes undercover as a hotel workman in order to help get some candid photographs of John Hartwood, a visiting actor who is very protective of his privacy. However, things get horribly complicated when Hartwood's girlfriend arrives. Meanwhile, back at the newsroom Lynda has a visitor. Just who is Katherine Hill?
GUEST CAST: John Hartwood Steven Hartley, Newton Glenn McCrory, Judy Wellman Claire Forlani and Katherine Hill Sharon Duce.

NOTES: This episode opens with a pre-titles sequence (the first time that an episode other than a season opening has had one) continuing from the end of Love And War. This was added at a relatively late stage when the episode was found to be under-running. John Hartwood's minder, Newton, was played by boxer Glenn McCrory in his first acting role.

CONTINUITY: Claire Forlani recreates her role of Judy Wellman from Chance Is A Fine Thing (her first appearance here is accompanied by the Colin/Judy theme from that episode).

CHOICE QUOTES: Frazz: "Would you forget a date with Colin?"  Julie: "I'd try."
      Tiddler (on Katherine Hill being like Lynda): "I never realised how reasurring it was that there's only one of her!"

4.06   Day Dreams 11 February 1992

Directed by Bob Spiers
Confused over her feelings for Spike, Lynda is sleeping overnight at the newsroom when she is visited by Mr Sullivan. He is revealed to be her guardian angel, with the power to give her a glimpse of the future...
GUEST CAST: Katherine Hill Sharon Duce, Tony Greg Cruttwell, Prince Fahid Kervork Malikyan, Billy Homer Andy Crowe, Young Katherine Hill Julia Sawalha (uncredited), James Thompson I Dexter Fletcher (uncredited) and Mr Sullivan Nick Stringer.

NOTES: The season finale opens with another pre-titles sequence. Captions tell us that it is set at Aragon High School in California 21 years ago. Here Julia Sawalha and Dexter Fletcher don wigs and period clothing to portray the first meeting of Spike's parents, to emphasise the subplot about Spike and Lynda acting out the same relationship as Katherine Hill and James Thomson, who even both worked on the school newspaper. Nick Stringer makes a guest appearance as Mr Sullivan, who was a recurring character during series one and two. At the time, he was appearing in "The Bill" which meant that he had shaved off his moustache, necessitating a false one for this episode! Day Dreams was originally intended to be the very last episode of the series, with perhaps the possibility of a tv movie.

TRIVIA: In the future newsroom occupied by Julie the sign on the editor's desk reads "The Boss" instead of "Da Boss" as it did for Lynda.

CONTINUITY: Andy Crowe appears very briefly as Billy Homer in the episode; he is credited but plays no part in the episode as he can be seen in the control room during Frazz's future radio programme.

CHOICE QUOTES: Mr Sullivan: "Lynda, as I've been trying to tell you for years now, I'm your guardian angel."  Lynda: "Oh - and I always thought that you were my English teacher."
      "Why do I do so many major scenes in my life dressed in my pyjamas?" (Lynda).
      Lynda (on Frazz): "Ever thought of recruiting him as a guardian angel?"  Mr Sullivan: "Actually no. But I believe the other side has expressed an interest."

This guide is copyright Matthew Newton and may not be reproduced without permission.

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