UK Soap Press Clippings Thread

James from London

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Last of the week is Together, a Southern Television soap that ran for two series between 1980 and 1981. Set in a block of housing association flats, it’s second series was unusual for the time in that it was broadcast live. Kathleen Byron, star of the classic Black Narcissus, was among its cast while Brookside creator Phil Redmond wrote a few episodes. The closure of Southern TV led to the show’s demise but it has been repeated a number of times on Talking Pictures TV (it is currently airing on Wednesday mornings) and had been released on DVD.
I watched it for a while on TPTV (it seems to be permanent fixture on their website) and it's fascinatingly boring. Or boringly fascinating. But perfectly watchable. Very interesting what you say about the live episodes: I can't say I noticed any difference between the first and second series. I have to admit I've put it on an indefinite hiatus since Talking Pictures distracted me with their reruns of Stingray and now Captain Scarlet.
 
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Carrie Fairchild

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I watched it for a while on TPTV (it seems to be permanent fixture on their website) and it's fascinatingly boring. Or boringly fascinating. But perfectly watchable.
I must give it a go on their website. I’ve only ever seen the first episode, which opens with a rather grim plot involving a new resident, who has downsized from his family home to Rutherford Court, trying to kill himself and his dog.
 

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This very week marks the anniversary of both the beginning and the end of BBC’s Eldorado, which launched on the 6th of July 1992 and ran for one year, ending on the 9th of July 1993. The above article was written to mark the show getting a rerun on satellite channel UK Gold in 1995. It’s only been rerun in full once since, in the early 00’s on UK Gold 2 but a small collection of episodes were made available on Britbox in recent years.
 

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Radio Times listing for the very first episode of Eldorado. Within six months, eight of the regular cast listed here would be axed in an attempt to revive the show’s flagging fortunes.
 

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An article signalling the arrival of Alex Morris (Derek Martin) on the shores of Costa Eldorado. The introduction of Alex was part of the show’s revamp but unfortunately it came too late. Derek Martin’s line about not knowing “what business deal’s Mr Big’s involved with” is indicative of one of the problems of Eldorado. For months, Alex’s right hand man Marcus was positioned as some sort of dodgy dealer but we were never told what the source of his ill gotten gains were, so he always felt like a cardboard criminal. They’d eventually flesh out their characters, revealing that they were involved people trafficking and brothel keeping. Alex would stay until the show’s end, marrying old flame Trish before she ditched him on their honeymoon after discovering that their romantic cruise on his yacht was actually him trying to flee to Venezuela, on the run from authorities in Spain.
 

AndyB2008

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Radio Times listing for the very first episode of Eldorado. Within six months, eight of the regular cast listed here would be axed in an attempt to revive the show’s flagging fortunes.
Trine did return, albeit not as Marchell Betak, but Clare Wilkie.
 

James from London

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Carrie Fairchild

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Trine did return, albeit not as Marchell Betak, but Clare Wilkie.
Yes, Trine was sent off to visit her grandmother in Denmark and came back as future EE & Crossroads star Claire Wilkie. Who, in my opinion, was a great addition to the cast. She added a bit of gravitas to the teen scene in Los Barcos.
Gosh, I never knew Charlie Slater was a villain in Eldorado and all them all other things. He was always such a lovely fella on Enders (as well as being a stuntman on Who back in the day).
I didn’t realise he was involved in Who. I quite enjoyed him on Eldorado because he was quite a forthright character whereas Charlie was such a passive presence most of the time on EE.
 

James from London

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I didn’t realise he was involved in Who.
Yes, quite prominently throughout the '70s. I remember a little in-joke on Enders during the early-2010s after the news of the Christian/Syed/Amira triangle broke. Ricky Butcher tries to helpfully explain to a bemused Charlie that there are gay people everywhere, "even on Doctor Who." "Not in my day," Charlie replies confidently.

Charlie was such a passive presence most of the time on EE.

... which was factored into his character in an intriguing way. Terrible things went on under his nose without him apparently noticing ... or because he chose to look the other way. He even spent his dying moments trying to convince Kat he didn't know she'd given birth to an extra kid without noticing.
 

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Ricky Butcher tries to helpfully explain to a bemused Charlie that there are gay people everywhere, "even on Doctor Who." "Not in my day," Charlie replies confidently.
A nice nuanced in joke there. A lot better than later efforts when a taxi driver compared Shirley to a Terrahawk just because she was referred to that on another forum.
which was factored into his character in an intriguing way. Terrible things went on under his nose without him apparently noticing ... or because he chose to look the other way. He even spent his dying moments trying to convince Kat he didn't know she'd given birth to an extra kid without noticing.
I remember buying Heat magazine (back in the day before it became extremely trashy) and there was an article on the introduction of the Slater family - Charlie, Mo, Lynne, Little Mo, Kat and Zoe (Gary may also have been included) - and it felt quite exciting as I think they were the first new family to be introduced since the DiMarcos in 1998. Despite efforts at the beginning to promote the whole family, including the feud between Mo and Pat, the older Slaters quickly fell by the wayside and it was Kat, Zoe and Little Mo that were pushed to the forefront. I think Charlie’s main story was the fallout of the Kat/Harry reveal and he then essentially hung around in the background, providing a sounding board for his family’s various woes, until he was axed in the early 00’s.
 

James from London

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he then essentially hung around in the background, providing a sounding board for his family’s various woes,
It felt to me like he was part of the fabric of the show, a bit like Betty Turpin in Coronation Street only with deeper emotional ties. I don't know how many duff-duffs he got, but he still felt like an integral presence. For what it's worth, I'd say he helped contextualise his family's woes.
 
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This time 29 years ago, an even shorter lived BBC soap was in the middle of its summer run of 24 episodes. Castles was unusual in that it was a Granada soap produced for the BBC. While Granada had produced programmes for other channels before, this was the first time one of their soaps hadn’t aired on ITV (Corrie, The Practice, Albion Market, Families, Revelations were all made for ITV). Going out twice a week (initially on Tuesday & Thursday evenings), Castles was created by Corrie writer Peter Whalley and featured Sally Wainwright (future creator of Happy Valley) on the writing staff.
 

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This time 29 years ago, an even shorter lived BBC soap was in the middle of its summer run of 24 episodes. Castles was unusual in that it was a Granada soap produced for the BBC. While Granada had produced programmes for other channels before, this was the first time one of their soaps hadn’t aired on ITV (Corrie, The Practice, Albion Market, Families, Revelations were all made for ITV). Going out twice a week (initially on Tuesday & Thursday evenings), Castles was created by Corrie writer Peter Whalley and featured Sally Wainwright (future creator of Happy Valley) on the writing staff.
The Tuesday and Thursday night episodes aired at 8.30pm, normally home to sitcoms and effectively meaning Castles was the Nine O'Clock News lead in.

When Castles's ratings started to collapse, it began to hand a low inheritance to the Nine O'Clock News, and the BBC News department started to get unhappy.

Midway, sitcoms would occupy the 8.30pm slot and Castles was moved to Sunday and Monday at 7pm to play out the remaining episodes.
 

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Midway, sitcoms would occupy the 8.30pm slot and Castles was moved to Sunday and Monday at 7pm to play out the remaining episodes.
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Poor reviews and lower than anticipated ratings prompted the move, which did little to improve the show’s fortunes (although I think the move was BBC effectively putting the show out to pasture). Granada would produce two further soaps - Springhill for Sky/Channel 4 in 1996 and Night and Day for ITV in 2001 - both of which ran longer than Castles but would be considered failures in the long run.
 

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I vividly remember Castles launching when I was reaching my little boy soap loving peak so I was massively excited for it. The results from memory were pretty mundane and didn't come close to meeting the potential of the set up or the cast. I also have a distinct recollection that characters were constantly phoning each other (on the landline, naturally) because the set up didn't lend itself to naturally occurring interaction.

It's a shame that it's become almost impossible to find anything online (I've never seen anything more than a 5 minute clip since 1995) because with that writing pedigree I'd love to give it a watch as an adult and see what was really going on.

A clip here - the theme tune still lives on in my head (and watching this, of course they're on the phone)

 
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Carrie Fairchild

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I vividly remember Castles launching when I was reaching my little boy soap loving peak so I was massively excited for it. The results from memory were pretty mundane and didn't come close to meeting the potential of the set up or the cast. I also have a distinct recollection that characters were constantly phoning each other (on the landline, naturally) because the set up didn't lend itself to naturally occurring interaction.

It's a shame that it's become almost impossible to find anything online (I've never seen anything more than a 5 minute clip since 1995) because with that writing pedigree I'd love to give it a watch as an adult and see what was really going on.

A clip here - the theme tune still lives on in my head (and watching this, of course they're on the phone)

As you said, there’s very little to be found online, so I think this is the first time I’ve seen the opening credits since it originally aired. My recollections of it from 1995 are vague although I think I may have mainly known it from the afternoon repeats. Despite Granada Plus airing everything and anything, I don’t think Castles ever had a rerun on there.

Russell T Davies mentioned the show on a podcast that I listened to. He joked about being put out by not being asked to work on the “posh Granada soap with a big budget” (or something to that effect) after cutting his teeth on some of their lower budget efforts like Families and Revelations.
 

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Same here. The main reason it came onto my horizon was Victoria Wood citing it as a key influence when she created Acorn Antiques (something that's usually forgotten, with Crossroads inevitably being the comparison every time).
I’m seven episodes in and I can see where Acorn Antiques borrowed from it. There’s lots of “You forgot my sweetener” style scene ends and the latest episode that I watched ended with the cliffhanger of someone forgetting to pick up a bottle of tonic from the doctors, reminiscent of “After last Friday’s exciting cliffhanger, let’s see if they’re any further on with mending that umbrella stand”.

It’s a charming little show and an easy watch. It does suffer a bit from what a lot of those country house dramas are guilty of, where the lower classes are portrayed as being indebted to their wealthy masters, who are left to sort their lives out for them. There was a two parter (after the initial episodes, I think they’re all presented this way) where the son of one of the estate staff had gotten a local girl pregnant and for some reason, Commander Bourne and the local school headmaster were the ones battling it out over how it would be resolved, with the couple eventually moving into a cottage on the estate.
 

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As you said, there’s very little to be found online, so I think this is the first time I’ve seen the opening credits since it originally aired. My recollections of it from 1995 are vague although I think I may have mainly known it from the afternoon repeats. Despite Granada Plus airing everything and anything, I don’t think Castles ever had a rerun on there.

Russell T Davies mentioned the show on a podcast that I listened to. He joked about being put out by not being asked to work on the “posh Granada soap with a big budget” (or something to that effect) after cutting his teeth on some of their lower budget efforts like Families and Revelations.
The omnibus edition I recall aired on Monday afternoons on BBC1 post Neighbours during the brief Tuesday and Thursday run.

When it switched to Sunday and Monday, the omnibus went to Wednesday afternoons on BBC2, against Neighbours.
 

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Poor reviews and lower than anticipated ratings prompted the move, which did little to improve the show’s fortunes (although I think the move was BBC effectively putting the show out to pasture). Granada would produce two further soaps - Springhill for Sky/Channel 4 in 1996 and Night and Day for ITV in 2001 - both of which ran longer than Castles but would be considered failures in the long run.
That and Michael Buerk\Peter Sissons grumbling over Castles as well, as it was the 9pm news lead in. (And a low lead in affects the news bulletins - like Family and Friends, Paradise Beach and the revived Neighbours in Australia).
 
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