Back to Christmas 1985 (21st December 1985)

Today BBC1 offers Carry On Follow That Camel (Phil Silvers dropped somewhat uncomfortably into the Carry On world) and I’ll be following that up with the final episode of Juliet Bravo – Reason for Leaving.

The episode has a Christmas theme, although the ending isn’t terribly festive (Danny Sparks dies). Whilst it doesn’t seem to be remembered with quite the same level of trauma as another pre-Christmas series finale (Blakes’ 7‘s Blake) it still packs a gloomy punch. The episode was written by Don Webb, whose television career was largely centered around police series (Juliet Bravo, Rockliffe’s Babies, The Bill) apart from one major diversion (the faintly remembered Peter Egan/Hannah Gordon sitcom Joint Account).

There’s then a repeat of the Only Fools and Horses series 4 finale As One Door Closes, which will help me to limber up for the big Only Fools treat on Christmas Day (spoiler, I’ve decided to watch that and tape Minder on the Orient Express).

As for BBC2, I’ll be setting the video for Opera for Africa.

Not too much on ITV or C4 to get the pulse racing (The Puppet Man sounds interesting, but I haven’t been able to source a copy.) However I’ll be setting the VCR for 3-2-1, as an hour or so of bonkers quizzing is always welcome (John Inman and Victor Spinetti are amongst today’s guests).

Today’s listings are below for anyone who wishes to peruse them for themselves.

8 thoughts on “Back to Christmas 1985 (21st December 1985)

  1. Assuming that I’d seen all the recent repeats the first time around, then I think I’d watch Juliet Bravo, Upstairs Downstairs and Who Dares Wins (perhaps also the Richard Dimbleby documentary if I was in at 5.00). That Who Dares Wins includes the notorious naked Tony Robinson sketch (perhaps not an inducement) and is online – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlojHo5IWiw&t=530s

    I always think that it was a bit of a cop-out for Juliet Bravo to kill off a popular character in the final episode, when watching how the Hartley team responded to the death over time is what would have been dramatically interesting.

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    • The last episode of Heartbeat had a lousy ending, with Oscar in critical condition. He either should have died or recovered.

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  2. It’s interesting to see the listings pages, and spotting shows that aren’t as well remembered now such as Who Dares Wins and Copy Cats. Most people remember the BBC Saturday morning shows like Saturday Superstore, but who remembers TX. (Tony Slattery’s first tv show was Saturday Stayback, and he was a fan of Tiswas.) And the pages were mostly in black and white.

    In 1987 I was talking to a colleague about the Christmas Day episode of EastEnders that couldn’t have been less suitable for Christmas Day if one of the characters had died. And he said that the BBC like to depress viewers at Christmas. He said that the Christmas edition of Only Fools and Horses was sad. (The one where Rodney had a posh girlfriend, and they split up because of Del who was just nasty in that episode.) And he mentioned the final edition of Juliet Bravo where the young police officer got killed in a fire at a Christmas disco, in an episode broadcast on the Saturday before Christmas when some people were getting ready for a Christmas disco.

    I probably asked this before, but did anyone on 3-2-1 ever win the dustbin?

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  3. Anna Carteret who played Kate Longton in Juliet Bravo decided to hang up her tunic after three years in the role. The producers decided against pushing for a third female lead and a seventh series, and instead opted for a new medical series the following year which of course arrived in the form of Casualty.

    The final episode of Juliet Bravo did end on a abrupt note with something of a cliffhanger. We never actually learned whether Kate remained in the police and the story of PC Brian Kelleher’s terminally ill daughter is left unresolved.

    I am sure certain decisions about the future of JB were only made after filming had been concluded otherwise I am sure this final episode would have offered a better sense of closure to a popular long running series.

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      • I managed to purchase all the DVDs for Juliet Bravo several years ago – sadly they are out of print and very hard to come by.

        For me Series 6 is the icing on the cake and the best of the lot. If a series is going to end, it should go out on a high and Juliet Bravo certainly ended on the top of it’s game.

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  4. Nice to read a review of a later Juliet Bravo episode.Funny that the Stephanie Turner era and Anna Carteret era both ran to exactly the same amount of episodes,88 episodes in all.44 with Jean Darbley and 44 with Kate Longton.If there had been a 7th series wonder would Joe Beck and George Parrish still have been behind the desk as well?.

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    • I think it was just coincidence that Stephanie Turner and Anna Cartaret notched up the same tally of episodes.

      For a series to run for at least 14 episodes is rare now in British TV drama. Most prime time dramas of the present day are merely 4 or 5 episodes long.

      This just goes to show that production on shows like JB must have lasted at least 7 or 8 months per series.

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