The Plane Makers

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The Plane Makers is a British television series created by Wilfred Greatorex and produced by Rex Firkin. ATV made three series for ITV between 1963 and 1965. It was succeeded by The Power Game, which ran for an additional three series from 1965 to 1969. Firkin continued as producer for the first two series, and David Reid took over for series 3.

The Plane Makers[edit]

The Plane Makers focused on the power struggles between the trades union and the management on the shop floor of an (fictional) aircraft factory, Scott Furlong Ltd, as well as the political in-fighting amongst the management themselves. Patrick Wymark proved particularly popular as the anti-heroic Managing Director John Wilder, who was "a bully and a boor", who "is forgiven only if he gets results" (Critchley 1969). Wilder's nemesis in the boardroom was David Corbett (Alan Dobie), though he was supported by his long-suffering wife Pamela (Barbara Murray, with Ann Firbank standing in for a few episodes when Murray was unavailable), his Sales Director and confidant Don Henderson (Jack Watling) and ever-reliable secretary Miss Lingard (Norma Ronald). Their task was to manufacture and sell their aircraft, the Sovereign, to an international market.

The Power Game[edit]

According to one report, it was on Gretorex's advice that the drama "left the factory floor for the executive suite" (Critchley 1969). At the end of the final Plane Makers series in January 1965, Wilder left Scott Furlong after a project for the Scott-Furlong Predator, a vertical takeoff aircraft, had failed, and took a seat on the board of a merchant bank while also collecting a knighthood (Evans 1995, 413). He returned eleven months later in The Power Game. Bored of being a gentleman of leisure, Wilder uses his influence with the bank on whose board he sits to become Joint Managing Director of an established building firm, Bligh Construction. The first two series of The Power Game in 1965–66 chronicled his attempts to keep control in the face of opposition from the company's elderly founder Caswell Bligh (Clifford Evans), a stern, old-school patriarch who resents what he sees as Wilder's imposition on a family firm, and Bligh's ambitious but inexperienced son Kenneth (Peter Barkworth), who would prefer to be sole managing director, and free of his father's influence. Both Henderson and Miss Lingard were back in harness.

Wilder's private life came more to the fore in The Power Game; he has a long-running affair with a civil servant, Susan Weldon (Rosemary Leach), but is aghast when his wife Pamela also plays the field, with engineering expert Frank Hagadan (George Sewell).

The third and final series in 1969 saw Wilder free from Bligh's—but not from Bligh himself—and working for the British government as a 'roving' Foreign Office Ambassador for Trade.

Patrick Wymark died suddenly in 1970 and it was decided not to continue with the series without its most notorious and memorable character.

Archives[edit]

The archive survival rate of these series is variable. Only the first episode of Season 1 of Plane Makers exists, but all of the series 2 and 3 survive, all in 16mm-film telerecordings (Down and Perry 1997, DP4–5). Network DVD released the surviving pilot episode together with the first thirteen episodes of series 2 on DVD in June 2010, and the remaining fifteen episodes of series 2 in November 2011. All three series of The Power Game survive as 16mm-film telerecordings (Down and Perry 1997, DP6) and have been released on DVD by Network DVD in the UK.

Regular Cast – The Plane Makers[edit]

Regular Cast – The Power Game[edit]

DVD Releases[edit]

Network DVD label has released the following DVD boxsets.

Title Region 1st Release Date No# of Discs Episodes Extras Catalog
The Plane Makers - Volume 1 Region 2 2010 4 Series 2 Episodes 1-13
  • Pilot episode Don’t Worry About Me (only episode surviving from series 1)
  • Image Galleries
7953275
The Plane Makers - Volume 2 Region 2 21 November 2011 4 Series 2 Episodes 14–28 None 7953607
The Power Game - The Complete First Series Region 2 2005 4 13 Episodes Stills gallery 7952235
The Power Game - The Complete Second Series Region 2 2006 4 13 Episodes
  • "Man from Italy" (mute film insert footage)
  • Alternative Main Titles
  • Promotional Trailers
  • 35mm title footage (mute)
7952262
The Power Game - The Complete Third Series Region 2 2007 4 13 Episodes None 7952736
The Power Game - Series 1-3 - Complete Region 2 7 July 2008 12 All Episodes
  • "Man from Italy" (mute)
  • Alternative Main Titles and Promotion
  • Promotional Trailers
  • 35mm Title Footage (mute)

References[edit]

  • Critchley, Julian. 1969. "A Man for Our Season". The Times (Saturday, 11 January): 19.
  • Down, Richard, and Christopher Perry. 1997. The British Television Drama Research Guide, with Full Archive Holdings, second revised edition. Bristol: Kaleidoscope Publishing. ISBN 1-900203-04-9.
  • Evans, Jeff. 1995. The Guinness Television Encyclopedia. London: Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-744-4.

External links[edit]