From A Birds Eye View DVD

Sunday, 21 September 2008 07:24

For a production company that has almost every other series in its portfolio so well documented, FROM A BIRDS EYE VIEW can be counted as the most recent of its ‘lost classics’. Production began in 1969, and not mentioned in any of the various guides to ITC over the years, this was one of Lew Grade’s attempts at doing a trans-Atlantic sit-com, which did actually get a network broadcast Stateside on NBC. It was a contemporary in the ITC production stable of SHIRLEY’S WORLD, also a half-hour sitcom, which starred Shirley MacLaine, and beat VIEW’s episode tally by one show (17 to 16).

This exclusive new release from Network DVD is available ONLY at their online shop, which you can find at www.networkdvd.net

From A Birds Eye View DVDIt says something about the lack of going back to original sources that a series can drop off the radar like this, but it appears that this error can be traced back to “The Rogers and Gillis Guide to ITC” (1997, SJG), which missed the show out of its pages, and so it’s fairly obvious that the ITC guides that have followed it plagiarised this tome for content!

FROM A BIRDS EYE VIEW (that’s how it appears in the opening credits – poor grammar admittedly, but that’s how it is!) takes viewers into whirlwind action as two stewardesses take-off into various farce-like situations. Millicent Martin plays Millie Grover, the well meaning but impulsive one whose heart rules her head when holding out a helping hand to those in trouble. Patte Finley is her anguished American co-stewardess, Maggie Ralston, who knows that every trip is going to be a flight into adventure.

They are supported by the iconic Peter Jones (The Book in THE HITCH-HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY) as Beauchamp, their long-suffering boss, and Robert Cawdron (Det Insp Cherry in DIXON OF DOCK GREEN and Sergeant Ludoc in THE SAINT) as Millie's Irish uncle, Bert Quigley.

FROM A BIRDS EYE VIEW was very much a vehicle for Millicent Martin, who had come to prominence as the singer in the satirical variety series THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS. Stateside, she went on to star in the series DOWNTOWN (1986-1987), before coming back to the UK for MOON AND SON (1992). She then went on to make guest appearances in the likes of FRASIER, MURPHY BROWN, THE DREW CAREY SHOW, GILMORE GIRLS and WILL & GRACE.

Patte Finlay (who changed the spelling of her name to Pat Finlay later in her career), got her big break on television playing a couple of roles in THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, enough for her to be chosen to be the second lead in FROM A BIRDS EYE VIEW. She went on to have recurring roles as Ellen Hartley in THE BOB NEWHART SHOW and Peggy Becker in THE ROCKFORD FILES (a role she reprised in the 1996 TV movie “Godfather Knows Best”), before becoming a Judge in a trio of the 1990s PERRY MASON TV movies.

There is a veritable catalogue of known guest stars in the episodes, including the Dad’s Army duo of Clive Dunn and John Laurie (together in the same segment!), Richard Briers, Joan Hickson, Kenneth Cranham, Nicholas Ball, Alexandra Bastedo, Dave Prowse, Edward Judd, Angus Lennie, Arthur Mullard, Richard Franklin and Frank Thornton.

This three DVD set features all the 16 episodes from the series (running time approx 400 mins), as well as an extensive image gallery. The RRP for this three disc set is £24.99 and is only available via the Network DVD website at www.networkdvd.net.

Thanks to Cult TV and Network, you could have had the opportunity to add one of three copies of this DVD into your collection, in our prize competition. All you had to do was tell us the answer to the following question: Which episode of FROM A BIRDS EYE VIEW features two of the stars of DAD’S ARMY? The answer was "Highland Fling", and the winners were Richard Hull of Langton Matravers, Beverley Kerry of Ilkeston, and Chris Lane of Neath - well done, and thanks to everyone else who entered!


FROM A BIRDS EYE VIEW - EPISODE GUIDE

REGULAR CAST

Millicent Martin as Millie Grover

Patte Finley as Maggie Ralston

Peter Jones as Clive Beauchamp

Robert Cawdron as Bert Quigley

Noel Hood as Miss Fosdyke

An Incorporated Television Company Ltd production for ITC World Wide Distribution

Executive Producer Sheldon Leonard

Producer Jack Greenwood

Story Editor Carl Kleinschmitt

Associate Story Editor: Pat Dunlop

Musical Director: Frank Barber

Title Song: Frank Barber & Jack Fishman

Production Manager: Ron Fry

Millicent Martin’s Costumes: Emma Porteous

Casting Director: Rose Tobias Shaw

Assistant Director: Ron Purdie

Set Dresser: John Lageu

Transmission dates are per the NBC Network in America.

01. HATE-IN (Disc 1 Episode 5)

Millie’s current boyfriend, George, gets a crush on Maggie, which leads to a fall-out between the stewardesses. The episode title is a spoof on the American variety show Laugh-In.

Guest Starring: Richard Briers (George Lemon), Pat Starr (Daphne), Barry Andrews (Passenger 1), Geoffrey Lumsden (Passenger 2), George Baraker (Passenger 3), Ann Way (Passenger 4), Totti Truman Taylor (Passenger 5), John Blythe (Wolf), Robert Howay (Captain).

Screenplay: Pat Dunlop

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 29 March 1971

02. WIFE TROUBLE (Disc 1 Episode 3)

A jealous wife accuses her husband of infidelity and abandons him on Millie and Maggie’s flight just before take-off. Millie decides to try and help out the situation – especially as the husband’s boss needs to meet the wife so he can secure a promotion!

Guest Starring: Neil Stacy (Charles), Dora Reisser (Gina), Richard Caldicut (Sir Albert), Robert Rietty (Hotel Clerk), Jessie Robins (Rosa)

Screenplay: T.E.B. Clarke

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 5 April 1971

03. HURRICANE MILLIE (Disc 3 Episode 1)

Maggie is taken with Tim O’Donovan, an Irish songwriter on their latest flight. Unfortunately, he cons her out of £29.12 in in-flight bills, so the girls chase him down to Monte Carlo, where he’s hoping to break the bank.

Guest Starring: Kenneth Cranham (O’Donovan), Harold Berens (Sam Goodman), Gordon Rollings (Captain), Jessie Evans (Mrs Duggan), Robert Rietty (Casino Manager), Alexandra Dane (Madame Dupont), Bridget Brice (Airport Girl)

Screenplay: Sid Dorfman

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 12 April 1971

04. MILLIE'S MOVEABLE FEAST (Disc 1 Episode 4)

A dinner for the boss provides a course in confusion for Millie and all.

Guest Starring: Philip Manikum (Al), Polly Adams (Betty), Jess Conrad (Pilot), Stephen Jack (Mr Hightower), Linda Gray (Mrs Hightower), Fanny Carby (Gloria)

Screenplay: R.S. Allen & Harvey Bullock

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 19 April 1971

05. THE DIFFICULT PASSENGER (Disc 1 Episode 1)

Millie and Maggie’s patience is tested when they encounter a passenger who just can’t be pleased – so Millie decides on a scheme to put him in his place.

Guest Starring: Robert Coote (Barker), Jess Conrad (Clem Tiptree), Mavis Villiers (Peggy).

Screenplay: T.E.B. Clarke

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 26 April 1971

06. NOBODY SLEEPS ON A HONEYMOON (Disc 2 Episode 1)

Millie allows a pair of distressed newlyweds to move into her hotel room, leading her and Maggie to a sleepless night. This is not a wise move, when Beauchamp is on their flight checking on their performance.

Guest Starring: Nicholas Ball (Jack Desmond), Margo Andrew (Connie Desmond), Louis Mansi (Hotel Clerk), Damaris Hayman (First Nun), Lynne White (Second Nun), Charles Workman (Old Man), Gordon Rollings (Eager Man), John Baskcomb (Middle-Aged Man), Ann Way (Middle-Aged Woman), Jessie Robins (Mama), Michael Nightingale (Businessman).

Screenplay: Carl Kleinschmitt

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 3 May 1971

07. RUSSIAN ROULETTE, MILLIE STYLE (Disc 2 Episode 5)

Millie finds herself in the international limelight when she befriends a Russian athlete.

Guest Starring: Yuri Borienko (Ter Vinovitsian), Sheila Bernette (Mrs Cake), Robert Marner (Head of Delegation), Bryan Coleman (Police Inspector), Hana Maria Pravda (Interpreter), Zuleme Dene (Joanna), Graham Armitage (Johnstone), Rex Stallings (Young Constable), Karen Miles (Russian Girl), Jonathan Kelly (Boy on Plane).

Screenplay: Lew Schwarz

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 10 May 1971

08. WITNESS FOR THE PERSECUTION (Disc 3 Episode 3)

The stewardesses land themselves in a Spanish jail when they accidentally aid a suspected embezzler.

Guest Starring: Reginald Barratt (Beeker), Ferdy Mayne (Spanish Captain), Mavis Villers (Mrs Pontingford), Richard Montez (Spanish Sergeant), Selma Vaz Dias (Housekeeper), Midge Perry (Jerry Angelsax), Bartlett Mullins (Mr Roberts)

Screenplay: Pat Dunlop

Director: Peter Duffel

Original Transmission: 17 May 1971

09. I TOO WAS A NOVICE (Disc 2 Episode 4)

A new stewardess, Yvonne, is worried that she won’t make the grade, until Millie and Maggie recount how they first met, when Mille was the novice and Maggie was the instructor.

Guest Starring: Gay Hamilton (Jeannie), Hilary Pritchard (Yvonne), George Tovey (Mr Grover - Millie’s Father), Robert Howay (Captain), Edward Malin (First Priest), Ken Parry (Second Priest)

Screenplay: Brad Ashton

Director: Peter Duffel

Original Transmission: 24 May 1971

10. SICILIAN AFFAIR (Disc 3 Episode 2)

When Millie and Maggie help an Italian friend, they get mixed up in a family feud - Sicilian style. This is the only episode ever previously made available to buy in any format when it appeared on Network DVD’s “ITC 50” compilation, released in 2005. Guest star Franco Derosa was originally going to have a starring role in UFO, but was replaced by Michael Billington

Guest Starring: Franco Derosa (Rudy Mastroianni), Alexandra Bastedo (Lisa Vespucci), Aubrey Morris (Hotel Proprietor), Anthony Morton (Salvatore Dimano), Suzanne Fleuret (Momma), Roy Evans (Tall Undertaker), Ismet Hassan (Short Undertaker), Harry Hutchinson (Priest), Dave Prowse (First Vespucci), Guido Adorni (Second Vespucci), Tommy Mann (Third Vespucci)

Screenplay: John Warren and John Singer

Director: John Robins

Original Transmission: 31 May 1971

11. HIGHLAND FLING (Disc 2 Episode 3)

Fred the neighbour is an unemployed carpenter with time on his hands, and more than helpful in the girls’ flat, fixing doors and putting in new cupboards. The stewardesses decide they need to find him a new job, but placing adverts in the paper is nearly bankrupting them! However, Fred has sorted things himself at the Labour Exchange, getting a gig at a haunted Scottish castle. With Clive Dunn and John Laurie united in this episode, it’s a must-see for Dad’s Army fans.

Guest Starring: Clive Dunn (Fred Arnott), John Laurie (Lord MacBracken), George Roderick (French Passenger).

Screenplay: Tom Brennand & Roy Bottomley

Director: John Robins

Original Transmission: 7 June 1971

12. FAMILY TREE (Disc 2 Episode 2)

It’s been a year since the girls began working together, and Millie gets Maggie a present of her family tree – and it appears she’s related to English nobility – an axe murderer!

Guest Starring: Pat Starr (Daphne), Valerie Colgan (Sheila), Norma West (Ingrid), Carmen Munroe (Shaundra), John Sharp (Tuttle), Joan Hickson (Hilda Tuttle), Bessie Love (Old Lady), Paul Dawkins (geant Halliday), Richard Franklin (First Constable), Rex Stellings (Second Constable)

Screenplay: Bernie Rothman

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 14 June 1971

13. ALL IN A DAY'S WORK (Disc 2 Episode 6)

Phillips is a movie star and comes to visit the girls after being one of their passengers. Millie has been mistaken by the press for his latest romantic fling.

Guest Starring: Edward Judd (Burton Phillips), Robert Howay (Randy), Robert Rietty (Porter), Peter Attard (Liveried Messenger), Roy Denton (Organ Grinder), Tony Sympson (Cold Sufferer), Jean Aubrey (Woman with Baby).

Screenplay: Stan Cutler & Martin Donovan

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 21 June 1971

14. NEVER PUT IT IN WRITING (Disc 1 Episode 2)

Millie overhears Beacham dictating a letter to Miss Fosdyke, and gets the wrong idea, thinking he is suggesting that the duo should be let go, whereas he’s actually trying to dispose of a fly in his office. Millie suggests to Maggie they both need to look for a new job.

Guest Starring: Angus Lennie (The Postman), Edward Palmer (Window Cleaner), Arthur Mullard (The Commissionaire).

Screenplay: John Muir & Eric Green

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 28 June 1971

15. THE MATCHMAKERS (Disc 3 Episode 4)

The girls have to look after Beauchamp’s cousin, Mrs Beal, on their latest flight, who is keen to help out, but she ends up causing more problems than she solves.

Guest Starring: Evelyn Keyes (Mrs Beal), Art Gross (Waiter), Meadows White (Male Passenger)

Screenplay: Pat Dunlop (from a story by Reuben Ship)

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 9 August 1971

16. HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEART IS (Disc 1 Episode 6)

There’s a new flight schedule for the stewardesses, based on a staff scoring system, and our girls come bottom. It means they are going to be split up and reassigned to some mundane routes.

Guest Starring: Frank Thornton (Spinks), Arthur Lovegrove (Meeting Man 1), Charles Farrell (Meeting Man 2), Bartlett Mullins (Meeing Man 3), Grace Newcombe (Lady in Crowd), Barbara Mitchell (Department Store Woman)

Screenplay: Anthony Marriott & Scot Finch

Director: Ralph Levy

Original Transmission: 16 August 1971

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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