Hadleigh's Gazette on DVD

Wednesday, 11 August 2010 06:50

Gerald Harper had taken TV by storm in Adam Adamant Lives! – but his next venture would bring to life the character he is most associated with: James Hadleigh. The character begins by taking over as proprietor of the ‘Westdale Gazette’, a Yorkshire newspaper owned by his father. Created by Robert Barr and originally screened in 1968, Gazette introduced us to the charming, privileged but conscientious protagonist and his mixed fortunes that would continue to be chronicled in the sequel show Hadleigh. That series became one of Yorkshire Television’s most popular and long-running series, airing between 1969 and 1976.

Right from the first episode, Hadleigh finds that the day-to-day running of the newspaper throws up thorny issues of public allegiances, the right to privacy, and potentially libellous reporting. Plots cover the controversy surrounding hunting, police cover stories, and many delicate dilemmas for Hadleigh and his reporting team to traverse through.

Hadleigh makes his debut in the Gazette DVD setYorkshire Television had just come into being following a reshuffle of ITV franchises, which saw it replace Granada and ABC (Associated British Corporation) in the area. They were keen to make a locally-based drama that would put their ‘local’ culture on the map in a way that had not been done before. Through the use of filmed location inserts, the mainly studio-bound videotaped Gazette does try to show off the geography to its best advantage, without specifically becoming a travelogue!

Whilst the local newspapers of the day were playthings of the aristocracy of the area, the conflict of interests highlighted by such ownerships are actually little different to those of today – where the huge corporations who own our national rags and the majority of the local paper networks have their own agendas. They certainly keep stories about themselves and their network of businesses, with their collective fingers in all sorts of pies and connections with a plethora of scandals, from becoming the knowledge of the chattering classes.  The characters and the scale of deception may have changed, but the principles remain the same.

Indeed, Hadleigh is constantly duelling with newspaper editor Frank Walters (Jon Laurimore), although justice is almost always done in the end. Bill Spence (Michael Blackham) is a dynamic and experienced reporter, keen to get the scoops that will earn him some bonus cash to help better support his young family.

Junior reporter Susan Jackson (Gillian Wray) finds it tough work in what, at the time, was still predominantly a man’s world. At the end of the 1960s the nefarious ‘political correctness’ was still a gleam in the eyes of the world’s controllers, so as a modern audience we can be quite shocked by how she is treated by her peers, and the rest of the population come to that.

These were the days when the local newspaper network was well established enough to actually be the feed to the nationals on many big stories. Journalists had the time to investigate. This is worlds away from today, where reporters are reliant on press releases and public relations folk to feed them enough content so they can meet almost-impossible deadlines (the reason why our media can now be so easily manipulated).  That said, the Gazette reporters do find themselves covering some quite mundane stories amongst the more juicy leads!

Network have done the show proud on this DVD release, with a half hour documentary, “The House on the Hill”, which covers the making of Gazette. Gerald Harper speaks charmingly and enthusiastically about the series, and the expert witnesses on hand really give this exclusive programme a considerable sheen of class.  The fact that Hadleigh is missing from a couple of episodes backs up Harper’s recall that after the gruelling schedule of Adam Adamant Lives! he was happy to join a series where he wasn’t on set for almost every scene. There is also an extensive image gallery included on this DVD set.

Running for 650 minutes approx, and having gained a ‘12’ certificate from the once-more baffling BBFC, the 13-episode Gazette has a price of £39.99 or less, and is available exclusively from the Network DVD website.



Gerald Harper as James Hadleigh

Jon Laurimore as Frank Walters

Gillian Wray as Susan Jackson

Michael Blackham as Bill Spence


Series Devised by Robert Barr

Produced by Terence Williams

Series Editor: Elwyn Jones

Theme Music Composed by Alan Moorhouse


01. Arrival

Guest Starring: Ralph Michael (Col Chamberlayne), Norman Claridge (Appleton), Christopher Hodge (Maxwell), Michael Landy (Tom Portall).

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Unknown

Original ITV Transmission: 2 August 1968


02. Turn A Blind Eye

Guest Starring: Alan Barry (Rev Wilcox), Norman Claridge (Appleton), Robin Hawdon (Joe Chalmers), Robin Wentworth (Councillor Adams), Ralph Michael (Col Chamberlayne), Vivienne Burgess (Mrs Chamberlayne), Norman Mitchell (Sgt Williams), Christopher Hodge (Maxwell), Margery Withers (Mrs Dickinson), Kevin Walker (Copy Boy), Alan Caister (Barman). NOTE: Michael Blackham does not appear in this episode.

Writer: James Doran

Director: David Andrews

Original ITV Transmission: 9 August 1968


03. Exposure

Guest Starring: Ralph Michael (Col Chamberlayne), Norman Claridge (Appleton), Richard Leech (Grimley), Vivienne Drummond (Miss Fowler), Timothy Carlton (Lucas), Christopher Hodge (Maxwell), Ian Burford (Barman).

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: James Ormerod

Original ITV Transmission: 16 August 1968


04. Missing

Guest Starring: John Nettleton (Todd), Harold Goodwin (Turner), John Barrett (Supt Nelson), Norman Mitchell (Sgt Williams), Michael Beint (George), Ronald Clarke (Sloan), Roy Evans (Yardley), Ian Cooper (Insp Davis), Anne Corfield (Sandra), Christopher Woolgar (Tom), Derek Keller (Powell), Tony Cerrone (First PC), Peter Dudley (Second PC), Cyril Varley (Fireman), Eliza Goulding (Housewife), Jill Summers (First Neighbour), Ruth Wynn Owen (Second Neighbour). NOTE: Gerald Harper & Michael Blackham do not appear in this episode.

Writer: James Doran

Director: David Andrews

Original ITV Transmission: 23 August 1968


05. It's All Happening

Guest Starring: Reginald Marsh (Cllr Mullins), Ivor Salter (Cllr Hendrix), Eric Longworth (Liversdale), Will Leighton (Swaine), Patrick Waddington (Cllr Franklyn), Janet Davies (Mrs Goodison), David Robinson (Woodward), Pamela Manson (Madame Le Lange), Arthur Spreckley (Steward), Roy Barraclough (Photographer). NOTE: Look out for brief fuzzy shots of the studio following the ‘Yorkshire’ caption at the end of this episode.

Writer: Robert Barr

Director: Brian Parker

Original ITV Transmission: 30 August 1968


06. In Between The Lines

Guest Starring: Ralph Michael (Col Chamberlayne), Douglas Wilmer (Douglas Fawcett), Norman Claridge (Appleton), Vivienne Burgess (Mrs Chamberlayne), Donald Sumpter (Paddy Fawcett), Diana Chappell (Gwen Neilson), Isla Blair (Bettie Strickland), Frank Williams (Burgess), Mark Shelley (Steward), Kendrick Owen (Porter), Bay White (Mrs Braddon), Duncan Taylor (Buyer).

Writer: Robert Barr

Director: John Frankau

Original ITV Transmission: 6 September 1968


07. In Loving Memory

Guest Starring: Frank Barrie (Harry Page), Reginald Barratt (Mr Page), Gretchen Franklin (Mrs Page), Marti Webb (Terri), John Scott (Mr Emmison), Edmond Bennett (Headmaster), David Robinson (Woodward), Bill Pilkington (Policeman). NOTE: Gerald Harper does not appear in this episode.

Writer: J P Hill

Director: Peter Moffatt

Original ITV Transmission: 13 September 1968


08. The Old Folks At Home

Guest Starring: Ralph Michael (Col Chamberlayne), Wendy Gifford (Georgina Barrett), Diane Mercer (Julia), Winifred Dennis (Mrs Wright), Elizabeth Begley (Mrs Parsons), Joe Gladwin (Jacko Pendlebury), Ann Holloway (Audrey), Hilary Mason (Mrs Miller).

Writer: James Doran

Director: Tony Wickert

Original ITV Transmission: 20 September 1968


09. Announcement

Guest Starring: Robert Harris (Rt Hon Austin Gregory), Adrienne Corri (Helga Gregory), Ralph Michael (Col Chamberlayne), Ben Aris (Potter), June Liversidge (Vanessa), Kevin Walker (Copy Boy).

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: David Andrews

Original ITV Transmission: 27 September 1968


10. Why Stay In Westdale

Guest Starring: Christopher Hodge (Maxwell), Frances White (Janet Palmer), Colin Farrell (Harry Palmer), John Gill (Mayor), John Malcolm (Dave Cartwright), Edward Phillips (Gordon Cramshaw), Philip Lennard (Denis Cramshaw), Robert Hartley (Forbes), Richard Pescud (Wilkins), Frank Crawshaw (Ticket Collector), Keith James (Jack Summerdale), Harry Littlewood (Desk Clerk), Hayne Ryan (Field), Roy Stephens (Jonson), Alan Pearce (Dayton), Harry Kelly (Barman), Kevin Walker (Copy Boy). NOTE: Michael Blackham does not appear in this episode.

Writer: John Whitewood

Director: Brian Parker

Original ITV Transmission: 4 October 1968


11. Stranger

Guest Starring: David Robinson (Woodward), Brenda Lawrence (Judith Brooke), Pamela Ann Davy (Mrs Hoddinutt), Anthony May (Tommy Learoyd), Hilda Barry (Mrs Ackroyd), Robin Ford (Mr Miller), Ingrid Sylvester (Diane Leighton), Arthur Hewlett (Mr Davies). NOTE: Gerald Harper does not appear in this episode.

Writer: Robert Barr

Director: Christopher Hodson

Original ITV Transmission: 11 October 1968


12. Not For Publication

Guest Starring: David Langton (Fearnley), Billy Russell (Quarmby), Alan Cullen (Rawson), Alan Hockey (Armitage), Terry Adams (Bowles). NOTE: Gerald Harper and Jon Laurimore do not appear in this episode.

Writer: Martin Hill

Director: Peter Moffatt

Original ITV Transmission: 18 October 1968


13. The Critic

Guest Starring: Ralph Michael (Col Chamberlayne), Nicholas Selby (Danvers), Frederick Treves (Vernon), Clive Graham (Richard Morris), Norman Shelley (First Trustee), Honora Burke (Second Trustee), Bill Pilkington (Third Trustee), Valerie Douglas (Doris), Morris Parsons (Sparrow), Cynthia Michaelis (Elsie), Nan Hargreaves-Jones (First Wife), Elizabeth Paget (Second Wife), Nora Blackman (Third Wife).

Writer: Stephen Rich

Director: Brian Parker

Original ITV Transmission: 25 October 1968


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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