Ballard Berkeley

Margate, Kent, England, UK

Biography

Movies

Fresh Fields is a British situation comedy written by John T. Chapman and produced by Thames Television for ITV between 7 March 1984 and 23 October 1986. A ratings success at the time, the show is well remembered for its opening titles featuring a silhouette of a person in a rocking chair. It stars Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgers as Hester and William Fields, a devoted middle-class couple with an idyllic suburban lifestyle. William works while Hester keeps home. The crux of the show was that she was always looking to try new hobbies or find ways to improve her life, much of which exasperated her hard-working husband. The family home had a granny flat attached, in which Hester's mother Nancy lived. She was divorced from Hester's father Guy although remarried him as the series progressed. The couple had a daughter called Emma who frequently telephoned but never appeared. Her husband Peter did appear often. They later had a son — the Fields' first grandchild — whom they named Guy, after his great-grandfather. Perhaps, the best remembered supporting character was Sonia Barrett who would frequently pop round to borrow items to replace hers due to breakage, theft or mislaying. Hester was not perturbed by this, as the two were close friends, but it used to irritate William. Sonia had the show's only catchphrase — she would always knock on the back door of the Fields' home and then say It's only Sonia! as she walked in. This would sometimes lead to applause of recognition from the studio audience, a phenomenon more regularly seen within American sitcoms. Sonia's husband John appeared on occasion, as did William's secretary Miss Denham, played by Daphne Oxenford.

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Fresh Fields
1984

Ghost Squad, known as G.S.5 for its third series, was a crime drama series about an elite division of Scotland Yard that ran between 1961 and 1964. Each episode the Ghost Squad would investigate cases that fell outside the scope of normal police work. Despite the show and characters being fictional, an actual division did exist within the Metropolitan Police Service at the time. Inspiration for the series was taken from a book of the same name, written by John Gosling — a retired police officer and former member of the team. Although the real-life squad only operated in London, the fictionalised team travelled internationally; however — as was typical of the time — most foreign locations were actually a combination of stock footage and sets at Independent Artists Studio at Beaconsfield and Elstree Studios. Music was by Philip Green. The show was produced by ITC Entertainment, along with Rank Organisation TV and ATV. It was the first ITC show filmed to fit the one hour time-slot — setting the trend for the majority of ITC's future output. Another common ITC trait was to feature an American, in this case Michael Quinn, in a leading role so as to increase the chances of international sales. At 6' 3", Quinn often towered over his co-workers. This was especially noticeable in the first series title sequence showing him walking through a crowd walking in the opposite direction. He frequently smoked in the show as did many others. The second series had a different title sequence and Neil Hallett sometimes replaced Quinn. Hallett looked more like a spy while Quinn looked a bit like a playboy. Quinn was replaced by Australian actor, Ray Barrett in the third series. Ray Austin played Billy Clay in and was also Stunt Director on all series bringing the action to life. Austin went on to become a renowned TV director in Hollywood and the UK.

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Ghost Squad
1961