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Monday, October 11, 2010

John Burke gallery 1

John Burke has had a long and distinguished career as a novelist and is, perhaps, the most prolific of all TV and movie tie-in writers in the UK. Certainly the diversity of his output puts him in a field of his own. Here's the first of an occasional series on his books.

The Power Game
Pan Books X590, 1966, 164pp, 3/6. Cover: photo.
Total war in the world of big business... a world where the battlefield is a boardroom table and a woman's contacts count for more than her kisses.
__Sir John Wilder means to be king of this air-conditioned jungle... but others have the same ambition. No holds are barred -- you have to be utterly ruthless to win.
The Power Game was an ATV series created by Wilfred Greatorex which ran for three 13-episode seasons, the first between December 1965 and February 1966, with two further episodes in June 1966; the second running September to December 1966 and the third from January to April 1969.

The show starred Patrick Wymark as Sir John Wilder, who had previously appeared in another 3-season ITV series, The Plane Makers in 1963-65, concerning boardroom antics in the aerospace industry. Wilder returned in The Power Game, now knighted (for services to industry), using his position on the board of a merchant bank to secure himself a position as joint managing director of an engineering company.

Jack Watling, Clifford Evans, Barbara Murray and Peter Barkworth were amongst the other stars of the show.

The Fourth Floor
Thames Mandarin 0423-01920-1, 1986, 191pp, £2.50. Cover: photo [FC: Christopher Fulford, Richard Graham]
'AF818. Paris. Khalid Khan.' That was all the phone call said. Just like the others. But it was a good tip off. Heroin, several million pounds worth. Just like the others.
__Why should the same man shop seven drug couriers, yet ask for nothing in return? Detective Sergeants Miller and Collis of the Central Robbery Squad (on the fourth floor of Scotland Yard) have the job of finding out. Both of them desperately need a result. Collis is decidedly not in his governor's good books, and Miller, who has sacrificed his private life to his work, needs to know that it has all been worthwhile.
__What the two find is a plan of such audacity as to defy belief -- but they are there to see it unfold.
A Euston Films Production for Thames Television, The Fourth Floor was created by Ian Kennedy Martin (the man behind The Sweeney) and was produced and directed by Ian Toynton. It starred Christopher Fulford and Detective Sergeant Miller and Richard Graham as Detective Sergeant Fulford.

King and Castle
Thames Methuen 0423-01820-5, 1986,192pp, £2.50. Cover: photo [FC: Derek Martin, Nigel Planer]
Ronald King is a bent copper whose dirty dealings are catching up with him, and who has to quit the Met before it quits him.
__David Castle is a gentle but tough aikido teacher and part-time genealogist, with debts to pay, a custody case to fight... and no steady income.
__Thrown together by circumstance and desperation, these two join forces as King & Castle, Debt Collectors. From the East End to Wimbledon, the pair tread the fine line dividing law from disorder. They're the most diverting duo since Arthur Daley and Terry McCann.
A Thames Television production, produced by Chris Burt and directed by Peter Cregeen, Henry Herbert and Alan Bell. Like The Fourth Floor above, this was executive produced by Lloyd Shirley and created by Ian Kennedy Martin.


Mike W said...

Many years ago I read that the team (husband & wife?) of Michael & Mollie Hardwick & also Richard Carpenter (not the singer!) were the most prolific writers of TV/Movie adaptations/novels with the former best known for Upstairs Downstairs-type books & the latter writing tie-ins based on series such as Catweazle, Worzel Gummidge (?) & Robin of Sherwood.

Steve said...

I'll have to run some numbers but the Hardwicks are certainly up there... as is Hugh Miller, who may beat everyone.