The Likely Lads, 1964
A classic of it’s time and now often forgotten, alongside regular repeats of it’s successor Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads and lack of surviving material. This black-and-white sitcom set in 1960’s North East England ( always assumed to be Newcastle) was a huge hit with audiences during it’s time.
Consisting of twenty episodes over three series the show revolved around the friendship of two working class Geordie lads Bob Ferris and Terry Collier, who it was assumed were in their early twenties.
Regretfully like many programs of the time much of the show was deleted from the BBC archives. Of the twenty episodes that were made only eight currently exist. Although in February 2019 two lost episodes were unearthed, taking the number in existence to ten.
Although the show was set in Newcastle, it was actually filmed in Willesden Junction, London.
Sixteen of the television scripts were adapted for radio by James Bolam, and broadcast in two series during 1967 and 1968. Using where possible the original television cast and produced by John Browell.
After growing up at school and in Scouts together, Bob and Terry work in the same factory, Ellison’s Electrical, alongside the older, wiser duo of Cloughie and Jack.
Much of the show’s humour came from Bob’s ambition to better himself and rise to being middle class, played off against Terry’s cynical , happy with his station in life, working class personality.
In the final episode of the series Bob joins the Army, whereupon Terry, finding life lonely on his own, fatefully decides to join up too. Bob is rejected owing to his flat feet. Terry is accepted and shipped off for three years to do his army service.
Terry Collier – James Bolam
Bob Ferris – Rodney Bewes
Audrey Collier (Terry’s older sister) – Sheila Fearn
Mr Clough( Cloughie to the Lads, a work colleague) – Bartlett Mullins
Jack( Another work colleague of the Lads) – Donald Mc Killop
Mrs Collier (Terry and Audrey’s mother) – Olive Millbourne
Mr Collier (Terry and Audrey’s dad) – Alex Mc Donald
Channel: BBC2 (Series One), BBC1 (repeat series one), series two and three
Written By: Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
Produced By: Dick Clement
Originally Broadcast: 16th December 1964 – 23rd July 1966
In February 2019 it was announced that two lost episodes of The Likely Lads have been unearthed more than fifty years after they aired on TV.
The episode:, A Star Is Born and Far Away Places, aired in 1965 and were repeated two years later but were believed lost.
However tele-recordings – obtained by pointing a 16mm film camera at a TV screen – recently resurfaced in a private collection. Now they are to be included as DVD extras as a film version of the classic sitcom is released on disc by Network On Air