Citizen Smith, 1977
It’s 10 years ago this year since we lost John Sullivan and so in tribute over the course of the year we’ll be looking back at his life’s work.
It all seems so long ago when a budding young writer (John Sullivan) took a job at the BBC to learn about how television works. It was after approaching producer, Dennis Main Wilson, that Sullivan wrote the first Citizen Smith script.
Main Wilson loved the script and saw the potential for a series and it was put in to production almost immediately as a Pilot for Comedy Special – a showcase for new talent which had succeeded Comedy Playhouse.
The pilot was transmitted on 12th April 1977 and was a success, leading to four series between 1977 and 1980. There were 2 Christmas Specials, the first in 1977 the second being the final episode in 1980.
In 2015, Robert Lindsay was reported as saying he was very keen to reprise his role as Wolfie Smith, particularly with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader. However, it was also reported that the family of the by then deceased Sullivan, who owned the rights, did not want to bring it back.
“Wolfie” Smith,is a young Communist “urban guerrilla” living in Tooting, South London. Wolfie is the self-proclaimed leader of the revolutionary Tooting Popular Front (merely a small bunch of his friends), the goals of which are “Power to the People” and “Freedom for Tooting”. In reality, he is an unemployed dreamer and petty criminal whose plans fall through because of laziness and dis-organisation.
Wolfie Smith – Robert Lindsay
Ken Mills – Mike Grady
Shirley Johnson – Cheryl Hall (Series 1 – 2 & 1979 Special)
Florence Johnson (Shirley’s Mum) – Hilda Braid
Charles Johnson (Shirley’s Dad)
Artro Morris – (Pilot episode)
PeterVaughan – (Series 1 – 2 & 1979 Special)
Tony Steadman (Series 3 – 1980 Christmas Special)
Tucker – Tony Millan
Speed – George Sweeney
Harry Fenning (Series 1–3) – Stephen Greif
Ronnie Lynch (Series 4 & 1980 Christmas Special) – David Garfield
Mandy Lynch (Series 4 & 1980 Christmas Special) – Susie Baker
Desiree (Speed’s girlfriend) (Series 1 & 2) – Anna Nygh
Written By: John Sullivan
Produced by: Dennis Main Wilson
Original Transmission: 12th April 1977 – 31st December 1980