Here Come the Double Deckers
Here Come the Double Deckers! Format Children's television series Created by Harry Booth
Starring Michael Audreson
Country of origin United Kingdom
Production Running time 30 minutes per episode Broadcast Original channel ABC
Original run September 12, 1970 (US)
8 January 1971 (UK) – September 3, 1972 (US)
30 April 1971 (UK)
Here Come the Double Deckers was a 17-part British children's TV series from 1970-71 revolving around the adventures of seven children whose den was an old red double-decker London bus in an unused works (junk) yard.
A co-production between British independent film company Century Films and American TV company 20th Century Fox, it was a children's comedy adventure sitcom. The shows (without adverts) were about 21 minutes long.
The programme made its debut on September 12, 1970 at 10:30 am ET in the US on ABC, and at 4:55 pm on 1 January 1971 in Britain on BBC One. In the US, the series was rerun on Sunday mornings during the 1971-72 TV season on ABC from September 12, 1971 to September 3, 1972, in the same time slot.
Each week saw the gang in a separate adventure including episodes based around a runaway home made hovercraft, a chocolate factory and invading 'Martians' with guns that shot out chocolate candy, a disastrous camping holiday, collecting tin foil for a guide dog, becoming pop moguls with their protégé 'The Cool Cavalier' and a haunted stately home.
The cast were unknowns apart from Melvyn Hayes, an established adult actor, and Gillian Bailey, fairly experienced for a child actor. Bailey is now head of the drama department at Royal Holloway University. Peter Firth has gone on to a prominent acting career, appearing in Equus, The Hunt for Red October, Tess, Pearl Harbor and Spooks. Co-star Brinsley Forde later became the lead singer in Aswad.
The series was originally scheduled for 26 episodes, but production ceased after the 17th.
The entire series was released on 1 November 2010 on DVD in the UK.
- Michael Audreson - Brains, a classic early TV portrayal of the geek type.
- Gillian Bailey - Billie, the tomboyish mother of the group.
- Bruce Clark - Sticks (the only American in this group)
- Peter Firth - Scooper, the leader
- Brinsley Forde - Spring, the only black member of the gang.
- Debbie Russ - Tiger (who also had a stuffed tiger called "Tiger")
- Douglas Simmonds - Doughnut, not the brightest member and constantly eating.
- Melvyn Hayes - Albert (All except episodes 4, 9, 12, 13 and 15 to 17).
- Ivor Salter was in many of the episodes, usually as a policeman (PC Williams?).
- Julian Orchard, Jack Haig, Roy Evans in episode 2.
- Norman Vaughan in episode 3.
- David Lodge, Bob Todd, Liz Fraser in episode 4.
- Clive Dunn, Pat Coombs in episode 5.
- Betty Marsden, Hugh Paddick, George Woodbridge in episode 6.
- Anthony May in episode 7.
- Jane Seymour, Bunny May, Tim Barrett, George Benson, Ruth Kettlewell in episode 8.
- Frank Thornton, Michael Sharvell-Martin in episode 9.
- David Hutcheson, Jimmy Gardner, Robin Askwith in episode 10.
- Graham Stark, Nora Nicholson, Nicholas Phipps, Jennifer Daniel in episode 11.
- Sam Kydd, Dervis Ward, John Horsley, Michael Brennan in episode 12.
- Julian Chagrin in episode 13.
- Pat Coombs, Derek Royle, Jack Haig, Bob Todd in episode 15.
- Timothy Bateson, Ann Lancaster in episode 16.
- Georgina Simpson, Brian Hayes, Damaris Hayman, John Clive, Lucy Griffiths, Bryan Hunt in episode 17.
- Tiger Takes Off (Tiger accidentally goes for a trip on a hovercraft Brains created.)
- The Case of the Missing Doughnut (Doughnut eats an invisibility formula Brains invented.)
- Get a Movie On (The gang make a film to enter a contest.)
- Starstruck (The gang are chased by security around Elstree Studios, as they look for a movie star's runaway dog.)
- Happy Haunting (Albert takes the gang to a stately home for a day out.)
- Summer Camp (The gang camp in a field with a middle aged couple who get the worst of it.)
- The Pop Singer (The group try to launch The Cool Cavalier's pop career with a disco.)
- Scooper Strikes Out (Scooper is knocked out by a baseball and dreams he is with Alice in Wonderland.)
- Robbie the Robot (Brains invents a robot which is sent to rescue Tiger's tiger from a neighbour's garden, and later becomes the hit of the television show Inventors' Club.)
- The Go-Karters (A biker sabotages the gang's go-kart, as a result of which Spring ends up in court after a high speed police chase.)
- A Helping Hound (The gang unsuccessfully try to help a woman threatened with eviction to decorate her house, but help comes when Tiger receives a large cash reward for finding a lost dog.)
- Invaders from Space (Men in spacesuits are advertising a new sweet called Planet 7, but the gang think it is an alien invasion.)
- Barney (The gang befriend Barney, a one-man band who keeps getting moved on by the police.)
- Man's Best Friend (The gang put on a show with aluminium foil as an entry fee to buy a guide dog for the blind.)
- United We Stand (The owner of the yard that the gang use wants to turn it into a car park, but the kids sabotage his meeting with the Mayor.)
- Up to Scratch (Billie has to look after a dog named Scratch which runs off after a man with a flea circus turns up.)
- A Hit for a Miss (The boys fall for substitute teacher Miss Petit, which makes Billie jealous, and help her put on a show for an old folks home.)
Music played a prominent part in the programme, with an original soundtrack sung by the cast and written by Harry Booth, Melvyn Hayes and Johnny Arthey. The music was composed and directed by Ivor Slaney. An 11-track album of this was issued on Capitol Records in 1970 and re-issued as a CD in 2007 with liners notes by David Noades.
- It's a Day and a Half (from episode 5)
- To the Countryside (from episode 6)
- Good Day at Yellow Rock (from episode 3)
- With a Little Bit of Love (from episode 17)
- I Gotta Get Through (from episode 7, sung by Anthony May)
- Get On Board (Title song)
- Life Is a Wonderful Thing (from episode 7)
- Grannie's Rocking Chair (from episode 6)
- One Man Band (from episode 13)
- Welcome to the Party (from episode 8. Peter Firth [Scooper] was the only one of the gang singing in this. Jane Seymour, Melvyn Hayes and others cast members sang too.)
- Fat Ladies (from episode 17)
All the episodes are presented as originally broadcast, but Happy Haunting contains the usual "See you next week" line instead of the trailer for Summer Camp.
Here Come the Double Deckers!
- Label: Second Sight
- Release Date: 1 November 2010
- Catalogue N°: 2NDVD 3187
- Availability: Out now
Two-disc Region 2 DVD set containing all 17 episodes.
- 'Double Decker Memories' featuring interviews with Brinsley Forde and Michael Audreson.
Go for a Take
Debbie Russ appears as herself/Tiger in the comedy film Go for a Take (1972), which was directed and co-written by Harry Booth. The film stars Reg Varney and is set in a film studio. Evidently, Here Come the Double Deckers is one of the shows in production within the fiction of the film.. Unfortunately, the original stuffed tiger prop had been lost shortly after filming had been completed on the series, so a look-alike had to be used. Production was at Pinewood Studios and on location.
- ^ The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television, by Wesley Hyatt (Billboard Books, 1997)
- ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003WUXIYK?tag=thedoudec0d-21&camp=2902&creative=19466&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=B003WUXIYK&adid=15DGXBG8765AY4KTSGWN&
- ^ http://www.cherryred.co.uk/other/product.php?display=DECKCD102 Original TV Soundtrack
- ^ Official web site
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