Hadleigh The Yorkshire Television drama series created by Robert Barr was a spin-off from the earlier series "Gazette". Gerald Harper stars as debonair young landowner James Hadleigh, a unique character, full of charm and dynamic energy and possessed of a sharp intelligence. Hadleigh is a man of total privilege. He has inherited not only the magnificent Melford Hall but also the proprietorship of the Westdale Gazette, and his deep love of his native Yorkshire, and the people who live there, is always in evidence.
Peter Dennis plays Sutton, Hadleigh's butler, and Magaret Flint is the housekeeper at Melford Park. Other well known actors appearing in the series include, Jane Merrow as Anne Hepton (1971), Hilary Heath (credited as Hilary Dywer) as Jenifer Caldwell / Hadleigh (1973), Michael Billington as Freddie Hepton (1971) and Hannah Gordon as Sarah Alwyn (1971). The series ran for seven seasons from 1969 until 1976 with 52 hour-long episodes being produced. The theme tune for the series was composed by Tony Hatch.
Series Two co-starred Jane Merrow as Anne Hepton, a strong willed career woman with a young daughter, Charlotte. Michael Billington played Annes estranged husband, Freddie Hepton, a hard-drinking womaniser who turns up unannounced in an effort to save their marriage, albeit for purposes of his own. James Hadleigh is having a friendship with Anne Hepton which causes problems when the two men clash. The situation is ultimately resolved and Anne Hepton becomes an important part of James Hadleighs life and their relationship provides an important thread throughout the series.
I did an interview for the recent DVD release of ‘Hadleigh’, a popular series of the seventies., starring the charming Gerald Harper and me (for a season). In it I played a single mother, more unusual in those times struggling to be both parents and start working again. Michael Billington played my dissolute difficult husband. He was a lovely man, fun and friendly. I was playing a rather stressed person, but had a hard time keeping a straight face with Michael during some of our scenes.
He became quite a star in ‘UFO’, another series I did. He and Ed Bishop were quite a pair and lots of fun, without a starry bone between them. Dear Ed took a lot of ribbing for his blonde wig, but he took it all in good part. Sadly they both died, very recently, within weeks of each other and the industry misses them.