Holly 1972 tv series

Holly

1972 - United Kingdom

Brigit Forsyth, one of five children, was born on 28 July 1940 as Brigit Dorothea Connell in Malton, Yorkshire. Her father was an architect and town planner in Edinburgh where the family moved to when she was young. She said in an interview with the TV Times in 1972 that she grew up accentless, putting on Scottish tones for school so as not to feel 'out of it.' Coming from a musical family where everyone either sang or played an instrument, Brigit learned to play the cello and contemplated taking it up professionally before deciding that she wasn't dedicated enough to the instrument. Instead, it was the stage that interested her more. Her professional career began in Edinburgh with the Gateway Theatre Company and she spent the next four years gaining experience in 'scarcely-honoured, mostly unsung rep.' Eventually she came to London to go to RADA. Whilst studying she 'earned a penny or two' singing and playing guitar in a restaurant in Earl's Court and getting occasional TV parts on the side. Her first part was as a secretary in the 1965 series of R3.

In 1965 Brigit appeared in four episodes of the Doctor Who story The Evil of the Daleks, playing Ruth Maxtible. In 1972 she appeared in 9 episodes of Adam Smith, as the gadabout undergraduate daughter of a Scots minister, played by Andrew Keir, who, following his wife's death, questions the purpose of his local ministry but finds it in his spiritual work for the community. That same year she was cast in the lead role in Holly, a psychological thriller about a university graduate who marries beneath herself, involving abductions and windmills.

Holly 1972 tv series

Holly Elliot is a bright middle-class university graduate. She frequents the library and supplements the family income by lecturing an evening class in art appreciation. David (Paul Moriarty), her husband, is not as bright, but while he is working for a small mail order firm he is trying hard to keep up with Holly by taking an extra mural degree in his spare time. They are in love, although their obvious differences in social background and education provide stress points to their marriage.

Gordon (William Gaunt), like Holly, is bright; he is a practising clinical psychologist and ex-university friend of Holly who spends a lot of time with David analysing their unsatisfactory marriage. Although he has cast himself in the role of their best friend, Gordon secretly lusts after Holly, and is jealous of her marriage to David.

In the first episode of the six-part serial, that marriage is just two years old and Holly and David are celebrating their anniversary with Gordon. But outside, a fourth person is waiting and watching - an intruder who threatens their marriage and their lives. Tom Prentiss (David Burke), another university contemporary, who has spent several of the intervening years in a mental institution, is openly obsessed with Holly and has pursued her menacingly, attending her lectures, taking photographs of her, and following her home.

The next day, when Holly tells David she thinks she is being followed, he makes light of her fears. The following day she goes missing.

Holly 1972 tv series

Having drugged and abducted Holly to a derelict windmill, where he holds her prisoner, Tom Prentiss tries to seduce her into the fantasy world that he has created for himself. Tom wants Holly to share his vision of what she can become, but she utterly rejects this and tries to escape - which almost results in her getting killed. Her second attempt at freedom is successful, and Tom is taken into custody by the police. But returning home, Holly is reluctant to explain to David her somewhat strange attitude to the man who abducted her. She tells David that their marriage is over. She belongs to Tom now, who is standing trial for abduction and manslaughter. Tom may be in prison, but the nightmare for Holly and David is far from over.

Written by Robin Chapman who had previously penned the crime-thriller series Big Breadwinner Hog and would later write 30 episodes of Tales of the Unexpected, Holly, made by the Granada television company, did not win the critical acclaim it hoped for. Largely overlooked by most critics it is best remembered as the series that gave Brigit Forsyth a stepping stone into primetime television. The following year she was cast as Bob Ferris’ (Rodney Bewes) wife Thelma in Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, which was followed by equally successful roles for her in The Practice, Playing the Field (her own favourite part) and Still Open All Hours.

Forsyth passed away on 1 December 2023, aged 83 years. With over 70 screen credits and a notable radio and stage career that spanned five decades (she won plaudits for roles that showed her range and talent for accents), Brigit Forsyth left behind an impressive body of work.

Published on January 12th, 2024. Written by Marc Saul for Television Heaven.

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