A new knight for the old firm

All change for the cast of popular Granada drama Knight Errant

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From the TVTimes for week commencing 11 September 1960

BACK to the television screen next Thursday comes Granada’s Knight Errant Limited, the firm that specialises in solving other people’s problems — and rescuing damsels in distress.

The head of the old firm, Adam Knight, had to rush off to Canada to manage his uncle’s farm after the series ended last June. The new boss is publisher Stephen Drummond, a friend of Adam.

He took over because he thought the project too worthwhile to let die. Helping him are his secretary, Frances Graham, and a member of the “old firm”— “Daily Clarion” reporter Liz Parrish.

Drummond, who, according to the scriptwriters, is 32, intelligent, observant, a ski-ing and Judo enthusiast, is played by actor Hugh David, who is 35.

He matches up well, for, like Drummond, he went to university, took a degree in physics and mathematics and is keenly interested in modern history.

Hugh, his black hair flecked with grey, has the good looks and grooming demanded by the role. He points out that there are other facets of his character which agree with those of the TV hero he will be playing.

Two women and a man look at a book
Kay Callard (centre) shows a scrapbook of the earlier series to Wendy Williams and Hugh David

He told me: “Ski-ing for instance. Fve been ski-ing on holiday in Austria for about four years. I think I can say I’ve got past the stage where a broken leg is imminent — though I realise it could happen any time. But I don’t fall over so much now, so I suppose I’m progressing.”

Drummond, more interested in people than in books, is the sort of person who wants to help. It was this trait in his character that led him into Knight Errantry.

“That’s me,” said Hugh. “After qualifying as a physicist I worked in industry and did some research on jet engines. But I wanted to work with people rather than machines.

“In 1946 I became a teacher. I enjoyed that very much, but gave it up after two years. I felt there was too much restriction on the individual approach to the task.”

Three years at drama school in London resulted in Hugh winning a gold medal. That was in 1951 and, after a year in repertory at Whitby, he joined the Old Vic in London for three months, then went to Bristol.

Since 1952 he has made countless TV appearances — “playing parts ranging from a Borstal boy to Lord Nelson” — and has scripted schools programmes for television and radio.

His experience of helping people? It was his wife, actress Wendy Williams, who answered that question. Wendy plays the part of Frances Graham, Drummond’s secretary, She said: “He’s a smoother-out of trouble for everybody. People are always coming to him with problems.

“He has a sympathetic approach which makes them want to confide in him.”

But when Wendy and Hugh first met, nearly two years ago, it was Wendy who did the smoothing out! She explained: “We were working together in a TV play and Hugh was playing a love-sick 18-year-old boy. I played the part of his brother’s fiancee, who helps him to come to terms with his problem.”

What sort of girl is Frances Graham? The official description goes like this: Aged 26, gay, vital impulsive, very feminine, has violent enthusiasms which don’t last long.

She looked thoughtful, then said: “Well, I’m 25 and the rest of the description isn’t so far out, either!

“I’m impulsive — most women are, it’s a more feminine characteristic than masculine — and I can’t bear insincerity or incompetence. I’m the sort who must have things right. If they’re not, I want to know why.

“I like to have good things about me — clothes, furniture, food, everything. Enthusiasms? I don’t swing about. If I become enthusiastic about something I usually stay loyal to it.”

Blonde Canadian actress Kay Callard, back in the programme to give a helping hand to the new owner of Knight Errant Limited, married actor-director Jack McNaughton two months ago.

Her role, too, ties in with her own background. Before she became an actress, Kay worked on a small newspaper in Canada as a reporter.

While the show has been off the screen she has been able to spend more time on her hobbies … sculpture, gardening and collecting fine glassware.

Said Kay: “The garden is only the size of a pocket handkerchief, but it had become a little overgrown so we had to chop down the weeds and rescue a grapevine that was being choked.”

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