Gordon Jackson, in the middle with Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins
On Wednesday night there was a cracking little show on ITV1, immediately after Emmerdale (don’t worry, we put it on specially, we didn’t stumble across it after that melodramatic tosh). “The Unforgettable Gordon Jackson”. UK viewers are probably very familiar with Jackson – he was the lynchpin of the hugely successful original Upstairs Downstairs in the 70s, and later broke character with his role in The Professionals, as head of the fictional intelligence service CI5.
ITV have taken to producing these lovely little vignettes about much-loved figures from Britain’s past. Last week it was Dudley Moore, and this week it was the ever-wonderful Jackson. I won’t go much in to his career here, though he was a very busy “jobbing” actor throughout his career, appearing in over 70 films including Mutiny On The Bounty, Great Escape, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. A consummate professional, who is always a joy to see on screen.
ITV produced the show with a light touch, with a nice balance between clips and interviews from people who actually knew him (none of this “I never met him, but I’d like to talk about him so I can get on the telly” nonsense you see so often). My only criticism is that the shows could be longer. I know ITV have only half an hour to fill between Emmerdale and Lewis, but all the effort to get these interviews, so much material to use… It almost seems that half an hour is a bit of a waste… Oh well, at least we get the half an hour, for which I am still very grateful!
UK viewers can watch the programme here, even if you only want to watch it for the Professionals theme music!