The seventies: Downsizing
in Charles Crichton
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Chapter 9 recounts Charles Crichton’s activities through the seventies. This was the first decade of his career in which he did not work on a feature film. Instead, he focused on television. His first productions were episodes of the children’s adventure sitcom Here Come the Double Deckers and the Shirley MacLaine vehicle Shirley’s Hour. These were followed by stints working on two Gerry Anderson projects, the derivative action show The Protectors and the more ambitious Space: 1999. Between 1974 and 1976 Crichton directed fourteen of the latter’s forty-eight episodes – more than any other contributor. But the programme he was to be most attached to in later years was ITV’s Black Beauty, inspired by but not based on the classic book, for which he directed eighteen episodes. The decade ended with Crichton realising his first successful collaboration with John Cleese, via Cleese’s production company Video Arts, which had embarked on a project creating professional training films with a comedic style. Crichton would go on to direct twenty-seven Video Arts titles over the next sixteen years.

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