Sam (1973 TV series)

Sam is a television drama series written by John Finch and produced by Granada Television between 1973 and 1975 for broadcast on ITV. Finch also created and wrote A Family at War for Granada.

GenreDrama, Family
Written byJohn Finch
Directed byColin Cant
Les Chatfield
Bill Podmore
Roland Joffé
StarringMark McManus
Kevin Moreton
Barbara Ewing
Ray Smith
John Price
Frank Mills
Alethea Charlton
Michael Goodliffe
James Hazeldine
Maggie Jones
Dorothy White
Jennifer Hilary
Cherith Mellor
Jan Harvey
Ivor Roberts
Alan David
Stephanie Turner
Simon Rouse
Veronica Roberts
Peter Duncan
Windsor Davies
Jim Norton
Carol Drinkwater
Country of originUK
Original languageEnglish
No. of series3
No. of episodes39
ProducerMichael Cox
Production locationsYorkshire
Gin Pit Village, Astley Lancashire
Original networkITV
Original release12 June 1973 (1973-06-12) –
25 August 1975 (1975-08-25)

The series is based on fact, with Sam as a boy growing up in Featherstone. It was initially set in the coalfields of Yorkshire in the inter-war period but eventually progressed to the modern (then) era. Interior scenes were recorded at Granada's studios in Manchester, while many of the exterior scenes were filmed in Lancashire. For example, the railway station used for filming was Garswood, near Wigan. Local dialect is used, e.g. top-at-knob referring to North Featherstone. The series was made in a video/film hybrid format, which was common at the time.


Series 1: 1973Edit

With Kevin Moreton as Sam aged 11 to 14. It's 1934. Sam Wilson's mother Dora has been left by her husband and taken Sam to her hometown of Skellerton, a Yorkshire mining village.

Episode No. Original air date (UK) Episode title Synopsis
1-01 12 June 1973 A Way of Life Sam and his mother arrive in Skellerton and try to settle in with their relatives.
1-02 19 June 1973 Poor Law The Labour Exchange is looking for Sam's mother. Sam is taken on a tour of the local pit by his grandfather.
1-03 26 June 1973 Leaving Home Sam is bullied at school. Sam's mother starts a new relationship with Alan. Sam doesn't like this and runs away.
1-04 3 July 1973 For Ever and Ever and Ever and Ever Sam is found.
1-05 10 July 1973 A Day to Remember Sam is taken on a day out to the seaside.
1-06 17 July 1973 The Cost of Living Sam's mother and new partner set up a family home.
1-07 24 July 1973 Out of the Blue Sam's family come under pressure from the disapproving locals.
1-08 31 July 1973 United We Stand Sam discovers a book written by his father. The pit workers are given notice.
1-09 7 August 1973 The Beginning of Winter Sam's mother falls pregnant. Sam's father sends a letter asking for money to be sent to him so that he can come home from Canada.
1-10 14 August 1973 Where the Heart Is Dora passes away in hospital giving birth to a son, Leslie. Alan, devastated, decides to go south to look for work, leaving his mother to care for the baby. Sam's uncle George goes with him.
1-11 21 August 1973 Home from Home Frank is worried about Sam's education and his grandfather wants to send him to a charity boarding school. Alan and George are disillusioned in the south and George returns home.
1-12 28 August 1973 No Going Back Sam is at boarding school, hating it and longing to go home, but can't, because of a diphtheria outbreak in Skellerton. After a fight at the school, he runs away and walks the fifty miles home.
1-13 4 September 1973 Breadwinners Sam's grandfather Toby sets up a garment factory in the old chapel, providing work for the women of Skellerton, leaving the men at home. Sam finally goes down the pit with his grandfather.

Series 2: 1974Edit

This series is set in the post war period; the main character is played by Mark McManus.

  1. A New World (Original Air Date—16 May 1974)
  2. Legacy (Original Air Date—23 May 1974)
  3. Shape Yourself Round It (Original Air Date—30 May 1974)
  4. Under a Cloud (Original Air Date—6 June 1974)
  5. Head and Heart (Original Air Date—13 June 1974)
  6. Stay Single and Live for Ever (Original Air Date—20 June 1974)
  7. Credit (Original Air Date—27 June 1974)
  8. Sins of the Fathers (Original Air Date—4 July 1974)
  9. The World as It Is (Original Air Date—11 July 1974)
  10. Land (Original Air Date—18 July 1974)
  11. Half a Loaf (Original Air Date—25 July 1974)
  12. Two Steps Forward, One Step Back (Original Air Date—1 August 1974)
  13. Moving On (Original Air Date—8 August 1974)

Series 3: 1975Edit


  1. God Sent Sunday (Original Air Date—2 June 1975)
  2. In the Midst of Plenty (Original Air Date—9 June 1975)
  3. Compensation (Original Air Date—16 June 1975)
  4. Bonfire Night (Original Air Date—23 June 1975)
  5. The Difference Between Us (Original Air Date—30 June 1975)
  6. What You Care Is What You Do (Original Air Date—7 July 1975)
  7. Gains and Losses (Original Air Date—14 July 1975)
  8. The Honest Generation (Original Air Date—21 July 1975)
  9. Opting Out (Original Air Date—28 July 1975)
  10. Home Thoughts from Abroad (Original Air Date—4 August 1975)
  11. The Next in Line (Original Air Date—11 August 1975)
  12. Proposals (Original Air Date—18 August 1975)
  13. Ends and Means (Original Air Date—25 August 1975)

Video and DVD releaseEdit

All three series were issued by Acorn Media UK in 2003.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit