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The Fenn Street Gang was a British television situation comedy which ran for three seasons between 1971 and 1973. It was a spin-off from the popular series Please Sir! and followed the lives of many of the pupils from Fenn Street School as they entered the world of work. It was written by series creators John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, with episodes by Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker, David Barry and Tony Bilbow. Stars were Peter Cleall, Carol Hawkins (who also replaced Sharon in the 1971 Please Sir! film), David Barry, Peter Denyer and Liz Gebhardt. Leon Vitali replaced Malcolm McFee as Peter Craven during the first series, although Malcolm took this role back for the second and third series. Peter Denyer (Dennis Dunstable) and Liz Gebhardt (Maureen Bullock) were absent from the third and final series. John Alderton (Mr Hedges, their form-master when they starred in Please Sir!) appeared in 3 episodes of the first series of The Fenn Street Gang and in a pair of episodes from the final series of Please Sir!, which ran alongside The Fenn Street Gang in transmission dates.
Although the series ran for two years and 47 episodes, it was less popular than its stable-mate. The characters and humour did not transfer well to the new environment and the series was eventually axed.
# Episode Writer/s Director Original ITV Airdate
1 "'Should Auld Acquaintance'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey David Askey Friday 17 September 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Christopher Biggins
No longer able to say "Please Sir!" when they have a problem, Form 5C from Fenn Street Secondary Modern are out in the cold hard world. But school friendships die hard and the mob determine to preserve their group identity.
2 "'The Start of Something Big'" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker David Askey Friday 24 September 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Christopher Timothy
Things are not going too smoothly for Eric and Sharon. While Eric is busy having a brush with the Law, Sharon realises that there are other fish in the sea. It is then that ace "tec" Frankie Abbott comes onto the scene - on his first case!
3 "'Leave It to Me, Darling'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey David Askey Friday 1 October 1971 8:30pm
Guest: John Alderton
The Fenn Street Gang get a new member - Bernard Hedges
4 "'Horses for Courses'" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker David Askey Friday 8 October 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Sally Thomsett
Dennis knows who his real friends are - or does he? Things come to a head when Maureen takes him to a party.
5 "'Meet the Wizard'" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker David Askey Friday 15 October 1971 8:30pm
Guests: John Alderton and Robin Askwith
Penny (Bernard's wife) decides that a woman's place is certainly not at home but the problem is keeping her job a secret from Bernard, who has rather old-fashioned views on women. Because, when at last he does get off the dole, his new job brings him into contact with all sorts of people.
6 "'Distant Horizons'" Tony Bilbow David Askey Friday 22 October 1971 8:30pm
The course of Duffy's and Sharon's true love never did run very smoothly, but as they grow older it becomes positively bumpy. When Sharon meets a sensitive student and Duffy gets his first taste of real competition, something just has to give . . .
7 "'Change Partners'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey David Askey Friday 29 October 1971 8:30pm
Guest: John Alderton
Bernard still waits to start work at London University, while at home the bills keep on piling up. When a friend suggests a lucrative part-time job, he jumps at the chance but the kind of work involved makes him wished that he had looked before he leaped . . .
8 "'The Thin Yellow Line'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Graham Evans Friday 5 November 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Tony Selby
When the career of "Hank" Abbott, private detective come to an inglorious end, the British Army opens its arms to a new recruit. Had the Army realised what it was getting, the open arms might well have become clenched fists.
9 "'All Mod Cons'" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Graham Evans Friday 12 November 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Dudley Foster
When Dennis leaves home he finds he's taken on more than he can handle. So has Eric. He's taken on Peter Craven in an optimistic attempt to contemplate a decorating job.
10 "'These Foolish Things'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Friday 19 November 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Justine Lord
The final dust-up between Duffy and Sharon; Abbott in hospital with a stab wound; Dunstable's flat as a rendezvous . . .
11 "'Rough Justice'" Tony Bilbow Alan Wallis Friday 26 November 1971 8:30pm
Dennis falls into bad company and is introduced to Russian bitter. The result is an appearance in the Magistrate's Court. Bad enough, you may think, but when Duffy, Craven and Mr Smith (one of their old teachers) appear for the defence, things go from bad to worse.
12 "'Who Was That Lady?'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Friday 3 December 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Jan Francis
Duffy is feeling the strain of separation from Sharon but is not above chatting up a bird - especially when her father is in a position to put a bit of business his way.
13 "'Kill or Cure'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Friday 10 December 1971 8:30pm
Maureen is a bindle of nerves as she waits for her "O" level results which will affect her nursing career. What better cure for the nerves than a nice date with a "nice chap"? So Duffy and Craven, with the best will in the world, pick the "nice chap". But where there is a will there is not always a way.
14 "'When Did You Last See Your Father?'" David Barry Alan Wallis Friday 24 December 1971 8:30pm
Until now, Frankie Abbott's mother has kept the awful secret of his father private. But Frankie is growing up - even if he is 10 years late about it - and his questions finally reveal the skeleton in mum's cupboard.
15 "'A Fair Swap'" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Bryan Izzard Friday 31 December 1971 8:30pm
Guest: Nicholas Grace
The happiest day of a girl's life is her wedding day - that is unless she's being married from the Duffy household! The whole affair of the wedding of Duffy's cousin, Deborah, however, is somewhat complicated by Maureen's kidnapping, and the assistance of Frankie "nurse" Abbott.
16 "'The Clean Weekend'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Friday 7 January 1972 8:30pm
Guest: Bob Todd
Eric and Sharon get back together and the gang have a day out at the seaside. When they decide to stay the night in a hotel, Eric and Sharon get themselves into all kinds of trouble.
17 "'Tally Ho'" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Bryan Izzard Friday 14 January 1972 8:30pm
With a bit of help from Craven, Dennis Dunstable tries to make his abusive alcoholic dad turn over a new leaf.
18 "'Horse of the Year'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Friday 21 January 1972
Guest: James Beck
Dennis has to decide how to spend his birthday money, and spends it on a horse at an auction.
19 "'From Sudbury with Love'" Geoff Rowley and Andy Baker Mark Stuart Friday 28 January 1972 8:30pm
Guest: Lynda Bellingham
Frankie Abbott hits town looking for a new girlfriend.
20 "'Who's Minding the Shop?'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Alan Wallis Friday 4 February 1972 8:30pm
A road accident means that the Fenn Street Gang become shop-keepers.
21 "'The Great Frock Robbers'" John Esmonde and Bob Larbey Bryan Izzard Friday 11 February 1972 8:30pm
Sharon's job at the boutique is in jeopardy when she is blamed for not spotting a gang of shop-lifters. It seems things can't get any worse, and then Frankie gets the job of store detective . . .
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