Alternate Galaxies: Press Gang

Rob and Dave occasionally take a look at great TV series and movies they enjoy, broadly from the genres of sci-fi and fantasy.

They call these episodes, Alternate Galaxies.

In this episode, however, Rob hands over to Nathan Bottomley and James Sellwood (Flight Through Entirety, Bondfinger, Jodie Into Terror), and Steven B (New to Who), to sit down with Dave to discuss today’s topic… Press Gang. This is an early Steven Moffat series which may just hide some clues about where Moffat’s career would go in the future… and did. Enjoy!

Press Gang is a British children’s television comedy-drama consisting of 43 episodes across five series that were broadcast from 1989 to 1993. It was produced by Richmond Film & Television for Central, and screened on the ITV network in its regular weekday afternoon children’s strand, Children’s ITV, typically in a 4:45 pm slot (days varied over the course of the run).

Aimed at older children and teenagers, the programme was based on the activities of a children’s newspaper, the Junior Gazette, produced by pupils from the local comprehensive school. In later series it was depicted as a commercial venture. The show interspersed comedic elements with the dramatic. As well as addressing interpersonal relationships (particularly in the Lynda-Spike story arc), the show tackled issues such as solvent abuse, child abuse and firearms control.

Written by ex-teacher Steven Moffat, more than half the episodes were directed by Bob Spiers, a noted British comedy director who had previously worked on classics such as Fawlty Towers. Critical reception was very positive, particularly for the quality of the writing, and the series has attracted a cult following with a wide age range.

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