No corrections yet
The Light Horseman
# Remember the handsome, rugged Australian actor Grant Taylor of "Forty Thousand Horse men" fame? Well, he's soon to star again in British television's most costly serial ever.
IT is the half-hour
1 scries "Weaver's Green," in which Grant Taylor -.lays a kindly Veterinär en in a typical English \ llage.
It was 25 years ago that Grant, wi Chips Rafferty and Betn Bryant, thrilled Australian audiences when kt starred in "The Forty Thousand Horsemen," re enacting famous Anzac charge at .eersheba by the First Lighr ' lorse Cavalry in World Wai I.
The oirdoor scenes, in cluding tl.» charge, were filmed on the sand dunes at Cronulla, S dney.
Grant u ; chosen for the Part becau e of his rugged good looks nd expert horse manship.
Which why producer John Jacob- was determined J> have hj n as the star of J> brain hild, "Weaver's
Green," the twice-a-week, «11 hour serial Anglia Television has begun to
I thought of Grant right 'fom the ran," said John Jacobs. "A real man ? and locl" it. After all, women ""k up a big proportion of Wieners I wanted a strong outdoor type.
Someone who would not * gating up on a horse for ,he first time just to give us a '** publicity shots."
When I told him this, jrant Taylor laughed. "It j*"1» that no one has ever Jetten Forty Thousand
Norsemen, he said. "In
_ Of course, I loved doing lwflve Angry Men' on
By BETTY BEST,
stage in the West End. I'm an actor and it was a great part in a great play.
"But those parts don't come along all the time, and this is no ordinary television
"Of course, I first took it for the money. But that wasn't all. You see, whether you are on stage, in films or ' television, as an actor you
are condemned to living in
doors. And I hate studios.
"In 'Weaver's Green' I
shall spend more than half my working time outdoors.
For me that's like a bonus."
With an icy little spring gale whipping our faces,
and a lemon-colored sun giving off no more heat than a 40-watt lightbulb, Grant led the way to the
We were on the first loca tion of many which will make up the fictional village
of Weaver's Green.
It was a lovely old Georgian farmhouse just a few miles out of Norwich, which Grant, in his role of Alan Armstrong, the local vet, visits on his weekly rounds. Here his young god daughter, Sue Patterson (Sheila Fearn), is trying to train her father's racehorses with the help of the groom, Paddy (played by Austra lian Gerry Duggan).
But while the mobile cameras and sound equip ment were being set up Grant had time to introduce me to the horses and also his ideas about the show.
"The idea is that I'm a
country bloke, but wasn't born in Weaver's Green. I came here as a locum for the old vet, married his daughter, then took over the practice when he died.
"Of course, one of the nicest things about the set up is that my wife, Dotty, is played by Megs Jenkins. It shows John Jacobs is serious about having the best actors in the business. There's no one better than
"We have two kids, Michaela, who is about 20 and studying to be a vet at Cambridge, and Tim, who is at boarding school and
We got to the ancient
orange brick stables with their walled-in yard and sloping gables. The four frisky inmates welcomed
Grant with such enthusiasm
that, in his old jacket and rumpled trousers, he looked every inch the country vet ?and English at that.
Grant continued: "The reason we didn't choose a local village and shoot the whole thing there is that within weeks people would be able to identify it. Then they'd come in their thousands and it would be ruined. You can't do that to people; it isn't fair. It
would have made our work impossible, too.
"So what we have done
is take a section of one place here, another there. We are trying to keep the actual
names of our locations sec ret, and the locals are co operating because they know the havoc a sudden burst of visitors can create."
The first 26 episodes, which provide only 13 weeks' viewing, will cost £300,000. If the show runs a
year, it will cost a clear
"This is a picture of Eng
land which has never been seen overseas before, and one I'd think might fascin ate Australians," Grant said.
"You remember how some of the radio serials set in
the bush were so popular?
"Well, this should have that kind of appeal, plus the extra fascination of visually presenting the changing sea
Back at the farmhouse, Australian director Ray Menmuir was setting up a shot with Gerry Duggan
and Sheila Fearn. A scud
ding rain whipped our
faces and I was sure this
would mean John Jacobs having to pack up for the day. Not a bit of it.
"We shall shoot through all weathers," he said. "If it happens to be raining when we set up a shot, then it will be raining when you
see it on television. Snow
and sunshine will get their fair share, too.
"After all, that's how it really happens, so why not show it if you can? When we took some background shots at a country pig market the other day, the boys could hardly hear the directions for pig squeals. But it's all on tape now, and that's the way we want it. Who ever heard of a quiet pig sale, anyway?"