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Opening title card

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The cast. Left to right: Melvyn Hayes, Gillian Bush-Bailey (kneeling), Michael Audreson, Peter Firth, Bruce Clark, Brinsley Forde, Douglas Simmonds. Debbie Russ kneeling with dog in foreground.

Here Come The Double Deckers! was an American-British co-produced television series, and an off-shoot of the popular British film series The Magnificent Six And 1/2. Due to Six And 1/2's popularity, Century Films' producers Harry Booth and Roy Simpson decided to bring their idea to television. The two tried selling the concept of an adventure/comedy series about gang of kids to the BBC in 1969. BBC passed on the idea, instead producing an adventure/drama series, Adventure Weekly (which included former Six And 1/2 stars Len Jones and Ian Ellis in the cast). It only lasted thirteen episodes.

Eventually, American studio 20th Century Fox agreed to produce the Booth/Simpson series. However, Fox wanted certain changes made to the series. Most notably, the studio wanted all of the cast members from Six And 1/2 replaced (and also wanted at least one American in the cast). They also wanted the cast to wear American clothing, and American references made specifically for the United States audiences thrown in.

Booth and Simpson did follow most of Fox's requests; however two of the stars from Six And 1/2 (Brinsley Forde and Michael Audreson) were kept for the new series. Rounding out the cast were actress/singer/dancer Gillian Bush-Bailey, a then-unknown Peter Firth, American-born Bruce Clark, Douglas Simmonds, and Debbie Russ. A further change to the series were the addition of a regular adult figure, Albert the street sweeper (actor Melvyn Hayes), who would often serve as a stooge to the kids' antics. Albert's addition was a result of Fox's refusal to allow any of the kids to take the butt of certain jokes (as Ian Ellis often had in the Six And 1/2 series). Another notable addition to the series was the use of elaborate musical numbers (usually performed by the cast).

The series made its debut on September 12, 1970 at 10:30 am in the US on ABC, and at 4:55 pm on January 1, 1971 in Britain on BBC One. In the US, the series was rerun on Sunday mornings during the 1971-72 TV season on ABC from 12 September 1971 to 3 September 1972, in the same time slot. In Britain, reruns were shown every summer for several years. The series also had a large following in France.

While critics in both the US and Britain generally gave the series negative ratings, children in both areas greatly enjoyed it. After seventeen episodes, the series went on hiatus for a few months, with Century Films planning to return later on to make an additional nine episodes for a complete first season. A second season was also in the works.

However, during the series' hiatus, 20th Century Fox went under new management. It is believed that the new powers at Fox did not look favorably on the series, resulting in a premature cancellation.

Music played a prominent part in the series, with an original soundtrack sung by the cast and written by Harry Booth, Melvyn Hayes and Johnny Arthey. The music was composed and directed by Ivor Slaney. An 11-track album of this was issued on Capitol Records in 1970 and re-issued as a CD in 2007 with liners notes by David Noades.

The entire series was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on November 1, 2010.

Cast

  • Peter Firth as Scooper, the leader of the gang.
  • Brinseley Forde as Spring, the only black member of the group, and usually a second-in-command to Scooper.
  • Gillian Bush-Bailey as Billie, the group's motherly tomboy.
  • Michael Audreson as Brains, the gang's resident genius, who usually got the group in trouble with his whacky inventions.
  • Douglas Simmonds as Doughnut, a large boy that is always eating, and isn't always the brightest one in the group.
  • Bruce Clark as Sticks, the only American in the group, with a talent for playing the drums.
  • Debbie Russ as Tiger, the tag-a-long of the group, who carries around a stuffed tiger with her (also called "Tiger").
  • Melvyn Hayes as Albert, the gang's adult friend. A typically cheerful street cleaner that often assists the gang in their adventures.

Episodes

  1. Tiger Takes Off - Tiger accidentally goes for a trip on a hovercraft Brains created.
  2. The Case of the Missing Doughnut - Doughnut eats an invisibility formula Brains invented.
  3. Get a Movie On - The gang make a film to enter a contest. Features the song "Good Day at Yellow Rock".
  4. Starstruck - The gang are chased by security around Elstree Studios, as they look for a movie star's runaway dog.
  5. Happy Haunting - Albert takes the gang to a stately home for a day out. Features the song "It's A Day and a Half".
  6. Summer Camp - The gang camp in a field with a middle aged couple who get the worst of it. Featuring the songs "To the Countryside" and "Grannie's Rocking Chair".
  7. The Pop Singer - The group try to launch The Cool Cavalier's pop career with a disco. Features the songs "Life Is a Wonderful Thing" and "I Gotta Get Through".
  8. Scooper Strikes Out - Scooper is knocked out by a baseball and dreams he is with Alice in Wonderland. Features the song "Welcome to the Party".
  9. Robbie the Robot - Brains invents a robot which is sent to rescue Tiger's tiger from a neighbour's garden, and later becomes the hit of the television show Inventors' Club.
  10. The Go-Karters - A biker sabotages the gang's go-kart, as a result of which Spring ends up in court after a high speed police chase.
  11. A Helping Hound - The gang unsuccessfully try to help a woman threatened with eviction to decorate her house, but help comes when Tiger receives a large cash reward for finding a lost dog.
  12. Invaders from Space - Men in spacesuits are advertising a new sweet called Planet 7, but the gang think it is an alien invasion.)
  13. Barney - The gang befriend Barney, a one-man band who keeps getting moved on by the police. Features the song "One Man Band".
  14. Man's Best Friend - The gang put on a show with aluminium foil as an entry fee to buy a guide dog for the blind. Features a parody of Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-In".
  15. United We Stand - The owner of the yard that the gang use wants to turn it into a car park, but the kids sabotage his meeting with the Mayor.
  16. Up to Scratch - Billie has to look after a dog named Scratch which runs off after a man with a flea circus turns up. Features a rendition of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm".
  17. A Hit for a Miss - The boys fall for substitute teacher Miss Petit, which makes Billie jealous, and help her put on a show for an old folks home. Features the songs "With a Little Bit of Love" and "Fat Ladies".

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