Man at the Top, originally screened in the early '70s, takes up the continuing story of Joe Lampton, the aggressively ambitious anti-hero of John Braine's bestselling novel Room at the Top, its award-winning film adaptation of 1958, and 1965 sequel Life at the Top.
Kenneth Haigh's portrayal of Joe Lampton earned him a BAFTA nomination, while accomplished film and stage actress Zena Walker is Joe's long-suffering wife, Susan. This intense, compelling drama series was created and co-written by John Braine, and George Markstein (Callan) features among the producers. This release contains the complete first series, available for the first time anywhere.
Thirteen years on from his marriage to the pregnant Susan - a condition of his continuing promotion by Susan's father and his then boss, Mr. Brown - Joe Lampton has a new home in Surrey's stockbroker belt and a career as a management consultant. As pushy and hard-headed as ever, he will go to any lengths to keep a grip on his position. Joe remains married to Susan and the couple now have two children, but his attentions rarely remain fixed and he does not fail to take advantage of all that his status and connections bring within his reach; this inevitably includes the attractive and available women he encounters. A single event, however, causes Joe to re-assess his life - with far-reaching consequences.
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I last saw this program when it was originally broadcast in 1970/71. Although I was only 11 years old I was a fan,despite the very adult theme. It follows the exploits of Joe Lampton,a bluff Yorkshire business tycoon,who is successful,but was set on the road to it by his father-in law,and lives in a house owned by his wife.This causes simmering tensions in the relationship,and his constant womanising doesn't help. Lampton will stop at nothing to succeed, regardless of the consequences,which constantly upsets family and friends,and attracts enemies. It was considered controversial in it's time due to the use of bad language,and treatment of women. It has been fascinating to see it again-once I watch one episode,I end up watching two or three! The picture quality isn't great,the sets could be out of poundland,but Kenneth Haigh is BRILLIANT as Joe Lampton. Such is the quality of his portrayal of the mysoginistic,chauvinist hypocrite,you actually want him to win. The clever thing about this series is it is one of the first,that has a character that although unsavoury,destroys people who are even worse. He also has a human side-the ultimate anti-hero! The plots,and the twists and turns as Lampton fends off attacks on his business empire are rivetting as ever. The supporting cast are all high quality actors,and this keeps the whole thing on edge nicely. One of the best series of the 70's. It looks dated and wooden when you start watching it,but you are soon dragged into the sheer excellence. Not to be missed for fans of that era,and strongly recommended if you haven't seen it.
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