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Patrick Allen stars as Richard Crane

Patrick Allen stars as Richard Crane in this adventure series made by Associated-Rediffusion (1963 to 1964) and later by the re-branded Rediffusion-London (1964 to 1965). Crane, which is set in the city of Casablanca in Morocco was originally intended as a single summer season 'filler' only. However, the series proved so popular with viewers in the UK, that its run was extended to 39 episodes over three seasons, from 1963 until 1965.

Patrick Allen was offered the lead role in Crane whilst he was playing Achilles in Troilus and Cressida in 1962 with the Royal Shakespeare Memorial Company. As soon as Patrick had finished his role in Troilus and Cressida, he travelled to Morocco to begin the location filming for the Crane series.

Crane's father had been an officer in the British Army and as Crane's old school friend Austin Crispin (Peter Reynolds) put it in the episode The Cannabi Syndicate, Crane himself had been a "Big Noise" in the City, until that is he decides to give it all up and move to Casablanca in Morocco. After arriving in Morocco, Crane buys a small beach-side cafe/wine bar and also a boat. He establishes himself (ostensibly) in the import/export business; some minor smuggling activities are also involved, but nothing too serious, contraband whisky etc., but absolutely no drugs!

Crane's friend and confidant is Orlando O'Connor (Sam Kydd), a former French Foreign Legionnaire. Laya Raki plays Halima, manager of Crane's wine bar and cafe, which is quite small with a bar and just a few tables. The local police chief Colonel Mahmoud (Gerald Flood) and his assistant Inspector Larbi (Bruce Montague) always keep a suspicious eye on Crane's activities, but can never prove anything against him. The duo always seem to be one step behind, and Crane invariably manages to out-wit them. Although there is no 'love lost' between Crane and Mahmoud, but perhaps a mutual respect, they do occasionally 'join forces' to fight any serious crime in the area.

The theme tune used for the Crane series entitled 'Casablanca' was recorded in a London studio by Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen on March 17 1963, although it was not commissioned specifically for the 'Crane series. 'Casablanca', or giving it its full title '(The Dancing Queen of) Casablanca' composed by A.C. Sakelariou and released on the 'Pye' record label stayed in the UK record charts for eleven weeks and reached number twenty-one. (view sheet music). It is believed that the series was also exported to other countries, including Australia. There are no details of television stations, dates shown etc. available at present.

In one episode of Crane, Inspector Larbi (Bruce Montague) takes a file from a cabinet and proceeds to read aloud the details of a character from an earlier episode he and Colonel Mahmoud were supposed to be hunting! At the end of the recording, a re-take was allotted so that Bruce Montague's character could correct the mistake; the studio allowed just 8 minutes for the re-shoot!

A total of 39 x 50-minute monochrome episodes were produced by Associated-Rediffusion Television/Rediffusion-London, between 1963 and 1965. It is believed that only two episodes of the series now exist in the UK: Cargo of Cornflower and The Cannabi Syndicate, these two remaining episodes are held on U-Matic low-band video tape at the British Film Institute. Crane was exported to to other countries including Australia, so it is possible that further episodes could be found in the future, if you can help find the 'lost' episodes on any format, even audio only, please contact us. The 37 missing episodes are listed here

Watch a short clip and end credits on our YouTube channel here.

Patrick Allen as Richard Crane
Sam Kydd as Orlando O'Connor
Laya Raki as Halima
Gerald Flood as Colonel Mahmoud
Bruce Montague as Inspector Larbi

Thanks to Bruce Montague and also to Marilyn Collis of Collis Management for additional information.