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Triangle (1981 TV series)

Main title caption for the series
Genre Soap opera
Created by Bill Sellars
Directed by Marc Miller
John Bird
Andrew Morgan
Darrol Blake
Terence Dudley[1]
Starring Kate O'Mara
Larry Lamb
Michael Craig
Opening theme Johnny Pearson
Composer(s) Johnny Pearson
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 78
Producer(s) Bill Sellars
Location(s) MS Tor Scandinavia
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel BBC1
Original release 5 January 1981 – 6 July 1983

Triangle was a BBC Television soap opera in the early 1980s, set aboard a North Sea ferry which sailed from Felixstowe to Gothenburg and Gothenburg to Amsterdam. A third imaginary leg existed between Amsterdam and Felixstowe to justify the programme title, but this was not operated by the ferry company. The show ran for three series before being cancelled, but is still generally remembered as "some of the most mockable British television ever produced". The scripts involved clichéd relationships and stilted dialogue, making the show the butt of several jokes - particularly on Terry Wogan's morning Radio 2 programme - which caused some embarrassment to the BBC.[2]

In 1992, the BBC screened TV Hell, an evening of programming devoted to the worst television had to offer, and the first episode of Triangle was broadcast as part of the line-up.

The ferry used in the first series was the Tor Line's MS Tor Scandinavia. In the second and third series this was replaced by the DFDS vessel Dana Anglia (DFDS having acquired Tor Line by this time) probably because she had a less intensive schedule and the longer time she spent in port made on-board filming easier.[1]


  • Production limitations 1
    • Broadcasts 1.1
  • References 2
  • External links 3

Production limitations

Interviewed for an earlier TV Hell segment in 1992, the show's producer, Bill Sellars, spoke of several problems with the show's production.

Using a ferry as the setting for a television series had originally looked like a promising idea. The regular cast, playing the crew, could be joined by a constantly changing guest cast playing the passengers as the ship sailed to interesting European locations (a format used in the American series The Love Boat). Advances in portable video cameras and recording equipment meant that the show could be videotaped on board a real ferry with more realism than using studio sets and more cheaply than using 16mm film which was normal for location television drama at the time.

Unfortunately the plan was revealed to be flawed almost as soon as shooting began. Shot largely in the North Sea, the inclement weather made the exterior scenes appear gloomy and dull, and far from glamorous. In making the first episode Kate O'Mara had to endure a scene in which she sunbathes topless on a clearly freezing deck.

Another problem involved lighting. The cameras were perfectly comfortable with either natural or artificial lighting conditions, but a mixture of the two always produced unnatural-looking colour. The video cameras of the day didn't cope well with contrasting light levels between inside and outside, so interior scenes often had to be shot with the windows or portholes curtained - so that as far as the audience was concerned they might as well have been shot in a studio anyway.

The relatively new "electronic field production" portable video technology used for location footage in place of the traditional 16mm film also exhibited serious problems due, amongst other things, to the movement of the ship which disrupted the stability of the video recorders.[3] Rough seas also induced seasickness in many of the production crew, making shooting an uncomfortable experience.


Broadcast every Monday and Wednesday.

  • Series 1: 5 January - 1 April 1981: 26 episodes.
  • Series 2: 26 April - 20 July 1982: 26 episodes.
  • Series 3: 5 April - 6 July 1983: 26 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Detailed list of which director helmed which episode". 2009-10-27. Archived from the original on 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Soaps | British". TVARK. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  3. ^ Triangle at the Internet Movie Database

External links

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