Produced by B.B.C. Scotland, 'The Mackinnons' starred a bearded Bill Simpson ( of the long-running 'Dr.Finlay's Casebook' ) as vet 'Donald Mackinnon', who lived and worked in the fictional Argyll town of Inverglen ( its actually Inveray in the opening credits ). His sister-in-law 'Margaret' was portrayed by Mikel Lambert, and Sandra Clark was daughter 'Katherine'. Patrick Barr played the former laird of an estate. The series was co-produced by Gerard Glaster, responsible for 'Casebook' and classics such as 'Colditz' and 'Secret Army'. Many of the writers, including N.J. Crisp and David Fisher, had worked on 'Casebook'. Guest stars included Jack Watling and T.P. McKenna. Unlike Dr.Finlay, Mackinnon was deeply concerned at the appalling way the environment was treated by big business interests. One episode featured a killer dog on the loose, while another had people trapped in a farmhouse during a storm.
Ideal Sunday evening viewing, you might think. Which makes it all the more puzzling why B.B.C. One put it out at 7.20 on a Monday night. With 'Coronation Street' on the other side 'The Mackinnons' was doomed. 'Casebook' notched up 180 episodes, but 'The Mackinnons' only got 13. What further sealed its fate was that the B.B.C. then acquired the rights to James Herriot's books, resulting in the massively popular 'All Creatures Great And Small, which began the following year.. Not wanting two vet series on the B.B.C., 'The Mackinnons' was cruelly dumped. Simpson expressed his disappointment at this in a 'News Of The World' interview. He carried on working on television until his death in 1986.
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