The Colbys was a spin-off from Dynasty, first shown in America in late 1985. It was the saga of another super-rich American family, with Charlton Heston starring as Jason Colby, the patriarch, Barbara Stanwyk as his sister, Constance, and English actress Stephanie Beacham (of Tenko and Connie fame) as the show's bitch, Sable.
The Colbys also featured Fallon (Emma Samms) and Jeff (John James) from Dynasty and it was envisaged that other Dynasty characters could make guest appearances.
What could be better? A sure-fire success. Bound to succeed.
It seemed that we had enough super-rich family sagas already, because The Colbys bombed.
However, the show did leave behind a classic soap memory: Fallon was spirited away by aliens in a flying saucer at the end of the final series in 1987. This was, apparently, the idea of co-producer Richard Shapiro, although others in the cast and production team had grave misgivings.
I was in the bath the night the abduction episode was screened in England, getting spruced up for a bop at the local Nite Spot. At that time, one of my flatmates was a woman who... well... thought very slowly. She was also quite prissy and spoke in a horrible squeaky "little girl" type voice. I'm a fan of the English West Country accent, but coming from... I'll call her Mary... it sounded revolting.
Mary sighed over my "wild" lifestyle. "If only you young people could find religion, you'd be a lot happier."
She was three years older than me. And her dressing gown was candlewick. Imagine that.
Anyway, back to the night of Fallon's extra-terrestrial abduction. At that time, the communal phone in our flat was in the hall, right by the bathroom door. The hall was uncarpeted and I heard Mary clopping along to the phone as I luxuriated in the tub. We still had a dial phone then, and I heard her dialling... then...
"Hello. How are you? Yes, thanks, I'm fine. You'll never guess what's happened. Fallon's been taken off in a flying saucer. Oh, you know? Yes... well, I'm shocked. That poor girl... Dreadful, isn't it? Mmmm... yes... mmm... terrible... Well, you hear all sorts of odd things. I don't know what I'd do.... mmmm.... What shoes are you wearing for Sarah's wedding?"
From the ridiculous to the mundane - I had to stuff my sponge in my mouth to stop myself exploding into laughter!
Fallon returned to parent series Dynasty later, reporting that the space ship had smelt of cinnamon. "Were they baking?" asked her husband, Jeff, as fogged as the rest of us.Strange days indeed.