BBC1's popular Doomwatch programme draws in 10 million viewers each week. Many of these are women more interested in the actors than in the action.
Since Doomwatch began, the men who play Dr Quist and his associates, Dr John Ridge and Tobias Wren, MA, have been flooded with fan mail, from starry eyed teenagers and old age pensioners alike.
Gerry Davis, one of the men who thought up the series, says actors with 'appeal' were purposely chosen, but the reaction has been far greater than expected.
Tall, handsome Simon Oates, who plays Dr Ridge, has just spent £200 on pictures of himself to try to meet the demand from girls who want his photograph and autograph.
He said: 'I suppose we are all rather flattered and we do our best to answer all the letters. I just haven't the time. My poor secretary has to deal with the 200 to 300 letters a week.'
Simon is 6ft 4in tall, 28 years old (?) and unmarried. He is a Londoner, and at one time was heavyweight boxing champion of the Army Intelligence Corps. Most of his letters come from schoolgirls and teenagers.
Slim elegant Robert Powell takes the part of Wren. His fan mail comes mainly from young married women who want to know the colour of his eyes and whether he is married. For the record, he is not.
Robert, aged 25, said: 'I spend hours each night trying to answer all the letters and I have to admit that I have fallen behind. But everyone will get a reply.'
Dr. Spencer Quist, the main character, is played by John Paul, 46. Educated at Harrow and Cambridge, and now married with five children. John began his long and successful career as an actor in German PoW camps.
He became rather coy when I asked him about his fan mail – and refused to tell me how many letters he gets or what the women write to him about. Even his wife is in the dark – he answers all the letters himself.
'My fan mail is a personal matter between myself and my viewers,' he said.
Tonight, Doomwatch investigates pollution after nationwide reports of an outbreak of a strange, hallucinatory malady. Quist calls an emergency meeting and suspects sabotage when delegates become ill...
Original Newspaper article by Roland Stoubridge on the day that Spectre at the Feast is transmitted. With thanks to Michael Seely and Andrew Wilson