THE WINNING STREAK
TV Times cover Illustration from TV Times Devised by - Michael J. Bird
Producer - Michael Russell
Executive Producer - Michael Glynn

YTV
6 (52 minute) episodes
16 September 1985 - 21 October 1985


The introductory feature in TV Times set the scene ...

"The backbone of the family is Bernard Savage (played by Leslie Sands), who started Savage Motors in the Forties and built it into a thriving family business. His wife Frances (Dinah Sheridan) has been a tower of strength and is destined to play a vital role in the firm's future.

Their two sons are ambitious and dedicated, but very different from each other. Paul (Shaun Scott) the eldest is, like his father, a tough and determined businessman, eager to take over the running Savage Motors. His much-neglected wife, Ruth (Laura Davenport), is becoming increasingly bored. What lies in store for them?

The younger brother, David (Benedict Blythe), is obsessed with becoming a champion rally driver and is inclined to put his sporting activities before the demands of his job. His girlfriend, Carol Dayton (Shelagh Mcleod), a disc jockey with a local radio station, supports him personally and professionally on the air. Ronnie Coates (William MacBain) is David's long suffering co-driver.

David's arch rival is Frank McShane (Michael Cashman), who is as ruthlessly determined to hang on to his rallying crown as he is to keep the love of his sometimes fickle-hearted lady, Barbara Brookes (Jane Morant). This calculating lady has no scruples about using people to gain success."

The MG Metro 6R4

The MG Metro 6R4 rally car featured in the series has gained almost cult status.
I know of at least two websites devoted to it. Metro 6r4 online news is run by Mark Lowe. (Mark tells me you need adobe flash player 10 to view or allow your pop up blocker to access the site.)

Mark sent me this short feature about the series which appeared in 1984, called the "The Sport" by Peter Windsor.

David Savage will be behind the wheel of Metro 6R4 prototype 003 on the forthcoming welsh international rally in May. Confused? David Savage is the name of the hero in a new Yorkshire Television series Tthe Winning Streak due to be screened in February next year (85) and while Savage is the hero, the Metro 6R4 is undoubtedly goint to be one of the stars. The series has been created by Michael J Bird and it was he who approached Austin Rover long before the official launch of the new rally car. This enterprising move has led to an agreement which will see Savage "driving" first a ford escort 1600 in national events then progressing to the Metro for international rallies in his attempt to become world rally champion. The prospects are for this to be both an accurate and interesting drama.

The advisor to the whole series is former Autocar news editor Tony Howard. YTV have actually arranged to have no less than three Metro 6R4: one, prototype 003 is real, a second is a standard Metro road car but with all the necessary glass-fibre bodywork and the third is again a lookalike but one that according to producer Maggie Bottomley "comes to bits like a jigsaw" to enable filming inside the car of the driver and co-driver. For the action shots on the coming Welsh Rally therefore, 003 will be used and the driver in the David Savage overalls will be Colin Malkin who has been doing some of the Metro testing for Austin Rover.

When pressed last week, Maggie Bottomley would - quite naturally - not be drawn on the subject, but it seems likely that David Savage will be Britain's first World Rally champion driving a Metro 6R4.


The second website 6r4.net is run by Nicky Linden.

Nicky recently (summer 2017) acquired the MG Metro 6R4 prototype 'mock up' that was built for the static shots for the series. He says he plans to restore the car basicallly back to new but retaining its patina.

Nicky also sent me some pictures of the car.

HELLO MUM!

After I helped out rally enthusiast, and website vistor, Jim Goodman with a copy of the series I was not sure which of us was the more surprised when Jim e-mailed me later saying "I didn't realise that we were in the final episode! The white Mk2 Escort No. 40 is Ian Oldfield and me on the NatB in 1985."

Rally enthusiasts might like to take a look at Jim's website Pacenote Publishing from which you can buy his book Flat over crest

The series certainly enjoys a place in the hearts of a lot of folk who remember it fondly (in large part due to the MG Metro 6R4 rally car).

Website visitor Gary Hewitt from Leeds says: "I remember being glued to the TV when The Winning Streak was broadcast because I was a rallying-mad 15 year old with a particular interest in Austin Rover cars. The local angle helped considerably as well,with so many familiar locations featured in the show. Of course,I'd never heard of the Metro 6R4 before,but was instantly fascinated by this mysterious new British challenger.

I told my friends at the time that I was going to own one some day and 23 years later I realised my dream. Although it's not in Ternco Oils livery, my son and I can pretend to be David Savage and Ronnie Coates when we demonstrate the car at rallies and shows! I've attached a couple of pics, one showing Tom with our 6R4 as we arrived at a classic car show and one taken as we prepared to demonstrate the car at Cadwell Park racing circuit.

If you would ever like to include the car in any tribute to Michael Bird, I'd be more than happy to help in any way I can. After all, Michael began my love affair with the "Mighty Metro".

The last three photos Gary took at the Rallye Sunseeker at Bournemouth in February 2009. "They show our 6R4 parked right next to the actual prototype 6R4 which starred in The Winning Streak,A656 NJO. This very special 6R4 has been repainted back to it's original red livery and was making a very rare appearance away from it's home at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon."

In May 2015 I received an email from a fan in Norway who told me that he had bought one of the orginal 6R4 cars used in the series and was having it restored.

He sent me these photographs


Michael J Bird Tribute Website

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