Writer Carla Lane’s smash-hit TV comedy The Liver Birds had an unusual recipe for success – Pernod milkshakes!

The programme’s stars, Polly James and Nerys Hughes, used to sip them together to help learn their lines.

The magic ingredient did the trick. The Liver Birds, broadcast for a decade from April 1969 to January 1979, became one of Britain’s best-loved TV shows.

A brilliant theme tune by Liverpool group The Scaffold certainly helped. So did a prime time viewing slot on BBC1.

Writer Carla Lane, left, with Liver Birds Nerys Hughes and Polly James and co-writer Myra Taylor, December 1970

Writer Carla Lane, left, with Liver Birds Nerys Hughes and Polly James and co-writer Myra Taylor, December 1970

In no time at all, the sitcom about two girls sharing a flat on Huskisson Street became synonymous with the spirit and character of Liverpool.

James played the down-to-earth, bluntly spoken Beryl Hennessey, while Hughes was the more upmarket and aspirational Sandra Hutchinson.

Sandra’s snobby mother Thelma was brilliantly portrayed by sitcom veteran Mollie Sugden – famous as Mrs Slocombe in Are you Being Served?

Hughes only came into the programme after the first series. Beryl’s original flat-mate, Dawn, was played by Pauline Collins, who left to take a starring role in ITV’s Upstairs, Downstairs.

Sue Jameson (WPC Nelson) on the Z-Cars set with Robert Keegan (Sgt Blackitt), May 1965

Sue Jameson (WPC Nelson) on the Z-Cars set with Robert Keegan (Sgt Blackitt), May 1965

The Liver Birds was just one of the well-known TV programmes set in Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s.

Blazing a trail was the police drama Z-Cars which ran from January 1962 to September 1978.

It made household names of Stratford Johns, who played the redoubtable Inspector Barlow, James Ellis as Sergeant Bert Lynch and Brian Blessed as PC Fancy Smith.

The acclaimed Granada drama Family at War, broadcast from 1970 to 1972, was set in Liverpool. So too was the comedy thriller Coast to Coast, starring Lenny Henry.

Peter Gilmore as James Onedin and Jill Gascoigne as his wife Letty in the Onedin Line, March 1979

Peter Gilmore as James Onedin and Jill Gascoigne as his wife Letty in the Onedin Line, March 1979

Exeter’s inland port was disguised as Liverpool in one of the most popular TV series of the 1970s – The Onedin Line. It aired on Sunday evenings from 1971 to 1980.

Actor Peter Gilmore played ambitious shipping company owner James Onedin while Anne Stallybrass was his wife Anne. The gruff Captain Baines was played by Howard Lang.

The series was set in Liverpool from 1860 to 1886 and focused on the adventures and maritime mayhem surrounding the seagoing family.

Oddly enough, the series proved very popular in Romania and even aided the uprising which ousted ruling dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

Bernard Hill in the TV film John Lennon: A Journey in the Life with co-stars Tim McEvoy and Benji Lounsbach, November 1985

Bernard Hill in the TV film John Lennon: A Journey in the Life with co-stars Tim McEvoy and Benji Lounsbach, November 1985

After a visit to North Korea, Ceausescu banned foreign TV programmes, including the Onedin Line. It was a big mistake.

Romanians tuned into foreign stations where they learned about the fall of the Berlin Wall and other uprisings never shown in their home country. The fuse of freedom was lit.

In the 1980s, Liverpool led the way on British prime-time TV with the Three Bs – Bread, Boys from the Blackstuff and Brookside.

Sitcom Bread, written for the BBC by Carla Lane, ran from May 1986 to November 1991. It followed the fortunes of the money-strapped Boswell family from Dingle.

Brookside’s first family – the Grants – pictured in October 1982

Brookside’s first family – the Grants – pictured in October 1982

Liverpool soap Brookside, the brainchild of screenwriter Phil Redmond, launched on the first night of Channel 4 on November 2nd 1982 and lasted until 2003.

Boys from the Blackstuff, broadcast in 1982, portrayed the bleak economic suffering of desperately searching for a job in the recession-hit North West.

Written by Alan Bleasdale, the drama featured a group of unemployed tarmac layers including Yosser Hughes played by Bernard Hill.

Bread stars Peter Howitt and Rita Tushingham filming in Elswick Street, Dingle, July 1987

Bread stars Peter Howitt and Rita Tushingham filming in Elswick Street, Dingle, July 1987

His portrayal of a man driven to the edge of sanity through losing his job, wife, and children was regarded as one of the most poignant pieces of acting of the 20th century.

Hill was on TV screens again in the title role of the 1985 BBC1 biographical film John Lennon: A Journey in the Life. Tim McEvoy and Benji Lounsbach played the younger Lennon.

Liver Bird stars Polly James, left, and Nerys Hughes present Cilla Black with the Pye Comedy trophy, May 1975

Liver Bird stars Polly James, left, and Nerys Hughes present Cilla Black with the Pye Comedy trophy, May 1975