Dial 999 starring Robert Beatty
Introduction- "Dial 9-9-9. When in London, that's what you do to call the police. I know- I'm a policeman from Canada attached to Scotland Yard. My name's Mike Maguire."

1 The Killing Job
3 Illegal Entry
13 Special Branch
14 Mechanical Watchman
15 Ghost Squad
16 Fifty Thousand Hands
19 24 Hours a Day
22 Barge Burglars
28 Exception to the Rule
31 Motor Bike Bandits
Special review of 35
Rat Trap

This 1958 ABC series, was filmed at AB Elstree Studios, two films being made per week. It was produced by the phenomenal Harry Alan Towers. Tom Fallon, who had set up the 999 telephone emergency service, acted as adviser and Robert Beatty had his finest moment starring as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police inspector, seconded to the British police. The series shows him gaining experience in the varied aspects of British policing. "It will take me a long time to live down Mike Maguire," claimed Beatty in 1959. "The part hits me in the eye whenever I show my face. I'm just waiting for a London bobby to tip his helmet instead of booking me for a parking offence." In a later interview he stated, with a slight exaggeration, that it "kept me out of television for about ten years."

Because Maguire worked alongside various police branches, he had no regular helper. These policemen however assisted him: Duncan Lamont as Insp Winter (#1 The Killing Job), John Witty as Sgt West (#3 Illegal Entry), John Warwick as Insp Blake (#9 77 Bus), John Howlett as Sgt Chester (#14 Mechanical Watchman), and Sgt Cole (#29 Deadly Blackmail), Richard Bebb as Inspector Pybus (#13 Special Branch) and as Sgt Bellamy (#22 Barge Burglars): Richard told me he appeared in other stories too.
Director Alvin Rakoff was booked to make the pilot films, these were: #1 The Killing Job, #5 Thames Divison, #19 24 Hours a Day, and #38 Robbery With Violence

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THE KILLING JOB
In this opening story by Ted Willis, we are introduced to Mike Maguire of the Canadian Mounties who has just flown in to "London Town" on work experience from Montreal.

Before even reaching the Yard, at midnight in Piccadilly he stumbles on a protection racketeer Dandy Evans (Peter Reynolds) who has been knifed after falling out with a 'colleague' Colletta (Sydney Tafler).
After being welcomed to these shores by the Assistant Commissioner at the Yard (Ronald Adam), Maguire is assigned to Detective Inspector Tom Winter (Duncan Lamont) of the CID, based at West End Central station.
Colletta with his heavy, Morris (Arthur Mullard, uncredited), is aiming to take over Evans' territory, so his former 'colleagues,' led by Joss (William Hartnell) give him an ultimatum, "to get out of town". He has one hour.
As he doesn't comply, Evans is despatched to adminster the chop. He and his gang get out their flick knives and there's a wonderful street chase past Trafalgar Square, WALKING! You mustn't run or the police might notice you.
But Colletta is cornered in Regent Car Park, as the knives comes out. Winter and Maguire swoop, carting away some of London's most notorious villains.
At 11.15pm on The Embankment, the pair mull over the case.

Note: Cockney rhyming slang is explained to Maguire by the helpful Colletta.
This was the only episode in this series to have been repeated on British national television since the 1960s. Television Heaven on Channel Four screened it, with an introduction by Frank Muir, that erroneously attributed the series to ATV.

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ILLEGAL ENTRY
Maguire's assistant is Det Sgt West (John Witty).

"Why should a jewel thief try to steal a fur coat? Why should an accomplice ransack a flat when the coat was known to be in storage?"
The case actually starts when a thief attempts to break into Luxford's, the furriers in Melton Street. He's caught and Maguire's probing questions show that Karl is a foreigner (clever deduction there!) who has been smuggled into the country to work for some criminals.
As Karl has been arrested the crooks persuade his illegal immigrant wife Helga (Adrienne Corri) to steal the fur coat her husband failed to nick. To do so, she breaks into the flat of Baroness von Falcon (Patricia Laffan) and obtains a copy of her signature, which is then forged. She goes with the necessary authorisation to collect the mink coat from Mr Luxford. However Maguire is there to arrest Helga too- "I'll have to ask you to come to the police station." She confesses and gives a detailed account of how they entered England.
In a subplot, Maguire discovers the real reason for the thieves' interest in the coat- there's a valuable ruby hidden in it! The countess is ordered to pay the outstanding duty on it.
Microscopic examination of Karl's clothing proves he's been on a fishing boat recently and this leads Maguire to the docks, and the trawler Boy Tom. The police swoop just as the latest batch of illegal immigrants are arriving. A chase round Billingsgate fish Market and the case is closed.

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SPECIAL BRANCH
Maguire's sidekick is Inspector Pybus (Richard Bebb). He is also assisted by Sgt Frazer of CID.
Director: Terence Fisher.

Heaton Radio Taxis have six cabs fitted with two way radios. Some crooks lead by Waymac (Martin Benson) seize the chance to take over the firm temporarily, because they want to assassinate Dr Stafford, an American scientist, who is flying in to London Airport and then being escorted to Harwell. By so doing they hope to "strain relations between Britain and the United States." No comment needed.
Fortunately one of the taxi drivers overhears their plan and manages to warn the Yard before being shot dead in a phone box.
Controlling six cabs, the crooks are able to cover every possible route the prof might take. Stafford is shadowed as Maguire and Pybus shield him off the plane and in to a waiting police vehicle. He's actually a decoy, but Maguire still manages to save the double's life before dashing off to join Stafford "on route A4."
Taxi No 1 waits in ambush, with the idea of puncturing the tyres before Taxi 6 moves in for the kill. But Maguire is too good for them and Taxi 1 is captured and the driver of Six wounded.
So Waymac orders remaining his Taxis to rendezvous with him at the junction of the A4 and A320 "west of Reading."
However Pybus swoops on the hq of Heaton Taxis and overhears where they plan to strike next- near a bridge at Littlewich Green on the A4 ("Route 4A" this time!). This is Tykes Water Bridge.
So there the assassins wait, by a mud track that seems nothing like a main road. Cunning Maguire again proves smarter, by borrowing a van which he drives himself to reconnoitre the location. On foot eight police then creep up on the gang. The peaceful country scene is filled with fighting. Maguire has great pleasure in informing the captured Waymac that it had been a wild goose chase anyway!
A final philosophical comment from Maguire referring to the dead taxi driver, "the courage and tenacity of the ordinary unknown man, that sets the pattern for an entire nation." He was being serious too

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MECHANICAL WATCHMAN
Maguire is attached to S Division.
His assistant is Sgt Tom Chester (John Howlett).

"Police, Scotland Yard. This is a Burcot Automatic Burglar Alarm, operating at Beldon's Fur Shop High Street Rocksfield. These premises are being broken into." A quick swoop leads to the capture of Davies but the other two thieves escape.
Davies has had several convictions, working previously with someone named Len Peters. Peters' mate Darren Carson reports back to their boss Bernard Rolt. The stolen furs are handed to furrier Samuel Finch (Arthur Lowe uncredited) whose task is to remove the branding and remodel the skins.
Investigation reveals only two fur stores have not yet been targetted by these thieves, Anson's, and Fur Fashions, at 98 Cavendish Square W1, and owned by Mr Rolt.
Maguire sets a trap for Rolt after yet another robbery. He suggests that Rolt installs a Mechanical Watchman in his store as everyone else is doing so. All except Gordon's. Rolt pricks up his ears. Inside information from the Yard itself!
But of course Maguire is ready and waiting at Gordon's. Twelve garments have been given "special treatment."
"All I have got to do," remarks the poor manager, "is wait to be robbed." Indeed it is not long before the crooks drive up in a stolen car 412 LMK. Maguire watches from a nearby unmarked van. He follows as they drive away, "if I lose them now," he admits, "I'm in big trouble."
The crooks switch from the stolen vehicle to their own van. Maguire is on the ball however as they pursue the thieves past St Paul's. The furs are deposited with Finch and after they have driven off, Maguire arrests them.
Maguire lets Finch work on the furs, as he wants the boss! Rolt plans his next move a few days later- pretend his own premises are being ransacked. At the same time the newly remodelled goods are collected from Finch and taken to "The Broadway, Golders Park." The new Mechanical Watchman is set off. Maguire arrives immediately: "Mr Maguire, you got here fast!"
Rolt plays the innocent until an infra red lamp on the furs shows up the marks 'MM,' Maguire's own initials that he had had invisibly branded on them. After a struggle, Maguire completes his arrests

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GHOST SQUAD
A strong cast in this pre-ATV Ghost Squad story with Elwyn Brook-Jones playing Scott the leader of the criminals, Douglas Wilmer as his right hand man, and Russell Napier, as Supt Farrel head of the Ghost Squad.

Maguire works alone as a Ghost Squad operative.
One such operative, McTavish, is working undercover in a dockland warehouse, but becomes "too nosy." He is crushed to death when a crane load of boxes lands on top of him.
Maguire replaces him, "they'll stop as nothing to protect their racket," Supt Farrel warns him.
So as Bill Brodie, he obtains a job loading crates at the docks. As a test, he's needled by one of the villains (Michael Brennan), "what did you lift back home- matchboxes?!" With "knuckles like concrete," Brodie passes that test, and is given a better job. Maguire questions us, "had I been promoted to a job with the gang that was raiding the London docks, or was I simply being promoted to an accident?"
He briefs a female Ghost Squad contact, even though he's being closely watched by the gang. Then at last, he is offered 50 to assist in a robbery. Now. So how can he warn the police? At the height of the raid at the docks, he pretends to kick a felled watchman and borrows a phone. But no sooner has he picked up the phone than he's rumbled. Maguire finishes two of the crooks off but Scott, the boss, drives off with the loot. However, some quick thinking from the watchman causes the lorry to crash into the river just as the police arrive, late as usual.
Farrel steps out of his police car, "the air round here is smelling better already!"

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FIFTY THOUSAND HANDS
After 6 months in London Maguire joins a county constabulary (in the county town of Letchford).
He is assisted by Inspector Bill Gates (John Warwick).

"The watchman caught me at it!" He has to be shot in a 9,000 hold up at United Plastics. This gives Jack Bingham (Bill Fraser) a problem, since his partner Jeff (William Hartnell) is badly injured and cannot walk. So Jack calls an ambulance to the crime scene and with professional aid gets Jeff carried to an ambulance which he then neatly nicks.
Maguire discovers the abandoned vehicle. A tramp informs Maguire he saw the pair transferring to a Morris Minor heading in the Letchford direction.
Jeff is in a bad way, so Jack breaks into Letchford Hospital to steal some morphia, but theft turns to murder when he's forced to strangle a nurse who spots him at it.
"He and his wounded pal are somewhere in this town," notes Maguire, so after placing a cordon around the whole area, he proposes a novel action, "without precedent in the annals of British crime," that of fingerprinting the entire town, population 25,000, hence the title of this film.
The Chief Constable arranges for this to be done, and somehow everyone is cooperative, but what happens when the fingerprint man arrives at Jack's hideout? Jeff's prints are taken as Jack thinks they aren't looking for him. But they are. He'd accidentally left his prints in the hospital.
Maguire and Gates zoom off to 8 Croxley Gardens. A final chase enlivens the tale. Jack flees by crashing his Morris Minor out of his garage. Some hope of escaping the cops with those wheels! The police Wolseley has soon caught him up, and resorting to a foot race, Jack struggling with Maguire, rolls down into a steep quarry and is arrested.
A straightfaced Maguire comments as 24,999 sets of prints are ceremoniously burned, "without public goodwill any police force is licked"
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24 Hours a Day

I have this on 35mm film.
When it has been transferred, I will publish my review.

Red Caldwell, a well known villain from Maguire's own country, plans to rob a British bank in the City of London.
But Maguire recognises him and non stop surveillance is keep on the crook

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BARGE BURGLARS
"Why do I work with fools?" moans Harry Fowler referring to his crooked gang of thieves. Might he also have been referring to the one-scene supporting cast whose feeble acting does not match the assured style of the main participants?
Maguire is attached to D Division.
His assistant is Det. Sgt Frank Bellamy (Richard Bebb).

Standing, or perhaps loafing, at the corner of the street, is shifty looking Sandy (Harry Fowler). With his accomplices, they don their masks, robbing a goods depot and making their unique escape on a Regent's Canal barge. Suddenly they look just like tourists.
Maguire checks out anyone who might have inside knowledge about the firm, and one, Patrick Donovan, seems suspicious as he's flitted his digs without paying the rent. When he's traced he runs away, but straight into the path of a lorry, and he is no more.
20,000 is stolen from a clothing factory. "No car," observes the factory owner which turns Maguire's attentions to the nearby canal.
One of the gang, Maxie, starts spending his stolen money and shooting his mouth off with two girls, but by the time Maguire and Bellamy are on to him, the gang is out on a last job, a second floor Mooney Street office. Maguire tails them in a police car, they apparently oblivious of his presence. When the crooks do run off, they make for their usual barge, where Maguire delivers some hefty punches before the rest of London's police force descends to arrest them.
Pronounces the pompous Maguire, "there's no end to the inventiveness of the criminal mind. That's why this is one job you can never afford to go to sleep on"
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EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
Introduction: "Perhaps the one thing which makes the British police force unique among law enforcement agencies of the world is the fact that its officers don't carry guns. But desperate criminals sometimes call for desperate measures- there's always the exception to the rule." Maguire is attached to Z Division. His assistant is Sgt Wilson (Gordon Bell).
Paul Whitsun-Jones plays the leader of a gang of 3 whose modus operandi is to commit 3 robberies in quick succession then flee the country via the nearest airport or port. After a holdup at an export company in Croydon, they shoot dead a bank messenger in Purley, and then head for a Redhill factory making remote controls.
Descriptions of the crooks suggest they are foreigners. Maguire spots the pattern from previous jobs. They must be making for Gatwick Airport, so he sets up roadblocks, but the trigger happy crooks burst through one, shooting wildly. In Pulborough Lane Chelsham they shoot dead a patrolman who has apprehended them. A constable on his bike spots the trio entering the factory and phones for help. Maguire zooms up, "there are a lot of people in that factory and those guys don't care whom they shoot."
The crooks are chased around the premises, before finding a hiding place in the caretaker's room.
"The place is surrounded!" shouts Maguire (no megaphones here!). "Throw down your guns... you haven't a chance." Their response is in the style of the cowboys, keep shooting, so as there is "only one language they understand," Maguire puts in the urgent request for firearms. While he shunts a passing locomotive into an ideal location for an assault on the caretaker's room, they escape through the now evacuated factory. One is shot, one caught, the last runs away but good old Maguire rugby tackles him.

A lot of bad driving can be seen in this film. The crooks who at one point, even though Gatwick is southwards are "heading north," crash the gears of several cars. Worse when Maguire's police car NLN820 is backed, it hits something! No wonder later Maguire is in a different car, the one seen most frequently in the series, MXC334
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MOTOR BIKE BANDITS
Maguire is attached to X Division.
His assistant is Det.Sgt Leonard (Richard Bebb).

A novel way of robbing offices has been devised by an ingenious gang. You stand on the roof of a stolen van, point your gun through a first floor office window and steal the payroll. Then make your getaway in the van, quickly abandoning it for motor bikes.
Thus we watch as van LMY564 drives up to Hexton and Elliot's offices, and the 8,000 payroll is stolen. The Phoenix van is abandoned as the crooks zoom off across fields on their motorcycles. Then to a motor cycle scramble to establish an alibi. While Maguire is still puzzling out how they got away, they're preparing another job, a rent collection agency. Maguire works out how they operate and that they use a woman accomplice just as we see the trio locate a suitable removal van (in the scene it's shown as Tennison Avenue - in Borehamwood).
At the motorcycle scramble meeting Maguire learns one rider, Kemp, has gone awol, along with his mechanic Groves. Then they hear the van has been stolen from outside 97 Bolster Lane, to where Maguire rushes to interview the plump lady who saw it all.
There's an alert out for a Joseph Barnes Hammersmith van, but Maguire's one step behind the crooks who at this moment are smashing a first floor office window. The robbery ends with a shooting. Maguire somehow anticipates where they're heading for, to switch to their bikes. Idly waiting at the side of a road, the girl, Sue is waiting, and there's the van, but the two villains flee across the fields. Maguire's motorcycle cops follow but not close enough. Last seen down the Wembley road. Police cars and bikes flash after their quarry.
The crooks have only one chance, hide in the old Wembley Stadium. "We're trapped, there's no way out," groans Groves pretty obviously, as the police arrive. With a loudhailer, Maguire shouts in confirmation, "you haven't got a chance of getting out."
Groves gives himself up leaving Kemp to shoot it out- just as well there's no soccer match going on! Maguire does that old circle round and attack from the rear trick, and overpowers Kemp.
With the football pitch as a backdrop, Maguire ends with some more words of wisdom for his sergeant

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Rex Langmaid kindly provided this synopsis of

35 Rat Trap
Det. Sergeant Hadley, investigating organised crime, is lured by a sandwich-board man (Pete Ashley's brother Joe in disguise) to a derelict warehouse where Pete Ashley (Sydney Tafler) and his gang trick him into runnling through a loading door to his death.
Maguire questions Sawyer, another gang boss who has been intimidated by Pete Ashley and his henchman Tiny. Sawyer lets slip a comment about a man wearing built-up heels.
Later Inspector Maguire and Sergeant Stevens see Ben Cotton collecting the sandwich boards Joe left outside the warehouse, and follow him to the Koolkat Club owned by Pete Ashley. They notice that Joe Ashley is wearing high heeled shoes, recalling Sawyer's comment about built-up heels. When they go to question Cotton (not a gang member but an employee) at his home they learn he has died in an "accident."
Maguire, frustrated that everybody is afraid to talk about the Ashleys, goes round London offering a reward to anybody who tells him about a man with high heels, hoping to be lured into the same trap that Hadley fell into. Joe disguised as a sandwich board man accosts him and leads him to the warehouse while two of Ashley's thugs ambush detectives following him. Maguire, having recognised Joe, pushes him into the room where Pete Ashley and his strong-arm man Tiny are waiting, and Tiny coshes Joe in error.
In the fight that follows a knife-wielding Pete Ashley falls through the fatal door but leaves Maguire hanging on its hook. Stevens and the detectives, having dealt with Ashley's thugs, arrive in time to stop Tiny finishing Maguire off.
As Maguire and Stevens are congratulating themselves for a job well-done an announcement is coming over the radio about another assignment...

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