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Plays: BBC Plays Armchair Theatre Other ITV Plays
Probation Officer Harpers West One The Plane Makers The Power Game Love Story Virgin of the SS Honey Lane Blackmail Our Mutual Friend Long Way Home
Dr Finlay's Casebook Taxi! Count of Monte Cristo The Troubleshooters The Flying Swan Counterstrike Jezebel ex UK Out of This World Undermind Mystery & Imagination Skyport Knight Errant Saki Maupassant City '68

Colour code in the above chart only:

BBC ATV A-R ABC Granada . . . For studio based crime series . . Soap Operas . . . . . To MAIN TV Menu

A production I did not see:

Laudes Evangelii (March 31st 1961, A-R)
An ambitious production of a miracle play inspired by Byzantine mosaics and the canticles of medieval Italy.
Leonide Massine was choreographer, collaborating with producer Joan Kemp-Welch on an adaptation of his ballet for tv. A huge set was created, an impression of a large church with great golden domes. The work was in two parts, firstly realistic scenes freely based on Giotto's frescoes, then cameras progress down the aisles to the high altar under the dome and the scene of the crucifixion. Finally for the resurrection, the dome becomes encircled by great golden angels.
The principals were April Cantelo (soprano), Jean Allister (contralto), Ronald Lewis (baritone) and Victor Godfrey (bass).

Which of the programmes listed above was hosted by Boris Karloff? Was it Out Of This World, Dr Finlay's Casebook, or Virgin of the SS?
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. . . . . . . . . . . . Armchair Theatre
please click for my review-
2.2
Now Let Him Go 2.23 The Lady Of The Camellias 2.29 The Emperor Jones 2.38 The Widower 3.5 I Can Destroy the Sun 3.9 The Greatest Man in the World
3.16 The Criminals 3.53 Scent Of Fear 3.54 After the Show 3.55 Worm In The Bud 3.65 Doctor Kabil 3.69 Lord Arthur Savile's Crime 3.70 Where I Live
3.85 A Night Out 4.3 Lena O My Lena 4.8 My Representative 4.14 The Cupboard 4.26 The Big Deal 4.27 The Man Out There 4.31 Danger, Men Working
4.36 The Ship that Couldn't Stop 4.41 The Omega Mystery 4.46 The Trouble with Our Ivy 4.50 Night Conspirators 4.55 The Hard Knock 4.57 The Fishing Match
4.60 Afternoon of a Nymph 4.70 The Paradise Suite 4.72 The Invasion 4.80 The Snag 4.87 The Chocolate Tree 4.88 Long Past Glory 4.90 The Swindler
4.91 Sharp at Four 4.92 Last Word on Julie 5.1 The Trial of Dr Fancy 5.2 The Cherry On The Top 5.6 The Importance of Being Earnest 5.9 The Hothouse
5.16 I Took My Little World Away 5.19 The Man who came to Die 6.6 Neighbours 6.10 The Night Before The Morning After 6.11 Don't Utter a Note
6.21 The Noise Stopped 6.22 Dead Silence 7.2 A Magnum for Schneider 7.3 What's Wrong with Humpty Dumpty? 7.6 Reason For Sale 7.11 Call me Daddy
8.1 Compensation Alice 8.14 Mrs Capper's Birthday 9.8 Edward The Confessor
MYSTERY THEATRE: 1.5 Toff and Fingers 2.2 The Blackmailing of Mr S 3.4 Man and Mirror

An actor was once quoted as remarking- "the way ABC talks about their Armchair Theatre, you'd think they were creating another Hamlet. How is it then their plays are so bad?" Yes, this was a popular judgement at the time, and I must admit I always avoided the series, especially when it went through what critics regarded as its golden era (1958-1962) under the direction of the brilliant Sydney Newman, whose name became almost synonymous with the jibe Kitchen Sink.
Nevertheless, it has to be admitted Newman built up a talented team of writers who understood the demands of the new medium of television, and who were not merely writing theatrical or film scripts. Amongst these were Harold Pinter and Alun Owen. But more than this, Newman discovered directors who could mould a tv screen in a new way, amongst these were William 'Ted' Kotcheff and Philip Saville.
When Leonard White took over the reins in 1962, he made the series more accessible while managing to retain the unique feel to many individual plays, and the 'glorious disasters' under Newman's reign were eliminated. Perhaps however also, the brilliance of the Newman era had also departed.
ABC made a total of 373 plays, though the series did continue under ABC's successors, Thames TV. There were also 34 additional plays in Armchair Mystery Theatre.

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Now Let Him Go (15th September 1957).
Script: JB Priestley. Director: Dennis Vance.

Only Hugh Griffith could roll his eyes thus. He's a most confused passenger on a late night train that has arrived at the terminus of Scroop. The unusually helpful staff take him to the Railway Arms, where he is put to bed, a local doctor examining him.
He's actually the famous painter Simon Kendall, who knows his "time is running out." A bevy of press surround the pub, where his family descends, though it transpires he'd been trying to escape from them. There's his pompous son Edmund (William Mervyn) a politician, and his drunken daughter. It's significant they do not go to see him for ages, but merely chat in the back room of the pub. The queen's physician attends, and lots of miscellaneous "zombies."
Granddaughter Felicity (June Thorburn) is more welcome, she listens to the old man and agrees to help him in whatever way the muddled old chap wishes. Kendall has taken a liking to the dogsbody at the pub, Tommy (Gerald Lawson, a kind of Wilfred Lawson clone), who has recommended Simon entrusts the estranged son of the landlord, Stan, with this unspecified job. Another to help is Nurse Judith (Ursula Howells), a widow, who also responds to his ramblings. She has to, so do we, "I want a new heaven, a new earth."
Yet another caller is Leo, the dealer who agrees to sell all Kendall's remaining paintings, currently estimated to be worth around 150,000. But it is not yet decided who will inherit them. More relevantly, Simon can't remember where they are. He is sure he had them with him on the train...
What the author is struggling to say, the loneliness of dying, is all too trite and obvious, not to say sad. The "dreadful noise" of a trombone practising in the background a lot of the time just adds to our depression. Maybe it's Edmund's attitude, seeking to get immediate control of his father's estate and those paintings. But Felicity and Stan race to find them first.
As they do so, Simon spends his last hours forgetting his pain and sorting out the problems of others. But the crisis comes when his son demands he sign over his affairs. The tired old man refuses, ranting against administrators like solicitors.
At last the paintings are found by Felicity. Now Simon can "stop worrying." To his doctor he hands his will, in which Felicity, and oddly Stan, inherit all. And the painting he is completing on his deathbed is given to kind Nurse Judith.
More dreadful trombone music, playing Now The Day Is Over. Viewers still watching must have wondered how Priestley could have earned his reputation. Those that were still awake that is.

Critical plaudits were thin on the ground at the time also. "Mr Priestley may know how to write for the stage but I don't think he has mastered the technique of writing for tv" ... "Mr Priestley is still preaching but he cannot get away with it on TV as he can on the stage. His characters must be more vital"
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The Lady of the Camellias (16th February 1958, 9.35pm)

Script adapted by Norman Ginsbury and Jacques Sarch from the story by Alexander Dumas. Director: George More O'Ferrall who was, claimed Ann Todd, responsible for getting this fine actress to perform this celebrated title role.

Stagey, but the plot moves with a satisfying pace, the fine camerawork focussing, in the style of the era, on the facial expressions of the cast.

The talk is all of Marguerite (Ann Todd), once a shop assistant, now "dressed like a princess," moving amongst wealthy admirers, a duke, a count and the wealthy Arthur de Varville (Douglas Wilmer). She toys with them all.
Armand Duval (David Knight) is entranced by her. "He loves you more than anyone else in Paris." And she is smitten by him. But in the best melodramatic tradition, she is prey to a degenerating disease and her sombre private moods contrast with the gaiety of her public profile. Her tragedy is summed up when she poses the hopeless question to her lover, "what happiness can I bring you?"
Thus the seeds of the crisis are set. Further, she is in debt, Arthur will pay them off, so will the count, but the price will be Armand's estrangement, and she cannot face that. Instead she pawns her possessions and she smiles "I'm happier than I ever dared to hope."
But her past reputation returns to haunt her from an unexpected source. Armand's father (Henry Oscar) warns her that Armand's sister cannot marry her rich fiance, with a girl of Marguerite's reputation such a shadow on Armand's family. In the best vein of Victorian moralism, Armand's father puts it rather plainly, "will Armand learn to love you when your beauty begins to fade?" Then the tortuous logic: to prove she really loves him, is she prepared to give him up?
In the fashion of those times, she resigns her love for him for a nobler cause. The modern viewer finds this hard to accept, more so when the score is settled by a duel. Thus Arthur engages with Armand.
As she lies in bed, wasting away, hope drained, her estranged lover returns to her, all crises in the past, misunderstandings miraculously resolved. "Snatch our happiness while we can," is one well-worn line. However one crisis cannot be avoided: "I want to live," she cries nobly, but alas, "so easy to die," as she swoons away in his arms. Yes this was true melodrama, but nicely presented for the tv age

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Emperor Jones
Adapted from the 1920 Eugene O'Neill play. Director: William Kotcheff.

A camera pans along a long corridor into a large room with a primitive throne. It is that of Brutus Jones, self styled Emperor, who exerts doubtful power for his own financial benefit. Smithers (Harry H Corbett) is an unshaven white cockney trader who is not unhappy that the natives are revolting. The Emperor (Kenneth Spencer in the Paul Robeson role) has a dubious past as we learn from his extremely long conversation with Smithers.
But Jones is now self satisfied in his power. "All I do is ring de bell and dey come flying." Yet not today. The drums are beating a war dance, "take more than that to scare this chicken." He struts off down the corridor, where one unfortunate stage hand lurks, leaving Smithers alone by the throne.
Jones is passing through the large studio woods- considering the confines the props are well moved around to create new scenes, though I did spot one stage hand in the background! Jones is becoming ever more edgy, hallucinating. Firstly he sees Charlie with the dice, he relives the moment they fought, the action done in semi slow motion like a ballet. Similar treatment is given to the chain gang, as Jones is brutalised by a white man, whom he kills. At a meeting with semi religious overtones, he sees a slave being sold, now it's his turn- BANG! He's a free man.
Now wilder, sweatier, he sees himself on the slave ship, then with a sound mike following him, he follows a witch doctor who draws him to a fire around which start dancing the restless natives. Something like a 30's musical, the novelty does wear thin, but it finally comes to a climax with ritual slaughter. Smithers shows up as the bullets are trained at Jones. The corpse with the silver bullet is carried on stage, "where's your high and mighty airs now?"

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The Widower

The play starts in the Cafe des Deux Chats where a lonely man is eyeing a young girl. He is rich Paul Marly and after picking up the lady's handbag and returning it to her, returns to his opulent home. But she shows up, to return the pearls he had hidden in her handbag. She is Juliet (Maggie Smith) and wants to know why he should do such a thing.
In short, he needs a wife. He relates how his fiancee had just two timed him, his one desire was to ditch the pearls. He wants her to keep them.
Film of what is a whirlwind romance follows. Several of these brief filmed interludes seem unnecessary, but presumably necessary for the actors to get their breath in a live production.

Gilbert (John Cairney) is Marly's secretary. He has been a friend, a very close friend of Juliet's. Marly knows it and offers Gilbert a raise in salary. Marly's motives are always enigmatic. As for Juliet, it is now clear her marriage was a mistake, for Paul is "too self centred," and she quickly falls for Gilbert. When Paul has to go to London on business, the die is cast. Gilbert is the one to make up for the deficiencies in her married life. In fact, Paul goes away often on business, very conveniently for the two lovers.
She is nearly very happy, except for the straitjacket he has placed her in. She tells him she wants to leave him. He scoffs and departs on another trip.
That evening she lays a diner a deux, but it is Paul who unexpectedly returns. It transpires he has had her watched all this time. He knows. That decides her she will definitely leave him. He cannot countenance that- think of his reputation.
When Gilbert turns up for dinner, he finds her strangled. Gilbert's own scarf has been used. Then Paul shows up. Though Gilbert is the clear suspect, he realises it is Paul who has disposed of her. Paul phones the police and stages a scene where Gilbert ostensibly attacks him and has to be shot.
Paul relaxes in an armchair to await the arrival of the the law. In typical Armchair style, it is left up to us to foresee the next scene. Cyril Campion's play has some merit in Kenneth Hyde's portrayal of the urbane killer, but drifted into a conventional crime drama whereas it could have explored deeper the married couple's doomed relationship

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"Live from Manchester," written by Jimmy Sangster. Directed by Wilfrid Eades:
I Can Destroy the Sun (12 October 1958)

These are the cryptic words sent in a letter to a government official. "Mark it unbalanced anonymous," declares civil servant Henry Walpole (John Barron).
But others have received similar warnings, and not just in Britain, for Petrov of the Russian lot, and Boardman (Robert Ayres) of the USA have been equally perturbed by such communications. And this occurs immediately after talks between the superpowers "have just broken down" over agreement on limiting the H bomb.
Travers of MI5 (Leslie Sands) has received a more detailed letter, convincing him "this is no hoax." Dr Peter Lunn (Maurice Denham) of the Tipston Observatory confirms the writer is no crackpot, for Lunn himself has already witnessed the recent destruction of a minor star, Phobos. The ultimatum is- get agreement on the H bomb within 4 days or else.... Travers gets an ultimatum too: "find that man!" A hard task for he has "nothing to go on at all."
To keep up the pressure, the crank announces he is going to destroy another small stellar body, Atheos. This will surely concentrate the minds of those conducting the talks! Yet the question has to be asked: what would happen if the sun were to be destroyed? Lunn paints a "very serious" scenario- temperature loss, oxygen "non-existent," leading to asphyxia, crust of the earth splitting, earth flung into outer space. Pretty final, in fact.
Spurred by such a peril, Travers feels justified in giving the US and Soviet delegates a lecture on their immorality. It sums up the aim of the play. They must wake up to their responsibilities and stop merely talking and talking. But herein lies the weakness of this play, for it itself is too wordy, the improbable threats of the crank are never given any real visual impact. But perhaps the words are enough: "in 15 to 20 years time our atmosphere... will be so filthy with radiation that our grandchildren will be born into a world of deformity, mutation."
Thus international peace is secured.
But the madman has not been traced. His invention could itself destabilise the world. He and it must be found.
Travers questions "the person who can see what no other human can see," Dr Lunn. In his observatory he'd worked up this whole scheme. We hear about it in this overlong coda. "I wrote those letters..." All prompted by his own desperate concern for the future of the planet. "Already," he warns Travers presciently, "our weather pattern has begun to change..." ah- you've heard that since, haven't you?

This is a typical Jimmy Sangster script - was it left over from his Hammer days?

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The Greatest Man In The World
Script: Reuben Ship. Director: William Kotcheff.

When is a hero not a hero?
3 years into the future, 1961, and America mourns the death of Jack 'Pal' Smurch (Patrick McGoohan). The President (Donald Pleasence) pays tribute to The First Man on the Moon. He praises Smurch's "flawless integrity" though his inner thoughts reveal a different tale.
Actually the moon voyage had not been official, in a rocket designed by a discredited scientist. A reporter fills the president in on Smurch's background.
His old teacher calls him a sadistic monster. He has a criminal record. A press release is utterly different, It praises an American triumph.
Once safely returned to Earth, we finally meet the loudmouthed Smurch at a press conference. "I am king of the world," he boasts, it is evident that nothing of what he says could be printed. Twice his reception to his public has to be postponed. Smurch becomes ever more restless, a virtual prisoner.
Top experts attempt to instruct him as to how a hero should conduct himself. Wearing a general's uniform, he is introduced to the president and there is immediate friction. "I'll say anything I wanna."
The modesty and self effacement that becomes the true hero is completely missing. All he dreams of is money- from endorsements, interviews. As he goes to address his public, he falls over the balcony, or more precisely, is pushed

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The Criminals (December 28th 1958)
Script: Malcolm Hulke and Eric Paice. Director: James Ferman.

A contemporary verdict from Margaret Cowan- "The whole thing is incredible. The action, motivation and execution of the plot are all artificial. It fails to convince and it fails to move. Stanley Baker gives a strong performance as a forceful leader... but it was a losing battle with an unconvincing script."

My own review:
A New Year's Eve party at the office is interrupted by escaped convict Dorell (S Baker). Managing director Crawford (Raymond Huntley), Foley (Allan Cuthbertson), Stone (Peter Swanwick) and Saunders (Frederick Bartman) are forced to help the criminal steal 200,000 from the next door bank. "This is preposterous," correctly shouts the upper class Crawford, and tries to phone home. Dorell pulls out the phone wire adding darkly, "I just saved Mrs Crawford's life." His partner Harry has taken each of the men's loved ones hostage.
It's fine contrast between the executives and the rough unshaven criminal, even if the premise seems rather far fetched. Pinstripes doing the digging! The four strong management team have to excavate a tunnel to the bank to Dorell's barking orders. Whilst Dorell shores up the tunnel, Foley proposes the obvious- phone the police. They don't. A bobby on the beat joins the nightwatchman for a celebratory drink, unaware of the drama in the next room.
Dorell offers the four a cut from the bank, for he knows each of them has financial problems. He's learned that much from the weakest member, Stone. It turns out it's been a complete bluff about the hostages, but this knowledge comes too late for the men, for Dorell now orders them with his gun. As they are now accomplices, he promises them his silence, and even provides them with alibis.
The crisis reaches a head when the nightwatchman has to be blindfolded and tied up. There is no turning back now for The Criminals. But why these fairly upright men are still assisting is dubious- and is a very weak point of the plot.
The New Year rings out, coinciding with the explosion that opens the vault. But this aspect of the play is never exciting or plausible and the characters of the businessmen needed more detailed delineation to explain their motives. For all these reasons, I was not absorbed, even though Stanley Baker is always watchable.
Sacks of cash are passed along the tunnel. "All this money," swoons Stone. Dorell teases them by handing Foley then Crawford his gun. They can't shoot him, and it must be admitted they did have their chances to stop the robbery. Dorell intends to join the four on their planned private plane trip to Germany, but he realises he's left a clue at the bank, and as he retraces his way along the tunnel, it just has to collapse, killing him. The four men argue over what to do, contact the police or grab the money and run. When they find the nightwatchman has amazingly died, it's murder, and flight is their only option. Their reactions at this point are the best part of the story, even though their actual predicament is unbelievable. Criminals always fall out over the loot, and so it is here. The local bobby interrupts the argument and Crawford gets his friends arrested and walks off with some of the loot

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Scent of Fear
Script: Ted Willis: Director: John Moxey.
Comments from 1959 by critic Guy Taylor- "Armchair Theatre returned for its autumn season with a new opening (still not good enough) and a new play - it was not Willis at his best. The first act was excellent, with plenty of tension and first class acting. After the first interval, however, the play suddenly faltered and came to pieces in the third act. This was mainly due to the fact that there were too many revelations all at once."

Most of the action is set on board British World Airways special flight to London, leaving from an Iron Curtain country with 5 VIPs on board, six if a wanted man can get on board. Karl (Neil McCallum) is seeking political asylum, and the air hostess Joan (Dorothy Tutin) takes a liking to him and stows him on board.
Complications! Two extra passengers, Col Kralik, Commissioner of Police (Anthony Quayle) and his wife. He sets Joan on edge. "I wish you a pleasant trip," she bids passengers automatically, but nervously. Kralik in the manner of communist police chats to Joan, though to her it's an interrogation. "You're impulsive," he tells her, as he claims to be an expert in discerning if people are telling the truth. The tension isn't really sustained however, as the faintly irritating Kralik keeps on probing, speculating and supporting his communist ethic.
But this play is all about Joan who's more flustered the longer the trip lasts, still flying over communist soil. Even the crew have noticed it, for normally "if we came down in the drink, she'd make hot coffee and dish it out with the lifejackets."
"Why are you afraid?" the colonel comes out with it at last. "Fear has its own aroma," he tells her, adding that too familar line about answering the questions. Then a surprise! One passenger, Sten, reveals he's from the secret police and starts to question Kralik. "This is a British plane," protests Joan to no avail, as Sten institutes a search for the escaped man.
Orders for the plane to turn back and land on communist soil. But another shock. Kralik rebels. It seems he's been planning to defect. He castigates the secret police for their gestapo-like techniques. Yes, Kralik is a proper communist, fed up with the current regime. "I apologise in the name of my country for this man," he says of Sten. It's Willis' comment on communism. But he also gives the British attitude to communism: "maybe it's because we're all so ruddy indifferent that this sort of thing happens."
This is a strong finish, for now the plane is able to fly serenely on its way to freedom.

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After The Show
Script: Angus Wilson. Director: William Kotcheff.

Maurice (Jeremy Spenser) has been to a play with his grandmother. He is one of the angry young men in an upper class sort of way. According to her, all he really needs is a girl. Hermione Baddeley dominated this scene. We learn Uncle Victor had gone off with a twenty year old model called Sybil (Ann Lynn). News comes that this girl has tried to kill herself. Despite his gran's orders, the ideallist Maurice insists on going to help this "slut."
Her room is a contrast to the opulent surroundings Maurice dwells in. Sybil puts it on for Maurice's benefit, the tears, the fact that she is expecing an unwanted baby. He is right out of his comfort zone. He does kiss her on the lips.
Maurice deals with the landlord who is mollified by the promise of being given the rent owing. Maurice also arranges for the room to be decorated.
She discusses her "sordid" life with him, he is able to see she has been spinning him a pack of lies. 'Tis her cry to get away from her life. In his own way, Maurice is also anxious to break out of his comfortable lifestyle. They get philosophical, "do you think anything good ever lasts?" It's what the play tries to ask as she relates her meandering meaningless life story.
"Are you sure everything you're telling me is true?" he questions. He kisses her again.
Later he returns with a bunch of flowers, she is more cheery and undresses as he looks shyly away, then tarts herself up so they can go to a club. He is out of his depth when Uncle Victor shows up and she smooches up to him. He soon leaves to take his gran to see My Fair Lady.
Afterwards, they return home and talk once more. He waits for the phone to ring. He is supposed to have learned about himself. We haven't learned anything

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Doctor Kabil (6 December 1959)
Script by Gil Winfield, directed by Charles Jarrott.

In the title role is Peter Illing, who is on screen for most of the play and gives a strong performance in a melodramatic story.
Dr Gerard Kabil is an eminent dedicated surgeon, whose wife is a vociferous supporter of the Algerian rebel cause. His loyalties are taxed when he is required to operate on the seriously wounded oil baron Corrazzi after he has been shot by a sniper. For it's this crooked millionaire's money that is keeping the government in power.
Security chiefs refuse to allow Kabil to operate when they appreciate his dilemma, but there is noone else, and, warns the doctor, "if you move him, you will kill him." Whilst a sample of Corrazzi's rare blood group is located, the investigation into Kabil's bona fides is urgently prosecuted.
Kabil's difficulty is exacerbated when he learns his daughter is the man's attacker. Jacqueline is only sorry her bullet hasn't finished off this evil millionaire- "I am going to finish what I've started," she tells her father. "He should be dead!"
So the question is- will Kabil act as a doctor and save his patient, or, as Jacqueline urges, as a true Algerian, and act unhippocratically. When she realises she is to be thwarted, she tries to break into Corrazzi's room, but her father pushes her aside and to Kabil's consternation police chase her. A gunshot. Wounded, she hides in her father's surgery whilst he prepares for the imminent operation. Local police chief (Leslie Sands) discovers her there, but she eludes him, murder in her eyes. Wending her way to the operating theatre, a policeman shoots her down.
Though Kabil knows in his heart of hearts that his daughter needs help, he continues his task of removing Corrazzi's bullet. It's no good anyway- "she's dying." With the patient finally able to hold his own, Kabil is left to reflect on his daughter's tragedy. Corrazzi's money has bought about his own child's death

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Lord Arthur Savile's Crime
Script by Constance Cox from an Oscar Wilde short story. Director: Alan Cooke.
A delicious cast and wonderful script full of witty one liners, hardly your typical Armchair Theatre, perhaps with but a single fault, it could have performed with one less murder attempt.

At Lady Clementina's party, all society is amused by the fortune teller Podgers (Arthur Lowe). The flighty Sybil threatens to break off their engagement, unless Lord Arthur (Terry Thomas) has his palm read. Privately Podgers informs his lordship that "I saw blood." That is, at some unspecified date, it is written that Lord Arthur will commit a murder. He decides he must do it at once, before he marries even.
He consults his man Baynes. A victim or "client" must needs be found. They settle on a relative. As Aunt Clementine is very old, it is to be her. A subtle poison is the best method. Posing as Mr Smith, Lord Arthur buys a poison for his dog. Wrapped in chocolate, the sweet is given to his aunt.
After the funeral Lord Arthur tells Sybil that "nothing can come between us now." But he finds the fatal chocolate is untouched, his aunt had died of natural causes. Another wedding postponement sees the engagement broken off. So he enlists the aid of a foreign gentleman (Eric Pohlman) who is "a humanitarian anarchist." The new client is to be an uncle, the Dean of Paddington.
Dynamite is the preferred weapon, an exploding umbrella. But when the dean fails to take this, he is sent an exploding clock, that will blow up at noon. That fails.
Sybil's overbearing mother is the next target. The anarchist demonstrates to Lord Arthur how to smother her. He demonstrates on Lord Arthur and nearly kills him. They fix an invisible thread at the top of the stairs. A crashing noise. The anarchaist has fallen into his own trap. Not quite dead, unfortunately. Disillusioned, Lord Arthur gives it all up.
Podgers however offers a final opportunity. He has discerned these fruitless murder attempts of Lord Arthur and blackmails him, "you nasty little man." Hand over the money tonight by Cleopatras' Needle. It's too good a chance to miss, and Podgers is pushed into the river. However actually another blackmail victim had already stabbed him.
Not knowing this, Lord Arthur is happily free to wed at long last. News reaches him that Podgers had not drowned, he had been knifed. The failure drives Lord Arthur to consider Uncle Jasper, who as he is about to be murdered reveals the startling information that Podgers has been exposed as a charlatan.
The finish is perhaps more true to Armchair Theatre, but it is open ended enough to imagine the best

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Where I Live (10 January 1960)
Script: Clive Exton. Director: William Kotcheff

This melodrama is pure Kitchen Sink, a reminder of working class values when the woman used to do all the cooking and washing, yes and the ironing too. It's a study of family tensions revolving round the thorny problem of caring for an elderly father. The dialogue is gritty and common and true to life, except for one confrontation which Madge Ryan suddenly turns into a stagey exchange which exposes the whole for what it is- thoroughly unreal. The issue however is serious enough though Exton can offer only the problem, no answer. The drama ignites with the visit of the upwardly mobile brother of Jessy (Ruth Dunning). George (Lloyd Lamble) with his wife Vi (Madge Ryan) oddly echo George and Mildred's Esher inlaws, only this story has naturally no humour.
Before their arrival, there's a well constructed introduction to the characters: Jessy and her husband Bert (Robert Brown), whose name sums up his ordinariness. Dad (Paul Curran) is sitting in the kitchen, bored. Jessy is clearly at breaking point with his presence. George and Vi are coming!- this will relieve some of the gloom for Dad looks on George as "a little tin god," a self employed shopkeeper who has made something of his life, unlike stuck-in-a-rut Bert.
Jessy is determined to discuss dad's future with her brother and sister-in-law. It's their turn to look after Dad. After much inconsequential chatting, Jessy finally seizes the opportunity, as Dad takes his afternoon nap.
Jessy: "We wondered if you'd like to take him for a bit."
Vi: "Take him?"
Jessy spells it out. George is doubtful, Vi says it's "out of the question." Awkward silence.
Dad awakes, and over tea, Jessy forces the issue with him present. "I wouldn't mind that," decides Dad. But George's excuses about being too busy at work are understandable- in Dad's eyes.
Alone with Dad at the kitchen sink (yes, she's washing up), Jessy makes dad face up to why George won't take him. But he can't see the truth and Jessy explodes: "If you think that George is something so marvellous, I don't know why you don't go down and live with him.... your precious George wouldn't have you." She goads him into putting that question directly to George. "I can see where I am not wanted," cries Dad who informs George he's coming to live with him.
Showdown. George claims that at the moment he's just too occupied at work. As the family argue, the camera closes in on Dad, wounded.
He resolves to leave, just leave. Though Jessy has succeeded in showing George up, she realises it's been too hard on Dad. With bad grace George escorts Dad away. The parting shot is of George and Vi driving away, without a word, Dad in the back seat

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A Night Out (24 April 1960)
Script: Harold Pinter, directed by Philip Saville.
A pretentious study of a spinster and her smother love for her only son Albert.

The whine of mother's voice sets the tone of the play. Against all mother's wishes, Albert wants to go out to a works do. She's unreasonable, selfish, using his late father's memory to stifle Albert's existence, warning him not to lead "an unclean life." Various delaying tactics from mother as Albert, in silence, attempts to get ready to leave. She blathers on as he finally departs.
He joins up with two coarse mates, to whom we have previously been introduced in a far too long scene. Predictably, they tease him about his mother.
Act Two is old Mr Ryan's retirement party, at the home of boss Mr King (Arthur Lowe). One of Albert's mates persuades Eileen to "lead him a dance," Albert that is. He's something of a fish out of water in the social chit-chat, though "he's not bad looking when you get close." A moment of embarrassment when Eileen screams "he took a liberty." Mr Ryan's clebrations are marred as Albert walks out, but colleagues follow, ordering him to apologise. What for, asks the aggrieved Albert. The inevitable jibe is stuck into their fight "mother's boy!"
Midnight sees Albert crawling home, to mother's speculation he's been "messing about with girls." She dishes up a meal, and a lecture. Albert sits quietly taking it all in, as the camera zooms in on him. Sacrifice she is going on and on about, as he cracks.
Act Three finds Albert on the dark street. A woman picks him up, and they go to her home. Whilst he listens, yes, the usual pattern, she talks, justifying her position. When he does get in a word, he spins a line about being in films, assistant director even. Though this scene seems improbable, it makes some sense when we understand the woman is broke, in need of cash, though unlike today's fare, Pinter gives us nothing gratuitous. As she starts undressing, he cracks again under her incessant babble. "You never stop talking," he rants, rather truthfully. Incoherently he shouts out his own problems until he finds the strength to order her about, for once a master. Then he exits leaving her on the floor. Weird. Perhaps he decides it's a case of the devil you know.
As day breaks it's back to mother. Of course she's awake to greet him. "Do you know what time it is?" She complains and pleads in her whinging tones as an exhausted and silent Albert suffers, not uttering a word.

This is certainly a brilliant character study of a "retarded" misfit of a loner played by Tom Bell, and his suffocating one dimensional mother, brilliantly portrayed by Madge Ryan, which, if you admire realism, is existentialism at the sharp end. A trifle too painful even

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Lena O My Lena (1960)
Script: Alun Owen. Director: William T Kotcheff.

Set in a Salford food wholesalers, here's a study of male chauvinism in the workplace, and yet another exploration of class differences. This was the sort of entry that won the series critical acclaim, but I find it plain tedious.
Ted the foreman is played by Colin Blakely with his usual brilliant Northern bluntness, though the most interesting minor character is perhaps simple minded Derek (Patrick O' Connell), whom Ted looks after like a child.
Newcomer is student Tom (Peter McEnery) who is looking for a holiday job. He wants to get away from student types, but though he is from a working class background, he's not used to the brash ways he encounters.
Object of his affection is the worldly loud-mouthed Lena (the enticing Billie Whitelaw), who works in the adjacent press tool factory. "You're funny, you make me laugh," she says of his Liverpool accent. He thinks she's "funny" too, the way she shows her working class ideals.
Lorry driver Glyn (Scott Forbes) warns Tom off for "Lena belongs to him." And Ted tries to dissuade Tom from taking her out, but Tom won't listen, taking her to a cafe populated by noisy students: "you're lads, not men," observes Lena. Then they sit alone. "I can't think of anything to say," admits Tom, but she loosens his tongue and they have a long kiss. "You're always thinking too much," she tells him when he declares his love. She doesn't love him in the same way. Here's the core of their differences, he young and innocent, she experienced and worldly wise.
Next day at work "Glyn'll knock his block off." That's what the men are murmuring, though Lena knows he won't be bothered by any threat from Tom. Ted tries to save Tom from himself, but Glyn tells Tom the truth: she'd only been trying to make Glyn jealous. Tom starts a fight but Lena stops them- it was, she admits, only a bit of fun for her- "go back to where you belong." And that seems to be the message of this play.
"It's never easy to learn," are Ted's concluding words. Nor is it easy to watch this self-satisfied analysis of sixties working class, which is very dated today. Perhaps it's because we don't have the same sort of culture clash that it's so hard to see that at the time this was quite avant garde stuff

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My Representative
Script: Kenneth Jupp. Director: John Moxey.

"In-a-rut sales rep Ronnie Page (Paul Massie) spends his life pushing shoddy goods on to his customers. He's not satisfied with the products and he's dissatisfied with himself. His colleague Jack Jones (Glyn Owen) is tired of Ronnie's unfulfilled aspirations to be anything more than just average. Ronnie's "bright understanding girlfriend" Sheila (Sylvia Kay) accepts that he'll never settle down until he tastes success. In an embarrassingly overacted scene, they reminisce as they touch cheeks.
The big chance comes when his "pleasant nitwit" of a boss, the appropriately named Pratt (Laurence Hardy) secures the exclusive rights to The Lotus Line. But he's out of his depth with such a hot fashion potato, though he tries to woo "one of the most celebrated figures in the entire fashion world," Lady Hunt, with a lavish dinner. This ruthless businesswoman has soon got Pratt sized up and her 80-20 offer he cannot accept. Unfortunately Helen Cherry as Gillian Hunt is sadly wasted in the part, for she, like the other characters, are all too stereotyped.
She moves quickly and offers Ronnie the promotion he's been yearning. "You've got to take your chances when you can," for "it's the only way to get on." True, but this is stock dialogue and sums up the author's own limited ambitions and vision perfectly.
Ronnie's loyalty to Pratt is forgotten as he attends for interview at the large fashion house. She outlines her flattering reasons for wishing to head hunt him, she is in a sense a kindred spirit as they both have humble origins. They shake hands and he arranges for Sheila to be his secretary.
Now he's into the swing of the job, we see his hardening through Sheila's eyes. He's enjoying leading clients on, he likes the entertaining, he's absorbed in his work. His next assignment is The Lotus Line, for Pratt had not secured a watertight contract and it's been snatched from him. "We haven't done anything unethical," Lady Hunt says in another stock line, though Ronnie seems to feel a conflict over whether this ruthlessness is a step too far. For Pratt is 20,000 in the red, though kindly says he bears no hard feelings against his former star salesman. However after telling Ronnie this, he shoots himself.
Sheila resigns: "I don't enjoy it any more." I was feeling the same. But Ronnie is where he wanted, "the luckiest man in London." Perhaps. The play concludes suggesting he is not as happy as he should be. But it never explores the ambiguity of his feelings in depth and in the end the whole play falls flat because Ronnie is not a convincingly real character. The script has posed good questions but never answered them. Haven't I written that somewhere before?

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The Cupboard (11th December 1960, Armchair Mystery Theatre)
Script: Ray Rigby. Director: David Greene.

Donald Pleasence was one of the best at playing sinister characters with dark secrets. Here, he's Fred Watson, and the question is, where has his wife Sarah got to? She's been away from their basement flat for four weeks, and now he's flogging off his wife's jewellery for a mere 20 to Bert Spooner, because his rent is in arrears.
His landlord Mrs Sparrow, "all alone in the world" since her husband's unfortunate accident, wants to know why Watson has papered over the cupboard in his bedroom. It seems rather too obvious what he's up to, as he plies her with drink.
The second act of the play sees Watson informing a potential buyer for the property, Mrs Williams, that Mrs Sparrow has gone away to Brighton, and that he, Fred Watson, has the option to purchase the place. He also has her written authority to collect the other tenants' rents.
"I think you've done away with her," shouts Sarah's sister and she calls in Dt Sgt Roberts who soon spots the papered-over cupboard. Despite protests, he smashes the door in. "See anything?" comes Watson's ironic voice. Empty. Privately, he confides to the detective where his wife really is. In a mental home "for a rest."
So it all seems above board. At the moment.
Secretly, Watson meets Mrs Sparrow, whom he's been blackmailing over her husband's fatal 'accident.' Watson's plot is evident- Mrs Sparrow is for that cupboard!
Dt Sgt Roberts is back questioning Watson about the jewellery Spooner has been caught with. Watson breathes a sigh of relief that that is all he's there about. The policeman admires the cupboard that Watson has already papered over again.
We learn the truth about Sarah Watson, that she had run away with a garage owner, though Fred denies this obvious fact. In his sadly naive way, he seems convinced she'll soon be returning from that mental home.
An unforeseen happening knocks Watson's scheme on the head. Mrs Sparrow had apparently asked workmen to solve the damp problem in the building, and today's the day they start work. They break down the cupboard. The game is up, as the play closes with a long close-up of Watson's resigned face

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The Big Deal (5 March 1961)
Script: Jimmy (here as James) Sangster. Director: Julian Amyes.

I enjoyed this play - and I can't often say that of Armpit Theatre- with its well drawn characters and a plot which asks questions about business ethics via an absorbing storyline. The theme is summed up in this line- Business scruples "get in the way of business." This looks a mite like a forerunner to The Power Game with Edward Chapman ideally cast in the ruthless John Wilder role.
Chapman is actually playing Sir Pierson Cale, a "tyrant" head of a company tendering for a multi-million nuclear power project in Iran. But he realises his tender will be "too high" and he demands cost cutting of his underlings so they "shave off" at least "half a million." John Hamilton (William Franklyn) is given a special assignment to ensure Cale's firm submits the lowest bid- Britman's is the rival company best placed to undercut Cales: "get me that figure, Hamilton."
So Hamilton poses as a Mr Northwood and is given work at Britman's. "No unnecessary expenses" is the keynote of the company, and "with no deadwood" on the staff, Britman's looks set fair to win the contract. Can Hamilton get a peep at their submission, hidden in the company safe? Does he want to? For here he finds "a workman's Shangri-la," where all employees are happy to work for the good of the firm. His plan to chat up the boss's secretary (Diana Fairfax) evaporates, and instead he bares his soul to Helen. She gives him the figure, but he just can't use that information. Disgusted at his duplicity, Helen phones the figure through to Cale herself: "now you can go and order your Rolls Royce," she jibes at Hamilton.
On the carpet before Mr Britman next morning, he's surprisingly allowed to keep his job. Grateful, Hamilton promises to try and prove that Cale's now winning bid is fraudulent. But how, how can he prove Cale's figures are impossible?
Helen is persuaded to join in back at work at Cale's, but try as he might, he's not allowed a sight of the successful tender. So, taking a leaf out of the unscrupulous Cale's own book, he uses "terrorisation" to wheedle the data from the costing team leader. Unfortunately Cale catches him in flagrante, and isn't at all perturbed, because he has Hamilton where he wants him- for he's ensured Hamilton's name, as the late head of the costing team, has been put at the head of the cheap tender. "Get out," Cale orders Hamilton. But the latter has his own trump card- demanding 50,000 for silence on the deal. "Evidence of bribery," he tells Cale when he's paid off

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The Man out There (12 March 1961)
Script: Donal Giltinan. Director: Charles Jarrott.

Wildly improbable tale, but really tense.
A Russian manned flght into space. A lot of shaky camerawork to convince us it's for real. A failure- Troika is ordered to "eject," Russian expletives from the astronaut, a major (Patrick McGoohan).
Back at control, the General (Clifford Evans) tries to devise a rescue plan, with the rocket now floating out of radio contact, orbiting the earth. He has five hours before the rocket will crash back to earth.
In an isolated snowbound Canadian trading post we meet a man and wife with quite a different problem. Young Cora (Heather Lyons) is in urgent need of medical help. Whilst he ventures out into the blizzard, stepmother Marie (Katharine Blake) sends out repeated messages for help- "this is an emergency, please answer." It comes from an unexpected source- Troika! Two people who need help badly!
"I am a doctor," the major radios to her. That's fortunate! Diptheria is the diagnosis. There's only one thing to do- "pierce the windpipe from the outside through the neck." Such a terrifying procedure is the only way Cora can be saved. Such a frightening remote controlled operation is surely any parent's worst nightmare. What is worse, such blunt instructions are all Marie is going to get because now the major has drifted out of contact. We follow his reflections on his own dilemma. This is perhaps less absorbing than Cora's drama, however much more world shattering his crisis is.
Another orbit and radio contact is reestablished. Despite his own worries, he encourages her as she dares to attempt the incision: "do it now!" shouts the major. His own chance is dwindling now- "you're talking to a dead man" he admits.
Even less absorbing is the activity at ground control who are explaining away the disaster to the press and announcing their rescue plan.
Next orbit. "You did what had to be done," the major reassures Marie. Now she is able to help him by taking down some important readings from the rocket.
With no way out for the major, it's time for McGoohan to perform his well-oiled raving looony act. His weird singing awakens an exhausted Marie on his last orbit. It's she who can encourage him now- "you mustn't give up." At last she is in a position to appreciate his danger. She thanks him for helping Cora over the worst. But she's quite helpless as she shares his last moments.
Reentry of Troika. Control implement their bold rescue plan. A last message from the major to Marie as he succeeds in understanding what has caused the catastrophe. Then screams and silence.
With Vaughan Williams' grim Fourth Symphony as the title music, we can guess there's not going to be a fairytale end. At least some joy as Cora stirs. Maybe the play would have been better if it had been tighter with Ground Control scenes omitted, and, as surely would happen today, more close-ups of the DIY surgery, which is strangely underplayed here
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Danger, Men Working (7 May 1961)
The script had originally been commissioned by Ulster Television.
Script: John D Stewart, Director: Alan Cooke.

Irish navvies on a muddy, a very muddy hospital building site. Work is already behind schedule in very trying conditions. Experienced general foreman Desmond Docherty urges caution so how can work be speeded up? Workmen are already near to breaking point.
The answer comes in the shape of blustering new boss "Trumbull the Terrible" (Richard Pearson). He "reads the riot act to site manager Erskine Craig (Mark Eden) without understanding any of the technical problems. He also takes a shine to secretary Mary Riley, asking her to come away "strictly business" for the weekend. Though she's in love with Craig, she consents.
"Tough nut" Scanling (Barry Keegan) is appointed new foreman, Docherty given notice: "I need boldness, Craig." Retorts Craig "you couldn't have made a worse choice... there's going to be trouble here."
When it comes, it comes on two fronts.
Firstly Erskine Craig gets wind of Mary's weekend. She's rebuffs Trumbull's advances anyway.
Then Scanling's hard tactics give rise to a deputation from the workers, lead by Jerry (a sadly wasted Leo McKern). "He has neither rhyme nor reason," complains Jerry about Major Trumbull. Management response: Jerry is sacked. Workers get agitated about their working conditions. "You're not going to dictate to me," shouts Trumbull. Craig vainly attempts to arbitrate, but the Major's attitude is too abrasive: "we've had enough Communist tripe from you." A fight breaks out between Jerry and the thick Scanling, and it's left to Docherty to separate the feuding pair. But all those short cuts come home to roost as a muddy foundation collapses with Docherty buried in the rubble.
Now everyone pulls together in some sort of common purpose for the rescue. But nothing can save the arrogant Major Trumbull, who admitting his error takes his leave. Some kind of peace is restored.
Richard Pearson does his usual reliable role as an uppercrust, out of touch with everything except the profit motive. Plenty of authentic Irish on show though Mark Eden's accent wavers a little. The building site set, complete with slime is an impressive creation from Assheton Goreton. But the story itself never quite builds up any sympathy for the characters, it's never quite clear which side of the fence the author is sitting on

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The Ship that Couldn't Stop (2 July 1961)
Script: Christopher Hodder-Williams. Director: Alan Cooke
It's the maiden voyage across the Atlantic of NPS Crusader, a nuclear ship that cruises at over 34 knots. Proud captain is Commodore Grant (veteran Frank Pettingell), and also on board, in the cabin next the reactor, is a physicist Michael Holland "with a death wish" (Donald Churchill) who is predicting a Titanic-sized disaster. He'd worked on the pilot project and knows all the pitfalls.
Passengers are given a tour of the ship by technical expert Tony Roman (Scott Forbes), who reassures everyone, all except Holland that is, who has some pressing questions. "It's like a king sized boiled egg," observes one American, Richard Bollanger (Michael Balfour). But it's his wife Emily's childish desire to press the buttons in the allegedly dead back-up controls that causes the trouble.
The speed of the ship is unaccountably increasing now, a neutron surge seems to be the reason, and stop the reactor seems the only sensible solution. Commodore Grant orders the shutdown but too late, "she's gone unstable." Radiation levels rising. 40 knots!
A warning to other ships in the area to steer clear is given. "There's no way of getting the people off,"- worse than Titanic. No way the engines will stop working.
There is one way but it's dangerous- change the angle of the reflector in the reactor. Holland might be able to accomplish this task, though after delicate remote manoeuvres,"it's not possible." All Holland can do is expose himself to a lethal dose of radiation and move the reflector by hand. He has saved the ship but at cost to himself: "just the way he planned it."
All the technical jargon has the effect of making the incomprehensible very tense and although the merits or otherwise of nuclear power are never discussed, the play makes a definite statement about its dangers
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The Omega Mystery (10 September 1961)
Script: James Mitchell. Director: Guy Verney
This story at least proves that not all Sydney Newman's offerings were dull and drab.

Butler (John Gregson) and Robinson (Donald Churchill) are counter intelligence investigators, who are on their way to a nuclear power station where an experiment has gone badly wrong. They discuss their case whilst the industrious Robinson repairs their broken down car. We learn about all the workers at the lab, but I found this scene too complicated to digest properly. But once there, at a place that reminds Butler of his old prep school, there's a better introduction to the main characters, all of whom, of course, appear to have motives to wreck the place. They'd been working on what they call The Omega Process, which if successful will see the dawn of an era of cheap electricity. Unfortunately the process might have other uses, such as making h-bombs.
In charge of the plant is Kendrick (Frank Gatliff), who believes it must have been an accident.
He's supported in this view by a mathematician, Diamond, who's sure that anyway, the experiment can never work.
Dr Jones (Stanley Meadows) is the inventor of the process, though he's very much opposed to its use as a weapon of war. He is pally with journalist Isabelle, who has been lent the doctor's pass to the lab.
Finally there's Dr Chattalai, whose lab monkey Vashti was the only victim of the recent debacle.
The play is basically a picture of the two sleuths questioning their suspects, trading off comments and personalities. Gregson and Churchill make an entertaining pair, Gregson dour, slightly cynical, matter-of-fact, whilst Churchill provides a balance with some light quips. "You don't leave us much dignity," Dr Jones tells them, as they probe deeper. It's quite an absorbing variation on the usual mystery, with interesting characters, though perhaps too predictable, especially the stock drunken Irishman Diamond.
To get his proof, Butler arranges for the experiment to be reconstructed. Tension builds as Butler sets himself up for the saboteur to attempt to eliminate him. Alone in the lab, Isabelle joins him, but they are both locked in, the air conditioning switched off. "The obvious solution to a very nasty problem I set the fellow." But the question still is- who?
Butler is prepared for the situation, and some deftness extricates them from the lab. Now the experiment proceeds: "suppose the Masked Avenger strikes again?" jokes Butler.
Yes, there's the same disaster, but this time Butler and Robinson are able to demonstrate who is causing the problems. I wouldn't pretend anyone could have guaranteed to have guessed the culprit, but then that's true of almost any detective story. For that's what this is, in essence. "Who'd have ever thought of xxxxx ?"
There's an overlong coda, by way of explanation
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The Trouble with Our Ivy (19 November 1961)
Script: David Perry. Director: Charles Jarrott

You don't know whether to laugh or cry in this wayout variation of Laurel and Hardy's silent classic Big Business, carrying the warring neighbours motif to the ultimate.
"The biggest surprise Surbiton ever had" is planned by the Chards (John Barrie, Gretchen Franklin) on their estranged neighbours the Tremblows (Laurence Hardy, Dandy Nichols). This is suburbia at its exaggerated worst!
"All the neighbours think we're mad," comments Nell Tremblow, though in typical middle class-speak, this only means they prefer to spend their holidays at home. But it's partly true because the couple are fanatical prize rose growers. They exchange plenty of barbed gossip about the Chards who are "a bit peculiar too." More than a bit, for the neighbours haven't exchanged any words for the past three years, ever since Ivy Chard had committed suicide. The Chards blame the Tremblows for it too.
Jack Chard has been harbouring his revenge, and this evening he's begun his plan. To try and learn what he's up to, Nell Tremblow even pops rounds, to break the sacred silence.
The truth comes out- Amazonian Creeper! Says Nell: "that's a funny sort of thing to want to plant." The penny hasn't quite dropped, so she sends her husband to dig deeper. The contrast between the prim Harold Tremblow and the Chards, eaten up with hate, is excellently portrayed. But the "quick growing" tropical ivy even bestirs Harold out of his monotone existence, specially when he realises the creeper is actually growing six inches every five minutes! "Aren't we letting our imaginations run away with us?" he queries. Yes, that sums up this story very well!
A 999 call brings a fireman with his chopper to the Chards, but they soft sawder him til by now it's "galloping" all over the Tremblow's rose garden: "It's unnatural!" Jack jibes at them "say goodbye to your daughter Rose."
Now an eerie silence, "deathly quiet." "It's coming through the letter box."
"I'm dreaming all this," cries the fireman who is now alerted to the danger, but too late. For its stalks are growing into trunks! "It doesn't seem like Surbiton any more!"
How do you end such an inflated fantasy? The couples confront each other in a frenzy, blows exchanged. I think the Creeper was the winner, or maybe the writer who pocketed his fee. It's nearly quite fun, if you suspend your critical faculties

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Night Conspirators
Script: Robert Muller. Directed by Philip Saville.
An ultra impressive modernistic set by Voytek, only the black telephone restricts the action to the 1960's. At this time, there's "a fantastic conclave of power," as top Nazis reconvene in an embassy. Behind closed doors they are introduced to a special guest. In a wheelchair, his face muffled by a scarf is revealed....
"Mein Fuhrer!"
"Sensational," breathes journalist Loder (Peter Wyngarde), the only outsider permitted to attend. Some of the old Nazis think it a hoax, but a general (John Arnatt) who knew Hitler well is sure it is He. "Herr Hitler has returned to be judged - by you." It is explained how Hitler (actually Peter Arne) fled to Iceland. Rather conveniently, he now cannot speak, so his son is his mouthpiece, "a fine looking boy," Adam.
The military solution is straightforward: "he must be shot, without ceremony." More tongue-in-cheek, Loder suggests exhibiting him in a zoo, behind bars naturally. The bishop's solution is what one might expect from the church- "God will find a way of punishing him." Retorts Loder, "well, He's certainly taking his time about it."
So there's an impasse over whether they should try their former leader, or hand him over to the proper authorities. Their deliberations raise some thorny questions about their own complicity in the war, as well as about their current motives for seeking power in the new West Germany, not forgetting the fragility of democracy. Loder is there as a balance, "what have you learned from your experience?" he asks, though it's a rhetorical question. But they give the newspaperman short shrift, reviling his own army of "repulsive snoopers."
This debate is too protracted as they consider whether the new Germany needs a strong leader, not that the aged Fuhrer would be up to the job, he seems but a shadow of himself, though his followers perceive that they could now wield the power in His name. "They want to exploit your father," Loder warns Adam, adding the rather obvious line, "your father made the name of humanity stink."
The Nazi solution is to shoot Loder. At least the general wounds him.
But now the Fuhrer does speak. He announces in a strong voice He assumes power. "Our enemies will tremble before us." Ranting and yet higher Ranting. Just like the rallies of old.
This play has an absorbing plot that threatened to flag under too much philosophy, but thankfully never succumbed. It leaves you pondering deep questions, but also wondering what the conclusion was trying to convey. If anything

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The Hard Knock
Script: Alun Owen. Director: William Kotcheff.

Armchair Theatre at its best, or worst, depending on your point of view. Welcome to that dour Northern grit, even if the opening scene is incongruously in a first class Pullman heading up North. After a long spell at sea, Pat Greevey (Colin Blakeley) is travelling back home to Liverpool.
"My baby's dead," bewails his mother hysterically. Though his brother Kevin has been hanged for murder, Pat is determined to prove Kevin's innocence. This crisis and his return bring a lot of dreary home truths, as Pat struggles to take in the changes in those around him. "The truth hurts." His first shock is that Kevin had actually confessed to the shooting. Pat knows his brother could never have done such a thing.
His useless father blames everyone except himself for Kevin's crime: his mother had spoiled him, his girl friend, his... But Pat knows how to shut his dad up.
Old pal Trevor (Ronald Lacey) in his antiques shop fills Pat in on Kevin: "he was bone idle, your father all over again." Pat cannot recognise the description.
Next, his girl Lil points Pat to the girlfriend. She has no great affection for Kevin either, "he was too soft, stuck up."
At the tennis club Pat encounters Angela (Angela Douglas). The place was clearly socially above Kevin's class, and the girl says everyone found him "hard to get on with." After some eyeballing, she tells Pat, "you're common."
The picture of the killer has been well drawn up, though Kevin finds it hard to reconcile with his own, formed years ago. He goes back to Lil, who tells him of the villains Kevin mixed with. "Our Kevin wouldn't do that."
Clearly however he did. The quest takes Pat to Angelo (Frank Finlay) who is obviously protecting his own brother in any involvement in the crime, so like Pat in his effort to justify Kevin.
"I don't know any more," Pat admits. His own knowledge of Kevin had been entirely misplaced

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The Fishing Match (19 August 1962)
Script: Norman King. Director: Alan Cooke.

Not really a study of the peculiar fascination of fishing. On a thundery day, four men drive to a river in Alf's vintage car. Boney (Peter Butterworth) seems keener on the pub, where Cissy (Yootha Joyce) is pulling the pints. The others, Alf (Edward Evans) and Councillor Reuben (Kenneth Griffith) can't wait for opening time either. Cissy's niece Kath takes a shine to the only young member of the group, shy nineteen year old Peter (Colin Campbell), who dreams of getting out of his rut, destination Tahiti!
The puzzle for the viewer, is, what's it all about? The dialogue is as unreal as the rain which splashes everywhere but actually on the actors. "You're mad, the lot of yer," exclaims Cissy, and who's to say she was wrong? For with the invisible rain still falling, the men help get the pub ready for the time when "the hand points to heaven," good old-fashioned opening time.
The brief appearance of the coarse Eric (Derek Jacobi) shows up Peter for the sheltered boy he is. But Eric is a rival for Kath's hand, and that spurs Pete to action and the pair scrap.
Eric retreats, Kath bathes the injured Pete but she can't reach the upright lad. His heart is in Tahiti, where his dad lives.
12 o'clock, and the pub fills with fishermen because it's raining- odd fishermen is all I can say. After a pointless if jolly two hours, the pub closes. Peter asks his guardian Alf about his dad. It's a highly unreal conversation in front of the stranger Cissy. Kenneth Griffith stands by looking embarrassed, his is a wasted part. As does Peter Butterworth. The discussion is about Peter's dad who left his slut of a mother, though Peter had not known of any of this until now. We have no interest in these unseen people, who have hardly been mentioned until now. It's left to outsider Cissy to protest why Pete has never been told all this before. Or should she have complained about why tell him now? But it helps the boy grow up. Now he is no longer shy. It's his moment of truth as they say. In true theatrical tradition, he expounds his own new perceptions to his silent elders who look suitably baffled, or stunned, or maybe bored. Like us viewers no doubt. Ends Peter, "I can see clearly now."
The rain stops. They've all gone fishin.'

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Afternoon of a Nymph (30 September 1962)
Script: Robert Muller. Director: Philip Saville.

Shakespearean quotes commence this pretentious showbiz parable. "Being normal means being a failure," sums up very well the world that isn't depicted.
Awoken at noon by her suburban mother, actress Elaine (Janet Munro) falls into a reverie as she reflects on last night's dizzy partry. She's an ambitious girl whose agent (Patrick Holt) believes she's destined for great things- "you're going to be very big soon, Elaine."
She's been promised a meeting with great director Francis T Green, the man who makes his artists cry "only after he's slept with them." But is that the only way for Elaine to get on?
Off to work, where director David Simpson (Ian Hendry) directs her Juliet in the famous balcony scene. But it proves to be only a "murderous" version, a mere commercial for chocs! At least David is refreshingly honest about his work- "you call this directing....! Is pineapple marzipan fudge the height of your ambition?" he asks Elaine. For he helps her understand herself, perhaps, as they exchange genuine lines from the Bard, plus a kiss. "Forget all these dry-clean suburban emotions," David advises her. The question is, is he only like all the others too?
"Stand up to these phonies," he boldly warns her, when they meet again at Lord Tony's party. But the "scumbag" David has brought a tart with him, suggesting that indeed he is the same as the rest. Noting Elaine's disappointment, her publicist tries to encourage her- "you've got bigger fish to fry here," he promises. This part is taken by Peter Butterworth who has perhaps the best supporting role, which he plays with fire, a shallow character really only out for number one.
Certainly Elaine starts to believe her own rubbishy publicity, as she outlines to reporters her exotic past- "are they taking your lies with good grace, the gentlemen of the press?" asks David. Now the best and key scene as Elaine sprawls on a balcony and David opens her eyes to the sharks and pimps and pedlars. Hers is "the pose of the professional party virgin," though maybe her ambition to be a "real actress" will help her break from this ghastly circle.
Now the big moment as she's introduced to Francis Green. With more Shakespeare droning in the background she wavers over what to do. She decides, but she doesn't look too happy. Nor was I, trying to watch this introverted examination of the hollowness of the underlings of show business.
"Nothing about you is real," David tells her. And he was right. "You don't understand do you?" he adds. Well yes, but maybe no. You can admire the cleverness of the script, the matching of Debussy's music to the mood of Elaine, but enjoy it?- no it's not meant to be enjoyed. To parody the script, being normal, I failed to enjoy or even admire Afternoon of a Nymph

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The Paradise Suite
This starts at the end of the new Lena Roland (Caroll Baker) movie. Stills from the British premiere, admired by Lena and her right hand man Jamie. Do Americans really talk this way baby? The reviews are glowing. She settles in to her exotic hotel suite bathed in glory. However this room is as much her prison as her fantasy. The life size statue of herself is just one over-the-top item.
A late leaver from the recent party, Frank (Sam Wanamker), a freelance journalist, materialises and they share their dreams. She is 27, thrice divorced. Surprisingly he leaves.
Next visitor, a waiter with the ice. Do you ever go to the zoo, she asks? He is young and attractive.
On the phone is her shrink in Beverly Hills. She's better, she tells him. Conversation is interrupted by Jamie- so much for her quiet night! With him is Donald Stavely, a critic much impressed with Lena's work. She gets him to read aloud his glowing review. He soon departs too, not sure the point of this scene. For clearly Lena is lonely, self centred and neurotic.
The waiter is summoned for a return dose, "I like you." He thaws and she gets him to do The Twist, for a tip, "terrific." But when he doesn't bite, she is in despair.
Frank is her last resort. More toying with him, with plenty of introspection, hers very shallow. "What you're looking for," Frank informs her, "doesn't exist." It has become almost tediously sermonising. She thaws as he kisses. But not for very long, for Jamie is back, and they set off for a night club. Or does she gobble down those tablets first? We don't know for certain, but who cares anyway?

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The Snag (4 August 1963)
Writer: Donald Giltinan, Director: Jonathan Alwyn.
A light hearted saga of sixties property development.

One "old dear" stands in the path of progress, to be precise- a new civic centre to be constructed by Goggins. "Calculating cad," Ed Crayshaw, and his charm, is to be turned on Madame Emma, to persuade her to sell her quaint old shop. But behind Emma is the forceful "elephantine dowager" Lady Wittering who stands against "the encroaching desert of vulgarity."
As the pair seem so "bloody minded," Ed turns his attentions on Emma's assistant, her niece Agatha; this to the dismay of Jill Goggins, who rather fancies Ed herself.
Her dad provides Derek Francis with a typically brash role, that of a Northern industrialist, the type of part he plays so beautifully. Judith Furse, as Lady Wittering has a fine forceful role of "a boa constructor," whilst Patsy Rowlands as Agatha wins the comedy acting honours with her spot-on timing. Barrie Ingham as the likeable rogue Ed, has a fun part, but he is not the ideal actor for getting laughs.
So, is it time "to cut loose" for Agatha when her aunt falls ill, and she has to take over the reins of the shop?
For his failure to persuade the old lady, Ed is sacked. He tries smooth talking Jill, but is he just spinning a line to get a toehold back in the firm? She sees through him and sets out with her dad to get her own back: "once more unto the breach, dear dad." Goggins makes his own approach to the ailing Emma. His sympathy is insufficient to bring about any agreement, but they part with mutual understanding.
Ed makes new advances on Agatha in the best comedy scene. She is rightly dubious of his kind words, and no wonder, for Jill has told her the very words he will try on her. But when a proposal is drawn from the reluctant bachelor, the lonely Agatha suddenly becomes the dominant one, and insists he honours his commitment.
The final scene is after Emma's death. "In indecent haste" Ed has married Agatha, since she will inherit the shop. He offers a deal to Goggins. But Goggins' meeting with Emma had borne fruit after all, she has left him shop quite legally, so it's Ed with mud on his face.
The characters are well drawn, but the comedy is always a little too obvious and you are never really sure on whose side your sympathies are meant to lie

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The Chocolate Tree
Script: Andrew Sinclair. Director: Alan Cooke.

Of the Sixties, both in its dealing with race relations and African independence, but also in its dry, cynical approach.
The 'n' word is often uttered by old Isaac Strang, a man who has ruthlessly exploited the natives to build his business, too old now to understand the evil he fostered. His days are numbered, not only because of independence, but also because of family skeletons, the biggest of which is William Jones, "I knew your ma once." The big scene is between these two men, William the new president of the independent country, and the old reprobate, "I'd have married the girl... but blood don't mix." William had power to end the Strang business interests and leave the "shabby genteel" old family to their memories, but revolution brings the end of the new president also.
Zena Walker as Strang's daughter-in-law and carer is conciliatory, Earl Cameron as William offers bland dignity, while Paul Rogers in the meaty part of old colonialist Isaac, is unbearably uncompromising. His gift of a golly to the new president is especially insensitive, though he finds it amusing, indeed maybe the whole play is laughing at itself, though only through the cliches

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Long Past Glory (17 November 1963)

Script: Len Deighton. Director: Charles Jarrott.
Gritty drama more akin to the Sydney Newman era, but at least this proves that under Leonard White, Armchair Theatre had its dour moments.
"What a ghastly place this is." A mysterious damp subterranean hideout where rats, real ones too, crawl as two tramps Charles (Maurice Denham) and Harry (John le Mesurier) eke out a surprisingly peaceful coexistence together. "This is hell, when someone dies here, they go to heaven."
The arrival at their "Acacia Avenue" of Roy makes Charlie and Harry reappraise their relationship and situation. "I don't know how you have the stamina to endure it." True, Harry dreams of "getting away" to Eastbourne, but he never leaves. "I'll go in the morning," he tells Charlie.
The play is a study of the depressing triangle of three men at rock bottom- the garrulous Charlie, his weaker pal Harry, both old school tie types, and the young working class newcomer. Their talk of "wogs" and "Indians" polarises attitudes: "you wouldn't be against them so much," observes the shrewd Roy, "if you knew any."
All this time, the viewer wonders what they are doing here in this God-forsaken wilderness, especially the two upper class gents. "I'm in the Slough of Despond," groans Harry, a feeling with which we can heartily concur. The author uses class differences to expose their natural weaknesses in what seems to be a parable about England: "the painful death rattle of the heart of the Empire." Things come to a head with inevitable violence: "he'd have killed you."
So why do they stay there? A neat coda gives some poignancy, if you haven't splashed into oblivion yourself by then. It has been brilliantly prepared but is nevertheless a surprise. Perhaps it makes the play worth sitting through, so I won't spoil all and reveal the ending
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The Swindler (December 1963)
Script: John Hall. Director: Jonathan Alwyn.
In a station buffet "old college boy off the rails" Alec Waterman (Ronald Lewis) is met by his only friends, Dick and Grace. Dick has persuaded his friend Ed Laurie (William Lucas) to employ Alec, but is manual work his scene? Eventually he is taken on as a timekeeper, dealing with overtime claims, travel expenses and becomes "well liked."
Soon he has taken his workmates into a scheme of his to start a school for adults, "charge a guinea an hour." However this is what had got him into trouble before!
Ed gets worried and Dick attempts to stop the plan since Alec is a discharged bankrupt. "You fool."
Alec's popularity is illustrated at the staff Christmas party, which he himself has organised. But though he tries to get round even his bossv by presenting him with a present from the men, golf clubs costing 50, Ed knows they actually retail for only 40. Trouble is, Alec is not much good, apparently, with figures, though he's good with people.
Ed tells Dick that the men have had doubts about investing their hard earned savings in Alec's school, and have asked for their money back. Dick had better get Alec to see sense before the police are called in.
Alec is at his usual place, The Carpenters' Arms, where he has been lodging, and making eyes at the barmaid. We now reach the key scene, faith in Alec, or lack of it. Now everyone knows of Alec's dubious past, the outcome seems inevitable. The men get their money back, with some invective.
The final scene is back in the station buffet, the penniless Alec consoled by Grace. His flawed character has been well portrayed and you are meant to feel sorry for him. But it's not the sort of play you'd want to watch twice
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Sharp at Four (12 January 1964)
Script: Donald Churchill. Director: Guy Verney

Here's a prolonged study in the dreaded experience of tense waiting, before the result of a job interview is known. Trouble is, Donald Churchill's slight script is just far too easy to predict, even if it is rather well performed.
Personnel Manager CW Boatwright (Derek Godfrey) is interviewing for a new shorthand typist for Mr Sutcliffe, director of the company.
It's the fourteenth interview for Mrs Jean Hobley (Rosemary Leach), "and I haven't clicked yet." She has only one stipulation- each day she must leave "sharp at four" to collect her young son from school.
The interview never gets going as a result. Sutcliffe is looking for something much more feminine, but lonely Mr Boatwright sees in Mrs Hobley a kindred spirit. "If you don't hear from us by five o'clock today," she's told, she will have got the post.
She returns to her flat and awaits that call which will, she's sure, be another rejection. Here's the heart of the play, such as it is, as she starts scouring the jobs vacant section of the paper. "Come on, ring me up," she calls out of her window at the invisible interviewers.
They are continuing their task. Next is Miss Whitehurst. Sutcliffe likes her impressive skills, though Boatwright's mind seems elsewhere. Interviews over, he begins manipulating events to render Miss Whitehurst unavailable. "Put in another ad," Sutcliffe casually suggests. But Boatwright has other ideas.
Less than half an hour to 5pm and Jean's hopes are rising. Her ex-husband phones, wanting to patch things up, but she's having none of it. As five o'clock approaches she's ever more optimistic.
Meantime, Boatwright is moving his efficient and loyal secretary, Miss Fletcher, in the direction of Sutcliffe. As she has a crush on her boss, it's a tough job: "I wouldn't think of leaving you," she affirms to the disappointed Boatwright. Flattery fails, so he plays his trump card. But she's impervious: "I definitely won't leave you, sir." Thankfully Sutcliffe comes to his rescue, with the brainwave why can't he have the reliable Miss Fletcher?
She is now phoning Jean, at just before five o'clock. Jean at first refuses to pick up the nagging instrument. Finally she does, to learn it's bad news. Inevitable depression.
Back at the office, Miss Fletcher is presented with the fait accompli- she's got to work for Sutcliffe. She's talked round by the lure of friendship from Mr Boatwright on a continued basis- "executives do not associate with office personnel out of working hours." Usually, that is.
So now the way is clear for Boatwright to pick up the phone and offer the surprised Mrs Hobley "another position, a job where you would leave at four." Smiles at her end of the line.

My query is, why do we never see her son, as it's so imperative for him to be collected Sharp at Four? Nevertheless, it's all well done, not quite a comedy, nor yet a soap opera

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Last Word on Julie (26 January 1964)
Script: Lynne Reid Banks. Director: Jonathan Alwyn

A portrait of "pain in the neck" Julie Lister, whom we see through the eyes of her friends and acquaintances.
This oppressive story starts with that old trick of watching a headless person, in this instance walking to a letterbox to post four letters. Then she returns to her flat and pops her head in the gas oven.
Julie's first letter is her unofficial will. Her solicitor opens the missive from "our most troublesome female client." It's a sort of "deathbed confession."
Letter no.2 is to her "adored" mother Mary (Joan Miller), who is under the thumb of her sister Jenny (Jessica Dunning), a spikey lady who hadn't had time to talk when Julie phoned last night.
Third letter is addressed to friend Helen whose husband Adam looks on Julie as a "female fiend." The contents set Helen in a panic.
Ex-boyfriend Jimmy (John Bonney) is the recipient of Julie's last letter. It arrives at an inopportune moment, for he's just about to leave on an important assignment abroad. But he chucks it in, to go to Julie's.
So, after this twenty minute introduction, the characters assemble at her flat: "she's not there."

A week on, and still no word. The main focus is on mother Mary, who is convinced her child is dead. She blames Jimmy, as Julie had fallen out with him. Jimmy is going to pieces. He talks with Mary and it appears Julie had lied to both of them. Helen is in a bad way too, having lost her unborn baby through the stress, for Julie's letter had contained allegations about Adam's relationship with Julie.

Two months have passed now, and steps are being taken to declare Julie legally dead. Reflection has led to a hardening of attitudes. Mum still believes the best of her late child, Jimmy is now jobless.
After 45 minutes, we do meet Julie (Sue Lloyd), with her latest boyfriend, an older, richer man (Bill Owen). She is just the seductive, selfish creature we knew she would be. Even Raymond realises "you've got tiny streaks of unkindness," though he hasn't grasped the depths as yet. Raymond is free to marry Julie, as his wife has killed herself- he's quite "indifferent" to her fate, just as Julie is to her past life.
A monologue from Julie is supposed to explain all. Her head in the oven was a bit of a cheat. If the characters are convincing, which they are, and if this is 'realism', then give me fantasy. "Here's looking at you my sweet," utters Bill Owen in the ultimate in corny lines, as a close-up on Julie transforms into a still photo.
In fact, the play is a series of snapshots which fail to make a satisfying or even credible whole. For the writer shows us the pictures, without ever making sense of them, or bringing the conflicts to a resolution. As "slut" Julie concludes, "it must be their fault too"
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The Trial of Dr Fancy (taped May 30th 1962, but not screened until 13th September 1964)-
Script: Clive Exton, Director: William Kotcheff. This was made in the Sydney Newman era. - Quite difficult to successfully construct a television hour around one set, even a courtroom. Especially when one gradually gets the feeling that the author is laughing at us.

Set in 1966 for some reason.
The accused: Dr James Fancy.
The charge: Causing the death of Ernest Spratt, aged 33.
Plea: Not Guilty.
The prosecution (Barry Jones) relates how Dr Fancy had amputated both Spratt's legs, even though, it is alleged, there was nothing wrong with them. Dr Harmon (Ronald Hines), afflicted with an unfortunate stutter, confirms there was nothing physically wrong with the patient.
"That's showbiz," was Dr Fancy's alleged comment when the operation on Spratt failed. In the hands of the defence (an impressive Nigel Stock), the nervous Dr Harmon is but putty- a cruel exchange with the stuttering witness.
Police surgeon Dr Pilbeam, adds to the confusion stating he had not been able to examine Spratt's legs, as Bert the boilerman claimed "he had burnt all the legs."
From Spratt's mother (Dandy Nicholls), we hear that ever since he had gone to buy a new pair of trousers from Penders Department Store, her son had expressed this strange desire to have his legs amputated.
The defence case is that Spratt's operation had been for his "general wellbeing." Ever since 1955 Fancy has been successfully amputating legs, one of the first Charles Lincoln (Norman Bird) testifies he had once been 6ft 3ins (one inch less than the deceased), and had suffered from being so tall. Now, thanks to Dr Fancy, he's living a normal happy life.
Then it's the turn of a psychologist (John Paul) to outline the Cyclops Complex, the desire to become smaller and more childlike again. The treatment is to "remove the physical basis of the condition." The prosecution however argue that the fee for the operation is the doctor's principal consideration.
John Pender (Peter Sallis with almost a Welsh accent) has made it his life's work to help "little people" by opening his Little Man's Shop. Business boomed and he opened several branches, one in Africa even, catering for pigmies.
Says the judge (Kynaston Reeves - a perfect role) in summing up - "indeed the whole of the prosecution case has a touch of fantasy." Or did he mean the whole play?? You can see the end a-coming a mile off....

The jury's verdict proves Exton is poking fun at the British legal system, though less acceptable is his humour, if that's what it be, at the expense of stutterers
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The Cherry On Top (27th September 1964)
Script: Donald Churchill. Director: Guy Verney.
TV Times correctly billed this as the opening play in Armchair Theatre's ninth season.

"Dumb egghead" Flight Officer Audrey Inskip wants to resign her job at a radar station, but her application is turned down. There's a lack of feminity in the service, as she sees it, in those immortal words, she wants to be Alone. "I want to find myself." She may have got a double first at Cambridge, but she wants to be a Woman. A failed romance is the cause for such depression.
At the pub she encounters a kindred spirit, an unsuccessful salesman for Topper Cocktail Cherries (Robert Lang). Looking faintly ridiculous, pathetic even, in his top hat, Bill Hemmings has also failed in the romantic stakes, but unlike Audrey, failure has not dimmed his good humour.
Their chance meeting blossoms slowly as they chat. There's one nice touch as a barman (Ernest Hare) stares quizzically at Bill.
His chance comment on babies gives her the inspiration- what she wants is a baby of her own. That will fulfil her.
The dialogue borders on the surreal as she becomes more and more enthused by the idea, and he praises her unique character. To reciprocate his understanding, as it were, she helps him reflect on his failed love life. But now the talk has become too protracted, the plot is crying out to move forward.
It does, at a crawl. His face registers surprise when he finally clicks. What she is proposing is that he is wanted to be the father: "is it me you're talking to?" No strings either side. She talks him round at long long last, so they repair to the Bunch of Grapes Hotel.
One can imagine how this scene would be staged these days. But here it's so innocent, as the couple settle down to do the deed. He talks very nervously as she undresses. They lie together with inconsequential chatter.
Next day they part. The next scene sees Audrey leaving her job. She's expecting. She's happy. Of course Bill walks off with her
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The Importance of Being Earnest
Director: Bill Bain

Some versions are so indelibly into our consciousnesses that any remake is a very risky affair, the danger of sacrilege ever present. Blithe Spirit is one such, and this is another.
Ian Carmichael as Mr Ernest Worthing is no worse or better than Michael Redgrave's film version, but how could anyone match Edith Evans as the immortal Lady Bracknell? That is sadly an impossibility, though Patrick MacNee offers all the right charm as Algy and Fenella Fielding is simply gushing as Miss Gwendolen Fairfax, a joy to watch and hear. She steals the show from even Lady Bracknell, a thing that that indomitable woman should scarcely have permitted.
Irene Handl as the "repellent" Miss Prism is hardly given much of a chance, but she does her utmost. Susannah York as Cecily is suitably flighty, no more, but who could possibly improve on dear Miles Malleson as Dr Chasuble? Wilfred Brambell hardly offers us even a glimpse the master had exuded.
Here is a straightforward adaptation of the famous play, act two is most ambitious being shot in the gardens and by the church. As for the handbag scene, that immortal word is whispered in revered tones, perhaps befitting such a prized moment in theatrical folklore. But I neither trembled nor laughed.
All in all a very pleasant rush through the play, and while not as sumptuous as the colour film, among the negatives does offer pleasing refinements
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5.9 The Hothouse
Script: Donald Churchill. Director: Guy Verney.
At the annual dance for supermarket employees, 41 year old managing director Harry Fender dances badly with newly married Charlotte, wife of employee Gordon (Donald Churchill).
The next scene is at the store, where we see Gordon does all the advertising announcements. Mrs Anita Fender (Diana Rigg) tells him that he is up for promotion, "it all depends on..." He and Charliotte are invited for a weekend at the Fender cottage, where Harry's pride and joy is his hothouse, tropical plants that is. A long scene establishes Harry's strained relationship with Anita, who suspects he is having an affair.
Gordon and Charlotte turn up late on his Vespa, partly as a result of getting lost, and partly due to heavy traffic. The pointers are all for partner swapping. Harry H Corbett as Harry offers a taste of his Steptoe characterisation, he likes blondes, and Charlotte is just that. Anita gives her a story about Gordon getting a managership if she will make a pass at Harry.
Loyally, Charlotte tells her husband, who is "deeply shocked," but on reflection persuades his wife to go ahead, as he is desperate for the new job. "I'll do it," Anita promises, "because I want to be a good wife to you!"
Anita manufactures a situation where Gordon has to give her a lift on his scooter, leaving Charlotte alone with Harry.
It is so hot in the hothouse that Harry has stripped off, and thus the main scene is reached. She admires his body, but his interest seems oddly more in his plants, which she also tries to admire. Despite her suspenders falling, his conversation remains horticultural. These days, lacking censorship, the play would proceed differently, but when Anita and Gordon return, Charlotte's underwear is found draped in the hothouse. She is in bed swooning. "How did it go?" Gordon asks his wife, echoing our own question. "I did go too far," she admits. Harry informs Gordon that he has got the job. But at what cost we are left to guess.
Next day the guests depart, and Anita receives a surprise
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I Took My Little World Away
Ah, this is the Real Armchair Theatre that we all loved to hate!

A pretty girl at a party (Susannah York), bored with the scene, swaps stories with a tall stranger (John Ronane). The conversation is exactly what you get in a play, not real life. Her best friend Jane had taken an overdose. She goes hysterical at the very thought.
She is Mandy, he Geoff. Away from the party they chat and chat, and chat. Scenes from the party are interspersed to provide contrast, or fill time, what I say is that the extras dancing and the lively music, except for one awful Spanish song, are the most memorable bit of this introspective play by John Hopkins. I must also give credit to Voytek's sets.
In a coffee bar the talking goes on, would a complete stranger listen to her guff about suicide for so long? They make for his flat. Kiss. He talks of gas chambers for he has his own ghosts. She runs off, can't blame her.
He keeps phoning her at her flat. Get knotted sums up her response. She is thinking of following Jane's example.
A policeman calls, asking if she knows Geoff. He has killed himself. For a moment this is a straightforward police investigation, uncomfortably sitting with the foregoing. Perhaps we deserved a slight respite. Then it's back to the angst.
The party is over, Mandy has come back to talk to the hosts- ah at last! Conversation is taking place round the good old kitchen sink where it belongs, I knew it should be there. Exchanges about suicide...

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The Man who came to Die (18 April 1965)

Script: Reginald Marsh, Director: Jonathan Alwyn.

A cold house greets a weekend couple, Michael Richardson (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) and Jo (Toby Robins) who have been celebrating their seventh anniversary. It's all very lovey-dovey: "I don't need alcohol to make me amorous." They anticipate a happy time together, alone.
But then there's a shock- Jo finds Ted Fellowes in the spare bedroom, fast asleep. They argue over whether to awaken him, but there's really no need, for Ted is dead. Neighbour Dr Clarkson (Peter Copley) is phoned, and as it's past 1am it's not surprising he's rather grumpy: "he's killed himself," is the abrupt diagnosis, as he quickly departs.
Inspector Wadcot (the author of this play, Reginald Marsh), in a businesslike way, gets Mike and Jo to recount events. Remarks Mike afterwards: the police have "an uncanny way of making you feel quilty, whether you've done anything or not."
Facts about Ted have been emerging. He was Mike's business partner, and Mike isn't sorry he's dead. He had been overselling insurance policies to locals, including Dr Clarkson.
Bad news- the gun Ted shot himself with belongs to Mike. Mike does a bunk.
Now the scene shifts to an invalid, William Ashcroft, and his sister Mrs Trevington who cares for him. They discuss the death furtively. "I've met you before," observes Wadcot, when they call at Mike and Jo's later.
The play perks up when Mrs Marriott the cleaner (Gretchen Franklin) arrives next morning. "Just having a look at the scene of the crime, inspector, no harm in that," she tells Wadcot. From her, he obtains all the local gossip.
Mark is caught at Waterloo Station. He's brought back to his home and shows the policeman proof of Ted's swindling that he's recovered from their office. Dr Clarkson had been paying premiums of 25 a month. From Mrs Marriott, it seems he had been 'seeing' Mrs Trevington, but this liaison had ceased when her 'brother' had moved in to the village. Questioned, the doctor admits being blackmailed by Fellowes over the affair. Fellowes was also blackmailing Ashcroft. In a curious change of scene to a trial, we hear Clarkson's account of the killing.
Otherwise this is a very straightforward and uninteresting murder mystery, with no message, not at all typical of Armchair Theatre

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Neighbours (15 January 1966)

Script: Arkady Leokum. Director: Paul Almond.

The setting is a swish modern American property in commuterland, in the best district. The Robinsons, Chuck and Mary, are preparing to receive potential buyers for the house. "They happen to be negroes" so this "simple business transaction" could influence neighbours' opinions, indeed predicts Chuck "it will get a little rough."
After this scene setting, enter Bill and Vicky Kingsbury. You have to put aside the improbable plot of this couple spending so much effort entertaining these possible buyers. The meeting starts with idle and rather dull opening chat, sellers doing most of the running. The ice is only broken when Bill is entertained by Chuck's absurd advertising gimmick, his latest creation in his advertising job. Oh yes, Vicky does get to be shown round the house. We learn she used to be a nightclub singer, but now is bringing up their two kids.
"For Pete's sake, we're gettin' all involved now," though I found it hard to get into this museum piece studying racist attitudes. Yet the real clash proves to be one of ideals: "you're tellin' me I got to act a certain way." In fact it's all to do with a rather contemporary issue, as Bill and Vicky are only moving into this area for the school. "I don't think I understand," declares Mary, of Vicky's way of life. The line sums up the play just too well.
Though a sale has been agreed somewhere along the way, Chuck seems to want to impose his suburban ideals, but Bill isn't having any: "I don't want to hear all that!" Community is not part of his vocabulary.
So how it's going to pan out?- that's the only interest in this play. Chuck dances with Vicky as Bill dances with Mary. What will the neighbours say?! I never met a couple of sellers like these, and though I know house buying is a fraught process, 'twas never like this in my experience. There's no reality at all in the dialogue. Moments of truth as Bill's lack of education is exposed, but also the fact he's a successful self-made man.
A kind of climax is reached when Bill proposes to tear up the contract unless Chuck begs him not to. Deal off. Yes, house selling is tough. But then it all changes as self-made man is revealed to be a famous composer- Mary is his greatest fan!
Mary apologises. Just shows celebrity status covers a multitude of sins. But nothing can hide the flimsy structure of Neighbours. Perhaps Dick Gregory as Bill nearly holds the story together, yet he would have had to have been a saint to succeed

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Don't Utter a Note (9 April 1966)
Script: Anton Delmar. Director: Patrick Dromgoole.

In this light comedy, two sisters Florence and Nellie inherit their brother Charles' arto deco home. "As living examples of Christian charity," they see the opportunity to extend their charitable works, not only to family, newlyweds Nicholas and Sally, but also to Basher Bates (Sid James) as they continue their attempt to "lead him into the paths of righteousness." Some hope with Sid!
Their joie de vivre is rather curtailed when it's shown some of Charles' cash he's left hidden round the place is forged. A printing press in the secret cellar gives them the idea of helping the vicar out by printing the parish magazine. For once Christians are not shown only as eccentric extremists, though the two good sisters are evidently tempted. And from little acorns.... A few extra pounds for their good works wouldn't come amiss. "I think it would be unwise to say anything of this to Basher!" But they need his 'expertise,' and after giving his trademark chuckle, Sid is persuaded to set the presses a-rolling. With some enthusiasm too. Sgt Howlett (Peter Bowles) briefly threatens to upset this paradise when Florence gives him a ten shilling donation, but fortunately Nicholas retrieves it.
The anonymous charitable gifts snowball, with numerous grateful recipients. Would they "have kittens if they really knew where the cash came from?" And Basher has now his eyes set on a 1,200 sloop, South Sea Lady.
With the help of the Adult Delinquents Association the forged notes are distributed across the country as the operation reaches fantasy proportions- they even plan to pay everyone's income tax! It is inevitable some of the Delinquents are not that reliable. Arnold, inebriated, "louses it up." Here comes Sgt Howlett, after Arnold has talked freely. Thankfully this policeman isn't too bright and only wants the sisters to take Arnold under their wing, and he leaves them with the fine line "may I say that I think you two ladies are doing a grand job." Ironically it's Florence, unusually slightly the worse for drink, whose tongue is loosed. But who believes such a nice old lady?
Ending this piece of absurdity was always going to be difficult, but the author keeps to the spirit of his play. "We've got to get out of the country," advises a worried Basher, and that sloop is the perfect solution. A quick bunk with forged francs and lire, and they have a new start....

This is a lively bit of fun that moves along so briskly you don't have time to worry about its improbability. With Sybil Thorndike and Athene Seyler occasionally sparking it off as the eccentric sisters, who needs the red tape of the Lottery Fund?
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The Noise Stopped
Script John Hale. Director: Charles Jarrott.

Charles (John Nettleton) is at loggerheads with his younger wife Diana (Gwen Watford). What she doesn't know, or we yet, is that he's lost his job in his own old family firm. But self made entrepreneur Henry (Leslie Sands) knows it and ribs Charles obliquely when he comes to dinner with his downtrodden wife Maggie.
Stock characters you could say, the dinner conversation ranges from politics, age, idealism, all of it dominated by Henry and barbed, also, for us, most dull. When they leave, Charles and Diana row (any coincidence with real life characters is quite accidental), she accuses him of having an affair. He's remarkably unresponsive.
"What she needs is a man," remarks Henry to his wife. You fancy he fancies Diana. He reveals why he'd been so cruel toward Charles but his pomposity is burst by a heart attack. Maggie merely stares at him in his suffering. End of Henry.
A subplot is built round Charles' son by his first marriage, David, who has just "chucked" his university course. Charles doesn't bat an eyelid. Charles admits to David he's been sacked, though 10,000 compensation has softened the blow. Oh, Ruth is the reason David has thrown it all in. Then the next crisis, Diana has a bad dream, yes this is Armchair Theatre at its worst.
Henry's funeral, you could write the small talk yourself reflecting on life's fragility, "how long will you live?" As for Charles, he's chuffed he has outlived Henry.
Maggie and Diana's tete-a-tete. The former returns Diana's love letters to Henry. Diana reciprocates, "burn the lot."
At the eleventh hour, Charles confesses to his wife he's unemployed. He'd not been with another woman, merely job hunting, though he's come to see he'll never get another job at his age. He's going to begin a new life, will she come with him or no? She declines. They part. A phone call from David happily back studying, reunited with Ruth, if you wanted to know.
This is a play very modern in its approach, the technique is to build up crisis upon crisis, not giving anyone, not least the writer, time to worry about developing characters properly. Which brings us to the final scene of Charles in his garden looking through a telescope. Anyone know why? Anyone care why?

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Dead Silence (10 September 1966)
Script: Monte Doyle. Director: John Moxey.
No dialogue in the openng five minutes, which doesn't really succeed in intriguing us. Who is the Peeping Tom? Who is he spying on, from his small room? As it turns out to be not directly relevant to the denouement, it's a puzzle. Eventually, we realise he's a caretaker and he's taking a bouquet now to Miss Shaw. After five and a half minutes' economy of silence, the dialogue begins. It's to establish she's all alone in this luxury block of flats.
Now more dialogue saving, or is it more padding? This time someone is banging on a drum in the background, most irritatingly, as another bouquet arrives, but this time a scream, and a shot.
Ten minutes in, we move to a police station, the infallible Chief Inspector Newton who "lives by the book" (Patrick Allen), and his loyal assistant Bob Bedford (Glyn Edwards) are introduced in much the same detailed way. But this technique is too slow for an hour-long play, and any interest in the murder is evaporating after six more minutes painting the picture of a dinosaur amongst detectives, one of the old school, as he himself readily admits. Patrick Allen plays him with that familiar brand of rugged grit.
His investigation of Carol Shaw's death is conducted with autocratic precision. But as the drums start their din, he discerns something that makes his attitude change. It's this discovery that's at the heart of the play. His underlings debate whether the 100% clear-up rate of this "sadist" will remain intact, as he is up to something. Surely he's not tampering with the evidence? His erratic behaviour hasn't gone unnoticed by Bedford and his other more antagonistic colleagues. Why is he not playing it straight, as he always does? He has cleared the area around the flat in order to pursue his "odd" inquiries: "what the hell is he up to?" Newton interrogates the caretaker, who lies. "I don't think you're telling the truth," notes the sagacious Mrs Masters, who knew Miss Shaw as the nurse who had cared for her late husband in his dying months. "Any men friends?" persists the abrupt Newton.
Pathetic dope addict Len (Ronald Lacey) is summoned to meet Newton at Miss Shaw's flat- why there, not the station? Len admits she supplied his dope.
Next is Mrs Masters that he questions in the flat. Or is it she interrogating him? "What are you hiding inspector?" We learn Carol Shaw had obtained her supply of drugs from Mr Masters, causing him immense suffering. That's why she killed the girl. Drum roll as she produces a gun. A shot.
Newton is on the carpet next morning to account for Mrs Masters' suicide and his own erratic performance. Why had he deviated from the book? At last he explains to Bedford just why. An excellent twist to end. And there's time for one last rumble of those drums

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A Magnum for Schneider (4 Feb 1967)
Script: James Mitchell. Director: Bill Bain
Perhaps I had better start by admitting I am not really a fan of Callan. Maybe the evocative music is the best thing in this seedy drama.

Callan (Edward Woodward) is a disillusioned man- "I used to like my trade." His conscience has rendered him too "soft" to be a licensed killer, but now he's being given a chance to prove himself by killing Schneider.
Yet still Callan wants to know too much about this German, he wants to know the reason he has to kill the man. On his first encounter with Schneider he finds a common interest, which seems genuine, in model soldiers. "I wonder what the hell he's done," ponders the broody Callan. These moments when he shares his inner thoughts are perhaps the best feature of the play.
From the repulsive Lonely, Callan purchases a gun, but complications follow when he finds Scotland Yard are already pursuing inquiries into Schneider. It seems he is suspected of gun running, and a probing of Schneider's safe confirms this for Callan. His mind is now made up. Poetic justice demands the criminal is shot with one of his own smuggled weapons- a Magnum.
Though the interesting morality issues are explored mildly, and Callan's doubts over his job are quite absorbing, the story takes for ever to get to the crux, which is when Callan goes to play soldiers with his target. To cover himself, Callan has left a confession of murder on his tape recorder, which is promptly erased by his faceless superiors. Indeed Callan is constantly shadowed by 'them' (in the shape of Peter Bowles), and to protect this faceless man, Callan is finally forced to eliminate Schneider. But regretfully, one feels. "My God, you took your bloody time!" Too long, I felt.
He's a fine anti-hero, if you like. But no cold blooded killer. And Callan knows that, as he hands in his resignation

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What's Wrong With Humpty Dumpty?
A typical Armchair play about one of those sixties' trendies, David (Donald Houston) a middle aged tv documentary maker who talks pretentious rubbish, which is barely suffered by his obedient wife Hilary (Katharine Blake).
The scenes jump smartly from the couple to male caricature David and his mistress, young Caroline (Lynn Redgrave), the dialogue is stagey so that one asks, are these real people? The pair talk, or rather he does the talking, as if she fully comprehends, about his forthcoming documentary on Darlington.
Hilary writes children's stories, hardly appreciated by her husband. He is watching a cartoon (Foo Foo) with Caroline, and doesn't get home until 2.30am. A suspicious Hilary encounters Caroline at the trendy boutique where the latter works. It is evident Humpty David is riding for a fall.
A row about the pendant he had bought at this shop is the catalyst. At the Happy Haddock, David spots the two women eating together. They go to David's flat, and he feigns surprise.
"You two, do you know each other?" queries Hilary. He dithers in embarrassment. "I've got to tell her," decides Caroline. David is in pieces, "just like Humpty Dumpty... in his own self importance."
An echo of the Laurel and Hardy theme strangely plays, as he escorts Caroline home on the tube. "I thought you loved me, you self-centred Humpty Dumpty."
For the final scene, he is back in his own bedroom. His wife rounds on him. "I deserved that," he sort of admits. The ending sums up the cartoon-like quality of the play. whether you find it funny, perhaps depends on whether you find the characters at all likeable, and indeed believable

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Reason for Sale (4th March 1967)
Script: Derek and Donald Ford. Director: Patrick Dromgoole.

The opening shows off the impressive set of the lavish home of an enigmatic Hungarian widow, Ylena (Nadja Regin). She and her stepdaughter Anna are showing their home to prospective buyers. One is Ben Lewis (William Lucas) of the Paisley Group, who manage private country houses. The characters are well drawn and quickly, Anna being the most odd, seeming to hint that there is more to the sale than meets the eye.
As Lewis is leaving, Ylena invites him to stay to dinner. But this is only the first of the downward steps that leads a promising story into an abyss of unlikelihood.
The odd Anna believes Lewis is from the police and she tells him her father Ferenc had been killed. A writer he had been, who had fled Hungary in the 1956 uprising. Ben Lewis starts to wonder if Ylena hasn't manufactured events so he can stay the night.
After some serious words with her, Ben retires for the night to find Anna in his bed. Now we start to border on the improbable as the two talk more of the alleged murder. She points him to the extensive cellar. In the dark, he creeps down there, and what does he find? A recently bricked up wall. But then, does he see the dead Ferenc alive?? Ylena is there next minute and explains he might have seen her husband's portrait, which has mysteriously been taken from above the fireplace. It was Anna playing tricks, explains Ylena, for the girl is mad.
Ben asks to see Ferenc's death certificate as he kisses Ylena. Reality is evaporating as the cameras come closer and closer to focus in on their kiss.
Such intimacy gets him to admit that he's come unofficially to investigate Ferenc's death. They now struggle as he tries to force her to admit she killed him. Anna then teases him as the action becomes more frenzied and incomprehensible. "You're mad," Ben tells them, or is it me?
For Ben had been blackmailing, as yet another revelation is bombarded on us. This must absolutely have lost most viewers, well it did me at least.
But before you can reel from that, Ferenc appears, alive and well. The two men face up. "Talk sense," screams Ben, as if anyone could now. It seems Ben is to decide his own punishment and he is goaded into shooting Ferenc, though the gun explodes in his own face. "It was his trial," utters the resurrected man seemingly by way of explanation, and if you swallow that, you are a true Armchair Theatre devotee.
Reason for Sale this was titled. Can't have been many buyers

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Call Me Daddy
Script: Ernie Gebler. Director: Alvin Rakoff.

An opening scene grabs the attention with the ever eccentric Donald Pleasence singing happily in his flash dressing gown, awaiting a caller in his expensive flat. Miss Smith (Judy Cornwell) arrives on cue. She makes a contrast to his eager anticipation. Her heart is definitely not in their agreement that is to last seven days. Apparently her boss, Benjamin Hoffman has some hold over her fiance, Tom, who has committed some crime.
"It's monstrous, what you're doing to me." Yes, he's the original "dirty old man," and who better to capture all the comic creepiness of this role than Pleasence! Deliciously, he describes himself as "an embarrassed currant bun."
But her initial fears are somewhat calmed, when he offers to take her out to dinner. But when they come back, he tells he it's "time to embrace her fate." Into bed, she shaking in pjyamas. Then a surprise, he's taking sleeping pills! "You are safe until 6am," he concludes.
At 3am, she is still not asleep and decides to leave. Why she doesn't is not so convincing.
6am, the alarm rings. Off for... a walk on Wimbledon Common! Then breakfast as he sings merrily in a comic chef's ensemble. She starts to relax, "you can call me Janet if you like." The tension has gone, but this serves only to reveal the implausibility of it all. Comedy is now to the fore.
How can it end? At last she asks him what this "cultural exchange" is really all about. Is he just mad? "You treat me as if you're my father," she almost jibes. Yes, it seems he's just a frustrated old bachelor.
This night she wears a nightie. "If I told any sane person about this...." Or any sane viewer. She again presses him as to his intentions. "When the fruit is ripe," he answers enigmatically, "it falls from the tree."
For the last evening she wears a new dress. She wants to go out swinging, and he turns out to be the original oldest swinger in town.
Now that night she is first into bed. A provocative pose. Only Goodnight.
Next day, time to leave. She gives it him straight. "You never even kissed me," which may be an accusation or complaint. Apparently all he wanted was to be a father figure. They part on the worst of terms. "I wanted you to care about me," he finally confesses. She bids him Goodbye. Perhaps she ought to have added Good Riddance.
But even yet, the torture is not over. It's only the start!! No this is not gritty realistic theatre, it's theatre for the voyeuristic

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Compensation Alice (1st July 1967)
Script: Jack Rosenthal. Director: Patrick Dromgoole.

"Isn't that gorgeous?" asks Alice (Sheila Hancock) of a 20 guinea hat in a fashionable boutique. But "it's for mods and rockers," not for one Alice of the Women's Guild. "It's a bit young for madam," explains the shop assistant, "perhaps in your flapper days...!"
For she's fighting anno domini: "you're not 16, love." Back in her suburban home with Wilfrid (Robert Lang) she despairs of her marriage: "I've done nothing exciting for twenty years." Her husband is much more content as he does his office work in bed: "Wilfrid, why don't you talk to me any more?" Their stalemate is in stark contrast to their Swiss au pair Lisa, who's enjoying a lovely time with her young man.
"I suppose I couldn't go to Switzerland and be an au pair girl," muses Alice to Lisa. She decides it's time for a "giggle" as she pretends to look pregnant. The boutique assistant accuses Alice of stealing, but realising the mistake offers 5 by way of compensation. That sets Alice off. In a cafe some more "excitement" as she introduces broken glass into her ice cream. Her staid friend Beryl insists on complaining, and another 5 in compensation is the result. Alice is soon earning more compensation, this time from a motorist who almost runs her over. She'll soon be able to afford that hat!
We find out the reason for Wilfrid's working at home. At his office he works with his friend Cecil selling insurance, or rather not selling insurance, for they spend all their time talking and playing about.
So that evening, Wilfrid has more work to do at home. Alice is wearing her new hat. "Alice, have you unhinged?" She does look faintly absurd. But there's no time for more, because the once-happy Lisa is crying the place down. Her boy friend isn't so keen as her on marriage. It's more than a little embarrassing this scene, though it's supposed to be funny. Even more incredible, Lisa admires Wilfrid, masterful character. And she loves Alice's happy lifestyle. As a study of mid-life crisis, this would have been a better play exploring Alice once she has bought her hat. Instead the play degenerates. Alice realises her faux pas, Wilfrid offering her twenty quid for her never to wear it again.
To make it moral, all the compensation is returned. Now Alice is happy performing the household chores, happily it would seem. One senses that the author's good idea has been all but lost. Amazing how so many writers can't finish off their good plots. Even someone of the reputation of Mr Rosenthal

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Mrs Capper's Birthday

It's hard to believe that Noel Coward could write a script right up Armchair Theatre's street, but this one is the goods, meandering and plotless. This version is not funny either, though it aims to analyse middle aged loneliness. The play was adapted for tv by William Marchant and the director was Guy Verney.

Happy Birthday, Hilda (Beryl Reid)!
'Tis her fiftieth birthday, though what follows looks more about someone in their sixties. She shares a house with the suffocating Alice, living on memories of her Fred who died in the war. Also in the house are Audrey and her husband Tony, but this Sunday morning, after a wild party, it's not he but Bobby, and Hilda Capper helps the rather unsympathetic Audrey to cover her tracks when Toby returns home.
With Alice in church, Mr Godsall (Arthur Lowe) takes advantage and brings Mrs Capper a present, and a hesitating proposal. It's a good offer, he's a prosperous tobacconist, but she confesses she is too set in her ways now.
To see her granddaughter (for once, a real baby) and daughter Maureen (Pauline Yates) plus her husband Jack, Mrs Capper travels by bus, "old cow" Alice accompanying her. Another present, then they all go to Chez Maurice to celebrate.
By now you are puzzling if this is to be anything more than a character study. That first scene with Audrey seems vaguely irrelevant, and Godsall's proposal forgotten. Here, camp waiter David adds one more unneccessary character, but he is upstaged by the final visit of the night, to a "slummy" downtown pub where a noisy drummer pounds out the worst cabaret ever. Even Mrs Capper admits she's a bit tired of it all, and if she was, I certainly wouldn't want to say her nay. Beryl Reid does work hard to hold the scenes together, but there's no cohesion for her to hang on, and, for me, no depth to her. As a final insult, an improbable guest, reliving his old haunts is famous film star Kenny Blake (George Baker). He joins all present to sing Happy Birthday, "after all these years." It would have just needed the queen to drop down the pub to add her half century telegram in person for the insult to viewers to be complete. Noel Coward, I could have written a better play than this- I think

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Edward the Confessor (1969)
Script: Leigh Vance, Director: Henry Kaplan.

Edward Gobey (Ian Holm) is a habitual visitor to the police station, confessing to numerous lurid murders. The usual police response is "run away, there's a good fellow."
Widow Mrs Blaxill (Beryl Reid) is his landlady and they enjoy a cosy friendship, which is now spoiled by the appearance of Gobey's old school acquaintance Gland (Alfred Burke), a seedy driving instructor. He's one of those strong characters who has Gobey under his thumb.
So which of the three is the play, a crime drama, a comedy, or a love triangle?
I thought it was a comedy, for that was Beryl Reid's forte. To support this view, there's also a snippet of Edward Gobey at his work of conducting a door-to-door questionnaire, and the questions are of an intimate nature. It's supposed to make you laugh.
But no, perhaps it's a love affair, because Gland is now moving in to the lodgings and is quickly making advances to Mrs Blaxill in the kitchen, then in the bedroom.
However you always feel this play might be a crime story, with Edward putting his confessions to good, if rather corny use, by eliminating his rival. But he ponders the deed too long, and only stiffens his resolve after hearing sounds of their lovemaking. Back to comedy, as although he toys with gun and axe, his protest appears limited to cooking his own breakfast. However he does announce he is going away for the night...
Finally the deed is prepared, and in the dark that evening he creeps back, and the axe falls.
Time now of course for another confession. As usual he explains how he did it. "I shot him!" He's not believed.
To absolve himself from any accusation of being too obvious, the author now embarks on a series of surprise, occasionally clever, revelations. "Indestructible old" Gland is still at the lodgings! Gobey had got the wrong victim! Gland goads his rival but the play now turns into an overlong study of the tragic figure Gobey, as the pair talk for what seemed like eternity to get behind the rationale of it all. Yes this play fell between three, no four stools.

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Toff and Fingers (Armchair Mystery Theatre, 3 July 1960)
Script: Robert Kemp. Director: Robert Tronson.
The opening shots of a train puffing over a viaduct to romantic Scottish music, evokes the mood of an old film. To add to this flavour, some muffed lines and the odd dodgy prop.
In the title roles are Roger Livesey as Toff and Harold Goodwin as Fingers. Seeking to elude the law, they are posing as servant and master. "I've got everything it takes to make a gent," remarks a wistful Toff, "except the money." And now, after a successful snatch of 20,000, they are to hide away in the remote Auchenlochan Hotel.
The 'Colonel' makes a favourable impression on residents there, including Cooke (Robert Dorning) who is eager to talk about the crooks who have robbed Brassworth's London store of 20,000. Lord Brassworth happens to be the local laird, very unpopular with locals as he is forcing the crofters to give up their grazing rights. Gallantly, Toff contributes to their fighting fund thus winning a good name amongst the locals. Higgins, his man, alias Fingers, also creates a favourable impression, by joining in the local poaching. He gets itchy fingers when he hears from Perkins, butler at Brassworth's castle, that the gold dinner service is being shipped from London for a special occasion. But the more level headed Toff can see the risks: "I don't know how another 20,000 is going to make us better off." Anyway, having won their trust, he doesn't want to betray his new found friends.
But the guests, and the hotel owner, widow Mrs Cameron, start gossiping about the cash that's been spotted in Toff's room. Are they dropping hints when they tell him of "nouveau riche bounder" Brassworth's gold dinner service? "Society will always need a Robin Hood." But Mrs Cameron is worried enough to contact her brother at the Yard.....
Against his better judgement, the Colonel has been persuaded to open the local sale of work. The minister welcomes him whilst the Colonel shifts anxiously in his seat, as listeners are informed of the colonel's fine war record. In response, Toff answers that he's charmed by "a dreamland where a man can recapture his lost illusions."
With inquiries being made, however innocently, about his past, it's time for Toff to pack his things. But the Yard have been making inquiries too and Dt Supt Chisholm has traced them through fingerprints. "It's a fair cop," is Toff's awfully corny response, and just as he'd been considering helping himself to that gold dinner service before departing....
But the detective is human, and agrees to preserve Toff's good name amongst the locals, if only to avoid the embarrasment of their knowing their fair had been opened by a swindler. So it's an ending quite in keeping with that olde-worlde atmosphere we'd begun with. The train steams away with its prisoners: "thank you inspector, you're a gentleman too."
Though a pleasant character study of intangible perfection, this is ultimately charmless, sadly. Livesey adds moments of the lugubrious, as he almost parodies Roger Livesey.
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The Blackmailing of Mr S (26 July 1964)
Script:Michael Gilbert. Director: Robert Tronson.

John le Mesurier seems ideally cast as a gentle solicitor Mr Sparrow, who runs an efficient office, mainly thanks to his right hand man Varley (Peter Butterworth). The smooth running is also due to the behind the scenes efforts of ex army sergeant George (Peter Vaughan).
Less serenity however, when secretary Miss Angie Dundas (Jo Rowbottom) tackles Mr S on the subject of his dubious tax returns. She demands a pay rise! George is also in on the blackmail, and wants an even bigger rise.
"Call their bluff," is Sparrow's first response, after consulting Varley. He persuades Varley to listen in to the next confrontation, then to give the crooks a taste of their own medicine. However the plan backfires when Varley turns out to be the brains behind the scheme- he wants a golden handshake of 5,000. But how can Mr Sparrow find such a large amount of money? Swindle the clients, proposes Varley. It seems poor Mr S has been doing this already anyway, perhaps thanks to his laid-back approach to his work.
Mulling over his problem, Mr S is befriended on the train home by fellow traveller Angus Kendrick (Robert James). At Mr S's home, Angus admires a Faberge collection. Is it coincidence that Kendrick is the cousin of Miss Tripp, a client Mr S is now swindling?
You feel almost sorry for Sparrow: "have any of you thought this thing out to the end?" he inquires of his blackmailers. Or perhaps he was asking the author whose play ambles on, without developing satisfactorily, or providing any new insights into the blackmailing motif.
Yet Mr S gets his own back by persuading the crooks to keep their money in the firm's strong boxes. They might suspect a catch, but what is it?
Tis down at the bank, where Mr S is packing away his precious Faberge collection. But before he can do a bunk to Rio, Kendrick locks him in the vault. He knows his cousin has been swindled. "I wasn't really stealing at all" is Mr S's rather hollow excuse, rather like this story, which despite some charming touches from le Mes, is a rather feeble apology for a crime caper. Perhaps the unexpected ultimate casting against type of John le Mesurier was the most inspired part

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Man and Mirror (Armchair Mystery Theatre, 13 June 1965)

Script: Robert Muller
Are the characters believable? - Not for me.
Are they sympathetic? - Hardly.
Is the denouement credible? - Daft is a simpler, better description.

GP Geoffrey Manners (Maurice Denham) lives with his brother Edward (Richard Pasco) and mother Isabel (Sybil Thorndike) in a dark mansion. Mama believes "someone is trying to kill me," but is she imagining it?
Edward is a frustrated composer, who spends more time bemoaning his bored existence than in any desultory composition.
Geoffrey attends to his patients, studying the latest Freudian theories, and suffering from recurring headaches. His one love is his chameleon. Apparently its colour changes are significant, not only in biological terms, you see. Let's face it, they're all batty. Or is it the author, for daring to inflict such depression on us?
Clock ticks louder, chameleon changes colour, as Edward, Jekyll and Hyde-like seeks a lady's pleasure.
Fretting with good cause is Isabel, for someone is certainly trying to frighten her. Her murky past, or more correctly, her late husband's murky liaison is the root of her angst. She contacts the police about her fears. They have just received another, anonymous, communication, accusing one of the brothers of something unspecified but obviously some nasty deed. She then discusses with the doctor Edward's schizoid character. It's all caused by his repressed past, in this repressive house, ruled by a dominant matriarch.
Edward wears a wild look in his eye as the crisis looms. "You do understand?" Geoffrey asks Edward. Apparently he does. He's the only one though. He has to rid himself of one nature, in order to become "one whole man."
'Tis all part of the doctor's plan to get Edward to act. Will he? He can't do what a man has got to do, so Geoffrey does himself. He's the potty one, as if you cared. But he's stopped in his foul act.

This is the sort of play that Armchair Theatre was celebrated for. It was the sort of play that may have won the critics, but certainly lost the viewers. And for me, the viewer is hardly ever wrong, not me anyway

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ITV Plays
My reviews of some other plays (apart from
Armchair Theatre) shown on ITV
The Anatomist (ATV 1956)
Women In Love (A-R 1958)
The Big Pride (ATV 1961)
The Lover (A-R 1963)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (A-R 1964)
A Choice of Coward (Granada 1964)
The Death of Bessie Smith (Granada 1965)
The Human Voice (Rediffusion 1966)
Crossfire (Anglia 1967)
Person Unknown (Anglia 1967)
Your Name's Not God, it's Edgar (Granada 1968)
see also Quay South (ATV, 1955)

The 'Play of The Week' and 'Television Playhouse' were regular highspots of ITV's serious output.
But by the mid sixties, it was clear that the one-off play was a dying creature, often replaced by a group of plays based around a unifying theme. Certainly by now it was being proposed 'the single television play must die.' America, for commercial reasons the arbiter of taste, had seen the virtual death of such plays except for big budget productions. Wrote Anthony Davis in 1968, "must Britain go the American way? The odds seem stacked against the single play." Why? More expensive to produce. Certainly the days when The Play was the centrepiece of a night's entertainment had gone by this date, and not that many viewers mourned its passing.
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The Anatomist
(February 6th 1956, repeated on Jan 7th 1959 on A-R)
Script by James Bridie, adapted for tv by Denis Webb.
Made at National Studios, Elstree. Produced and directed by Dennis Vance for Towers of London.
It was reported that Adrienne Corri fell spraining her wrists during filming, but her long sleeved costume enabled her to carry on.

The year is 1829, groundbreaking scientist Dr Robert Knox is lecturing on human anatomy in Edinburgh. "The barnstorming fellow" is played with a grim but bearable humour as only Alastair Sim can, the play happily reuniting him with his protege George Cole as his "enthusiastic" assistant Walter Anderson. Less enamoured of Knox's experiments, indeed "horribly worried" is the perceptive Mary Belle (Jill Bennett), Walter's intended.
Conscience is not something that impacts on Knox, though he stands aloof from the activities of janitor Davy Paterson who pays seven or eight pounds to the body snatchers, Sack Em Up Men, Burke and Hare (Diarmuid Kelly and Michael Ripper).
But Walter cannot but be concerned with the morality of it. He has a conscience, a heavy one it is, and after disputing with his fiancee about Knox's experiments, he goes to get drunk at The Three Tuns. There he is consoled by "bonny" Mary Paterson (Adrienne Corri), but as the gravediggers are short of a "good fresh juicy young corpse," they resort to disposing of bonny Mary.
She is deposited at the mortuary in the dim half light of dawn, when "dead men stirred." Her limp body has a striking effect on Walter, "she was so beautiful," and he dares to shout at his master, Dr Knox, "I believe she has had foul play." This is the best confrontation in the play, as Knox shows himself a man who is able to suppress his conscience.
The final act, six months on, sees public rioting after Burke has been hanged on Hare's testimony, men baying for Knox's blood. Defiantly, Knox vows to continue his lectures, "exhilarating," he describes it. But in a frank admission, it is clear that in his heart of hearts he recognises what has been going on is evil. Bravely he vows to lecture his students, even on the steps of St Giles.
Don't ask how, but somehow the play ends on a happy note, with Sim's mood reminiscent of his famous jovial portrait at the end of the film Scrooge, as Walter is reunited with his Mary Belle.
The play nearly falls into too much philosophising about whether the study of anatomy is a proper Christian act, an important issue at the time. But not quite, though the claim seems just a little too fanciful that "Knox will be remembered when Bonaparte and Wellington are forgotten." Above all, this is a forceful study of a pioneer, "the comparative anatomist has curiosity... he institutes a divine search for facts." Yes facts. Divine facts. You know, maybe some of our current men of science would do well to recheck their evolutionary theories, and base them more on the actual facts
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Women In Love

A two hour collection of six international playlets to mark Associated Rediffusion's third anniversary, shown on Wednesday 24th September 1958.
Here's one viewer's barbed comment (TV Times no 155), "such tepid, milk-and-water women wouldn't have raised the eyebrows of our strictest Sunday School teachers."
The stories were linked by George Saunders, who describes himself rather charmingly as the "masculine dreamer."

Here are reviews of the stories I have seen-
Story 1, After So Long. This is about Henry's longwinded encounter with "a jewel of a girl" called Topazzia (Scilla Gabel). It starts as a happy reunion, but "there's something you didn't tell me-" she now has children. Not that as Henry, Terence Morgan's character's reaction rings at all true. (Script: Bridget Boland. Director: Julian Amyes)

Story 4, Song Without Words, includes location shooting in Stockholm. On a boat tour, tourist Robert (John Fraser) attempts to beat the language barrier and pick up a Swedish blonde called Karin (Ann-Marie Gyllenspetz). It's all done in the style of a latter day silent film, a gallant but failed attempt to show a love story with little verbal communication. (Script: Michael Meyer. Director: Peter Graham Scott who was also in charge of overall production)

The final Story, 6 The Stowaway, is set on a boat off the south of France where eligible bachelor David (Daniel Massey) is sleeping in the Honeymooners' Cabin: "such a pity" but there's no woman on board to share it. But as it happens, there is a stowaway hiding in his cabin, Felice (Yvonne Monlaur), and a romance that teeters on farce develops, and then dies, in a nicely constructed finish. Also appearing were Henry Kendall as Ashley, Andre Maranne as the steward and Guy Deghy as Mr Morand. (Script: Charles Terrot. Director: Ronald Marriott)

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The Big Pride
(ATV Drama 61, #6, May 28th 1961)

A calypso singer introduces "Sutlej and Dowling, a man burning with a big pride." Three black convicts "decked out in misery."
Their leader, Sutlej (William Marshall) is an intellectual with a chip, brought on by years of humiliation at his unjust lot: "when you are a slave, you can only breed slaves."
Smallboy Dowling (Johnny Sekka) is still the apple of his mother's eye, even though "I've finished with prayin'."
The third of the trio is Van Kruze, a less well drawn character, only useful to further the plot.
This day, they are to break out. They tie up their guard. Van Kruze, unknown to the other two, throttles him. It seems to be a simple task escaping.
Van Kruze wants to go it alone and is soon caught. Dowling needs to keep with the experienced Sutlej, who has a scheme. The pair enter the head office of boss man on the island, Randall. For his half brother has provided Sutlej with the lowdown on "first black tycoon" Randall's illegal activities.
"How much?" asks Randall. "I'm after much more than money," replies Sutlej, for it's freedom and a leg up in society that he craves.
"Impossible," Randall tells him, but he has to concede. The convicts are thus put up in a posh hotel, the very building where Dowling's mother slaves in the kitchen.
"All this is like a dream," smiles Smallboy, but their smugness is wiped away when they hear the guard has been killed. "Sit tight, wait till de shooting die down."
This good advice however turns out to be impossible when Sutlej learns his girlfriend Dolly is to marry a white: "I don't want my child growing up as any white man's boy."
He has to meet Dolly, but this is one complication of the plot too many. The racial issues are relevant to the 1960's, but they cannot be explored fully in this 55 minute play. The best character is Dowling's mother (Nadia Cattouse) who can see the futility of her son's actions. "Oh Absalom," she screams rather absurdly, but this futility isn't conveyed to the viewer.
As Sutlej and Dowling trudge through a swamp to elude the police dogs, it seems hopeless. Sutlej takes his bottle of poison, though Dowling tries to dissuade his hero from doing so. Too late. Sutlej grovels in the mud, and with his dying breath attempts to nerve Dowling to face his grim future

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The Crossfire
(screened 9th February 1967, recorded 26 Jan 1967)
Script: Anthony Saven. Director John Jacobs (Anglia TV).

In Algiers, Dr Sorel and his team tend the sick on both sides of the war, white settlers and muslims. Sorel (Eric Portman looking a little frail) has spent his whole life in this country, and despairs of the fighting. Now death threats have been received from whites objecting to his treating the enemy, even for humanitarian reasons: "we're not going to stand for any more of your communications with monkeys," is how the offensive threat reads. But Sorel cannot renounce his beliefs, and particularly not when he is asked to treat a paraplegic eight year old boy who has been badly injured in a bomb blast.
The play would have been much improved if it had focussed on the doctor's dilemma, rather than pursue the parallel stories which are :
1. His daughter is unhappily married to Hugo (Peter Wyngarde). He is treasurer of the white band planning a "major clash;" they are lead with military precision by Palice (Patrick Barr), though the younger faction, typified by the embittered Vedoni (Philip Locke), "the ideal revolutionary," is the one who has threatened Sorel.
2. Sorel's daughter meets an old friend Paul Dupre (Ian Hendry) who is working on behalf of the French government to bring to book perpetrators of the atrocities.
To link these themes, Hugo is asked what he would do if his wife went off with another man. "that would be simple," responds Hugo, "I'd kill him."
A long scene with Dupre interrogating a suspect raises questions of the ethics of the rebels, but doesn't really further the action.
Hugo attempts to persuade Sorel to leave Algiers "before it's too late," but he will not, he's committed to foster cooperation between both the warring sides. "You are in serious trouble," Hugo warns, and he knows.
Operation Sunset is the rebel's elimination of those whom they see as traitors. It should not start until Palice orders it, but Vedoni is over eager. Sorel is top of the hit list. He's rounded up, punched and kidnapped. He is facing trial by a court he cannot recognise. The charge: he's a traitor. His defence: "there's no duty or even right as a doctor to pass moral judgement." He is philosophical about his fate. He protests against all the barbarism.
The trial is interrupted by a crisis in the rebel cause. Sorel is returned to treat his patients, but Vedoni arranges a firing squad to end his life. Dupre has got wind of it all, but reaches Sorel too late.
Hugo is arrested and Paul comforts Sorel's daughter

On YouTube

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Person Unknown
Play of the Week 12:28 (recorded March 15th 1967, screened 23rd March 1967, Anglia TV)
Adapted by David Butler. Director: John Jacobs.

The opening scene, a new women's residential hall, sets the scene of mystery well.
The warden Jane Canning (Elizabeth Sellars) has returned after a night out with Ian Conway (John Gregson) and her younger brother Gilbert (John Wood). He's a detective, and she'd marry him, if she did not feel responsible for Gil, a brilliant but rather erratic and self-centred character.
News is given Jane that one of the first year students Kay Ramsey is missing. She is later found dead in a quarry.
Insp Conway investigates with the aid of Sgt Brandon (Michael Coles). We watch their systematic sifting of the facts.
Beth (Felicity Kendal) and Margo shared a room, but weren't very close to the dead student. They know she had a boy friend called Paul and had recently been seeing a sailor cousin named Andrew.
The tragic news is broken to Kay's mother. Part two begins as mysteriously as the opening act. A half seen figure is searching the warden's office. Enter Jane, to be "startled" by Gil. We hear he had been Kay's maths tutor. The pair comment on her similarity to Anne, whoever she might be.
You always feel he is the obvious, too obvious suspect, for he has no alibi, he was alone when Kay died, preparing for an important conference speech to mathematicians.
The motive for murder becomes clear, for the girl was pregnant. Jane is upset by Ian's questioning, but it's his job to probe. Yet Gilbert is not the only suspect, Andrew seems to have loved Kay, though he denies being the child's father.
The final act begins with Jane burning a photo. Gil is running off to his conference abroad. The photo is of Anne, Gil's wife, who had destroyed his career. Gil blames himself for her fatal car crash. He knew Kay quite well, she had been starting to act like Anne. Gil admits "taking her to the quarry," because she had to meet someone there, who he doesn't know. She had been going to run away with this person.
"No evidence of another man," is Inspector Conway's verdict, which increases the tension in his dealing with Jane. Gil is stopped as he is about to leave, and faces arrest. His clever response is to try and show that Conway himself could equally be the guilty man. "What Gilbert said, it sounded so convincing," sighs the worried warden.
The writer has used the old trick of making everyone suspicious, for now we learn that even Sgt Brandon knew Kay. Thus it is almost farcical, I was just waiting for the only one not to fall under suspicion, the warden herself, to be denounced as a serial killer. I suppose it's a change from the butler doing it, but it made for an unsatisfactory ending
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The Lover (A-R, March 1963- networked except to STV and Border, who refused to transmit this, though eventually they did show it at 11.04pm on June 24th 1963)
Introduced as "Harold Pinter's latest play," TV Times described it thus, "This is not a story about the eternal triangle, but one might call it an eternal quadrangle." My own benighted comments:
Pretentious silhouetted hand movements drum irritatingly to start off this drama.
Scene 1 proper- a husband inquires of his wife if her lover is calling today.
Scene 2- slightly gratuitous. She prepares for his arrival. The camera lingers on her legs.
Scene 3- Return of husband. Matter-of-fact conversation about her lover. He's a cold fish. They discuss her lover and he describes his own whore.
Next day, same again. Today the milkman calls, fresh just like the stereotyped purveyor of milk. Then her lover arrives, Max, no surprise it's actually her husband.
The couple play around, he's under the table now, caressing her legs. She rolls under to join him. Whatever turns you on, that's the expression. He departs, rather unfulfilled today. Apparently she's not his ideal woman.
The last act- his return as man of the house. He suggests quietly she does not entertain her lover in the house any more. "I'll knock his teeth out," he threatens. And he has finished with his whore too. She is baffled at his change. Perhaps the viewer who is still watching is too.
That drum returns, with some questions as to its function. Goaded, she reveals she has other lovers, that's what she says. He attempts to be another, tantalising her. Back to under the table. I was there ahead of them. Whatever Pinter intended by this, I can only assume he was paid well by furniture manufacturers, probably MFI, for the story was about as robust as anything that firm ever made
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A Midsummer Night's Dream - June 24th 1964, 9.10-11.10pm.
"Beauteous" Hermia (Maureen Beck) and her love for Lysander (John Fraser) never grabbed me, but Jill Bennett as the "transparent" Helena was much more idiosyncratic, wistful and indeed appealing. Patrick Allen was Patrick Allen, ditto Peter Wyngarde who came across as almost a panto demon.
At Quince's Cottage were assembled the more popular commercial attractions, led by Benny Hill as Bottom, who gave the role his own occasional cheeky little laugh. I liked his scene when he manipulated poor Arthur Hewlett as Snug's face. But old stager Miles Malleson as Quince seemed the most seeped in his part, uttering his line "he's a very paramour," as only Malleson can. Alfie Bass as Flute and specially Bernard Bresslaw as Snout must have disappointed the popular audience, as they never uttered even one of their catchphrases.
Directed by Joan Kemp-Welch with some fine close-ups, and one striking visual moment when a match was lit, superimposed on the scene as Snug and Snout are scared off by Puck. That of course, could never have been done on stage, and this was only one example which showed some care had been taken to make the play into a televisual one.
Perhaps the best done comedy moment was when Bottom as a "monster" is wooed by the spirited Titania (Anna Massey). You just longed to see Benny Hill's face, but that of course was impossible, hid behind the mask of an ass.
So there was much to admire, my favourite scene was the stunning effect, despite the cramped studio, of the fairies' ballet, to the accompaniment, naturally, of Mendelssohn's enchanting music.

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A Choice of Coward (Play of the Week 9.51 to 54)
The pompous introductions from the author himself nearly lost this viewer before we ever get going, as I am by no means a Noel Coward fan. Four plays were transmitted in this Granada series shown in August 1964.

1 Present Laughter- After expounding his thoughts on the star system, NC kicks off his own star vehicle with Peter Wyngarde in NC's role, perhaps not sporting the "thinning hair," but otherwise ideal as "God", who has not quite grown up. His ex-wife's accusation prompts the undeniably erroneous response, "I have never overacted in my life," his many failings show up, for me, in his overindulgent seduction by his leading lady (Barbara Murray), the remainder of the play revealing its consequences, "I wish I were dead." I liked the contrast Joan Benham provided as his so efficient secretary, James Bolam was excellent as an over enthusiastic junior writer, and Ruth Porcher had a lovely little part as the inscrutable daily. But it has to be that "the unmitigated cad" steals the play
2 Blithe Spirit
- NC commences with a rant against those "verbose, ill-constructed" modern plays of no substance. He was right there!
Then I started to warm to this condensed 72 minute version which moves at a cracking pace under the direction of Joan Kemp-Welch. Hattie Jacques' bulky presence is of course wildly eccentric as Madame Arcati, but also amazingly balletic whilst Griffith Jones is simply marvellous darlings in the master's role. I had to keep reminding myself that I was watching Griffith Jones as the "astral bigamist," who plays the role so much better than Rex Harrison. Only Joanna Dunham as the "earthy, ethereal" Elvira is a trifle disappointing, acting rather woodenly, even if she does make a sensuous ghost. Maybe this really ought to have been Fenella Fielding's role? For those brought up on the film version, this is a pleasant surprise. Quite stagey, but so well edited from the original play that it really is an improvement! I wonder what NC made of it all? Yes it was certainly "one of the most enjoyable five minutes I've ever spent"

3 The Vortex
- "It established me both as a playwright and actor," NC tells us, rather self centred, but he does then puncture his own ego.
Tony Bateman is in NC's role, while the "whacking good part" of the "flaunting" Florence is by Margaret Johnston. She sprawls elegantly on the sofa, married to David but besotted with young Tom who enters after 25 minutes, too long time character setting, to sweep Bunty off her feet, up till now she's engaged in a perfunctory way to Florence's son. Act 2 moves to a country house party, the atmosphere of 1925 superbly authentic except for an anachronistic reference to a Charlie Kunz record, but once again the plot is too verbose, maybe this is what the idle rich of those days enjoyed. The resulting hysteria when the shallow relationships are shattered is well done, with Florence providing an acting tour de force as she is faced with the reality of ageing, "but you can't see it." The gaiety of the opening dies away in despair, at least for the viewer if not quite for the characters, for I never found I cared enough about these toffs. As it is, the jolly closing music and credits of the cast in Charleston mood are dreadfully out of place
4 Design for Living - a play about "moths in the pool of life," unconventional Gilda (Jill Bennett), in love with penniless artist Otto (John Wood), but now drawn to successful writer Leo (Daniel Massey). All three are jolly good pals, and jolly shallow. Otto leaves in disgust when she has it off with Leo. After a year with Leo, Gilda feels "something's missing," and that of course is Otto, now a success. Though both men love her she feels they no longer need her, so she goes off with Ernest who is already a success. Finally a boring two years on, with the smart set and her prim husband she's reunited with her former lovers for some half hearted home truths in an "equivocal" ending that's how Coward describes it, though it's no ending, to me he's taken the coward's way out and given us a Kop Out
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The Death of Bessie Smith
(Granada, TV Playhouse 10:43, June 28th 1965)

It's 1937 in Memphis. "Goddam nxxxxr records" give father (Robert Ayres) a headache. Playing them is his daughter, a frothy nurse (Patricia English) who works in a "secondrate" white hospital with the fewest patients you ever did see, a model for NHS practice surely. Forgotten legend Bessie Smith ("is she still singing?") is admitted after a car smash. This is two thirds of the way through the play, the first act of which is used to define the deadbeat staff who are to 'treat' her. The final act has yet more inconsequential talk whilst the "nxxxxr" has to wait.
Personally, I can't take this static type of play, an actor's play perhaps, but shouldn't the author Edward Albee be sued under the Trades Descriptions Act for saying he's putting an incidental historical context to a play which is really examining Southern racist attitudes? A true historical analysis would rather have started with the excellent final scene when black driver (Earl Cameron) confronts our white nurse, "I never heard of such a thing."
Donald Sutherland as the distracted intern gives it all a veneer of credibility, but only a veneer.

Note: Pat English's part was originally to have been played by Gene Anderson who said of the role: "it's a horrible part- I play the nurse who refuses coloured Bessie entry to a white hospital- and a great challenge." Sadly Gene died suddenly before the programme was recorded.

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The Human Voice
(Rediffusion, November 1966)
Script: Jean Cocteau, adapted by Clive Exton
Director: Ted Kotcheff. Set designed by Michael Yates
TV Times summary: "A virtuoso part... the voice of her caller is never heard... but a good actress can make the audience imagine every word he is saying to her."

Flaxman 4924. This is Hampstead 1507. That sums up this Jean Cocteau play with the one character, a lady in turmoil, played by Ingrid Bergman. Torn photos lie on the floor when we first encounter her, lying on her bed uttering inexpressible groans. Her only companion an alsatian with a terrifying growl, no comfort.
One solution only to her woes... light a cigarette. Jilted, she is about to leave the flat when the phone rings. Hope renewed, she embarks on the first of several lengthy telephone chats in which we ever only hear her side. Someone must be well off to afford such long calls. For her there is now still hope, "you're not to blame," as the conversation centres on such profundities as searching for his driving gloves, I am sure they must be symbolic of something profound, can't tell you what.
The problems of phone calls in those days are realistically portrayed with party line interruptions, being cut off, so frustrating for her, and for incomprehending viewers. Finally the line goes dead. She has an interminable wait for him to dial again. To pass the time, another fag, despite her statement to him she hardly touches the things (though that's not quite how the author expresses it). She bathes in tears of nostalgia until she grasps the nettle and phones him. Engaged.
Another attempt gets through, but it's only someone called Henry who answers. Tears, increasingly hysterical.
But after a while, a long long while, he rings again. She is more frosty at first, but gradually sinks into her deepest woe. "I couldn't feel my heart beating any more." Perking up a mite, she recalls the good times. Back to the depths and she chucks the phone down. Talk of suicide, mood swings, dreams, "I would only love you all the more..." He rings off. Can't really blame him. She is back on her bed of woe where it had begun. She is praying he will somehow ring again. Good Lord, he does!
"We shall sit here for ever," she fantasises to him, the phone lead threateningly twisted round her neck. "I love you," is her last contribution, repeated and repeated.
I am sure this can be described as a brilliant solo performance, there are impressive camera shots directed by Ted Kotcheff proving this must be tv at its most mature, yet I must say I found it exceptionally hard going. Patrick McGoohan could have done the sequel, Human Voice 2, if the author cared to write the story from the other end of the line. This is a play for intellectuals to argue over, for benighted students to have to study for their university degrees, for ITV to claim it was a patron of the Arts, oh but is it enjoyable?

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Your Name's Not God, It's Edgar
Screened December 9th 1968 (ITV Playhouse 2:17)
Script: Jack Rosenthal. Director: Michael Apted

What an awful start to this northern play, as scenes of t'north are accompanied by an irritatingly jokey rendition of Jerusalem. Followed by Lily's reflection of what this song means, if anything.
Edgar (Alfred Lynch) is under t'thumb o' his dad (Jimmy Jewel). Flashbacks to his youth reveal his deep seated awareness of original sin, especially (this was the sixties) in relation to the female form. When his mam had got "a bug in her belly," it's connected in the lad's mind with his original sin. Now she's died, but was it because he'd watched a rude film?
Left alone, "great white Buddha," his malingering bedridden dad is the bane of Edgar's life, spoiling his romance with the plain Phoebe (Yootha Joyce), or is it an excuse? His friend's nickname Blessed Art Thou, from t'Bible, might give us a clue as to the attraction to the opposite sex that Edgar longs after, maybe lusts after, though his veneer is a respectable religiosity.
Perhaps this nonsense is summed up best by one long scene in which Edgar converses with a beast of the field. The latter talked more sense to me. Matters with Phoebe reach crisis point, and Edgar adopts his dad's "childish" ploy of feigning illness. But after eight long years, Phoebe is remarkably persistent, "I'll wait for yer," she promises. Why, she must be desperate.
A weekend away from dad in London's fleshpots may "drown his conscience." However it seems uneventful, though back oop North, Phoebe seems to be hitting it off with dad, "would you like a sherbert fountain?"
But Edgar has discovered Phoebe's more attractive double in the big city. "There's other things in life besides sex," and though it's mostly talk, she does seduce him.
Returning home, Edgar finds dad up and about, "nothing wrong with yer." Truth downs on t'lad, it had dawned on us before we fell asleep a long while ago, truth regards his dad and his own guilty inner feelings. "Round the twist he always was," and you'd be too after suffering this pseudo comic sixties twaddle. But I canna give yer a fair review, as I never liked this play one bit

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BBC Plays
Miscellaneous Plays

It is Midnight Dr Schweitzer (1953)
A Man from the Sun (1956)
Without Love
The Government Inspector (1958)
This Day in Fear (1958)
Brand (1959)
Soldier Soldier (1960)
Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968)
The Interview

The Wednesday Play

12 Fable (1965)
64 Way off Beat (1966)
84 In Two Minds (1967)
117 The Golden Vision (1968)
122 The Gorge
132 On the Eve of Publication
146 Last Train Through Hardcastle Tunnel (1969)
148 Mark II Wife

The drama department at the BBC earned a top class reputation for producing quality tv plays. The genre culminated in the gritty realism of the Wednesday Play, this was sixties television at its most dour. I have to confess that this is not what I enjoy on my television screen, and ironically it was only because the BBC recruited top ABC man Sydney Newman, that their dramas really descended from stagey theatrical plays to the kitchen sink abyss. Critics of course will love anything they don't understand, and a lot of the Wednesday Play output was just that, down to earth language with down to earth situations, that dragged the nation down into its pit. Television reflects life, was the excuse, but television also moulds life, and mould be the word.
Having ranted against it, let's conclude on a positive note, and recommend the excellence of some modern day classics, from which I single out John Hopkins' Fable, hard going, depressing even, but almost prophetic.
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It is Midnight Dr Schweitzer (Feb 22nd 1953, second performance Feb 26th 1953)
This is primitive tv drama, based on one set, the story in real time, with dialogue and little action, nevertheless an interesting historical document. Indeed unlike modern historical reconstructions, this is acceptably close enough to reality. However there is never any very probing analysis of Schweitzer's motives, as the various sub-plots, even though they are all drawn together by the end, detract from a proper focus on the main man.

Midnight on a fateful night in 1914 in an African hospital. Dr Schweitzer (Andre Morell) plays Bach, as his nurse, Sister Marie (Greta Gynt) stands by, looking discontented. "It seems to me some people just give the money, whereas others give themselves." She's restless over her vocation and the doctor, maybe for the viewer's benefit too, goes over the reasons why he himself has given up a great career, even leaving behind his family.
But the philosophising is interrupted by a sick child who has been rescued by the priest Father Charles (Douglas Wilmer) from having her throat cut by superstitious natives. So the doctor attends the girl whilst Marie and the priest discuss the meaning of life, until I rather echoed Schweitzer's own comment "I grew impatient of talk."
Marie's lack of happiness may be related to the Commandant who now enters with the governor to spout politics. The latter is clearly antagonistic towards the doctor, possibly as he's German, and war seems imminent. "I hate war," is Schweitzer's stance, especially of course, if it means an interruption of his medical supplies from Europe.
There's more work, even at this late hour, when seven "monsters covered in enormous tumours" are brought in for treatment. This brings on a religious argument about suffering and God's existence, before Father Charles makes his farewell, possibly for the last time with war so near: "God be with you."
After 50 minutes we have an Interval, with a record of Schweitzer himself at the organ.
The next evening, the governor declares his love for the nurse "with the great heart." But she still isn't happy. The governor is here to give the pacifist doctor protection, but the offer is rejected, unwisely as it turns out, for natives break in and steal the medicines. There's unrest on account of war being declared: "the white men of Europe have started a great palaver. The tribe of the commandant is fighting the tribe of the great doctor." It drives the doctor to despair, and suddenly it's Marie who needs to bolster Him. Some Bach soothes them.
The commandant shares his love for Marie, who happily responds: "one single moment of happiness,".... but then "happiness is not thinking of others." They both have a higher duty. This becomes evident as Father Charles staggers in, a native sword in his back. All reflect on his death.
It's sufficent to make the commandant see that he must return to Europe, and for Marie to realise that her life is with the doctor: "I shall put my joy aside."
However there will be no joy at all, for the governor will be closing the hospital, for he has orders to intern Schweitzer at midnight. The doctor bemoans, not his own fate, but the fact that leprosy and all he has striven to fight, will now return to the peoples. There's a last tour of his hospital, and a soliloquy. He prays.
But Marie pledges herself to running the hospital alone. Schweitzer plays Bach until he is taken away at midnight.
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The Government Inspector (February 1958)
A fine study of corrupt Russian country town officials, awaiting the arrival of a government inspector from St Petersberg. Or is he already here? The worry is that their numerous indiscretions may be revealed. The preparation for the arrival of this visitor is very well executed.
Mild hysteria follows when it seems that the visitor is indeed already in town, residing in a seedy hotel. In fact he is a "sponger, a scoundrel," but mistaken for the genuine article. Tony Hancock plays the impoverished junior clerk, who is believed erroneously to be the inspector, and he is invited to transfer his lodgings to the mayor's own house. John Phillips plays the mayor, with Helen Christie as his hopeful wife.
The gossip has it that this inspector is "grave and dignified," though in fact he is trying to get his head round why everyone is treating him with so much generosity. All the local dignitaries seek to impress the inspector, who starts to luxuriate in his own fantasies of grandeur, and maybe a little the worse off for drink he's been plied with. He wins a conquest in the mayor's wife too, not to mention her daughter.
A bribe from the judge, a loan from the schools superintendent, a gift from the health commissioner, leads him to expect numerous other little donations, and even the favours of the daughter, to whom he proposes.
"It's got to end sometime," his servant advises, so they leave before obsequiousness can end.
The mayor's dreams of high society come crashing down when the postmaster reveals, "he isn't an important man." This, discovered by opening his mail. A splended tale of the swindlers swindled. "Some jackanapes will make a play about it!"

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Soldier Soldier (February 1960)

A Caledonian Fuselier (Andrew Keir), 200 miles from barracks, is stranded in a northen town. In a pub he boasts to the locals of his regiment's glorious victories, and after they all become tiddly, police are called.
Joe 'Nosey' Parker (Maurice Denham) helps him elude the law- Joe is ever hopeful of getting a seat on the local council, and in this soldier he can see a way. For his friends Charlie (Frank Finlay) and wife Ida, have a son called Tommy in the same regiment- they haven't heard from him for two years since he came home on leave bringing to stay his new Irish bride Mary.
Here is Coronation Street, before its birth, only with Southerners acting, throwing in the odd "eeee" for good measure. The soldier spins a tale that Tommy has been sent to jail- for murder. False evidence of course, and he promises he will fight for justice for Tommy if the family hand over "the shekels."
For the next few days they wait on him hand and foot. The play explores the shaky foundation to his yarn, and characters' reactions to it. Joe sees it as his chance for the council, demanding to know why the authorities hadn't informed Tommy's family. All Mary wants is someone to cherish her, and once the soldier has been given "all their savings," she runs off with him.
After a night together she comes back, alone. Like a bad penny he returns too. His smooth talking squeezes more cash from the family. Mary has seen through him (at last!) but needs him, "I'm comin' with yer." But he has no more time for her, though he leaves her some of the money and disappears. She leaves separately.
Finally Mrs Parker uncovers the truth about the lies. What the point of the play was, only the author knows. I think it were supposed to make you laugh, by gum. How the soldier could stay awol for so long, who knows? Perhaps this was a pilot for the Wednesday Play, it certainly wasn't for Coronation Street!

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A Man From The Sun
A play written and produced by John Elliot shown on Thursday November 8th 1956 (BBC).

An early study of the tension surrounding black immigrants into England. Rather predictable responses, "I don't want a crowd of blacks living round me," but with some interesting insights, "here there is no colour bar, but in people's hearts."
The tale mainly revolves round Cleve (Errol John) newly arrived to join his cousin Alvin (Cy Grant), his wandering round the docks conveys well his loneliness. Here we meet the sympathetic and supportive Brent (the excellent Earl Cameron), already settled in his new land, who helps one lost young beauty queen Ethlyn whose thin clothing has already given her a cold. She nearly comes a cropper at the hands of a prostitution racket, but is rescued by one of the few sympathetic white characters, Church Army worker Miss Prior (the ever reliable but prim Beatrice Varley).
Cleve is given a calypso welcome by Alvin and his extended family, plus a few home truths about life in England. Getting a job, that's his first task, and he is lucky to get one on a council building site. However here he meets opposition from a traditional union leader Bale (Colin Douglas) whose cronies believe "the borough is going downhill with the influx of migrants." His daughter Maggie has an "unfortunate liaison" with a black man.
Embroiled in a rather poorly done racial argument, Cleve and his opponent are given their cards. Like Ethlyn, he's offered a chance of easy money by Prince and his prostitutes, but Brent is on hand to save him, and Maggie even helps him, perhaps a little patronising it might seem, with English pronounciation lessons.
Ethlyn too finds happiness at a revival meeting and a council meeting throws out a proposal by residents to segregate white and black on a new estate.The solution seems to brush the problem under the carpet, but the play ends on a happy upbeat note with a calypso wedding and speeches from all and sundry.
This was a most interesting play, perhaps too many characters to develop them in sufficient depth, and too complex issues to cover properly, such as Alvin's own morals, but I liked the positive characters of Brent and Miss Prior and the West Indian music contrasted well with some drab and grey London streets

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This Day in Fear (July 1st 1958)
starring Patrick McGoohan (James Coogan) with Billie Whitelaw (Mrs Coogan), Donal Donnelly, Hugh Moxey, Harold Berens.

Police believe "law abiding" citizen James Coogan needs protection as The Movement is after him. But Jim hasn't told his family or colleagues at work about his IRA past, which he has now put well behind him. But when it seems he is really going to be "live bait," he accepts the police offer.
Spasmodically the tension is notched up, but in between there's too much flagging. At last the climax, as Jimmy calmly accepts his fate. He explains his previous philosophy to his uncomprehending wife, before the priest, present to hear Jim's last confession, coaxes the truth out of him.
A neat conclusion leaves his political assassins baffled and the way of the gun is exposed for what it is

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Brand (August 11th 1959)

Author: Ibsen, Producer: Rudolph Cartier.

Patrick McGoohan won plaudits for his powerful portrayal in this pseudo religious drama, but for me, even The Prisoner is more comprehensible than this drama which lacks a storyline. Be a martyr if you want to sit through it all.

St John Roberts under the headline 'Magnificent McGoohan' gave this glowing account- "'If you do not give all, you give nothing,' says Brand. This is the rule by which he lives and which he mistakenly serves God. The Doctor, tending his dying son replies, 'Your love account is as white as a virgin sheet.' These two lines provide the background of a play that is powerful, passionate and moving. Beautifully produced by Michael Elliott, it starred Patrick McGoohan in the greatest role he has yet appeared in on tv. He gave a truly magnificent, monumental performance as Brand, a performance of granite, strong and solid- until he discovers humanity glimmering within him- a discovery which is made too late. McGoohan was more than ably supported by Patrick Wymark as the scheming mayor, Dilys Hamlett as his pitiful wife and Peter Sallis in two clever cameos. Neither must one forget striking Olive McFarland as Gerd"

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Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968, Omnibus)

Michael Hordern plays a Cambridge professor staying in an isolated hotel. Finding an ancient whistle, he blows it and lo, a treatise on survival of death, before some slightly spooky occurrences in his bedroom.
Lovely scenery with a fine solo from Hordern (who else could utter "Rumpled" like him?) but forty minutes is way too long for this MR James short story and, despite Jonathan Miller's pompous introduction which purports to be a serious analysis, I think I believe I experienced no "terror"

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The Interview
(Feb 28th 1968, Thirty Minute Theatre) by Barry Bermange. Directed by Donald McWhinnie

More specifically this should be titled The Interview Waiting Room.
Inconsequentially and intermittently, candidates chat until one gets down to the subject at hand: "were they all as boring as this one, all those other interviews you've had?" Thankfully, half way through the boring wait, we learn that one interviewee, Dennis Gray, had a wife who died "in a boating accident."
After this is established the others decide to teach him to speak German. Why?- you might well ask, that is if you are still interested. For the author is determined to inflict his own mundane experience on us, but as each interview lasts but a few minutes, it's not very true to life.
At last, it's Dennis' turn! His fellow candidates greet him in the most improbable conclusion to any interview.
Nothing is made explicit which is a cheat, even though we know what we know, I hope. It is quite a clever end, but not worth 29 minutes wait
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Without Love (December 13th 1956)
Script: Colin Morris, Producer: Gilchrist Calder.
Scene 1 plunges straight into the original postwar generation clash. Working class dad Jim (Alfred Burke) of 14 Paradise Street argues with an "out of control" 17 year-old who lives "in a different world" to her father and stepmother.
The upshot is that Jacky (Clare Austin) leaves home to join friend Betty (a fuller Billie Whitelaw), hostess at a club. According to the barmaid there, Jacky's "just a baby, the first man that shows her affection, she falls for it." A Yank- and she's pregnant, and he's gone.
Now she's in the dock, charged with being drunk. Mrs Hammond, her probation officer (Barbara Couper), hears her sorry tale of how lonely she is now she has had her child fostered. But she can only offer advice and it's Betty who's more likely to help Jacky solve her financial crisis.
Thus it is that she's picked up by the smooth talking Tony (Paul Stassino) whom she naively falls for. He persuades her to earn cash by being a prostitute. To the courtroom again, in her finery, and a second interview with Mrs Hammond. More heart to heart with the probation officer echoing the writer's purpose: "a girl will give anything to get a man to stay with her. Oh, the clients have nothing, just pound notes." Observes her counsellor: "you obviously don't know anything," for the youngster cannot see through Tony's facade. Mrs Hammond's prediction of the future is not what Jacky wants to hear: "he's a parasite who won't stand on his own."
There's no happy ending to a play that doesn't offer much, except a touching performance from the rarely cheerful Jacky. But the ending is quite effective as she fades from the courtroom, leaving others to reflect on her fate, and the rounded probation officer to offer a gleam of light with her own settled existence
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12 Fable (1965)

A kind of 1984 state where apartheid in reverse is in operation.
White man Len (Ronald Lacey) is a government employed driver, in the service of his black boss Mark Fellowes (Thomas Baptiste), a famous writer, "the authentic voice of protest." But Fellowes is under house arrest and Len, now unemployed, is forcibly transferred from his family in London to a work reservation in remote Scotland. His wife Joan appeals to Len's former boss to take up his case, but Mark's campaigning work is rendered ineffective by his wife Francesca, who, to ensure her husband does not incur further official wrath, secretly burns his current writings which are pressing for social justice.
In Scotland, Len finds his new master harsher, and his master's wife enigmatic, pumping him about Fellowes. Len is accused of raping her, but he succeeds in escaping and flees back to the despairing Joan who has been forcibly rehoused. Rather improbably, Len is able to shoot the head of state, as the story becomes too extreme, losing its main and most absorbing emphasis on the morality of the new order. There's civil unrest. The media are manipulated. News of the president's death is kept quiet, until the proper moment. Greater segregation of black and white.
A key scene is when Joan, now a necessary prostitute, gets to see Mark Fellowes and almost opens his eyes. Television pictures expose the late Joan's "sordid" life, slanted for political ends. It leaves a bleak and depressing ending, the only ray of hope being in campaigners like the sadly toothless Mark. "What battle are you fighting?" Francesca demands of him. He's the frail reed for the future.
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64 Way off Beat (1966)

This is really Sydney Tafler's play. He dominates the action as "The Mr Bradshaw," upper crust hairdresser in a regional kingdom of thee own. But Gordon Reid as "innocent, impecunious yet talented" Norman has the most sympathetic part, of a working class lad who's groomed by Bradshaw to partner his innocent daughter Linda (Helen Fraser) in Come Dancing style events. But Norman's only being used by the ruthless Bradshaw to enable his daughter to leap out of the Novice Ballroom class. "Where would you be without me, Norman?" But when the pair actually kiss, the tale becomes what it has always threatened to be, the usual Sixties Clash of Culture and Class Differences. On the night of the Big Competition, a touch of bribery to the adjudicator (Jimmy Hanley- "it's in the bag") fails to help the overbearing Bradshaw achieve his goal

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In Two Minds
Script: David Mercer. Director: Ken Loach.
Anna Cropper was made for this role with her sad melancholic looks, as the Schizophrenic Kate. "She's sick isn't she?" is how her dad Joe explains it in a nutshell. But of course he can only see his side, for this is yet another generation gap study. "She's brought shame on this house," cries her mum Dolly.
The characters are seen through the eyes of a psychiatrist, in the manner of those invisible tv interviewers a la Esther Rantzen. The trouble with this sort of drama is that it can be so predictable, like this. The characters must have their moments of self truth during chats with the shrink, who never does more than probe with more and more questions.
"Sometimes I want to go, but I feel that I can't," is how Kate feels guilty, trapped at home. She can't make that break.
And that is only the first third of this play! Katie's sister Mary is added to the recipe, she is one who has made that break, so no wonder her answer is, "get her out the way from these lot." Thus there are plenty more heartaches for the family, revelations of abortion, "nuclear war," even, allegedly.
Off to hospital for Kate. There mum's drone never cheered me up, I think it was supposed to have that effect on Kate. I think I am going round the twist too. Dolly tried to kill her. "I don't exist." And other such dreary angst.
The next section of the play is seen through Kate's clouded eyes. She pals up in the madhouse with Paul (George Innes) who advises her to play the game if she wants to be free. She doesn't and her treatment is like that of a child. Another parental visit ends in even more crying and tantrums as Kate can't fast forward (unlike myself) their grumblings and mutterings. Mum and dad keep repeating their viewpoint, and this play could, heaven help us, go on for ever and ever and ever. You just write the same words, maybe in a different order, dad saying his line, mum hers, no understanding.
Result- for Kate that is (me, I was beyond saving), she withdraws yet more into herself as Chief Shrink (Patrick Barr) ends the torture with a lecture to students whom the author portrays as maybe as wise as their master, or indeed as unwise as their master. She is "childish," explains Mr Expert. Plus a lot more technical jargon. It's the recycled plot all over again! What's the treatment? The students proffer their ideas. The doc demonstrates his own brutal method- "it does work." Well he thinks so. "The outlook is not very good," declares a more perceptive student." Who needs electric shock treatment? Just show this.

This is a play that deserved to be junked, instead of which my favourite programmes have been wantonly destroyed, now isn't that real madness?
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117 The Golden Vision (1968)

A unique footballing docu-drama directed by John Boorman.

Jeff is a single-minded Everton supporter, his mates ditto.
I'm a footer fan too, but this is a turn-off unless you like airy-fairy realism. Even the fanaticism is somehow muted, perhaps as Everton aren't doing that well, and dead characters lead to dead drama. Gratuitous night club scenes to spice it up, it's only for nostalgia, for the back to back terraces I mean, that you could view this.
I'm only sorry Ken Jones whom I think a fine comedy actor, got roped into this glimpse of 'reality.' "Golden?"- no, the old days weren't always so

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122 The Gorge (1968)

Script: Peter Nichols. Director: Christopher Morahan.
The tedium of home movies as seen by sixth former Mike, the main characters introduced in this novel way, silent film accompanied by the family's own commentary. Mike is "fed up to the back teeth," reliving the day his mum and dad showed Uncle Jack round the Bristol area. It has been meticulously organised by dad, Wells Cathedral on film, then to Cheddar Gorge. If Mike watches bored, why shouldn't we? The place is jam packed with tourists as we gradually see less on film, more 'live'- perhaps the BBC were running out of film? Mike finds most interest in trying to date 15 year old Christine, and that's the main interest for us also. There's a mysterious religious motif as the family move off to lunch, singing Rock of Ages, absolutely ghastly. That's how Mike looks, and us. Far from the madding etc, picnic is in a quiet field al fresco, to a long jazzy soundtrack, which seemed to me more like padding than anything. But then the whole story is full of mundane inanities.
Conversation is inane too, the goaded Mike at last crying out, "shut your damn face" to his dad, though this outburst is politely ignored as the picnic drones on. Actually, Mike, I'd been shouting the same thing in my mind for some while. However Christine's family, of a different social status, have also pulled into the field, at a discreet distance from the "vulgar" family, they have their meal too. An annoying bee drives the two families together, though Mike and Christine have both sneaked off separately for a walk. The mix of some film continues as we see them meet up and then it's live as they talk at length, slagging off their respective parents. I think the suggestion might be that they'll be the same as their parents in later years.
The two sets of parents are now making friends, when a religious nut comes along spouting mumbo jumbo. I couldn't see the relevance, probably the preacher couldn't either, but it's not on the lines of your sins will find you out. For now Mike and Christine are sunbathing in the bushes, she is clearly more forward, asking Mike if she is "nubile."
An invasion of more tourists into the field, many Hell's Angels who start snogging, what time Christine has stripepd off to soak up the sun, or something.
"Time we were pushing on," Dad suggests and both sets of parents go for a walk as well. You can anticipate what's next. Well, not quite. That's why Mike is looking so gloomy, he can't do what she clearly wants and half naked dashes away, only to stumble upon his own mum and dad in an almost compromising situation.
Another long jazzy sequence depicts packing up time. Then the long trail home, cars nose to tail. Dad's car conks out, Christine's dad crashes into him, lots of significant looks and one long traffic jam. Only one lone cyclist can get through, that's the religious nut, perhaps there's a message there, God knows.
But as for humble me, I haven't a clue what the writer was trying to get across, if he was trying to say anything he was a very clever man. But more probably he just wrote it to earn a bit of cash. Manfred Mann must have been paid a little for that music too. Looking at it today, this is the very worst face of 1960s tv, an attempt at the radical, maybe the titillating, that reflects the pointlessness of life that afflicted so many
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132 On The Eve of Publication
Script: David Mercer. Director: Alan Bridge.
Leo McKern shares with himself, and us, his morbid thoughts as only McKern can, that is Rumpole-like. These are his dying thoughts as his new novel is about to be published, while he sits at a sumptuous banquet with people he mostly despises, in a kind of Alzheimer hazy flashback recalling his murky past, through his mumblings hoping to convince of something or rather the person he cares for, daughter Emma, one souvenir from his many relationships.
This is not a likeable man, outspoken for sure, his memories are perhaps intended to lure us into his repellent world as he explains his mind to Emma, at least in his own mind. No doubt this yields an actor's tour de force, but for this viewer it was a cacophony of meaningless words and bitter unpleasantry.
Then we should admire the director who rather cleverly uses silence as the camera swings on the other characters in his thoughts, seen to speak yet we hear not. Lots of close-ups, just an occasional glimpse of the impressive dining table round which the ghastly guests are gathered.
His ramblings and reminiscences grow ever more tedious, I think we're meant to sympathise with his mental angst and physical pains, "I shall burst."That reminds me, there are the urinals too, as you'd expect in The Wednesday Play, and Mr McKern's long trek down bland corridors to and fro frequently. His turmoil is all about his marxist past, now there's a good old 60s chesnut, "where am I going?" Thankfully he does go, not the loo, but off this mortal coil, and everyone's out their misery.
I suppose the era was one of searching for answers which never came, and this play certainly doesn't offer any, or any hope, or any pleasure, or anything
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146 Last Train Through Hardcastle Tunnel (1969)

A study of that spotty phenomenon, the train spotter, young man Benjamin (Richard O'Callaghan), whose conversation only comes alive when discussing railways, otherwise he's a square. Rather like those dull Great Railway Journeys programmes, this is a montage showing his encounters with disparate humans, of whom Joe Gladwin as an ancient railwayman of the old school is the most appealing. Signalling expert John le Mesurier, what Benjamin is likely to grow into, is the saddest, inhabiting his own world, which appears to be the message this play attempts to convey as it gradually runs out of puff, shunted into an exceptionally rusty siding

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148 The Mark II Wife (1969)
directed by Philip Saville and written by William Trevor

"A piece of cheap rubbish," that's one line from this play that sums it up for me.
What is Hell? Perhaps being isolated at a party of "damned half wits" as neurotic Anna MacKintosh discovers. This is a tough part for Faith Brook who conveys well her "escape into madness," driven by her knowledge that Edward her husband is having it off with a 19 year old.
She has this half felt intuition that has brought her to this party where she knows she will find him come in with her, while other guests puzzle over who this stranger is, for she is "completely out of it." Someone will go mad here tonight she darkly explains, though it is her that's going round the twist, "I shall escape into madness," she mutters to herself. She certainly drove me there.
The other guests don't help. Flirtatious Bodanski (Philip Madoc at his best) might help her forget her jinxed marriage. It's the General and Daphne Ritchie in whom Anna eventually confides. She gets it out: Edward is leaving her for his Mark II wife, the telling makes her crack up, hedgehogs on her wedding day, that sort of thing. A wild dance half naked with Bodanski, she is escorted upstairs. Now alone in a bedroom, she phones her shrink Dr Abbot that rather modern phenomenon, an on-line counsellor.
Downstairs stunned silence reigns, "most embarrassing, some kind of Scott Fitzgerald." According to Mrs Ritchie, their host's daughter Elsie Engelfield is the one Edward is running off with. Gossip abounds. But then Anna, after her reassuring phone call, makes herself up watched by the peephole eyes of Bodanski, and announces to all and sundry that it had all been in her mind.
She makes her prolonged goodbye to the other guests, apologising for her behaviour, "the mark II wife is something entirely in my imagination," all that intuition stuff had been "phoney."
Angry guests watch her departure, "let's forget it all." Yes, let's. But no, here comes Elsie, daughter of the host, subject of all that gossip (Joanna Lumley), and she tells mummy and daddy she has brought "her gorgeous Edward MacKintosh" with her.
So Anna wasn't imagining it all, she was wrong, it wasn't all in her mind, it was real all that madness, This play has driven me round the bend, that's real enough, and anyway I have changed my mind also, for this one thing I do know, and it's not a phoney intuition, Hell was surely The Wednesday Play.

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Taxi! (1963/4)
These two series, each of thirteen 45 minute stories, starred Sid James in a rare dramatic role. The tales of a London taxi driver, Sid Stone, his cab is RYK 424: "Right mate, 'op in!" The series was created by the ubiquitous Ted Willis.
1.5 The Villain (August 7th 1963)
Sid has backed another loser, and to vent his frustration, pulls his mate Fred's leg, who responds with some bad news- their taxi's clutch is slipping. About to phone the garage, Sid learrns this is another joke.
Now Sid is off to work, his first fare, an Indian (Peter Elliott) challenges the 2 price to London Airport, "you are all robbers."
Then Sid shops rogue cabbie Jack Melia (Alan Curtis), who's touting illegally for fares by pushing to the front of the rank at Paddington Station. However calling in the police makes Sid unpopular in some quarters as The Villain, although admittedly Jack has always been a villain himself, though now as he is set to lose his licence, he has some sympathy from his fellow drivers. Others however fully support Sid's stance.
When Sid is out, Jack's wife Julie (Jennifer Jayne) calls to give Fred such a sob story about her children suffering because of her husband's stupidity, that the smitten Fred promises to persuade Sid to let Jack off. She bids a fond farewell with a kiss.
"All I want is a bit of peace," cries Sid as Fred drives him personal like, to Albany Street police station. Yet it's all a bit odd, as Fred phones to tell Julie the good news, Brixton 9621, yet Sid knows Jack lives in Forest Gate. "Something a bit dodgy going on 'ere mate."
So mate Terry drives Sid and Fred round to Brixton. They seem to come to an amicable arrangement with Jack and Julie, until the talk turns to their poor children. Terry has now brought the real Mrs Melia from her Forest Gate home and the potential bigamist is exposed, "'e deserves all 'e gets." Sid and Co exit to the sounds of a marital bust up, "you dirty rotten liar."
But one person seems happy, that's Fred, for it all means Julie must be available
Drama menu . . . For Sid in Citizen James

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Love Story (ATV)
One off plays. The series ran for eleven series between January 1963 and January 1974, 128 hour long stories were shown.

I have:
10.13 My Brother's House (March 28th 1973)
starring Sydney Tafler and
Mary Kerridge,
with Freda Knorr as Sandra Miller and
Leonard Whiting as Nicholas Miller.

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DR FINLAY'S CASEBOOK (BBC)
One of the BBC's most popular 1960s drama series, it started in August 1962 and ended after nearly 200 stories, now in colour, in early 1971. I must confess that a few of the stories are more grimly akin to the Wednesday Play than good light drama.
The young Bill Simpson was in the title role, and held his own with established stars Andrew Cruickshank as the senior and irascible Dr. Cameron, and Barbara Mullen as Janet MacPherson, perhaps almost too twee, but a huge hit at the time.

In 1967 a Radio Times reporter visited the location where Dr Finlay's Casebook was being filmed. In the best BBC tradition he starts his article with the disappointing news "Tannochbrae doesn't exist," and then continuing "until recently the location of the Finlay filming was an official - but widely known - secret." The town of Callander, 36 miles from Glasgow, was the setting. Apparently until the railway station suffered the indignity of the Beeching axe in 1965, porters would allegedly shout "Tannochbrae... Tannochbrae," as trains pulled in. "If you follow the directions to Dr Finlay's house you'll find yourself outside a rather austere guest house which overlooks the town. Inside you'll be welcomed by a kindly efficient Scotswoman Mrs MacIntyre... during the last few years she has noticed that stones keep disappearing from her drive- taken by eager souvenir hunters."

My reviews of some surviving stories:
1 It's All In The Mind (1962), 2 A Taste Of Dust , 3 The Quack, 4 Conduct Unbecoming 5 What Money Can't Buy, 6 Cough Mixture, 7 Carver Tam, 8 What Women Will Do, 9 Snap Diagnosis, 10 The Dragon Plate , 11 A Spotless Reputation , 12 Behind Closed Doors, 13 A Time for Laughing (1963), 14 Clean Sweep, 15 The Heat of the Moment, 16 Cup, Hands or Cards?, 27 The Polygraph, 28 A Present from Father (1964), 29 A Test of Intelligence, 43 The Spirit of Dr MacGregor, 49 The Red Herring, 50 The Confrontation, 56 Right to Live (1965), 59 Charity Dr Finlay, 61 The Gate of the Year, 62 Off The Hook, 63 The Next Provost But One, 66 A Little Learning, 67 Belle, 68 In Committee, 69 Another Opinion, 70 The Spinster, 71 Medical Finance, 72 Beware of the Dog, 73 Doctors Lines, 74 The Deceivers, 75 The End of the Season, 76 A Woman's Work, 77 The Immortal Memory, 79 The Phantom Piper of Tannochbrae, 99 Written With the Left Hand (1966), 101 Crusade, 105 Gifts of the Magi, 118 Call In Cameron (1967), 119 The Sons of the Hounds, 120 A Question of Conflict, 121 Advertising Matter, 122 A Happy Release, 129 Buy Now- Pay Later, 132 Tell me True, 138 The Public Patient, 139 A Moral Problem (1968), 140 The Cheats, 141 Conscience Clause, 169 Lack of Communication (1969), 176 Opportunity and Inclination, 177 A Late Spring (1970 colour), 179 Comin' Thro' the Rye, 181 Not Qualified, 183 Dorrity, 185 The Honeypot, 187 A Good Prospect, 188 Responsibilities, 191 A Question of Values, 192 The Burgess Ticket

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It's All in the Mind

In Glasgow in 1928, Alan Finlay is preparing for his finals, he's every hope of becoming a surgeon, the best student in his year. As for his friend Mary, he's every hope of her also.
Like most students he's hard up, owing rent to Mr and Mrs Grant with whom he boards. When Mrs Grant (Joyce Heron) finds he has been cooking a herring in his room, he nearly receives the order of the boot.
Mr Grant goes missing. He catches a train and alights at Tannochbrae where he puts up in a local hotel. He enjoys a grand old time drinking with the widowed owner Annie Barr, "I didn't exist until I walked into this hotel."
With no news of her husband, Mrs Grant is distraught. Despite his romance with Mary, Finlay finds he cannot help hemself trying to find Grant, whom he has diagnosed as suffering from amnesia. Simple detective work leads him to Tannochbrae and the hotel. I don't know you, claims Grant.
"Proper doctor" Cameron talks to Grant and Finlay. Go back to Glasgow, the real doctor advises. However as the last train has gone, he will put them up for the night.
Over a whiskey, Cameron imparts to Finlay the true diagnosis, Grant is pretending. "Wrong," disagrees the student doctor, "he's not a fake." Finlay sits in on Dr Cameron's examination of Douglas, another malingerer. However Finlay points out that one of the patient's feet is shorter than the other, that explains his problems. Cameron admits he must be correct.
Next day Finlay and Grant return, Finlay telling Mrs Grant the truth. Grant doesn't recognise her, but gradually they become reconciled.
The results of the finals, "congratulations, Dr Finlay." Sir William sends for his star pupil. He has received a letter recommending Finlay for the post as surgeon, it's from Dr Cameron. But Sir William dashes Finlay's hopes saying he is not detached enough to become a surgeon.
Dr Cameron is in the big city, to suggest Finlay becomes a GP. "Assistant to some old fool" is not for this young doctor. But when he realises Cameron's diagnosis of Grant was absolutely correct, he has a change of heart, and it's off to Tannochbrae wi' him

Hoots mon, to Dr Finlay menu
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A Taste of Dust
Dr Cameron fiddles, or at least makes a show of violin making, while Dr Finlay becomes all hot and bothered over the latest scarlet fever epidemic. Interesting how understated this is as we watch Margaret Scott succumb. Finlay decides that the outbreak must be down to the local dairy farm. This is run by Rab Hendry, an experienced farmer aged 50, with his "bonnie" wife Jean aged only 22. "Shut up your dairy," demands our eager doctor, when he spots milker David Orr has the disease himself.
The first appearance of Dr Snoddie is typical, he's playing carpet golf and seems most reluctant to intervene. "Criminal complacency," snorts Finlay, "I know I'm right," he insists to Dr Cameron. But the senior partner has some choice words for his assistant, "high words," resulting in one month's notice.
Hendry's soilictor (Ian Fleming) brokers a meeting between his client and Finlay. The gist of it is, apologise or there'll be a court case.
After a mildly supportive chat with Cameron, Finlay sees what he must do. And he is correct in that analysis of the milk supports his actions.
"You're an intolerable young prig," is Dr Snoddie's way of thanks. At least Margaret has recovered, but the pregnant Jean is now down with the fever. She and the baby recover, thanks to Dr Finlay, but Rab does not.
Finlay reflects on his own human shortcomings, but this story just misses coming to the boil

Away noo tae Dr Finlay menu
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The Quack
In a bustling Clydebank shipyard, young Robbie (Frazer Hines) collapses. His stepmother Jessie Grant makes him a poultice, but Dr Finlay diagnoses TB in his ankle. Mrs Grant is worked up, angry Robbie will be unable to earn any money, but Finlay warms to the eager young lad who is keen to better himself.
As he collects a leg iron for the lad, Finlay bumps into the pompous Doctor Lestrange (Alfred Marks) who lectures the young doctor on the worthlessness of this equipment. Finlay takes his girl friend to one of Lestrange's 'demonstrations,' his "quest to heal." In his miracle contraption, a deaf man is cured, "that's impossible." Finlay interrupts when the healing of a man's wrist is attempted, but he is shouted down by the audience.
When Lestrange hires a town hall near Tannochbrae, Finlay attempts to ban the show, but without success. You can guess Mrs Grant, tired of Finlay's protracted cure, is keen to take Robbie to the meeting.
Lestrange removes the "leaden weight" after sitting Robbie in his miracle machine. "You're going to walk properly again." Another interruption by Finlay. But stepmother and Robbie agree to the removal of the leg iron. Robbie walks. Applause.
He's cured. He certainly is not taking Finlay's advice and putting his leg iron back on. He returns to work but he soon discovers his leg isn't right. "He's falling!" In hospital he lies badly bruised, his ankle very damaged. Dr Finlay cheers up the apologetic Robbie, then has some harsh words for the wicked stepmother who is very contrite.
Another Lestrange show, he's now in Dumbarton, is interrupted as usual by Finlay. He introduces Mrs Grant who testifies against the quack. When Finlay adds his own invective, a riot closes the meeting down.
Robbie perks up in hospital when he is reconciled to Jessie

Gi' yeself a wee trip back tae the Doctar Finlay menu
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Conduct Unbecoming
Dr Finlay says he looks "damn silly" dressed to the nines in his kilt. But he makes Lord Sinclair's party, but with a black eye, for an obstreperous patient Charlie Bell (James Beck) had brawled with the good doctor, who had come off second best.
At the gathering of top people, Finlay feels uncomfortable until he pals up with Miss Elspeth 'Lizzie' Malcolm (Iris Russell), the Lord's cousin. Finlay returns home at 4am.
Sgt Tanner (Victor Brooks), late of the Black Watch, runs the local gym. Though he's an Englishman, he's the man who can train Dr Finlay to be a match for Charlie Bell. Punch balls and long runs are the order of the day.
The training is going well, so is his blossoming relationship with Miss Malcolm. Tea at her home. Could she check her slight heart murmur? He suggests more exercise for her, so together they roam the hills. Then a clinch. But what about girlfriend Mary in Glasgow, asks Dr Cameron.
"Is there gonna be a fight?" Dr Finlay is asked to treat Charlie, who is ill in bed. Amid insults, the damaged arm is examined. "It's life or death," declares the good doctor, but Charlie's mother refuses to allow her son to go to hospital, some history of Dr Cameron's fatal treatment of her late husband.
This problem means Finlay is late for his rendezvous with Lizzie. Dr Cameron has to reprimand his colleague, in an attempt to bring him to his senses. She's older than him too. Yet Finlay stubbornly calls on his "patient," and even declares his love. Aah. But she cannot marry him, she admits she is too old for him. Aah.
Charlie is better and taunting Finlay once more. But Finlay doesn't feel it right to fight his patient. No, "ye can't hit 'em, and ye can't kiss 'em"

to yon start o' Feenlay
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What Money Can't Buy
Shepherd George and Beth Dallas are over forty and she is happily expecting their first child. But she has a weak heart. Despite Dr Finlay's concern, she is determined to have her baby born at home.
The doctor also has to treat rich Angus McKellor (Archie Duncan), who has a fishbone stuck in his throat. Out it comes and a pleased patient, the archetypical Scottish miser, offers Finlay a guinea or some shares in a gold mine.
At the obstetrics department in Glasgow Hospital, Alan Finlay meets up with his girl friend Mary Davidson who has just received a proposal of marriage from another doctor, Dr Robertson. Finlay is really here to get some advice from Sir William for treating Mrs Dallas.
Finlay takes Mary to McKellor's cocktail party, a bustling noisy event, where our doctor decides to invest 100 in yet more gold mine shares. "McKellor's made a mug of you," gloats Dr Cameron, who is in irascible mood in this story, especially with Janet.
However the shares go up, with the profits Finlay could purchase a practice of his own in Glasgow and marry Mary.
Mrs Dallas has been persuaded into hospital, but it's so noisy and lonely she discharges herself. Finlay is so busy inquiring about a practice that he cannot be informed until she's home. She goes into labour. No oxygen, "I wouldn't like to be handling that case." Mary urges Dr Robertson to create a precedent and send the much needed oxygen cylinder to the Challis' remote cottage. She takes it there in person by taxi. The baby is born.
Finlay has been too occupied to be informed that the share price is tumbling. Not that he would have purchased that crumbling practice anyway

Doctar Feenlay menu, foo the noo
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Cough Mixture
Dougal Todd (John Junkin) requests that Dr Finlay examines his poor old mother, for half the normal fee. This makes Dr Cameron chuckle, he says Dougal is "the meanest man" in Tannochbrae. Dougal lives with his wife Jessie, looking after Annie, his 83 year old mother (Nora Nicholson), whom Finlay finds remarkable well for her age. But he does make up a cough mixture for her, for "a tickle in her tubes."
Next morning, Dougal goes to her room and finds she is lifeless. "I canna believe it." However some compensation is the 500 in insurance they will receive, this seems more important than anything else to them.
Since Dr Finlay is away in Glasgow for the day, the death certificate will have to wait. Mistress Niven does what she can meanwhile, and that includes stirring matters up. She even calls in at the police station, where Sgt Renfrew calms her with the assurance that "they have the matter in hand." Dougal makes arrangements for the funeral with Gibson the undertaker, nothing too expensive.
Dr Cameron is busy treating Wee Georgie who has diptheria. He calls an ambulance before performing a tracheotomy which is shown in some detail.
Sgt Renfrew calls at the Todds and checks the old lady's bedroom. He locks it.
Finlay is summoned back from Glasgow, having to break his date with Mary to examine the corpse. When he arrives, the Todds have already had hard words with Mistress Niven. Sgt Renfrew's concern is that Annie had taken or been given too much of the cough mixture. However in a surprise finish, it turns out she had taken a heavy dose of the stuff which had sent her into a deep sleep. Annie is not dead at all. The Todds appear a trifle disappointed.
Finlay and Cameron enjoy a good laugh over it all. However the shock brings on Dougal's heart condition, causing him to collapse

Dr Finlay menu
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Carver Tam
Here's Tam (Duncan Lamont) in his natural habitat, the pub, but though drink is indeed his undoing, he is no archetypal drunken Scotsman. His meagre home is full of erudite books, and he can even talk Latin. He rescues, off camera, a lad who's fallen in the loch. It's interesting that this story uses no filmed footage at all, everything takes place in the studio.
Widow Mrs Robb's daughter Ada has been injured skiing, and she wants to get back to her finishing school in Lausanne. Dr Finlay is persuaded to prescribe that she should to stay in Scotland a wee while longer. Tam gives her some tuition in the interim.
Finlay goes to dinner with Tam. It's evident drinking is his problem. He's "disreputable," according to Dr Cameron. It seems he is also the long lost missing brother of Ritchie Murray who runs a prosperous department store in Glasgow. Tam quit the business a while back after a row with his brother over Margaret, whom Ritchie married. But as he has half the shares in the business, they want him home.
The prodigal found, Ritchie tells his brother to come home. Tam refuses, for he is happy where he is. He makes a clean breast of his problem to Alan Finlay.
The reason is a very unlikely romance twixt middle aged Tam and Ada. It needs stopping according to Ritchie, as well as Mrs Robb, who is suddenly keen for her daughter to go back to Switzerland.
"He needs caring for," according to Ritchie and his wife, so they try and persuade Dr Snoddie to evict him from his "insanitary" home. Alan Finlay hopes he'll settle and marry Alison who runs the pub, but it's Ada Tam proposes to. However she has been leading him on, no intention of marrying him. Dr Finlay learns a few home truths about poking his nose "into other people's business"

Off wi' ye tae Dr Finlay menu
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What Women Will Do
Two threads to this story, one mildly amusing, one slightly sad.
Willie Craig needs a housekeeper, and has his eye on Janet. He presents her with a necklace. Cameron thinks the old boy might be courting a wife! Janet hands in her notice, later leaving Arden House, not on the best of terms. She hopes Willie might appreciate her more, though it's soon clear that is a forlorn hope. She returns to the fold, with no enthusiasm from Dr Cameron. Dr Finlay does better, consoling her over her dashed hopes. But it transpires Willie had found out he was terminally ill, hence his indifferent treatment of Janet, though in fact he was worrying needlessly.
Interwoven with all this, is the story of Tannochbrae's star centre forward, Ned Sutherland (John Grieve). Once on the books of Glasgow Rovers, he is relishing the chance of playing them in a cup match. But Ned drinks more than he earns, his football career blighted by his marriage to "the nastiest woman in Tannochbrae," Jenny. Ned is trapped in a mine, where Dr Finlay treats him, promising to get him better in time for the match. Jenny believes she hasn't long to live, and unlike Willie, this is a correct diagnosis, though she refuses to tell her husband in case it puts him off his football. "I'm talking about life and death, not football," Dr Cameron scolds her. She collapses at home while the match is on. The game we don't see except for a few shots of the crowd and a doubtful shot of Ned emerging from the tunnel. The improbable scoreline sees jubilation afterwards in the pub until the bad news is broken to Ned.
New housekeeper at Arden House is Maggie (Katharine Page), her cooking skills are not a patch on Janet's. The story ends with words of wisdom to the young doctor from Cameron, who seems in need of a lesson himself, though reconciliation with Janet is finally effected

Canna ye go tae Dr Finlay menu
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Snap Diagnosis
Alex (Patrick Troughton) is Dr Cameron's gardener, but refuses to plant his geraniums. His wife Annie, who has a black eye, says he is "listless." He's down at the police station accused of causing a disturbance in the street, "what the hell came over him?"
"Awkward customer" Dr Snoddie says he is mad and has to be certified, and asks Dr Finlay ro sign the necessary required second medical certificate. Even Annie wants this, for the sake of their bairn Elspeth. But Finlay is no rubber stamper, result being the inevitable clash of doctors. "He's a lunatic." Finlay believes Alex is suffering from thyroid deficiency. Words fly about like incompetence and laziness and spite, "I won't sign that."
Dr Cameron 's main concern is over his colleague's lack of professional etiquette. But he supports him confronting Snoddie, obfuscating the matter, "this is blackmail." Even more obnoxious is midwife Mistress Niven who attempts to sow seeds of doubt in Annie's mind about Finlay's diagnosis. She calls on Cameron to stir it up, but Janet gives her short shrift.
Alex was responding to treatment when he is taken once more to the police station, wandering round in his pyjamas. "Ye're not as well as I thought," admits Finlay, though he does appear to be a lot better. The doctor needs all his negotiating powers to prevent a police prosecution.
A crisis interrupts Finlay- Elspeth is dying. Or so says Mistress Niven, congested lungs. She is wheezing terribly, and Finlay calls in Cameron for advice. While he's away Niven administers a poultice against orders.
Arrival of Dr Cameron, who sends the midwife packing, asking for a hairpin. "Why it's a miracle." Cameron provides a simpler explanation. Alex is better too. Dr Cameron's garden now looks a treat

Ye can return tae Dr Finlay menu

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The Dragon Plate
Dr Cameron's oldest and wealthiest patient is dour Louise, cared for by her niece Sheila. "A lamb to the slaughter," Dr Finlay is invited to tea, and puts his foot in it with his comments about a Chinese plate that Cameron has long coveted. Tea is a mere excuse to ask about a minor cyst: Wednesday 3pm Finlay will cut it out, payment the plate.
Fifty to one, Cameron offers Janet that Finlay won't get that plate, but he has to back down when Finlay triumphantly produces it. But it is soon evident is is only a cheap repro, not the real thing.
Louise insists on a second opinion over Cameron's diagnosis of her cough. So a consultant is called in by Carmeron, fee fifty gns. He's Dr Hamish Robertson, who is Finlay's rival for the hand of the fair Mary. Finlay however seems to be giving Sheila much more attention, inviting her to the pictures.
"Highway robbery," declares Hamish, over his astronomical fee. But Cameron has an ulterior motive, he wants Hamish's opinion on Sheila's heart condition that she refuses to acknowledge. Of course, Louise won't pay the bill, hundred to one Cameron bets Hamish. The argument upsets Sheila who collapses. While Hamish treats her, Cameron castigates the old lady for her meannness.
Cameron is discharged by Louise. "I'm not coming back," Sheila tells her aunt, who finding herself all alone, has a change of heart, even sending Cameron the real plate. Hamish confronts Alan Finlay over Mary. This is not resolved, but it is still a very enjoyable episode

Foo the noo, mon, off wi' ye tae Dr Finlay menu
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A Spotless Reputation
The Hackett family have moved from Bristol to north of the border after husband Edgar's business had failed. His brother-in-law has landed him a part time job as insurance salesman, and thanks to Alice, he obtains another part time post at the hospital. Alice is the sister of Sir Gordon, the Beef Baron, whose son Robin is having dizzy spells. Dr Cameron treats him, suspecting a hereditary condition, that Sir Gordon refuses to accept.
Edgar's son Lionel is running a temperature but though Dr Finlay is not too concerned, Mistress Niven sees the lad, and guardedly hints at problems, which sets the parents scurrying through medical textbooks.
Dr Cameron tears Mistress Niven off a strip, but afterwards reflects that there could be truth in her suspicion of smallpox. The family are put in quarantine and the full might of Dr Snoddie is put into operation, reluctantly by him. The Isolation Hospital has to be reopened. But Edgar needs the money, and has to continue collecting his insurance monies. He and his wife are sure Lionel only has chicken pox.
The boy is actually having the time of his life in the hospital, the only patient, fussed over by the nurses. Dr Finlay obtains specialist opinions, but it seems that Finlay has been overcautious, for, thankfully, it really is only a case of chickenpox.
The Glasgow express crashes into a local, that diverts Finlay to the scene of the wreck. It's fortunate, concedes Snoddie, that the Isolation Hospital is available for treating the injured. He thanks Dr Finlay for that, but still teases him over the smallpox.
Robin was one of those killed in the accident. Dr Cameron is in a way thankful, for he knows Robin would soon have gone blind. Dr Finlay is also grateful to Mistress Niven and thanks her for helping out in the train disaster

Hast ye awa' an' see the Dr Finlay menu
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Behind Closed Doors
Three threads to this tale.
1 Hughie (John Pike) and Matty (Jane Asher) Lennox need Finlay's treatment, when their drunken widowed dad Rab "shoves" her on to a lamp starting a small fire. Later Rab invites a "slut" into their house, "get out," orders Matty. Rab is found dead, a blow to his head. Finlay naively tries to help Matty by tampering with a poker.
2 Matty is servant at Miss Scobie's house, who lives with her sister Hester. The pair communicate only by written notes, and have done so for the past fifteen years. But Hester contracts pneumonia, and has to speak weakly to her sister.
3 Mary comes from Glasgow to find out why Alan Finlay hasn't been to see her. But he is too busy attending Dr Cameron, who had been out in the rain when his car got a puncture. It turns to pneumonia. "You should have retired," Janet scolds the old man. Mary has to leave, and in Glasgow accepts Dr Hamish Robertson's proposal to go to Africa with her. Cameron reaches at crisis point, but pulls through. Alan Finlay has his own crisis with Mary and "clears the air." Not that he seems heartbroken by her news, it's more the idea of her going with "bloody Livingstone."
Finlay tells the recovered Cameron, "I'm resigning." He realises he's been a fool over the business with Matty. Cameron accepts, but then offers his junior a partnership, and so the first series ends on a happy note

Away mon tae Dr Finlay menu
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13 A Time for Laughing (1963)
It's a wild night. Dr Finlay is puzzling over a two knights chess problem, that incredibly Dr Cameron solves. In the howling gale, there's a knock at the door, Mrs Meg McBain (June Tobin) collapses at the doctors' feet hysterically screaming. She's expecting her first child, and it's a fortnight early. "It's a boy!" She and her husband had been longing for ten years for a child, but then she stuns the doctors by explaining that her husband is not the father.
Tim O'Shea (John Cairney) is an itinerant tinker with the gift of the gab, who visits Tannochbrae once a year. A lovable rogue he thinks himself, actually he's merely irritating, full o' the blarney. Speculation by Janet in particular that he's the father. Tim receives a headmasterly lecture from Dr Cameron who asks, "did she take the initiative?" Tim's evasive answer sums up his character, "I give them the half best of both worlds," whatever that means.
A rumpus at the cottage hospital where Meg is recuperating. She refuses to see her husband. Dr Cameron's lecturing turns on McBain, "you're behaving very badly." I thought that as he hadn't been told the facts, he was quite reasonable in the circumstances. But when Cameron gives him "a bellyful of the truth," his wife's statement, he can't accept it. "No' mine?"
Dr Finlay has been mugging up on the science of blood samples. Blood tests, the wily Cameron explains, prove Tim is not the father. Not that McBain thanks him for this good news. And in fact Cameron has concocted this dubious explanation. However Meg swallows it and thus husband and wife are united, even though not entirely happy. Who would be?
This is a miserably feeble story that ends with Tim leaving Tannochbrae, not a care in his world
Aye, to
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Clean Sweep
The minister calls on widow Mrs Flora Elgin (Mary Hinton) and is informed her sister Miss Harriet Matlock (Esma Cannon) is not at home. But she is there, and the minister confides his concerns to Dr Cameron. He however cannot interfere.
Cameron is called away by young Aggie- her dad Duncan (Roddy McMillan) is bleeding badly. The Fergusons are a large but happy family, but when Dr Finlay makes a follow-up visit, he is appalled at their slum-like conditions.
Janet invites herself to tea with Mrs Elgin, and after blustering that Harriet has a slight cold, Janet is introduced to the sister. "I'm fine!"
Janet is sure the woman is unwell, but Dr Cameron maintains the line that he's not been asked by either of the sisters. So another plan. Aggie is cleaned up and smartened so she can be Mrs Elgin's cleaner. But the old lady turns the offer down flat.
Dr Finlay persuades the Fergusons that they must clean up their house, and even provides them with a bottle of carbolic. Ironically, the domineering Mrs Elgin regards her sister's room as "a pest house," she is fastidious in keeping her house tidy.
A naughty little deception by Dr Finlay gets Dr Cameron to think Harriet has phoned for help. He dashes into the house and examines her. She needs to go into a home for she is suffering from a nervous disease. Mrs Elgin finds the doctor's verdict hard to accept, and she uses her own devious trickery to prevent her sister leaving.
The carbolic provided by Dr Finlay has inadvertently fallen into the hands of the Ferguson's youngest. Aggie reports the baby is foaming at the mouth, can the doctor come urgently? Thankfully it is only soap that has been swallowed.
But there is tragedy at Mrs Elgin's, as expected. Though not quite as expected.
This is a great little story on the medical ethics of non interference, with a final lesson for the beleaguered Dr Finlay
Off wi' ye tae
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The Heat of the Moment
"A man of consequence" is Campbell McNair, chair of the hospital committee.
He is down at the police station, and Dr Finlay has to declare him drunk in charge of his vehicle as he fails to walk the white line. Next day McNair appeals to Finlay, for he has been a good patient of Dr Cameron these past 25 years, and Cameron has scrupulously turned a blind eye to his patient's failings. However Dr Finlay cannot wthdraw his evidence.
Nevertheless, McNair's lawyer, on a technicality, is able to get the case dismissed.
Dr Finlay is at the cottage hospital to arrange for Caroline, a patient who has hit her head while riding, to stay overnight for observation. He is very angry when he is phoned that night to be informed Caroline is in a coma- because of a shortage of beds, the matron had had to send her home. Finlay is even more furious when the trephine is missing, that he needs as he has to operate. He mutters bitterly about the hospital and its drunken chairman.
McNair demands an apology. Finlay refuses. An action for defamation follows.
The long case goes badly for Dr Finlay, entangled in his own utterances. Badly he needs a Perry Mason, instead by a stroke of good fortune, McNair manufactures his own downfall.
Prematurely celebrating his victory, with a drink, Dr Cameron has to declare McNair drunk in charge at the police station. Further, the sheriff in charge of the trial is injured in the car crash, and Dr Finlay has to treat him in hopital.
Perhaps a final scene showing Dr Finlay's restitution, which is only implied, would have rounded the story off better.

Among the cast are old hands Bruce Seton as the sheriff, as well as Trevor Reid and Ian Fleming as lawyers
Back ye go nae to
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Cup, Hand or Cards?
Jenny the school teacher has TB, "I was going to be married next month."
One shilling is the fee charged by Miss Sutherland (Beatrix Lehmann) of 12 Argyle Street, a newly arrived fortune teller, and several impressionable patients of Finlay and Cameron are consulting her. Mrs Cochrane is one to who she returns the fee, with a fateful look. This lady is soon asking Dr Cameron, who tries to cure her of the mumbo jumb, even though she is indeed ill. The doctor perceives Miss Sutherland is a grave danger to his patients. In fact, Jenny dies and Cameron is faced with his conscience, could he have spotted her illness earlier?
So Janet is dispatched with a shilling, "you'll live long, but you won't enjoy it." Stunned, Janet returns to the surgery. Apparently she's got "women's trouble." She consults Dr Snoddie.
Time for action, Cameron confronts the fortune teller. She informs him he has Crane's Disease.
In Glasgow, he discovers her background, why she resigned from her long serving job as a nursing sister.
Not without some self interest, Cameron returns to Miss Sutherland to persuade her to resume the work she was so good at. In fact, vandalism brings matters to a sudden head. At least Janet now knows there is nothing wrong with her!

Dinna hurry back to Dr Finlay menu

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The Polygraph
The joyous event for Mr and Mrs Keith, their first baby, is turned to tragedy when the mother's heart stops unexpectedly. Dr Finlay cannot even save the bairn.
Though the doctor had done all he could, for there had been no warning signs, he is very upset. He invests in a secondhand polygraph, a machine to measure heartbeat. Janet is a guinea pig, then it's put to good use, becoming the talk of the village.
However is Dr Finlay placing too much reliance on a mere machine? Dr Cameron and he fall out, when Finlay tells Willie, Cameron's patient, he must rest up.
Dr Cameron is treating Molly Anderson, who hopes she may be expecting, "after all these years." As Dr Cameron is busy, it's left to his colleague to tell her the good news that tests prove she is indeed pregnant. The polygraph indicates there is a possible danger however. She had had rheumatic fever.
The two doctors fall out again, though a specialist confirms Finlay's diagnosis. But Molly wants to have the baby and Dr Cameron does not dissuade her, even though her husband does. Next stop the cottage hospital.
All goes well. Dr Finlay is all for disposing of his machine as the pair of them have a heart to heart. But surprisingly, Dr Cameron wants to use the polygraph on one of his patients Mrs Paton. Finlay soon perceives it's all a matter of psychology and the sombre story ends on an odd light hearted note somewhat in the style of a silent movie

Awa' from the kinema mon tae the Dr Finlay menu

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A Present from Father
Uncle Hector and Aunt Ethel are worried that their niece Fiona (Francesca Annis) has conceived this notion of going on the stage in London. The couple live in the house of millionaire Robert Ferguson, along with James and his wife Anne, caring for him in his old age.
Robert falls out of bed. He's Snoddie's patient, but this doctor is away celebrating Hogmanay, so Dr Finlay is called. Little can he do, except administer some morphine.
Cameron and Janet see in the new year. Then Snoddie gets the new year off on the wrong foot, complaining about Dr Finlay's treatment of his patient. When Finlay returns to the Fergusons soon after 2am, he is informed the old man has just passed away. But Finlay cannot accept the relatives' statement, "he'd been dead for hours." Thus he signs the death certificate that he passed away on December 31st. As the family are trying to avoid some death duties, it is important that this date be corrected. (In fact, there is an unintended error, since Finlay's certificate states the dead man is 'James Ferguson.')
James, Hector's brother is furious and enlists Dr Snoddie's aid in persuading Finlay to change the date. But Finlay is typically adamant.
He is called to treat Ethel, a subterfuge to bring him round. James informs the doctor that they have requested a post mortem. Finlay chats privately with Fiona who is much more sympathetic towards him. She even talks of becoming a nurse. Maybe a hint of romance. The doctor wavers, and after consulting Cameron, decides to alter the date. He hands Fiona the revised certificate, evidently his head has been turned. However she coolly informs him that solicitors say the change of date is not necessary. She has lost interest in nursing also

Start the New Year at the menu of Dr Finlay

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A Test of Intelligence
A thoughtful story, a study of Mr Miller (Patrick Troughton), headmaster of the local school. He has his own problems with hearing, but refuses Dr Cameron's suggestion that he wear an aid, as it would affect discipline. He clearly favours his brighter pupils.
He has referred Fergus Murray, nearly 13 years old, to Dr Snoddie, as he can't read or write. He is recommended for "the MD class." By contrast his younger brother Brian is being pushed for a scholarship.
Dr Finlay happens to treat his father (Archie Duncan), and while at their home, admires Fergus' skill in making models. He performs his own tests on the lad, and is so impressed he takes up the matter with Snoddie. "He can't read or write," is the simple response.
Doubtfully Dr Cameron backs up his colleague, realising the wisdom of Finlay's stance. However it is Janet who spots the underlying problem, for she knows the two lads are step brothers.
Dr Finlay at last persuades Snoddie to get another opinion, but then Mr Murray refuses. The reason becomes obvious once Finlay drives to Glasgow to talk to Fergus' mother, a caricature, who has the honesty to admit, "I was a lousy mother."
But it's not only psychological, Fergus' problem. Dr Cameron proves that the lad's hearing is poor, the remedy is simple.
Thus the final scene shows the classroom with headmaster and Fergus wearing their new hearing aids

Hoots mon back tae Dr Finlay menu

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The Spirit of Dr MacGregor
Dr Finlay is all for spring cleaning, and wants to remove the portrait of dour Dr MacGregor which towers over the sitting room from the mantelpiece. But he was the founder of the practice, and Janet issues dire warnings of what might happen if Finlay carries it out, which he does.
He visits Mrs Tennant (Fay Compton) and prescribes her digitalis. Dr MacGregor approves, the old lady informs him. "But he died before the war," protests Finlay, though she insists she is in regular contact with him Up There.
Later, she comes to the surgery, telling Dr Cameron she doesn't like digitalis. So he gives her Foxglove Tea (the same thing).
Mrs Kennedy needs an operation, but after Mrs Tennant consults the late doctor on her behalf, she refuses to have it. Finlay goes to remonstrate with her, to no avail. "How do you lay a ghost?" he asks of Dr Cameron.
To some distracting background noise, he and Janet search out MacGregor's meticulous notes, stored in the attic.
As Cameron pores over them, he notes the solution to the problem of one family. Mrs Mather has been unable to sleep, worried about the continual rows between her husband Robert and son Andrew. It seems likely that epilepsy runs in her family, and that could well be the cause of Andrew's difficulties.
It is left to Dr Cameron to perform the unpalatable task of disillusioning Mrs Tennant over Dr MacGregor, who was in one way "an old fraud." Very tactfully, he gets the job done, though the old doctor's picture is restored to its place on the mantelpiece

Dr Finlay menu- that's thee gool

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The Red Herring

A pulled muscle, that's Dr Finlay's first diagnosis, though it proves very wide o' the mark. Mrs Dobie has had to carry water quarter of a mile for the past fortnight, for Dr Snoddie, in his high handed way, has closed down her well, because of a possible outbreak of salmonella. But Snoddie is "dithering," that's what Finlay accuses him of.
Dr Cameron is also suffering- from gout, it's the port, Janet warns him. Sir James Greig (David Langton) is an expert on toxins, and by devious means, Finlay invites him to Arden House for dinner, to the chagrin of Dr Snoddie who always has him for a meal.
Janet prepares the meal, baked Virginia ham and a smoked herring, that Dr Finlay had purchased from Hardy at the local shop. "A toast to the cook," proposes Sir James for the "magnificent" ham, "you are a genius." That is before he goes down with stomach cramps. Has he overeaten? He is rushed to the cottage hospital. Dr Cameron surmises food poisoning, it must have been that herring as he was the only one to eat that. Dr Snoddie takes his chance to be just a trifle sarcastic, "he seems to be enjoying it." But Sir James is not the only suffering one. Several others contract salmonella, but none had eaten herring.
A biopsy is what Dr Cameron proposes to very strong objections from Sir James, "you're not being a very good patient." The result is very serious: trichonisis, a count of over seven thousand, well above that which is fatal, so little chance of a cure. Thus Janet feels simply awful about being the probable cause, and feelings are tense at Arden House. Suspicion has now fallen on that ham. Dr Cameron questions Janet over her food preparation while Snoddie tracks down the source of the infected pork at Hardy's shop. "Who bought the sausages?" Many folk, including, to Dr Snoddie's dismay, Mrs Snoddie!
Latest to go down is Haggarty, apparently he had eaten some of the sosses raw! "You can't be serious."
Mrs Dobie has worsened. Typhoid diagnoses Dr Finlay. She never eats sausages. However she does admit she'd drunk water recently from her well.
The story brings over well the difficulty doctors sometimes face diagnosing illnesses. However somehow Sir James recovers and is full of praise for "bright lad" Finlay who has correctly worked out what was wrong with Mrs Dobie. But how Sir James became ill remains a mystery. However privately it is no mystery at all. In the kitchen at Arden House, Dr Finlay spots Janet's bad procedure

Dr Finlay menu

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The Confrontation

Forbes Thompson is soon to begin his medical studies in Edinburgh, only because Ian his demanding father has made it his life's work to ensure this comes about. Forbes makes his farewells to Nan, who doesn't tell him that she is pregnant.
She asks Dr Finlay for an abortion, and says that she's too afraid to tell her widowed mother or Forbes. The doctor does bring her round, and she informs her mother. It seems she had been in a similar position, and having been denounced by Ian Thompson years ago, she had forced the father to marry her. Now she wants Nan to do the same.
A year later, gossip is rife about Nan's new baby, who is blind. Forbes is progressing well at his studies. Though she doesn't reveal the father's identity, Cameron and Finlay put two and two together. Ian had had rubella, and this had caused the baby's blindness. Cameron drops some subtle hints to Forbes, who goes straight to Nan to find out the truth. He promises he will stand by her, but she will not permit him to give up his career. But he must, and finds a job in Glasgow, so he can support her.
When Ian hears about it, he is furious and almost comes to blows with his son. He also complains to Dr Cameron for intervening. The wise old doctor faces Ian with his prejudices. In a tense scene, Ian appeals to Nan to make Forbes return to his studies. He ends up apologising for his unchristian attitude to Nan's mum in the past, and relents, and allows the couple to marry

Dr Finlay menu

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A Right to Live
Ian Hamilton on the phone for Dr Finlay. His wife Peggy (Jennie Linden) is sure her baby is at last on the way. "It should be a wonderful baby," says Janet, since they are, "as Cameron confirms, "a golden couple."
But the birth proves difficult, and Finlay has the tough task of informing Ian that "it may not be able to walk." Some growth on the spine.
"I daren't touch it," confesses an eminent specialist, predicting there will be "total paralysis from the waist down."
Peggy struggles with rejection of her child, wishing it hadn't lived. However at least Janet is positive she will, given time, change her attitude. As they leave hospital, Peggy begs Ian for baby Andrew to be left behind, but Ian insists they take it home. She bravely tries to come to terms with the difficulties. She becomes over meticulous in her mothering, clearly suffering from severe post natal depression. Ian himself, a fine rugby player, gives up his place on the team.
On Dr Finlay's advice, Ian employs Florrie, a nanny, this has the effect of making Peggy jealous. But then the baby dies, seemingly suffocated by a blanket, that Finlay had strictly ordered not to be used in the pram.
A post mortem confirms the baby had been suffocated, but not as suspected, but by a cat smothering it.
The dour tale ends on the first note of cheer, Peggy is expecting

Take a wee look at the Dr Finlay menu

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59 Charity Dr Finlay
Dr Cameron is asked by Dr Snoddie to sit on the St Bride's Committee, a charitable institution. Cameron volunteers Dr Finlay
Shoplifting at the greengrocer's! Mackay calls the police, the shoplifter faints, or seems to faint. Dr Finlay is on hand, she finds a sucker in him. She's Jeannie, out of work, she explains, so the kind doctor pays for the goods and when she tells him about her baby, "the bonnie lad" hands over an extra ten bob.
When Finlay inspects St Bride's he finds facilities "woefully inadequate." The matron thinks him "an interfering man." But he does recommend a new kitchen maid, Jeannie.
A second inspection, and Finlay reprimands the matron for disobeying his instructions. "The food is filthy," he shouts. But she gets her own back when Jeannie is caught stealing, and her police record puts Finlay on the back foot. "Sacked out of spite," is his verdict. Dr Cameron is perhaps more dispassionate in his appraisal to his colleague, "you made a fool of yourself."
The evidence is overwhelming, she had stolen over 7 in cash from the matron's office and her post office savings book. "That's not possible, " moans Finlay.
Janet fills the doctor in on the village gossip about St Bride's. Finlay drives to her home in Bordswick and though Jeannie denies stealing, the cash is discovered under her pillow.
As he pores over the matron's savings book with Dr Cameron, it becomes clear she has been saving a tidy sum, "that's impossible." They soon catch on that she must have been systematically robbing the charity for which she works in connivance with the grocer.
Dr Cameron relishes his task of exposing her. In her office he tells her to her face, "matron, you are a hypocrite, and also a thief." He seems a veritable Sherlock Holmes. He extracts from her a promise of "a sudden improvement" for the inmates of St Bride's.
Less convincingly, Jeannie promises Dr Finlay she will reform, if only he'll give her another loan. He does get a kiss
Noo, haste ye back tae the
Dr Finlay menu

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The Gate of the Year
Dr Cameron is spending the new year in Edinburgh with an old friend. Janet ensures he travels withut his moth eaten old favourite scarf.
So Dr Finlay has to cope on his own. He succeeds in turning down "wee drams" in honour of the season, at least in most homes he visits.
The landlord's 12 year old son Bobby has an obstruction which Finlay deems sufficiently serious to send him to Lanark Hospital. Dr Cameron's best paying patient Mrs Paton refuses to see the junior doctor. Davy is "a malingerer" according to Cameron's notes, and is sent away with sugar pills. Lots of other little cases too.
Janet sends herself to Mrs Paton with some figs, unbeknowns to Finlay. They work the trick. Bobby is discharged, he had only been suffering from seasonal indigestion, a fact which Dr Snoddie gleefully pounces upon. However the lad is brought to Finlay suffering more pains, and Finlay has to call in Snoddie who is forced to concur with Finlay's diagnosis. The good doctor himself takes the lad to Glasgow in his car.
He returns just in time to see the new year in with Janet. But seconds later he is busy again, with an internal haemorrhage, and blames himself for not diagnosing his patient properly earlier. Then a night call to a Mr Robertson, which proves a vindicative false alarm, from Davy, who is incensed he hadn't been given a sick note.
Dr Cameron returns refreshed, laden with gifts, plus a nice new scarf

Scotland for ever! Get ye to the wee Dr Finlay menu

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Off The Hook
Finlay attends a lecture on hynposis. In the audience, Dr John Forbes professes he is sceptical, so the lecturer gives a demonstration. Dr Finlay is asked to satisfy himself that Forbes has indeed been hypnotised, and proves it by standing on the patient.
Fired with enthusiasm, he practises his new skill on Janet, as Dr Cameron looks on sceptically. Cameron is treating the dour Buchanan, who has a hook instead of a hand, a war injury. His son Ian could rewire Arden House- it's badly in need of updating.
Finlay is asked to examine Hilda Brown who is subject to violent headaches. Here's a chance for "a wee test." Janet watches on amazed. Finlay then chats with her father (Fulton Mackay), a pawnbroker, who reveals he isn't actually her father, her real name is Hildegarde.
Ian begins the rewiring. His dad gets drunk after being made redundant. He relives his nightmare on the Somme, shouting outside Brown's shop, "Herr Braun," smashing a window. Cameron examines him in jail.
As he continues rewiring, Ian says he had tried to kiss Hilda, but she had rejected him, even though she clearly likes him a lot.
Under hypnosis, Hilda exhibits clear memory suppression. Finlay gets her to revert to age 8, "mummy isn't dead... Tommy killed her." Confessing a fear of a hook, she begins talking in German.
Cameron tries to persuade Buchanan to have an artificial hand fitted, but his inferiority complex he will have to solve himself. Ian gives him a few home truths. However, there is one problem he can sort out, a difficulty Ian has with the wiring. As he does this, Hilda is in the surgery, under hypnosis. It's a put up job, Buchanan converses with her in German, as the cause of her deep fear is revealed. It is also a revelation to him.
Though it doesn't quite end happily ever after, Cameron has to admit hypnosis has produced a remarkable cure as Buchanan tries out a new hand. However it looks as though he may not be convinced as he picks up his old hook and old prejudices
Spirit away to the
Finlay menu

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The Next Provost But One

Union man Councillor Hepburn was pipped to it in the local elections by Henry MacAlpine. The former sees his chance to score when MacAlpine, who runs the local garage, crashes his 1,000 new car into Betsy's front gate.
Dr Finlay is called in to put in a few stitches, but the patient makes light of the fact that all during the recent campaign, he had been suffering dizzy spells.
Betsy's gate is repaired first thing next morning, but MacAlpine's reputation is harder to repair. Betsy's vivid imagination has her telling Hepburn that she had seen the guilty party driving at 90mph, and as the car was serving around the road, rumour spreads that he had been drinking.
The police ask Finlay's opinion about whether MacAlpine was drunk. Dr Cameron advises his young partner not to get embroiled in the political undertones to the case, but Finlay feels it incumbent to write his report and state his honest opinion.
Finlay has to dash off to a wedding and Janet has to post his letter. During the wedding reception in Glasgow, the penny drops, and the doctor realises it is an ear disorder that has MacAlpine is suffering from. He hastens back to find Cameron is already treating the patient for this problem.
Janet apologises for not posting the letter, for which Finlay is duly thankful.
While the story does highlight the dilemma of the medical profession in such political situations, you can see why AJ Cronin had become unhappy with the direction some of the stories were taking

Och aye man, off wi' ye tae the Dr Finlay menu

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A Little Learning
A sad interlude. Miss Burns, the new young teacher at the village school collapses. Finlay reckons it is a case of overwork, and orders her to rest. He drives her to her wee cottage, causing some gossip.
Tinkers settle nearby for the winter. The Flacks are not welcomed by many, among them Dr Snoddie. He asks Cameron to check out their health. Beth brings her two oldest, Jed and Bella, plus her new baby to the surgery. Beth has impetigo.
Very early, Finlay is awoken. It is Miss Burns, wanting permission to return to work. He sleepily agrees, with advice not to overdo it.
There is a brawl in the street with the elder Flack children, and Miss Burns intervenes, and tells the children they should be in school. Mr Miller, the headmaster, is dubious and refuses to admit them, so in her home, Miss Burns starts to teach Jed and Bella to write. They are eager learners.
Cameron treats several children for a throat infection. Diptheria is suspected, and swabs are taken on everyone in the school. Eleven positive cases are identified, including Miss Burns. Feelings run high against the Flacks.
"Get out!" cry a mob of villagers, a scuffle breaks out, turning into a full scale fight. The Flacks run away.
Tests show that they are carriers of the disease. So police search for them, their encampment is eventually discovered, abandoned. On the moors they were finally found, one child is dead, the others sent to the infirmary. However the family are not actually the carriers, and Cameron solves the mystery of who is

Noo return ye sadly tae Dr Finlay menu

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Belle
Belle is a happy soul, she has recently moved into the area from Dumfries with her quiet husband, a piano teacher. She has a visitor, who hands Belle her fee.
16 year old Miss Margaret Wilson is seen later by Dr Finlay and admitted as a matter of urgency into hospital. She refuses to tell him she has had an abortion. She had actually stolen from her parents to pay for it. Her strict parents refuse to tell Finlay anything either.
The cheerful Betsy is pregnant again. But when her husband is laid off, she is forced to ask Dr Cameron to "take it away." Of course he cannot, and isn't too helpful.
In the tearoom, Bella goes and sits next to Janet, but they don't hit it off. Janet is not another client! But Betty meets Bella here, fee 4. Clandestine arrangements. Later Betsy collapses in the street. She dies.
Dr Cameron appeals to the Wilsons to speak out. To no avail. But Janet seeks to extract information from Betsy's distraught husband, and more helpfully prepares the meal for his large family. She learns Betsy had been seen in the tearooms, and she confides her suspicions to Dr Cameron.
He goes to Bella's house. She is packing to leave for Edinburgh, permanently. He bluffs saying he has spoken with Margaret, and lets her ramble on, condemning herself. But when she perceives he has no proof, all Cameron receives is abuse.
Thankfully however, Margaret, braving the wrath of her parents, does split on Belle

Cam ye oot the shadows tae the Finlay menu

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In Committee
Jamie MacBride's baby is suffering from a form of dysentery, caused by the poor housing conditions. He is stealing dynamite from his firm to pay for the doctor's bills.
Dr Finlay visits Miss Rona Campbell, who has written a letter to The Echo about the problem. Jamie's wife Mary is worried since she wonders why Jamie is seeing Rona.
Charged with indignation about the poor sanitation, Finlay also writes to the local paper, anonymously as Medical Man. The Health Committee read it, and realising who is the author, invite Finlay on to their committee. The first meeting he attends discusses sewage disposal, and Finlay begins to comprehend financial stringency.
Dr Cameron treats Mrs Pullar, wife of the man who had proposed Finlay's adoption on the committee. Rona disabuses Finlay about Pullar, who owns the land where the new sewage scheme needs to be built. Pullar is the chief obstacle!
Alan, Pullar's son catches the illness and is rushed to hospital. "You saved his life," Pullar thanks Finlay, promising support for the new scheme.
At the next meeting Finlay's scheme is proposed, and supported by Dr Snoddie, but Pullar is against it. However an explosion in the old pumping station cuts business short. It seems this has been the result of direct action by Rona and Jamie.
An enquiry committee is set up, the victorious Finlay in the chair

It's noo time for ye to go back to the Finlay menu

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Another Opinion
It starts like a thriller, in the dark, over the fence a man climbs and into a waiting cart driven by "father," Hamish Grant the greengrocer. It's a scene something like you'd imagine a Scottish version of a nineteenth century American gangster film to be, only the wails of the sirens are missing.
Corporal Ian Grant has absented himself from the military hospital where Lt-Col North is shortly to amputate his leg. His belligerent father Hamish, whose own leg had been amputated in the war, wants to consult "a real doctor." That's Dr Finlay who is having his own troubles with Dr Cameron, who is feverish, according to Janet, but is suffering from measles according to the patient. Dr Finlay diagnoses "a common cold," to his colleague's disgust.
Grant's leg does not require amputation, declares Finlay, "history is not going to repeat itself," and admits him to the local hospital. He calls in Sir William Duffy (John Harvey), the eminent Edinburgh surgeon, who he confirms Ian has "a tubercular abcess."
But the case is more complicated than Finlay expects, for he has no idea Grant is a deserter and is under Lt-Col North. Redcaps demand Grant be removed back to the military hospital. "The boy is going to die," insists North. The conflict between the three medics is at the heart of the drama, as they reexamine their patient, and North remains adamant, "better a one legged civilian than a dead soldier."
Yet Sir William's exchange with North saves the day and he performs an exploratory operation. With a happy outcome, the three doctors have time to greet the ailing Cameron in his bed. By now Cameron is certain it is measles he has contracted, in a rare form of course. "Prickly heat," diagnoses North. Sir William concurs

Haste ye back tae the Dr Finlay menu man

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The Spinster

Dr Finlay is paying a rare visit to the church, "I've been a bit, er...."
Afterwards, he is introduced to Dr Cameron's patient Miss Esme Stewart (Renny Lister), who lives with her dour dather. According to him, she's "not like other women." Indeed she has no friends. Finlay is dismayed by her low self esteem, brought on by her stern parent.
It seems her mother had run off with a farm labourer when she was young. Not surprising. Without her father knowing, Esme attends the Annual Social and enjoys dancing. She goes off with a man. Later as she walks home alone, Dr Finlay in passing offers her a lift.
Inevitably when she returns home late, an unpleasant scene follows.
Three months on, Dr Cameron is treating her. He is sure she is pregnant. For the second time, the first "didn't live." Cameron has harsh words for her father, who in turn, though this is not seen thankfully, takes it out on Esme.
Dr Finlay is accused of being the father. Dr Cameron tries to get her to admit she's making it all up. She won't deny it, she is going to marry Finlay. All Cameron's wisdom is required, for Stewart is writing to the Medical Council.
The two doctors march in force on Stewart's house. "You haven't got a case." The reason- Esme is not pregnant. (Rather a cop out.) They shout against Mr Stewart, then Cameron quite gently informs Esme that she is going away from here...

Note- At times the classical background music is too obtrusive, though the 1920s dance music at the social has an impressively authentic sound

Noo it's time to git ye back tae the Dr Finlay menu, mon

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Medical Finance
Children are playing on and around Dr Cameron's car, parked outside a house where the doctor is treating a "free" patient, he even hands out some fresh food.
He is also treating Raymond, who can afford Cameron's services, even though he may not pay promptly.
Cameron's own accounts are in a mess. Miss Scott does her best, but with over 500 in unpaid bills, what can she do? The trouble is some folk offer payment in kind.
"It's time charity comes to an end," Finlay insists. One such scrounger is Oddy, who only promises to pay up once his treatment is completed. He also asks the doctor to examine Harry who is frequently absent from school with a mysterious rash. It seems the lady who looks after Mr Oddy is not the lad's mother. Discussing Harry's problem with Cameron, Finlay bets him that it is an allergy, while Cameron favours a psychological cause.
A legacy is seeing the practice through its rocky finances. However a letter from the tax office proves to be a demand for unpaid tax on the bequest. Cameron storms to the tax office in person to discuss this outrage, the man dealing with the case is none other than Raymond. He offers no satisfaction, indeed informs Cameron that he will have to pay a fine! No wonder some of the doctor's patients get the sharp end of his tongue.
An appeal. The committee hears Cameron's case. Three local dignitaries, including Dr Snoddie are on the panel. Cameron explains that the wording of the legacy was a joke, typical of his late parient, but he comes to see his position is precarious.
However Raymond's son, is feverish, and as a matter of urgency, Cameron leaves the appeal to treat the boy.
The committee send their decision by post. Not a success. Finlay completes Oddy's treatment, and after an unsatisfactory conversation with Oddy's "concubine," he learns how Harry keeps getting these rashes.
The tax bill must be paid, but at least they can put Oddy's payment toward it, except he has paid up in potatoes
Off wi' ye tae the
Dr Feenlay menu

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Beware Of The Dog

Roy, a travelling salesman, is treated by Dr Finlay for a dog bite. He says an alsatian attacked him. Later this dog attacks some sheep and is shot dead. MacBride the vet says it had rabies. Roy needs to be found as a matter of urgency.
Police scour a wide area where the commercial traveller might now be, and an SOS message is sent out by radio.
Jim Spalding (Esmond Knight) is the owner of the dog, "he hates the world that man." His daughter Molly (Mary Miller) looks after him, his only love his dogs. Finlay and MacBride call on him, and he denies owning any alsatian. However Molly informs Finlay that he is lying, and another alsatian is discovered, though she is not rabid.
Police are informed, but when they call on Jim, he has moved the dog. Molly claims she doesn't know where the animal might be, but Helge, Jim's favourite labrador, leads them to the concealed dog.
Molly tries to recall who else Roy used to call on. It was because Roy was paying attention to her that Jim had set the alsatian on him. But then Roy turns up, anxious the doctor check his leg. Finlay, after reading a description of the effects of rabies, persuades him that he must undergo several abdominal injections. Roy is admitted to the cottage hospital, where Molly visits him.
Spalding is up in court for smuggling animals into the country. Guilty. Helge is one of his pets who have to be put into quarantine. His house is empty, Molly has left him a note

Ye'll return noo fro' Tannochbrae to the Dr Finlay menu

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Doctor's Lines
Note: Lines are sick notes
Roger Duncan (Alan Browning) is the new manager at a whiskey distillery. As the men are, he is convinced, skiving off work for no good reason, he invites Dr Finlay to dinner at the Gleneagle. He persuades Finlay to become a medical consultant with the firm, bringing him extra cash and saving the workers money on their current medical insurance.
Dr Cameron worries about Duncan's motives, as well he might, the main thing about Duncan's scheme, that is somehow now Finlay's scheme, is that a sick note will be required before any paid absence is granted.
Very soon Finlay learns the men expect a certain amount of sick leave every year. He refuses to sign a Doctor's Line from one malingerer Hicks. However when there is a genuine case, he is quick to sign, as in the case of Robbie who has a throat infection. In fact his son Ian is also being treated by Dr Cameron for a similar complaint. Another trouble maker Bridges tells Finlay he has a pain in his chest. Three others accompany him with the same problem. Of course they are not ill at all, and Finlay refuses to sign anything. The four men are sacked.
"He's made a damn fool of you," Cameron points out to his colleague.
The workers hold a strike meeting, Robbie is against the motion. This is all very 1960's militancy, Finlay out of his comfort zone. A strike. When Cameron comes to visit Ian, who is ailing, Robbie is ordered by Bridges to send him away, some sort of confused notion of union solidarity. But his mother is so worried she carries the lad to Cameron's surgery. It is diptheria as Cameron was beginning to fear- maybe he might have spotted it earlier?
Finlay addresses the workers with words of bitterness. Finlay chucks his work at the distillery and Duncan has to back down.
Ian is treated, but dies. Finlay has to put the works in quarantine, so there are no winners
Dr Finlay will see thee back to his wee menu

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The Deceivers
Two strands to this story.
Mrs Seton is recuperating well enough for Nurse Alice Laird from Glasgow, who had been the star pupil when Finlay had been a mere student, to return there. Farmer John Seton, aged 34, asks her to marry him. She seeks Finlay's advice, since he knows about her past engagement which had ended when her fiance was killed in a motorcycle accident. She has a baby girl. John knows nothing of this.
Alice accepts John's proposal, without telling her fiance anything more. However Mrs Seton perceives Alice is witholding something, a nasty letter reveals some truths about Alice's past. Finlay advises Alice to be open and honest. She isn't and then bares her soul to the poor Alan Finlay. He is summoned by Mrs Seton to tell her what he knows, his dilemma is what should he say. In the end he decides not to say too much. The marriage plans are dropped.
Tom McClurg is the best tobaccanist north of the border. However the latest mixture he has made up for Dr Cameron has something wrong with it. "Get out," he angrily orders Cameron when he is gently informed, "I'll no be insulted."
Though not Cameron's patient, this "pig headed eccentric" is clearly ill, but won't consult any doctor. Janet is brought in to chat with a worried Mrs McClurg. "I think he's gone mad." Armed with this data, Cameron decides McClurg has thyroid problems. As he refuses to take the medicine offered by Cameron, the doctor persuades Mrs McClurg to add the medicine to his tea. A gentle deception, unlike the deception that Finlay had to keep up with the Setons.
McClurg spots his wife adding the medicine, and urgently tells Dr Cameron that his wife is attempting to poison him! With the wisdom of the older doctor, Cameron plays along with him, and persuades him that this 'antidote' will save him. We all know what that is!
Laugh all the way back tae the menu

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The End of the Season
There's an end of series feel to this story, about Rab, a river bailiff, who is retiring. It's the last day of the season, and he is salmon fishing.
Davie, his replacement (Glyn Owen), is at the surgery, since his fishing fly has accidentally hooked itself into his ear. The doctors think it quite an amusing accident.
By the river, Finlay admires the handiwork of young Ian, Davie's son, who has mended a kestrel's wing. His older sister Jean is in love with Charlie,a reformed poacher, but is forbidden to go with him to the traditional end of season celebration. Here there's dancing, and even a song from Finlay. Davie adds a tribute to Rab, before more Scottish dancing, during which Davie and Charlie renew their old enmity, the former convinced Charlie is still a poacher at heart. But he really has reformed, though he confides secretly to Finlay that he knows one unlikely local who is poaching- Rab himself.
Indeed Davie actually sees Rab catching salmon next day, and before informing the police, asks Finlay for his advice. The doctor says he will ask Rab before taking the matter further, and it is just as well, since Rab explains all.
Charlie decides it is high time he marry Jean. They ask Davie, who absolutely refuses permission. He throws them out of the house, but then screams in agony. He has been bitten by one of Ian's pet adders! Dr Cameron is called to treat him, but finds no poison in his system. Has Charlie sucked it all out? Davie is suitably grateful, and all looks set fair, until he discovers that the 'bite' came from a sharp buckle in Ian's belt that Davie had sat on. The pair fight.
"All's well that ends well," as Cameron lectures them

So ye can return happy tae the menu o' Dr Finlay

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A Woman's Work
A well observed tale of how the doctors, even though they appreciate Janet their housekeeper so much, take her for granted.
Dr Cameron orders Jean McBride to stay in bed, along with her daughter, as she has gastritis. But her husband Robbie and her son Andy really have to go to work, so against orders, she leaves her sick bed. Dr Cameron doesn't perceive her problem.
Perhaps he will when he and Dr Finlay get up next morning to find that no fire has been lit, and no breakfast has been prepared. Janet is unwell and Cameron orders her to bed. "It shouldn't be beyond us...." he tells Finlay, to look after themselves a wee while. But the patients are gathered in the freezing cold waiting room, and Finlay finds it hard to light the fire, while Dr Cameron's cooking breakfast is on the noisy side.
You have tonsilitis, Cameron tells his housekeeper, now his patient. She calls it quinsy.
"I'm hungry." Dr Finlay's hot meal for lunch turns out to be fish and chips. For evening meal Cameron has an over-ambitious menu planned, in phase one he is trying to peel a potato, while the rabbit will need skinning for a start. He is interrupted by Andy, who wants Cameron to come urgently to see his mother. She has been worn out having to do all the chores.
Dr Cameron spells out her need for complete rest. She needs a home help, he now realises. Local barmaid Maggie is willing, but Jean is not happy with this, since Robbie had once been close to Maggie.
Dr Cameron sees that he too needs help, but only to answer the telephone, nothing more. Mrs Laidlaw is engaged, even though she is not one of those on a recommended list produced by Janet in her bed. The new woman is very efficient and capable, but also very talkative and bossy, and fussy, and none too confidential either. Thankfully both patients are on the mend. Jean makes up with Maggie and Janet is asked to tell Mrs Laidlaw not to come any more. "You never know what a man's like, until you've lived wi' him," is her parting shot. Dr Cameron hands Janet a back handed comment. Privately, she nicely informs Dr Finlay why Mrs Laidlaw was not on her short list, indeed why her list of names was so short
More female emancip at
Dr Finlay's menu?

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The Immortal Memory
Dr Finlay is treating Mrs Duff, whose new spectacles are causing her problems, probably the lenses are wrong.
Her optician is Robert Young (Garfield Morgan). He is on the bottle, his wife Christine covering up for him as best she can.
He is secretary of the Burns Society. Dr Cameron is quoting Robbie to Janet as he prepares his address to the Society. Dr Finlay tries to speak to Young about his problem. The optician takes offence and later takes it out on his wife. They come to blows.
As Cameron is driving along the road, he encounters Young, the worse for drink. His wife has left him, taking his daughter with her. Both of them consult solicitors.
The Burns Society hold a committee meeting in Young's home. It is very amicable, though afterwards Cameron has a few wise words for Young. But the optician says he has no health problems.
To the Burns Night Supper. Though Finlay is "allergic" to them, Cameron insists he attend. After the feasting, Young introduces, in slurred tones, the guest speaker.
Next day Finlay gives Janet a blow by blow account of Dr Cameron's lecture, something about how Burns died. Cameron himself, a little the worse for wear, has persuaded Young to have a health check. He fails the eye chart test. He admits he has a problem. It is incurable. He should know, he's an optician. So Cameron looks at his eyes. He calls in Finlay for a second opinion.
He explains what is wrong to Christine, all it was was a husk from seed he feeds to his canary.
As Cameron spouts more Robbie, we see the Youngs happily getting together again
Och aye, off tae
Dr Finlay's menu?

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Dr Finlay and the Phantom Piper of Tannochbrae
Dr Cameron's ancient car gives a bang and conks out in the middle of nowhere. From nowhere a bagpiper appears, and without a word, repairs the vehicle. He has evidently got at least one screw loose, muttering something about the batallion of soldiers that surround him.
Lord Morcroft (Ian Colin) is proposing to erect a memorial to his son Hugh, tragically killed in the war, though a few locals are opposed to such a waste of money when so many local needs press. This viewpoint is expressed by dour local teacher Andrews (Kevin Stoney) who refuses to act as secretary to the council committee formed to oversee the project. In fact, he is not merely opposed to the scheme, but violently against this "eyesore," ranting against Morcroft's "masterstroke of egotism." Andrews decides to take Morcroft to court for calling him a conchie.
John, the loony bagpiper is also against it, and even fights with his lordship. For this, he's locked in the police cell, though when Dr Cameron examines him, the "soft in the head" piper is placed into Cameron's custody. But in the hospital the piper keeps his fellow patients awake by playing his wretched pipes. In the middle of the night, a grumpy Cameron has to be fetched to restore order. Once John has been calmed, he tells Cameron of his wartime guilt.
Armed with this information Dr Cameron invites Andrews and Lord Morcroft to a Caledonian Supper. Enter John, piping in the meal, then relating his horror story in the trenches. Lord Morcroft's son had been with him, "a fine lad." Amazing coincident, but Andrews had been there also.
As a result, despite Cameron's advice to his colleague never to meddle in politics, the council revise their plans and plan a Morcroft Children's Ward in the hospital. The final line from our doctors sums up this mystifying story, "Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall inherit the war." Perhaps The Wednesday Play wasn't so obscure after all- no wonder AJ Cronin said he wasn't pleased with some of these stories. As serious drama it is distinctly lacking, as attempted humour, it falls flat
Hoots mon, make your return tae
Dr Finlay menu

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Written With the Left Hand

Lizzy Fairbanks needs to get out into the fresh air, that is Dr Finlay's diagnosis. She is not ill. Bel, her sister, explains to the doctor that ever since her sweetheart had jilted her, she has been very moody.
Finlay's next call is the Verrier family. The daughter of the house, Cathie, has called to see Dr Cameron, but as he is not there, she does not wait. Cameron is in fact visiting Philip Verrier, a 30 year old in a wheelchair, he has some talent for writing.
Finlay receives a love letter in the post, it is signed Twinkle. Who's she? The next day comes a second note, so Cameron suggests showing the note to Philip, who is an expert in graphology. Be he isn't able to enlighten Finlay, except to say it is written with the left hand, not the writer's usual hand.
Now some other respectable citizens start receiving letters from Twinkle. Gossip about the author sweeps the town.
The doctors are called to treat Cathie, who has tried to poison herself. She is pregnant.
Philip has received a letter, which he asks Dr Cameron to take to the police. He denies the allegations it contains. Police do examine the letter, but maybe Janet will make a good detective. For, in the street, she spots Lizzy holding a letter and follows her.
Mrs Verrier has had a minor road accident, and in her handbag, Finlay finds an anonymous letter. Dr Cameron discusses this with Philip, and it transpires she was only posting the letter. Philip had written the letters, "just a game." However he had not written the first two love letters to the doctor. Janet knows who that is

Och aye, off wi' ye tae Dr Finlay menu

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Crusade
Just who is this Dr Beresford (Anne Kristen) who is treating some of Cameron's young patients? Actually, she is the temporary school doctor, and very conscientious. A woman of Finlay's ilk!
"Belly ache" is afflicting some of the pupils, no surprise since the sanitary conditions are so primitive. One such is Graham Douglas, who, like a few others, is feigning illness on the back of this poor hygiene, in order to stop off school, and help his dad (Archie Duncan).
Dr Beresford knows how to get round Dr Finlay, man of principle. Will he attend a meeting of the parents to demand new drains? Dr Snoddie is also dragged in, by the wily Beresford, even though he is as ever unsupportive. However the suggestion that Dr Finlay is interfering, soon has him persuaded.
Headmaster Mr Miller is angry because his "shiftless" pupils are taking advantage and absenting themselves. He demands an end to the doctor's crusade. However, asking him to chair the meeting brings him on side.
Three of the truants are mucking about. Graham falls and breaks an arm. Dr Finlay is called out, and so has to miss the start of the meeting. It's a blow for Dr Beresford. She consults Janet, and reveals she is shortly to get married. That should put an end to Alan Finlay's thoughts in her direction. What she needs to know is, how can she persuade Dr Cameron to attend the meeting? Cameron is all for keeping out of the dispute, but Janet offers a useful tip. An onion. Tears bring on Cameron's sympathy, and the mere notion that Dr Snoddie is refusing to support the parents,persuades Dr Cameron.
The meeting is packed. After platitudes from Dr Snoddie, Dr Cameron rants against the poor sanitation. This wins applause from parents. However finances are the sticking point. But a typical bluff from Dr Beresford brings on the urgent installation of modern lavatories for the school
Enough of this nonsnse, return ye tae
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The Gifts of the Magi
Christmas 1929 in the children's ward. Patricia Smith is upset because she's going home, as she'll miss the party. But as "she's going to die," that antithesis of seasonal cheer Dr Snoddie, though he can offer no medical comfort, thaws enough to agree to the entertainment being brought forward to Wednesday 20th specially for Patricia.
Mrs Bell, hospital visitor and Dr Snoddie rope in the doctors to help and the story wisely veers towards a gentle comedy as the Three Wise Men, Snoddie, Cameron and Finlay swell with their theatrical prowess, or otherwise. But are they getting carried away? Janet isn't the only one worried that the children will never enjoy Shakespeare a la Andrew Cruikshank, or William McCulloch a la Bill Simpson. However all is sorted out for the big event.
Dr Snoddie, red nose comic, renders an absurd fish song which has them laughing in their beds. Then it's Dr Dummy, Dr Finlay's ventriloquial doll, finally Dr Cameron with a more serious item, enlivened or ruined, depending how you look at it, by Dr Snoddie messing around with a silly hat. But Janet is a surprise extra turn, she has the children rapt, though not sure of the tv audience for her tale is overlong, even if narrated with charm.
"Grossly unprofessional behaviour," admits Snoddie afterwards, "I ruined your act," he tells Cameron, who is sulking, though likely it's over Janet's success. Jealousy increases when Mrs Bell, who used to work for BBC Scotland, believes Janet is "a natural for broadcasting." Unlikely, but she gets to tell one of her tales on the wireless on Christmas Day at 9.15pm. Even gruff Cameron tunes in, while Patricia enjoys it at home with her parents.
"It went very well," well enough for a contract to be offered Janet, but with Cameron still in the sulks, she rips it up. She explains why with one last naff story
Noo, haste ye back tae the
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Call In Cameron
The emphasis in this story is too much on the patients, Cameron's ethical dilemma is never properly explored.
Will Geddes looks pretty depressed, Beth his wife is worried about him. But Dr Cameron cannot certify this man as insane. Once Will had been kindness itself, now he sits in his armchair, morose, refusing to go into an institution voluntarily.
Both are found dead. The obvious sequence seems that he shot her then himself. In court Geddes' employee Thomas Brown (the lively Fulton Mackay) states that Geddes had been brooding as usual the night he died. Next morning, it was he who had found their bodies. A contrite Cameron says he had failed, he should have persuaded Geddes to seek specialist help. Jane, Will's sister says she never approved of the marriage, "we were not good enough for the Wilsons." Sam Wilson, one of Beth's relatives is a dour uncompromising Scot, who expects to inherit the Geddes farm.
However it is Jane who takes possession of the 2,000 farm. Sam contests the will. It's a complicated case of Scottish law, which I think it runs thus- if Will had murdered Beth, Sam would inherit. If it could be proved Will really was insane then as well as destroying their name, Jane would inherit. Cameron's evidence will be crucial, and over such a responsibility he falls ill.
But Janet has a wee word with Thomas.
In court, Cameron has to reveal the streak of insanity in Will's forebears.
Taking Janet's hints, Thomas offers marriage to Jane. She says she will think about it. But she then marries Sam. The sudden end of what is not a masterpiece
Much ado etc at
Dr Finlay menu

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The Sons of the Hounds
Dr Alistair Campbell (Stephen Murray) is retiring from his Harley Street practice, and moving, in his Rolls, to... Tannochbrae. His first encounter on a narrow bridge with Dr Cameron, is acrimonious. Neither will back their cars, but Cameron is in a hurry to treat Mrs Armstrong, and so he ungraciously gives way. With his rich patient, Cameron is sharp, for she has disobeyed doctor's orders.
Dr Finlay is also in trouble with the new arrival, for he is fishing on Campbell's loch, something that has been traditionally done in the past, and he is ordered "to get the hell out of it."
Thus "friendship and goodwill" is not what Cameron is prepared to offer, despite Campbell's surprising sudden bonhomie. For it seems Campbell is restless in retirement, and over a friendly meal, offers to buy out Cameron's practice. Since the answer is firmly in the negative, he sets up as a rival doctor.
This "medical dilettanti" is soon addressing the Ladies Guild on the subject of why husbands fail to understand the true state of their wives' health. Soon some patients defect to his practice, including Mrs Armstrong.
"We cannot compete," sighs Dr Cameron, who suggests Finlay take over and run the practice single handed. So Dr Finlay confronts the "carpetbagging" Dr Campbell, but the latter is in a position of strength and Finlay comes up against a brick wall.
It's played strictly for laughs. Campbell's undoing is the Harley Street prices he charges. Patients flock back for "the man has priced himself out of his practice."
In a final humiliation for the posh doctor, two cars face another impasse on that narrow bridge

End o' the competition, safely back tae Dr Finlay menu

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A Question of Conflict
In the cottage hospital lies a holidaying fisherman, who had collapsed by the river. McVie has appendicitis, but Finlay spots complications. Dr Cameron confirms his diagnosis, problems with his blood platelets, so despite the danger, an operation has to be postponed.
What proves to be a more complex problem however is Sister Agnes Mackay, who challenges the diagnosis and proves intractable when the doctors want to administer a new unproven treatment. She collapses when Finlay argues with her. Finlay at once becomes sympathetic, but she will not permit anyone to examine her. It's surely overwork, decides the doctor.
McVie is treated and despite anxious moments, his crisis passes. A second offer to examine Sister is refused, it's only the menopause, she insists. However Dr Cameron manages a quiet word with her, even though she still won't submit to an examination. Dr Snoddie has also noted the irascible behaviour of Sister Mackay and wants to have her removed, calling an emergency meeting of the hospital board.
McVie takes a turn for the worse, temperature 102. Finlay injects the patient, and Sister collapses again. She admits she has a problem with one eye. Now that McVie is more stable, she agrees to the inevitable. She has heart problems, prognosis "not very good."
At the board meeting, Finlay speaks out about her illness. Cameron breaks the bad news to Sister Mackay, who takes early retirement. But it is a happy ending, since she moves into a riverside cottage that she had always coveted

Retire tae Dr Finlay menu

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Advertising Matter
The first scene at the Funny Farm is too long- Mrs Fiona Muir's yoga class at a newly opened health resort using alternative medicine. But when Mrs Connochie complains that her back hurts, Mrs Muir wisely summons the conventional treatment of Dr Finlay.
Dr Cameron is treating Rab, a miner, who takes this asthma cure. But the doctor knows he is suffering from worse than that and sends him to hospital. The asthma cure is advertised in the Knoxhill Recorder, along with Mrs Muir's resort and other dubious quack medicines. Finlay asks the world weary editor Cardill to remove such material, with predictable results.
Mistress Niven is stirring things up with Rab's wife. Rab has discharged himself, worried he might lose his job.
The local paper prints some harsh words about Dr Finlay's practice, plus an advertisement for the health resort, "endorsed by Dr Finlay. "Get a solicitor," the worldly wise Cameron advises his young partner.
"This is ridiculous," Finlay protests at a medical inquiry in Glasgow, when Mrs Muir gives her evidence. Her memory is certainly at odds with Finlay's!
At work, Rab has collapsed. "Time you faced the truth." He has silicosis.
Finlay remonstrates with Cardill, who is taking his own patent pills too. Finlay takes one to analyse.
Realising his partner's difficulty, Cameron goes to tackle Mrs Muir. Finlay attends the resumed hearing, with only Dr Snoddie as a frail reed to speak up for him. The informal verdict reached is not good. But Cameron has dug out the facts, and confronts the inquiry with a signed admission from Mrs Muir.
While the doctors enjoy a wee dram with Janet, Finlay has great pleasure in informing Cardill that his pills are mere powdered chalk

The crisis is o'er at the Dr Finlay menu

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A Happy Release
Old Sarah Parker lies in bed in severe pain, "I can't go on." Jamie her husband cares for her. There is no cure for her cancer. Since Jamie is a chemist, she begs him to give her release.
She dies of pneumonia. He sits aside her deathbed. Her stepdaughter Mary comes to stay with him for a while. He wants to kill himself. He wants to express to her his feelings of guilt, but cannot.
Dr Finlay examines the morphine pills he had been prescribing for Mrs Parker, and when he counts them, finds there are more than there should have been. Cameron calls it a sin of omission, but is it commission? Dr Finlay decides, "I can't just do nothing." The two sides of euthansia are fairly stated, if perhaps at some length. "It's too deep for me," admits Janet.
Parker consults Dr Cameron. "I killed my wife," he tells him. His conscience wants to inform the police. Cameron's advice is realistic, "you did what seemed best." Unfortunately further discussion between the two doctors becames too laboured.
Cameron's words have cheered Parker up, but unfortunately his daughter has become depressed by what her father has been heavily hinting at. By now this argument has overun its course. The pair row.
Next day, he is down at the police station. Sgt Gilbey, in his turn, approaches Dr Cameron. "The poor fellow didn't know what he was saying," is the policeman's view. Finally, at long last, the issue is resolved

Awa' wi' ye tae Dr Finlay menu

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Buy Now- Pay Later
Peggy is taken by ambulance to hospital- emergency! Her ruthless rich husband Henry Davidson (John Paul) accompanies her. He wants a male heir. But the child is stillborn.
Finlay is in love. His attentions are centred on Barbara (Tracy Reed), daughter of the rich businessman. He even tells Janet he is thinking of marriage. But Barbara is positive they could never settle down in the same house as Dr Cameron and Janet, and suggests they move to London. But Finlay has no money to set up in practice on his own, though of course she could help there.
Barbara has been trying to cheer up Peggy, who is naturally very depressed. Peggy is her step mother. She is not much older than Barbara and seems to have married Henry in order to provide him with a son. It's sad that he never even pays another visit to her in hospital, for he is too busy planning to move back to London.
Alan Finlay has a rival! Larry has recently driven up from London in his sports car. Barbara rows with Alan, who discusses his future with his partner, Janet offering wee words of advice too.
Alan, Larry and Barbara make up a threesome to climb a mountain. As it happens Peggy nearly drowns in her bath while they are away. An urgent phone call, in the days before mobiles, to a lonely mountain outpost, and somehow Dr Finlay is informed of the accident. Not sure why he needs to be recalled, since Dr Cameron is dealing with the crisis, but then there were only two on the mountain. Baerbara doesn't want to go back and spoil their climb.
Attempted suicide, Cameron informs Henry, who seems unconcerned. "What's wrong wi' ye?" Cameron blurts out. Some well chosen words at least stirs the rich man into some sort of action.
It is also the end of Dr Finlay's romance

so return tae Dr Finlay's menu

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Tell Me True
Ruth Goodall is a ward maid, who is dumb. Miraculously she recovers her powers of speech. Dr Finlay examines her, and sees a chance for making medical history.
Dr Cameron is sympathising with Crawford the local minister (Jack May), who finds it hard to sleep ever since his wife died six months ago. Miss Janet MacPherson is in his eye, and he asks permission to "come courting." Cameron is naturally dubious but advises Janet of the minister's aspirations.
The pair meet, he suggests Janet pray for guidance, he certainly has the gift o' the gab. She promises to consider his proposal. "Quite unsuitable," declares Cameron firmly.
Finlay is fascinated by the way Ruth writes, for it is back to front. Could she be The Finlay Symptom? Tests convince him that her perceptions are reversed. Dr Snoddie is naturally suspicious, all ready to interfere, his belief is that Ruth is fit to return to her work, "she's "a mental defective."
Dr Cameron finds the minister much more cheery. He cannot dissuade him from plans to marry. "I'm going to marry him," declares Janet, maybe opposition from her employer has made her mind up for her.
She volunteers to test Ruth independently, aided by her intended. The girl is asked to draw Janet, the picture comes out upside down, "I could have sworn I was better looking than that!" Ruth even spells everything backwards. Finlay's theory is that she has reverted to young childhood, to a time when she was happy. Hypnosis will cure her. Crawford asks Ruth if she agrees to this treatment. She signs the consent form. Instant success!
Crawford apologises for any doubts he had about Finlay's ability. He now realises that it is only a housekeeper he wants, not a wife. Fortunately Janet wishes to remain a housekeeper also- with Dr Cameron. As Finlay shrewdly observes, "you only said yes to spite Cameron"
Back tae the norm at the
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The Public Patient
Sister Greer tells Dr Cameron that some patients are on hunger strike, in protest against the awful hospital food. Cameron retorts that this is not his business.
Fraser McFadden (John Grieve) is a hypochondriac who demands urgent treatment from Dr Cameron. "My last hour is here!" Since he is a paying patient, he is admitted to a private hospital room.
Cameron is none too well himself, he has even been rewriting his will. While visiting McFadden, he collapses. It's dropsy, he explains to Dr Finlay. He needs to be admitted into hospital, but Fraser will not share his room, so the good doctor joins the public ward.
Snoddie wants Cameron to have his operation in Glasgow, but Cameron refuses, so the operation goes ahead in the local hospital. Snoddie is anaesthetist, Mistress Niven comforts the anxious Janet. "Good heavens!" What has the surgeon found inside Cameron? It's a gallstone.
McFadden is discharged- nothing wrong with him. He bluntly tells Cameron, recovering after his surgery, that he will not pay his bill, since there was nothing the matter with him. Dr Finlay hands his partner his own bill. One good thing in hospital- the food has improved since Cameron has been a patient!

This story is a curious mixture of light hearted fun, with serious overtones

Physician heal thyself at the Dr Finlay menu

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A Moral Problem
Rev John Taylor (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) complains to Dr Snoddie since Finlay is discharging his terminally ill wife from the hospital. But even as Medical Superintendent, Snoddie will not overturn Finlay's decision. Taylor begs Dr Finlay to reconsider, but the bed is required for another patient, it's "one life against another."
Matron is ticking off her experienced ward sister Miss Brown (Mary Miller) for returning late on her day off. She had been with her elderly parents. Angry at being reprimanded, Miss Brown applies for the post of nurse/housekeeper for rich Miss Talbot, "a self-indulgent lady who can afford it." She is Dr Cameron's private patient, and a host of issues bounce around. Persuaded by matron and Snoddie, Dr Cameron explains to the old lady that Sister Brown is a valuable member of the hospital staff. The two part on frosty terms, and she seeks a new doctor. But even Snoddie turns her down.
Next Rutherford, the consultant, appeals to Sister Brown's better nature. She gives a spirited defence of her position, so Rutherford dares approach Miss Talbot, "there's an art in dealing with maiden ladies." But clearly he has not got that. Pay Miss Brown more, offers the good lady.
Janet is next in on the act. She asks Rev Taylor, but after his own rebuff, his only Christian advice is to appeal to the old lady herself. Thus Janet appeals to Miss Talbot, who does agree to release Miss Brown- if Janet become her housekeeper. Dr Cameron is not amused.
It's all over the hospital and the town that Janet will be leaving Dr Cameron. This news upsets Miss Brown. "It was a joke," explains Miss Talbot to her. But this whole story has become too much of a joke. We get talk of a new housekeeper at Arden House. She could be a wife for Dr Finlay- or how about Dr Cameron? This is way over the top, with Cameron, in his own way, proposing to Janet. Next, Miss Brown asks to become housekeeper to Dr Cameron. But she is too late, for Janet has patched things up with her employer. Dr Finlay cheers Miss Brown up. Status quo restored
Thankfully ye can gae back to the
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The Cheats

A fishing competition on the loch is nearly won by Finlay, his fish is 2lb 14oz. But Willie's comes in at 3lb 1oz, though Finlay later discovers lead shot had been added to the winner to weigh it down.
It so happens Dr Cameron is treating Willie's daughter Maggie, but she only has white chalk on her face. A scam. His son Tammie's method of doing his homework, is to copy his friend's effort. His wife Mary seems the only honest hardworking member of this family. She is even helping malingerer Mrs Guthrie.
Alan Finlay is caught by another trick. He buys a seat for the cup final from a box number, only it turns out to be a camp stool. In fact this is another swindle from Willie, with his pal Dougie.
Dr Cameron decides it is time to give them a taste of their own medicine. He orders the exhausted Mary to bed for rest. That means Willie must find some honest work, though his idea of gardening seems to involve short cuts. With mMs Guthrie cooking for the family, short changing them, the family all go down with food poisoning. When Mary collapses, Cameron offers Willie a frank assessment of the truth, he is "a rogue and a cheat."
Willie does promise to reform and earn some honest money, but has he now resorted to stealing? The police are ready to arrest him, but the good doctors are able to exonerate him, though this honest job has unfortunately led him to contract anthrax

There's a lesson there for ye, laddie, now git ye back tae Dr Finlay menu

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Lack of Communication

Children are playing at Cowboys and Indians. Two of them have befriended old sailor Captain Gordon who coughs a lot. They too cough frequently.
A spot of nonsense is taking place at Tannochbrae. The doctors have fallen out over something and Janet has to serve their meals in separate rooms. Mistress Niven is first with the gossip, their row is all about Embezzlement. Certainly the pair of them are acting very childishly. Janet attempts to make the peace, a dismal flop.
Jimmy and Bobby are the two lads. Finlay treats Jimmy, while Cameron attends to Bobby. They will not consult each other for a second opinion, and as they are uncertain why the two boys are ill, this is to their patient's detriment.
When Niven's tittle tattle reaches Finlay's ears, about the old sailor having coughing fits, Finlay puts two and two together. The coughing is related to Gordon's parrot Nelson. He clashes with Cameron over the diagnosis.
It is Janet who gets to the bottom of the doctor's conflict. All about a missing cheque for 75, "such a sum." She knocks the two heads together, almost literally. Actually both their diagnoses were incorrect, as she explains in this feeble story

Cough ye sadly back tae Dr Finlay menu

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Opportunity and Inclination
This was the final story of four featuring Henry Davidson and his wife Peggy- they'd been seen last in Buy Now-Pay Later.

Though their romance was over, Alan Finlay is still dreaming of Barbara, and he takes the weekend off to go to London to talk to her. But he only meets her stepmother Peggy, and he has to return alone to Tannochbrae. But on the train, he is joined by Peggy, "I had to get away."
She puts up at a local hotel, where Dr cameron feels obliged to visit her, shrewdly taking away her bottle of sleeping tablets, since she is very depressed. She hopes husband Henry will travel up to see her.
But actually Henry has called in Kingston, a detective, with the bait of 300 if he can prove she is being unfaithful. Kingston finds Cameron spending a lot of time in her room, then dining with her. Dr cameron first laughs at the accusation that he is being cited as co-respondent. When he has a heart to heart with Kingston, it is clear the detective will report that the doctor had had opportunity and indeed inclination. Cameron, while not disclosing his patient's condition, attempts to convince the detective of the seriousness of Peggy's state of mind. Finlay finds the whole situation quite funny. Actually Dr Cameron has a wee laugh about it too

Laff all the way back tae Dr Finlay menu

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A Late Spring

Wilfred Pickles had already appeared in the programme in series 4 in The Draper of Dumfries, where he had kidney problems- this episode is missing.
In this, he phones his son Alan Finlay to tell him that he is coming on a short visit to Tannochbrae. Dr Finlay himself is showing signs of being unsettled, a touch of the spring according to Janet. To try and make him put down his roots, Dr Cameron offers him a half share in Arden House for 1,000.
Alan's dad is worried because his sister Annie is getting married at age 53, and she is his assistant in his draper's shop. He enjoys his stay, meeting Mrs Perrins, who runs the local draper's. He also chats amicably with Janet in her kitchen- she knows all about Mrs Perrins' own problems trying to run her shop with her useless son Clem. Dad also enjoys a game of chess with Cameron, and beats him.
Next day, he makes the decision to prolong his stay. He escorts Mrs Perrins on a stroll. Alan also takes him for a drive amid the beautiful scenery, and dad admits to a desire to move here. Next day Alan sees his dad courting, "it's spring fever!"
Alan invests in his share of Arden House, he tells his dad the bank cannot help, so dad kindly agrees to loan the cash. Then dad leaves, taking Alice Perrins with him, to run his shop in Dumfries, aaah!

Aye, they all live happily ere after at Dr Finlay menu

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Comin Thro' the Rye
Dr Cameron has stomach cramps, the doctors agree he has gone down with food poisoning. His eyes look dilated and he seems lightheaded, flirty even.
He's off on a wee drive, singing Comin thro the Rye, scoffing scones given by Mrs McAfee, a patient. "He was not drunk," Janet insists, even though he almost crashes into Dr Finlay.
Finlay has been attending the McAfees who are feeling even worse. He thinks those scones must be to blame, "don't touch any more of that flour," warns the doctor. It had been bought from Tom Robsart the baker (James Hayter) who had purchased it from Bruce the miller.
Finlay reprimands his boss over his bad driving. The latter is having hallucinations, believing his arms are growing longer!
Old Mrs McAfee is delirious, screaming disturbingly about "the flames o' hell." Mr McPhee is bending a red hot poker. Young Alec McAfee is standing on his roof! "He thinks he's a bird!" But it really isn't funny when he dives off the roof, thankfully not fatally.
"It's very grave," says Dr Snoddie in his understated way. He believes the source of the problem is phosphorus, used by the miller to kill rats. But Cameron, despite his mental state, disagrees. Ergotism, he declares. Though very rare these days, it seems he must be correct.
Cameron gets at the truth when he confronts Bruce. The miller he admits he'd been giving short measure, topped up "wi' an awfu' lot of trouble." But Robsart won't accept his flour was at fault. Cameron gets him to change his mind over tea. That scone Robsart has enjoyed, was it made from the contaminated flour that Robsart says is fine? The thought that he may have consumed it, makes him "leave in a great hurry." Of course Cameron was only "putting the wind up" the baker
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Dr Finlay's Casebook

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Not Qualified
Finlay treats Mrs Kate Dobbie, who is very worried, frightened of her powerful husband Jamie (Jack Watson). He is a lumberjack, and the pair live in an isolated cottage, from where she walks the seven miles to town once a week for the shopping. He is very angry that she has consulted a doctor.
Finlay visits her home, where Dobbie tells him he is not welcome.
"He's not her husband," Cameron explains to Finlay, a complex problem that the doctors are hardly qualified to treat.
With a bruise on one cheek, Kate calls on Finlay, who wants to jump in. Against Cameron's instincts, the two doctors call at the Dobbie cottage, and the older doctor has a heart to heart with Dobbie. He had been a Prisoner of War, and had had amnesia, Shell Shock. Their conversation is awkwardly split up, as though it is too unpalatable to take whole. Cameron wants to call in a specialist to help treat Dobbie's headaches, but he refuses.
When the doctors have gone, she packs her bags. He shouts hard words at her, then runs after her as she runs away. She tries hiding, but after a long chase through bracken, he stumbles down a steep slope and is half buried in earth. She is already bursting weith tears, but joins him in the mess.
Reid is the Glasgow specialist who is called in, a psychiatrist. The three doctors call on Dobbie who is much more cheerful. Kate is out. Reid has to return to the city.

"Nobody has seen her for two months," Janet informs the doctors. They call on Dobbie, who is not there, even though Dobbie says Kate is. Finlay drives away to fetch the police, while Cameron tries to fathom Dobbie out.
That is where the story ends, one of those decide it yourself finishes that are never very satisfying

Wi' a sigh, go back tae Dr Finlay menu

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Dorrity
Urgent visitor at Arden House, young Dorrity Gibson- can Dr Cameron come immediately, as her dad "can't breathe." The doctor drives with her as quickly as possible to the isolated farmstead, having to do the last mile on foot across a stream. It's too late. The old man dies. Neighbouring farmer Iain offers to take her in, but she wants to go with Cameron. She stays at Arden House and both doctors take quite a shine to her, though she has novel notions, very independent.
What of her future? Cameron urges her slow acclimatisation to civilisation. Finlay believes that she "has a way" with pain and ought to train to be a doctor. Janet however becomes aware of disapproval and murmurings in town.
Janet takes Dorrity to the shops, where she most decidedly wants to make her own choice of clothing. She comes home in a loud green dress, "unusual" comments Finlay. Iain visits her and tells her the green dress looks "silly." She decides not to wear it.
She takes to reading all the doctor's medical books. It so happens that they are both out when a man turns up at the house with severe chest pains. She holds him tight, and he recovers. "What did you do?" Janet is stunned.
But the man's wife is angry that a non qualified person has treated her husband and complains to Dr Cameron of her "magic." In fact the man later dies of a heart attack. The plot becomes over the top with Dorrity being called a witch. This makes her realise she ought to leave town. She'll go to Glasgow, on Finlay's advice, and study medicine.
Much later she return to Tannochbrae. She is wearing her green dress, and informs the doctors she is giving up medicine. She has found life in the big city too constricting. "I'm going home," she tells them, and she does

Queet reet, so go tae Dr Finlay menu

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The Honeypot
Hank MacGregor (Leonard Maguire) is searching for his roots. He calls at Arden House, since his dad had lived here in the 1870s. He calls Janet 'Mrs Cameron'!
He asks Dr cameron if he could purchase the property, so he "could take it back to the States!" When he is turned down, he ups his offer to 5,000, well above market value. The money could help fund a new hospital. But the answer is still no.
Hank visits his relatives, Andrew and family, who knew his father William. They live in the very home in which he was born in 1868. But they are not well off like him with his Rolls Royce and chauffeur, and jump at the chance of his buying their little house. Angus MacGregor however, long on non speaking terms with Andrew, informs Hank that William was actually born in his house.
Angus and Andrew patch up their historic differences, to agree on a deal of sorts, to sell a house to Hank.
Hank, who has enjoyed a happy day salmon fishing, goes down with chest pains. Dr Finlay goes to his hotel, and tells him he is only suffering fromn a cold. These incidents are time fillers.
Half a dozen local young men have been persuaded by Hank to come and work for him in Pittsburg. They have to pay their passage. Dr Finlay is invited too, but declines. He perceives that Haank ain't all that he seems, in fact "a complete fraud." Police reveal Hank is an old hand at con tricks,just in time to save Cameron from accepting the 5,000. Finlay had worked out the swindle by simple maths relating to the dates Hank had given. However Finlay is hardly a detective, and this story, though it might be a detective story, is not worthy of this series

Shake the dust off thee feet, Sherlock Finlay at the menu

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Responsibilities

"You've no time for girls," dad (Nigel Green) warns his son David, who is shortly off to start his training to become a doctor. However he does love Margaret, but she is prepared to wait until David has qualified, before they marry.
But David's dad knows none of this. He is a widower, working at a hotel. But dad has his own secret, he wants to marry the housekeeper at the hotel, Mrs Struthers. But it's "a secret" that he doesn't want David to know about, for fear it will upset his studies.
The characters are well introduced, though the denouement is more disappointing. David's studies are briefly seen, but suddenly he falls ill, and dashes home "feverish." Dr Finlay examines him and takes a blood count. He gets a second opinion from his partner. Cameron sees David as his kind of protege. He proudly shows David his own gold medal, an achievement David himself aspires to.
The blood count confirms their worst fears. It is leukemia. Margaret has come to see David, David's dad grudgingly permits it.
Finlay and Cameron discuss the lad's future, and his father's. Margaret discovers David dead.
Mrs Stuthers bears the bad news to David's father. The reactions of them both and Margaret are very different.
David's medical books are removed as Cameron talks to the stunned father, amid slightly deep questions

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A Question of Values
Jenny Daker has a bad attack of asthma. She lives in a damp tenement over the canal, hardly conducive to one in her condition. Her brother Alister is bitter at his lot, he is the only breadwinner, for his dad Mat (Robert Urquhart) cannot find employment.
Finlay had been called away from a five course dinner to treat Jenny. He returns to the meal at the home of the Lockharts, a striking contrast to the rooms he has just left.
Lockhart is planning an auction to raise money for "the deserving poor." Cameron is persuaded to donate his violin. But Finlay finds all this very "patronising," and the two doctors later clash over ideologies. Janet attempts to soothe the waters.
Actually the Dakers may be poor, but on their mantelpiece is a broken clock, nevertheless antique, and a painting, "may be a Constable." Alister brings the clock to Arden House, asking Finlay to value it. In turn, Finlay takes it to Lockhart.
Mr and Mrs Daker argue over selling the clock, or not to sell. Mat wants to keep it, a precious heirloom. But it does not work! He doesn't want to know its value, when Finlay returns it. But Finlay lets on that Lockhart will offer 300. But Mat loves beautiful things, and will not sell. That drives Alister from home. He does not return. Mrs Daker has to buy food on credit, it might "force him to sell."
Lockhart values the painting. But it is worth very little, a copy. Mat asks Janet, then Lockhart for a job. The latter stumps up 350 for the broken clock.
At the auction, we see the restored clock in pride of place in Lockhart's home. Under the hammer is Cameron's violin. Matt buys it! The Dakers have purchased a new home, and Mat's practising is not music to his family's ears

Another wee peep in Dr Finlay's Casebook

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SAKI (Granada) - The Improper Stories of HH Munro

Programme 1 (July 1962)

Two Granada favourites introduce the first tale: William Mervyn as Sir Hector and Richard Vernon as Major Caterham.

The Stampeding of Lady Bastable- the one occasion when a titled lady (Martita Hunt) who "loves owing" was persuaded to pay up, believing the end of the world was nigh. Clovis is to be foisted on her ladyship, "an expensive guest," Lady Bastable believes "it's only a matter of time" before the Revolution sweeps the world. It comes sooner than she expects, "like the fall of the Bastille," as Clovis induces the servants to feign rebellion. But sadly the tale is all too slight

A Holiday Task - a nice little tale of The Lady with No Name (Fenella Fielding), who asks for help in a Brighton hotel, since her mind has become blank, "deuced awkward." Major Caterham loans her 10 to pay her bills and discover her identity. She's sure she is a titled lady. Foolish man! He never gets his money back, all he learns is that she is the Lady Croquet Champion, "is this man raving mad?"

The Way to the Dairy - There's a gleam in the eyes of Nora Nicholson as she plays Aunt Amy, who's come into a fortune. Veronique and Christine have been promised they will inherit a quarter each, but "rotter" and gambler Roger (Philip Locke) will get the other half. They take her to Dieppe to demonstrate to her what a wastrel he is, and there she succumbs to the fever of the Tables, so now "she's worse than Roger ever was." Anyway "she thoroughly enjoys herself"

Sredni Vashtar -This is the name of a large ferret polecat, worshipped by ten year old Konradin. His suffocating cousin (Sonia Dresdel) has sold his pet black hen, as it's "her duty." He prays to Sredni Vashtar that it will "do one thing for him," there's a scream. The end

A Defensive Diamond - a very minor narrative with Sir Hector giving a crass bore (Peter Bathurst) short shrift as he commences one tall story after another, only for Sir Hector to top it with one of his own. The final one is of a motor car which falls into a pond which immediately dries up. The reason- the vehicle was full of blotting paper

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GUY de MAUPASSANT (Granada)

Programme 5 (July 1963)

A Sale -
The trial of a drunken husband who's offered his wife for sale (with Barbara Hicks, Bryan Pringle)

A Family Business -
Is grandma "soft in the head"? The quack doctor advises her son "Mother Nature must call the tune." She does and gran "goes to her reward" sparking very differing reactions from son and daughter-in-law. But the quack has got it wrong and gran revives to reveal she has heard those family rows her 'death' has caused. Remarks a relative: "I've never been to a funeral like this one before!"

The Devil -
When a miserly peasant (Jack Smethurst) engages a sitter at a fixed price for his dying mother it's hardly in the sitter's best interest to keep mum alive. Indeed she is finally scared to death with tales of the devil. However this black tale lacks any real payoff

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OUT OF THIS WORLD (ABC)

ABC's innovative 1962 Saturday night series with Boris Karloff himself (pictured) as the host- this shot is from a trailer for the series, which ran to a mere 14 stories, most of which are sadly wiped.
Behind the acclaimed series was ABC's Sydney Newman, and his departure for the BBC was probably the main reason the series never ran to more than one run. Behind the scenes, the mastermind was Irene Shubik who also left for the BBC, and went on to continue the genre with Out of The Unknown, which posterity has treated a little kinder in the way of survivals.
Sadly only this one story seems to have survived...

Little Lost Robot -
The year 2039: a robot is told to "get lost" and promptly obeys. It might prove a Killer Robot, so a robot psychologist(!) (Maxine Audley) has to devise a method of detecting it from among its 20 identical brothers.
Imaginative, if slightly overlong, with a poetic conclusion.
Also starring are Gerald Flood and Clifford Evans

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UNDERMIND (ABC)
Imagine John Wyndham writing a hybrid of The Human Jungle and The Avengers. Mastermind behind the series was actually Robert Banks Stewart, who wrote some of the scripts, Michael Chapman was the producer. The scenario- unknown subversives are trying to destroy our society by undermining public confidence in the top people, and the institutions they run.
ABC were having difficulty negotiating networking time in 1965, so the series was not fully networked. It was screened in the ABC region and a few others starting on May 8th that year, but only shown on other ITV channels later that summer.
These are the 11 episodes, happily available on the Network dvd:
1 Instance One

2 Flowers of Havoc
3 The New Dimension
4 Death in England
5 Too Many Enemies
6 Intent to Destroy
7 Song of Death
8 Puppets of Evil
9 Test for the Future
10 Waves of Sound
11 End Signal

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HARPERS WEST ONE (1961, ATV)
The staff included widowed personnel officer Harriet Carr (Jan Holden), with her secretary Julie Wheeler (Vivian Pickles), also public relations officer Mike Gilmore (Tristram Jellinek), and male staff controller Edward Cruickshank (Graham Crowden). The chairman of the store was Aubrey Harper (Arthur Hewlett).
The Second series in Autumn 1962 saw new regulars alongside Jan Holden- Philip Latham as the male staff controller Oliver Blackhouse, Bernard Horsfall as PRO Philip Nash, with old timer Wally Patch as the security man. After a few weeks, a new receptionist was introduced named Susan Sullivan- and the actress who played her? She was Wendy Richard. The series was devised by John Whitney and Geoffrey Bellman, though the on-screen titles note that Diana Noel and Derrick de Marney provided the initial idea.
For cast
details of some of this series.

My review of Story 1.5, shown on July 24th 1961 and featuring John Leyton.
Preparations are well in hand for the opening of the new Self Service Record Department. Johnny St Cyr and the Saints are coming at 11am to open it! He's a big idol in the pop world- "just a few twitches in the right place, fifteen thousand girls fall at your feet. What a way to go!" Or, if one is more jealous of his good looks- "a truly regal figure in the age of the indifferent."
The morning of the event sees Geoff Turner (John Kelland) getting a lucky break with the sale of a 600 guinea piano, to be "delivered today." But he's still in financial difficulties despite this windfall and he fiddles a colleague's commission. His expectant wife comes into the store telling him she's got to go into hospital "for a check-up."
Now Johnny arrives with the screaming fans- "isn't 'e lovely?" He signs autographs. However there are some snags- problem one is the group's pianist gets drunk. Geoff agrees to act as a "fill-in." Problem two- Johnny's wife Maureen (Gwendolyn Watts) appears, wanting to talk desperately with her husband. She shares her sob story with Geoff's wife.
Finally we get to the pop songs. Geoff does well accompanying. But afterwards he's on the carpet in front of his boss, Cruickshank. He's lucky not to get sacked.
The day ends with Geoff having a heart-to-heart with Johnny. He learns life at the top can be lonely- "it's not all milk and honey." But Geoff is offered the job of pianist with the group- but it will mean separation from his wife....
Although a straightforward story written by Richard Harris, there are some insights into the rather pathetic existence of top pop stars, with a contrast well delineated with the ordinary shop worker's struggle to meet ends meet
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Episode details of some of the 32 Harpers West One stories:
1.1 June 26th 1961 starring Jan Holden, Graham Crowden, Tristram Jellinek, Arthur Hewlett. With Pauline Stroud (Jackie Webb), Fred Griffiths (George Barrard), Vivian Pickles (Julie Wheeler, Miss Carr's secretary), Jean Gregory (Miss Springer), Jean Harvey (Miss Lindrum), Susan Lyall Grant (Valerie Pritchett), Sylvia Melville (Mrs Sayers), Blanche Moore (Mrs Templar), Frederick Peisley (Albert Fisher, floorwalker), Katherine Parr (Mrs Pritchett), Maureen Davis (Maureen), Hazel Bainbridge (Connie Fleming), Pamela Greer (Sheila Selby), June Murphy (Eileen Mitchell), Brian Hankins (Metcalfe), David Broomfield (Adler), Michael da Costa (Clegg), and John Dunbar (Ernie Wedge).
1.2 July 3rd 1961 starring Graham Crowden, Tristram Jellinek, Arthur Hewlett. With James Villiers as Lucien Harper, and Eynon Evans as Len Garrett. Other regulars: Vivan Pickles, John Dunbar. Also in the cast: Jeremy Bisley (Wesley Pickering), Joyce Hemson (Lily Oakes), Christina Gregg (Hilda Garrett), Felicity Young (Jane Carpenter), Natalie Kent (Customer), Edward Burnham (Emlyn Lewis), Dixon Adams (John Crawford), Leslie Weston (Charlie Sweet), Jill Melford (Sylvia Stephens), Dorothy Batley (Lady Burnette), Jean Marlowe (Miss Wilson), Malcolm Webster (Morton Edwards), Trevor Baxter (Compere), Sheila Raynor (Mary Garrett).
1.3 July 10th 1961 - written by Owen Holder. Starring Jan Holden, Graham Crowden, Tristram Jellinek, Arthur Hewlett. With Maxine Holden as Araminta Green. Regulars: Vivian Pickles, Pauline Stroud. Also in the cast: Pauline Winter (Mrs Goddard), Hilary Crane (Lucy), Bridget McConnel (Joyce), Joyce Cummings (Miss Berry), Violetta Farjeon (Freda), Gillian Cobbold (Diana), Una Venning (Mrs Walby), Carole Allen (Jessie), Thelma Holt (Maisie), Norman Bowler (Roger Pike), William Young (Bob Trevor), John Clarke (Bill N'Gya), Jeanne Mockford (Mrs Marks), Winifred Hill (Mrs Rush), Gerald Anderson (Douglas Hurst), and Roger Avon (Charlie Wilson, in several future stories).
1.4 July 17th 1961 - script: Jeremy Paul. Director: Peter Sasdy. Starring Jan Holden, Graham Crowden. With Richard Briers as Patrick Wainwright. Other regulars: Pauline Stroud, Vivan Pickles, Roger Avon (Lift man). Also in this cast: Norman Bowler (Roger Pike, who became a semi-regular), Judy Child (Dolly Freeman), Anna Cropper (Yvonne Seymour), Louise Dunn (Anne Bailey), Douglas Muir (Mr Seymour), Emrys James (Donald), Jean Challis (Elspeth Seymour), Bessie Love (Customer), and Patrick Boxill (Supervisor).
1.5 July 24th 1961 (my review above) Script- Richard Harris. Director: Wilfrid Eades. Starring Graham Crowden, Tristram Jellinek, Arthur Hewlett, with John Leyton as Johnny St Cyr. Other regular: Vivan Pickles. Also in this cast: John Kelland (Geoff Turner), Clovissa Newcombe (First salesgirl also in 1.8), June Speight (Second salesgirl), Eric Thompson (Peter Green), John Woodnutt (Mr Macalister), Norman Pitt (Mr Newbold), Fred Hugh (Commissionaire also in 1.8, 12), Patricia Rogers (Mary Turner), Monty Landis (Monty Davison), Gordon Rollings (Sammy Rivers), Mary Barclay (Mrs Brander), Gwendolyn Watts (Maureen). Though not credited in TV Times, the on-screen credits also add these cast members: Vicki Wolf, Delia Wicks, Janette Rowsell, June Ritchie and Andrew Lawrence.
1.6 July 31st 1961 Script- John Whitney and Geoffrey Bellman. Director: Philip Dale. Only star in this story was Graham Crowden. Other regular: Vivan Pickles. With Arnold Bell as Pascoe (also in 1.12). Also in this cast: Peter Layton (Ronnie Cobb), David Coote (Ginger Hunkin), Joyce Hemson (Lili Oakes also in 1.9), Carole Lorimer (Beryl), Pamela Conway (Thelma), Angela Douglas (Shirley Arnatt), Robin Wentworth (Ted Arnatt), Irene Arnold (Rose Arnatt), Ian Percy (Gary Arnatt), Anthony Woodruff (Mr Fox), Philip Ray (Joe Stock), Michael Segal (Frank Mercer), Roy Denton (Lift man),Raymond Hodge (Police sergeant).
1.7 August 7th 1961 - Script: Diana Noel. Director: Peter Sasdy. Starring Jan Holden, Tristram Jellinek, Norman Bowler and Jean Harvey as Miss Lindrum (first seen in the first story, but now in a starring role), with Noel Hood as Miss Duke, and Brian McDermott as Peter Charlesworth. Other regulars: Vivan Pickles, Judy Child (previously in 1.4), Roger Avon. Also in this cast: Norman Chappell (Tom Fowler), Trevor Maskell (Bill Annerley), Francesca Annis (Jenny Bates), James McLoughlin (Paddy O'Hara), David Brierley (George Barton), Annette Kerr (Miss Smith), Grace Newcombe (Mrs Cranleigh), Katy Wild (Penny Angel), Betty Henderson (Customer), Daphne Freman (Maggie O'Hara), also appearing: Jacqueline Lacey, Barbara Archer, Lissa Gray, Katherine Newman, Lilian Grassom, Patricia Clapton.
1.8 (August 14th 1961) - Script: Dail Ambler. Director: John Knight. Starring Jan Holden, with Norman Bowler and Donald Morley as 'Man.' Other regulars: Vivian Pickles, Pauline Stroud, Joyce Hemson, Fred Griffiths, Fred Hugh, Clovissa Newcombe. Also in this cast: Bridget Armstrong (Gillian Hulls), Adrienne Poster (Cathy Hulls), Shirley Thieman (Joan Balred), Liane Winters (First Italian girl), Mia Karam (Second Italian Girl), Elizabeth Reber (Elizabeth Hamble), Muriel Zillah (Waitress), Bill Cartwright (Packer), Vincent Charles (Maintenance man), Joe Ritchie (Fireman), Fred McNaughton (Policeman). This was Adrienne Poster's TV debut, playing a child who hides herself in the store's lift.
1.9 (August 21st 1961)
1.10 (August 28th 1961) - Script: Max Marquis. Director: Philip Dale. Starring Jan Holden, Graham Crowden and Norman Bowler. Plus: Vivian Pickles, Joyce Hemson, Also in the cast: Norman Scace (Henry Bastable), Mary McMillen (Laura), Barbara Joss (Jennifer), Patricia Garwood (Joan Moore), David Rose (Ken Ford), Jeremy Longhurst (Walter Stone), Dennis Edwards (Simon Wood), G Ruthven Mitchell (Customer), Robert Desmond (Flash boy), Juno Stevas (Wanda Savage), Sidney Vivian (Ted Moore), Marion Wilson (Dolly Moore).
1.11 (September 4th 1961) - Script: Richard Harris. Director: Dennis Vance. Starring Jan Holden, with Gerald Andersen as Douglas Hurst (also in 1.12, 2.14), Tenniel Evans as Charles Underwood and Richard Longman as Wilfred Ashton. Plus: Vivian Pickles and Norman Bowler. Also in the cast: William Gaunt (Robert Stacey), Veronica Strong (Betty Elliott), John Rutland (Assistant), Dorothy White (Elisabeth Ashton), Edward Phillips (Waiter), June Monkhouse (First customer), Sydney Bromley (Second Customer), Harriet Petworth (Third Customer).
1.12 (September 11th 1961) - Script: Bill Craig. Director: Philip Dale. Starring Jan Holden, Graham Crowden and Arthur Hewlett, with Gerald Andersen and Arnold Bell. Plus: Vivian Pickles and Fred Hugh. Also in the cast: David Gregory (Bob Prior), Jill Booty (Liz Barton), David Graham (Anderson), Fred McNaughton (Johnson), Billy Milton (Middleton), Grace Newcombe (First customer), Frances Cohen (Miss Egret), Tim Pearce (Joe Stobbart), Pat O'Reilly (Second customer).
1.13 (September 18th 1961) - Script: G Bellman and J Whitney. Director: Peter Sasdy, and starring Jan Holden, Graham Crowden, Tristram Jellinek and Arthur Hewlett. With Derek Francis as Hinchcliffe. Plus: Vivian Pickles, Norman Bowler, and Pauline Stroud. Also in the cast: Cameron Hall (Rumbold), Michael Da Costa (Clegg), Janet Bruce (Mrs Brice), Jeanne Mockford (Woman), Keith Marsh (Snaithe), John Brooking (Bamber), Charles Morgan (Gurney), Henry McGee (Roberts), Lilian Grassom (Miss Huxtable).
End of series 1

Second series:
starring Jan Holden, and new characters: Bernard Horsfall as Philip Nash PRO. Philip Latham as Oliver Backhouse, male staff controller.
Other semi-regulars: Gordon Ruttan as Jeff Tyson, assistant to Nash, Jayne Muir as Frances (Fanny) Peters, secretary to the PRO, Rona Leigh as Tracey Wiggin, receptionist. Veteran Wally Patch played the security man, though he is not in any of the stories of which I have details.
2.1 (Monday September 17th 1962 8pm) - Script: G Bellman and J Whitney. Director: Dinah Thetford. Producer: Rex Firkin, starring Jan Holden, Bernard Horsfall, and Philip Latham. Other semi-regulars: Gordon Ruttan, Jayne Muir, Rona Leigh. Also in the cast: John Kelly (Painter), John Garvin (Chadwick), David Calderisi (Nicolas Ortega), Elizabeth Ashley (Mrs St Clair), Gay Cameron (Ruth Byng), Derek Benfield (Cedric Gilbert), Andre Charise (waiter), Gerald Case (Gerald St Clair), Paul Bacon (Tilling), Beaufoy Milton (Harry).
Synopsis- Nicholas Ortega, the Spanish salesman in the Antique Department at Harpers, is given a present by a wealthy customer, Mrs St Clair. This leads to unexpected trouble for Ortega, both from his girlfriend Ruth, and also Mrs St Clair's husband. Seeking publicity on a new French cheese, Philip Nash takes a journalist to lunch at a restaurant where he has arranged that Harpers' cheese will be on the menu. This gets the publicity, but catches the Food Department unawares.
2.2 (September 24th 1962)
2.3 (October 1st 1962)
2.4 (October 8th 1962)- Script: Jeremy Paul. Director: Geoffrey Nethercott. Starring Jan Holden, with other regulars Gordon Ruttan, Jayne Muir, Rona Leigh. Philip Grout as Len Carson. Also in the cast: Iris Russell (Shirley Medhurst), Rex Graham (George Medhurst), Peter Fraser (Keith Lacey), Ann Davies (Angela Clarke), Sheila Bernette (Pat Williams), Keith Anderson (Martin Cobb), Jennifer White (Gillian), Nigel Green (Marinus Van Leut), Michael Beint (First reporter), Dixon Adams (Second reporter).
Keith Lacey, a young assistant in the photographic department, and his girl friend Angela, break a valuable camera.
2.5 (October 15th 1962) Script: Raymond Bowers. Starring Philip Latham and Arthur Hewlett, with one other regular Jayne Muir. Also in the cast: Patrick Troughton (Notril), Nita Moyce (Miss Springer), Colin Douglas (Mr Sweet), Pauline Devaney (Laura Harrison), Dorothy Smith (Miss Bigley), Barbara Archer (Sara Turner), Elizabeth Hart (Mrs Hunt), Godfrey James (PC Hunt), Carole Ann Ford (Marilyn), Anthony Gardner (Winston), Michael Haughey (Ted), Antony Sadler (Charlie).
2.6 (October 22nd 1962)- Script: Richard Harris. Director: Royston Morley. Starring Jan Holden, Philip Latham, Bernard Horsfall and Arthur Hewlett.
With other regulars Gordon Ruttan, Wendy Richard as Susan Sullivan, Philip Grout. Also in the cast: Geoffrey Palmer (Harry Adams), Bruce Beeby (Pat Woodthorpe), Mark Burns (Dennis Scott), Maitland Moss (Landlord), Anne Blake (Berenice Sheridan), Nan Braunton (Miss Osborne), Joe Ritchie (Ernie), Royston Tickner (George).
Harriet has entered an art competition set up by the London Guild of Shopkeepers. The artistic, and not so artistic, employees submit their entries- with surprising results.
2.7 (October 29th 1962) Script: Jeremy Paul. Director: Hugh Rennie. Starring Jan Holden and Philip Latham. With other regulars Jayne Muir, Gordon Ruttan, Wendy Richard. Also in the cast: Rosemary Miller (Christine Willett), Ray Barrett (Joe Willett), Marina Martin (Sonia Hemming), John Barcroft (Frank Busby), Sheila Raynor (Mrs Braithwaite).
When Harpers decide to feature the marriage problems of a young bride in the house magazine, they choose Christine WIllett. But her marriage is no ordinary one.
2.8 (November 5th 1962)
2.9 (November 12th 1962) Script: G Bellman and J Whitney. Director: Royston Morley. Starring Jan Holden and Philip Latham. With Jayne Muir. Also in this cast: Frances White (Daphne Sinden), Anna Turner (Mrs Riddler), Judy Child (Mrs Sinden), Sheila Beckett (Miss Underwood), Charles Lamb (Jennings).
Oliver Backhouse, off duty, meets a girl who badly needs a job. He tries to help her, and she is taken on by Harpers. But people start talking.
2.10 (November 19th 1962) Script: Richard Harris. Director: Philip Barker. Producer: Royston Morley. Starring Philip Latham. With Jayne Muir. Also in this cast: Richard Vernon (Arthur Purvis), William Gaunt (Ralph Malden), Brian Steele (Roy Turner), David Webb (Gordon Moffatt), Gerald Harper (Rex Staple), Fred Ferris (Charlie Warren), Brenda Dunrich (Mrs Dangerfield), Ann Way (Miss Melhuish), Ian Wilson (Mr Watkins), Raymond Adamson (Ronnie).
Purvis realises that life is passing him by, so he takes a surprising step to get himself out of the rut.
2.11 (November 26th 1962)
2.12 (December 3rd 1962)
2.13 (December 17th 1962) Script: Jeremy Paul. Director: Philip Barker. This story starring Jan Holden, Philip Latham and Jayne Muir. Also with Gordon Ruttan (Jeff Tyson), Wendy Richard (Susan Sullivan), Francis Matthews (Tony Mayfield), Andrew Downie (Duncan Brodie), Pamela Buckley (Amita Leggat), Hilda Fenemore (Mrs Hedges), Robert Webber (Mr Smallwood), Leonard Monaghan (Robert Hedges), Maitland Moss (Max Beverley), Bruce Wightman (Ticket collector), Betty Romaine (Lady customer).
Tony Mayfield has sidestepped fate all his life, until the day that Duncan Brodie arrives at Harpers
2.14 (December 24th 1962) Script: Robert Holmes. Director: Gerald Blake. Producer: Royston Morley. This story starring Jan Holden, Philip Latham, Bernard Horsfall, Arthur Hewlett. With Jayne Muir, Wendy Richard, Gerald Andersen as Douglas Hurst. Also in this cast: Pauline Winter (Jane Harper), Helen Christie (Lois Hurst), Frederick Piper (John Ramsey), Nora Gordon (Edith Cramb), William Douglas (Robert Edwards), Arthur Mullard (Alf Enwright), Michael Graham Cox (Edgar Cartwright), Margot Lister (Miss Benson Brooke), Hana Pravda (Mrs Schrader), Katherine Page (Miss Adamson), Malcolm Russell (Hardcastle).
Harpers holds its annual party for former members of staff. For one of them, John Ramsey, it is an evening that changes his future.
2.15 (December 31st 1962)
2.16 (January 7th 1963)
2.17 (January 14th 1963)
2.18 (January 21st 1963)
2.19 (January 28th 1963- final ever story)
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City '68
Stories of urban life, set in a fictional Lancashire city. Harry Kershaw was the producer.

1.9 Love Thy Neighbour? (Friday February 2nd 1968, 9-10pm)

Script: Anthony Skene. Director: Cyril Coke.
A homage to the curse of road congestion, and the crusade to ease it. Not profound, but fun.
One frustrated owner of a fleet of lorries, Bernard Gilpin, calmly parks his juggernaut in the centre of town, right in the middle of the crossroads! He winds up in court, but the case provides publicity for the local paper's campaign for car sharing.
In Cherrywood Avenue, there are four who travel daily to work, each in their own cars. There's Martin (Jerome Willis), a solicitor with a shiny Rover, there's Harry (Reginald Marsh) the blunt Northern type, and Walter Whittaker (Bernard Hepton). All happily married. The fourth is Miss Alison Palmer (Wanda Ventham). The first jumps the lights and is nearly arrested, the second gets road rage, the third a parking ticket, while the last can only flash her eyes at the car park attendant to persuade him to squeeze her in. Thus they return home tired and frustrated.
Harry is back late at 8pm, just as his wife Hilda (Yootha Joyce) finishes watching Coronation Street, she mulls over the car sharing idea with the other wives, and though the three men are reluctant, Miss Palmer is more than happy to share with three men.
Day One, Martin drives and is stopped by the police again. Otherwise all goes well and the four share a drink before the home journey. Next day it's Alison's turn in her sports car. She carries three fawning males, "sweet girl." Though she has a slight prang, the gallant males can't take too much trouble to help her. It's all very set piece, but the actors do it very well.
The wives certainly notice the change in their husbands, who have smartened themselves up. "I reckon she fancies me." So, "who's going to have first go?" After drawing lots, Martin wins and he enjoys an evening flirting and champagne before reaching home late to his amorous wife, "terribly tired," is his excuse.
"My time tonight," claims Harry. But the wives decide they must "put a stop to it," but when they break into Miss Palmer's house, they learn her terrible secret. They decide to do no more, except celebrate with champagne.
Of course we viewers try and guess what this mystery is. The three men are sharing a celebration of Alison's birthday. They all arrive home rather the worse for wear. Yet all three receive the warmest of welcomes.
The morning after, the three find out the hard way this secret. "I really am awfully sorry about all this," Miss Palmer smiles
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Market in Honey Lane (ATV)
A lively slice of Cockney life, anticipating by more than a decade East Enders, but without the smut. But despite the expense of the enormous set at Elstree Studios, the series got relegated to late evenings, then the ultimate disgrace, an afternoon slot. One Romford street trader complained in TV Times, "very few real stallholders think much of the series... I have never known traders who can talk so much and say so little... they are a backward bunch in Honey Lane."

1.1 Nothing's for Nothing (April 3rd 1967)
Billy (John Bennett) gives us a real Cockney introduction to his Cockney pals who run stalls in the street market.
Cor, old timer Jimmy owns the next pitch to Billy's and he's getting past it, wheezing all the time. His stall isn't paying its way and he's going "dicky bird" about the tax he's got to pay, the rent due to the council for having this pitch.
So what is Dave Sansom up to, offering to pay for Jimmy? It's all about the rights to the pitch if Jimmy packs it in. As there's a waiting list, it could be worth quite a bit.
Another wanting the pitch is Jacko, a spiv who is selling on the street without a licence. Though police soon move him on, he rows with Honest Billy, warning, "you're in a kindergarten out there." Billy's philosophical response, borne of his years of experience, is "no it's a jungle."
Inspector Mead and his sidekick Tooke work for the council and issue the pitch licences. Jacko tries to "come to an arrangement" with them. Billy responds by doubling Dave's 150 offer, and wily old Jimmy tries then to use that as a lever to make Dave up his own offer. Jacko muscles in also, but now Jimmy is expecting a monkey.
Dave and Billy almost come to blows. "I want to know what's going on," Sam, chairman of the street committee demands, describing it as a "black market tussle." Billy explains all, and peace breaks out
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Virgin Of The Secret Service (1968)
was perhaps one of ATV's most maligned studio bound series. The stars were: in the title role Clinton Greyn, Veronica Strong as Virginia Cortez his fiance, John Cater as Doublett, Virgin's boss, Alexander Dore as von Brauner, and Noel Coleman as Colonel Shaw-Camberley
The series was a kind of Boys Own drama of Captain Robert Virgin who has to stop the enemy in the shape of Karl von Brauner from bringing down, gasp, the Empire. Gad!
Viewer reaction was probably worse than for even The Prisoner, with even TV Times finding few viewers to praise it. Here are some typical comments from numerous disgruntled viewers: "load of rubbish"... "childish and over-acted".... "a load of tripe. The adverts are far more entertaining"... "unadulterated drivel, and badly acted drivel at that"... "please spare us the agony of such rubbish. They must think the viewing public have the mentality of 12 year olds".... "I failed to find anything remotely entertaining in it".... "please do not sell it abroad. Foreign viewers would never believe that anyone could put together such a programme." Ted Willis had created the series, but this must have been one of his seriously off days.

My review of 1 Dark Deeds on the Northwest Frontier
"Damn it all, that's not good enough," yells Col Richards of the 7th Punjab Cavalry, maybe echoing the verdict on this series, though in fact he is complaining about the murder of cavalrymen, and gad sir, even worse, the loss of Major Hamilton's three fingers. If the restless natives are not behind the killings, then who is? Croquet on the lawn- Cpt Virgin is commissioned to find out.
In Afghanistan, a celebrated butterfly expert Theodor Green (Cyril Luckham) is captured by Princess Katerina. She hates all English, as they killed her husband. She's backed by, gasp, the Russians. With their help she plans to invade India, but the plans are hidden in beads which Theodor's 18 year old daughter Polly inadvertently finds.
In by balloon descends Virgin, discerning Polly is being molested. The attackers scatter before him, "oh captain, how can I ever thank you enough?" cries Polly clutching her breast. She is whisked by ballooon to safety, away to the 7th Punjab, and "the joy of 800 rough tough lusty fighting men." When Col Richards realises Virgin is "one of them," he agrees to arrange for him to meet the local emir. But before that happens, another murderous attack on Polly, her screams saving her as Cpt Virgin dangles from the lightshades to chase off the intruders, "Miss Green, are you all right?" "Oh yes, captain," (swooning), though the captain isn't bright enough to see that the intruders are after something, her beads in fact. With the arrival of the enigmatic Mrs Cortez, there's now a chaperone for Polly.
The emir's emissary, the wasir (Denis Shaw) has his confab with Virgin, but it is interrupted by another attack. This time Mrs Cortez is on hand to sensuously bathe Cpt Virgin's wound.
"You bumbling cretins," screams Katerina, "this Captain Virgin is a fly in the soup." So she leaves it all to her ally, von Brauner. "I shall recover ze beads and send Captain Virgin to his final resting place," (evil cackle).
But Virgin has found Green in Katerina's dungeon, but maybe it's a trap by the evil von Brauner, for Virgin finds himself locked inside the jail with the butterfly expert. Absurdly he had brought Polly with him too! Von Brauner snatches her beads, and the attack on India is now imminent.
"There may be one slender chance," offers the gallant captain, it's a carrier pigeon. There's another ray of hope as Mrs Cortez has followed them all and learned that the veiled princess is not the legendary beauty of her reputation. She is locked in her boudoir.
"If you have one stroke of decency in you..." appeals Virgin to von Brauner, but of course he has none, and "the entertainment commences," that is the execution of the prisoners. Mrs Cortez however impersonates the queen rather well and the deaths are called off by her. There is an unseemly scuffle and many scores are settled. "The British Empire will be a safer place without her."
There are several ways of playing this Boys' Own stuff. The straight laced, which is largely how the lead Clinton Greyn plays it. Or you can act childlishly, a la Cyril Luckham. Or the usual method is to overact, the approach adopted by Alexander Dore as the evil German, and by Bernard Hepton as the colonel, and most splendidly by Patience Collier as the ranting princess. But on any count, the mixture here never gels at all
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THE POWER GAME- (1965-1969) with Patrick Wymark as Sir John Wilder. Series One.
1 The New Boy - Episode one reveals the "conniving standards" of Sir John Wilder. From being in a minority of one on the board of Bligh Construction, headed by Caswell Bligh (Clifford Evans), the story follows his schemes from such an unpromising position to taking full control.
2 Lady for a Knight - We start with Don Henderson (Jack Watling) going to work, with background music previously used in, of all series, Man from Interpol! First day and Don skirmishes with his opposite number, Kenneth the boss' son (Peter Barkworth). Then we meet the Principals, Wilder and Bligh. One of them will have to resign from the National Export Board as two members from the same firm is impossible. Caswell Bligh manoeuvres first whilst Wilder appears to meet his match in Susan the secretary to the Board (Rosemary Leech)
3 Hagadan - New consultant Frank Hagadan (George Sewell) is engaged to design a cut price motorway. Whilst Wilder cheats openly with sec Susan, Mrs Wilder makes a pass at the new employee
4 The Politician- Fairmile- The Town That Came to a Stop. Vote for Caswell Bligh, your potential Labour candidate in this Tory marginal. Political machinations are exposed whilst Wilder seizes a chance to expand his empire
5 Point of Balance - As the Minister still hasn't decided who will have to stand down from the Export Board (see story 1), Caswell spreads innuendo about Susan, and Wilder ditto about Caswell's political past, all the while wheedling a huge African dam contract
6 Saturday's Women- Ken Bligh has "disappointed businessman's snuffle" but was it his dad who caused him to lose the African contract or was it Wilder, who's busy manipulating Susan and everyone else in sight?
7 The Switch - Caswell is favourite for the chairmanship of the NEB, but Ken is right to wonder why Wilder isn't also in the frame. Wilder's busy diversifying the business, buying up Panton (Alfred Burke) who runs a large plant hire. For once Ken outmanouevres Wilder, but here's a lesson in how to snatch victory from the jaws etc etc
8 The Crunch - As Wilder has his "popsy" isn't it rather hypocritical for him to worry about his wife's infidelity? For once he's nearly down, as he puzzles who her lover is
9 Late via Rome - "How you survive all those crossed lines I'll never know!" New brooms at the Export Board and a crisis in the African contract help Ken prove his mettle
10 Persons and Papers - A better title would be 'Loose Ends.' Four days holiday for Sir John to patch it up with Lady Wilder. But then Hagadan resurfaces working for the very company Wilder's planning a "joint venture" with in their bid for the M27 contract. Amazingly Sir John insists his wife meet her ex-lover, whilst he on the quiet tries to sort out his position with Susan- "do you think I have all the answers?" he angrily barks
11 Trade Secrets - 'The rude son shall strike the father dead.' Why is Caswell reluctant to reveal to the NEB how Bligh's won the African contract? After a question in the House, it's clear that one of Bligh's two NEB members will have to resign
12 The Man with two Hats - Whilst Caswell "basks in Barbados" Wilder arranges an audit. Sudden reappearance of Caswell! Just who is Len Milton, paid 5,000p.a. from the accounts? Another skeleton is Stanley Calder. And Ken has his own skeleton, standing for MP as a Tory, whilst Don is tired of being Wilder's lackey
13 Confound their Politics- "Vultures are gathering," the carcass is to be Wilder. But though a country house weekend agrees to press for his NEB resignation, Wilder's no "dummy" and plays his political card, in a gripping story of back stabbing
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Series 2. 1. Nothing's Free - John Wilder: "Nobody knows I'm back in London." He's attempting to set up a 50 million international deal with the aid of Dutchman Vrieling (Eric Porter). The shadow of the NEB chairmanship resurfaces also, but is it now "a dead horse"? A typical line: Susan: "You're lying John." Sir John: "Isn't everybody?"
2. Ambassador Status- Lady Wilder: "Why is everything so incredibly boring?" But things perk up when she encounters a divorced civil servant (Patrick Allen). For Sir John there's no sign of Susan. It's the brush off! While Wilder family problems dominate, at Bligh's Ken is sorting out the African deal whilst Caswell is building his foundationless empire at the NEB
3. Grounds for Decision - "That's what Bligh's specialise in: unknown quantities." It's "bare knuckles" between Ken and Sir John with "old faithful" Don for once the key player, as Wilder's personal animosity for Hagadan threatens his undoing
4. The Front Men - Bligh's finds itself on the Arab Blacklist so Sir John tries to weave his way round it whilst avoiding, with some underhand deals, a sacking from the firm
5. A Matter for Speculation - "International panic" as Wilder flies to Rome after land speculation threatens a big Italian deal. But the ones "crucifying" his deal are none other than Lady Wilder and Don! For once Caswell Bligh wins the day
6. The Big View - "Never heard of them." Just who is the Italian to whom Sir John is subcontracting work, and why? Answer: He makes Plastic Houses! And why is a storeroom being improved? Answer: Caswell's moving in- and he's pushing for Susan's promotion too
7. The Dead Sea Fruit - "Why in God's name don't you leave him?" old friend Esther (Elisabeth Sellars) asks Lady Pamela. An absorbing script explores the ramifications as Pamela withdraws her financial support for Sir John threatening "incredible trouble." Finally the showdown, when she finds him (innocently as it happens) with Susan, in where else?, Brighton
8. The Chicken Run - "Big Dam Big News." Ken travels to Africa but is he "a boy in a man's world"? So Sir John flies out to compete with bids from the Russians, Chinese... and Hagadan. But is Bligh's competing with Bligh's? Ken's offer of a bribe seems to finish his chances
9. Safe Conduct - "Pack up and go home," Ken is advised after his failed bribe. He doesn't accept "with good grace" his deportation order, and he leaves Africa with Caswell trying to manipulate Hagadan on to the board of Bligh's. Whilst Sir John is still fighting for the contract there's a coup so they all have to return home for the climax: "someone get the smelling salts out for Wilder"
10. The Side of the Angels - A ten million bridge contract designed by "the original old gentleman" Sir Gilbert. Such a "constipated memorial" that Caswell demands it be redesigned, but Ken opposes dad ("you've meddled for the last time") whilst Sir John is secretly winning over the minister at a health farm. Guess who gets his way? "The dog ran away with the spoon."
11. Tax Return - "Since Pamela left him, he's become more childish every day." So it figures that Sir John must be in line for a peerage. Don Henderson is sent as a go-between to Pamela, "the only person that can deal with both." Pamela is unmoved even when Don urges Sir J is genuine: "if you said Timbuctoo, John would meet you there." Finally a frosty meeting, but can it be a reconciliation?
12. Where do I Want to Go? - "You can always tell the man today by the company that keeps him." Thus Don reflects on his career in an "007-ish" story with Susan giving Sir John the brush-off and Bligh's defending a "hell of" a profit on the M23 job. Will scandal force Caswell back to the helm?
13. There's No Such Thing as a Dead Heat - "End of bubble- pop!" Susan chucks champagne in John's face and Caswell's NEB is wound up, so he has to return to Bligh's "to play Hitler." Exit Don, but then also Ken, making Caswell agree to sell. But "this is not the sixth form at St Hilda's" and Caswell's price is the head of his arch enemy: "if you are going to organise shipwrecks, you must expect to get your feet wet."
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Series 3
1. One Via Zurich - How 'Little Napoleon' Wilder is appointed as Roving Ambassador for Trade under "featherbed nonentities," but with his boss Caswell Bligh, "have the hospitals been warned?" The shortish main story revives the African contract episode in series 2 as Sir John employs "the methods of gangsters" in a Zimbabwe-style crisis. But Wilder's no Danger Man and British engineers are released rather by blackmail, Don Henderson an unwitting pawn
2. The Big Nothing- "Smooth and sexy" Helen appeals to Sir John after Caswell turns down a project in Andarovia, an unstable state with rich mineral deposits. Wilder weaves his web with Zurich money men, while Pamela Wilder is drawn to his PR, Lincoln. The long knives are sharpened (yet again) as Wilder raises his funding himself, "your move I think." But it's his "quaint morality" that comes to the fore
3. The Outsider - This series got going at last with that familiar ruthless Wilder negotiating with Polish diplomat Novak amid security fears. Off to Warsaw, where Wilder tries to "pound into the ground" Russian competitors for a big export deal. But it's the stolid British ambassador who is the real enemy and Wilder's devious scheme exposes him, "it's slippery in the pigsty"
4. The Goose Chase -Pamela vies with Margo Fellowship for the best guests for her diplomats' party. She's assisted by Lincoln Dowling, but they are both being manipulated, as is even Sir John, who is sent on a mission to Vienna. Behind it all is the rather irritating Prof Mobbs (Michael Aldridge) with his sidekick Nightingale (Terence Rigby) who hog the story, deviously testing Lincoln's patriotic loyalty, "this isn't the KGB." Not quite as clever as it thinks
5. Private Treaty - On instructions from Lady Wilder, the family home is put up for sale. That much is clear, but the storyline starts confusingly. Why is Sir John wandering unshaven round the grounds in his pyjamas?- "you're remarkably confused, John." Marital bickering gives way to out-Caswelling Bligh in this too bitty story, Wilder too devious, yet seemingly ensnared in trivia
6. Without Prejudice -"I think I have Wilder now," declares the confident Caswell. "Who is working for whom?" asks Dowling, and I don't blame him. The answer takes long to sort out as Caswell attempts to frame his old enemy using the Race Relations Act, but for once it is Lady Wilder who trumps both their schemes, in the final part of this schoolboyish three part story
7. Cat is You, Bird is Me - To win over an eccentric Swiss gnome, Wilder is sent to a banking congress in Geneva. What persuades him to attend, is his new interpreter Perpetua (Felicity Gibson), "she's only 20 but the poor man could drown." He even tries the disco with her, though he ain't dressed for it, and doesn't understand the language, man. "He becomes "unglued," with worse to follow on the way home through customs. Lady Wilder by contrast doesn't emulate him in a weekend with Lincoln Dowling
8. Standard Practice - 230 dinner expenses at The Balkan Star claimed by Don Henderson, and he's not even on the payroll. Caswell Bligh sees the chance to remove him, but it transpires the meal was with Ken Bligh, now on his uppers, who is hoping to win the contract for a "piddling highway" in Albania. Ken is but a pawn in Sir John's "dabbling in miracles" in a compromise of ideologies to show up Caswell, who collapses under the pressure
9. The Heart Market - Lord Bligh has a heart attack in Somalia, ironically while his delegation is in the country to win a contract for building hospitals. "Twentieth century Roundhead" Bligh is despatched to Britain where he tries to buy a new heart, to the background of wangling contracts for the hospitals job. But can anyone be bought? Ken Bligh tells it straight to his father, "what do you want a heart for? You've got along without one so far"
10. The New Minister - MPs vying for the post, Sir John favours "sexpot" Mrs Bunty Lovell, "Westminster's answer to Brigitte Bardot," allegedly. "She's the only one I can control," that's why. But while he lobbies for her, she acts more like a "feller" and is more than his match in a power showdown. Maybe the favourite for the job is Garfield Kane (Barrie Ingham), "Mr Instant Success," and he's busy chatting up Pamela Wilder. Sir John leads Kane up a French garden path, and Bunty up a Russian one, but for once he is outmanoeuvred
11. Drinks on Sunday - "Those boys'll twist your arms," two Americans Wilder is cultivating to swing the deal away from the French line Kane is angling for. So busy is Sir John that the ignored Pamela succumbs to Dowling's invitation to her flat. "Harmonious concord" is never in evidence in this pointed acerbic script that concludes with a "booze up" at Sir John's
12. Triangles - Kane out to topple Wilder and by default Lincoln Dowling also. One back will get broken, or one heart, while someone else may "lose their place in heaven." So Dowling is promoted to Djakarta, forcing him to bring his relationship with Pamela Wilder to a resolution. After a slanging match the issues are half resolved and some sort of conclusion reached, though for Pamela it's one "terrible mistake"
13. Mergers - Don Henderson is "a moral ostrich," Lincoln Dowling vacillating, while Kane and Wilder lock horns. There's a lot of jumping ship, who will end up in bed with whom in a fascinating final power struggle?

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THE PLANE MAKERS (1963-1965)
with Patrick Wymark as John Wilder, who gradually develops into the seriously ruthless character that made The Power Game so memorable. This series offered a number of one-off character studies, some very memorable, others less satisfactory. For the pick, Marie Lohr as Miss Geraldine (#2.20).

1.1 Don't Worry About Me (Feb 4th 1963), 2.1 Too Much to Lose (Sept 16th 1963), 2.2 No Man's Land , 2.3 A Question of Sources, 2.4 All Part of the Job, 2.5 Don't Stick Your Head Out 2.6 Old Boy Network, 2.7 Any More for the Skylark? 2.8 A Matter of Self Respect, 2.9 Costigan's Rocket 2.10 The Thing About Auntie, 2.11 The Cat's Away, 2.12 Strings in Whitehall, 2.13 The Best of Friends 2.14 How Do You Vote? 2.15 One Out All Out! 2.16 Loved He Not Honours More, 2.17 Bunch of Fives 2.18 The Smiler, 2.19 In the Book , 2.20 Miss Geraldine, 2.21 A Condition of Sale, 2.22 A Paper Transaction, 2.23 A Job for the Major, 2.24 A Matter of Priorities, 2.25 Bancroft's Law 2.26 The Homecoming, 2.27 Sauce for the Goose, 2.28 How Can You Win If You Haven't Bought a Ticket?
3.1 Empires Have to Start Somewhere, 3.2 Other People Own Our Jungles Now, 3.3 A Lesson for Corbett 3.4 The Golden Silence, 3.5 The Island Game , 3.6 It's a Free Country- Isn't It? 3.7 A Question of Supply, 3.8 The Flying Frigates, 3.9 Only a Few Millions 3.10 The Salesmen, 3.11 Appointment in Brussels, 3.12 A Hoopla of Haloes, 3.13 The Firing Line

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PROBATION OFFICER
ATV invested a good deal of time and research before putting on this, the first British hour-long studio-based series. Originally it had been announced during the summer that it would be screened in a Saturday evening slot (after Oh Boy!), but in the end began transmission on Monday 14th September 1959. At the start it had been planned for a half hour slot, scriptwriter Julian Bond spending "many hours," indeed the best part of a year, researching the project. En route, it was decided that the new hour long format would be more suitable. 26 stories had been planned, but because of its success, the series was extended to 39. With 20 of these 39 stories featuring in the Top Ten, inevitably a second series of 40 stories followed, it ran from Autumn 1960, and there was a final series of 30 - with a break for a strike- from Autumn 1961 to Autumn 1962.

Click for my reviews of surviving stories from series 1 on the Network dvd:
1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.13, 1.14, 1.15, 1.16, 1.22
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Here are details of some of the stories.
SERIES ONE
John Paul as trainee probation officer Philip Main in stories nos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 28, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37 and 39.
David Davies as Jim Blake in stories 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, and 29 (his last story).
Honor Blackman as an "attractive" woman officer Iris Cope, "but there is no love interest- discarded as puerile." She faded from the series- she was in stories 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 (starring alone), 9, 12, 14 and 15.
Iris Russell played officer Joan Fiske in stories 27, 30 and 36.
John Scott as Bert Bellman in 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 12, 15, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 32 (starring role), 34 (starring again), 38 (starring) and 39.
also AJ Brown as Judge (from story 12 as Judge Kempton) in 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 31. (Other actors played other judges in some other stories.)

1. (Sept 14th 1959) written by Julian Bond. New probation officer Philip Main reports for duty. He is an ex-army officer who has only received a few weeks' basic training. He is introduced to Jim Blake, a senior official and an old hand at probation work. He also meets Iris Cope, one of two women attached to the office. A youth named Arthur (Melvyn Hayes) who unwittingly smokes drugged cigarettes is arrested for breaking and entering.
2. (Sept 21st 1959) written by Julian Bond directed by Christopher Morahan. The "colour problem" in Notting Hill as teddy boys (led by Larry Martyn) threaten Johnny (Lloyd Rekord). Earl Cameron is also in this story.
3. (Sept 28th 1959) written by Julian Bond, with Richard Vernon and Arthur Lovegrove- my review is above. 'GT' wrote "Probation Officer... is looking tired already. John Paul looks positively exhausted as he trudged through a silly story and all-forgiving end. Even the production looked a bit laboured."
4. (Oct 5th 1959) written by Julian Bond directed by Christopher Morahan, with Alfred Burke, John Scott and Geoffrey Palmer.
5. (Oct 12th 1959) written by Julian Bond, with Alfred Burke and Annabel Maule
6. (Oct 19th 1959) written by Julian Bond directed by Christopher Morahan, with Julie Hopkins, Derren Nesbitt, Grederick Piper, Noel Dyson, Charles Lloyd Pack and Susan Hampshire.
7. (Oct 26th 1959) written by Julian Bond, with William Kendall
8. (Nov 2nd 1959) written by Julian Bond, with William Ingram, Jess Conrad
9. (Nov 9th 1959) written by Julian Bond directed by Hugh Rennie, with John Bonney, Kevin Stoney
10. (Nov 16th 1959) written by Tessa Diamond directed by Christopher Morahan, with Thorley Waters, AJ Brown, Gwen Nelson, Michael Crawford
11. (Nov 23rd 1959) written by Julian Bond directed by Hugh Rennie, with Harold Goodwin, Paul Eddington, Peter Madden, Dorothy Gordon.
12. (Nov 30th 1959) written by Tessa Diamond, with Sebastian Shaw, Ralph Michael and Carol Ann Ford.
13. (Dec 7th 1959) written by Julian Bond directed by Christopher Morahan, with David Markham, Joyce Heron, plus Patrick Newell, Tony Quinn.
14. (Dec 14th 1959) written by Peter Yeldham directed by Hugh Rennie, with James Sharkey, Patricia Healey, plus Rose Alba, Anthony Woodruff.
15. (Dec 21st 1959) written by Julian Bond directed by Christopher Morahan, with Betty Hardy, George Roderick, Lane Meddick, Charles Leno.
16. (Dec 28th 1959) written by Julian Bond, with Charles Gray and Pauline Letts, plus Stratford Johns.
17. (Jan 4th 1960) written by Phillip Grenville Mann directed by Christopher Morahan, with Wensley Pithey and Hazel Hughes.
18. (Jan 11th 1960) written by Phillip Grenville Mann, with Wensley Pithey, Hazel Hughes plus Stratford Johns, Katharine Page.
19. (Jan 18th 1960) written by Julian Bond directed by Christopher Morahan, with David Lodge, Murray Melvin plus Bryan Pringle, Laurence Hardy, Bernard Archard.
20. (Jan 25th 1960) written by Peter Yeldham directed by Hugh Rennie, with Glyn Owen, Dorothy Bromiley plus Michael Crawford, Michael Balfour.
21. (Feb 1st 1960) written by Julian Bond directed by Hugh Rennie, with Meier Tzelniker, Harold Goldblatt and Harry Lockart, plus Marie Burke, Paul Eddington.
22. (Feb 8th 1960) written by Phillip Grenville Mann directed by Christopher Morahan, with Redmond Phillips, plus Susan Richards, Avis Bunnage, Dinsdale Landen. Storyline; An old aged pensioner's pride leads him into trouble.
23. (Feb 15th 1960) written by Peter Yeldham, with Sandor Eles, plus Charles Morgan. Storyline: Typecast Sandor Eles played Stefan, a 20 year old Hungarian refugee.
24. (Feb 22nd 1960) written by Peter Yeldham directed by Hugh Rennie, with John Gabriel and Margaret Anderson, plus Geoffrey Palmer, Edward Jewesbury.
25. (Feb 29th 1960) written by Julian Bond. No 'regular' star in this story which starred Duncan Lamont as George Brent and Avril Elgar as Maisie Brent with Ilona Ference and Colin Campbell.
26. (Mar 7th 1960) written by Phillip Grenville Mann directed by Josephine Douglas, with Cyril Luckham and Alexander Archdale, plus Anne Lawson.
27. (Mar 14th 1960) written by Julian Bond, with Carmel McSharry, plus Vi Stevens, Annika Wills.
28. (Mar 21st 1960) written by Peter Yeldham, with William Hartnell, plus Geoffrey Hibbert, Shelagh Fraser, Emrys Jones. Hartnell played a merchant seaman. Some location shooting was done at London's Albert Docks.
29. (Mar 28th 1960) written by Phillip Grenville Mann, directed by Josephine Douglas, with Emrys Jones and Betty McDowall, plus John Sharp.
30. (Apr 4th 1960) written by Julian Bond, with Maureen Beck, plus Betty Huntley-Wright.
31. (Apr 11th 1960) written by Peter Yeldham directed by Hugh Rennie, with Peter Illing, plus Geoffrey Palmer.
32. (Apr 18th 1960) written by Phillip Grenville Mann, directed by Geoffrey Nethercott, with Patricia Mort, Alan Browning, Olga Dickie, Ronald Lacey
33. (Apr 25th 1960) written by Julian Bond, directed by Christopher Morahan, with Percy Herbert, Madge Ryan and Margot van der Burgh, plus Christopher Beeny. (The series had been extended because of its success up to this 33rd story, but six further stories were then announced)
34. (May 2nd 1960) written by Peter Lambda, with Jessica Dunning, John Lee and Campbell Singer.
35. (May 9th 1960) written by Peter Yeldham directed by Geoffrey Nethercott, with John Barrie and Brian McDermott.
36. (May 16th 1960) written by Phillip Grenville Mann, directed by Christopher Morahan, with Nora Nicholson, Oliver Johnston and Dandy Nichols.
37. (May 23rd 1960) written by Tessa Diamond, with Ian Hendry and Donald Churchill.
38. (May 30th 1960) written by Peter Lambda, directed by Geoffrey Nethercott, with Jack Gwillim, Mary Kerridge and Ballard Berkeley.
39. (June 6th 1960) written by Julian Bond, directed by Christopher Morahan, with Keith Faulkner who plays a neo Fascist put on probation for painting swastikas on a synagogue wall and then robbing it.

SERIES TWO (40 stories).
The series returned in September 1960. John Paul continued to star as Philip Main, the only other semi regular character to return being John Scott as Bert Bellman. Other characters were introduced: Jessica Spencer adding some glamour as Maggie Weston, Jack Stewart as Andrew Wallace, Main's immediate superior. None appeared in every story.

Details of some stories in this series:
2.1 Monday September 12th 1960. Storyline: A youth (William Simons) guilty of assault, is 'put back' before sentence by the magistrate (Henry Oscar) for a probation officer's report. The lad is persuaded by Philip Main to leave his family, who are nothing but a bunch of thieves. But while preparing to leave, his two brothers return home having stabbed a man in a street brawl. Their young brother is required to give them an alibi. But when the charge turns to murder, their alibi evaporates, and the youth is given a fresh start, thanks to the probation service. Script: Peter Yeldham.
2.5 Monday October 10th 1960
Script: Peter Yeldham. Director: Royston Morley.
Starring Jessica Spencer. Also starring Hugh Sinclair (Dr Sesnik, a psychiatrist), Faith Brook (Vera Nolan, his patient), Terence Alexander (Eric Nolan) and Henry Oscar (magistrate). With Gladys Boot (Mrs Lane), Anthony Dawes (Bob Charlton), June Elvin (Jean Charlton), Christine Lindsay (Miss Whittaker), Aileen Britton (Mrs Andrews), Douglas Muir (Mr Judd), Leonard Osborne (Henry Shand), Leon Garcia (Ted), and David Gregory (Jim).
2.12 Monday November 28th 1960
starring John Paul with Barbara Lott as Peggy Bowman.
Cast also included: Charles Kay (Kenneth Wheatley), Suzanne Gibbs (Carol Wheatley), Maurice Colbourne (Dr Barry), John Huson (Dt Insp Turner), Frieda Knorr (Receptionist), Douglas Hill (Harry), Dixon Adams (George), Michael Hunt (Jim), and Bruce Wightman (Taxi driver).
Script: Peter Lambda. Director: Philip Dale. producer was Antony Keary.
2.13 Monday December 5th 1960
With Jessica Spencer, Jack Stewart, Richard Caldicot as Richard Paget, Maurice Hedley as Magistrate and Catherine Feller as Pamela Williams.
Cast also included: Anna Cropper (Janet David), Derek Sydney (Brian), Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs Williams), Terence Knapp (Mr Lucas), Barry Steele (Clerk of Court), Edward Burnham (Club customer), William Young (Police constable), Vivienne Burgess (Policewoman), Josephine Price (Policewoman), and Royston Tickner (Charles Doherty).
Script: William Woods. Director: Rex Firkin.
2.15 Monday December 19th 1960
starring John Paul with Jessica Spencer, Jack Stewart, and Glyn Houston as Roy Gardner.
Cast also included: Clive Colin Bowler (Leslie Gardner), Constance Wake (Marcia Davis), Armine Sandford (Dorothy Marshall), Allan McClelland (Leo Marshall), Emrys Leshon (Dt Dgt Bell), Earle Grey (Magistrate), Roger Rowaland (First policeman), and Richard Steele (Second policeman).
Script: Phillip Grenville Mann. Director: Peter Sasdy.
2.20 January 23rd 1961
Starring John Paul, also starring Meredith Edwards (Jack Resdshaw). Among the rest of the cast were Clive Colin Bowler (Leslie Gardner), Valerie White (Mary Farrell), Betty Cardno (Eleanor Redshaw), and Marian Chapman (Gillian Redshaw).
2.21 January 30th 1961
Script: Phillip Grenville Mann. Director: Peter Sasdy.
Starring John Scott, Jessica Spencer. Also starring Brian Murray (Dickie French) and John Arnatt (Sgt Conway). With Douglas Sheldon (Teddy Lukins), Terry Wale (Johnny Cazzo), Gillian Muir (Merle Newman), Arthur Lowe (Roy Delgarno), Leon Shepperdson (PC Kenneth Sandall), Josephine Price (Woman PC Marion Bennett), John Boyd-Brent (Station Sergeant), Philip Hrout (Station Constable), and Blaise Wyndham (The Colonel)
2.22 February 6th 1961 with John Paul, Jessica Spencer.
Script: Peter Yeldham. Director: James Ferman. Also starring Henry Oscar (Magistrate) and Edward Underdown (Charles Hamilton). With Noel Hood (Meg Hamilton), Anita Sharp Bolster (Judith Carrington), Blanche Moore (Agnes Robertson), Barry Steele (Clerk of court), Peter Swanwick (Mr Prentiss), Reginald Green (Jailer), William Gaunt (Police Officer), Rita Davies (Woman Police Officer), and Jennifer Browne (Secretary).
2.26 March 13th 1961
starring John Paul with Leonard Sachs as Angelo Fiordicelli, Henry Oscar as Magistrate (he is also in some other stories), and Jack MacGowran as Long-Ears.
Cast also included: Valerie White (Miss Farrell), Verity Edmett (Nina), Olive Sloane (Mrs Peacock), Betty Cooper (Chairman), David Webb (Johnnie), Julie Martin (Carol), Pat O'Reilly (Shirley), Kenneth Seeger (Smoothie), Irene Arnold (Shopper), Victor Winding (PC Bates), Eunice Black (Sgt Williams), and Richard Kneller (Jailer).
Script: Helen Francis. Director: Philip Dale.
2.27 March 20th 1961 with Jessica Spencer.
Script: Helen Francis. Director: Antony Kearey. Also starring Derek Blomfield (Willie Stuart), Annette Carell (Olivia Crichton), Cyril Luckham (Laurence Crichton) and Jane Wenham (Muriel Stuart). With Claire Marshall (Lizzie Belling) and Norman Pitt (Leonard Whiteman).
2.29 Easter Monday April 3rd 1961
starring Jessica Spencer, John Scott, Dermot Walsh as Richard Carver, and Betty Huntley-Wright as Joan Carver.
Cast also included: Tamara Hinchco (Annette Carver), Michael Wynne (Johnny), Basil Beale (Police constable), Kathleen St John (Landlady), Laurel Mather (Mrs Smith), Charlotte Selwyn (Dancer), and Benn Simons (Taxi driver).
Script: Julian Bond. Director: Royston Morley.
2.31 April 17th 1961
starring John Paul, with John Scott, Henry Oscar (Magistrate), and George Baker (Bill Walker).
Cast also included: John Crocker (Harry Jessop), Manning Wilson (Anthony Meredith), John Harvey (Deputy Governor), Edward Evans (John Hammond), Geoffrey Palmer (Padre), Andrew Downie (Doctor Gordon), Victor Winding (Prison officer), Peter Layton (Hockley), Bill Maxam (Johnston), Maurice Travers (Prisoner), Judy Child (Waitress), and Denis de Marney (Clerk of Court).
Script: Peter Lambda. Director: Philip Dale.
Storyline: Ex prisoner Bill Walker is determined to go straight, but as soon as potential employers see his blank employment card it's hopeless. Philip Main helps find him lodgings and get him a job.
Note: Members of the House of Lords were shown this episode on May 17th.
2.34 May 8th 1961
starring John Paul, with Robert Flemyng as George Anson.
Cast also included: Geoffrey Chater (Sir Hector Jones), Patricia Mort (Peggy Wallace), Joe Gibbons (Sgt White), Fred Hugh (Landlord), Joan Phillips (Girl), and Jeremy Bulloch (Mail boy).
Script: Julian Bond. Director: Peter Sasdy.
2.36 Whit Monday May 22nd 1961
starring John Paul, with Fulton Mackay as Larry, Ellen McIntosh as Dorothy, and Gladys Henson as Rosie.
Cast also included: Walter Horsbrugh (Magistrate), Victor Platt (Mr Bull), Pamela Tagg (Shirley King), Jon L Gordon (Mr King), Brian Lown (Jimmy King), Judy Child (Mrs King), Michael Logan (Headmaster), William Young (Tom), Muriel Zillah (Barmaid), Colin Fry (Fred), David Stuart (PC Pemberthy), Humphrey Heathcote (Gaoler), Ivor Dean (Clerk of Court), Christopher Banks (Usher), Edward Dentith (Police inspector), Roger Avon (Sgt Matthews), Brian Hankins (PC Johnson), and Gina Yates, Delena Scott, James Luck, Lynda Temple as Schoolchildren.
Script: Peter Lambda. Director: Philip Dale.
2.37 May 29th 1961
with Jessica Spencer, John Scott, Robert Brown as Harry Barnett, and Miranda Connell as Sue Barnett.
Cast also included: Anthony Daws (Charles Lang), Pauline Wynn (Veronica Lang), and Laidman Browne (Divorce Commissioner).
Script: Julian Bond. Director: Royston Morley.
2.38 June 5th 1961
starring John Paul with Brenda Bruce as Fay Loring, Sam Kydd as Arthur Netterfield, and Jill Ireland as Netta Loring.
Cast also included: Lisa Daniely (Carmen di Cunha), Kevin Brennan (Jack Smith), Laidlaw Dalling (Richard Haley), Nita Moyce (Irene), Robert Mill (Young man), Lissa Gray (First young woman), Delia Corrie (Second young woman), Jean Burgess (Dancer), and Michael Harding (Casting director).
Script: Helen Francis. Director: Peter Sasdy.
2.39 June 12th 1961
with John Scott and also Henry Oscar as Magistrate.
Cast also included: David Coote (Vic Donovan), Tim Pearce (Mike), Riggs O'Hara (Freddy), Russell Waters (Mr Donovan), Irene Richmond (Mrs Donovan), Irene French (Kathy Donovan), Philip Anthony (Ted Cooper), Delena Kidd (Mrs Cooper), AJ Brown (Judge- also previously in series 1), Fred Kitchen (Prosecutor), Reginald Smith (Cinema manager), Frances White (Girl in the tube), Margot Lister (Middle-aged lady), Desmond Perry (Sergeant), John Barry-Hayes (First constable), and John Baker (Second constable).
Script: Peter Yeldham. Director: Royston Morley.
2.40 June 19th 1961
starring John Paul with Jessica Spencer, John Scott, and Cyril Raymond as John Carter. Cast also included: David Hemmings (Harry Carter), June Ellis (Janet Carter), and Michael Hammond (Peter Carter).
Script: Julian Bond. Director: Antony Keary.

SERIES THREE
The series returned on September 25th 1961. Owing to an Equity dispute the series terminated after 11 stories on December 4th 1961, but returned when the strike was settled on May 7th 1962 for 19 further episodes.
John Paul and Jessica Spencer remained the main stars, appearing in some of the stories. John Scott made occasional appearances also. Main's new assistant, Stephen Ryder, was played by Bernard Brown. After the dispute ended, Windsor Davies replaced John Paul, playing probation officer Bill Morgan.
The location of the series was moved to the suburban town of Goodford.
Antony Keary was again the producer until the enforced break. For the 1962 stories, Rex Firkin was the producer from May 1962 (3.12 on), though Hugh Rennie also alternated producing some of the programmes (from 3.16).
3.1 September 25th 1961 starring John Paul with Jessica Spencer and Bernard Brown.
Also in this cast: Edmond Bennett (Charles Oakley), Ronald Pember (Mr Grabger), Myrtle Reed (Miss Kemp), Jane Asher (Patsy), Felix Felton (Mainwaring), Sheila Raynor (Mrs Granger), John Barrett (Police sergeant), and Norman Mitchell (Police constable).
Script: William Woods. Director: Antony Keary.
Synopsis: A father seeks help from the Probation Office for help in supporting two families.
3.4 October 16th 1961 with John Paul. Script: Helen Francis. Director: Philip Dale. Also starring Harriette Johns (Lavinia Woodruff), Michael Aldridge (Col Murray) and Mark Burns (Dominic Woodruff). With Eric Hillyard (Shop assistant), Fred Ferris (Chairman), William Douglas (Policeman), John Hurt (Norman Bailey), Robin Wentworth (Butch Patterson), David Garth (James Kemp), Richard Pescud (Barman), Nita Moyce (Col Ellen Murray of the Salvation Army), Peggy Marshall (Elsa), Margaret Bull (Lt in the Salvation Army), and Andre Charise (Roger Guillaume).
3.7 November 6th 1961 with John Paul and Jessica Spencer. Script: Anne Francis. Director:Antony Keary. Mary Redwood, already on probation for larceny, is caught stealing again and brought to court by her father. But Maggie suspects the fault may lie more with the parents than their daughter. Also starring Olive Milbourne (Mrs Redwood) and John Boxer (Mr Redwood). With Frances White (Mary Redwood), Nicholas Edmett (Donald Smith), Howard Goorney (Mr Smith), Cameron Hall (Fred Stewart), Joan Metheson (Miss Farley), Dorothy Primrose (Miss Stockton), Marion Jennings (Magistrate), Carmen Silvera (Mrs Riccardo), Laurel Mather (Borstal officer), Cheryl Molineaux (Rose), John Bull (Charlie), Michael Culver (Yank), Edward Ogden (Police Sgt), Pauline Jefferson (Woman PC), Anthony Sheppard (Policeman), and Thomas Hammerton (Fat man).
3.9 November 20th 1961
Synopsis: The Lawsons are foster parents to Paddy, an abandoned child, and love him dearly. They hope to adopt him legally, but first his mother must be found to give her sanction. Suppose she wants him back? Script: Helen Francis. Director: Peter Sasdy. With Maureen Prior as Mrs Lawson, Brian Badcoe as Mr Lawson, Susan Maryott as Susan Dreier, Geoffrey Chater as Sir Giles Enton, and Godfrey Quigley as Michael White.
Also in this cast: Hazel Hughes (May Harper), Brian Haines (Hans Dreier), and Martin Lawton (Secretary to Sir Giles).
3.10 November 27th 1961 starring John Paul with Jessica Spencer.
Also in this cast: Nadine Hanwell (Catherine Thorpe), Bridget Wood (Pamela Thorpe), John Wentworth (Mr Thorpe), Vivienne Burgess (Mrs Thorpe), Brian Hewlett (David Williamson), John Harvey (Mr Williamson), Marion Jennings (Mrs Campion), John Barrett (Sgt Franks), Lewis Wilson (Detective), and Josephine Price (Woman PC).
Script: William Woods. Director: Peter Sasdy.
Synopsis: Pamela Thorpe, not quite 16, has been in love with David, the boy next door, and he apparently loves her, too. Yet suddenly he is arrested for brutally attacking her. At the juvenile court the reason for David's strange action is revealed.
3.11 December 3rd 1961 with Sandra Dorne as Sally Bates, Anthony Sagar as Sgt Donald Bates.
Also in cast: Betty Baskcomb (Mrs Hartley), John Dane (Jixey Carter), Dixon Adams (Bill Kirby), John Kidd (Mr Glover), David King (Insp Mills), Beaufoy Milton (Magistrate- also in 3.17), Billy Milton (Police solicitor), Colin Rix (First pc), Barry Raymond (Second pc), Fred Hugh (Barman), Gay Hamilton (Glover's secretary), and Patricia Clapton (Hazel).
Script: Peter Lambda. Director: Geoffrey Nethercott.
Synopsis: Police Sgt Bates feels that his young wife Sally does not measure up to his ideals, and their difficulties comes to a head when her behaviour threatens to jeopardise his career as well as their marriage. There are two sides to any marriage, and that of a young woman to an older man raises its own particular problems.
3.14 May 21st 1962 with John Scott.
Also in this cast: John Ronane (Leo Walker), Annette Crosbie (Jennie Walker), Edward Evans (Tom Langley), Terence Soall (Andrews), Joan Phillips (Ruth), Tony Arpino (First man), Morris Sweden (Second man), Kitty Attwood (Old woman), and Gordon Waine (Barman).
Script: Peter Yeldham. Director: James Ferman.
Synopsis: Leo has a secret that he has managed to keep from everyone at the office, and from his wife- he is gambling heavily. When it looks as though his weakness may lead to dishonesty as well, the probation officer is called in. Can he help Leo?
3.15 May 28th 1962 with John Scott, and Bernard Brown.
Also in this cast: Mary Hinton (Mrs Ryder), John Thaw (Stan Liddell), Mary Yeomans (Gloria Plumb), Charles Morgan (Supt Roberts), Richard Bird (Mr Nathan), Edna Petrie (Mrs Nathan), Frederick Peisley (Jones), and Fred McNaughton (Prison Officer).
Script: Julian Bond. Director: Hugh Rennie.
Synopsis: Stephen Ryder believes that Stan Liddell, who has just been released from prison, means to go straight this time. Then Stan is arrested for housebreaking. Is he guilty, or has he been framed, as his girlfriend claims?
3.16 June 4th 1962 with Windsor Davies, and Bernard Brown.
Also in this cast: Donald Hewlett (Jonathan Shaw), Margaret Wedlake (Lorna Shaw), Cameron Hall (Barney Donelly), John Frawley (Jeweller), Maitland Moss (Second jeweller), Frank Hawkins (Sgt Haynes), Vincent Charles (Charles Oakley), Fred Kitchen (Chairman), Jennie Goossens (Secretary), Bryan Kendrick (Reporter), Eric Dodson (Debt collector), and Wilfred Carter (Maxwell).
Script: Wilfred Greatorex. Director: Philip Dale.
Synopsis: Jonathan Shaw, an ex-army officer with a good home and an executive job, visits a London West End jeweller. He uses a worthless cheque to buy a gold watch which he sells at another shop for cash. The probation officer discovers that Shaw has more problems than he is prepared to admit.
3.17 June 11th 1962 with Jessica Spencer.
Also in this cast: Bill Owen (Mr Chapman), Annette Robertson (Shirley Chapman), Avril Elgar (Miss Charles), Fred Ferris (Mr Grant), Howard Douglas (Mr Spurgeon), Gloria Leftwich (Margy Chapman), Janette van Loon (Lucy Chapman), Beaufoy Milton (Magistrate), Michael Ross (First interviewer), Doel Luscomb (Second interviewer), Edward Webster (Detective), and John Clark (Jamaican).
Script: William Woods. Director: James Ferman.
Synopsis: Chapman has been going steadily downhill for years and it is left to Shirley, the eldest of his three daughters, to look after the home and the family. She cannot cope with her job as well and in desperation goes to see Maggie Weston.
3.18 June 18th 1962 with Windsor Davies.
Also in this cast: Glyn Houston (Mr Drew), Maureen Pryor (Mrs Drew), Karl Lanchbury (Alan Drew), Edward Martin (Peter Simpson), Peter Layton (PC Merrick), John Wentworth (Colonel Pellew), John Kidd (Mr Martin), and Jean Trend (Secretary).
Script: Julian Bond. Producer: Hugh Rennie.
Synopsis: Alan Drew is stopped by police for giving a school friend a ride home on the crossbar of his bicycle. His parents expect that he will hear no more about it- or receive an official caution at worst. But the police decide to take proceedings and the probation officer becomes involved.
3.19 June 25th 1962 with Jessica Spencer.
Also in this cast: Irene Browne (Mrs Bostock), Jack Lambert (Chairman of the Court), Alexander Dore (Clerk of the Court), Harry Walker (Police Superintendant), Naunton Wayne (Sir Herbert Renton), Topsy Jane (Amcilla Carol), James Langley (Boy Scout), Geoffrey Tetlow (Police Constable), Philip Garston-Jones (Man with dog), Gillian Hume (Lady Magistrate).
Script: Julian Bond. Director: Phil Brown.
Synopsis: A well meaning ex-suffragette animal lover lets a strange dog off its leash. An accident follows, and she takes the dog from its owner. A bewildering scene in the magistrates' court ends in a week's remand- and a job for Miss Weston sorting things out.
3.21 July 9th 1962 with John Scott.
Also in this cast: George A Cooper (Leslie Moore Senior), Elizabeth Ashley (Mrs Moore), Diarmid Cammell (Leslie Moore Jr), Tenniel Evans (Peter Jones), Arthur Hewlett (Mr Henderson), John Crocker (Mr Perivale), Edward Higgins (Police inspector), David Coote (Terry Baines), Suzanne Gibbs (Nora Clark), Joyce Hemson (Mrs Ruddle), Colin Spaull (Ginger Ruddle), Robert Sansom (Frank Merritt), Colin Rix (Tomlinson), Margaret Elliott (Miss Walters), Zoe Hicks (Moore's secretary).
Script: Wilfred Greatorex. Director: Hugh Rennie.
Synopsis: When young Leslie Moore gets into trouble with the police and Bert Bellman goes to see the lad's father, an influential local industrialist, the Probation Service finds itself up against a tough customer.
3.22 July 16th 1962 with Windsor Davies.
Also in this cast: Nigel Arkwright (Mr Thomas), Jenny Laird (Mrs Thomas), Larry Dann (Tommy Thomas), Judith Geeson (Wendy Thomas), Richard Bebb (Mr Turner), June Elvin (Miss Burke), Raymond Hodge (Mr Norris), Mollie Maureen (Mollie), Royston Tickner (Man in factory), Anthony Sadler (First youth), Charles Conabere (Second youth), Peter John (Third youth).
Script: Barbara Waring. Director: Royston Morley.
Synopsis: Tommy Thomas is not very bright and, at the factory where he works, becomes the butt of the other boys' jokes. Tommy's efforts to win their friendship with stolen cigarettes only lands him in more trouble, but it also gains him the help of the Probation Officer.
3.23 July 23rd 1962 with Jessica Spencer. Also with Christa Bergmann (Anna), John Arnatt (Ralph Cooper), Mary MacKenzie (Wynn Cooper), Hugh Janes (Tim Cooper), Hannah Watt (Joyce Walker), David Brierley (Brian Walker), Carmen Silvera (Mrs Thomas), George Little (Club owner), Stephen Hancock (Community Centre Warden), John Murray Scott (Michael), Kristin Helga (Julia), Sybilla Kay (Reni), Philip Voss (Paul) and Derek Newark (Customs Officer).
Script: Anne Francis. Director: Rex Firkin.
Anna Schmidt, a German girl, arrives in this country to live au pair with an English family. Miss Weston befriends her at the airport and tells the girl to call her if ever she needs help. It is not long before Anna finds she is in need of a friend.
3.24 July 30th 1962 with Jessica Spencer and Windsor Davies.
Also in this cast: Mary Jones (Mrs Seton), John Hurt (Johnny Seton), Janina Faye (Jenny Seton), Johnny Briggs (Vince Bennett), Jill Rowbottom (Liz), Tim Pearce (Tony Sloan), Alexis Kanner (Micky), James East (Fred), Angus Mackay (Crompton), John Kelly (Old lag), Ken Jones (Cafe proprietor), J Mark Roberts (Det-Sgt), Nigel Goodwin (PC).
Script: Bill Craig.
Synopsis: When Vince Bennett went to prison for assault he blamed Johnny Seton and swore vengeance when he came out. Now, when Vince is released two years later, Johnny is frightened and goes to the Probation Officer for help.
3.25 Holiday Monday August 6th 1962 with Jessica Spencer.
Also in this cast: Olaf Pooley (Camille), Frank Pettingell (Fulmer), Liz Fraser (Lorna), Erik Chitty (Zufi), Anthony Dawes (Hunt), Billy Milton (Tom), Rona Leigh (Cigarette Girl), Wally Patch (Messenger).
Script: Raymond Bowers. Director: Royston Morley.
Synopsis: When probation Officer Hunt is injured in a fire, Maggie Weston is sent down to relieve him. She assumes that one of Hunt's clients, Camile Paro, is a woman. But by the time she has discovered her mistake she has already become very much involved in Camile's rather dubious affairs.
3.27 August 20th 1962 with John Scott and Bernard Brown.
Also in this cast: Anthony Booth (Ron Barrett), Nicholas Edmett (Terry Barrett), Ethel Gabriel (Mrs Vincent), Robin Wentworth (Mr Barrett), Violet Lamb (Mrs Davies), John Barrett (Howarth), Frank Seton (Lucas), Michael Robbins (Harry Craig), Meadows White (Storekeeper).
Script: Richard Harris.
Synopsis: Ron Barrett comes out of jail determined to make a fresh start in life. He turns to his younger brother Terry for help, not knowing he is already on probation, and Terry, while trying to help him, becomes involved in a fight. Probation Officer Bert Bellman becomes very concerned about the two brothers and tries to guide them away from more serious trouble.
3.28 August 31st 1962 (now on Fridays at 9.15pm) with Windsor Davies and Bernard Brown.
Also in this cast: Brian Wilde (Edward Gregory), Jacqueline Lacey (Janet Gregory), Tom Criddle (Michael Stockwell), Leslie French (Francis Bash), James Bree (Donald Nash), Billy Milton (Reg Jenkins), Olive Gregg (Librarian), Eric Elliott (Magistrate).
Script: Jeremy Paul. Director: Geoffrey Nethercott.
Synopsis: Bill Morgan and trainee Stephen Ryder tackle the problem of why Edward Greogry, a university professor, should resort to crime in order to raise money to finance an expedition to Persia. Morgan and Ryder have a difference of opinion as to the correct way to deal with the professor and his complexities.
3.29 September 7th 1962 with Jessica Spencer and John Scott.
Also in this cast: Mervyn Johns (Mr Todd), Amy Dalby (Miss Gilmore), Michael Robbins (John briar), Elizabeth Orion (Judy Briar), Peter Craze (Tony Briar), Robin Ferriday (Dicky), Leonard Monaghan (Midge), Brian Phelan (Len), Desmond Llewelyn (Mr Forbes), Gabbriel Toyne (Chairman of the Court).
Script: Bill Craig. Director: Geoffrey Stephenson.
Synopsis: For 30 years Mr Todd, head keeper of the Jubilee Park, has successfully defended his little kingdom with pride and determination and he cannot accept the unwarranted vandalism by modern youth upon his life's work. Probation Officer Bellman is called in after Mr Todd is taken to court on a charge of assault against a schoolboy whom he catches damaging his trees, and Bellman finds himself the mediator in a fight between the old and new societies.
3.30 September 14th 1962 (last programme) with Jessica Spencer.
Also in this cast: Jennifer Daniel (Jackie Pendle), James Bolam (Alan Pendle), John Harvey (Colonel Saunders), Diana King (Mrs Saunders), Frazer Hines (Tom Harvey), Peter Bayliss (Detective), Keith Pyott (Magistrate), Frank Henderson (Clerk).
Script: Ken Taylor. Director: Cecil Petty.
Synopsis: Jackie Pendle, a shy gentle girl, finds herself before the magistrate for stealing from an antique shop. Why she did this is a mystery to everyone in the court and Miss Weston is given a week to find out her background.

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1
During the story, Main is briefly introduced to the Probation officer team, including Iris (Honor Blackman).
It's Philip Main's first day on duty, reporting to the senior officer, Blake who takes Main to Court 1 for a morning's cases. First up is Arthur Finney (Melvyn Hayes), accused of breaking and entering a chemist shop. After some remarks about justice, Main accompanies Blake as they prepare a report on the lad.
Arthur's mother is asked, "what made him do it?" She says he had changed recently, perhaps because of her new boyfriend Fred. Unfortunately, she is not a convincing actress, and we see little more of her, just as well.
Next the two officers interview Arthur, who is "not very helpful." It's a prison officer who puts them wise, he's "a junkie."
Fred tells the officers about Arthur's "fancy ideas," and his aversion to work. "Stand by him," Blake urges vainly.
Blake delegates Main to listen to Arthur. The lad does open up about tensions at home. He breaks down. At least he's a good actor.
Main, and the viewer, is filled in on drug addiction. It's agreed that Arthur needs to face up to his problems. But in his cell he gets withdrawal symptoms and has to be sedated.
Main struggles to produce his report. On the one hand, the prison psychiatrist says Finney is "dangerous." Main discusses it all with his boss, who offers useful tips as to how to present his case in court. Then the real thing, Blake watching on. "I believe he could be helped," is the gist of what the new officer says. Thus Arthur is placed on probation, "he's all yours, Mr Main"

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2
The problems of a mixed marriage in 1960 are explored with some skill from several points of view. Certainly there is "trouble coming" for 19 year old Johnny (Lloyd Rekord), son of Mr Alexander (Earl Cameron), since he is in love with a white girl, Mary from down the street.
You puzzle why and how Alexander would get probation officer Main to get involved, and come to talk to Johnny, or how Iris Cope probation officer has time to see Mary. But they do.
The colour bar is seen in practice in an incident on film. Main listens to Johnny sing a calypso before arguing "on controversial ground." It's a learning curve for him too. Mary also is "off her head," according to her mum, whose main concern is what neighbours think. Iris tries to face Mary with her feelings, and "have you thought about the children?" Iris' visit is not a success, and Mary's mum gives her the sharp end of her tongue. However her dad does take up Iris' suggestion, if reluctantly. He calls on Mr Alexander, and both men agree over their aims. But they see no solution.
An attempt at romance between the two probation officers, who decide to adopt a laissez faire approach. But events overtake them. A white gang tail the courting couple. Johnny is attacked and his face slashed, but he gives as good as he gets and badly injures one of the gang.
Time moves on. Johnny is appearing in court. Mary has not seen him. But her dad tells her what has happened and she rushes off to provide evidence of Johnny's provocation. It's interesting that none of the white gang seem to have been charged.
The question of an unbiased jury is posed. But the judge displays much wisdom in pronouncing his verdict

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1.3 (28th Sept 1959)

Late into court again, Philip Main finds himself drawn to his latest charge, an aged Irish drunk spouting cliches ("prison's been more a home to me...") who certainly overwhelms our trainee with his gift of the gab. "Do you really mean to change?" asks the naive Main. "Pigs might fly," is the comment of Main's older and more experienced colleague.
So Morley (Paul Farrell) promises not to touch another drop if he's found an understanding home to stay in. It's his last chance, but is such an old recidivist ever likely to reform? Main's prepared to back his judgement, even to standing him some drinks at the local. Main's so busy being taken in by all this blarney, he misses an appointment with Arthur Finney (Melvyn Hayes), a tougher and younger client, currently in hospital as a junkie. Finney, tired of waiting, absconds.
Too late, Main realises his mistake. He combs the dark streets for Finney, he tries Tooting Broadway underground, the bus garage, the parks.
News of Finney comes with the morning. A sleepless Main dashes to a coffee bar, whilst Morley awaits his return in his office. Idly looking round, Morley helps himself to the petty cash, though he does at least have the grace to leave an IOU!
Main manages to straighten up Finney's problems but Morley's case is another story. The contrast between the two probationers is well drawn, with just a hint that, despite their differences, Finney could well end up like Morley. Morley is back in court. The judge warns him he failed to take that Last Chance. After prison sentence has been pronounced, Main observes to his ex-client: "you never had any intention of making a go at it"

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5
In a wordless opening, we watch Mrs Eva Grantham getting up, and making her husband Len's morning cuppa. He (Alfred Burke) awakes. She has to dash off to work. Where were you last night? he asks, before she departs. More silence as he reflects. He phones an old army friend, Philip Main.
Main himself is at work, cradling what seems to be a lifeless baby- its crying off camera is highly unconvincingly done.
After seeking advice from his boss, Main interviews Len. He's a little older than his wife, whom he married while stationed out in Germany. He says she has been seeing another man, her boss Arthur. She says they only have 'supper' together, though Len suspects more. Main decides to write to her. Unsurprisingly this does not improve matters.
The couple row. "There is nothing between us," Eva assures Len. They do kiss and make up, and she agrees to talk to Main's colleague, Iris Cope.
Eva opens up about her past in Hamburg, where she had been a prostitute. Iris listens, offering suggestions.
But Len has written to Arthur and to Arthur's wife, and she is sacked from her secretarial job that she enjoys. That causes her to pack her bags.
"A damn silly thing to do," Main tells Len. Go crawling and apologise, is his advice. So the couple meet up by the Thames, in a scene that is hardly realistic.
This story is way beyond his line of duty, as Main himself admits, not a case for probation officers by any stretch of their remit. The final scene is at the Grantham's flat. Iris and Philip Main have been invited for a celebratory drink. But everything is very much on edge

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6
Caroline West, Carrie, is put on probation after a charge of petty stealing. The opening scenes are short and muddled in presentation, with background music erratic and intrusive, director Christopher Morahan seems to have been attempting, and failing, something avant garde.
What is clear is that Iris Cope has a tough job with Carrie, who fails to keep her appointments. Instead she is hanging out with friends in a coffee bar. Joe (Derren Nesbitt) picks her up, with some line about giving her a start in show biz.
Miss Randell takes over Carrie's case from Miss Cope. She does get Carrie to open up a little, but only a little. Carrie is "a rebel without a cause."
Joe persuades Carrie that he needs cash to pay his rent, she could easily "borrow" it off her dad, an unsympathetic character who has washed his hands of his erring daughter, thinking more about the harm she might do to his medical practice.
In fact, Carrie helps herself to some cut glass, her parents' wedding present. But she discovers that Joe is using the money raised in a crime, and she is persuaded to drive the getaway car. Carrie waits nervously as Joe's gang break into a house. They speed away but police give chase along utterly deserted roads. The car crashes into a dustman's cart and the chase is ended, "she'll live."
In court, the judge passes sentence, making "an example of you all." Joe gets seven years. As for Carrie, she is remanded in custody. Poor Iris Cope feels she has failed. A stark story that offers little hope

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7
In court is Colonel Hubert Chester (William Kendall) who we have seen smashing the windscreen of a car which failed to stop for some children at a zebra crossing. This is not the first time he has performed such an action, in fact 171 cases are recorded, though the colonel himself reckons it's more like 200.
Jim Blake tries to understand the military man's motive: it seems he feels he has a duty to warn drivers who do not stop at crossings.
Philip Main is at the Scrubs, to interview Nobby Clarke, who is shortly to come out on probation. The surly prisoner is very unco-operative, even though Main promises to find him a job. Once out, he does take the job, but proves unreliable.
Main also visits the colonel, who has been placed on probation. A completely different type of case. The colonel is doubtful whether he can keep to the terms of his probation, and not smash any more windscreens. But he is persuaded to start a campaign with the youngsters in the area, and this inspires his military type zeal, "very soon, we'll have the whole country covered." Delinquent youths are put to the task of keeping crossings safe. There is a long sequence on film showing him at work.
Clarke, with a chip on his shoulder, rants about his lot, Main listening patiently. When the ex prisoner chucks in his job. his wife leaves him, and he comes to Main's office to beg for help. Main will try and get his old job back, a new start.
"Let you both down," admits the colonel. He could resist it no longer, when he saw a car zooming over a crossing. He has broken probation. Main talks to the judge privately. They agree he is "not a delinquent," and Main makes a strong plea for this "robust exponent of chivalry."
A happy compromise is found when the colonel's energies are put to good use, as he is made a lollipop man. The two contrasting cases for Philip Main don't sit very happily together, the case of Nobby Clarke tails away, and you feel the colonel's motives might have been explored more deeply. Nonetheless, William Kendall gives us a pleasing portrait of the single minded colonel
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8
After some lively dancing in a club, Larry Melvin picks a row with Con Barnes (William Ingram) over, of course, a girl. Con is just "out of the nick," and the fight turns ugly with broken bottles, before being broken up by police.
Probation reports are required. Jim Blake interviews Larry, who seems to be taking the mickey. Con, bitter and without hope, is seen by Philip Main.
Then Blake calls on Larry's respectable parents. They open up about their only son, they admit Larry has a history of bullying, he'd even threatened his own mother- for money.
The girl in the dispute, Lily, is no angel, but speaks up for Con. His parents had been killed in an air raid. Admittedly, she had not stood by Con when he'd been sent to jail. In fact she'd had it off with Larry and had his baby. However Larry had ditched her, and she pleads for Con to be given a chance.
Main decides to try to talk to Con again. After several fruitless chats, Main begins to understand Con's despair at "the system." A few swipes at the need for penal reform are evident. Con shows some change when Main talks about Lily and her child, though he confesses, "I'm not going to be much use for either of them."
However he is willing to try and make a go of it, grateful for the support from Main that sees him placed on probation. As for Larry, he's "at the end of the road," time for the bully to "have to take it."
It seems we might be getting a happy ending, but not so. A filmed sequence depicts the end of the tale, before Main has a sobering moment

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13
Ban the Bomb declares an orator in pouring rain- the speech becomes very tedious, though his audience seem rapt. The group of them march with placards to Number Ten. Prof Wood hands in a petition, while his assistant (Patrick Newell) suggests a brick through the sacred windows might aid their cause. In the ensuing scuffle, one of the mild protestors, Fry (David Markham), accidentally knocks a mounted policeman off his horse.
In court, Fry's wife says her husband is a pacifist. But he has pleaded guilty, even though it seems to have been an accident. The judge wants to give a conditional discharge, but Fry "cannot agree" to being bound over. He is placed on remand.
Philip Main itnerviews him. "I never meant to hurt that man," declares Fry, but on his principles, he cannot renounce his right to protest about nuclear weapons.
Main talks to his employer, a librarian, who has some reservations about "the pernicious literature" that Fry sometimes purchases. Then Main talks to Mrs Fry who sees her husband as "a failure." She wants him to give up his "folly."
Main returns to Fry to explain how his family will suffer for his idealism. The two sides of the conflict are well brought out, even though you feel Fry is a little too self centred and stubborn. His daughter Rose visits him, and he explains his mind is set on being sent to jail. He puts his position lucidly, and she comprehends. But she rows with her less empathetic mother and brother Rupert.
Back in court, Main explains Fry's position, and the judge pronounces his sentence

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14
Seedy music as we watch two night bobbies arrest two females assaulting "a slimy creep." Kathie Morgan, a prostitute, and her 18 year old partner Joyce Langley, are charged.
Iris Cope interviews the latter, who claims she is willing to give up the life and return to her parents. Kathie says she'd rather serve her jail sentence than spend two years with the probation officer.
When Iris visits Joyce's parents, it is evident that though they are supportive, they are keeping something back. Mrs Langley's main concern is what the neighbours think. Back in court, Iris speaks up for Joyce, who is placed under her care.
Joyce is found an office job. But her friend Frankie attempts to lure her away. Though Joyce stands firm, she does quit her "lousy" job and tells Iris she is leaving home, "they don't want me." Iris, perhaps unwisely, tries to persuade the girl otherwise, but what she later learns is that Joyce is an adopted child.
The girl heads for Leicester Square and into Frankie's arms, "stay with me, I'll fix you up."
Joyce has disappeared, Iris decides to play a waiting game, not knowing Joyce is living in Frankie's flat. He informs her he is broke. She offers to work. There is only one option... "Do you want me to?" she twice asks him.
Joyce fails to report, as per her probation order, and Iris has to have a warrant issued. It is clear Joyce is not happy earning Frankie his money, and though he does offer her a mink coat, they row as she sees him for what he is. She returns home. Her mother closes the door on her. The future looks bleak. Police pick her up, soliciting.
In court, the judge listens to Iris Cope before pronouncing his verdict.
Note: Honor Blackman has need of the prompter on one occasion

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15
During a thunderstorm, Philip Main interviews Belcher, who is back in prison once more. His seventeen year old daughter Myrtle has been caught stealing from her employer. Main suggests he might consider probation, so Belcher can return home to care for his family. For Mrs Belcher is ill.
Iris Cope interviews the girl, who inadvertently reveals that her dad had encouraged her to steal.
Visitng the family home is an eye opener. Myrtle's younger sister Miriam is here with her young brother who ought to be put to bed. No sign of any food. The whole place a tip. Philip Main goes shopping, Iris does some cleaning. Then the four of them have a meal before Main gives the two children a bedtimne story. The case is discussed with a juvenile officer. Mother returns late from work, coughing badly. The officers make an appointment to see her on Sunday afternoon.
Belcher is unwilling to be made "a housewife," and refuses to permit his children to be placed in a home.
Myrtle's main chance, Iris believes, is to stay at a probation hostel.
Mrs Belcher collapses and is taken into hospital. That forces the issue. Philip chats with the two youngsters, "we're going to take you away... I'm sure you'll like it." The trouble is that they cannot be boarded together, and amid a distressing scene they are separated. There are no winners

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1.16

Richard Bate (Charles Gray) pleads guilty to GBH after a row in a pub. He has an excellent war record, and the judge orders a probation report.
Jim Blake's job is to interview Bate. Why was he drunk? "I'd lost my job. I'd lost my wife." He relates "the whole dreary story." He had built up a successful business but "I made one mistake," which was underestimating a takeover. His wife Heather had locked him out.
Blake talks to her and hears the other side of their disagreement. Now we find out that he spent far too much time drinking. Numerous times he had renounced the bottle, but never to any lasting effect.
Blake confronts him with the truth that he is an alcoholic. We hear how he has a reliance on booze to boost his self confidence. Blake advises him to try AA where he shares his problem with a member.
Bate is placed on probation for two years. Heather Bate asks to see Blake, who tells her "he hasn't had a drink for six weeks." Should she have him home? Blake cannot answer that. But he does reveal her husband's lack of confidence, a thing he had never admitted to her, "I'd no idea."
Blake's advice is wait and see how her husband progresses with a new job. The inevitable crisis comes. To his digs he brings a bottle of whisky. Wisely he phones AA, and the next moments awaiting his mentor's arrival are tense. Will he take a drink? Dramatic music. Finally he pours it down the sink.
Six months on he is reconciled to Heather. It is very understated

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22
Charlie seems worried, "they won't put me away, not at my age?" His wife Annie and grandson Tommy (Dinsdale Landen) try to reassure him.
Their new radio is up to date with the installment payments, but at the expense of raiding the gas meter. "You were a respectable old man- once."
Charlies is placed on probation. Jim Blake indulges in some theories about helping the aged (like doubling the pension!) before meeting Cahrlie and his family in his home. Son John suggests the 70 year old should be placed "in a home," the implication seeming to be that such homes are not the thing. John's sister Phyll, Tommy's mother, disagrees. In fact John has designs on the house for his own son who needs to get married. But then, so does Tommy, once he announces his engagement to Shirley.
Blake suggests Charlie obtain part time work to bring in some money. It's not easy to find someone prepared to take on an old man, but finally a job is found, and Blake kindly drives him to his new employment in a garage.
The issue of where the grandchildren should live- is this the catalyst for Charlie's breathlessness? Or, though this is not suggested, was Blake's notion of employment misguided? Whatever, the story offers some fine character studies, though the ending borders on the melodramatic.
After the funeral, Annie invites Tommy and Shirley to live with her. The essence of the story might be summed up in the advice my old grandad used to give me, Never Grow Old

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Blackmail (Rediffusion)
Two series of one-off plays were
produced in 1965 (14 stories) and 1966 (13 stories).

For some background data

Some original synopses

My reviews:

1.6 Cut Yourself a Slice of Throat

2.2 The Cream off the Top

2.12 Vacant Posssession

Picture: Michael Lees and June Thorburn in #2.2

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2.2 The Cream off the Top (Friday October 7th 1966)
Script: John Hawkesworth. Director: John Harrison
James Maxwell was a pretty average actor, in my view, but here he gets out of character to give a fine portrayal of a self assured, greedy and highly irritating leech of a blackmailer.
He plays Arthur Logan who has just came out of jail after a failed business operation. His partner Gerald Barker (Michael Lees) escaped detection, and Logan wants his just desserts. The first scene sees Barker, now a successful boss, returning from a business trip in Portugal. A job for Logan seems a small price.
"Dead hot" is Logan at the legal stuff, and soon he's taking over the antiquated department, muddled over by Arbuthnot (Arthur Brough). He is soon requiring some extra payments from Barker, say 1,000 and 200 a week, and he even calmly shows to his victim, how he can effect savings to pay. "I have no intention of causing hardship." He smiles like a Cheshire Cat. The bemused Barker can only accede. "I'm doing you a favour," Logan tells him.
Thus Logan is able to buy a new Porsche. He also snoops round Barker's Uxbridge house. He's a very sinister character is Logan.
Now Logan has taken over from Arbuthnot. You wonder how much more Barker can take. So desperate is the victim, he even offers Logan his job as MD.
But Logan has other and more grandiose schemes. Barker must sign an agreement to agree to purchase a failing high street business run by White (Ralph Nossek). It's not the business Logan wants, but the premises are situated next door to a bank....
Perhaps Logan has taken a step too far. "I'm going to tell the police," wails Barker, but he dare not. Instead he points a rifle at his tormentor, "I'm going to kill you." But Logan knows he hasn't the bottle. His only alternative is suicide.
Into the dead man's shoes steps Logan. The widow, Ann (June Thorburn) is initiated by Logan into her late husband's criminal past. The newspapers are certain to get on to the scandal. How to hush it up? 6,000 will do, as blackmail begins again....
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Vacant Possession
John and Paula Kinsey are shown by Fletcher an estate agent (Brian Murphy) round a run down but spacious town house. It bears all the hallmarks of gracious living, but one snag is that there is a sitting tenant, a Mrs Pearce (Daphne Heard), "you can't evict me." Her room is "squalid," it smells, her collection of budgies are her one joy of existence.
John says he will only buy the lovely house if the tenant leaves. Barr, the seller, tries to persuade Mrs Pearce with cash, 200... 500. But she likes too much her current room. So Barr contacts someone to persuade her to leave.
In the dark, Mrs Pearce hears strange noises, heavy footsteps, doors rattling, "what a night!"
Next morning she confronts Lew and Vic two uncouth men in the house who claim to be "decorators." They make fun of her budgies, and as one window is jammed, Vic smashes it. Her blocked wastepipe is made worse. They scare her unpleasantly. Fortunately she recognises Vic and threatens to tell his mum. Improbably this reduces the dim Vic into submission and the pair make amends and tidy up the room.
Barr is surprised to find them thus occupied. Lew sees a chance to make some money, and sides with the old lady.
The asking price of the house is reduced to 4,500, down by two thousand, and against their better judgement, the Kinseys are tempted to buy.
They move in, Mrs Pearce discretely watching from her room. In their first night in their new home, scarey noises, heavy footsteps. John Kinsey knocks on the tenant's door to find out what is going on. Inside he meets the decorators, who tell him their "auntie" wants to stay. However 2,500 would persuade her to leave by next Monday. A deal is agreed.
Lew and Vic expect their cut. But the wily old Mrs Pearce has slipped away, with the full payment, in a taxi with her birds, leaving nothing for the decorators

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BLACKMAIL - series 1 details
1.1 Take Care of Madam (Friday September 10th 1965, 9.40pm)
VTR June 9th 1965 (ninth of the series to be made- tape W2913). Director: Peter Moffatt. Rehearsals at Bedford House Gymnasium
1.2 Kill Me (Sept 17th 1965)
VTR March 19th 1965 (second to be made- tape W2748). Director: Marc Miller. Rehearsals at Wembley Congregational Hall
1.3 A Nice Little Family Fiddle (Sept 24th 1965)
VTR June 9th 1965 (thirteenth of the series to be made, tape W2966). Director: Peter Moffatt. Rehearsals at Bedford House Gymnasium
1.4 The Red House (Oct 1st 1965)
VTR May 12th 1965 (seventh to be made, tape W2856). Director: Peter Moffatt. Rehearsals at Brunswick Boys Club
1.5 The Lowest Bidder (Oct 8th 1965, originally scheduled for Oct 15th)
VTR May 19th 1965 (eighth to be made, tape W2870). Director: Marc Miller. Rehearsals at Wembley Congregational Hall
1.6 Cut Yourself a Slice of Throat (Oct 15th 1965, orig scheduled to be shown before 1.5)
VTR March 30th 1965 (the third to be made, tape W2767). Director: Stuart Burge. Rehearsals at St Andrews Parish Church Hall
1.7 Call Me Friend (Oct 22nd 1965)
VTR April 28th 1965 (fifth to be made, tape W2826). Director: Quentin Lawrence. Rehearsals at Wembley Congregational Hall
1.8 The Case of the Phantom Lover (Oct 29th 1965)
VTR June 30th 1965 (twelfth to be made- tape W2948). Director: Joan Kemp-Welch. Rehearsals at Bedford House Gymnasium
1.9 Snakes and Ladders (Nov 5th 1965)
VTR Feb 24th 1965 (first of the series to be made). Director: Peter Moffatt. Rehearsals at Wembley Congregational Hall
1.10 Tricks of the Trade (Nov 12th 1965)
VTR April 14th 1965- fourth to be made, filming on April 8th/15th.) Director: Marc Miller. Rehearsals at Wembley Congregational Hall
1.11 Cobb (Nov 19th 1965)
VTR May 5th 1965 (sixth to be made). Director: Marc Miller. Rehearsals at 'Granada'
1.12 The Taming of Trooper Tanner (Nov 26th 1965)
VTR probably made June 23rd 1965) Director: Marc Miller. Rehearsals at Wembley Congregational Hall
1.13 First Offender (Dec 3rd 1965)
VTR probably made June 16th 1965). Director: Peter Collinson ("contract director" acc to files). Rehearsals at Bedford House Gymnasium
1.14 Stockbrokers Are Smashing: But Bankers Are Better (Dec 10th 1965) Director: Joan Kemp-Welch.

Series 2 details
2.1 Care and Protection (Friday September 30th 1966, 9.10pm)
Director: John Moxey. (VTR Aug 24th 1966). Rehearsals at Granada Room 2 (Aug 9th-22nd)
2.2 The Cream Off the Top (Oct 7th 1966)
Director: John Harrison. (VTR Sept 21st 1966, fourth of this series to be recorded). Rehearsals at Granada Room 2 (Sept 6th-19th)
2.3 Boys and Girls Commute to Play (Oct 14th 1966)
Director: Quentin Larence. (VTR Sept 14th 1966, third to be recorded). Rehearsals at Mansergh Woodall Club NW8 (Aug 26th-Sept 12th)
2.4 The Setup (Oct 21st 1966)
Director: Fred Sadoff. (VTR Oct 5th 1966, sixth to be recorded). Rehearsals at Granada Room 3 (Aug 16th-Sept 5th)
2.5 A Man of Reputation (Oct 28th 1966)- originally titled In the Public Eye.
Director: Joan Kemp-Welch. (VTR Sept 7th 1966, second to be recorded). Rehearsals at Granada Room 2 (Sept 20th-Oct 3rd)
2.6 Lone Rider (Monday October 31st 1966 9.10pm- some regions continued screening the series in the Friday slot)
Director: Peter Collinson (Note- Gordon Flemyng originally was to have directed). (VTR Oct 19th 1966, eighth to be recorded). Read through on Oct 3rd. Rehearsals at Granada Room 4 (Oct 4-17th)
2.7 The Haunting of Aubrey Hopkiss (Nov 7th 1966)
Director: Marc Miller. (VTR Oct 12th 1966, seventh to be recorded). Rehearsals at Granada Room 1 (Sept 26th-Oct 10th). The TV Times billing was, "Aubrey Hopkiss, an Inspector for the National Anmal Humane League, has a choice between his family or his principles. Which will have to be sacrificed?" The original Rediffusion billing, that was not issued, ran, "Fox-hunting is merely an efficient way of destroying vermin say the county leaders. But Aubrey Hopkiss, Inspector for the National Animal Humane League, does not believe in slaughter for pleasure. Can he be blackmailed into giving up his principles?"
2.8 The Sound of Distant Guns (Nov 14th 1966)
Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg. (VTR Sept 7th 1966, fifth to be recorded). Read through Sept 12th. Rehearsals at Granada Room 4 (Sept 13-24th)
2.9 The Tax Man Cometh (Nov 21st 1966)
Director: Chris Hodson. (VTR Nov 16th 1966). Read through Oct 31st. Rehearsals at Granada Room 2 (Nov 1st-14th)
2.10 Please Do Not Disturb (Nov 28th 1966)
Director: Marc Miller. (VTR Nov 23rd 1966). Read through Nov 7th. Rehearsals at Room 1 RAOC Stores Duke of York's HQ SW3, (Nov 8th-21st)
2.11 The Man Who Could See (Dec 5th 1966)
Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg. (VTR Nov 30th 1966). Read through Nov 14th. Rehearsals at Granada Room 4 (Nov 15-28th)
2.12 Vacant Possession (Dec 12th 1966)
Director: Peter Moffatt. (VTR Dec 7th 1966). Read through Nov 21st. Rehearsals at Granada Room 2 (Nov22nd- Dec5th)
2.13 I Love Ivor Diver Why the Devil Doesn't He Love Me? (Dec 19th 1966- originally scheduled for Nov 21st)
Director: Peter Moffatt. (VTR Nov 9th 1966). Read through Oct 24th. Rehearsals at Granada Room 4 (October 25th- November 7th)
To
Blackmail start

BLACKMAIL - a few synopses , based on Rediffusion's own material:

1.2 Kiss Me (Sept 17th 1965)
Dr Siegfried Klein (Eric Pohlmann), a shady impecunious doctor in Paddington, receives an emergency call one night. He goes to a deserted house, but returning to his car, a stranger orders him to get in. On their way to the man's office, he tells Klein what he wants. Kill me. The man is Charles Lorrimer (Joss Ackland), an investment agent. He has embezzled a large sum, and doesn't want to go to prison for the sake of his daughter and invalid wife. They are to be provided for by two insurance policies. Having found evidence of Klein's own shady practices, he blackmails Klein. 200 if he kills him painlessly. They arrange a time to meet at this office to carry out the murder.
That night at home, Lorrimer both loves and dislikes his wife because of her childish attitudes. But miraculously after twenty years of marriage he at last sees his wife as a real person. He is about to break his appointment, when his secretary phones. The Fraud Squad want to see him. He kisses his wife goodbye.
Klein departs from Lorrimer's plan since he says his own safety is at risk. He administers an injection and soon Lorrimer is in agony. He learns that the drug used was phenol, difficult to detect. Lorrimer loses his nerve, cries for mercy, begs for his life to be saved. Klein scoffs. Lorrimer slumps forward as though dead. Klein revives him, since he had only injected tap water. He has taught Lorrimer a lesson. He tells Lorrimer to enjoy life, and he has protected himself against any comeback. He takes his 200, raises his hat politely and departs

2.5 A Man of Reputation (Oct 28th 1966)
Sir James Belmont, a medical crusader with high ambitions, is offered a safe seat in Parliament and a Government post. His wife Rosalind persuades a hysterical girl, Jean Williams, with whom James has been involved, to go abroad.
Rosalind, sick of her husband's affairs, threatens to leave him. He pleads that his life-saving work is more important than their own feelings and she accuses him of blackmail. She finally consents to stay, but under threat of leaving. She, too, is blackmailing.
Rosalind's sister Marianne has been involved with James also, and he now wishes to break it off, out of prudence. But she threatens that if he drops her, she will wreck him with scandal. She's the third blackmailer.
Act 2. Collins, James' political sponsor, warns him not to risk scandal. At home, Marianne, with her husband Lewis, frightens James with her innuendos. James takes her aside and insists their affair is finished. He resists her threats, but, basically a weakling, succumbs to her charm. Rosalind finds them embracing.
James insists he is only trying to shake Marianne off. But he has made another dinner date with Marianne without telling his wife.
Act 3. A showdown by Rosalind, who admits she will never leave James, challenging him to break this date.
The day before his adoption as candidate, his nomination still secret, James is laying a foundation stone. At the party after the ceremony, Marianne's veiled threats become more and more dangerous. Collins guesses the position and takes her away.
But it is not Marianne who talks. Jean Williams has had a breakdown and got herself arrested. Collins has taken care of her and 'killed' the story. There will be no scandal, as long as James does not seek public office. The nomination is withdrawn.
James is shattered- he has lost. Marianne the blackmailer has lost. But Rosalind, who only wants her husband, soothes him, smiling. She has won

Synopsis of 2.10 Please Do Not Disturb (Nov 28th 1966), based on Rediffusion's own material (first draft 20/10/66)
Vera Bissett (Pinkie Johnstone) , an American student on study exchange at the LSE, is walking along the street late one evening, when she is accosted by Kenneth Rogers (Peter Blythe), a young man in his early twenties, who spends his life in and out of mental institutions. He is schizoid.
She takes him to the flat of childhood friend Johnny Franks. He shares it with Philip and Tony, both of whom are up at Oxford. Forming an almost permanent part of this menage are Diana, Philip's girl friend, and Frieda, who is semi-engaged to Tony. Vera persuades Philip and Tony to let Kenneth stay with them, but when Philip returns, he objects, since Kenneth is not the kind of person he wants any truck with. But when the others apply pressure, Philip yields.
Act 2. A week later, Kenneth is established in the group. His uncomfortable acuteness of perception is threatening "the conventional attitudes typical of this kind of student group." Johnny is unable to decide whether he should fight his parents or not, Tony and Frieda's engagement is revealed for what it is, and shattered Diana has been forced to see Philip's narrowmindedness.
On Kenneth's prompting, Diana challenges Philip, who attempts to throw Kenneth out. But Johnny overhears and lets Kenenth sleep in his room, because he is going to see his parents. Philip is thwarted, Kenneth sweetly triumphant.
Act 3. Next day. Johnny, having met his parents, is neurotically undecided whether he should tour Europe with friends as he wants, or to stay home in the vacation with his family. Vera, walks out on him, aware she is partly responsible for Johnny's indecisiveness and, more importantly, that she has been making use of his weaknesses. Tony and Frieda, unable to tolerate Kenneth, announce their departure. Diana has not returned. Johnny leaves for the airport. Vera, after her moment of truth, returns to America. Left alone in the flat are Philip and Kenneth.
Philip says he is going home to his parents, but Kenneth can stay in the flat as the rent is paid. Kenneth refuses, since in giving there is no love. He needs people, not possessions. Philip screams abuse at him, and the final shot is of Kenneth facing more loneliness alone. This sounds like the sort of angst ridden play that I would have certainly switched off!

Synopsis of 2.12 Vacant Possession (Dec 12th 1966), from Rediffusion's final synopsis (dated Nov 1st 1966)
"Part 1: John and Paula Kinsey are inspecting a broken down period house in North Kensington, with a view to purchasing it. However one room in the house, a potentially splendid drawing room, is occupied by Mrs Pearce, a filthy unpleasant woman in the sixties, who surrounds herself with budgerigars. Fletcher, the smooth estate agent's representative, says that she can probably be persuaded to move. But when Barr, the actual landlord, discusses the matter with Mrs Pearce it is obvious she has no intention of leaving, even though he offers her 500. Realising that he stands to make a loss on the house, Barr arranges for two young layabouts to terrorise Mrs Pearce into quitting. Barr: 'Mind you, I don't want anything nasty to happen, but she is causing me certain problems.'
Part 2: Alone in the house, Mrs Pearce hears strange noises coming from upstairs. It is a night of terror, and in the morning she plucks up courage to go upstairs where she finds Vic and Lew. They claim to be decorators. They go to her room and virtually wreck it under the guise of 'doing an estimate.' Mrs Pearce realises she knows Vic's mother. And the simple Vic is terrified that she will tell on him. Lew: "that sounds suspiciously like blackmail to me.'
Part 3: When Barr drives up to the house he is astonished to find Vic and Lew making Mrs Pearce's room tidy. And when Lew hears that Barr has offered the old woman money to quit, he ushers Barr from the room, saying that he is acting as Mrs Pearce's 'business consultant.'
Fletcher has called at John and Paula's flat and told them that the landlord is prepared to knock 2,000 off the price. If they moved in they would have a very good legal case against Mrs Pearce. Because the house is in an area that is 'coming up,' John and Paula decide to take the chance.
They move in to the newly decorated house. But their first night is one of surprise. Strange noises seem to come from Mrs Pearce's room. John investigates and discovers Vic and Lew with the old lady. They threaten him to such an extent that when they suggest that he pays the old lady 2,000 to move, he readily agrees. Next day Vic and Lew call to see the old lady and collect their share. But she's gone and taken the cheque with her. The last we see of her is in a taxi surrounded by her budgerigars and heading for another room in an area which is 'coming up'"

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Skyport (Granada TV)
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click for The Spanish Girl review


Tales of the World Wide Travel agency, with Ginger Smart, played by George Moon.
When it started transmission on July 2nd 1959, it was predictably badly received: "although Granada claim that this is a new programme it is nothing more than 'Shadow Squad' with wings. The plot is just as corny though an attempt has been made to humanise some of the characters by setting the story against an air terminal background with passengers bringing their travel and human problems into focus without being too dramatic. It is surprising how believable George Moon makes his dialogue and it is even more surprising that John Whitney and Geoffrey Bellman have written it."
Other regulars in the cast: Lisa Gastoni played an interpreter (her last appearance was in story 11) and Gerald Harper also appeared as the airport duty officer David (up to story 14).
Other duty officers were: Edward Woodward in stories 18 to 23, before Manning Wilson as Jim Wilson became the regular duty officer, co-starring in stories 24-32, 34-41, 44-52. Edward Judd was First Officer Freddie Lock in stories 38-41, 43-46, 48-52. Katherine Page played Miss Harker, Ginger's secretary in several unspecified early episodes. Jane Parsons played one of the earlier air hostesses, named Sally Grant, again in unknown stories. Pauline Stroud was a later hostess Katie, in stories 42-52. Joy Stewart was another occasional hostess, Miss Jackson in 42, 47, 49 and 52, but it is stated that she first joined the series at the end of November 1959, as Ginger's secretary. With the plays being recorded live, regrettably TV Times had no details of the casts for any of the earlier stories, but what there is has been reproduced here.
Others who stated they appeared in Skyport, not listed below were: Pamela Beckman, Peggy Ann Clifford, Lorenza Colville, Hugh Cross, Noel Dyson and Endre Muller. Several sites state Barry Foster appeared at some point, but I have not yet myself found any definite evidence for this. One uncredited extra in one of the first thirteen stories was Anastasia Ubale, who went on to be a hostess on the Granada quiz Concentration.

Programme Details: (For some details on this list, my thanks to Des Martin)
A total of 52 stories were broadcast weekly, for one whole year.
1 (2nd July 1959)- without a break, the series continued on from Shadow Squad. A report stated "extensive" filming was done at London Airport.
2 (9th July 1959)- the billed stars were George Moon and Lisa Daniely.
4 (23rd July 1959)- with George Moon also Lisa Daniely and Gerald Harper. Script: Leonard Webb. Designed by Tom Spaulding. Directed by Micahel Scott.
8 (20th August 1959) written by Owen Holder, directed by Graham Evans. A man from their past causes some anxious moments for Ginger and David.
9 (27th August 1959) written by Donal Giltman, designed by Tom Spaulding, directed by Adrian Brown. How can anyone be in danger in the transit lounge?
10 (3rd September 1959) possible synopsis: Lady Susan Hayward is vague about her luggage.
11 (10th September 1959) - this is probably The Spanish Girl, the only surviving story: review.
12 (16th September 1959) written by Jan Read, directed by Graham Evans. Lady Hayford accepts without question the make-up box she is handed.
13 (23rd September 1959) written by Owen Holder, directed by Claude Whatham. A national idol flies out, hoping to start a new career.
14 (30th September 1959) written by Hilary Cookson, designed by Denis Parkin, directed by Graham Evans. Mr Justice Thirkell is off on a holiday to Majorca.
15 (7th October 1959) written by Hilary Cookson, directed by David Main. Has Andre Lavand a double- or is he playing a double game? Two attractive young women come to the airport to see him off to Paris, but he tells one of them he has never seen her before.
16 (14th October 1959) written by Owen Holder, directed by Graham Evans. A brilliant medical specialist arrives at the airport the worse for drink. The airport's doctor knows him well, and learns his secret.
17 (21st October 1959) written by Cedric Wallis, directed by Christopher McMaster. A colonel with two tickets to Paris puts Ginger in a spot of bother with a mother and an angry husband.
18 (28th October 1959) written by Louis Marks, directed by Graham Evans. There's a Very Important Person arriving at the airport.
19 (4th November 1959) written by Cedric Watts, directed by Christopher McMaster. Ginger finds it's easier to sell something than give it away.
20 (11th November 1959) written by Lewis Davidson, directed by Graham Evans. Ginger is asked to lock a black case in the safe. Three times he comes to collect it. Ginger begins to think he's being taken for a fool.
21 (18th November 1959) written by Owen Holder, directed by Christopher McMaster. One time ace racing driver Jeff Murray is trying to make a comeback. At the airport with his wife Jane, he meets an old friend by chance, who causes him to have second thoughts about his career.
22 (25th November 1959) written by LF Lampitt, directed by Douglas Hurn. Patricia Castle is rather too high spirited for her Swiss finishing school, and creates a big problem at Skyport. A report stated this episode was titled The Runaway, and featured Elizabeth Zinn in the leading role.
23 (2nd December 1959) written by Jan Read, directed by Herbert Wise. A brother and sister ballroom dancing act are leaving Skyport for South America and plan some publicity, which ends in unfortunate consequences.
24 (9th December 1959) written by Owen Holder, directed by Douglas Hurn. New duty officer Jim Wilson arrives at Skyport and has a difficult start dealing with a ticket for Paris.
25 (16th December 1959) written by Louis Marks, directed by Chris McMaster. Ingram, who has pioneered a new approach to brain surgery, is flying to America to receive an award in recognition of his research. But before he can board his plane, a crisis catches up with him.
26 (23rd December 1959) written by Owen Holder, directed by Graham Evans. Pilot Bob Reeves is flying to Paris and back, but it's no ordinary night flight.
27 (30th December 1959) written by Cedric Watts, directed by Adrian Brown. Holden is an unsuccessful artist who is flying to America to make his name. One of his paintings causes a rumpus at Skyport and to help restore peace, Ginger comes to grips with the fundamentals of art.
28 (6th January 1960) written by Owen Holder, directed by Graham Evans. Mr Chapman is due to fly to Kuwait on business. But his chance of bringing off a big deal seems lost when his ticket is sold in error.
29 (13th January 1960) written by Jan Read, directed by Adrian Brown. Monsier Plessey, a couturier, arrives at Skyport with his mannequins for his important fashion show in London, but finds his collection has disappeared.
30 (20th January 1960) written by Keith Dewhurst, directed by Chris McMaster. A pale girl is waiting at Skyport, nervous, tense.
31 (27th January 1960) written by Owen Holder, directed by Adrian Brown. A new sales director and a tearful girl spell trouble for Ginger.
32 (3rd February 1960) written by Jan Read- no George Moon in this story- he had been taken ill during rehearsals. Fog at Skyport. It is thwarting a plane from landing, and on it is a small boy. A surgeon waits impatiently below unable to treat him. (Note- Paul Maxwell claimed his first UK part, playing a Canadian pilot, was in Skyport in Feb 1960, and this seems the most likely story.)
33 (10th February 1960) written by Jan Read, directed by Derek Bennett. This story sees Ginger beginning his new career as an air steward, and his experiences at training school are seen.
34 (18th February 1960) written by Tony Yates, directed by Adrian Brown. Ginger Smart's first flight as a steward is to Dusseldorf. So excited is he, that he fails to notice everything taking place around him.
35 (25th February 1960) written by Cedric Watts, designed by Seamus Flannery, directed by Derek Bennett. Good friends Miss Price and Miss Wentworth are off on holiday.
36 (3rd March 1960) written by Louis Marks, designed by Seamus Flannery, directed by Jean Hamilton. It's a night to remember for Ginger on his first night in a strange country.
37 (10th March 1960) written by Neil Kingsley, designed by Roy Stonehouse, directed by Derek Bennett, producer: Michael Scott. Jim Wilson helps an attractive German girl in distress. But in London's West End with her, even with Ginger for company, he's out of his depth. Note: in fact George Moon fell ill during rehearsals, and did not appear in this story.
38 (17th March 1960) written by Barry Letts, designed by Tom Spaulding, directed by Jean Hamilton. A man with a stiff leg causes trouble on the Rome flight.
39 (24th March 1960) written by Harry Driver, designed by Roy Stonehouse, directed by Derek Bennett. A mild unassuming little man almost misses his plane. Had he not made the flight, there might have been no murder.
40 (31st March 1960) written by Leonard Fincham, designed by Seamus Flannery, directed by Jean Hamilton. A killer is waiting for a VIP on his way to England. Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd and June Parsons. Others in the cast: Laine Winters (Air hostess), Joy Stewart (Miss Jackson), Andre Dakar (Dr Ambrose), Ewen Solon (Insp Collins), Nona Williams (Young girl) and Brian Rawlinson (Peter Mansell).
41 (7th April 1960) written by Lewis Davidson, designed by Seamus Flannery, directed by Derek Bennett. A stranger named Laslo is obstructing passengers painting a mural in the lounge. Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd and June Parsons. Others in the cast: Melvyn Hayes
42 (14th April 1960) written by Owen Holder, designed by Roy Stonehouse, directed by Jean Hamilton. Miss Jackson is taking a modest holiday abroad but finds herself at the most expensive hotel, with glamorous clothes provided, and a Portuguese count as escort. Ginger comes to the rescue when things get out of hand. Starring George Moon, Pauline Stroud and Joy Stewart. With Julian Somers (Mr Bowles), Susan Travers (Miss Van Reinn), Charles Lloyd Pack (Charles), Ferdy Mayne as the Marquiss Camillo de Castillo, and Michael Collins (Saunders). Note: Collins was seriously injured in a car crash on his way to the studio and had to be replaced.
43 (21st April 1960) written by Jan Read, designed by Roy Stonehouse, directed by David Main. Katie is out to get her man- the captain on the plane on which she is air hostess. Their petty squabble threatens to leave Katie Ginger and Freddie stranded in Madrid- unless Cpt Jarvis can be persuaded to make peace. Starring George Moon Edward Judd and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast: Ronald Leigh-Hunt (Captain Bill Jarvis), June Cunningham (Melinda Murray), Dorothy Bath (Mrs Ford-Jones), and Reginald Lang (Barajos station manager).
44 (28th April 1960) written by Leonard Webb, designed by Roy Stonehouse, directed by Jean Hamilton. What is the reason behind Dr Haltbrecht's desperate flight to Athens? Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, Jane Parsons and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast: Joseph Furst as Dr Haltrecht with Paul Hardmuth (His brother), Martin Sterndale (Waldman), Derren Nesbitt (Phillipe), Jennifer Wilson (Diane), Pauline Letts (Miss Holmes).
45 (5th May 1960) written by Owen Holder from an idea by Fenton Bresler, designed by Terry Pritchard, directed by Eric Price. Two American newspapermen are chasing the same scoop, and a tough battle is made more complicated by a young girl. Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast: Suzanne Fisher (Judith), Stratford Johns (Lloyd Calvert), Alison Bayley (Mrs Bartington), Angela S... (Tina, her daughter), Michael Barrington (Passport Officer).
46 (12th May 1960) written by Keith Dewhurst, designed by Seamus Flannery, directed by Jean Hamilton. Ginger has an odd assortment of passengers, including a man with a passion for ships, a drunk, and a newly wed couple. Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, Jane Parsons and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast: Brian O'Higgins, George Pravda, Ewen MacDuff, Andre van Gyseghem, Ray Mortt and Renny Lister.
47 (19th May 1960) written by Peter Caldwell, produced by Jack Williams, directed by Eric Price. Why is Scotland Yard interested in the emigration of the Connell family? Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson and Jane Parsons. Others in the cast: Gerald Case (Mulligan), John Ruddock (Flint), Patrick Newell (George Connell), Hazel Douglas (Jenny Connell), Ann Chapman (Claire, their daughter), Robert Cawdron (Insp Davies), and Joy Stewart (Miss Jackson).
48 (26th May 1960) written by Leonard Fincham, designed by Roy Stonehouse, produced by Jack Williams, directed by Jean Hamilton. A beautiful film star is on Ginger's plane, but trouble comes in the shape of a mysterious baby passenger. Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast included Betty Huntley-Wright (Mrs Langdon).
49 (2nd June 1960) written by Owen Holder, designed by Peter Caldwell, produced by Jack Williams, directed by Eric Price. A boy is caught running away from the plane just arrived from Jamaica. Ginger suspects he was a stowaway. But why is he so pleased at being sent back again? Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, and Pauline Stroud. Among others in the cast: Johnny Sekka (Sampson) and Lloyd Lamble (Chief-Insp Prior).
50 (9th June 1960) written by Terry Pritchard, produced by Jack Williams, directed by Jean Hamilton. A retired film star meets her ex-husband, a film director, flying back from Italy. He is planning her comeback when he receives some vital news which sends him rushing off to Hollywood. Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast: Guest star Patricia Roc as Iris West, with Alan Tilvern as Phil Harvey and Michael Aldridge as Dr Michael Davis, Iris' husband.
51 (16th June 1960) produced by Jack Williams, directed by James Ormerod. An enchanting little girl called Caroline tries to smuggle her puppy through customs, but Ginger soon finds there's a much more serious matter on his hands- espionage. Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, Jane Parsons and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast included: Arnold Diamond (who wrote the script and plays Chief Preventive Office), Elaine Miller (Caroline), Jack Wollgar (Patterson), Mercy Haystead (Miss Bourn), Henry Longhurst (Westwell) and Dudley Sutton (Deans).
52 (23rd June 1960) written by Owen Holder, designed by Terry Pritchard, produced by Jack Williams, directed by Jean Hamilton. In this very last story, Ginger buys some property shares abroad on behalf of the travel company, but are they worth anything? Starring George Moon, Manning Wilson, Edward Judd, Jane Parsons, Joy Stewart and Pauline Stroud. Others in the cast: Barry Letts (Fitzmaurice), Laine Winters (Fatima), Norman Pitt (Hendrix), Moira Kaye (Marion) and Daphne Oxenford (Matron).

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The Spanish Girl
The only surviving story. Transmission date probably September 10th 1959. (ITN Source lists the episode as MAY 10th 1959, which is impossible as the series hadn't commenced then!)

Cast included the regulars: George Moon, Katharine Page, Lisa Gastoni and Gerald Harper.

A problem off the Madrid flight. Immigration are so alert they have spotted a discrepancy in the surname of the passenger called Maria (Eira Heath),"a bit of a dish," though perhaps this appellation was by 1959 standards. The girl has come to England as an au pair for Mrs Galbraith, and is supposed to be met by Mr Galbraith from Wolverhampton, but he's not turned up. As she's a client of the World Wide Travel Agency, she is seen by Mr Ginger Smart, who rabbits on topically about football, "too bad you missed Billy Wright."
Miss Pooch acts as interpreter, then phones the number she's given, 5730. But by this time a Mr Hamilton has called for Maria, in place, he says, of Galbraith. But this surprises Miss Pooch when she returns, for it seems the Galbraith's have just left for a holiday in Corsica. They had cancelled Maria's offer of employment.
"It doesn't look good," admits Duty Officer David. But though Maria left, she returns to airport reception and Ginger questions here more, with Miss Pooch's assistance. Something about coming to England to get married. Ginger talks to Hamilton, who states Maria had indeed come here to meet her boyfriend, a jazz trumpeter he thinks. Ginger, David and Hamilton soon sort out this storm in a teacup. But as she had lied to get into this country she will have to be deported. But then there is a surprise development, for Peter Galbraith turns up. He's her boyfriend, seemingly quite respectable. A neat little ending, with Maria promising to apply for a visa so she can get married to Peter.

This story finishes with Miss Pooch telling Ginger Smart that she has got a job in New York, so is leaving the series

To Skyport

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Knight Errant (Granada)
There were two series lasting an hour each, the first of 37 stories in 1959-1960, the second of 38 stories in 1960-1.
"Knight Errant '59. Quests undertaken, dragons defeated, damsels rescued. Anything, anywhere, for anyone, so long as it helps. Fees according to means." Starring in series 1 was John Turner as a Twentieth Century Sir Lancelot, Kay Callard as his chic and sophisticated assistant Canadian Liz Parrish, and Richard Carpenter as third in command Peter. William Fox as Toby was introduced later in the series and became a semi regular star. The second series saw a new cast headed by Hugh David as publisher Stephen Drummond, ably assisted by Frances Graham, his secretary (Wendy Williams, in real life his wife). Among the distinguished scriptwriters were Roger Marshall, Philip Mackie, Harry Kershaw, Robert Banks Stewart, Clive Exton and Philip Levene.
The series appeared frequently in the Top Ten TV ratings even though director Derek Bennet, writing in 2003, described it as "a dreadful thing... it had awful scripts, bad acting and a lack of control." It was panned by the critics too. Under the corny headline "This Could be a Real K-n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e," critic Guy Taylor described first episode, Harry Bonkers, on October 13th 1959 thus:
"Here we have a boyish, rather silly young man who sets out to rescue people in distress. His first client is a young and pretty heiress, who hears mysterious noises from an empty flat upstairs. There was nothing original in the story which could have been neatly packaged in 30 minutes. Philip Mackie has tried to give us something a little different from the stern-faced private eye and the mechanical police officer. He has created instead a handsome bachelor, ex-Army officer and ex-public schoolboy, a Fleet Street journalist, Liz Parrish, who has an eye on the accounts, and a Colin Wilson type character called Peter Parker. John Turner as Adam Knight will develop well in this role if he is given more adult dialogue and Kay Callard as Liz, manages to combine sombre efficiency with charm. She also has a nice sense of humour. Richard Carpenter as Peter who claims not to be an angry young man but doesn't convey to his audiences what he really is, makes up a team who have a lot of hard work in front of them to make this series a real success. Adrian Brown's direction did much to strengthen the weaknesses in the script, but I still have a feeling that more children than adults will enjoy Knight Errant '59."

A review of the second programme of series two, The Jazzman, on September 22nd 1960 was also unenthusiastic. Under the headline "Knight Errant Rides Shakily Again," Guy Taylor wrote: "Hugh David as Drummond is potentially a better choice for the hero of this series than John Turner but he does not have much chance in 'The Jazzman' by William Hood. Graham Evans directed. The story was quite promising as a character study of an irresponsible father, but developed too slowly. As a plot for Knight Errant it was weak. In fact, he seemed largely superfluous to the action although Liz Parrish (Kay Callard) from the original team makes a welcome return and pulled him through as she did his predecessor."
My reviews of surviving stories: 1.5
The Golden Opportunity (Nov 10th 1959), 2.16 The Joker (Jan 12th 1961)

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The Golden Opportunity
"Office boy" Peter gets his chance when he's the only one in the office and a posh lady Mrs Vakozky (Joan Young) asks him to spend 100 sovereigns. Why? sensibly asks Liz, when she comes in, that's the mystery in a plot that threatens to be like Brewster's Millions.
But though the coins are technically legal tender, no shop will accept them. Rather reluctantly Adam's advice is sought and he learns that six of the sovereigns are fake, though all the others are genuine. But even the duds, a jeweller confirms, are of excellent quality.
Mrs Vakozky is now in Switerland so Peter and Liz fly there to stay at the Pension Dufour. "The old trout" refuses to provide any kind of explanation, so Liz refuses to give her what she wants, an affidavit saying the coins were refused at various shops.
Having been plied with drinks, Peter later does hand her the affidavits, unbeknown to Liz. We are shown that they are needed in a court case in the trial of Mr Vakozky, so why does his wife now burn the evidence? And why is Liz now in prison?
Peter gets some answers in jail, where George Vakozky reveals he has made half a million out of his coin making business. However the plot almost loses itself in explanations, a twist is needed and, to be fair, we get one, in that George has been double crossed by his wife. Peter has to admit to the imprisoned Liz that he had given the affidavits away, "she latches on to all the loot and leaves hubby languishing."
So Adam Knight rides to Liz and Peter's rescue. In court he produces the affidavits and the case against George is dropped. Back in the hotel he reveals all to his juniors
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The Joker
Script: Roger Marshall.
Frances Graham is on holiday in a studio mockup of a Swiss chalet. The guests ski and pass their rather world weary lives at gambling, they include Tony Carter (Anthony Newlands) a cabaret performer, a la Noel Coward. "Like sirens luring the sailors to their doom," guests are losing their cash, Julie is just one of several. One however, Alan Faber (John Bonney) is resisting the lure of the tables, but only because he is already in debt to the tune of 1,500. Surely he's "a worthy cause" for Knight Errant Limited, his money is owed to Carter after their poker game.
"Our luck must turn," Frances urges him, offering to lend him 40 to win his fortune back, "I know we'll be lucky." Though this hunch is only based on intuition, it seems to be correct. After some wins, "if this comes up, I'll be in the clear," cries Alan. "When," Frances corrects him. But she is wrong. So she has to phone the colonel to ask boss Stephen to send her some more money.
Alan goes skiing with another guest, Judy (Irene Hamilton)- the scenery is an unconvincing mix of film and studio. Then back to the hotel. A revived Alan challenges Carter to double or quits, but is refused. Other guests want some excitement however so the game does go ahead. Thus when the colonel brings the necessary 1,500 to the hotel to buy Alan's IOU, the sum now stands at 3,000.
But is Carter a swindler? If he is, it's none too obvious. However, it is noted he never wears glasses, except when gambling. An examination of his room reveals these glasses enable him to see transparent markings on the cards, invisible to the naked eye.
Now there is one more game, odds evened up. A straight cut, Carter and the colonel. "The end of my run," Carter has to admit and this "unethical" guest hastily departs.
A final skiing joke concludes this very well used storyline
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Mystery and Imagination (ABC)

1.3 The Fall of the House of Usher
1.4 The Open Door
4.1 Uncle Silas
4.2 Frankenstein
4.3 Dracula
5.1 The Suicide Club
5.2 Sweeney Todd
5.3 The Curse of the Mummy

ABC produced three short series of these stories of gothic melodrama during 1966 and 1968. This was one of the few series to survive the end of their franchise, for a fourth series of three stories, now under Thames TV banner was screened in late 1968, with a final group of three stories shown in 1970.

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The Fall of The House of Usher
Freely adapted from Edgar Allen Poe's story.
Madeleine Usher (Susannah York) is mighty scared after her father's death, and seeks comfort from Richard Beckett. "The shadows" scare her, the root of her fever is her brother Roderick (Denholm Elliott) who insists she return to their house. "Do not let him take me." But next day Madeleine has gone from Richard's house.
Becket goes to the house of Usher, with its weird murals, cobwebs and oppressive atmosphere. Madeleine is in a state of catalepsy. Treated by a local medic, she is dreaming of Richard rescuing her.
Believing his sister to be evil, Roderick attempts to keep her apart from Richard. He may be right, for she finds Richard and shows him the gruesome family vaults under their house, full of decaying corpses. "Are you afraid of bones, Richard?"
To get Richard to leave, Roderick gets Lucy, Richard's fiancee, to join them. It does bring events to a head, Madeleine needing to kill her, so she can possess Richard. But her murderous attack is cut short. But Lucy breaks off the engagement, "she's enchanted you," she warns Richard.
Roderick believes he is going mad, though his acting is more akin to Kenneth Williams in a Carry On! Maybe it's this viewer who was being driven potty. That dark night Roderick tries to bump Richard off. Madeleine tries to kill her brother, but, even though she very much wants to, cannot. Her heart fails and she is incaracerated in a coffin. She scrapes the lid inside her coffin and Dracula-like emerges and into Richard's arms.
The story is all very atmospheric and dramatic, the sets impressive, but this adaptation is none too scaring or even that coherent

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The Open Door
Col Henry Mortimer (Jack Hawkins) receives a telegram advising that his son Roland is seriously ill. The boy screams a lot, and his mother worries, "he doesn't even know me."
However he recognises his father well enough when he returns home. Roland says he is hearing cries in the ruins of a large old house near them. Whatever the cause, he is worrying to distraction. The colonel promises the boy he will sort out the problem.
That nght he keeps watch in the ruins with his faithful Corporal Jones. The set is impressive with lighting and spooky sounds to match. Despite extensive scares and weird cries, they are unable to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Dr John Simson believes it's a matter of mass delusion, but agrees to accompany the colonel next night at 11pm. For a long time there is silence apart from the doctor's ramblings, but then they hear a cry, "let me in." Next morning, they go back to the ruins and note that a juniper bush has disappeared.
Mr Moncrieff (John Laurie), a minister, is next to be consulted. Next evening the three of them stand watch and listen to the same pleading voice, "let me in." Moncrieff addresses the disembodied voice and tells it to "go home." He seems to know who it is and tells the unseen child his mother is not here. With a dose of prayer amid unlikely snowflakes, the spirit departs.
Moncrieff explains later, perhaps necessary but only slightly convincing.

An unusual story, sad because Jack Hawkins underwent his throat cancer operation shortly after this recording, and his discomfort is clearly visible

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Uncle Silas
Recorded by ABC in June 1968, though first screened by Thames TV.

A great heiress is Maud, but not a great actress, to the severe detriment of this play. Her "forbidding" father refuses to speak to her about Uncle Silas, some dark secret.
Her old crow of a governess is even more grotesque, Madame "Lamorge," Rougierre, who hastens father's death. This is high camp, over the top melodrama. Until Maud attains the age of 21, she must be under her guardian Silas, who will inherit when, sorry if, she dies. His very impressive gothic mansion is where a moneylender had died in mysterious circumstances.
Though Silas looks weird with his ultra long white hair, yet after what has preceded, he is hardly sinister, or even mad. However Maud is a virtual prisoner, her warder is the unpleasant keeper Hawkes, something of an enjoyable cross between Long John Silver and Frankenstein.
Silas desires that she marry his son, a repulsive wastrel. She could never do that!
It's an impressive set, the one where Maud explores the tower where the moneylender had been disposed of, only the mood is spoiled by the acting. "Let us have no more melodramatics," demands Uncle Silas, very much to the point.
The first shaft of light is when it transpires that Silas' useful offspring is already married to the flighty Sarah. But then back to dark evil, as Madame locks Maud in the tower room, "you mean to murder me." That's correct, my dear. Here's a Brian Clemens-style finale, tense, and of course over the top, thundering organ

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Frankenstein
There was this philosophy student in Heidelberg by the name of Herr Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein (Ian Holm). He is a genius, "I know I am."
Probing the mysteries of life's very source, he has scant time to welcome to the city his cousin and intended Elizabeth (Sarah Badel), leaving her in the capable hands of his friend Henry. He even asks her to leave. The reason- a storm is brewing ideal conditions for him to try and create new life, to act as God, even though he believes not in such.
His experiment is more of a triumph than he dare imagine, in fact it horrifies him. The Being escapes, wandering the countryside, finding shelter with a blind man. This is never Karloff or Hammer, a sad story of a slightly disfigured monster, drawing out the religious and moral overtones of the original, as well as the doomed romance.
"We are enemies," The Being warns its creator, and in its anger kills Elizabeth's younger brother. Her companion Justine is accused of the crime, and even though Elizabeth and Henry are confident she is innocent, and Frankenstein also knows this truth, none can save her from execution.
Frankenstein tries to tell Henry of his crisis, but the latter seems surprisingly unconcerned. "What I have done must be undone."
What follows becomes too conflated in order to fit in with the time limitation. The Being demands his own companion, and then it will be satisfied. Instead Frankenstein kills that object of desire, thus The Being seeks it revenge. Henry is next for the chop. The pathetic creature becomes the pathetic creator, as Frankenstein marries Elizabeth in his bid for happiness. The Being terminates that opportunity, and Creator and Creature face each other for a showdown, yet which is which? There is no light. This is not a horror story. It's tragedy

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Dracula

In padded cell number 34, warders unwisely untie their prisoner. He breaks free, escaping to His Master, who is at a genteel household, thereby causing a severe attack of the vapours. The home is of Dr Seward, his curious guest Count Dracula, played by Denholm Elliott as though all foreigners must act suspicious. As for the poor guests, they are summed up by Joan Hickson as Mrs Weston, who might well be playing one of her lesser comedy roles.
After that, the funeral sequence looks more like Macbeth's witches. The good doctor's love for young Lucy contrasts with Dracula's evil designs. The scene where he emerges, at night naturally, from his cemetery grave is visually effective as he swoops to the sleeping innocent Lucy, digging in, literally, his teeth. However, it isn't frightening. A second visit is almost laughable. Poor Joan Hickson is really needed to do a Miss Marple on the situation.
Lucy walking at night "with joy beyond understanding" presents an excellent disturbing scene as she devours Mina. Yet more disturbing is Lucy's demise, the amazing thing is that the cast manage to retain straight faces. Visually in the clever dick mould is Dracula's own demise or perhaps disintegration

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The Suicide Club
Prince Florizel of Bohemia (Alan Dobie), with his friend Colonel Geraldyne, being tired of London and indeed life, don disguises, thirsty for an "unusual experience." The prince poses as Goodley an elderly academic, the colonel as The Major.
In a pub they are offered free cream tarts by one James Morris, who has spent his last 400 on tarts. Goodley's fellow feeling prompts him to burn his ready banknotes. All of them are ruined, "determined to die." Thus it is that Morris leads them to The Suicide Club.
They obtain admission to a grand mansion where roulette is taking place. The Woman in Black lures them into a side room for a meeting with The President. Fee paid, they are enrolled.
Members gather round a table, and giant playing cards are dealt. Death's High Priest is selected and The Victim. Morris draws the Ace of Clubs, the sign he is to be the killer. The oldest member draws the Ace of Spades, the death card.
The story moves on. The Woman in Black, now The Woman in Purple, offers "amorous dalliance." But not for The Prince, for he, as Goodley, draws the dreaded Ace of Spades. The President himself draws the killer card- it's all fixed of course. The Prince must proceed along The Strand, then down Cobbler's Court where he will be given up to his fate.
Of course The Prince fails to show up, returning to his palace. The only honourable outcome apparently is that The President must be felled in a duel.
The two newest club embers, Lt Rich and Major O'Rooke, "the pick of London," help entrap The President who has shot Morris. A duel with swords against The Prince, now in is own persona, "this is an outrage."
"Aaargh!" Accidentally the loser conveniently falls dead into an open coffin. Laughable

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Sweeney Todd
Freddie Jones in the title role is strange casting. He is not in the Tod Slaughter mould, neither melodramtaic nor sinister, perhaps slightly pathetic. We meet him "polishing off" Martin, a rich customer, despatching him from barber's chair to the dank cellars. His valuable pearl necklace is the object of his greed.
Mistress Lovett is the object of his desire. He offers her a token of his esteem, the stolen necklace. She knows it is genuine and cannot accept the gift. Sell it, she urges, and she will gladly take the cash.
A jeweller offers him a paltry sum, knowing the goods must be stolen. Todd demands 8,000, that is refused, Todd goes beserk and cries of Stop Thief ring round the district. Todd runs off to find shelter in a den of thieves. He pretends these jewels must be fake, but it is only his barbering skills that enable him to escape their clutches.
Into the clutches of Dr J Fogg, Tobias, Todd's assistant is despatched. He knows Todd's guilty secret. "He thinks I'm a murderer," Todd tells Fogg, who runs a lunatic asylum. However it seems Todd's own conscience is driving himself round the twist, for surrounded in his cellar by the skeletons of his murdered victims, he can find no peace.
A beadle investigates a complaint of an "abominable stench" emanating from his cellars. He has to be sent to the cellars. A new assistant is required. One lad applies who is "all alone in the world," Charlie. He looks more like a girl however, though Todd cannot see this obvious fact, and even takes a liking to the child, sure he sees a likeness in him of someone he knew.
Todd dresses up as a rich lord and obtains a cheque for 7,500 from Mundel a private banker, using the necklace as surety.
Come with me," he invites Mistress Lovett, now he has the money. She is all eagerness now, but he throws her fawning back into her face, calling her Mistress Slut. She, he poisons. Time for Charlie, alias Charlotte, to expose herself, not literally. She proclaims herself The Avenger of all those Todd has killed. The pearls had been intended as a present to her as Martin's fiancee. Police face Todd with charges of murder, but where are your witnesses, demands Todd with some confidence. Now follows a highly dubious twist to the story. Surely we know the fate that will befall Todd in his own barber's chair...?
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The Curse of the Mummy
Mike Hall's impressive set of an Egyptian tomb opens the drama. Some sort of ritual slaying. Virginal princess and all that, who imbibes poison. Hammer addicts no doubt recognise the scenario.
Miss Margaret Trelawny wakes up with a scream. She finds her dad prostrate on the floor. His room is like a recreation of an Egyptian palace- or tomb.
She asks for Dr Malcolm Ross (Patrick Mower with his nice face on for a change). Trelawny had been drugged. Claw marks on him. A potent odour in his room. His safe may be the target for the intruder who had been in his room.
An archaeologist Corbeck is found lurking in the garden. He had been sent by Trelawny to Egypt to find something. He's got it! In Trelawny's secret room is a mummy who bears this uncanny resemblance to Margaret. Of course. Mummy has a severed hand. Trelawny, now recovered, plans to revivify the mummy. "What's he take us for?!"
The Queen of Egypt will be brought back to life. A sacred cat destroyed. Corbeck is worried, can't blame him for that. Margaret is distraught. "What's going on in this?" asks the cool arm of the law, in the shape of a bemused police inspector.
"I don't really know," replies Ross, echoing my own thoughts entirely. But all Hammer fans know, though this is slow burning Hammer, almost extinguished, expired Hammer. "Now at last..."
With lanterns fetched from Egypt by Corbeck glowing as if it is Hallowe'en, tension rises among those still not somnulent as the queen is brought back. But the old crucifx stops the nonsense. Screams. Some corpses. The Mummy has gone.
Those who have survived are treated to a happy ending. Somehow. No surprise that after this, no more came of this series

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Counterstrike (BBC, 1969)
starring Jon Finch as Simon King and Sarah Brackett.
Simon King is sent to our planet to prevent The Invasion of the Centaurans, aliens who plan to take over The Earth as their own world is a-dying. The series started with some promise, but fizzled out. In the last analysis, the best bit must be that snazzy opening theme tune.
1 King's Gambit - Jeffries, a worker at Penfield Electronics in Suffolk is electrocuted in the lab. Baldock the MD is in the process of marketing a revolutionary new radio that retails for only ten shillings, but it's a far more sinister apparatus in fact, as it is able to brainwash anyone listening to it. Journalist Simon King investigates the accident and gets shot in the shoulder for his pains, and is taken to hospital. His blood is found not to be human blood! He discharges himself at once, but Mary, a doctor, learns his secret, that he represents an Inter Galactic Conference seeking to prevent inhabitants from another planet, the Centaurans, from taking over the "backward" Earth. "It can't be true." The Centaurans have already began the process of infiltrating British society, as at Penfield. They paralyse human brain centres with their radio, so to learn the constituents of these radios, King steals one from the electronics factory. However Baldock is waiting for him, and it takes a lot of sophisticated gadgetry, and Mary's aid, for King to escape
2 Joker One - Observer West is killed in New York so Simon with Mary goes there to lecture on Population Explosion. The alien plan, organised by Prof Gustav Pinot (Robert Beatty), but not aided by his unwitting wife (Barbara Shelley) is to disperse microbes above Berlin. Simon is to be the fall guy, instead he prevents the tragedy in this too protracted story, the ending entirely the stuff of farce, unwitting farce
3 On Ice - Simon and Mary are stranded with scientists on an Antarctic base that looks a lot like a studio despite the howling wind and snow. Who are the Centaurans here, creating a fungus that will apparently accelerate global warming? The story has characterisation but little drama, too much tedious talk in the sub zero wastes. "I couldn't have lasted much longer," cries Simon, and nor could I, though at least the irritating Taffy (the irritating David Jason) gets bumped off
4 Nocturne - "Not So Simple" Simon is subjected to "mental engineering" to make him kill psycho scientist David Plunkett (Kevin Stoney). In impressively staged nightmares he is killed by Plunkett only to wake up when the fatal shot is fired. This makes an interesting study in shadowy dream world as Simon's Mission Impossible-type task aims at getting him arrested. The ending you might say is another blunder by Doc Morrissey (John Horsley) but he's not the Reginald Perrin variety, he plays The Chairman, here planning the Centauran scoop through an hallucinatory drug and it's a good job Simon isn't simple and sussed what was going on, or am I dreaming that?
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The Long Way Home
A 1960 BBC serial about an exciting escape from a Belgian POW camp. Subtitled The Escape The Germans Allowed, this was the story of four English officers who tunnel out of a camp in the north of occupied France. The Nazis permit them to break out and remain at liberty- but why?
The four were Capt Gill played by Nigel Arkwright, Lt Anson played by Barry Letts, Neil Wilson playing Gunner Parker and James Sharkey as Capt Miller. Amongst others in the cast were Laurence Hardy (Col von Stretzheim), Patrick Cargill (Herr Grosnitz). William Mervyn appeared as a French policeman.
Script and production by Shaun Sutton.

1 The Tunnel
May 1943. "Getting out of the camp was only the beginning, you still had to get out of Nazi Europe."
Our hero, Lt Anson, has been captured after his ship had been sunk. But only five days in the POW camp, and he escapes. Six hours of freedom, and he is caught, surrounded by Nazi soldiers.
The Camp Commandant interrogates him, demanding to know how he escaped. Of course, Anson's not saying, so he's sent to the cooler.
A tunnel has been completed, but there's the usual danger of it being discovered by the Nazis. The hut where the tunnel begins is indeed searched, only a matter of time before the entrance is spotted.
To distract them, a message is relayed to Anson to reveal how he got away. "I walked out of the camp," he explains simply.
This is too far fetched even for the Commandant, however Grosnitz, a Gestapo officer incredibly believes Anson. The escape had been via the main gate, Anson bolding wearing a Nazi uniform. For confessing, he's allowed out of solitary and is able to rejoin his colleagues in the tunnel hut.
The tricky Grosnitz is at the camp to put an end to the stream of escapees, 51 to date, 17 never recaptured. He has orders from Himmler to allow another escape. The spy network will inform him when that's due, and his plan is to have his own agent among those who escape.
The usual tunnel collapse, one soldier Raynor needs medical attention. But that leaves a vacancy for tonight's escape. So Anson will make his second break in 24 hours!

Note- part 2, the escape itself, is sadly missing

3 The French Resistance
Four POWs have escaped, but the Gestapo are keeping track of them, the plan is to discover and smash the French Resistance movement.
The four have jumped off a train at Arondville, where the chief of the police (William Mervyn) arrests them. He seems to be cooperating with the Nazis, but he is actually an ally.
They are locked in a cell, but a secret opening, and they are out! The Resistance have them, but suspect they might be Nazis, so Gaston their leader (Derek Francis) quizzes them about the old country, and becomes satisfied they are British. He proposes they resort to the "unexpected," and do not make for Switzerland, but Spain, using bicycles.
Grosnitz of the Gestapo has now taken control of the camp, and he makes for Arondville, where an informer introduces him to Joubert (Arthur Lowe), who relates what has become of the escaped prisoners. Joubert receives his reward- some cash, but then a bullet.
The four are provided with Nazi uniforms and papers, and just elude Grosnitz.
Note- down the cast list is Jack Smethurst as "also appearing"

4 Cross Country Run
After a frustrating wait, during which Gaston quizzes the newly dressed Nazis on their credentials, five bicycles are forthcoming from Gerard, one each for the escapees, as well as a rickety old one for Philippe, Gaston's son (Frazer Hines), to act as their guide as far as the next Resistance group. "They won't get five kilometres," Gerard moans.
Unfortunately but predictably, the front tyre on Philippe's bike goes flat so when the four approach their destination, they are shot at by the French Resistance, local leader a madman named Savonac. Gunner is shot in the leg, before Philippe is able to run up and explain. The "tough surly ruffian" Savonac takes them to his farm, but isunwilling to help the injured man. "Carry him," he coldly suggests.
Fortunately Gaston turns up and proposes they 'borrow' Savonac's lorry, and now in civvies again they reach Chateau sur Seine, having left Gunner safely hidden in a boathouse. Le Lapin Gris is the cafe they must make for, where 'ello 'ello, the local Resistance leader Rene, sorry Pierre, promises to help them. But the SS raid his cafe and the three have to get out. They help themselves to a SS car and they're away, but on their own, links to the Resistance cut off.
Worse, though they don't know it, a traitor has left behind information for Grosnitz, telling him their destination is Spain

5 The Boathouse
Following the north bank of the Seine, the trio abandon their stolen vehicle, "it's a long walk." They decide to follow their plan and go south, and split up, a rendezvous agreed at a churchyard around midnight.
Anson returns to the boathouse to help the wounded Gunner Parks. The place is being guarded by a young lad and his older sister Marie (Nanette Newman). She's in love with Richard, an English agent, who is overdue from a mission. Late and wounded, the agent reaches the boathouse, with a coded message that must be sent urgently to London.
Grosnitz is aware of all these activities, but he learns too late that the army are on to Richard and are going to arrest him at the boathouse. But they are too late anyway, Richard has died from his wounds. They open fire on Anson and Parks, who are with the ubiquitous Gaston, and while Anson transmits the message, Parks is hit. He dies. The army swoop and Gaston and Anson are arrested. Grosnitz intervenes and orders them to face the firing squad

6 The Spanish Frontier
"Noone likes to be shot," jokes Gaston. The two prisoners are taken out of the boathouse, the firing squad prepare to shoot. But Marie has stolen a lorry and drives straight into them, the sentenced men leap aboard and they're away. Pursuit is impossible as the Gestapo car has been immobilised. After thanking her, Anson and Gaston, who's a wanted man now also, make for a rendezvous, in the little village of Saint Laurent, two miles from the Spanish border.
The trip across France is covered in no time, too little time, but then there's a frustrating hold up. They are met by Resistance man Batiste, Miller joins them, but where has their fellow escapee Gill got to? "We are mad," but they decide it is their duty to find out what had happened to him. Inquiries at a cafe reveal he has been arrested by the Gestapo who are staying at Chateau Montaigne, "your friend is finished."
Miller offers to take there some champagne that has been ordered, but Grosnitz is watching, "we've got them all now." In the kitchen of the castle, delivery is made. Miller and Anson explore the chateau and discover a guard in a drunken sleep outside a turret room.
"I've been expecting you," is the greeting from Gill

7 Over the Line
Gill is sipping champagne and smoking a cigar. He thinks he is being terribly well treated by the French Resistance, but the newly captured Miller and Anson disabuse him. They are to be shot.
Miller is interrogated. In front of Grosnitz we discover that it is Miller who is the spy, a German named Gerhardt. Grosnitz is suitably elated, "we are now in a position to destroy the entire Resistance organisation from one end of France to the other."
Miller baulks at the idea of his former 'friends' being shot, but has to agree. The slightly odd plan is to allow them to escape, then shoot them as they attempt to flee across the border.
The arrival of a high ranking Nazi changes all that. He orders the three prisoners to be handed over to him, and he escorts them out of the chateau. It is Gaston in disguise.
Miller is forced to reveal his true character as he points a gun and forces his former comrades to walk into the trap Grosnitz has prepared, "you rotten swine." However once again it's Gaston to the rescue, at the cost of a bullet to himself, nothing serious, thus he prevents Anson and Gill being shot by Miller. A gun battle with Grosnitz's gang, in which Anson's cricketing skills come in handy ends in glorious victory for The Brits.
Grosnitz faces disgrace, as the three reach the safety of Spain

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The Flying Swan (1965, BBC)
Set in a hotel by the Thames, Margaret Lockwood starred as widow Mollie Manning, with her daughter Julia as Carol Manning, an air stewardess. Other regulars each week were Molly Urquhart as Jessie Macdonald a general factotum, Wendy Hall as Prue the receptionist, Tom Watson as Fred Potter the bar steward, and Nerys Hughes as his girl friend Maisie. There were other characters, mostly guests, who became semi-regulars in the series too. The series marked the return to a tv series of Margaret Lockwood who eight years previously had played the manager of a larger London hotel in a series called The Royalty. "A team of well known writers has been assembled for the first thirteen stories," viewers were informed, and in the end the series ran for 26 stories.

Two surviving stories:
2 Trial and Run
3 Double Trouble

Details of all the stories:
1 Lady in Waiting (March 27th 1965, 6.40-7.25pm) with Lana Morris as Marion Watson. Apart from the regulars, the rest of the cast were: Richard Owens (Geoff Hunter), Jessica Dunning (Julie Knight), John Barrett (Harry), Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Simon Prebble (Peter Chambers), John Rapley (Chris), David MacMillan (Duncan), Alan Browning (William Cross), Sarah Etherington (Sue). Script: Donald Wilson. Director: Christopher Barry. Synopsis: Mrs Watson, a nervous woman, arrives at the hotel with an implausible story of her broken down car.
2 Trial and Run (April 3rd 1965) Also in the cast: Darryl Reed (Richard Stamford), Philip Bond (Conrad Stern), Alexander Bastedo (Suzanne Stern), John Barrett (Harry), Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Jessica Dunning (Julie Knight), Elizabeth Howarth (Mrs Stamford), Salvin Stewart (Lawson), Richard Owens (Geoff Hunter), and Hamish Roughead (McWhinnie). Script: William Templeton. Director: Michael Ferguson.
3 Double Trouble (April 10th 1965) Also in the cast: Richard Owens (Geoff Hunter), John Barrett (Harry), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), Clifford Parrish (Peter Riley), Neville Barber (A waiter), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Patricia Haines (Miss Edwardes), Eileen Helsby (Girl in bar), Wendy Gifford (Irene Starke), and Nicholas Brent (Detective). Script: Vivienne Knight and Patrick Campbell. Director: David Giles.
4 Love and Marriage (April 17th 1965) Also in the cast: John Barrett (Harry), Patricia Haines (this story as Emma Fischer), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Wendy Gifford (Irene Starke), Clifford Parrish (Peter Riley), Neville Barber (A waiter), Donald Pickering (Richard Starke), Simon Merrick (George Hampton), Sean Barrett (John Grafton), And Suzan Farmer (Mary Grafton). Script: Michael Pertwee. Director: Christopher Barry.
5 Angel Face (April 24th 1965) Also in the cast: John Barrett (Harry), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), Clifford Parrish (Peter Riley), Bernard Archard (Alan Dale), Nicholas Young (David Dale), Judy Geeson (Sonia Dale), James Kerry (Dr Ellwood), and Edward Cast (Inspector Frobisher). Script: Michael Pertwee. Director: Michael Ferguson. A family book into the hotel, head of the family is Alan with his two children, 17 year old gangling public schoolboy David and Sonia, a year his junior, both well mannered tearaways. Alan drenches himself with a syphon then creates a scene in the dining room.
6 The Spanish Couple (May 1st 1965, 6.50pm) Also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), Clifford Parrish (Peter Riley), Alex Farrell (Mulligan), Iza Teller (Charito Moreno), Carole Douglas (Luis Moreno), Cameron Miller (Mr Tatlock), and John Flint (Mr Addison). Script: Jan Read. Director: David Giles.
7 The Streets (May 8th 1965, 7pm) Also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), John Barrett (Harry), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), John Flint (Mr Addison), Philip Ray (Andrew Carr), Nora Nicholson (Mabel Chislehurst), Mark Burns (Eric Stanton), John Law (Mr Halliday), Michael Graham Cox (Postman), Barbara Cavan (Mrs Travers), and Kay Patrick (Jean Denning). Script: William Templeton. Director: Christopher Barry.
8 The Tyrant (May 15th 1965, 6.40pm) No Molly Urquhart but also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), John Flint (Mr Addison), Kay Patrick (Jean Denning), Richard Coe (Waring), William Mervyn (Alexander Curtis), John Boyd-Brent (George), Paula Edwards (Waitress), John Dawson (Head Waiter), John Bailey (Mr Bower), John Brooking (Roy Curtis), Sally Lashee (Mary Curtis), Simon Ward (David Curtis), and Richard Jacques (Surveyor). Script: possibly John Barber. Director: Michael Ferguson.
9 An Ideal Guest (May 22nd 1965) No Nerys Hughes, but also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), John Flint (Mr Addison), John Boyd-Brent (George), Paula Edwards (Waitress), Neville Barber (A waiter), Noel Trevarthen (Dt Sgt Alan Cooke), John Barcroft (Jimmy Hyde), Douglas Livingstone (Mr Hammond), Paul Harris (Mr Clements), Nilo Christian (Susan), David King (Inspector Hughes), and Michael Miller (Charlie Glover). Script: Robert Barr. Director: David Giles.
10 Company Property (May 29th 1965, 7pm) Also in the cast: Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), John Barcroft (Jimmy Hyde), John Boyd-Brent (George), Jessica Dunning (Julie Knight), Christopher Greatorex (Alistair Vawdrey), Malcolm Webster (Dan Sykes), Nadja Regin (Tania Sykes), Geoffrey Keen (Sir Donald Fletcher), Ian Colin (Ewart Rogerson), Edward Dentith (Bruce Rentoff), Eric Dodson (First delegate), and Richard Armour (Second delegate). Script: Anthony Steven. Director: Christopher Barry.
11 The Knock Out (June 5th 1965, 6.45pm) Also in the cast: Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Noel Trevarthen (Dt Sgt Alan Cooke), Jessica Dunning (Julie Knight), John Flint (Mr Addison), Norah Gordon (Mrs Reynolds), Philip Howard (First regular), Walter Henry (Second regular), John Rapley (Chris), Michael Segal (Higgins), John Cater (Moss), Steve Plytas (Tauber), Arthur Pentleow (Jackman), and Roger Milner (Mr Poole). Script: Jan Read. Director: Michael Ferguson.
12 A Question of Time (June 12th 1965, 6.40pm) No Molly Urquhart but also in the cast: Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Noel Trevarthen (Dt Sgt Alan Cooke), Robin Hawdon (Robert Sterling), Jessica Dunning (Julie Knight), Ronald Ibbs (Mr Thompson), Tenniel Evans ( Mr Meredith), Arthur Hewlett (Mr Cawston), James Ottaway (Mr Bailey), and Joan Peart (A woman). Script: Robert Barr. Director: David Giles.
13 The Cupboard (June 19th 1965, 7.00pm) Also in the cast: John Boyd-Brent (George), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), James Kerry (Dr Ellwood), Noel Trevarthen (Dt Sgt Alan Cooke), David MacMillan (Ian Nicholson), and Derek Bond (Dr Fane). Script: Norman Crisp. Director: Christopher Barry.
Note: This was the last story to feature Wendy Hall, Tom Watson, and Nerys Hughes, who all left the series.
The programme took a week's break.
14 In Quarantine (July 3rd 1965, 9.40pm) This story Margaret Lockwood and Julia Lockwood starred with Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), John Boyd-Brent (George), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), James Kerry (Dr Ellwood), Ballard Berkeley (Dr Stokes), David MacMillan (Ian Nicholson), Jeffrey Wickham (Estven Zupalochyef), Gertan Klauber (Predrag Denkovich), Ian Norris (Brad Lomax), Christina Taylor (Alice), Gillian Royale (Rosalind, who appears in all the remaining stories), David Brierley (Geoff Fenn), Iza Teller (Charo), David Pinner (David), Howard Goorney (George Bromwell), Peter Jesson (Police Constbale), and Molly Weir (Sister Campbell). Script: Malcolm Hulke. Director: Michael Imison. The whole hotel is put in quarantine when Carol is suspected of carrying a contagious disease. Sister Campbell confines her to bed.
15 The Boardroom (July 10th 1965, 9.30pm) Julia Lockwood starred alone in this episode. Also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), John Flint (Mr Addison), David MacMillan (Ian Nicholson), Gillian Royale (Rosalind), Iza Teller (Charo), David Pinner (David), Colin Pinney (Mr Webley), Thelma Whiteley (Diane Foster), Finuala O'Shannon (Miss Florian), George Sewell (Harry Venner), Brian Hawkins (Mr Sullivan), and Basil Dignam (Sir Alan Campbell). Script: David Weir. Director: David Giles.
16 The Gold Rosette (July 17th 1965, 9.40pm) Once again, Julia Lockwood starred alone. Also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), David MacMillan (Ian Nicholson), Gillian Royale (Rosalind), Iza Teller (Charo), Basil Dignam (Sir Alan Campbell), Brian Hankins (Mr Sullivan), Carlos Douglas (Luis Moreno), Christopher Coll (Arnold Henshaw), Sydney Arnold (Charles Grafton), Janice Dinnen (Margaret Anne-Baxter), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), John Baskcomb (Fat Man), John Moore (Thin Man), and John Dawson (Head Waiter). Script: Dick Sharples. Director: Christopher Barry.
17 A Chapter of Accidents (July 24th 1965, 9.55pm) This story Margaret Lockwood starred with Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Gillian Royale (Rosalind), John Boyd-Brent (George), Iza Teller (Charo), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), Jack Allen (Harry Sutcliffe), Frederick Bartman (Henri D'Aragon), Elizabeth Knight (Frances Grainger), Eileen Dale (Nurse Braddock), Len James (Edward Candover), Isa Miranda (Hella Corellini), Patti Brooks (Secretary), Margaret Christiansen (Jo), Patrick Connor (Jack), and Robin John (Len). Script: Bob Stuart. Director: Michael Imison.
18 The Age of Consent (July 31st 1965, 9.15pm) This story Margaret Lockwood starred with Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Gillian Royale (Rosalind), John Boyd-Brent (George), Iza Teller (Charo), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), David MacMillan (Ian Nicholson), James Kerry (Dr Peter Ellwood), John Flint (Mr Addison), Basil Dignam (Sir Alan Campbell), Frazer Hines (Jonathan Steele), Perlita Neilson (Sarah Barnes), Alvaro Fontana (Tony), Roger Hammond and Richard Kane (Booth and Joe, of The New Post), and Peter Halliday and John Carlin (Eddie Frazer and Rogers of The Sunday Star). Script: Margot Bennett. Director: David Giles. A young girl appeals for protection from newspaper reporters. The secret she is hiding proves her as clever as she is pretty.
19 Stage Fever (Aug 7th 1965, 9.35pm) This story Margaret Lockwood starred with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), John Boyd-Brent (George), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), David MacMillan (Ian Nicholson), Annabel Maule (Leonora Croft), John Welsh (Leslie Rhodes), Roy Marsden (Tony Hassall), Maurice Durant (Mr Crossley), David Saire (Douglas Parker), Eveline Garratt (Joney), Jacqueline Jones (Angela), Heather Downham (Jackie), Stephen Yardley (Brian Bullman), and Sidney Vivian (Harry Dennison). Script: Jan Read. Director: Christopher Barry.
20 Relative Proof (Aug 14th 1965, 9.10pm) This story Margaret Lockwood starred with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), John Boyd-Brent (George), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), David MacMillan (Ian Nicholson), Roy Marsden (Tony Hassall), James Kerry (Dr Peter Ellwood), Lionel Wheeler (Donald), Rosamund Greenwood (Miss McLean), Mary Merrall (Lucy Wilkinson), and Cyril Luckham (Jonathan Wilkinson). Script: Peter Steele. Director: Richmond Harding. When a wealthy lady advertises for her long-lost brother, a claimant soon appears, but Mollie is suspicious of him.
21 Group Mania (Aug 21st 1965, 8.50pm) This story Margaret Lockwood starred with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), John Boyd-Brent (George), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), John Welsh (Leslie Rhodes), Iain Gregory, Michael Elwyn and James Culliford (The Anybodies), Cheryl Molineaux (Sue), Donald Hoath (Mr Evans), William Kendall (Brigadier Chiswick), Joan Newell (Freda Marsh), Gordon Whiting (Max Taylor) and Geoffrey Wright (Reporter). Script: John Hailstone. Director: David Giles. A pop group invades the hotel and clashes with a mysterious guest who shuts himself up alone in his room.
22 Shock Tactics (Aug 28th 1965, 9.15pm) This story Margaret Lockwood starred with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), John Welsh (Leslie Rhodes), Maurice Durant (Mr Crossley), Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Joan Newell (Freda Marsh), Chris Williams (Tony Freeman), Avis Bunnage (Mrs Payne), Madeleine Mills (Linda Payne), Charles Hodgson (Mike Roberts), David Drummond (Dr Pearsey), and Fred Hugh (Electrician). Script: Sheilah Ward. Director: Innes Lloyd. A beauty contest, a pretty girl, an ambitious mother, a 5,000 prize, and a cunning scheme.
23 The Waiting Time (Sept 4th 1965, 9.20pm) starring Margaret Lockwood with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), John Welsh (Leslie Rhodes), Maurice Durant (Mr Crossley), Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), John Dawson (Head Waiter), Joseph Morris (Martin Selby), Campbell Singer (Colonel), and William Dexter (Chaplain). Script: Sheilah Ward. Director: Richmond Harding. Everyone likes Martin, the new young waiter at the hotel. But his behaviour is more and more eccentric.
24 Open Day (Sept 11th 1965, 10.00pm) starring Margaret Lockwood with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), John Welsh (Leslie Rhodes), Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Janice Dinnen (Margaret Anne-Baxter), John Boyd-Brent (George), Natasha Pyne (Jane Fenshaw), Georgina Hale (Amanda Hirst), John Kelland (Barry Strickland), Ferdy Mayne (Ben Bannister), Rachel Kempson (Isobel Fenshaw), John Ringham (Adrian Fenshaw), Judith Gice (Mrs Grange), Mary Kerridge (Josephine Hurst), and John Boxer (Colin Hurst). Script: Peter Steele. Director: David Giles. Founder's Day at the local school involves the parents, pupils, and Mollie, in a series of crises.
25 The Diamond Pendant (Sept 18th 1965, 9.50pm) starring Margaret Lockwood with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Janice Dinnen (Margaret Anne-Baxter), John Boyd-Brent (George), Ferdy Mayne (Ben Bannister), John D Collins (Gerald), Jo Maxwell Muller (Wendy), Anthony Sagar (Albert Towers), Geoffrey Denton (Colonel Barnby), Victor Lucas (Eliot Fordyce), Robert Russell (Dt-Sgt Davies), Alister Williamson (Police Sgt Waters), Roy Marsden (Tony Hassall), and Bert Palmer (The Tipstaff). Script: Jan Read. Director: Innes Lloyd. A series of thefts in the hotel lead to unexpected disclosures about the guests.
26 The Contract (Sept 25th 1965, 9.35pm) starring Margaret Lockwood with Julia Lockwood, and Molly Urquhart. Also in the cast: Gillian Royale (Rosalind), Hugh McDermott (Dwight Cooper), Garry Marsh (Charlie Manders), Norman Mitchell (Piers Franklin), John Welsh (Leslie Rhodes), Janice Dinnen (Margaret Anne-Baxter), John Boyd-Brent (George), Ferdy Mayne (Ben Bannister), Brian Anderson (Frank Simpson), Joe Ritchie (Thompson), Michael Finlayson (Russell), Patrick McEvoy (Jones), Victor Lucas (Eliot Fordyce), and Marie Lawson (Waitress). Script: NJ Crisp. Director: Richmond Harding. Carol pilots her first plane- and Mollie decides on her own future.

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Jezebel ex U.K.

The byline of this forgotten 1963 ABC series was: "A Ship- the Sea... and People."
It was only partially networked, but must have been quite a success as other regions showed recordings later in 1963.
The series exists in the Canal Plus archive.

Regulars in the series were
Ernest Hare as the ship's Captain,
Alan Browning the Chief Officer Steve Rettar,
Emrys Jones as the purser Lawton, with
Cavan Kendall his assistant Carr and
Patrick Bedford the barman Pomeroy.
Guy Verney was producer and directors included Jonathan Alwyn.
Theme music was by ABC's Robert Earley

In all there were thirteen stories.
First story was transmitted on Saturday 30th March 1963 at 6.30pm (ABC Midlands/ The North) and was Sea of Doubt starring Heather Sears and Pete Murray. The series started in Sydney with the Jezebel returning to England, with newlyweds Larry and Maxine (the two stars), others in this opening story being Mark Dignam, Patrick Holt and John Bonney. others in the cast were Margaret Courtenay, Reg Lye, Keith Anderson, David Webb, Fredric Abbott, Walter Sparrow (a semi regular as a sailor), and Jeffrey Ashby (semi-regular as a dining steward). Problems arise when Larry starts to suspect his wife has murdered a child back in Australia.
Send a Telegram was story no 2, with Guy Doleman, Jennifer Wright, Mark Eden and Shirley Lawrence. Also with John Trenaman, Roy Stephens, Haydn Jones, Terence Brook, Morris Perry, Timothy Parkes. An everyday story of a live nuclear warhead getting lost in the Pacific.
Story no 3 on April 13th was Sister Ship about ex- racing driver Robert Steele (Terence Alexander) and his wife (Miranda Connell). Also starring were John Turner and George Coulouris, with in smaller roles, Garfield Morgan, John Forbes-Robertson, Dudley Jones, Morris Perry, and Jeffrey Ashby. Things go mysteriously wrong with the Jezebel's new radar system. The problem is no unconnected with Robert Steele. others in the cast were Gordon Sterne, Job Stewart, Philippa Gail, Robert MacLeod, Gillian Raine, Roberta Huby and Mavis Villiers.
Story number 4 was The Unforgotten Country (20 April), Jezebel en route from Port Said to Aden. With Jeremy Spenser as Naresh Patel and Georgina Ward as Christine Roberts, among the cast were also Hylda Baker, Patrick Mower and David Lander. script by Martin Worth.
The fifth story (27 April) was Slow Boat to Nineveh, the ship was entering the Atlantic, when a mysterious Frenchman causes "strange things" to happen. The story starred George Pravda, Neil Hallett, Richard Carpenter, Margaretta Scott and Noel Howlett. Also appearing were Linda Marlowe, Sheila Brennan, Frederick Piper, Anthony Viccars, Maurice Durant, Walter Sparrow, and Bill Nagy.
Sanderson and the Sea was the sixth story, and starred Maurice Good in the title role, with Hugh Paddick and Juliet Cooke. Amanda Barrie also appeared, along with Michael Wynne, Ian Clark, Stephen Thorne, Margo Croan, Peter Hager, and David Webb.
Story 7, now shown at 9.10pm on 11th May was Return to Look Behind, with Charles Hyatt as Gabriel Thompson, on his way home to Trinidad. However his warm overcoat hides something.... Also starring were Margaret Anderson and Jacqui Chan.
The eighth story on 18th May was The Four-Legged Stowaway. Script: Michael Noonan. Director: Jonathan Alwyn. O'Dwyer (Patrick McAlliney), the Jezebel carpenter, is not believed by Lawton when he reports seeing an untethered dog on board. Keith Henderson (Robert Urquhart) is a physicist travelling to USA to take up an appointment with his wife Connie (Gwen Cherrell) and his three children Helen (Jane Asher), Tony and Joanna. Also in the cast: Leonard Rossiter and Avice Landon.
Next week, the ninth story was The Long Cool Drop (25th May) which starred William Sylvester and Helen Lindsay. With Gordon Sterne, Phillipa Gail, Robert MacLeod, Gillian Raine, Roberta Huby, Mavis Villiers, and Job Stewart (as Dr Stannard the ship's doctor, a semi-regular character). One of two Canadian Air Force Officers returning home on the Jezebel, falls mysteriously ill.
On June 1st the tenth story Bitter Lemon in Biscay written by Hugh Leonard had a strong cast of Gwen Watford as Miss Beecher and Maurice Denham. Others appearing were Maitland Moss, Ewan Roberts, Betty Hare, Anthony Verner, Bridget Wood, and Job Stewart. Mr Appleby is a difficult passenger with a bulging briefcase.
The last few programmes of the series were not shown as stated in TV Times.
Story No 11 on 22nd June had been scheduled for 8th June originally. It was Love and Let Love with Richard O'Sullivan as Paul Brooks and Kika Markham as Ruth who fall in love on board. Ernest Clark and Georgina Cookson as Paul's parents are not too keen. Also in the cast were Lisa Daniely, Alan MacNaughtan, Anna Wing and Geoffrey Palmer.
On 15th June the story advertised was The Long Voyage. It was recorded on June 11th. The ship now docking at Gibraltar where a high pressure businessman, Byrne (Brian Nissen), comes on board. He seems obsessed with retired architect George Gladstone (Kynaston Reeves). Other stars in this story are Joan Haythorne and Elizabeth Shepherd. Also in this story were Brian Nissen, Victor Platt, June Ellis, and Bart Allison.
The last story was probably The Stand In.

Others to appear in one of the stories, not sure which, were Donald Hewlett, and Muriel Pavlow.
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The Count of Monte Cristo (BBC)

This was a much praised version, because it was true to the original Dumas novel. It was typical of the high class BBC Sunday serials, shown at 5.30pm on Sundays during October to December 1964.

Alan Badel starred, with Natasha Parry as Mercedes, Philip Madoc as Fernand, and Michael Gough as Villefort.
It was very obviously studio bound, and has to be viewed within the constrictions this required. Somehow, when you see Edmond Dantes with his hair blowing in the wind, you know it is caused by the wind machine. Thus swashbuckling drama this is never.

My reviews:
1
The Plotters
2 The Chateau d'If
3 The Abbe Faria
4 The Perilous Journey
5 The Isle of Monte Cristo
6 A Garden in Auteuil
7 Unlimited Credit

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The Plotters

On board what is obviously a set of a ship, Edmond Dantes skilfully anchors his ship into the port of Marseilles.
He brings Pierre Morrel the tragic details of the death of the late captain Leclerc, and returns his sword, "we are all mortal."
Danglers has some grudge against the self confident Dantes, and informs Morrel that Dantes had stopped off unnecessarily at Elba. The implication is that he is in league with Napoleon. It is alleged Napoleon had handed him a packet.
Mercedes is enamoured of Dantes, and accordingly she rejects advances made to her by Fernand. When her hero returns, Dantes is introduced to Fernand, "the rejected lover."
Danglers suggests ways to Fernand of how he might get Dantes sent to prison, to clear the way for him with Mercedes. That letter Dantes has from Napoleon would do the trick. Danglers even composes such a missive and the pair of villains then congratulate Dantes hypocritically over his forthcoming marriage. However Caderousse knows his duty to warn Dantes of this plot

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2 The Chateau d'If

Political discussion overshadows the eve of the wedding of Villefort ro Renee. The former justifies his changing sides to her aristo parents, claiming Napoleon was "a discredited usurper." As a lawyer under the new regime, he must guard against supporters of the old emperor.
At a different happier gathering, Morrel proposes a toast to Edmond and his fiancee Mercedes. A jovial Dantes thanks his loyal friends, at which we see Fernand flinch. Then a rap on the door, it is the law. Edmond is required to answer some questions.
Nothing daunted, he goes to meet Villefort, who asks, "did you serve with The Usurper?" But Dantes claims to have no political opinions. The letter that Villefort has is not his handwriting. Dantes explains why he had landed at Elba.
"I believe you," says Villefort, and the letter is burned. Dantes must be detained temporarily.
However, after this brief detention, Villefort's duplicity becomes apparent, for under guard Dantes is transported by carriage to a boat. Gradually the horror of his situation dawns, as the boat lands at a rocky island fortress. This silent scene well conveys Edmond's emotions.
"No man ever broke free from this place." Cold and comfortless, Edmond is seething with the injustice of it.
Mercedes tries to elicit information from the cold Villefort, "I cannot help you." She shouts in reply, "you are the criminal!"
Dantes attacks his guard. That menas he will be thrown into a deep pit

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3 The Abbe Faria

Dantes is led into the deepest dungeon, his only near companions dead or near dead, though in his cell, he is imprisoned all alone, a scene in near silence, the more impressive for that.
Villefort explains that this Bonapartist agent has confessed, "the Usurper has sailed from Elba."

It is five years later. The Inspector General of prisons finally happens to hear Dantes' complaint that he has had no trial. Dantes is promised that his case will be examined. However Villefort's "brilliant career" has taken him to Paris, and the inspector cannot intervene.

Years later, Dantes' solitude is broken only by visits of his gaoler. However other sounds awake the echoes, and Dantes makes happy contact with a fellow human being, a fellow prisoner, the abbe (John Wentworth), a political prisoner, "imprisoned for an ideal." In his own words he is "a somewhat pampered prisoner," and has been digging for years, though "I had miscalculated," he admits, his tunnel reaching only Dantes' cell. Though the old abbe warns of the impossibility, they dream together of finding their lost freedom

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4 The Perilous Journey

Dantes is told of the abbe's dream of riches, a great treasure, hidden from the Borgias. They make plans for a tunnel to dig their way to freedom. Daniel asks one favour of the priest, to teach him all he knows.
Mercedes has a child, Fernand's. But she doesn't look happy.
Slowly the tunnel is constructed, long and tedious work. As the pair do so, they converse, and the abbe helps Dantes perceive why he had been incarcerated here. Villefort is "a greater scoundrel than I first believed."
Sadly the abbe collapses, "there is nothing to be done." The dying man hands Dantes the clue to the treasure. Amid Dante's sorrowing, the abbe expires.
The corpse is carried from the cell, but in fact it is Dantes. He is carried to the cliff edge, and thrown into the sea. Weighted by chains, he sinks. But he frees himself and swims to freedom.
A ship picks him up. Jacopo provides some much needed food. Impressed by Dante's seacraft, the captain gives him the wheel. Destination: the Isle of Monte Cristo, the treasure island

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5 The Isle of Monte Cristo

The ship berths. Dantes has a shave and tidy up. Jacopo's brother takes him to the island. He finds a cave on the shore, amid more location shooting than is usual. He climbs a cliff, recalling the abbe's instructions. Using explosives, he blows open a cave. Eureka! Inside he finds a huge chest. It is brimming with gold and jewels.
He insists on meeting Thomson, who is a banker. At first suspicious, Thomson warmly greets his exceptionally rich new client. Dantes discharges his debts, firstly to his rescuers, then to Morrel, who had apparently attempted to get Dantes freed. Now he is "a ruined man," all due to Villefort. He is about to do himself in, when Thomson brings him the good news, "it's like a miracle."
Dressed as a priest, Dantes meets Caderousse the tailor, and tells him Dantes died in prison. He wanted to find out the reason for his long confinement. Catabousse is pumped with a bribe. His partners had been "the worst villains in the world," Danglars has become very rich and Fernand the fisherman has enjoyed a glittering army career. As for Mercedes, now one of the greatest ladies in all France, she married Fernand. News that is a bitter blow to Dantes.
Their conversation is cut short by soldiers who are arresting a "potential" murderer. His intended victim: Villefort!

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6 A Garden in Auteuil

Dantes saves the "lunatic" Bertuccio from arrest, rewarding his guards handsomely. Bertuccio tells Dantes of the riots in which his brother had died, he had received no justice from Villefort.
He relates how he had planned to kill Villefort when he visited a pregnant widow. This we watch in flashback. Bert attacks, "thy death for my brother's." The identity of Villefort's mistress is not known, though we can guess. Dantes leaves leaving behind a smallr eward for Caderousse.
Thomson reports that the baby has been sold into slavery to a Turkish sultan. He has also obtained the letter which had denounced Dantes, which he shows to Edmund. Jacopo is given instructions to sail to Constantinople.
At Dantes' request, he is given a Nubian slave. He is also fofered a dancing girl. He also buys the slave daughter of Ali Pashur, part of his scheme of revenge on his enemy. She tells dantes how she ended up here, after her father had been betrayed.
In a confusing scene, we leave Edmund, and are introduced to a host of characteras who then meet Edmund. He had saved one Albert from some bandit chief. He had a busy life hadn't he?

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7 Unlimited Credit

In Paris, Edmund Dantes is introduced to a new circle of friends by Albert, whose life he had saved. In the uniform of the new French conquerors, they breakfast together.
Albert takes Dantes to meet his mother, Mercedes herself, and they part with very mixed emotions.
With a banker's note from Thomson in Rome, Dantes approaches Baron Danglars for unlimited credit, over which there is this "slight difficulty." The baron does not want to do any such thing, but is forced to recognise Dantes' bona fides, and six million is eventually forthcoming. As a now favoured client, the Baron takes Dantes to meet his family. Danglars recommends that Villefort's second wife should show Dantes around the city!
Edmund tells his slave in seclusion that she is "free," but she tells him, "I will never leave you."
Albert talks to his mother about Edmund. Dantes, "he pleases me." Edmund is arranging for Madame Danglars' horses to run wild. Thus next morning as Dantes watches on from his new home, 27 Avenue des Champs Elysees, the horses run out of control amid screams from Mme Danglars and her companion Mme Villefort

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Our Mutual Friend
A BBC serial shown in twelve parts (1958/9)
starring Paul Daneman as John Rokesmith, with
Zena Walker as Bella Wilfer,
Rachel Roberts as Lizzie Hexam and
Richard Pearson as Mr Boffin.

My reviews to follow

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Dr Finlay's Casebook, whoops no, that's wrong! The correct answer is Out Of This World

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The Troubleshooters
BBC drama that ran for 7 series
starring Ray Barrett, Geoffrey Keen, and Barry Foster.
The first series has been issued on dvd, or rather the surviving episodes have been put out:

1 Kelly's Eye
2 Young Turk
5 Tosh and Nora
7 Out Of Range
11 Stoneface

My reviews to follow

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Dr Finlay's Casebook, whoops no, that's wrong! The correct answer is Out Of This World

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