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THE GUILTY PARTY(1962)
Sinclair v Sinclair and Dobbs.
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Lionel Harris.
Mr Edward Sinclair (Anthony Jacobs) and his wife Thelma (Zena Marshall) are entertaining friends at a party.
He is attempting to persuade Henry Dobbs (Derek Francis) to invest £25,000 in a property deal abroad.
But in reality, Edward is in deep financial difficulties, indeed a debt collector, William Flowers, calls that evening to
remind Sinclair the deadline is tomorrow. For money is owed all over town.
Edward ponders over what to do with his wife and business partner. Dobbs seems to
be the best bet. "For your lovely green eyes, he'd put up £25,000."
He flies out to Frankfurt to evade his creditors, while she follows her husband's instructions and lures Henry Dobbs
who gets infatuated with her. After a day out at Lingfield
Races they book into the Chequers Inn. But family friend Charles Harris spots them there.
Next day she returns home to find her husband has returned, penniless. She's not got the cash out of Henry either.
But she does have a new mink coat, and she has another shock for him - she's pregnant.
Edward hatches his scheme - to divorce Thelma and name Henry. But she's going anyway!
Thelma: "I'm leaving you, Edward"
The story concludes with the trial. Several witnesses leave "little room for doubt" about Henry's "misconduct."
Henry's defence hits at the heart of the matter - Edward was in need of cash! And Madge Petworth, Thelma's best friend,
testifies that she had a call from Thelma that fateful night,
asking her to come down to the Chequers. She stayed with Thelma that night in Room 8. Henry did indeed offer Thelma the
necessary cash but she had refused. So Edward Sinclair's case is thrown out and he has to foot the bill for costs too.
Next morning, he is found dead from an overdose.
There's a final scene showing Thelma two months later with another boyfriend, Peter Naylor.
Asks Edgar: "In the deepest sense, who really was the guilty party?" Lord knows.
Scales of Justice
A Woman's Privilege (1962)
Ashton v Fawcett. Script: James Eastwood. Director: Anthony Bushell.
Edgar starts us off at Cockspur Street in London's West End, outside the P&O Orient Lines office. Here, a berth in the first class of a Mediterranean cruise had been booked by 28 year old Shirley Fawcett (Ann Lynn), who's off to try and forget, and perhaps do some "hunting for men."
On board she meets suave 48 year old Joe Ashton (Bernard Archard), state room 23, a middle aged owner of a Surrey garage. This "somewhat ill-assorted pair" struck up a friendship which, announces Edgar rather lasciviously "every day became
a little more intimate." Naples is the romantic setting for a present from Joe, and though Joe detaches himself from her in Tunis, on the last night of the voyage at a gala party, they become engaged.
Back home, Shirley persuades Joe that his home needs the feminine touch and that he should sell up his garage business by the A24 and start a new life with her. Joe does so, and arranges for the marriage in church.
But suddenly she stops seeing him. Why? He goes to her London flat and talks with Sylvia her room mate. She's inherited £20,000, "and there's nothing he can do about it." She calmly informs him, "it's off."
But Joe does act. After they meet and she gives him the brush off, he warns, "you won't get away with this." So this love story ends in the courts where we listen to a case of Breach of Promise. Lawyers Patrick Wymark and Ernest Clark argue the cases for both parties. True, he had lied about his age- he is 52-, and she claims it's all a fantasy in his mind.
"There was no engagement," she claims. "Callous," is Ashton's counsel description of her. In summing up, the judge picks up on this trait, had she agreed to the engagement or not? A man in law has exactly the same rights as a woman, he explains to the jury. Edgar reveals the verdict of the case which made legal history. The first time for many years a man had brought such a case.
he footnote at least sees some sort of justice done when Shirley's new fiance himself breaks off his engagement with Shirley as a result of publicity surrounding the trial.
Note: one uncredited person on the cruise is played by Robin Hunter
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MOMENT OF DECISION (1962)
Regina versus West.
Script: James Eastwood, director: John Knight.
Edgar visits a lonely stretch of Wimbledon Common, the scene of an abduction of a baby from a pram. Nurse Helga had left it to enjoy a cuddle in the bushes with her 'fiance' (Mike Sarne, who speaks only in German). The fun over, she returns to find the child has gone.
Unable to have children of her own, Mary West cannot resist snatching the boy, Brian Chesham.
Her husband Bert (Ray Barrett), a commercial traveller, returns home to find his wife has acquired a baby, "a gift from heaven" is how she explains it.
She's really happy. But Bert persuades her to return the baby and she reluctantly agrees.
Second thoughts, proverbially not the best, come to this "ordinary little man,"
and he hides the child with Sally Mason (Marjie Lawrence), "a good friend." He doesn't tell his wife about this.
Michael Aspel reads out the news that evening about the baby's dad being a wealthy industrialist,
who is offering a £5,000 reward for the child's safe return.
Bert phones the police saying he thinks he's seen the missing child at the storeroom of one of his clients, Mrs Davies, who just happens to have previous for this sort of thing.
In fact of course, Bert has planted the child there himself.
Protesting her innocence, poor Mrs Davies is taken away by police.
The baby is now returned to its parents and a grateful father hands over Bert's reward.
"Were things going perhaps a little too smoothly?" queries Edgar.
The answer isn't long coming, Sally, who knows what has happened, is paid only £100, instead of the half share agreed upon.
In an argument she falls, striking her head against a corner of the gas fire. Bert runs off, and when she regains consciousness, dials 999.
Bert plans a sudden holiday, but his[plans are cut short, instead he will spend seven years inside.
In conclusion, Edgar speculates on the motive for this "insignificant" man's crime. "Easy money" seems obvious, but Edgar has a more convoluted theory - did he also see himself in a "star role" for a brief moment? I have a sneaky suspicion that Edgar rather admires him.
Bert's mini van: 1848MU. Police car: 866ALO
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POSITION OF TRUST (1963)
"University students today are generally hardworking, serious minded," declares Edgar, which was probably true at the time!
Simon Dennington, only son of Sir James Dennington, however, is sent down after a drunken brawl. Out on the tiles, he pals up with Yvonne (Imogen Hassall) and they make a weekend of it in Brighton.
Enter a private detective (Peter Barkworth) who's employed by Yvonne's husband, who catches them in their "misconduct." £5,000 is the demand to avoid a damaging court case. Simon tries to solve his crisis by
pleading with the blackmailer, but ends up shooting him. It's hardly a Columbo-type murder as several witnesses see him at it.
It's Capital Murder, though Simon claims it had been an accident in a fight. But he'd taken his gun to see his blackmailer, so things look pretty black for him...
However help is unexpectedly on hand in the shape of Yvonne....
Rather a dull story. Edgar keeps discreetly in the background.
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The Undesirable Neighbour (1963)
BOSWORTH AGAINST CHESTER.
Edgar's at a New Town spouting some philosophical observations about small town gossip. "A common brazen little hussey" (not Edgar's words of course) is marrying into the well off Bosworth family. The man she might have married, Harry (Howard Pays), makes a surprise visit to the wedding reception of Peter and Anna (Bridget Armstrong). Harry gives Anna an ostentatious kiss, and a present.
Settled into married life, one of the neighbours, Agnes Chester (Vanda Godsell) spies on the couple and Anna becomes the gossip of the town as a result- "she's asking for trouble the way she flaunts herself about." Miss Chester even tails Anna one day as she catches the Victoria train, then changing to a No 10 bus to Aldgate. Anna's calling at a photographic studio, but Miss Chester's version brands her "nothing but a common little tart."
Next scene is the lawcourts. Miss Chester has refused to settle out of court. Anna has to face some hard questions.
Questions about the surprise visit of Harry to her home for one. It was Harry who had obtained a job for her as she resumed her modelling career. "Were you ever photographed in the nude?" is a leading question.
Miss Chester's testimony smacks of some people's conception of a Mrs Whitehouse-type character (though with none of Mary Whitehouse's uprightness). She had watched Harry and Anna with their arms round each other in the bedroom. Is she just "a frustrated female peeping Tom?" Indeed she'd only been able to see what happened with the aid of binoculars!
Harry pops up in court with another of his surprise visits. He corroborates Anna's defence that she had not yielded to any of his advances. Result- £500 damages against Miss Chester.
Edgar stands outside the suburban home where it had all not happened, summarising a very trite but very human interlude.
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Invisible Asset (1963)
Script: James Eastwood. Directed by Norman Harrison.
Edgar introduces the film from Carey Street, home of the bankruptcy court, and relates the case of Sam Warren.
Sam (Kenneth J Warren) was a man who "had rocketed from comparative poverty to at least the semblance of wealth."
To improve his "modest" Warren's Cafe, Sam had borrowed £10,000 from Donovan (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) to transform his establishment into "one of the most luxurious restaurants in the city."
But though the business was a success, with stockbrokers enjoying profitable working lunches there, apparently there was not enough of a profit margin, even though Sam has purchased
a Rolls Royce and a posh house in Hampstead:
"you seem to have lived pretty well!" Oh, and Beryl a mistress (Gabriella Licudi) on the side in Eaton Place.
But his bankruptcy causes his former friends to shun him. His "sweetie" in his flat gives him the brush-off, even nicking his expensive gold cigarette case.
Then Donovan demands his loan be repaid, and suspects Sam has hidden a lot of his real assets away.
Indeed Donovan informs Sam he knows how he "really made his money." Sam had been eavesdropping on conversations of his customers, thereby getting some jolly good Stock Exchange tips.
Sam has no choice but to do a runner. With Joyce his wife they hide temporarily at the Park Royal Hotel as Mr and Mrs, er, Smith.
But somehow they have failed to elude Donovan, who still demands his money.
The couple sneak out of the hotel back entrance to reach their destination, the airport. They make their way there ignominiously in an Initial Towel van.
The 3pm Flight 103 to New York, thence to Jamiaca is ready, but Mrs Warren insists she
first phone her sister Alice a final goodbye.
he does not see her again. Sam is bewildered. He'd put all his real assets in her name.
Now he's stranded at the airport, and worse still, Donovan has traced him there.
But neither of the men are going to get rich as Mrs Warren has left a vitriolic note stating that she's taken a different flight to parts unknown!
Edgar adds his coda to provide a sort of justice, though perhaps not the type of Scales meted out at the Old Bailey.
Taxis used in Sam's escape: OXT604 and SGO884
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PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL (1965)
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Geoffrey Nethercott.
On a misty day, in his thick overcoat, Edgar is on London's rooftops, at the top of a hotel where, in Room 755, Mr Harry Wood had left,
via the seventh floor window. Discovered in his room were top secret documents signed by the PA to government minister Sir Joseph Kenton.
This "perfect civil servant", Miss Marion Corbett (Ellen McIntosh) is questioned by British Intelligence, the double act of Wilfred Sloan (Windsor Davies) and John Wilson (David Morell).
Marion denies knowing Wood was a spy, even though she was close friends with him.
However she has a rather large bank account and refusing to explain it, she is arrested. She eventually agrees to
reveal the source of her funds, she was given the money from "generous" men acquaintances such as Winters, a businessman now in America.
Her last boy friend before Wood had been Ronald Chadwell (Robert Cartland), the tv personality, host of the show Inside Information.
Her lawyer, Charles, surmises that either she is guilty or has been framed. Chadwell seems the prime suspect since she had ditched him.
A private detective trails him and uncovers the facts, which turn out of course more complicated than any fiction!
Chadwell's current girlfriend is Valerie. In a department store he is seen paying money to the porter of the flats where Miss Corbett lives. The porter is blackmailing him.
But though Caldwell had planted the documents in Wood's room to obtain an exclusive story, he denies killing the spy.
In fact, Lady Kenton "with the active cooperation of Ronald Chadwell" had been trying to frame her husband's mistress.
Back on the rooftops, Edgar returns to the original question, how did Harry Wood die? "Did he fall, did he jump, or was he pushed?" teases our criminologist.
And his verdict, oh dear, he tells us "the truth will never be known." Surely a case for the DNA men to reopen! Not a courtroom in sight in this story
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HIDDEN FACE (1965)
The Freedom to Write, the Freedom to Speak. On a misty day, stands Edgar at Tower Hill, "a traditional home of free speech in Britain."
He tells us of outspoken famous politician Robert Milsom (William Sherwood) who, as a forerunner of Mary Whitehouse, speaks out against vice and corruption.
He lives with his son William and his family, who are shocked when he commits suicide. They soon learn why.
Private Faces Public Men is a book by Jane Penshurst (Christine Finn) which exposes Milsom's alleged doubled life and double standards.
Another chapter deals with Sir Giles, the "harsh, ruthless chairman" of a large electronics company, whilst a third is devoted to a boxer whom Miss Penshurst alleges has murdered someone in the ring.
An actor,darling, is yet another target of her book.
She stands to make a lot of money out of all the publicity surrounding her book, with interviews on tv by Mr Crispin (played tongue in cheek by Alex MacIntosh).
William decides to sue her, but "a claim for libel dies with the person libelled, nor can a third party institute libel proceeedings on the deceased's behalf."
So William Milsom devises an ingenious scheme- he complains to Miss Penshurst's writers' association, compelling her to sue him to protect her professional reputation.
The second half of the story is set in the courtroom as the sources for Miss Penshurst's information are sought. She refuses to divulge confidential information which makes her case appear fragile.
But she insists Milsom had had affairs with doubful women, and had an illegitimate child through an unnamed actress.
However a Rose Jenkins (Gretchen Franklin) steps forth of her own accord, and explains in court that she runs a theatrical lodging house where she had had an affair with Robert Milsom and borne his child.
What's more that child is none other than Jane Penshurst! Result- nominal damages only to Jane Penshurst, and noone is satisfied as to this outcome.
Edgar discusses the verdict and ponders why Rose should have decided to give this evidence against her own daughter. For certain, this case had no winners.
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MATERIAL WITNESS (1965)
Script: James Eastwood. Directed by Geoffrey Nethercott.
A sympathetic portrayal by Reginald Marsh really makes this story of the Rise and Fall of Mr Harry Turner.
Hands in his overcoat pockets, Edgar introduces a modern business tale. Harry is a senior sales executive, but he's a
man under stress. Personal assistant Lewis Carter "hates his guts."
After a heavy lunch boozing and smoking at a restaurant, plus a little business, Harry departs, still smoking furiously, in his 3.5 Rover
rather unsteadily, and the police have soon caught up with him for doing over 60mph in a 40mph restricted zone-
the fact that the road in which this scene is shot is in open country and perfectly straight makes the limit a little
Harry loses his licence and in an "exemplary sentence" is also sent to jail for two months.
Mrs Turner and her teenage daughter Pat are rather unexpectedly comforted at this time by, of all people, Lewis.
"Was he sincere?" is Edgar's pointed question to us.
After his six week's holiday, Harry reports back to his office only to find Lewis is now in charge.
He can take a different job, with a cut in salary. Even worse for Harry, it seems his daughter's fallen for the
Harry needs a break. He gets one from your friendly barman (Harry Locke) who tips Harry off that Lewis had in fact
tipped off the police about Harry's drunken state the day he got pinched.
Was Lewis "doing his duty as a citizen" or is he just "a louse?"
The office Christmas party is a jolly affair. Lewis announces his engagement to Pat only to be interrupted by Harry
who enters the worse for drink, with his denouncing speech.
Exit hastily newly engaged couple zooming off in Lewis' new Rover (a white 3.5 this time). You can guess the rest.
"Lewis, don't go any faster!" But there's road rage with a Mini. An impressive sequence ends in an expected crash
with one badly injured Mini driver. The police arrest Lewis. Disqualified. Prison.
The obvious irony is noted by Edgar.
He adds a footnote concerning Harry's happy emigration with his family down under, to "the sun" adds Edgar rather pointedly in his thick overcoat.
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COMPANY OF FOOLS (1966 - colour)
This is a story told with a certain touch of humour and directed with style, rather out of keeping with the strait-laced Lustgarten's sombre tones.
The ill fated Jason Enterprises crashes and five disgruntled shareholders plan 'Get Jason'. They are Ethel Cooper (Dorothy Frere), Herbert Price (Frank Williams),
Charlie Webb (Barry Keegan), Dimitrios Kasabis (Maurice Kaufman) and Major MacDonald (Barrie Ingham). They want to hurt "such a wicked man" Jason (Garfield Morgan) where it hurts most, his pocket.
Some snooping at the luxury mansion of "financial wizard" Jason provides proof that he's an illegal arms supplier, so Major MacDonald poses as a buyer from a foreign power. At a swish hotel the five meet with Jason and a deal is concluded, whilst
Kasabis, posing as wealthy Sheik Abdul, chats up Mrs Elizabeth Jason. In fact he rather overdoes his pleasant task, flirting with her, trying to make a date with her.
The deal is sealed at £200,000, with delivery on the 24th, though the finances cannot be finalised until the following day. A gentleman's agreement is enough for Jason.
So the cargo of 'ladies' underwear' is loaded on to a private plane with Jason
waving it off, the crew smile too. Jason has been promised his money the next day, but of course it doesn't arrive.
Foolishly the infatuated Kasabis has left Elizabeth a note, and the gang
is exposed and end up in the dock, not without "a great deal of public sympathy."
Though they are convicted, the publicity leads to Jason's arrest and he gets a much longer sentence.
Edgar also adds a "happy footnote."
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THE HAUNTED MAN (1966 colour)
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Stanley Willis.
"An obsession that made legal history," declares the voice at the beginning. So this is just up Edgar's street!
He is standing outside a cottage hospital, where actor Bill Kenton (James Ellis)
is being discharged after unsuccessfully accosting a man in a smash and grab raid at a Guildford jewellers. For his pains he had suffered three broken ribs.
Bill tries to return to his work at the Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon, obtaining the lead role of Travers in a play, but he just can't concentrate or remember his lines. Has he gone "funny in the head"? His girl friend Bridget (Isobel Black) urges him to "start living again," but it is now an utter obsession with him to find the thief that has ruined his life. The problem is, he starts accusing all sorts of innocent people.
In a pub comes his break. He happens to spot the man, name of Mark Godfrey (Keith Barron), who is dining with his fiancee Laura Sims (Alexandra Bastedo). This time Bill is certain he has found the jewel thief.
However Mark is a "dynamic local businessman," and doesn't look like a crook. The couple are building their dream home to live in. Certainly the police aren't convinced that he's a "vicious criminal." And anyway, how could Kenton identify Godfrey when he was only half conscious? He has no legal proof at all.
Edgar relates how Bill devotes himself to discovering all about Mark's past, and hounds his perceived enemy with anonymous nuisance calls, "I want your hide," is one of the messages.
Finally Godfrey agrees to meet his accuser, at 10pm at their "nice new house" under construction in the country. Godfrey takes his gun. But Kenton is one step ahead and by imitating Mark's voice, gets Laura to come to the meeting. There Bill reveals what he believes about Mark Godfrey's shady past, trying to play her off against him. Yet Godfrey has laid his own plans. The police are on hand to arrest Kenton for demanding money with menaces.
The final dramatic scene is at Kenton's trial. There's a poetic twist as "the haunted man," Edgar concludes, "was haunted no more"
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INFAMOUS CONDUCT (1966 colour)
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Richard Martin.
Standing outside a Harley Street practice (number 18), Edgar Lustgarten relates the case of Tony Searle, plastic surgeon (Dermot Walsh) who's accused of a liaison with Mrs Bennett, a patient.
His secretary's evidence is pivotal, and despite his denials, he is struck off. And that's really the end of the Trial part of the story. It's not at all clear what the
Scales of Justice have to do with the rest of the film.
This continues in Brighton, where our ex doctor tries to start a new life. Idling away his time, he improbably picks up a young artist, Janet Davies (Bridget Armstrong), buying her picture for £10 is enough to get her to go back to his second home where Tony is now residing, hacving split with his wife Maggie.
As Edgar puts it in his poetic way, he finds a peace and
contentment that would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago. Or as one character remarks, "you're a bit old for Janet." Maggie does offer a reconciliation, on her own terms, but when she sees him shacked up with Janet, turns her back.
Tony's reputation attracts a friend of Janet's to his door, who wants the ex doc to 'help.' There's this fellow Jim who has razor slashes on his face and has clearly been involved with shady goings on. Tony is gently blackmailed into helping, then forced into being paid in "dirty money."
One job done, another is wanted. Dixon (Ewen Solon), an infamous bank robber and now on the run from Pentonville, tells Searle his face is 'overexposed' and needs an urgent facelift.
Searle realises he's at a crossroads. Fee £1,000 refused. Janet leaves Tony, because she realises she has become a liability.
Eluding the crooks, Tony does the right thing, and goes to the police. Then he disappears on a flight to Paris. But good news, Janet goes with him
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PAYMENT IN KIND (1966 colour)
Script: John Roddick and Peter Duffell. Director: Peter Duffell.
Justine Lord gives a strong performance in an interesting character study that rounds off the series.
This is "one of the most tragic crimes," announces Edgar, standing in a modern suburban housing estate in Wimbledon.
In her spotless home, Paula Morgan spends her money freely, often on credit, specially lavishing new dresses on her daughter Nicola.
Robert Andrews (Derrick Sherwin), a persistent travelling salesman, calls wanting his overdue payments for the last three months, £51 in all. With a significant look he suggests "we'll work out something."
Her husband John knows nothing of any of this, and is in no position to help financially anyway. So Paula has to resort to theft.
Whilst at a party of Nicola's friend, Paula 'borrows' a "rather beautiful" ring for which
a jeweller (Henry McGee) immediately offers her £60, sufficient to repay her arrears to Andrews, who is naturally disappointed to find his hold over her evaporating.
"I shall miss seeing you, Paula," he sighs.
Giving her a lift to the shops in his car, there's that familiar fault "something wrong with the steering,"
just as they pass a deserted farm. He attacks her. A struggle. He is accidentally killed when he bangs his head on farmyard machinery.
Running away the shaken Paula struggles home, a graphic scene depicting her distress. She broods.
Director Peter Duffell produces some fine long camera shots as she starts to cut up that brand new mink jacket she bought from Andrews, and as she collapses in hysteria.
The action moves to her trial. Was there any romantic liaison? A female barrister (Maxine Audley) makes an
impassioned plea in her defence. Not guilty of murder, it was self defence, though later she is convicted of theft.
Edgar bids a final adieu with a happy footnote. He is standing outside her home, which has a SOLD sign outside- perhaps there was a message here about the sad closure of the film studios that had made 52 short films with Edgar as our thought provking host
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These inspectors feature in more than one story (numbers refer to the story number)-
In 5 and 8 Russell Napier is Inspector Harmer while in 17, 18, 19, 22 , 25, 26, 28 , 30, 31,
33, 34 , 36, 37 Russell Napier plays Inspector Duggan (a total of 13 stories).
The next most active actor is in 24, 27 and 29 in which John Warwick plays Supt. Reynolds.
Gerald Case (Inspector Carron) appears in two- 3 and 11.
So does Geoffrey Keen in 32 and 35 but with different names: Supt. Graham/Carter.
Similarly in 9 Kenneth Henry is Inspector Baker, while in
10 he is Inspector Ross.
In 21 Ronald Adam, in 23 Dennis Castle and in 38 Harry H. Corbett all feature as Inspector
Other police officials in charge of cases only make one appearance each:
in 1 is John Le Mesurier (Supt. Henley),
in 6- Colin Tapley (Inspector Turner),
in 7- Gordon Bell (Inspector Durrant),
in 12- Frank Leighton (Inspector Parry),
in 13- Robert Raglan (Inspector Dexter),
in 14- Ewen Solon (Inspector Conway),
in 15- Cyril Chamberlain (Inspector Harris),
in 16- Hugh Moxey (Inspector O’Madden),
in 20- Ballard Berkeley (Inspector Berkeley),
and in 39 John Welsh appears as Supt. Hicks.
In Story 2 there is no main investigating police officer, while in 4 he appears very
The first 26 Scotland Yard stories were produced by Alec Snowden.
Jack Greenwood took over for the final thirteen stories, continuing his association with Merton Park by producing nearly all the Edgar Wallace series.
The theme music in the Scales of Justice series, issued on Decca F11662, was recorded by The Tornados.