Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Wednesday 16 October 1963

Seeing a 21 year old John Thaw (as always, looking considerably older) as a hot-headed, inexperienced police officer feels deeply strange.  Thanks to the blight of missing episodes only two of the four Z Cars episodes in which he played DC Elliot exist - this one brings an end to his story. The episode begins with Proctor (Richard Carpenter), clearly a desperate man for some reason, receiving a distressing phone call.  His unsympathetic landlady (Gwen Nelson) proves to be little use in his hour of need.

It turns out Proctor supplied the police with vital evidence to help them track down a criminal gang.  An unknown person has leaked the information to the press, endangering both the police's plan to capture the gang and Proctor's life.  Inspector Barlow is having strong words at the station with a friend who works for the local paper (Paul Whitsun-Jones, now by far the most frequent guest actor at TV Minus 50 - I'm expecting him to turn up in Space Patrol next) when his superior, the incandescently livid Superintendent Miller (Leslie Sands, also a writer for The Plane Makers) appears, and roughly ejects the newspaperman.  Barlow clearly isn't enamoured with the Super's heavy-handed approach.

After PC Gordon's awakened in the night by a visit from Proctor's worried mother (Edna Petrie), who happens to be a neighbour, he and PC Lynch pay a visit to Proctor's digs, only to find that the gang got there first.

Proctor's rushed to hospital, where his reaction to the Superintendent's bludgeoning questions is less than positive.

Barlow, meanwhile, is trying to trace the source of the leak to the press, which looks like it must have come from an officer.  Forbes (Jack Smethurst), the reporter responsible for the story, isn't inclined to be helpful - he's far too absorbed in his latest assignment interviewing the employees of a strip club.

A horde of police offers (probably not the right collective noun), led by Sergeant Blackitt (Robert Keegan), converge on the gang's hideout.  And look - they've even brought a doggie!

But it's too late, of course: they've scarpered to who knows where.  Barlow finds out who blabbed to the press: it was DC Elliott - miserable and out of his depth since being promoted to the CID, he happened to let some indiscreet comments slip in the ear of someone he really shouldn't have been talking to.  Practically begging to be put back in uniform, he now has to face the wrath of Barlow.  This is the last that was ever seen of Elliott.  I wouldn't be surprised if Barlow quite literally had him for breakfast.


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