Monday, 10 November 2014

Tuesday 10 November 1964

For a change, tonight's Emergency Ward 10 follows up directly on the last episode's cliffhanger, with a reprise of Staff Nurse Pat Lyle's terror at being confronted with a sinister intruder.

The opening title zooms into view as Les Large, returning to the hospital after his crushing encounter with Lena Hyde, hears Pat's scream and rushes to her aid.

The masked marauder turns out to be the grotesque Peter Bacon playing a practical joke.  Les is appropriately rough with him.

Meanwhile, the Royal Hotel bar really is proving the place to be tonight: not only is Louise Mahler there waiting for her fiancé Giles Farmer, but the three Sisters (more Macbeth than Chekhov, if we're honest) have congregated to celebrate Doughty's birthday.  MacNab tells the others about Louise's lovely engagement ring: Doughty's envious as she never got anything that nice from any of the young doctors she was engaged to.  She explains there was nothing else to do when she started her career in nursing : "If you knew that part of Ireland, you'd know what I mean".  Their conversation inevitably moves on to Matron's new shift system, and Ransome tells the others that even she isn't sure it's working.  Doughty insists they need to give it a fair crack of the whip and suggest ways it can be improved, but MacNab is still nothing but negative.

A deeply upset Louise (in a lovely blouse) confesses to Giles that she's lost her engagement ring, after taking it off and putting it in her pocket to avoid scratching patients with it.  She's searched the hospital grounds to no avail.

Back at the hospital, Amanda Brown's improving, and is even planning a holiday.  You'd think the incident where her mother broke her back would have put her off skiing, but not so: she and Rex Lane-Russell bond over their experiences at the same resorts.

Les and Giles swap tales of woe.  Having lost at love, Les decides to pin his hopes on money, specifically the money he's hoping to collect from Mr Springer if his horse, Little Bit of Fluff, wins.  Giles, hoping to buy Louise another ring, decides to have a flutter as well.

Mr Springer continues to run his betting shop from his hospital bed, to the exasperation of the nurses.  It's wonderful seeing an actor of Ronald Radd's quality guesting on Emergency Ward 10, and the rest of the cast all look like they're having a fantastic time whenever they're on screen.  Writer Diana Morgan provides him with a hilarious monologue about the useless son-in-law who's running the business in his absence, and his delivery of it is an absolute joy.

Sister Ransome tentatively suggests to a more than usually frosty Matron that the new shift system has one or two problems to be ironed out.

Rex Lane-Russell's feeling a bit under the weather, and combats his feeling of peakiness by balancing a glass of Beecham's powders on his forehead.  Jane Beattie pops in to see him and is disheartened to note that he seems to have lost all interest in her - it looks like his thoughts are now on Amanda Brown.

Pat Lyle's recovered from her fright, and Les is astonished when she sticks up for Bacon in response to his continuing tirades against the imbecilic young doctor.

Les is moved to compose a rhyme in his head: "I do not like thee, Dr Bacon/ With your happiness I'm not taken".  Clearly he thinks better of it.

Amanda receives a visit from sweet but gormless Maureen Parkin (Therese McMurray), who rooms in the same house as her.  Amanda's a bit mysterious, asking Maureen to bring her a book she needs for some visitors she'll be receiving the following day.

As Louise and Sister MacNab discuss whether anyone could have stolen the ring, they're interrupted by Nurse Pollock (Jane Evers), who we haven't seen before.  Could this be significant?

Amanda refuses a cup of tea from Nurse Pollock, but when Sister MacNab later chides her for not drinking enough fluids, she claims she's bored with water and didn't know she was allowed anything else.  What on earth is going on?

MacNab voices her concerns to Louise that Amanda might be suffering from some form of amnesia, but leaves this problem aside to make her lack of enthusiasm for the new shift system perfectly clear.

The race commences, and the tension mounts for Mr Springer.  Little Bit of Fluff wins, and Les and Giles jubilate.  But for Mr Springer it means ruination...

Next tonight...

Tonight's episode begins with a gripping scene featuring a beautiful woman (Lelia Goldoni) being stalked through the streets of London by burly Barry Linehan.

Finally she eludes her pursuer, and reaches the home of an old friend; of ours too: it's John Drake.  This was the third episode of the revived Danger Man to be made, and at this stage Drake was still portrayed as American, as he had been in the show's original incarnation.  It looks like the decision to make the character English was made during the making of this episode, as Patrick McGoohan's accent constantly changes throughout (and not simply when he's adopted an alias).  Drake's also portrayed as a much more gregarious figure than we've become used to, enthusiastically welcoming his former colleague Liza Lansig into his home and being an almost overbearingly solicitous host.

Of course his joy at seeing Liza may to some degree be an act: as soon as she tells him about the man following her he pops out to have a look, heading straight for a phone box to ask his boss (not the sinister Admiral this week but the far more genial figure of Brigadier Gorton (Raymond Adamson), who even has a comic sidekick, Mumford (Edwin Apps) if they've got anybody on Liza's tail.

Before Drake gets home, Liza has a good root round his flat looking for a gun.  Finding one, she secretes it in her handbag.

Drake presses Liza into going out for lunch with him, but she absconds from the taxi on the way there.  Drake follows after her into a health food shop, but there's no sign of anyone but the proprietor, Mr Sustri (Kenneth Adams).  From his name and his references to studying in Delhi I think he's supposed to be Indian, but you'd certainly never know it from looking at him.  "I'm having a little trouble with weight," claims Drake.  "Oh yes, the affluent society," Sustri sagely nods.

When Drake leaves with a slimming aid, Liza emerges from her hiding place at the back of the shop and obtains an envelope from Sustri.  The displays behind him are fascinating.

Drake, who was hiding in the next shop's doorway, follows after Liza when she leaves the shop, and, failing to get a cab, tries to drive after hers in the car belonging to her other pursuer, being attacked by the man and nearly running over a policeman in the process.

As a disgruntled Drake confesses to Gorton, it turns out that the man following Liza was also a policeman, Foster of Special Branch. who was on to her for using Sustri's fake passport service.  Gorton's worried about Liza's fears of being pursued, as she was recently treated at a mental hospital for a persecution complex.

Liza's complex was a result of being tortured in East Germany by a man named Pohlman, an ex-head of security and now government minister who she became obsessed with killing.  She's attempted to kill him before and, in spite of the assurances of Dr McKenna (Noel Howlett) that she's fully cured, Gorton fears she'll try again.

Drake and Foster return to the shop and confront Sustri over his passport racket.  He admits to forging a Swiss passport and East German visa for Liza.  Realising she's gone after Pohlman again, Drake obtains his own fake passport and follows after in the guise of her husband

James Maxwell plays Pieter, an East German contact of Liza's who refuses to furnish her with Pohlman's address until she has a breakdown, and he agrees to get it for her in order to end her suffering.

As Pieter leaves Liza's hotel room Drake arrives, warning her that "You can't wipe out blood with more blood".  She's in no mood to listen.

Pieter meets up with Drake and confirms that Liza wants to kill Pohlman.  George Mikell, who was in Danger Man in a different role just a couple of weeks back, plays Wilhelm Berg, the stony-faced son of the local police chief, who tries to obstruct Drake's attempts to see his father.

Drake eventually gets to see Colonel Berg (Andre Van Gysegham), and warns him that his "wife" is Liza Lansig.  Berg is clearly terrified by the name, and agrees to deport Liza, but seems oddly reticent to stop her from assassinating Pohlman.

Pieter warns Drake there's no way that the government will deport Liza: instead she'll be whisked off somewhere that "she'd be better dead."

A man in the hotel restaurant hands Liza a piece of paper with Pohlman's address.  Drake sees it but he's prevented from stopping her exit by the police, who intend to physically force him out of the country.  Pieter comes to his aid and a fight ensues, in which the police come off worst.  Pieter and Drake follow after Liza.

Liza reaches Pohlman's house and hides in the bushes with a gun, unaware that Wilhelm Berg is hiding in the bushes with a separate gun trained on her.

Pohlman (Ernest Lindsay) takes a seat on his balcony and Liza takes aim, but is prevented from shooting by Drake.  So Berg shoots Pohlman dead instead.  Drake realises that Colonel Berg intended to allow Liza to kill Pohlman to further his own ends.

Drake sets an elaborate trap for the Bergs by spreading false information that Liza is trying to escape to the West.  Wilhelm follows the supposed Liza through a hole in the fence to the other side, only to find British forces, and a girl who isn't Liza, waiting for him.

Drake informs the Colonel that his son is now in the West, and that it will be spun to look like he defected because of a girl.  The Colonel is forced to agree that Liza be exchanged for Wilhelm.

A middling instalment, that.  Next tonight, The Plane Makers, which is driving me ever closer to the end of my tether.

The most interesting things about tonight's episode are the eyebrows of actor Henry McCarthy, who plays a French aeroplane manufacturer, Monsieur Evrais (he doesn't do the accent) whose company have developed a plane very much like the one John Wilder is trying to get a government contract for.

Evrais accompanies Camille Tonnelier (Robert MacLeod), French minister for the Integration of Expenditure, to London, where they meet with a group of backbench MPs influential in the field of aviation - including Sir Gerald Merle and James Cameron Grant.  Tonnelier's realised that NATO will only want to buy one type of plane, and offers to give each man a full dossier on the Evrais plane so they can judge whether or not it's better than the Ryan Airframes one.  If they think it's better, he wants them to lobby for it, otherwise the French will want to see the specs of the English plane.  The country with the successful plane will leave the way clear for the other to provide NATO with troop carriers.  "If this sort of thing becomes a habit there'll never be any need to join the common market!" chortles jolly old Samuel Hesterby (Carleton Hobbs).

Patrick Wymark's away again this week, meaning Jack Watling gets top billing as Don Henderson.  He's called to the presence of Sir Gordon Revidge, who wants to undermine his loyalty to John Wilder: he warns Henderson that the problem with being a "Wilder man" is that eventually Wilder feels obliged to return one's loyalty - and as he doesn't like that feeling it means you're for the chop.  Revidge intimates that he could get Henderson a seat on the board of Ryan Airframes if he plays his cards right.  Don responds that while being a Wilder man may have its pitfalls, being a Corbett man is more than he could bear.

Merle appears and relates the events of the morning's meeting.  Revidge is appalled to learn that he refused to take a dossier because of the conflict of interest in him being on the Scott Furlong board.  I think I should point out that the strange wart thing above William Devlin's eyebrow seems to grow bigger every week.  Don and Laura Challis are sent off to get details of the dossier from those who did get one.

Obviously Laura has an advantage here, being romantically involved with Cameron-Grant.  She prepares a fancy dinner at his flat that evening, Wendy Gifford's licking of her skewer presumably intended to perk up viewers who may have fallen asleep during the seeming aeons it's taken the episode to get to this point.

Like everybody else, Grant and Laura talk interminably about business.  Though more scenes could do with ending on a note of pure Acorn Antiques as this one does, with the following dialogue delivered in hilariously sultry tones: "I've a mild impression that you're using me, James."  "I should always be delighted for you to use me, Laura."  "I think my partridges are burning."  "Good."

Anyway, after a load more to-ing and fro-ing, the whole thing ends with Grant agreeing to show Revidge his dossier in exchange for seats on the boards of both Scott-Furlong and Ryan Airframes.  Then, moments after the deed is done, Revidge discovers, to his horror and Grant's vast amusement, that the contents of the dossier is all over that day's papers.

Condensed to about 10 minutes, that might have been bearable.  Anyway, here are some more nice outfits.  See you on Thursday (that's Wednesday in 2014 time).

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