Saturday, 10 January 2015

9-15 January 1965

Saturday 9 January

I wish I could tell you more about this week's edition of  Juke Box Jury as it features the dream team of Peggy Mount and Dusty Springfield on the panel (alongside Pete Murray and actor David Healy), but sadly, beyond that, I can't (I'm not being evasive, I simply don't have any more information).  Instead, let's crack on with tonight's

When we left Ian Chesterton last week he was standing on a ledge, about to be either impaled by spikes or precipitated into a pit occupied by a growling monster.  Well, he's still there, but happily he manages to squeeze past the spikes and back to the Doctor's side.

Meanwhile, Barbara Wright's helping young Vicki tend to the ailing Bennett, who collapsed shortly after being introduced to her (I think it's her hairdo that did it).

As for the terrifying monster, it's next seen emerging from a cave next to the crashed spaceship, Vicki feeding it like it was a pet (a hapless crew member is plainly visible behind the creature, until he makes a swift exit upon realising he's being filmed).  Barbara, who's found a gun, spots it out of the porthole (or whatever a spaceship has), and, as if she's applying for the role of Honor Blackman's replacement in The Avengers, dashes out to what she imagines to be the rescue and shoots the unfortunate creature dead.

The late "Sandy" was poor Vicki's only friend in the universe, so she's understandably distraught at his tragic demise.  Barbara's pleas that she thought she was trying to help fall on deaf ears as the grieving Vicki collapses in tears.  I wonder if she took this kind of gung-ho attitude to bullying in school.

Vicki's chastising of Barbara is suddenly interrupted by the appearance of Ian and the Doctor, who've found their way out of the cave.  The Doctor tries to cheer Vicki up by telling her she looks a mess, while Ian's got an, erm, interesting nickname for the fiend whose been terrorising her.

Plainly chuffed to have a youngster to coddle once again, the Doctor shuffles the teachers off so he can be alone with Vicki and convince her to forgive Barbara.  He also reassures her that he'll have a word with Bennett and they'll find a way to deal with Koquillion.

Bennett won't let the Doctor into his room, so he forces his way in (seemingly unworried by any delicate situation that might arise.  Meanwhile, Barbara makes friends with Vicki and she and Ian tell the disbelieving teenager where they come from.  It turns out that the present year is 2493, which. Vicki points out, means Barbara's about 550 years old.  She's not thanked for this piece of information.

The Doctor's discovered that the supposedly bedridden Bennett is missing from his quarters, which, upon investigation, he finds to contain a tape recorder that plays "Keep out" messages, a device enabling him to hear what's going on elsewhere in the ship (he tunes in just in time to hear Vicki say she likes him), and a concealed trapdoor.

Exiting through the trapdoor, the Doctor finds himself in an ornate chamber (well, as ornate as the budget would stretch to).  Upstairs, his companions find him gone ("He wouldn't go off without telling us," frets Barbara, ignoring the fact that this is precisely the sort of thing he does every week). The place the Doctor finds himself in is the People's Hall of Justice - the ideal venue for him to confront  Koquillion - or Bennett, as he's also known (there was no actor called Sydney Wilson! I wonder if any viewers at the time rumbled the baddie by noticing how much he sounds like Titan from Stingray).  His fearsome appearance is, in fact, a ceremonial costume of the "Dido people", as the Doctor calls them.

In classic exposed murderer style, Bennett explains that he killed the other occupants of the ship to conceal his earlier murder of a crew member, for which he had been arrested before the crash.  The invitation the natives extended to a reception for the crew was genuine, and it was Bennett who engineered the explosion that killed both the Earth and Dido people.  He kept Vicki alive to back up his version of events, dressing up as Koquillion to convince her how monstrous the natives were.

Now, of course, Bennett intends to add the meddling time traveller and his companions to the list of casualties.  But the Doctor's a trickier opponent than he expected, and wrestles with him over his magic spanner.

Besting the old man, Bennett's poised to throttle him when two big blond chaps appear, and cause him to fall down a pit when he backs away in terror.

Next thing we know we're back at the TARDIS, and the Doctor explains to his friends that these were the surviving people of Dido out for revenge.  There's just one last thing to sort out: the Doctor goes to speak to poor, all-alone Vicki, and asks her if she'd like to join him on his travels.  A jaded 21st century eye may well find its brow rising at  an old man promising a teenage girl an abundance of adventure, but this is a magical moment.  Vicki's the first person to come aboard the TARDIS by invitation, and it's especially significant that the Doctor goes to seek Ian and Barbara's consent before asking her (they give it enthusiastically even before he can).  Strange that it should take the departure of the only character actually related to the Doctor to make the ship's occupants seem like a family.

Lovely as all this is, there's still all that adventure the Doctor mentioned, which we're reminded of when  the TARDIS land on the edge of a precipice, and swiftly tumbles off it...

By the way, Desperate Measures is another of those fearsomely generic titles that masses of TV shows have resorted to when they couldn't think of anything else.  As well as Doctor Who, it's been used as an episode title by (among others) Burn Notice, Walker, Texas Ranger, Casualty, Doctors (twice), Stargate SG-1, Holby City, Heartbeat, The Bill, Party of Five and, most recently, Toast of London.

Next tonight, Redcap.  As it centres on a near exclusively male military it's not surprising that this show's featured few substantial female roles to date.  However, the plum part in tonight's episode (scripted by Z Cars creator Troy Kennedy Martin, brother of Redcap script editor Ian Kennedy Martin) is that of Wendy Stateland, an Eastender now running a refugee home in West Germany (or is there more to it than that?).  Barbara Jefford gives a tremendous performance in the role.

The episode begins with the calm suicide of a British army officer, Major Trust (the actor who plays him isn't credited)...

Sergeant John Mann's soon on the scene , though Trust's second in command, Captain Pelley (Philip Bond) seems to take great pleasure in being obstructive.  What Mann does manages to find out is that Trust gave a cheque for £100 to a Captain Fitztormey, which was cashed at a shady venue known as the Wine of Life Club.  The discovery in the Major's office of several books on making love leads Pelley to reveal that Trust had recently been romancing Mrs Stateland.

Trust's batman, Private White (Peter Birrel) proves equally evasive.  Mann suspects drugs are somehow involved in the Major's death - the Wine of Life Club is also his only lead in the case of three soldiers currently being treated for addiction.

Pipe-puffing staff sergeant John Collin tries to dissuade him from following up this line of inquiry as it's outside his jurisdiction, but of course that isn't going to stop him.

Captain Pelley pays a visit to Wendy Stateland, who it's clear he knows well.  Their meeting's interrupted by the arrival of Mann.

As you may know, I feel compelled to feature any close-up of a plate of biscuits which presents itself.

Anyway, Mann learns from Mrs Stateland that there are currently only six invalids staying in her home: nobody's needed refuge from anything for a while.  She doesn't seem especially moved by the news of Major Trust's death, or to hold his memory in much esteen:

Mann: He's dead.
Wendy: He always was.
Mann: He took his own life.
Wendy: No, I think his mother was responsible.  Not only her, I think there must have been a series of dramatic things happen to him at Sturmey Heath, or whatever his public school was.

The sinister figure of Wendy's colleague Ernst (Frederick Jaeger) now appears to show Mann out.  After he's left we see a glimpse of the relationship between the two, leading us to wonder who's really the boss.

Mann next pops into the interestingly-decorated Wine of Life Club, but finds nobody around except for Private White, who's been beaten up and is lying comatose out by the bins.

Mann's ordered to drop the case and instead focus on a Private Richards, who's in hospital after falling off a wall when he tried to escape a detention centre.  Happily for Mann, Richards is just a few beds away from Private White.  But Richards proves more interesting than expected in himself, as the attendant doctor and nurse (Yvonne Antrobus) shows signs of being a heroin addict (extremely dull trivia: this episode features both an actor who was in the TV version of Doctor Who's first encounter with the Daleks (Philip Bond) and one who was in the film version (Yvonne Antrobus)).

Mann learns that a young lady called Ursula Leinster (Christa Bergman) has been trying to see Private Richards and seeks her out.  She turns out to be pregnant by him, and agrees to lead Mann to the people he obtained the drugs from.

Longtime readers (if there are any) may be aware of my love of a good 1960s party scene.  We haven't had one in ages, so the one that transpires at  the Wine of Life Club is especially welcome.  Captain Pelley's there with a German dolly bird.

I always have a favourite in these sort of scenes and here it's this lady, who despite her mature years (compared to the other dancers) is frigging away (or whatever the current dance craze may be) for all her worth.

It turns out to be Ernst and assorted henchmen who are peddling the drugs, and Mann approaches them to ask for some.  He claims he's not in work mode, but the next thing he knows he's waking up in Wendy Stateland's bed, having been injected with something nasty the night before.

Mann realises that, as Wendy's still able to get whatever medication she wants for her refugees even though there are hardly any left, she's been obtaining great quantities of prescription drugs which she's been selling on.  She reveals to Mann the reason Major Trust killed himself.

Mann: He killed himself because he couldn't have sex?
Wendy: I don't understand it.  I thought how much happier he ought to have been.

Wendy intends to let Mann go, but warns him that she'll have all evidence of drug peddling cleared up before he can return with the civilian police.

As Wendy's packing up to clear out she's visited by Captain Pelley, another of her clients, arrives and propositions her in the hope of a fix.

Shortly after, Mann returns, explaining to Wendy that the drugs still in his bloodstream will act as evidence of what she's been up to.  Jefford is incredible delivering Wendy's final speech, revealing that she and her husband were bright young Oxford graduates who came out to Germany with a genuine desire to help people in need, but that her humanitarian intentions deserted her when her husband did.

Next week's Redcap is the last in the present series.  Over on BBC 2, movie fans could tune in to Cinema 625 for a showing of Franco Rossi's Friends for Life (1955).  You can watch the film on Youtube, but it's in Italian without subtitles.  When I had the closed captions translated into English I got the most startling results.

The most significant TV event of tonight is the first episode of Not Only But Also, with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and guests John Lennon (reading some poems what he wrote), Norman Rossington, Professor Bruce Lacey, Sheila Steafel and Diahann Carroll.  The BBC have released a "Best Of" (dreaded words!) compilation of the series, and there are various sketches available to view on Youtube, but as it's impossible to work out what comes from which episode I've sadly decided to leave the show alone.

Sunday 10 January

Tonight we find perennial spare part Lieutenant Fisher centre stage (at least for a bit) in the driving seat.  Of Stingray, actually, which he needs to command as part of his aquanaut training.  Commander Shore listens in to his progress accompanied by Troy Tempest, who clucks like a mother hen over what's happening to his beloved ship.

Soon enough the ship's confronted by one of Titan's mechanical fish, and Lt Fisher discovers to his horror that Stingray's missiles aren't working.

Hit by a missile, Stingray crashes into some rocks - the nuclear reactor's broken and the crew are forced to don their unflattering radiation gear.  It's of little use, though, the ship's hopelessly wrecked and their doomed.

But then it all turns out to have been a simulation.  Fisher's distraught that he failed miserably, but Shore informs him that the situation he was put in was deliberately impossible, and that his response to it has ensured he's passed this stage of his training.  The next bit is to pilot the real Stingray (seems a bit odd that a sub that we're forever being told is the only one that can avert catastrophe is so blithely used for training exercises).

Next Commander Shore has to deal with the mild annoyance of having a duplicate computer delivered by mistake.  He doesn't even look in the box, which is a shame because the dastardly Agent X20's hiding in there, spying (as is his wont).  He learns Stingray's going out to the missile range the next day, and hatches a wicked plan.

Fisher's been invited round to Marina's flat that evening, but when he rings the doorbell nobody answers.  Concerned, he lets himself in...

...and is confronted by a surprise party.  The idea is to relax him for his trip out in Stingray tomorrow (though I must say the alcohol that appears to be supplied seems a bad idea...)

Meanwhile, Agent X20 is rigging missile target number three up with enough explosives to get rid of Stingray once and for all.

This makes for a very tense situation when Fisher begins firing, with great big close-ups of the worried staff back at Marineville thrown in (though why they'd be worried, as they don't know about the explosives, I'm not sure).

The target goes up in one of Stingray's lovely big explosions when it's hit, downing the sub.

To finish the job, X20 pops out and affixes a sticker bomb to Stingray.

Are the crew fated to die? Well, perhaps not, as, although there's no time to get another sub out to them, Shore comes up with the idea of getting a plane to drop a diver who can come to the rescue.  As Troy's the only person up to the swimming, and the available planes only carry one person, he has to rapidly learn how to fly a plane as well.

It all ends happily, of course, and the episode concludes with a slap-up meal that sees the men of the WASPs all dressed in those bizarre bronze dinner suits that seem to be regulation wear.  It's no wonder Troy needs a couple of stiff ones.

Today's film matinee on BBC 1 is Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946).

There's more thrills and spills from 1940s Hollywood later in the evening with Ray Milland and Charles Laughton in the excellent The Big Clock (1948).

Monday 11 January

Among tonight's programming, members of the public vie to beat the panel (consisting this week of the cast of the London Palladium's Aladdin, led by Arthur Askey) in Pick the Winner, presented by Gay Byrne, while the North West competes against West Scotland in tonight's Come Dancing on BBC 1.

Tuesday 12 January

Tonight's Danger Man gets off to an intriguing start as a breakfasting African gentleman, Mr Odzala (Thomas Baptiste) is visited in his splendidly decorated flat by a sinister chap (ubiquitous TV bit-parter Ivor Salter) who attempts to strangle him, and gets a pot of hot water flung in his face for the trouble.

The next thing we see is John Drake, waiting in a country lane for the arrival of a prison van containing Ed Bowden (Tom Gill), a convict shortly to be released. Bowden's been approached in prison by the attacker we saw at the top of the episode (newly detained at Her Majesty's pleasure), with an offer of work on the outside.  Determined to go straight, Bowden's decided to tell about this in the hope that somebody might make it worth his while.

Drake promises Bowden decent remuneration for his information, but tells him he'll have to stay inside a bit longer: Bowden's to take Williams up on his offer, and Drake will pretend to be him in the outside world, making contact with his prospective employers.  Leaving Wormwood Scrubs in Bowden's place, Drake's met in a caff by an elderly gent (Roger Maxwell), who puts him on a train, where he makes contact with a businesslike chap (Alan Wheatley), who gives him some money, in exchange for which he's now a member of the mysterious "Order".

Drake's eventual destination is a house called Lyndon Manor.  As he makes his way to the annexe where he's been told to go, he meets a frosty young woman (the very beautiful Georgina Ward), who seems baffled by the number of strange men congregating in the annexe, but nonetheless gives him a lift.

The door's opened to Drake by a butler played by Erik Chitty, and enters to find four other men recently released from prison and in the same boat as him: Pratt (Jack McGowran), Taylor (John Cairney), Johnson (Robert O'Neil) and Hutchinson (David Cargill).

Eventually they're taken up to the big house to meet their new boss, known only as the General (Jack Gwillim), and his aide Major Latour (Lee Montague), late of the French resistance.  These are a pair of right-wing nutters who've taken it upon themselves to rid the world of "decadent and corrupt demagogues", and impose order upon the world.  The ex-convicts are to be paid "more than the Prime Minister" in exchange for executing anyone the Order considers dangerous (the General leaves halfway through to meet the girl, who he's clearly well acquainted with).

Only Hutchinson seems opposed to the idea, and is ushered out, and told there'll be other duties for him.  The others are given money and instructed to go to London for a wild night out to "blow off steam" before they commence their intensive training.  But when they get to the flat the General keeps for such purposes, they discover a disturbing story in the news.

Deciding Hutchinson's death must be a coincidence the men prepare to go out on the town, but Drake suggests it might be a better idea to stay in: he knows girls who can come to them.  When he gets on the blower it's actually to Admiral Hobbs, and the spectacle of Drake chatting up down the phone is hilarious.

Hobbs sends out Agent Jackson (Dorinda Stevens), accompanied by a bevy of girls ready to sacrifice all for their country (Martine Beswick, Judy Huxtable and Ann Colston).  Drake gets Jackson alone and catches her up on what he's found out so far.

Their jolly over, the men return to London, where they're sobered by the revelation that everything they did was recorded on tape (though Drake cunningly managed to avoid this).

Their first lesson is from Mr Sen (a brief cameo from Zia Mohyeddin), a member of the Indian thuggee cult who demonstrates the most effective way to strangle someone with your tie.

Training in other methods of killing follows, including harpooning.

Drake sneaks out to take delivery of a parcel dropped with seeming carelessness from a butcher's van.  It contains a joint of meat - nothing unexpected there - except, when you Drake lifts the top off like a lid, he discovers there's a radio inside.

But his subterfuge is cut short by the girl, who's come to do some shooting.  Drake shows her how it should be done, and in the course of their conversation he learns that she is in fact the General's wife, so is naturally curious about what's going on with the strange men.  Despite her airs, graces and almost comically plummy voice, she's supposedly worked her way up from the Glasgow slums (it seems  unlikely, but then I suppose that's the point).  Major Latour, angry with Drake for straying, cuts their conversation short.  Later that night, he steals into the house to plant the listening device that was also in the meat, and overhears a conversation that suggests the General's marriage isn't a very happy one.

Training continues the following day.  Taylor, seemingly disillusioned with the whole thing, suggests that he and Drake try to make a break for it.  Drake refuses, but is awakened in the night to armed guards interrogating him about Taylor's escape.

Drake's sent to the motel (probably given a generic name, like that in  ATV's Crossroads, rather than directly inspired by it) to kill Taylor with an exploding briefcase, but instead tells Taylor (resplendent in a wonderful dressing gown).

It turns out to be a trap for Drake, who's the one really suspected of wanting to escape.  He attempts to do so, and the ensuing car chase ends with him crashing into a tree.

Drake's brought back to the house and interrogated, and reveals that the Order's operations at an end, with the police due to arrive shortly.  Everyone's too stunned to do anything, except the General's wife, who bursts in with a rifle - she's been part of the Order all along and with Drake dead nobody will know of her involvement.  The police smash their way in before she can shoot, and Drake ruefully informs her that if she hadn't revealed herself he would have given her the benefit of the doubt.

Over to BBC 1 now, where Kate and George Starling's baby, which should've been born five days ago, is conspicuous by its absence.

Kate's longing for the baby to finally make its appearance ("I can't wait for the day when I can walk down the road without leaning slightly backwards"), while George seems to have lost all interest.  The doctor's not offering any help beyond joking that the baby's waiting for the warmer weather.
Rather than face another night at home with poached fish and mash (apparently the only thing Kate's allowed to eat), George wants to go out to Miles' birthday party.  Kate doesn't feel up to it, and pretends she's suffering twinges in order to prompt George to go without her.

Instead, he's flung into panic mode and rushes downto get a taxi.  Kate guiltily tells him to get rid of it, but after he does she suddenly experiences a real twinge.

Kate sheepishly informs George (exhausted from rushing up and down many flights of stairs) that she really does need to go to hospital.

George manically rushes around trying to get a taxi without success.  Kate gets one straight away.  Finally they arrive at the hospital (George's father's paying for Kate to have a private room).  At this time, of course, it was considered far from compulsory for the expectant father to wait around while his wife gives birth, so Kate encourages him to go along to Miles' party and leave her to it.

George hastens to the party, where he's enthusiastically greeted by Miles (Edward De Souza) and his girlfriend Sandra (Juliet Harmer).  Their enthusiasm wanes as he proceeds to spend the rest of the evening telling everybody at great length about the joys of his impending fatherhood.

"Most people left before they fractured their jawbones yawning," a riled Miles tells George when he notices the crowd's thinned out a bit.  But George's main concern is that he hasn't yet heard anything about Kate.  Sandra calls the hospital for him, and he discovers he's now the father of a baby daughter.  This happened two hours ago - he wasn't told because he forgot to leave Miles' number at the hospital.

Miles' neighbour (the marvellous Damaris Hayman) turns up to angrily protest against the noise, but changes her tune when she learns one of the partygoers is a new dad.  But George is distracted from her hearty congratulations by his conviction that he's already failed as a father...

Next tonight, I can say something I've been looking forward to for weeks: it's the final episode of The Plane Makers.

We begin with John Wilder (wearing another splendid dressing gown) hunched over a chessboard.  His wife Pamela points out to him that he doesn't know the rules of the game.  "I know enough to knock the table over," he growls, ominously.

As a result of canny manoeuvring last week, James Cameron-Grant is due to be appointed Joint Managing Director of Ryan Airframes, a move Wilder vehemently opposes.  David Corbett's not keen on it either, but his basic philosophy is to be for anything Wilder's against.

The lovely Kay Lingard's compiled a list of Grant's advertising clients, and Wilder's overjoyed to see that some of them are suppliers to the Scott-Furlong group, meaning Grant's appointment could be seen as a conflict of interests.

Wilder prevents Grant from accepting the job by going public with the list, meaning that's one threat, neutralised.  But there's another looming.  Corbett's assigned computer expert Mr Mollett (Joby Blanshard) to carry out a projected cost analysis on the VTOL project over the next five years.

Corbett gleefully (well, as gleefully as he gets) informs Wilder that the contract is due to go £100,000 over budget: as Wilder's ultimately accountable for this it will certainly spell disaster for him.

Corbett approaches Grant about the figures in the hope he'll leak them as revenge for his appointment being blocked.  But Grant refuses: he's actually pleased about what happened, as it puts him in a better position for a more powerful role later on.  So, instead, he sends the figures to Laura Challis.  But she proves a more decent person than he expected, and instead of leaking the figures she gives them to Pamela Wilder (not knowing that Wilder already knows about the costs).

Wilder phones the Minister and Sir Gordon Revidge, and summons them to an urgent meeting the following day.  But he's still got something up his sleeve: his next move is to arrange for a press conference to be called, but that it be made known that Corbett called it.

The following day, after the condemned man's hearty breakfast, he reveals the bad news to his superiors.  But he already has a plan to mitigate it: his resignation.  However, it must be made to look like noble self-sacrifice, and there are conditions attached: Wilder secures the promise of his long-desired knighthood from the Minister, and a seat on the board of Revidge's merchant bank.

All that remains now is his final confrontation with Corbett, to which Patrick Wymark and Alan Dobie give their all.  He tells him what's happened, and that it'll have to be Corbett who faces the press.  His parting shot is to tell Corbett his mistake was to try and get others to do his dirty work: "You're still an amateur."

And with that, in an extended credits sequence, John Wilder leaves Scott-Furlong behind.

This isn't, however, the last we'll see of him: the freshly knighted Wilder returns later in the year (along with several other Plane Makers characters) in a new series, The Power Game.

Tonight's offering from The Vintage Years of Hollywood on BBC 2 is Preston Sturges' wonderful Sullivan's Travels (1941).

Wednesday 13 January

Tonight's episode of The Likely Lads, Chance of a Lifetime sadly no longer exists.  I don't know whether tonight's Wednesday Play does.  It's Sir Jocelyn, the Minister Would Like a Word, by novelist Simon Raven, with Michael Hordern as Sir Jocelyn and Derek Francis as the Minister.

Thursday 14 January

Tonight Simon Templar's in London, gaming at the Baytree Club with his latest squeeze, film star Oonagh O'Grady (Penelope Horner) and her agent (Henry Gilbert), who rejoices in the name of Tex Goldman, which sounds like a spoof of what an English person thinks an American would be called

As we all know, trouble has a habit of following Simon around: tonight it comes in the form of a pair of armed robbers, Orping (John Stone) and Corrigan (Anthony Wager) who hold up the club's proprietor (Edward Underdown) for £23, 560.

Orping and the driver, Enright (Norman Florence) get away with the money, leaving Corrigan behind when he gets in a tussle with a commissionaire (who Orping shoots dead).  Simon follows Corrigan back to his flat, and roughs him up (note blood running down the chin again - practically the only place it's ever seen on TV at the time - presumably for budgetary reasons more than anything else: it's easy for someone to just pop a capsule of fake blood in their mouth).

But before Simon can get any information from Corrigan, Orping (waiting outside) shoots him from behind.  He has some very dramatic death throes.

The gang has another member, a Mr Nilder (Redmond Phillips), whose main function is to look grumpy in a dressing gown  What's more, we discover that the mastermind is none other than Tex Goldman.  The gang have got one last job they want to carry out, but first they want to rid themselves of the Saint.

Conveniently enough, Simon's neighbour, Mrs Donaldson (Faith Kent) has a room to rent directly opposite his flat.  Orping takes it, and prepares to snipe (John Stone's intense performance as a frighteningly cold-blooded killer is the best thing about this middling episode).

But before Orping gets a chance at him, Simon spots the gun pointing right at his flat, and comes up with a plan.

After getting a bewildered Oonagh to purchase a bust of Julius Caesar for him from an antique shop (for the imperial sum of £21 10s), Simon cunningly positions it so it looks like someone's sitting in the window, getting Oonagh to bring it a drink to complete the illusion.  There's a hilarious continuity error here: when we switch to the point of view of Orping in the house opposite, the bust's suddenly acquired what looks like a Beatle wig.  The continuous cutting between these two perspectives proves highly chortlesome.

When Orping shoots, Simon pulls a string attached to the bust and it falls to the floor, creating the impression that he's been successfully assassinated.  In the belief that their chief adversary's out of the way, the crooks plan their next move, a mail van robbery (Tex has also decided to get with this week's dressing gown theme).  What they don't know is that Simon's outside the window listening to their every word.

The elaborate set-up for the robbery is put in place, Tex surveying it all like chess pieces on a board.

But, on Simon's instructions, the van's drivers have been replaced by policemen.  These actors are uncredited, which is a shame as the one on the right is hilariously inept.  His tortuous delivery of his only line, "Action's fine, I just don't want to get killed," is something to treasure.

Anyway, his hopes prove forlorn as both he and his colleague do indeed end up dead at the hands of Orping, for whom the revelation they're policemen doesn't act as any kind of deterrent - if anything, it spurs him on.  Still believing Simon to be dead, he concludes that Tex betrayed him, and resolves to cut out his heart.

Meanwhile, Simon pays a visit to the patently useless Mr Nilder, and forces him to open his safe (artfully hidden behind a pair of glass fish sculptures) and hand him the gang's ill-gotten gains.

Simon drags Nilder off with him to the police (even managing to get him out of his dressing gown, and Tex returns to find the money gone.  Orping arrives to kill him, but ends up being the one shot.

Tex's last minute attempt to escape is swiftly put a stop by the Saint.  And that's that for another week!

Friday 15 January

On BBC 1 tonight, Frankie Howerd's joined by a mouth-watering guest cast including Hugh Paddick, Arthur Mullard, Yootha Joyce, Julian Orchard and Felix Bowness.  This is followed by a documentary on the famous circus family the Great Wallendas.

Outside the Box

Sunday: George Melly joins the Observer as its first pop culture critic (a sign of the increasing seriousness with which the fripperies of the entertainment world were being taken).

Thursday: The Prime Ministers of the Irish republic and Northern Ireland meet for the first time in 43 years.

Friday: Sir Winston Churchill is reported to be seriously ill.  Today also brings the following story in the Daily Telegraph, headlined 'Beatle' Hair is Danger in Factories:

Legislation which compels women factory workers to wear hair nets should be extended to men with "Beatle" hair styles, says Dr Alan J Byron, of the Royal Hospital, Sheffield, to-day.

A new type of industrial accident, he writes in the British Medical Journal, had resulted from young men's long hair.  Much of it was torn away, and sometimes the scalp, too, because it became inextricably tangled in moving machinery.

He cites a case history, a boy of 17 with hair of average length 9in  He is employed as a machinist at a cutlery firm.

His hair became entangled with a rapidly revolving lathe.  As his head was pulled toward the machine he violently jerked it away and a substantial wedge of hair, measuring 5in by 2in was torn away, but no scalp was removed with it.

And to play us out...

It's Georgie Fame with "Yeh Yeh", up five places to number two in this week's singles chart (the Beatles, and their dangerous hair, are still at number one).

1 comment:

  1. Can we identify all the biscuits? I think that's a Lincoln in front, but what about the rest?