Thursday, 5 February 2015

30 January-5 February 1965

Saturday 30 January

Today's main TV event is the afternoon's live coverage of Winston Churchill's funeral.  Kenneth Williams, watching with his mother and clearly fed up with the mourning that had gripped the country for the past week, tells his diary "Thank goodness this dreary saga will soon be finished."

If he tuned in to tonight's Juke Box Jury on BBC 1 while he fretted over the looming opening of the doomed initial production of Joe Orton's Loot he didn't bother to record the fact.  Paul Anka's the big name on the panel, and he's flanked by Stubby Kaye, actress Julie Samuel (currently on big screens across the land in the Gerry and the Pacemakers film Ferry Cross the Mersey) and the current Miss World, Dorset's own Ann Sidney (who's in the midst of a long-running affair with Bruce Forsyth).

Once these fripperies are over it's time for another educational visit to ancient Rome: after the recap of last week's cliffhanger (including mangy-looking lions), almost the very first thing we see is the Emperor Nero whacking his annoying slave Tigillinus (Brian Proudfoot) over the head with a lyre.

The skulking Tavius is still trying to attract the attention of the Doctor (who, yo may recall, is posing as the musician Maximus Pettulian).  He seems to have an important message to impart, but the Doctor can't make head nor tail of it.

The Doctor reminds Vicki of his rules of non-interference in history in William Hartnell's trademark garbled fashion: "We must not interfere with the course of progress, or try to accelerate man's achievements or progress" (presumably this only applies to Earth history prior to the 1960s, as he never seems to mind getting stuck in anywhere else).

Meanwhile, Barbara meets her mistress, Nero's wife Poppaea (Kay Patrick).  I like the way Barbara calls her "Madam" like she's a customer in a department store rather than the Empress of Rome.  Anyway, Nero takes an instant liking to the new handmaiden, meaning Poppaea takes a similarly rapid disliking.

The many curtains of Nero's palace are ideal for people to conceal themselves behind, bedroom farce-style, and the Emperor does so, waiting for his wife to exit so he can make a play for Barbara.

A chase ensues, with Vicki getting in the Emperor's way (without, of course, seeing the face of his quarry).  She then ducks into another chamber, where she's confronted by a stony-faced woman (Ann Tirard).

Nero tries to catch up with Barbara, but this time it's the Doctor who impedes his progress.  Not knowing it's his friend the Emperor's in pursuit of, the old man's greatly amused by his antics.

Locusta, the lady Vicki intruded upon, turns out to be very pleasant, and gives the young time traveller an introduction to her role as court poisoner, supplying deadly potions to anyone who might desire to bump someone off.  She's kept very busy by the endless intrigues of the Roman court.

Things get even more Ray Cooney as Nero finally catches up with Barbara, only for the Doctor to once again get in the way, and for Poppaea to intrude as Barbara frantically tries to hide under the bed.  This week everybody else is just support to Derek Francis as the priapic Emperor.

Eventually we get back to Ian and Delos, still languishing in their cell prior to facing the lions in the arena.  They're next door to Barbara's rustic cellmate from last week, who tells Ian all about his friend's fate.

The Doctor relaxes in a sauna with Nero, who informs him a banquet's to be held in his honour that evening.

Vicki's still learning about the gentle art of poisoning, but hides when Poppaea comes seeking Locusta's expertise, having decided to put Barbara out of her way for good.

Despite the worrying implications of the below dialogue, it's actually a bracelet that the Emperor gives Barbara.

Vicki's switched the drinks in the belief that Poppaea will get the dose of poison, but the other drinker is actually Nero.  The Doctor rushes to prevent him from drinking (reaching his presence at the precise moment Barbara departs).  The Doctor's not especially concerned about the Emperor's welfare, he just wants to make sure history isn't altered.

Sceptical, Nero gives the drink to the bothersome Tigillinus, who promptly expires upon drinking it.  Things aren't much better for Locusta, who's sent to the arena by a vengeful Poppaea.

It's time now for the banquet, at which the Doctor's due to perform.  How can he conceal his inability to play the lyre? Very cleverly, in fact, by explaining only those with the most sensitive hearing will be able to make out the notes he plays, and then only miming playing (Nero's blas√© "He's all right, but he's not all that good" to a fellow diner is hilarious).  The Doctor confides to Vicki that he got the idea from the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, which, of course he told Hans Christan Andersen.

Riven with jealousy at the rapturous response the Doctor's performance receives, Nero hits on a diabolical plan for revenge.

But Barbara remains the Emperor's top priority.  Deciding that there's nothing more likely to inflame a woman's passion than watching two men fight to the death, he arranges a special show for the pair of them in the arena.  Sevcheria chooses Ian and Delos (who I'm sure didn't have a moustache last week) as the combatants.

Before the fight, Nero discusses his plans for his rival musician with Sevcheria: he plans for the Doctor to perform in the arena, with a grand finale consisting of him being torn apart by lions.

Ian and Delos are brought in to fight.  Ian's stunned recognition of Barbara puts him off his guard long enough for Delos to get him on the floor.  Nero's unequivocal on what must happen next: "Cut off his head!"

Next tonight we look at the second (and earliest existing) episode of a new ABC crime series.

Paul Garston (Keith Baxter) is a wildly successful young businessman.  Anyone who's ever read my attempts at reviewing episodes of The Plane Makers will understand that I struggle a bit with the ins and outs of his business deals which make up a chunk of the episode, but the important thing is he has a nattily-dressed secretary (Vanessa Thornton).

He also has an underling, Eric Hart (Peter Barkworth) who, being a self-made type, he relentlessly mocks for being one of the old school tie brigade.

Maurice Hedley pops up as Mr Wheeler, the banker Garston's hoping to tap for a multi-million pound loan.  Hedley was last seen in the previous week's episode of The Saint, and it's nice to see his career's survived the resignation of Harold Macmillan, who he'd cornered the market in playing variations of.

Elsewhere, Ray and Anne Johnson (Robert Tunstall and June Barry) celebrate their first wedding anniversary.  Well, he's the one doing most of the celebrating, she doesn't seem especially bothered about it.  She evades his awkward questions about where the expensive dress she's wearing came from.

Puzzled by Garston's curious reaction to a phone call he receives, Hart gets Garston to admit he's being plagued by calls (to his unlisted number) threatening him with death.  He's loath to go to the police about it as the merest whiff of scandal could jeopardise the loan from Wheeler's, which are famously a model of moral rectitude.

Hart enlists the aid of the show's lead character, private investigator Frank Marker (Alfred Burke), who looked after security for Garston before striking out on his own.  He makes it clear to Hart that his current reduced circumstances are worthwhile to be his own man.

It turns out, not wholly surprisingly, that Anne Johnson is carrying on with Garston behind the back of her husband, a Garston employee.  They get at it quite enthusiastically (that's commercial television for you).

Meanwhile, Ray Johnson's mother (Sheila Raynor, The Plane Makers' Mary Sugden) voices her disapproval of her son's choice of bride.  She never cooks him a proper Sunday dinner, and what's more she's got a wardrobe full of frocks that she could never have afforded to buy.

"Her aunt's not well," Ray insists when his mother notes that Anne's abandoned him once more.  "Nor's my foot," is the tart response.

Garston appraises Frank of his situation while completing a jigsaw with enormous pieces that echo the show's title sequence.  Marker's acting as his bodyguard, but pretending to be his chauffeur.

Garston hosts a barbecue (very new and hip in 1965) with Hart and his non-speaking wife and Anne as guests, along with Mr Tympson (Secret Beneath the Sea's Peter Williams), who's unwillingly surrendered his company to a hostile takeover from Garston.  Marker engages Anne in conversation: she insists she sees their relationship as strictly temporary, describing herself as "a tourist" in his high-flying world.

But Marker's interested in Garston's past relationships as well as his present ones.  His wife Eva (Caroline Blakiston) walked out on him 18 months ago and now owns a pottery shop, but when Marker visits her she insists his immersion into the lifestyle of a ruthless business tycoon forced her out.  She speaks the episode's curious title by way of pointing out that Garston's too generous for anyone close to him to want him out of the way.  But she's now engaged to another man - could it be she who wants her husband out of the way?

Ray's deduced that Anne's been spending her time with his boss.  She's not particularly bothered by his discovery, insisting she'll carry on doing it anyway.

In the splendidly seedy surroundings of Cray's Kosher Nosh Bar, Ray meets up with the flamboyant Mr Ellis (Robert Mill) - "Sit down, Cocky" - and pays him to have Garston beaten up.

However, it's not Garston on the receiving end of the beating but an unfortunate servant.  Garston witnesses the whole thing from his window, but thinks it best not to intervene.

Ray's called back to the Nosh Bar, but it's not Mr Ellis who's waiting for him but Frank Marker, who's tracked Ellis down and got him to spill his guts.  Ray insists he had nothing to do with the threatening phone calls, and Frank agrees to keep the beating hushed up as long as he cooperates with his plan to expose the villains.

Anne comes to Garston, claiming that Ray made the phone calls and now wants £50,000 to keep quiet about the affair.  Garston agrees to pay £20,000 but the "husband" Anne brings to his flat to collect the money isn't Ray (it's Bruce Montague, later to star in Butterflies).

Anne's over the moon with her haul, until she has a visit from Frank, who points out that, though the bundles have notes at either end, it's all plain paper in between.  He offers her £10,000 to reveal who partnered her in making the phone calls and extracting the cash from Garston.

Turns out it was Eric Hart, who Garston understandably dismisses.  He's slightly miffed to learn that as well as the £10,000 of his money Marker's given Anne he's given Ray another £10,000 "in lieu of one wife".  Garston asks Frank to come back to work for him, and scorns his wish for independence when he refuses: "You're not Shane, you know. riding off into the sunset.  You're just another man in a dirty old mac."  Which sums up the ethos of the show nicely.

Sunday 31 January

All episodes of Stingray are ridiculous to some degree, so it's nice that tonight's lets us know straight away just how ridiculous it's going to be with the sight of Lieutenant Fisher wearing a Groucho disguise.   He sees no problem with using his workplace as a testing ground for potential outfits to wear to Atlanta Shore's fancy dress birthday party (it's rather wonderful, in a show where everyone's ostensibly American, that they all use an idiom as British as "fancy dress").  Atlanta's father does have a problem with it, however: "The only way you could look good is to get a complete new face," he snarls - something I think should definitely be reported to Marineville HR.  In fact, Commander Shore is gloriously curmudgeonly about the whole notion of a fancy dress party: "Fun?! We're here to work, not dress up as clowns.  Most of the people in Marineville look stupid enough as it is without putting on costumes."

But what costumes! The host herself is decked out as a harem girl (though I'm more interested in that soft toy on her bed)...

...while Marina has decided to come as a beatnik (and supercool she looks).

Phones has opted for a full-on suit of armour, though he swiftly abandons the idea when Atlanta points out it might limit his dancing.

Even Shore's reluctantly trying on costumes (how long ago did Atlanta send these invites? These people clearly can't like her that much if they only put their outfits together at the very last minute).

Troy Tempest's bought Atlanta a delightful drumming monkey as a present, but still hasn't decided what to wear.  It may be irrelevant anyway, as Shore informs him he and Phones are on call that evening and may have to forget about the party and come to the aid of a ship carrying radioactive isotopes.

Atlanta, meanwhile, is choosing the records for her party.  I like the sound of "Go Go Go".

Troy's turned to his "Pictorial History" book for costume inspiration.  He makes it to the stone age before falling asleep.

He's awakened by Shore, who informs him that the ship carrying the isotopes has sunk and he'll have to go and rescue them.  So off he and Phones go in Stingray, and when they reach the site of the sinking they're astonished to see what looks like a group of underwater cavemen, who swim off with one of the isotopes.

Phones and Troy follow these undersea savages to a cave, where their attempts to warn the cavemen about the danger of radioactivity are met with a bombardment of rocks.

Troy and Phones hide for a bit and venture out when the cavemen settle down to worship their new discovery.  They soon fall into a cunningly concealed pit.

The cavemen open the case, and soon enough they're feeling poorly, especially the eldest member of the tribe.  Troy and Phones crawl out of their pit with a promise to save the ailing oldster.  They give him some anti-radiation pills and are given the time it takes to throw three spears in their direction for him to come round.

Just as he seems about to, Troy wakes up.  Yes, it was all a dream, and it's given him a ripping idea for a costume.  He comes to the party as an unfeasibly well-groomed caveman...

...only to find that Fisher, Phones and Shore have all had the same idea (note that Admiral Denver's wearing the same outfit as when he went mad and thought he was Captain Bligh - you'd have thought he'd want to avoid any reminder of that embarrassing episode).  Given the lack of female puppets in the show, I'd be willing to bet that the blonde lady we see from behind is Dr Venus from Fireball XL5.

Monday 1 February

BBC 1 marks Stanley Matthews' upcoming final match with a special tribute programme, while BBC 2 broadcasts the concert marking the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall.

Tuesday 2 February

Tonight's Danger Man is a mini-heist movie, and a great deal of fun.  It starts with young couple Susan and Keith Turnbull (Jane Merrow and John Breslin) arriving in Geneva from Bucharest, where they've been living. He's evasive about the reason they've left, and she becomes highly suspicious when he's taken off to talk to the police.  After he's been with them a while she goes looking for him, and is just in time to see him bundled into a van by a pair of heavies.  Showing enviable gumption, she leaps into an unattended car and gives chase.

Susan follows the van to the Romanian embassy, then heads for its British counterpart to report the kidnapping of her husband.  Forbes (John Welsh) the First Secretary isn't eager to help, claiming that as the Romanians say they don't have Keith there's not a great deal he can do.  After a frustrated Susan departs he gets on the phone to his boss, who he assures that Susan's ignorant of her husband's job as an M9 agent.

Turns out he's wrong: Susan's next action is to get on the phone to old friend John Drake, who agrees to put off his next assignment for a couple of days to come and rescue Keith.  His plan is to break into the embassy and get him back - as the Romanians claim not to have Keith they can hardly complain when somebody takes him from them.  To this end he enlists the aid of Bernhard (William Lucas), a former agent turned winemaker, and his lady friend Annette (Kate O'Mara).

Drake gets a hotel room directly opposite the Romanian embassy (that's lucky), and decides to pay it a visit, in the guise of a man with secrets to sell.  He finds it staffed by vintage character actors: John Cater's at the lowest rung of the ladder, and Jack May's his immediate superior.

Michael Gwynn's the Colonel who calls Drake when he's back in his gloriously-wallpapered hotel room to arrange a rendezvous.

What an evocative image of the era the shot below is: Drake's waiting in the car for his embassy contact.  Once he's in the passenger seat, Drake promptly drives the car up a ramp into the back of a lorry, which takes it back to Bernhard's place.

Bundled in a carpet, the Colonel is unable to see, and Susan and Annette make clattering office sounds to create the impression that he's been brought to the British embassy.  I love that cow ornament.

Bernhard's scrubbed up his wine cellar to look like a cell, and it's there that the Colonel is taken.  Drake demands he write a letter calling for Keith to be exchanged for him.  He scoffs at the notion that the Romanian government think him that important, but Drake tells him he'll spread the news that he's defected to the West.

 The Colonel reluctantly agrees to draw a plan of the embassy basement showing where Keith is held.  As he does so director Don Chaffey gives us a rather marvellous point of view tracking shot that takes us through the embassy corridors to Keith's cell.

Drake's decided that the only way he and Bernhard can get into the embassy is via the private hospital that backs on to it.  He concocts an elaborate ruse whereby they visit the hospital pretending to be doctors, with Susan playing an aristocratic English patient in hysterics after being abandoned by her boyfriend.  Gerard Heinz plays the sympathetic hospital doctor and Margo Johns (who must be well-used to hospital acting after her stint on Emergency Ward 10) the sister.

When the Sister attempts to usher the fake doctors out of Susan's room to allow her to rest, she has a convenient screaming fit.  Annette turns up in the guise of her sister-in-law, and Drake and Bernhard sneak off to find a window to climb out of.

As they scale the building opposite, Annette ingeniously makes a phone call to Jack May to get him away from his window-facing desk.

Bernhard nearly cops it when a drainpipe he's shinning up suddenly bends, but Drake manages to rescue him.

They find an open window and put the room's occupants out of the way with a gas gun, which, once they've managed to liberate Keith, they deploy again to deal with the assembled embassy staff rushing to capture them.

Susan and Keith are happily reunited, but Mr Forbes is highly disapproving about the affair.  Until, that is, the British ambassador lavishes him with all the credit for it.

Next tonight, Marriage Lines, and this series continues to serve Prunella Scales poorly: Kate Starling's still confined to her hospital bed and only appears this week in a series of cutaways as she becomes increasingly alarmed by the phone calls George makes to her, as he's with a different woman each time.

The first is his colleague Stephanie (Katy Greenwood), who tries to get his attention while he's telling Kate he'll be late visiting her as he has to wait for a client to come and pick up a document.

Another pair of colleagues, Arthur and Dennis (Peter Tuddenham and Denzil Ellis) suggest that while Kate's in hospital George should grab his last chance of enjoying the company of other females.  George is appalled.

The client George is expecting, Mr Blackley, sends his secretary, Rose (Wendy Hall) instead.  As George has some information he has to give Blackley in person he agrees to accompany her to his house, which is on the way to the hospital.  So he calls Kate to apologise for further delay, and this time she hears Rose talking: "I can hear that girl whispering again."  "No you can't, it's another girl."

Mr Blackley hasn't arrived home yet, so George waits with his flirtatious wife (the wonderful Patricia Haines, essentially reprising the role of  man-eating posh bird she played in Steptoe and Son).  She lets George use the phone to call Kate again, but forces him to sit next to her on the couch to make the call.  Inevitably, Kate hears Mrs Blackley's voice.

Luckily Mr Blackley (Noel Coleman) arrives home before his wife can make any further moves (and it turns out that everything George had to tell him he knew anyway), but she gets him to accept a lift to the hospital.

As he climbs into the car beside her, Arthur passes by, pleased to see that George appears to have taken his advice.

The car won't start, so George has to make his own way to the hospital.  First he darts into a phone box to inform Kate he's going to be even later (on the wall behind the phone box you can just make out a poster for Robert Hartford-Davis's Saturday Night Out (1964).

Inevitably, the call's interrupted, this time by a girl (Jacqueline Daryl) who needs to call an ambulance ("Can you tell me how to dial 999?" she asks, perplexingly).  By this point Kate is in full panic mode about her husband's procession of female companions.

Next George heads to a nearby pub, to use the phone there - without buying a drink, much to the offence of the landlord (Peter Hughes) - "What's the matter, don't I use the right aftershave?"

Yes, once again a lady interrupts the call - this time it's Miles's girlfriend Sandra, in search of her errant beau, who she broke up with for seeing a girl named Cherry but has now changed her mind.  Kate rings off, livid.

Arthur now happens by the pub and is astonished to see George on his second woman of the evening.

George and Sandra discover Miles in the other bar with Cherry (Lyn Pinkney).

George retreats back to the public to try the phone again, only to be accosted by Cherry

Miles gets George to one side and asks if he can hide from the two girls at his flat.  Too late now to go and see Kate, George is planning to visit the pictures, and gives his key to Miles, who scarpers as soon as he gets the chance.

And who should sit next to George at the cinema but Rose, the secretary? And who should be sat behind him but Dennis?

Appalled by his sudden inability to shake off the opposite sex, George swiftly heads back home.  While the main feature, Siege of Rome, seems to be made up, there's also an advert in the lobby for the curious horror b-movie Devil's Partner (1961), which you can watch on Youtube if you like.

Miles is surprised by George's early return home as he's busy entertaining another girl, Pinky (Alison Seebohm) in the Starling flat.  Pinky obligingly answers the phone for George, and who should happen to be on the other end...?

The Ladies' Man is by far the most entertaining episode of Marriage Lines so far this season, with a brilliantly frenetic turn from Richard Briers as the increasingly frustrated George.

Wednesday 3 February

Patrolling by the canal, PCs Jock Weir and Fancy Smith stop for a laugh at PC Taylor, up to his waist in water as he supervises a dredging operation.

Fancy just misses being hit by a teenage tearaway (Lindsay Scott-Patton) with an air rifle.  As he unsuccessfully chases after him, he loses his cap in the canal.

There's no time to worry about that, though, as he and Jock have to come to the aid of Tandy (George Little), a canal worker who's been set upon by "teds" and who treats them to an extended tirade about the filthy state of the canal.

He's not the only person bellyaching about that particular subject: canal supervisor Briggs (John Arnatt) comes to Sergeant Watt with a demand that the police do more about the hooligans who are making a mess of the canal.  Watt's keen to comply just to keep the charmless Mr Briggs away from the station.

Aged lock keeper Towser (Wilfrid Lawson, who as usual is barely intelligible, but in a very enjoyable way) joins Tandy for a cup of tea at the canalside caff, grumbling about the loud music (it's Major Lance singing "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um").  Tandy takes great joy in mocking the old man and hiding his biscuits (those who've become used to my enthusiasm for biscuits will understand my need to list the biscuits available at the caff: "Cream, wafer, shortbread, chocolate, dark, and ginger."  Towser decides on plain, which wasn't even given as an option - he's clearly one of those off-menu orderers).

Tich Evans, the boy who shot at Fancy, gets on the receiving end of Towser's ire when he comes in and makes a racket with the fruit machine.

On his way back to the cottage, Towser spots someone emerging from under the canvas cover of a boat and run off.  He reports it to the police as a theft, and isn't happy about the scepticism with which his claim is greeted by DC Lynch and PCs Graham and Baker.  Going for a look at the boat, Lynch is forced to admit that it does indeed look like it's been broken into.

However, the boat's owner, Ted Stone, insists no robbery took place, and Briggs isn't happy with the investigation.  Watt points out that he's the one who wanted a police presence at the canal.

Lynch goes to the caff and has a chat with the surly owner, Stobbart (David Blake Kelly), who's very cagey when asked about Ted Stone.

Next Lynch goes with Briggs and Watt to see the taciturn Mr Stone (Jeremy Young) himself.  He proves thoroughly uncooperative.

Fancy finally catches up with young Tich, and offer to forget about his using the rifle if he'll give information that will help the investigation.

However, Towser now claims he made a mistake, and didn't really witness a robbery at all.  It's abundantly clear that someone's threatened him.

But Tich reveals that he saw the man leave the barge as well, and claims that it was Tandy.

Watt thinks it's Stone who's been getting at Towser, and is appalled to learn that Briggs has let him go off in his boat.  However. he's deduced that Stone and Tandy are involved in smuggling, and, along with a customs and excise man (Peter Fontaine) aims to catch them at it when Stone returns.

They decide to watch from Towser's cottage, but when they get there they find that the old man has been beaten unconscious.

Eventually, Stone's partner appears: it's not Tandy but a third man involved in the racket - Stobbart.  As Fancy captures him, he loses another cap in the canal.  It turns out the men were smuggling knock-off watches: "Not worth a fiver apiece".  As the episode ends it's uncertain whether poor old Towser will recover or not.

Thursday 4 February

A caption at the beginning of tonight's episode of The Saint gives us the rather vague information that it's set in "South East Asia".  And, as was compulsory for at least 75% of things set in South East Asia at the time, it's got Burt Kwouk in it.  His is the first face we see, in fact, as he crawls through the undergrowth and spies on an isolated farmhouse, one of whose occupants is, of course, The Famous Simon Templar.

Also in the house with Simon are two of TV's most prolific guest actors, Peter Copley and Godfrey Quigley.  Copley plays Don Morland, the owner of the farm, and Quigley his neighbour Max Valmon, who's eager to buy it from him.  The appropriately named Suzan Farmer plays Morland's daughter Jean. Simon's squeeze of the week.

Kwouk's native rebels cut Morland's telephone line and subject the house to a barrage of shooting, killing a servant in the process (they were aiming for Simon, but he got in the way.

Simon sneaks out to radio for help, leaving Jean to defend the farmhouse after her father's wounded.  She's a bit nervy with her gun at first, but quickly comes over all Avengersish once Don loses consciousness.

Simon gets a message through to nearby British troops commanded by the rather dishy Geoffrey Frederick as Major Rowley.

One of the rebels breaks into the Morland house, but happily Simon returns in time to defend Jean by casually shooting him dead.

Simon reveals that, rather than just coming to South East Asia to see the Morlands, he's in fact on a mission from the British government to find a mysterious Communist agitator known only as Julias, who is believed to be behind this rebel uprising (it's very odd for Simon to be on an assignment of this kind - maybe it's the one John Drake put off to go to Geneva).

Valmon returns the next day, still angling after the farm.  Despite the previous night's occurrence, Morland still won't sell.  So Valmon decides to apply extra pressure by refusing all right of way to his land.  And as the nearest village is on his land, anyone from it who comes to work for Morland will be made homeless.

Suspicious of Valmon's claim that he simply wants to increase his farming area, Simon and Jean decide to have a look round his land, undeterred by the enormous signs warning against trespassing, the patrolling tigers and the spikes sticking out of the ground, one of which Jean nearly impales her face on when she trips.

Eventually they stumble upon a Buddhist shrine, which unexpectedly stinks of petrol.  Even more unexpected is the generator Simon finds concealed inside a plinth.

Meanwhile, Morland, who went off to see his lawyer about Valmon, finds himself abducted by rebels and brought before his nasty neighbour and his associate, Julias (Leo Leyden), who gets disappointingly little screen time after the big build-up Simon gave him.  They threaten to send Jean to a labour camp if he doesn't cooperate.

Jean's increasingly worried about her father's absence, so Simon goes to look for him, giving her a goodbye snog as he heads off to face Valmon and his troops.  The tart.

As he sets off, he encounters farm manager Harlun (Kristopher Kum), horribly disfigured after a run-in with a rebel wielding a rake-like deviced calculated to make it look like a tiger attack.

Soon enough the man attacks Simon, but is swiftly put out of action. But there are more where he came from and they manage to knock Simon unconscious.

Jean barricades herself in the farmhouse, but makes the mistake of letting the other farm manager, Angkor (Kenjin Takari) in: the innocent-looking old man he proves to be an incognito rebel soldier.

Simon comes round at the feet of Julias, who it turns out he also has a personal vendetta against him for killing a friend of his.

Valmon admits that the real reason he wants the Morland property is to increase the size of the airstrip that's already been created on his land.  His justification for working with Julias and the rebels illustrates a familiar colonial mindset of the time.

Valmon: Six months ago, when the country became independent, the government was taken over by a bunch of wogs.  They started ordering us about.  Telling us what we could do, and what we couldn't do.
Simon: Seems reasonable.  It's their country.
Valmon: Their country! Without us they'd still be in their straw hats.
Simon: I'd say whatever you've put into this country you've taken out again with considerable interest.
Valmon: We've earned it.  Every penny of it! I'm not going to have any little jumped-up official telling me what to do.  I'll smash this government by any means I can find.

Valmon, of course, is deaf to Simon's reasonable protestations that he's no reason to think the new regime will treat him any better.

A plane comes in to land, ready to fly Jean off to the work camp.  The uncredited actors playing the pilots certainly look South East Asian, which is more than a lot of other shows manage to achieve, but the verisimilitude's broken a bit by their extremely mundane English accents.  We don't see that much of them though, as they swiftly crash the plane, Simon having fiddled with the landing lights when he was out on his recce.

In the consternation caused by the crash, Simon's able to off Valmon, while Julias' demise at the hands of the army happens off screen, which seems a bit of an anticlimax.

Friday 5 February

Tonight, BBC 1 brings the Circus Sarrasani into viewers' homes, while Ivor Cutler takes charge of Off Beat, BBC 2's programme "for tired music lovers".

Outside the box

Monday: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Ethiopia for a state visit.

Thursday: The Confederation of British Industry is founded.  Exciting stuff this history, isn't it?

And to play us out...

...It's Cilla Black, performing her version of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" on ABC's Thank Your Lucky Stars.  She's at number 2 this week, while The Righteous Brothers' version of the song, which for some unknown reason (ahem) is better remembered, is directly beneath it at number 3 (the Moody Blues have conquered the top spot this week).  You can see the full singles chart for the week here.  

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