Sunday, 3 May 2015

1-7 May 1965

Saturday 1 May

Saturday tea time on BBC 1, and before we whizz off into The Dimensions of Time, let's have a quick look at this week's Juke Box Jury panel.  An interesting combination tonight: Chris Andrews, Dora Bryan, Dave Clark and Sarah Miles.  Once they've dispensed their own unique brands of justice on the week's record releases, it's time for our second visit to the planet Xeros (for so it is called).

After a recap of last week's episode, which was much too complicated to go into again here, we're properly introduced to the staff of the Space Museum, our antagonists for the next few weeks.  They are members of the Morok race, a people with a vast empire:  hence museum keeper Lobos' (Richard Shaw) disgruntlement at being stationed in this dreary backwater.  When a technician (Peter Diamond, last seen playing Ian's friend Delos when the TARDIS visited ancient Rome) tells him a piece of equipment's clasps have rotted, he responds with the observation: "Like everything on this planet, including us."

It's remarkable for a show whose space-baddies are usually single-mindedly bent on conquering everything in their path to suddenly give us a discontented middle-manager like Lobos as a villain.  He gets a monologue that makes him sound like Reginald Perrin in space: "If the truth were known, I was just as bored on Morok.  Still, it was home, and youth never appreciates what it has.  Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do now.  Still, let's get on with it shall we? I have to make these reports.  [sigh]  I don't know."  Were it not for the arrival of a messenger (Salvin Stewart) to inform him about the new arrivals to the museum, it seems certain he'd move on to complaining about his mother-in-law next.  As they didn't come in a Morok ship, they're not welcome guests: Lobos' curiosity about where they came from only extends to pondering whether they could be used as exhibits for the museum.

Nor is Lobos particularly bothered about a group of young Xeron rebels who've been stirring up trouble.  These are the black-clad youths we saw last week: we get a better look at them this time, and note that their most distinctive feature is their two pairs of eyebrows.  The ones we meet are the interchangeable Sita (Peter Sanders) and  Dako (Peter Craze), and their leader Tor (Jeremy Bulloch, one of Cliff Richard's chums in Summer Holiday), distinguishable from the others mainly by being noticeably stroppier.  They too have clocked the new arrivals, and are hoping they'll have weaponry to help them overthrow the Moroks.

As it happens, the newcomers are in the very process of acquiring some weaponry, by stealing it from one of the display cases (surely even the Moroks can't be dim-witted enough to display loaded guns - or the Xerons would surely have thought of this already).

The Doctor's unimpressed.

He does, however, seem intensely interested in Ian's loss of a button - it sets him off on a train of thought about how the smallest things can change the course of history.  He claims he was present when a kettle led to the birth of the steam engine: "I was with that fellow at the time.  What was his name?" "James Watt," chips in Barbara for the benefit of anyone who didn't get the joke (considering his general hostility toward the people of Earth when he met Ian and Barbara, I think the Doctor just makes all these stories about knowing historical figures up).  Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly), nobody noticed whether the Ian in the display case had the button or not.

The travellers decide the best way to make sure they don't end up behind glass is to escape the museum and get back to the TARDIS - unfortunately, nobody's quite sure of the way.  A fundamental truth of Doctor Who suddenly dawns on Barbara.

Dithering about what they should do, the Xerons finally decide to kidnap Vicki.  In the end, however, it's the Doctor they pull off.

The old man immediately plays dead (the camera angle allows us a good look at the Xerons' trainers).  But we know from past experience what a formidable opponent he can be in hand-to-hand combat, and sure enough, after the others pop off for a bit, they return to find poor Dako bound and gagged.

The Xerons go off in search of the old man, at which point we discover his ingenious hiding place.  Truly, this is one of the most joyous moments in Doctor Who history.

The Doctor's smugness at outwitting his attackers doesn't last long, though, as he shortly finds himself caught by the Moroks.

The Doctor's friends are mystified by his disappearance.  Suddenly, Ian's struck by an idea of how to map their progress through the corridors.

Poor Barbara is called upon to sacrifice her cardie to the greater good.  Ian has a bit of trouble unravelling it, however.

Meanwhile, the Doctor comes round from unconsciousness to find himself strapped into a chair in a dark cell.  A wall slides back, to reveal the scowling Lobos, who attempts to interrogate him.  The Doctor responds by making fun of the museum's low footfall: "Perhaps if you reduced the price of admission, hmm?" It seems the Moroks have done all their conquering of worlds now, and today's Morok youngsters have little interest in the history of space flight.

When the Doctor continues to be uncooperative, Lobos switches on a mission that makes his thoughts appear on a little portable TV set: instantly he gives away Ian, Barbara and Vicki's location (though as this was their location when the Doctor last saw them and they've now moved on it proves pretty useless to the Moroks).

After this lapse, the Doctor manages to outwit the machine with a series of fabulously surreal images in response to Lobos' subsequent queries.  "How did you get here?"

Meanwhile, the others have finally found the exit.  But what they see outside isn't good.

Asked where he come from, the Doctor conjures an image of walruses frolicking about on the ice: "Just some old friends of mine!"

"These are amphibious creatures!" complains Lobos.  "You are not an amphibian!" "Oh, I'm not, am I?"

Sadly, all this fun and games comes to an end, as Lobos decides the only way of dealing with the mischievous old man is to turn him into an exhibit.  So, essentially, he's telling him to get stuffed.

Back in time again now, with the only screen version to date of this particular Sherlock Holmes story.

It's easy to see why the tale of curmudgeonly cuckold Josiah Amberley hasn't been a favourite with adapters: it's such a straightforward story that you can sense scripter Jan Read and director trying to tell it in the longest-winded way possible to fill 50 minutes of airtime.  Still, the episode benefits from a wonderfully grumpy turn from Maurice Denham as Amberley, who we first see t home winning a game of chess with Dr Ray Ernest (William Wilde), as the much younger Mrs Amberley (Lesley Saweard) looks on.

Next we're whisked to the stairway of 221b Baker Street, where Amberley collides with Dr Watson after a visit to the detective.  Holmes explains to his friend that Amberley "was sent to me by Scotland Yard just as medical men occasionally send their incurables to a quack": his wife has disappeared, along with all of his money and Dr Ernest.  As Holmes is currently embroiled in "The case of the two Coptic patriarchs", he sends Watson to pay a visit to Mr Amberley at his Lewisham residence.  This proves to be a splendidly forbidding location (unlikely to actually be Lewisham), where a mysterious figure in dark glasses (Peter Henchie) lurks about the gates as Amberley scowls from the window.

Inside, Amberley continues to curse his wife and her lover, lamenting "The black ingratitude of it all!" He tells Watson how he had planned to go with his wife to the theatre on the night of her disappearance - she claimed to be ill so he went alone, leaving her at home with Ernest.  When he returned they were gone.  Watson notices the walls have been recently painted - Amberley claims he's done this to try and keep his mind off his woes.

As Amberley talks to Watson about his wife, he becomes so agitated that he tears up their wedding photo.

Watson tells Holmes about his visit, and that he suspects the mysterious watcher to be Dr Ernest.  Holmes startles him by being able to describe the mystery man exactly without any prompting.  The detective is disappointed in Watson's failure to approach the local people about their impressions of the Amberleys - particularly the women: "With your natural advantages, every lady is your helper and accomplice."  Holmes has, however, sent a few telegrams round and has learned that Amberley was considered both a miser and a tyrannical husband by his neighbours.  The case seems a simple enough one of runaway lovers, but Holmes thinks there may be rather more to it.

Holmes and Watson's landlady Mrs Hudson appears for the first time in an existing episode of the series (she made her debut in the lost The Bruce-Partington Plans).  She's played by Enid Lindsey, who was Emergency Ward 10's original Matron.

An agitated Mr Amberley turns up, having received a telegram summoning him to an urgent meeting with a clergyman somewhere in Essex.  Could this be related to his wife, who has a sister living in the area? Holmes sends Watson off with the old man to keep the appointment.

As they set off, Watson falling foul of British railways' claret ("Chateau Liverpool Street.  Ugh!"), Holmes heads straight for Lewisham to snoop around the Amberley residence.

Reaching Frinton, Watson and Amberley find it next to impossible to reach the remote parish they need to get to.  When they do it turns out to have been a wild goose chase - the vicar didn't send the telegram at all.  And Watson and Amberley are stranded in Frinton overnight.

It was, of course, all a ruse to get Amberley out of the way so Holmes could search his house.

Holmes announces that he has now found the solution.  For one thing, the mysterious man watching the house was Mr Barker, a fellow detective.

For another, Amberley killed his wife and Dr Ernest by locking them in a room and filling it with gas - he then painted the walls so the smell would cover up the lingering gas odour.  Confronted with the truth, Amberley attempts to take a lethal pill, but Holmes swiftly prevents him.

To prove that there's not really enough story for the running time, we then get a (soundless, except for the hissing gas) flashback to Amberley's dark deed.  And he would have got away with it too, if it wasn't for his need to prove his cleverness by going to the police about the matter.

Back to the present day, and over to ITV, for tonight's visit to

A particularly intriguing start this week: in a suburban house, as a little child sleeps upstairs, a teenage girl (Francesca Annis), after making  the study look like it's been ransacked, calmly ties herself up and locks herself in a cupboard.

The homeowners, Dr and Mrs Dunn (Gary Bond and Julie Webb) return to find their home in disarray, but are relieved to find their child unharmed.  But what's happened to their babysitter, Mary Thomas? After she makes a great deal of noise, they find her, locked in the cupboard.

The police, in the form of uniformed Sergeant Derek Newark and rookie DC John Bonney, arrive to investigate.  Hysterical Mary's been sedated and is taken to hospital.

Across the road, nosy neighbour Mrs Oliver (Aimee Delamain) takes great delight in watching all these comings and goings.

The hospital Mary's taken to is St Damien's, so it's inevitable that Dr Roger Corder will be called in to assess her mental state.  She's desperate to get out of the hospital and back on with studying for her exams to get into Oxford.  Corder's intrigued by her apparent conviction, against the obvious evidence, that she's horribly ugly: "If you've got brains, looks don't matter, do they?"The root of these insecurities about her appearance is soon exposed when her mother (Faith Brook) sweeps in and tells her how awful she looks: "Why do you want to look like a beatnik?"

Mrs Oliver visits Dr Dunn to pump him for information about the previous evening's events ("I don't want to make a nuisance of myself," she lies) - she has her own idea about who the likely culprit was - a mysterious loner (Vladek Sheybal) who's recently turned up in the neighbourhood and started doing odd jobs for people.

Mary tells DC Cowan she can't remember anything about the man who tied her up.  The star of this scene is the earwigging extra in the next bed.

Mrs Oliver's horrified to find the stranger lurking about her garden.  He claims to be a landscape gardener, and offers is services, but she hurries inside and phones the police (note the dial in the window for indicating how many pints of milk are required - I get all sentimental about these as I used to help my dad on his milk round).

The police detain the man (who calls himself "Mr Jones") as he works on Mrs Oliver's garden.  They accompany him home, prior to taking him to the police station.  He seems curiously distraught at having run out of sweets, and is desperate to get more before he goes with them: "I must have sweets, otherwise I'm done for," he moans, cryptically.

Corder introduces Mary to his daughter Jennifer, who's quite excited to meet someone who's been assaulted.  To Mary's shock, the police call to say they're holding a man for the assault on Mary.  Jennifer offers her a lift to the station to identify him (I'm not sure how ethical this all is).

Mary initially fails to identify any of the men, but becomes confused when Jones smiles at her, and, when asked by the police, agrees that he was her attacker.  When she takes Mary home, Jennifer invites her to a "wild goose chase" for clues as to the location of a swinging party.  Studious Mary is eventually convinced to take a few hours off.

Barely a week goes by at the moment without Tony Steedman popping up on our screens, and here he is again as Cowan's superior, who's highly sceptical about the whole business of Mary's assault and Jones' arrest.  Worried about the alleged attacker's mental state, he gets in touch with Corder.

Jennifer and her uncredited chums are out following clues, accompanied by Mary, whose brains are proving very useful.

The clues lead them to a deserted house: they find the location of the party, but Mary refuses to accompany the others, insisting on staying in the ruin as it reminds her of somewhere she used to play as a child.  Frustrated Jennifer eventually agrees to leave her behind.

Corder interviews Jones, who only really comes to life when talking to him about the plants in his office.  Corder's convinced that Jones didn't attack Mary, and has deduced that his strange behaviour is down to him attempting to recover from alcoholism without any assistance.  Jones admits he has been an alcoholic for 8 years, and that it has destroyed all his relationships with people.  Meanwhile, the Superintendent, re-examing the Dunn home, discovers the device with which Mary locked herself in the cupboard.

Corder visits Mrs Thomas, who continues to harp on about her daughter's looks.  "Mary isn't ugly," Corder asks.  "Don't you think so?" asks her mother, clearly baffled by the idea she might not be.  Corder believes that Mary "makes a fetish of being plain," yet craves attention - hence the faked assault.  Corder confronts Mary with the truth.

Jones refuses to press charges against Mary - all he wants is to take up Corder's offer of help to get on with his life.  Mary, however, is now in a very dark place indeed.  Ripping up her schoolbooks, she runs away from home back to the abandoned house, where she prepares to commit suicide.

Corder gets there just in time to prevent her.  He tells her not to feel bad about what she's done - after all, she's helped to bring Mr Jones to Corder's attention, so he can get the help he desperately needs.  He insists to her that there are more important things in the world than getting into Oxford - though there's a big question mark hanging over whether the episode's ending, with Mary deciding to devote less time to study and more to how she looks, is exactly a happy one.

Sunday 2 May

Who says Stingray doesn't do character development? This week, we discover something about Atlanta Shore which was hitherto unknown: she takes a strong interest in fish farming.  So strong, in fact that she's taking a course on the subject with a Professor Cordo at his atomic fish farm.  It works by heating up the water with nuclear reactors, thereby creating an abundance of plankton.  This leads to masses of fish swarming to the area: "An everlasting supply of food from the sea!"

Anyone hoping for an entire episode devoted to futuristic fish farming developments is to be sadly disappointed, however.  Suddenly, something goes wrong with the camera outside the fish farm and it shows something Atlanta wasn't supposed to see: a life size replica of Stingray that the Professor intends to use in this week's plot to destroy Marineville (and Troy Tempest: everyone's got a personal vendetta against Troy Tempest).

Whipping out a gun, the Professor announces that the replica "was made by my faithful underwater friends - but inside it is AN EMPTY SHELL!"

After nipping to Marineville for a bit to see how much Atlanta's friends are enjoying themselves without her, we pop back under the sea to learn a bit more about these friends of the Professor - apparently "a highly intelligent undersea race" discovered by his father years before.

Atlanta's now held captive, but is released from her bonds in time for Troy, Phones and Marina to pay a visit in the real Stingray.  To stop her getting out of line, there's a gun wired up under the table which is aimed at the place set for Troy and will shoot him (in the groin, presumably) as soon as the Professor touches a concealed button (Atlanta probably wouldn't be all that bothered if it were Phones who got shot, and might actively encourage it in the case of Marina).

In the circumstances, the Professor proves excellent company at dinner: "Fish is always on the menu - but then this is a fish farm!" he quips, to much merriment.  Atlanta's attempts to drop hints about the real situation are not successful.

Professor Cordo's undersea friends turn out to be the very same baddies we saw last week, their spell in Marineville prison having clearly done nothing to salve their warlike urges.  They remove the real Stingray with a giant magnet, replacing it with the replica.

After dinner, Atlanta contacts her father, insists that he take back one of her library books ("It is PERSONALLY VERY IMPORTANT TO ME") - could there be a secret message in here? Troy, Phones and Marina swim back out to Stingray to get back on with their patrol, only to find that it is but a husk (a remarkably detailed one, mind you)...

...and the nefarious fish farmer closes the airlock to prevent their return, stranding them outside.

Looking in through the window they realise the truth that Atlanta is the Professor's prisoner.

The underwater creatures are now at the helm of Stingray, and heading for Marineville.

Commander Shore's found Atlanta's book - Trapped in the Depths by Professor Cordo.  If you knew it was a message it'd be a pretty obvious one, but as he doesn't all it represents to him is a rattling good read.

Troy writes a message on the side of the Professor's base (it's not quite clear what with) and points the camera at it.  Happily only Atlanta sees it.

The trapped Stingray crew set to bunging rocks down the Professor's inlet pipe to cause a fault, but it takes so long for them to make any difference that eventually they collapse from exhaustion - well, Troy and Phones do: as ever in these situations the amphibious Marina's perfectly fine, looking on impassively as her comrades prepare to breathe their last.

Finally the Professor is distracted for long enough for Marina to shuffle her chair over to the airlock controls and open it with her hairdo.

Marina coaxes the drowsy Troy and Phones inside, where they confront the Professor over his evil plans.  Troy demands that he call off his friends: "Curse you, Tempest!"

What actually happens next in terms of vanquishing the enemies and getting Stingray back is left to our imaginations: the next thing we know we're in Commander Shore's bedroom, where Atlanta tells him off for not understanding what she was trying to tell him.  Still, he enjoyed the book, so that's the main thing.


Back in 2015, Simply Home Entertainment, who have released the existing episodes from Dr Finlay's Casebook's first two series on DVD, have just announced that these will be followed by the remaining 1960s episodes later in the year.  Sadly that's too late for my purposes, so for the time being I'll have to rely on my scrappy bootlegs.  Tonight's episode has several chunks of its audio missing - whether that's a problem with just my copy or not I don't know, but happily the story's easy enough to understand even without all the dialogue.

We begin with Dr Finlay attending kirk for the first time in months, dragged along by the disapproving Janet.  There he meets attractive young Esme Stewart (Renny Lister), but she's dragged off by her stern father (Alan McNaughtan) before they can be properly acquainted.

Back at home, Mr Stewart warns his daughter against associating with potentially eligible men like Finlay.  In fact, he doesn't want her having any friends at all: "You're not like every other woman," he thunderously informs her.  He scorns her protests that she's at the age to marry: "Do you think any man would want to marry a woman like you?" It seems clear that Stewart's attitude to Esme is bound up with his feelings toward her mother, who ran off with a farm labourer.

After examining Millie Scorgie (Mary Drew Robinson), one of those patients who have acquired all manner of ailments after thumbing through a Household Medical Almanac, Dr Cameron has a look at Esme, who's been suffering from a bad cough.  Mid-consultation he's called away to a woman in labour, and asks Finlay to make out Esme's prescription.  She can't get away fast enough.

Later on, Millie, who arranges the kirk flowers along with Esme, encourages her to come along to a church social that evening.  When her father goes out, Esme puts on an old dress of her mother's and informs a porcelain doll that she's going to the social in the hope of seeing Dr Finlay, who she's smitten with.

Esme goes along to the social, but Finlay isn't there.  She finds a young man to dance with, however.

Stewart returns home ahead of his daughter, and is livid to find she's not home.

Later, Finlay comes across a dishevelled but happy-seeming Esme on the road and gives her a lift home, though the car breaks down on the way.

Esme sneaks upstairs and relates to her doll her happiness at the time she spent with Dr Finlay.  Her father enters, and sets about beating her (there's a shot of the doll, broken on the floor - all very symbolic).

Some time later, Cameron comes to examine Esme, who shows every sign of being pregnant.  She refuses to say who the father is, so Cameron has a chat with her father.  It turns out that Esme's been pregnant before, but miscarried: Stewart puts it down to the "bad blood" from her mother, and has kept her out of the company of men ever since.  He's determined to find out who's responsible for his daughter's condition.  Cameron cautions him not to bully her, but it seems unlikely that's going to do much good.

Indeed it doesn't.  Stewart beats his daughter once more, and she says that Dr Finlay is the father of her baby, having made love to her in his car.  Cameron is summoned to be told the news and refuses to believe it.  He tries to get the name of the real father out of Esme, but she continues to insist it was Finlay.  Stewart threatens to write to the medical council about Finlay unless he does the decent thing by his daughter.

Cameron talks to Finlay, who's appalled by Esme's accusation.  As they ponder what to do next, a letter arrives that determines Cameron to go up to the Stewart house with Finlay straight away.

Cameron and Finlay reveal to Stewart that the letter contains the results of lab tests on Esme, who is not in fact pregnant at all: the symptoms she shows are the result of her disturbed emotional state due to Stewart's abuse of her.  Finlay and Cameron prepare to take Esme to Glasgow for treatment - Stewart thinks it's a ploy to spirit her away and abort the baby, but is eventually shamed into realising just how much damage he's done to his daughter (frankly, rather more tangible punishment would have been nice).

Monday 3 May

Next, a rare TV Minus 50 appearance from a show which, due to the total lack of interest in Rediffusion's archive by its current owners, is unlikely to ever get a DVD release.

This episode of No Hiding Place is set in the seedy world of greyhound racing - as such, the poor image quality in the copy I've got on disc actually helps to heighten the atmosphere.

John Woodnutt plays a top dog trainer, exulting in yet another win: "We've got a derby winner there or my name isn't Joe Briggs," he announces, so that we know what he's called.

Maureen Flynn (Maureen Davis) and Jerry Dempsey (Donal Donnelly) are a pair of sweethearts who work at the track.  He's just been given his notice, and is reluctantly applying to a crook named Harry Lavey for work.

In even more of a sorry state than Jerry is Maureen's father Smokey (Liam Redmond), who insists he's only filling in sweeping up at the track until he resumes his career as a top dog trainer.  He tries to get his unimpressed daughter to put a good word in for him with Briggs.

In Maureen's flat later that evening, Jerry reveals that Lavey's offered him £300 to fix a race.  Smokey turns up, drunk and hoping to stay.  Jerry suggests that he go and see Lavey too.

Lavey (Glyn Houston) owns a local snooker club, where he hangs out with his lieutenant Alf Lister (Glenn Williams).  Smokey approaches him for work, and Lavey offers him a fiver to put a bet on Thief of Baghdad, a Joe Briggs dog that's a dead cert in a race at a flapping track (an independent one outside of London).

Maureen and Jerry prepare to take the dog to the track.  From their manner it's clear there's something ever so slightly dodgy going on.

Briggs' wife (Betty England) answers a call from an unknown Irishman who wants to speak to her husband (we can barely hear the dialogue in this scene above the Animals belting out "Bring It On Home to Me" on a dimly-glimpsed pop show on the telly (presumably No Hiding Place's Rediffusion stablemate Ready, Steady, Go!).  The mysterious caller warns him of some funny business going on at the stadium where Thief of Baghdad's racing.  Briggs decides to go along, just to be sure.

I don't think this is a real place, and even if it was I don't think it would be spelled like this:

Smokey places a bet with Bert Conway (Howard Goorney), then, spotting Briggs, approaches him in the hope of getting some work.  Briggs, however, is distracted by what's happening on the track: he notices something strange about his dog.

The next day, two boys happen upon Briggs' body: he's been murdered.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lockhart (Raymond Francis) and his sidekicks Detective Sergeants Russell and Perryman (Johnny Briggs and Michael McStay) are on the case.  Race vet Mr Lovejoy (Arthur Hewlett) informs them that Thief of Baghdad had to be put down after winning the race due to a broken leg, but insists she wasn't doped.

Lockhart interviews Bert Conway, who says he immediately thought something was wrong when the permanently destitute Smokey bet £40 on a dog.  He paid up nonetheless, out of fear of Harry Lavey and his men (he only gives Lavey's name by a slip of the tongue).

Russell goes to see Maureen and a clearly anxious Jerry at the track.  Jerry claims not to have known that Briggs was at the track.  He denies being the Irishman who called the murdered trainer.

Lockhart summons Lavey, who proves less than cooperative.

Smokey turns up on Maureen's doorstep once more, hoping to hide from the police, who he thinks want to pin Briggs' murder on him.  He admits that he made the call to Briggs in the hope of seeing him to ask about work.  Jerry relieves him of the money he won on the dog for Lavey and takes him off to an empty flat where he can hide.  While they're gone, Lockhart pays a call on Maureen, having worked out that she's Smokey's daughter.  She claims she rarely sees her father, but he notices the suspicious roll of notes, which Jerry put in her handbag.

Smokey tells Jerry he knows that he swapped Thief of Baghdad for another of Briggs' dogs, Queen of Fiji, on the fateful night.  Smokey reveals that it was switching a dog which ended his career as a trainer, and warns Jerry of the dire consequences of such an act.

A frantic Jerry calls Lavey about getting Smokey out of the way.

Redmond, Davis and particularly Donnelly all give tremendous performances, and the story benefits greatly from keeping the stiff detectives on the periphery of the action.  The highlight is an incredible scene where Jerry nervously sounds Maureen out about how she'd feel if her father were to suddenly die.  She proves sceptical of his insistence that the old man's suddenly suicidal.

The detectives are getting close to the truth, and call in Lovejoy, who confirms that the dog in Queen of Fiji's kennel isn't the right one at all.

Lavey and Lister call on the now insensibly drunk Smokey with the terrified Jerry, who's commanded to hang Smokey and make it look like suicide.  The law arrive just in time, Maureen having told all.  It seems unlikely there's a glowing future ahead for poor Jerry.

Tuesday 4 May

On BBC 1 tonight, documentary Born Chinese asks the question, what are the Chinese really like? Those uninterested in finding out can watch W C Fields in Tillie and Gus over on BBC 2.

Wednesday 5 May

Tonight's play on BBC 1 (following on the heels of a Liberal party political broadcast from David Steel) is Sam Thompson's Cemented with Love, starring Harold Goldblatt, Elizabeth Begley and Anton Rodgers.

Thursday 6 May

Tonight's Gideon's Way is one of the best so far, benefiting from a top-notch guest cast and very much playing to the show's greatest strength, its vivid London locations.  We begin at a bustling market, where Mrs Wray (Carmel McSharry) moves among the crowds with her little son Peter(Alan Baulch).  Silently egged on by his mother, Peter snatches the purse of a shopper (Zohra Sehgal), but is seen.  He proceeds to scarper, his progress through the market and into the unglamorous streets beautifully filmed by director Cyril Frankel.

As fate would have it, young Peter ends up running straight in front of a car containing Commander George Gideon.  Terrified, the boy drops the purse and escapes once again.  Gideon elects to take the purse to the local Superintendent.

Said Superintendent (Wensley Pithey), Hemingway by name, is currently on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse (but no swearing, obviously) from local crook Mark "Frisky" Lee (the ever-dodgy Maxwell Shaw), after searching his flat while he was on holiday in Bermuda.  Frisky goes quiet when Gideon arrives, and is rattled by the Commander's insinuation that he's involved with the area's recent epidemic of child pickpockets.

Meanwhile, poor little Peter faces his mother's wrath for committing the cardinal sin of the pickpocket by running.  She locks him in a cupboard to mend his ways...

...then pops round to see Mrs Cowan (Avis Bunnage), a receiver of stolen goods (much to the anguish of her law-abiding tailor husband (Harry Towb)).  Mrs Wray just glimpses a shadowy figure in the back of the shop.

This is Happy Hardwick (Jack McGowran), an associate of Frisky's who lives with him, and at whose door has been laid the blame for Frisky's house getting searched.  Mrs Cowan gives him a coat with various stolen valuables sewn into the lining and sends him on his way back to Frisky.

Frisky, meanwhile, is consulting with his lawyer, Gabby Lyon (Sidney Tafler), but throws him out for mocking his less-than-legitimate activities.

Frisky's wife Ada (Suzan Farmer, much too posh for the part) refuses to know about anything illegal he gets up to.  Her hard-faced mother, Mrs Clarke (Angela Baddeley) is less circumspect.

Happy sneaks in, but is seen by Frisky, who proceeds to rough him up.

The next day is a Sunday, and Gideon's plans to go for a picnic with his wife are interrupted by the news that Frisky Lee's been stabbed to death.

Happy, who protests his innocence but knows he's the prime suspect, is hiding out with the Cowans.

Mrs Clarke certainly thinks Happy was the culprit, having heard he and Frisky fight again during the night.  Both she and Gabby deny all knowledge of Frisky's child thief racket.

Mrs Cowan bundles Happy out of the door when the police turrn up.  He spent the night on the Cowan's sofa, and what should David Keen find down the side of it but a bloodstained knife?

Hemingway thinks it's an open and shut case, and sends his men out to scour the streets for Happy.  Gideon (probably realising there's still two-thirds of an episode to go) suspects there's rather more to it, however.

Gideon sends a WPC out to find the boy thief he briefly encountered.  She spots him as he wends his way home from another day on the rob.

Back home, he's scolded once more, this time for stealing food and toys for himself.  It's back in the cupboard he goes.

Gabby Lyon goes to see Gideon, having had an attack of conscience.  He's disgusted by the thought of children being involved in crime, and suggests the police search a large warehouse Frisky owned had mysteriously refused to sell despite its vastly increased real estate value.  Keen and his men find Happy there, and chase him to the rooftop, which he falls off and promptly dies.  But other than this, the place is entirely empty.  Gideon remains convinced there's still a "Mr Big" behind it all who was responsible for Frisky's death.

Gideon pays a call on Mrs Wray.  Finding Peter cowering in the cupboard he arranges to have him taken into care and his mother arrested for child abuse.  After she admits she took all the stolen goods to Mrs Cowan, Gideon decides to pay her a visit.

Only Mr Cowan's at home though, and when Gideon suggests his wife might have been involved in murder he promptly spills his guts.  Mrs Cowan's round at Frisky's house, having a celebration of some kind with Mrs Clarke as Gabby looks on in distaste.

Gideon arrives, and pins the murder on Mrs Clarke, who was assisted in framing Happy by Mrs Cowan.  Ada comes round from the heavy sedation she's been under in time to agree with this analysis.

Friday 7 May

An eclectic schedule on BBC 1 tonight includes Sykes and a Bird, the return of The Good Old Days and the Polish film Eve Wants to Sleep.

You can see the week's full BBC listings from the Radio Times here.

Outside the box

And to play us out...'s Cliff Richard, at number 2 in this week's singles chart with "The Minute You're Gone".  The Beatles continue to hog the top spot, as is their wont.

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