Last updated : 9th November 2014
|Episode 'The Female Factor'|
|Story Synopsis||An Iron Curtain agent is using a young girl to extort secrets from a man tipped to be the next British Prime Minister.||Writer||Brian Clemens|
|Guest Stars||Anthony Steel, Pamela Salem, Walter Gottell, Felicity Dean||Director||David Wickes|
& Filming Dates
|Block 1, Episode 7
|Original UK Transmission||Season 1, Episode 2
6th January 1978
Perhaps not a very original plot, but the excellent performances help to make this a strong episode.
However I do seem to be the minority in liking this episode. What has it got going for it, then? (apart from Pam Salem!).
Well I liked the character of Simon Culver, the upper-class pimp - on the face of it he seemed quite harmless throughout but was nevertheless quite prepared to violently murder Ann. Clearly anyone who could wear a jacket like that has a sinister side to him!
Although only a brief bit of action, I'm fascinated by the staged car accident - close examination seems to show that Felicity Dean did this dangerous stunt herself. Actually I must put in a word for Felicity here as she is superb in this ep playing the young woman coerced into drug addiction and prostitution. Why did she not go on to more high-profile roles?
The lads' camaraderie in the early part of the story is terrific: Bodie pretending to fall asleep as soon as Doyle prattles on about his days in the Drugs Squad, the "black guy in a flash car" jibe and the general playfulness between them.... until Bodie spots Ann's body and then things become appropriately deadly serious between them. All very naturally played, too - presumably Martin and Lew having settled their differences by this point?
The pub fight is a favourite of mine as Lew literally tackles the other guy single-handedly but manages to hold on to his pint without spilling a drop! Tongue-in-cheek, of course, but very amusing! And Doyle's drunken meeting with Joanna is hilarious. American Express?
As to the storyline itself, well I like it because it's realistic (it must be, given what some of our real middle-aged politicians get up to!). Admittedly it's a bit of a coincidence that Culver finds a girl that turns out to be Ann's daughter. And why on earth would a Shadow Government spokesman be telephoning the personal line of the Prime Minister? But, apart from that, the plot is pretty solid.
Patrick Durkin plays the Russian Terkoff but he was dubbed (by fellow actor Robert Rietty, apparently), which is rather obvious in places but this is a minor complaint as the episode draws to a fast-moving finish - the underground car park scene is a marvel of action photography, especially when the bullets are flying around the terrified Sara. Cowley's "a good man" comment regarding Terkoff is an interesting character trait that we see time and again: he will readily voice credit to his enemies' skills, yet he rarely tells Bodie and Doyle how much he appreciates their own abilities.
Honourable mentions for Felicity Dean (Sara) and particularly the late Barry Justice here: superb in his role as the high-class slimey Simon, the appalling checked jacket making his character even more deliciously despicable! The Sam Baker character is disturbingly creepy towards young Sara - and yet, in other scenes, utterly professionally dispassionate - a terrific "dual personility" performance there from Walter Gottell.
Fave line: "The department owns you, I own you.... I can sell your body to science if I want... while it's still alive!" / "We are off-duty, sir." / "You are never off-duty!"
The opening scene with The Lads together sets the tenor of the relationship: Bodie watching Doyle and "indulging" him when Doyle has to check out Ann Seaford's cry for help. Play this without the sound on for an interesting take on the partnership. It is also interesting that although Bodie doesn't take any of it seriously at first, he does not seem surprised when Doyle turns out to have been correct. We're given a bit of Doyle's drugs squad background at least three years before and a bit on Bodie's military career.
Doyle, driven by his sense of obligation to the dead woman, steps over the line and Bodie backs him up without question. This does not preclude some serious needling of D by B later on, however. Bodie seems to be doing it quite deliberately and enjoying the heck out of Doyle's predictable reaction. Cowley chews on Doyle until he discovers the telephone number but Doyle stands right up to him.
The actual storyline is not great but workable. After the first full viewing I tend to fast-forward through much of the show! The junkie bit was overacted and went on far too long. The silly older man and the silly young girl are highly annoying but they make a nice backdrop for The Lads to do some nasty investigative work. The scene in the bar with Doyle as the mean/sweet ex-copper questioning the hooker with Bodie (one-handed and not spilling his beer!) backing him up and protecting him is lovely. Doyle's subsequent performance with the hooker, Joanna, is hysterical and our first experience of his famous "dirty laugh". The scary interrogation techniques are hinted at again when Cowley informs the pimp that "we're worse, much worse" and Bodie's quiet, cool menace is reinforced by Doyle's hot outrage.
Relationships: Doyle bucks Cowley, Bodie backs Doyle and in the scene where Bodie arrives a second after Doyle is shot, he first overkills the Russian then queries Doyle with a soft and worried "Ray?". He refers to Doyle as "a better man" with fervor in his voice. The partnership bonding is clearly shown in this episode.Again the show ends with them walking (limping in Doyle's case!) off together. Bodie makes some cute suggestions about how Doyle can use the crutches to his advantage, bird-wise!
Though he has on the same shirt and sport coat he wore in part of 'Private Madness, Public danger' for part of this show, Bodie wears black or dark brown in the last scenes. Doyle has the plaid jacket and the thin green tee-shirt. They both look grand wearing tuxes with the ties dangling and shirts partly undone, their faces unshaved – scruffy elegance!
Doyle: "Look, a big, flash car driven by a black guy. Add 'em together and what have you got?"
Bodie, brightly: "A black guy driving a flash car!"
Doyle, laughing at Bodie's powers of deduction: "It adds up to a high-class pimp for a high-class hooker! That's what Ann Seaford was."
Bodie: "Oh dear, Doyle - what a full and formative life you had, eh? Pimps and high-class hookers - wow!"
Doyle, mock pride: "That's the basis of police work, that is!"
Bodie, mock admiration: "No - really?!"
Bodie: "What? Information?"
Bodie, sarcastic: "Wow!"
Doyle, finally winning: "See, I was enjoying myself while you were in the army!"
Cowley, annoyed that his men have involved themselves in the case: "Now, as far as I can see, a call-girl drowned herself."
Doyle: "This is personal, sir."
Cowley: "Nothing is personal, Doyle. When you joined CI5 I made that perfectly clear. The department owns you - I own you. I can sell your body to science if I want... while it's still alive!"
Bodie: "We are off-duty, sir."
Cowley: "You are never off-duty! That is one thing we share with the police - the only thing. Now I find you sharing a common suicide with them!"
Doyle: "I knew her."
Cowley: "That's no answer. You're CI5, both of you. CI5 means special assignments only."
Doyle: " 'With authority to investigate any and every incident'. That's in the smallprint!"
Cowley, thumbing through a discarded notepad: "Don't you quote the smallprint at me! For every sentence of smallprint you produce, I can produce smaller! This is a police matter - leave it to the police. We don't pay you to get mixed up in sordid little suici... Tilson!"
Inspector Tilson: "Yes, sir?"
Cowley, horrified as to what he's found on the notepad: "I want this apartment sealed off. This is now a CI5 case - we'll send in our own forensics men."
Cowley: "Don't 'but' me - do you want to see the smallprint in our authority?!"
Doyle: "I reckon she was murdered."
Cowley, always trusting of Doyle's intuition: "Go on."
Doyle: "Well, she was a very nice girl."
Bodie laughs derisively.
Doyle: "Hookers are women, you know - they can be nice."
Bodie: "Oh, yeah. Have a heart of gold, did she?"
Doyle: "No but if it came to something really bad, she was straight as a die."
Cowley: "Like what?"
Doyle: "Like girls underage. That's how I met her: she helped me find this 14-year-old girl on the run. She just wasn't the suicide sort."
Cowley: "Was there a pimp?"
Doyle: "No... well not three years ago, anyway."
Cowley: "But three years are like thirty in that trade."
Doyle: "Yes, I know. Average three tricks a day."
Bodie, sarcastically: "Yeah, well I suppose she does need a pimp by now - I mean somebody to lean on, you know - security."
Doyle: "Don't push your luck, Bodie!"
Doyle, pretending to be drunk: "You're not quite as pretty as I thought you were going to be. But that's alright 'cos Ann says you're absolutely fantastic!"
Joanna: "It's fifty quid... for half an hour."
Doyle: "Yeah, great - how about a drink?"
Joanna as Doyle helps himself to her decanter: "Fifty-one! Are you sure you can afford me?!"
Doyle waves a series of debit and credit cards: "Sure - here you are! All the credit you want - take your pick!"
Joanna: "Don't be funny. It's cash only - or out you go!"
Doyle: "Cash for what? I like to see what I'm buying, so get 'em off!"
Joanna: "Look you've been here ten minutes already - time is money!"
Doyle: "Do you give stamps as well?! Listen, I'll tell you the truth, love: I don't fancy you. Your drink: terrific. But you... well, I'm not gonna pay you, so what're you gonna do?"
Wences, hidden until now, emerges and takes Doyle by the throat: "Take it out of your hide! And when your hide is all used up, I'm gonna take it out of your pockets. I'm throwing you out... eventually!"
Doyle, after thumping Wences and frogmarching him out, kisses Joanna: "I lied! You're pretty - but your drink's lousy!"
Wences: "This isn't an ordinary bust - you're not coppers!"
Cowley: "No, we're worse - MUCH worse!"
|Bloopers||The registration plate of Simon's silver Granada changes from an 'R' to an 'S' suffix - in fact it looks like two different Granadas were used. (Thanks to Baz Taylor and Carl Atkins)|
The original "assault course" titles appeared on the first few batches of the release from Video Gems. Later batches reverted to the second ("Car Smash") version. Neither had the Cowley voiceover.
Ann's fate may have been partly inspired by the real-life Hammersmith nude prostitute murders. (Thanks to "Jonathan" for the tip-off!)
Anthony Steel (Milvern) was a 1950s "matinee idol" who tried but failed to make an impression in Hollywood, despite an impressive British career in myriad, though often minor, films. He was briefly married to Swedish actress/model Anita Ekberg - though she was far more famous than him! During the 1970s he would often turn up in episodic productions such as Return of the Saint and Tales of the Unexpected but was never to take a leading role again. He also appears in one of my all-time fave movies: The Monster Club. Passed away in early 2001.
Walter Gotell (Sam) starred as the Russian General Gogol in several Bond films. Later he appeared in guest slots for various American TV productions such as Knight Rider, The A-Team, Airwolf and The X Files. He died in 1997.
Pamela Salem (Ann) is a familiar face from TV dramas of the 1970s and 80s such as Doctor Who and Blake's 7. She also played Miss Moneypenny in the "unofficial" Bond film Never Say Never Again. In the late 80s she was a regular in the soap EastEnders. Also returned to The Professionals in 'Fall Girl'.
Felicity Dean (Sara) appeared in The Whistleblower, alongside Gordon Jackson.
James Bond fans might recognise Stephan Kalipha (Wences) as an assassin from For Your Eyes Only and had a lead role in the pilot episode of the strangely short-lived series Bodyguards.
Barry Justice certainly had an active television career in the 1960s but offers of work slowed somewhat in the following decade. Tragically he committed suicide in 1980.
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