Last updated : 9th November 2014
|Story Synopsis||A "Keep Britain White" group is attacking black people to try to get them to leave the area – but two of the members have an ulterior motive. CI5 investigates but soon finds it has internal troubles with racism.||Writer||Brian Clemens, based on a story by Simon Masters|
|Guest Stars||Anthony Booth, Edward Judd, Sheila Ruskin, George Harris||Director||Pat Jackson|
& Filming Dates
|Block 1, Ep 10
|Original UK Transmission||Never transmitted|
This excellent episode had its transmission banned in the UK because its subject matter was deemed to be potentially offensive to some viewers. The story ends with a real sting.
The plot is very solid indeed... until the last minute: I find it impossible to believe that Dinny and Merv have never actually met their boss, Miller. Still, if we can overlook that little flaw, it is indeed a tremendous episode.
Many people consider Bodie as being portrayed out-of-character here. I'm not sure: it's certainly plausible that his experiences in Africa could have tainted him, rightly or wrongly. As Sharon says, though, it is a side of him that we haven't seen previously, although it reappears very briefly in 'Involvement'. (again, written by Brian).
The script is indeed peppered with racist terms but I don't feel this was in any way over-the-top or gratuitous. The script tackles a tricky subject and handles it very well indeed. Bodie's prejudicial comments are all countered by Doyle and Cowley in order to bring "balance" to the story.
There are some terrific scenes in this ep. For example the opening with Zadie outwitting Merv and Dinny; Zadie being attacked and Helen rushing out to help him (a superb build-up to the titles); Doyle shouting at Cowley, insisting he be kept on the case.
The scenes of wounded Bodie writhing around in his hospital bed and shouting his insults, with the young black nurse trying to calm him down, are the most disturbing to watch of any episode.
Hulton's secretary, Miss Pearce - a delightful cameo by Madeleine Newbury - is an intriguing addition to the mix: she seems such a nice, kind-hearted person, so why is she mixed up with all this? I suppose the intention was to throw the viewer a bit and ask themselves whether she really understands or is aware of the society's modus operandi. Great bit of writing depth there!
The make-up effects on Martin Shaw after Doyle's beating are awesome!!
One note of disappointment: the actor Lawrie Mark, who plays Tommy, is awful! An extremely wooden performance most of the way through - as Sharon notes below, though, he's at his best in watertower scene he shares with Martin Shaw. The part should have been re-cast but the production was behind schedule.
The "fairy-tale" ending with Bodie walking off "into the sunset" with the black nurse is a little too sweet but the scene is rounded off on a humorous note as a jealous Doyle decides it's time to "get rid of some of these damned whites!"
For a much more detailed breakdown of the story, click here.
Good plot, nice twisty one. Plenty of holes and flaws, but it still works. I like the idea that bad guys exist in all areas of society and that preconceived notions can backfire once truth is revealed.
My copy has the original opening.
Bodie is shown out-of-character here. Bodie can be annoying and thick, but he is not petty. To make him racist and jealous without serious explanation was a silly move. It doesn't take much depth of viewing to see that Lewis is uncomfortable with the role as well. Bodie-the-character may well be touchy on account of experiences in Africa but there ought to have been more indication of actual racism before giving him the "cross in a spade's garden" line. Oh, he does make the odd out-of-good-taste joke, but this time he seems too serious. Given that there were opportunites in 'Annie' and with Jax even earlier, the character flaw does not work, imo. This is an issue that's easy to beat to death, so I won't.
Could also beat up on the way the seriously wounded/ill Bodie is portrayed. Medical reality was tossed aside for effect here. C'mon, guys. And to drop a deep prejudice because a black doc treated him and a pretty black nurse held his hand? Gosh.
On to the positive:
Doyle shines here. Even when his partner acts and speaks like a prejudiced, small-minded idiot, Doyle believes in him: the line to Cowley, delivered with a nice smile: "maybe he has something on his conscience" shows that Doyle knows Bodie is trying to change. Doyle crying over the wounded Bodie while he berates him is a high point of male bonding. Doyle really cares as demonstrated by the unaware tears on his face, but instead of saying so he fusses: "...you half-Irish son-of-a..." I like that. And Doyle is a pit-bull about the case - no way is even George Cowley going to take him away from it! This scene gives Cowley the opportunity to deliver his "a cow gives milk, a cow looks after its own" speech. A nice Doyle line here, too: Cowley says something about Ray being on his own and Ray responds: "..be that anyway, sir, while Bodie's laid up."
The best part of the show is the section where the black kid, Tommy, and Doyle interact. While the kid is wooden before, once he begins to work with MS, his dialogue & character become alive! Great line from Doyle when Tommy asks if Cowley is black: "I forgot to ask."
Doyle suffers marvelously here. Nice make-up job, and the whimpers and grunts of pain are very believable. No stoic silence for Our Ray! And I love how his voice breaks when he talks about Bodie.
Something to note here: The Lads are quite vulnerable when they are separated. Together, they are unbeatable.
Jax is back and has some good parts, though his showing up Just When Doyle Needs Him by the telephone booth is a bit much.
A strange episode but well worth viewing just to see Doyle at his best.
Dinny raises his hand but...
Zadie: "I'd like you to hit me! I already have you for harrassment - I'd like to add assault to that - I really would!"
Cowley, reading the report of the attack on Zadie: "I don't like it. I hate it. I revile it!"
Doyle: "It's still police business, sir."
Cowley: "Not any more. I'm making it our business - my business!"
Bodie: "That's overreacting a bit, isn't it? All they did was plant a cross in a spade's garden."
Cowley: "Bodie, you're taller than me, bigger - but if you ever use that word again in this office, you'll find out that you're not tougher! Alright, so I'm overreacting but I've seen prejudice of one kind or another all of my life - and I intend to keep on fighting it. Yes, I'm overreacting alright but, by God, somebody's got to! Me, you, all of us! They lit a torch last night - a small one but fire spreads fast! That's why this is a CI5 job! We're the firefighters. Now get to it and stamp it out!"
Zadie: "Mr Bodie, you were unable to hide your shock at seeing my wife: a black man with a white woman."
Doyle, intercepting: "Mr Zadie, our interest - whether black, white or sky-blue-pink - is just with law-breakers."
Doyle, sarcastically: "Well you played that nice, really nice!"
Bodie: "Didn't say a word."
Doyle: "You didn't have to! Where are you, Bodie? This is England, you know - NOW! Don't look behind you because there's no gunboat and Victoria's long gone!"
Bodie, ignoring him: "See his car? More than I could afford. And his house - more that I could ever afford. And he's a spade."
Doyle looks daggers at his partner.
Doyle: "Bodie, you half-Irish son-of-a-bitch - what did you wanna go and do that for?!"
Cowley: "I'm pulling you off the case."
Doyle: "No you're not!"
Cowley: "You're too keyed up - you're too involved."
Doyle: "You pull me off - you suspend me - and you'll have to put a bullet through me because I shall still be there. Do you understand me, Cowley? MISTER COWLEY!"
Cowley, astonished: "Well... I wouldn't want all that hot air working against me. Alright."
Doyle: "Thank you... and I'm sorry."
Hulton throws paint over Zadie: "Now you're as white as that wife of yours!..."
Hulton throws black paint over Helen: "... And you're the same colour as him!"
Hulton, after the paint attack on Zadie: "Did you see his face?!"
Dinny: "Yeah, he was scared white!"
Both men laugh hideously.
Jax: "How's Bodie?"
Doyle, a double-meaning in his response: "No change."
Hulton: "We start in Hampstead. One of them has moved into a street that's always been white - and I think we should start persuading him to move out again. Move now - before he has a chance to start putting down roots."
Doyle, having infiltrated the Empire Society: "We gonna kill him? I've got a shotgun in my car!"
Hulton: "Kill him?!"
Doyle: "Well you killed the other one, didn't you? The one that 'fell' off the roof? Yeah, I read about that!"
Hulton, affronted: "We kill no-one. We have killed no-one. Let's get something straight, Doyle: I admire your enthusiasm, your 'attack'. But at this stage in our operations, nobody gets badly hurt."
Doyle, derisively: "Well, what is this? A 'moderate' organisation?"
Hulton: "It's a growing organisation. If we are caught, we can weather the assault charges. And every time we do, one right-thinking citizen says 'I see their point'. One citizen comes over to our side. Public opinion can destroy us before we've even started. Think of us now as the vanguard, the 'Fifth Column'. Our task is to get the blacks rattled, off-balance, scared. And that's all. Alright?"
Doyle, waking after being horrifically beaten to find a young boy attending his injuries: "Who are you?"
Tommy, suspecting Doyle might be a cop: "Doesn't matter who I am."
Doyle, half-joking: "I'd like a name - I might want to mention you in my will!"
Tommy on Doyle's facial injuries: "They went over you like a roller! You're going to have an eye blacker than my arse!"
Tommy: "This Mr Cowley - is he white or black?"
Doyle, reflecting on Cowley's motivation for getting involved in the case: "I forgot to ask!"
In an interview for BBC Radio 4 in December 2009, Tony Booth (Dinny) recalled that during filming, several of his black co-stars felt that he played his role with such conviction that they suspected he was a racist in real life. Tony seems pleased that his performance was so convincing!
Tony Booth (Dinny) is best remembered for his portrayal of "randy Scouse git" Mike in the long-running controversial sitcom 'Til Death Us Do Part. However alcoholism saw him sink into the "Confessions" sex comedies of the mid-to-late 70s and a career that soon fizzled out. However he has been a tireless campaigner for elderly people's rights and occasionally clashes with his son-in-law, Prime Minister Tony Blair! In the late 1990s he began to be offered new acting parts, most recently in the Channel 5 soap Family Affairs.
George Harris (Arty) appeared in the first (1986) season of Casualty and recently had a small role in the action blockbuster Black Hawk Down.
Sheila Ruskin (Helen Zadie) guested in many shows as diverse as I, Claudius, The Sweeney (in which she was the intended target of the hit-and-run which killed Carter's wife), Blake's 7, Doctor Who and Rumpole of the Bailey but never won a leading role. She returned to The Professionals in 'Cry Wolf'.
Lawrie Mark (Tommy) had previously starred in the 1976 sitcom The Fosters, Britain's first ever television series written for an ensemble of black lead characters. Quit acting at the end of the 70s.
|Technical Notes||Prior to Network's 2014 DVD and BluRay releases, if you wanted to see this episode as it was originally intended for UK broadcast, the Video Gems release from 1993 has the original opening and the closing "London landscape" titles! The digital print version created by ITV in the early 1990s lost both of those.|
Much of this episode was shot in a small area of Southall. Some key locations were filmed along White Street, shortly before its crumbling properties were completely demolished. Although the road still exists, it is now swallowed up by British Gas and cannot be navigated by Google Street View.
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