Last updated : 19th May 2013
|Story Synopsis||A new high-technology rifle is being tested by Doyle. But the weapon is stolen and 'tested' on him!|
|UK Episode #||B01|
|UK Tx Date||07 October 1978|
|Production #||Block 2, Ep 2|
|Approx Filming Dates||19 - 30 June 1978|
|Guest Stars||Bryan Marshall, Cheryl Kennedy|
A mixture of pace, action and plot make this a strong episode. The off-beat pre-titles scene is a tad reminiscent of Tara King Avengers.
The second season introduces the lads' numerical call signs - but there was clearly some confusion over them at this stage and listen out for the appalling continuity errors!
The use of 16mm steadicam technology certainly gives this and all following episodes a more 'natural' feel, as we follow the actors more closely around the sets and hear 'realtime' dialogue. However Martin and Lew themselves now appear to be much more comfortable with each other - a huge advantage, of course!
We also meet our first female CI5 agent, Ruth Pettifer (Diana Weston), though she never really got the chance to get involved in the action. At least Cheryl Kennedy gets a great part here - and she plays it wonderfully.
The scene in which the lads give Kathie a lift and then get "buzzed" by the Porsche has some terrific, crazy banter: "Are you two always like this?" / "Certainly not! We sometimes imagine people are following us!". Very much an evolvement of the car scenes from first season stories but this time it goes on for several minutes. As noted elsewhere, one of the series' trademarks.
The East End pub-singer scene is an interesting one (if hardly telegenic!) - much more akin to The Sweeney.
The car-crash scene is splendidly filmed. (And don't worry – they didn't really destroy the Jag E-Type!)
One slight flaw: Preston refuses Doyle entry to his house without a search warrant. Since when did CI5 need one of those? This really should have been picked up at script editing stage.
Speaking of Preston, all the guest actors are terrific here, including Jeillo Edwards' hilarious cameo as Montgomery's neighbour.
The finale with Bodie firing the A180 may seem rather gratuitous but it works appropriately with the humorous elements of the script given the opening scene in which he was denied the opportunity to test it and was clearly itching to.
So, a terrific episode, then - all the more so because it appeals to both male and female fans (if not necessarily for the same reasons! <G>)
Fave line comes from when Bodie first sees Kathie: "Nice!" / "Yeah... not your type at all!"
H/H is the ultimate "partner" story: Ray's life is threatened by an old enemy and Bodie saves him. This is the episode to show someone who's never seen the series. There's plenty of action and plenty of relationship material and character development. Good balance. Excellent stunts and camera work as well.
The dialogue, particularly when B & D are bantering, is wonderful. MS has Doyle down now: syntax and diction are perfect for the character. Both lads look good and the camera is getting better at focusing on them to advantage. The "cute banter" stuff is getting smooth – this is the first time they do the "over the top of the car" routine, I believe.
Two and possibly three events that we get to share/see thanks to the expense of refilming scenes: (these are open to debate and this is only my take on them)
1. just after Cowley chews Doyle out for losing the gun and starts to drive away, Doyle gives an odd little jump and looks back at Bodie. If you watch LC's face just prior to that, it seems reasonable to say that some funny business was going on. <G>
2. just as the camera cuts in when they walk up the gangplank to Brownie's boat, it looks like someone was "boosting" someone else and nearly got his head handed to him.
3. while B & D are interviewing Marty toward the end of the scene something was happening off camera that both LC and MS found to be funny. Watch their faces.
Once the plot begins to move along the emphasis is put more and more on Bodie as caretaker and protector of Ray. "You'll save me," (Doyle to Bodie) and "without Bodie to take care of me" (Doyle to Kathy). Bodie watches over Doyle all night. And, of course, when Bodie confronts Kathy in Preston's house I have no doubt that had she tried to hold out the information he wanted he would have carried out his promise. Or threat. And finally Bodie uses his insider status with the gun merchant to save Doyle – undoubtedly racking up a huge stack of favors owed in the process!
Minor notes: the pub singing scene is unplayable! Once was quite enough! Ray's "we haven't got much time" ought to have earned him a drink in his lap. It's good to know that Kathy took him home for a sinister reason – had she actually fallen for that lame line... And Bodie's date? Well, onward.
Bodie wears the same stupid shirt with the hearts on it that he sported in 'Stakeout' for much of the story. One theory: Doyle gave it to him as a pressie so he has to wear the bloody thing. OTOH, Doyle is wearing some nice shirts in this: the see-through one is a particular fav, though the unbuttoned to the mid-chest one is fine too. Both men look adorable <G> with unshaven faces. The kitchen scene early in the morning just before Kathy shows with the book-bomb is delightful. It is a foreshadowing of the wonderful save-my-partner scene in 'The Purging of CI5' – camera-work is nearly the same as well. The black lady who strolls past and informs them of the absence of one of the suspects is a great example of "real life" material that makes this show so natural. The 3.6 & 3.7 call-sign mix-ups (presumably mistakes in the script, though why this wasn't spotted by the cast/crew is a mystery! – Dave) are distracting, but only because we know what they should be. Lewis is getting the "Glowering Bodie" down to a fine art. The way he moves and rushes and forgets to close his car door in his haste to find out about Doyle is excellent detail stuff. By the end of this episode Bodie is as real and actual as Doyle is at the beginning. Their bodies have picked up the characters' characteristics and from now on we can accept them as B & D rather than as people playing roles.
Save for the pub-singing and the overly-long car rides with only music, this is one of the best episodes and definitely in the top contenders for the best "partner" eps.
As Sharon notes, there are numerous, bizarre bloopers over the 3-6, 3-7 and 4-5 call-signs!
When Doyle crashes the Jag, he seems to have considerably more facial stubble than a few seconds previously! (Well spotted, Jon Maycroft).
The round Bodie finds on Brownie's boat is far too large for the .22-calibre of the A180 itself.
Whatever happened to Cheryl Kennedy?: this boy's in luurrrve!!
For info on the "laser-lock" rifle, see the Hardware section. Members of the public, not realising that the gun was benig used to film a TV show, contacted the police in fear that a terrorist incident was about to take place!
Doyle's E-type Jaguar apparently belonged to series producer Ray Menmuir.
Cheryl Kennedy's (Kathie) acting career was surprisingly low-key and she appears to have quit the business in 1980. She does, however, appear in one of the best and funniest Sweeney episodes, 'Golden Fleece', and had a small role in comedian Dick Emery's 1972 movie, wherein her character receives a tattoo on her... well, modesty prevents me from saying! Interestingly the IMDB lists her as starring in a 1999 episode of The Bill, so she either returned to acting after a twenty year absence (to raise a family?) or it's another actress of the same name.
Bryan Marshall (Preston) has guested in many TV productions over the years, though is perhaps best remembered for his role alongside Bob Hoskins in the brilliant 1980 mob thriller The Long Good Friday. Bond fans will remember him as the captain of the British submarine that gets hijacked in The Spy Who Loved Me. I also seem to recall spotting him in the dreadful Australian soap Neighbours as a toy-boy to one of the elder characters back in the late 1980s. What a shame! He's probably had that credit removed from the IMDB! He's done a fair bit of stuff since then but nothing of particular note, though starred alongside Martin Shaw in the 1982 drippy melodrama East Lynne.
Tony Caunter (Maurice Richards) had previously been seen as another copper in 'Long Shot' and, indeed, has spent most of his career playing members of Her Majesty's constabulary. However, more recently he's been a long-term star of UK doom-and-gloom soap EastEnders.
Diana Weston (Ruth) hasn't gone on to anything notable but did at least play the lead in the sitcom The Upper Hand which was a UK version of the American series She's the Boss.
Vicki Michelle (Jo, who forms the foursome with Bodie, Doyle and Kathie) is best remembered for the wartime sitcom 'Allo 'Allo. She also appears in the fifth-season episode 'The Untouchables'.
Some readers may recall that both the Granada Plus screening and the first Contender VHS release of this episode were missing the opening pre-titles sequence and part of the motorway chase scene. This came about because in 1991 LWT inexplicably culled these scenes when making up a temporary transmission print. Normally after transmission the tape would be erased but it somehow found its way to BRITE's vaults. It wasn't until Contender issued the tape that the problem came to light. After some arguing, Contender finally managed to get BRITE and LWT to produce a new, full-length version.
The orange caption card right at the end of the episode bears an older version of the LWT logo, replaced in August 1978. It is assumed that the episode was originally tx'd with this and was never "updated".
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