Last updated : 15th November 2015

Episode 'The Purging of CI5'
Story Synopsis CI5 is racked by bombings and assassinations of its own agents. WriterStephen Lister
Guest Stars Simon Rouse, Christopher Fairbank Director Dennis Abey
Production Order
& Filming Dates
Block 3, Episode 7
13th to 24th August 1979Main shoot, though some scenes not completed on schedule...
4th September 1979Matheson and King inspect the derelict house, Parks' execution, reshoot (for unspecified reasons) of Bodie's booby-trapped telephone and insert shots of mystery caller telephoning bomb warning to Cowley.
Original UK TransmissionSeason 3, Episode 1
27th October 1979
Dave's Comment

Not a terribly original or imaginative plot but the action and, mostly, the pace keep it going well with quite a good twist at the end.

The episode opens with a terrific scene of Cowley's office being blown up. Good banter between the lads both before and after this: "I'm gonna ask Cowley for a rise." / "That's one way of getting yourself killed. Or failing that, he'll hang you.... and not by the neck!!".

Also the playful punch-up in the lift provides an excellent "counter-action" to Cowley nearly being killed.

The scene of the second bomb (in the block of flats) is too padded out unusual for this fast-moving show.

The scene where the lads "defuse" the RS2000 is great fun. (And notice how, back at base, Philips is fiddling around with the things on Cowley's desk, much to the boss' annoyance!). When the car is thought to be safe a relieved-but-still-nervous Bodie announces "See nothin' to worry about.... unless, of course, it's rigged to go off as soon as you hit 30!", to which Doyle replies by flooring the throttle!

But with regards to the above, how come when Doyle defuses the telephone bomb, the lads jump back into the unlocked Escort without checking it again? Oh, well think I'm getting a bit picky now!

The caravan scene is also excellent with amusing dialogue and Bodie checking Doyle's curly mass for dangerous materials! Shame they used the age-old plot device of the villain's gunsight being caught in the sunlight. However the van being blown up looks and sounds spectacular!

But the lads pretending to be dead just doesn't work, IMHO. And considering they've just been in an explosion involving dirty great black clouds of smoke, they both look amazingly clean and unscathed! And, sadly, even Bodie's Awful Grey Leather Jacket survived intact!

As Sharon says, at last we get to see a woman playing an active role within CI5 (actress Sally Harrison, who had also played a hooker in 'The Female Factor'). But why didn't we actually get to see her tackling villain Parks? If the Avengers girls could do it, why couldn't she? And, like Diana Weston's character in the second season, poor Susan soon gets demoted to chauffeuse in later episodes! However a still photo in one the series' annuals seems to show a fight scene was filmed see below.

Doyle questions why Catrall used a tape recorder to deliver his phone messages this is never explained in the episode... unless I missed something.

Despite the little pitfalls, this is still a good 'un!

Sharon's Comment

In spite of the three things wrong with this episode it remains one of my favorites. The best scenes are classics.

What's wrong:

1. The way they look. Both men are having an extremely bad hair day. Doyle's perm looks like he stuck his hand in a light socket and whoever cut Bodie's hair ought to be keelhauled. (In one of the annuals Lewis said that he cut his own hair... that would explain a lot! <G> Dave) Except for the occasional exceptional close-up they both look pretty crummy throughout. Bodie wears the Awful Grey Jacket, and the green tee shirt makes Doyle look at times like he has a paunch. Not a show to introduce a newbie to the charms of The Lads.

2. There's not enough consistent presentation of backstory to explain things. We get it all in a lump right at the end. By then we don't care.

3. Too much camera time is spent on watching the poor doomed agents.

Aside from that:

Purging contains some of the best moments in Pros. Notably:

The opening scene when the camera cuts from The Lads clowning around with very clever patter to the ominous pre-bomb phone call. While they are chattering we learn a lot about them and see the easy interaction. The moment just before the explosion when Doyle raises his hands is a marvel of direction. The giggling and scuffling in the elevator sets the tone for further close moments throughtout this story.

Susan shows up well in this. One of the few times a woman agent has a good and effective role.

The whole scene at the council flats seems so real it could be a news film (except for the shadows of Bodie and Doyle playfully scuffling just before they are seen again watch the tape closely as they get out of sight) .

The Interrogation of Billy is not only well acted by all three participants but the camera work is terrific. Doyle-the-destroyer again. He does deliberate mayhem so nicely. Makes him much scarier than Bodie, IMO.

The car "bomb scare" moment is marvelous. Good camera work and very believable behavior on the part of both agents/characters. Watching Bodie telling Cowley they've decided to let Billy go is a great character study. Again, very smooth, very believable action and dialogue. Like the little "cough" Bodie does as he sets out to tell Cowley the news. He does this again in other episodes when he's either lying or nervous.

And Best of All: the bomb defusing scene in Bodie's flat. Ah. So sweet. "Hold your breath, Sunshine." And the close-ups!

There are so many "cute" scenes between The Lads in this one.

I love the "London A-Z" moment: "Do you know where you're going?" (Improvised, I suspect Dave)

Well worth watching over and over.

Note that Doyle starts the show out by griping about his pay. This topic comes up again in the next episode, 'Backtrack'. Unusual since there's little episodic consistency in Pros. Also note that before Bodie spots the tampering with his phone, he's eating. So he went for food before calling his girlfriend. <G> Seems if you want to get Bodie, wire his fridge, not his phone.

So much character development done in so many nice little ways. One wonders how much was provided by writers and how much the actors themselves contributed.


Bodie: "Another day, another dollar."

Doyle: "Yeah, that's about all we're gettin'! I'm gonna ask Cowley for a pay rise!"

Bodie: "That's one way of getting yourself killed! Anyway you know what you'll get, don't you?"

Doyle: "No, what?"

Bodie: " 'Doyle, do you realise how difficult it is running zis organisation on a restricted budget?!' "

Doyle: "That's fantastic... can you do a German accent?!"

Bodie: "Anyway, failing that, he'll hang you... and not by the neck! Of course the old man may not even be in yet, it's only half past seven."

Doyle: "Oh, he'll be here: work mad, our Fuehrer. He'll be slogging away behind his desk, steam pouring out of..."

The building explodes.

Bodie, after the bomb explodes: "Isn't there something else you want to say?"

Doyle, sensing that it may not be an appropriate time: "Oh, er... it'll keep."

Bodie: "Never noticed that before!"

Doyle: "What?"

Bodie: "Streak o'yellow down your back!"

Doyle: "Oi!!..."


The supposedly dead guy on the train visibly contorts his face when Doyle smashes the window! (Thanks to Tobias Kessler)

The London A-Z keeps disappearing from the RS2000's dashboard. Also the RS isn't in quite the same position between the lads entering Bodie's flat (in the telephone "defusing" scene) and when they emerge minutes later.

When the lads drive Parks away to be executed, he seems to disappear from the back seat in a couple of brief shots. (Thanks to Chris Swindells)

When Billy pushes past the ladder during the chase with Bodie, the camera angle changes slightly and the window-cleaner chap is suddenly a couple of rungs further up. (Thanks to Petri Kaasalainen).


This episode's writer, Stephen Lister, was an 18-year-old fan of the show who submitted a script in which Doyle gets caught up in an aircraft hijacking. Rejected as being too costly and complex to film, he tried again with 'The Purging of CI5', which impressed Brian Clemens and only required a second draft to get it into shape. Stephen also contributed Kickback in the fourth season.

A couple of things to watch for: in the scene where King's car is blown up, a nearby rubbish skip has some grafitti scrawled on it: "Dennis Abey Rules, OK"! And here's another little quirk - have a VERY close look at the scene where Bodie notices the fragment of wire on his phone. Notice anything odd?

The pic seems to show that Sally Harrison did film a fight scene with Peter Jolley. However no available documentation makes mention of it, so it has to be assumed that the photo was taken purely for publicity purposes.

Deja Vu

Simon Rouse (Phillips, the CI5 boffin) went on to star in the sitcom Bread and then to greater fame in The Bill.

Christopher Fairbank (Billy) is best remembered as Scouse arsonist Moxey in the classic comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and, I believe, is involved in the upcoming new series. Also starred in The Scarlet Pimpernel with Martin Shaw.

Bill Treacher (Dave, the telecom engineer) is only on-screen for about three seconds. The actor is now familiar to millions of people as the depressive Arthur in the top-rated soap EastEnders.

This episode appears to have been the last acting job Peter Jolley (Parks) had - a shame and a mystery as during his brief appearance he puts in a great performance. After quitting the business he purused a career in IT (thanks to Tony Murphy for the info). Anyone know what he's doing today?

Terry Yorke (Catrall) was actually a stuntman (sometimes credited as Terry York or Terence York) but was also given bit-parts in the episodes 'A Hiding to Nothing' as the (uncredited) car driver who knocks down Frances and 'Bloodsports' as the polo team manager. Passed away in 2003.

The episode opens with the lads arriving at CI5 HQ. As with the previous season, this was Cadby Hall, Hammersmith. The site was undergoing decommissioning at the time, so readily available. It was demolished in 1983.
After Cowley is nearly killed by a bomb planted in his office, suspicion falls upon CI5's approved telephone engineer, whom the lads find somewhere along Warton Road, Stratford but it's undergone significant redevelopment since 1979. The railway sidings seen later in the story were also by this road.
Meanwhile CI5 ops Lake and Williams are passed information about evidence to be found in an apartment block. This was William Parnell House, Bagleys Lane, Hammersmith but it has since been demolished and the area completely redeveloped.
Cowley orders the lads to get over to the apartment block as they drive along Upper Park Road, Hampstead.
Doyle spins the RS2000 by the water tower on The Straight, Southall. The tower is used again in the subsequent scene of the car bomb.
Ops Matheson and King are told by their informant, Billy, that a disused house contains some evidence. Unable to alert the two agents by radio that's it's probably a trap, Doyle blasts along The Crescent and into Randolph Road, Southall. The subsequent shot of the fire engine was filmed on the same street.
Meanwhile Lake tracks down his informant, Chris, at Thorntonfield railway sidings, Warton Road, Stratford but he can no longer be of help. It's awkward to get a decent Google Street View angle here but you can clearly see one of the three tower blocks.
The lads decide to haul in Billy, who lives at Lionel Mansions, Haarlem Road, Brook Green...
... However there was a "cheat" here because his room and attempted escape over the scaffolding and rooftops were actually shot at the aforementioned Cadby Hall.
After "disarming" the RS2000, the lads head to Bodie's place via Randolph Road, Southall. The street is difficult to recognise now as a lot of the houses have been modernised and/or had their brickwork painted over but the gateposts are useful tell-tales!
Bodie enters his home, 44 Landsdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, to find an unwelcome little present has been left for him. In the ep the exterior shooting is rather "tight" but with some close scrutiny this is clearly the correct location.
Meanwhile CI5 Op Susan discovers that Billy's contact is a man named Parks. His office is at Fulham Gas Works, Sands End Lane.
The lads nick Parks and take him along Lawn Road, Hampstead...
... And then along Fleet Road, Hampstead. The camera angle used makes it difficult to recognise but the same street is later used when the ambulance ferries the lads to the hospital.
The lads take Parks to Southall Gas Works for his execution. The subsequent caravan scene was also shot there...
Lured to a rigged caravan, Cowley and the lads are taken to hospital via Pond Street, Hampstead...
... and then arrive at The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead... with the man apparently behind the bombing campaign, Catrell, hot on their trail! The shot here was done via the hospital's western entrance.
Susan's investigations suggest that it's not just Catrell that CI5 needs to be worried about. She speeds to the hospital herself, first along Upper Park Road, Hampstead...
... and then turns the corner of Upper Park Road and Garnett Road, Hampstead - you can just about make out the street sign in the screenshot!
Susan arrives at the hospital but there is a "cheat" here because she turns into its eastern entrance, on Fleet Road, but we then see her drive down the western one!

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