Last updated : 15th November 2015
|Story Synopsis||A cat burglar unwittingly uncovers a gang of drugs and arms smugglers . On the run, not even the police can safely protect||Writer||Don Houghton|
|Guest Stars||Michael Elphick, Liz Frazer, Brian Gwaspari||Directors||Tom Clegg (1978), Christopher King (1979)|
& Filming Dates
|Block 2, Episode 11
|Original UK Transmission||Season 3, Episode 2
3rd November 1979
The amusing "affair" between Doyle and Liz Frazer's character - with some hilarious dialogue between them - makes up for an otherwise routine storyline, though the interplay between the lads during the house surveillance scenes is great fun, too - particularly when Doyle casually lobs the incendiary bomb at Bodie. Sharon covers the other comedy scenes below.
I like the way we see Bodie ferreting through the box of guns while Cowley, out of camera and, in fact, in another room can be just heard to complain about how easy and cheap it is to buy arms in London "We're bargain basement, Doyle - you can buy anything here. And we're so damned tolerant. It takes a massacre to get us off our backsides!". Very effectively filmed, that little scene.
Apart from Doyle's "girlfriend" and the other humorous moments Sharon mentions, the ep is all pretty much run-of-the-mill stuff.
Marge to Doyle: "Nice boys like you are few and far between...," turns to regard Bodie: "Louts are everywhere!"
Another favorite. This one combines a good plot with the sort of comedy-action-tension balance that makes Pros such a great show. The boys look much better, too.
Bodie pushing Doyle to safety first in the opening segment when it looks like an incendiary is likely to explode in their faces.
Doyle shaving while leaning against the wall at Cowley's place very early in the morning.
Cowley is in great form here: fierce, fussing and short tempered. Doyle brings up the topic of a salary rise again and toward the close of the story gets quite short with Cowley about an expense chit.
The shootout where Bodie saves Doyle's life is an excellent scene. Chattering away about the defective gun, Bodie casually takes Doyle's thanks. So much implied, so little said. I especially enjoy the exchange with Cowley that occurs next. Good writing!
And, of course, there's Margery Harper (wonderfully played by Liz Fraser). The scenes with her have to be about the funniest in Pros. Bodie's facial expressions are priceless, and Doyle's efforts to play it straight are almost painful.
The Boys in Black Leather are worth watching the entire episode to see. Bodie pulling on that glove.... yum.
The whole cat-burglars bit is fun. A little comedy, a little tension. Bodie perusing a girlie magazine while Doyle toils. Bodie opening a music box when silence is life. Doyle working so diligently only to miss the important alarm connection. The only criticism is the darkness – can't see them in their leathers well enough.
I wish Cowley would not taste the "heroin". But that was standard in 70-80's TV cop stuff so I suppose he can be forgiven.
The secondary characters in this one shine and have genuine depth. Only a few silly cardboards to tolerate.
A good episode. Nice work all around.
Cowley, angry but unsurprised at uncovering yet another arms dump: "We're a bargain basement, Doyle - you can buy anything here. And we're so damned tolerant - it takes a massacre to get us off our backsides!"
Bodie: "Every professional thief has got a pet 'fence'."
Doyle: "Who handled Sammy's stuff?"
Sergeant Garbett: "Look, I can't tell you that - she's a very valuable grass."
Doyle: "One of your own divisional officers has been killed!"
Garbett: "I bloody know that, son - I've just had to tell his missus!"
Garbett, introducing Marge's minders: "This one's Alf - and this one's Herbert. Marge's own personal 'Berlin Wall' - nobody gets past them!"
Marge: "Difficult life, woman on her own. I've always had to make my own way - and I've got my way through four husbands in the process! The third was a ponce. He wanted to send me out on the streets to 'tart' for him."
Doyle: "You'd have a made a fortune, Marge!"
Marge, not twigging the sarcasm: "Oh, that's one of the nicest compliments anyone has ever paid me!"
Marge, about to reveal Sammy's modus operandi: "What's that?"
Bodie, clutching a small pad: "I'm just making some notes."
Marge: "No notes! You know, I haven't made my mind up about you, sonny boy. Pretty enough, yes - but you've got shifty eyes!"
Marge to Doyle: "If you go the same way as Sammy, I'll be very upset. Nice boys like you are few and far between!..."
Marge, turning to regard Bodie: "LOUTS are everywhere!"
Cowley, not entirely concerned after the lads are almost blown up: "Narrow squeak, lads - did they save the car?"
Bloopers aplenty! Some of these are possibly attributable to the long break in production on this episode - see the Sidenotes section. Confusion over character names perhaps came about because production and draft scripts got mixed up?...
First off fan Mark Houlker spotted that in the aftermath of the (unseen) shoot-out at the country house, one supposedly dead Arab moves his fingers under his jacket when he is being covered up with the blanket.
Sammy Blaydon's middle name is Augustus in one scene and a short while later is Thomas!
And Sir Lionel Laverton is actually called Arnold, according to arms-dealer Miller!
Also note Cowley's Granada briefly wears the silver Capri's license plate (UOO 303T)!
Doyle's hairstyle is different in the scene where he and Bodie are waiting outside Cowley's apartment block - see Sidenotes section.
This was the episode that was interrupted by Lewis' parachuting accident. Originally actors Annie Ross and John Rhys-Davies played Margery and Inspector Truitt respectively. When production resumed five months later both were unavailable, hence all the scenes previously shot with them required refilming but now portrayed by Liz Fraser and John Bennett.
The disruption to the episode led to some unfortunate omissions of credits for some of the cast and crew who were only required or available for the scenes shot in 1978 - notably actor Geoffrey Bateman as CI5 op Anson and director Tom Clegg.
In the scene where the Granada's windscreen is hit by the sniper, the picture appears to jump (play it in slow-motion) and Martin Shaw suddenly turns into stuntman Peter Brayham! As Lewis once said, he and Martin were doubled whenever flying glass was involved.
Luke Hanson, as one half of Marge's "personal Berlin Wall", had previously appeared briefly in the opening airport scene of 'Where the Jungle Ends'. In 1968 - under his real name of Hans de Vries - he had been a finalist in the auditions to replace Sean Connnery as James Bond!
The scenes with Cowley being woken in the middle of the night to be told of the massacre at Eccleston Manor, the lads picking him up from his flat the following morning, the car journey to said manor and the later meeting with arms dealer Miller do not appear in the original script. They were all filmed in a single day about seven weeks after the main shoot finally completed (in April 1979). I am guessing they were added because the episode was under-running the usual 50 minutes. If these additions were penned by somebody other than the original writer, Don Houghton, this may explain the mix-ups with Sammy's and Laverton's forenames.
Liz Fraser (Margery) was a semi-regular in the Carry On films and other comedies, including some of the dire Confessions series. Still acting today, occasionally guesting in stuff like The Bill.
Michael Elphick (Garbett) apparently was never out of work between 1970 and 1990. And for sure he had a promising career throughout the 1980s, initially to be seen as psychotic Irishman MacGowan in the first season of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and then on to his own series, the long-running Boon. But there were lowlights such as the feeble sitcom Three Up, Two Down and the mundane newspaper drama Harry. Alleged drink problems - exacerbated by the death of his partner - led to fewer offers of work and he ended up in the soap EastEnders. A massively overweight Elphick promoted Granada Plus' rerun of Boon shortly before his death in 2002 at the age of 55 - a sad departure for one of Britain's favourite actors.
Brian Gwaspari (the solicitor Pulman) was a regular face in crime dramas of the 1970s, including the second Sweeney film and a recurring character in The Gentle Touch. Also appeared in the hugely successful police drama Between the Lines.
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