Last updated : 15th November 2015
|Episode 'Servant of Two Masters'|
|Story Synopsis||It seems that Cowley is lining his pockets by selling nerve gas to the East Germans.||Writer||Douglas Watkinson|
|Guest Stars||David de Keyser, Ina Scriver, Glynn Edwards, John Savident||Director||Ferdinand Fairfax|
& Filming Dates
|Block 2, Episode 13
|Original UK Transmission||Season 3, Episode 8
15th December 1979
The problem with this episode is that the viewer knows Cowley too well by this point to believe he would sell out. And in terms of the original UK transmission, it was one of the episodes delayed by Lewis Collins' parachuting accident, thus not screened until the end of the third season. It would perhaps have worked a little more credibly had the doctor's surgery scene - where Cowley is told to take it easy and look forward to retirement - had been placed at the beginning of the story.
Not a bad episode, though it is quite slow-moving for much of the time, particularly following the cars though the countryside. And it's another one where Cowley keeps his men in the dark.
At least there are a few humorous scenes. The lads jogging through the graveyard and their daft banter, with Plum watching them, is great fun - imagining that Plum is a foreign spy: "Ze microfeelm on ze first headstone on ze left!". Doyle assuming that the van shaking about must mean that Bodie's been distracted by the case and has "found himself a milkmaid" is a funny presage to a nice little scrap with the villains.
The rope-swinging scene was a bit banal, though - it was nothing to do with the story and they used stunt doubles anyway! (And Lew is also doubled in parts when Bodie is being chased by the horserider.)
Worse, though is the, ahem, "showdown" at the end. What we wanted was the villains making a fight of it with lots of shooting, claret and flying bodies. What we got was one villain sustaining light damage to his anorak, which was enough to scare his colleagues into surrendering!?!?
So a few good scenes and funny dialogue but, overall, a weak ending to what was the third season in terms of original UK screenings.
For a nice change we get an upbeatish ending to a series. While the plot does focus around treason, greed and betrayal the good guys finish ahead and none of the main characters are featured out-of-character. I like this episode.
Bodie and Doyle together at their finest here. Fine banter, good slice-of-life moments and the plot moves along weaving through their daily routine. Both men look good, relaxed and - you'll pardon the expression - cute. The drinking scene at the beginning is one of my favs. The jogging scene is right up there as well. The dialogue is natural, true to the characters and quite funny. They are, in spite of the situation, pleasant and friendly to one another. No conflict between them in this story.
Bodie's loyalty to Cowley remains consistent even when he's following orders which might lead to his boss' arrest. Watch his face - he never admits either by word or expression that he truly believes Cowley to be guilty. Doyle, on the other hand, seems not so sure.
Bodie uses the pet name "Goldilocks" for Doyle again. I think the only other time that's done is when Cowley does so in First Night.
The cellar scene is another favorite. Listen closely to the dialogue. Wonder what sort of dancing lessons Doyle took, if indeed he did and isn't pulling Bodie's leg. The image of a small Doyle at the barre requires some imagination but it is possible. <G>
The "disarming of Plumb" moment is a fine one. Excellent "small" action event. So smooth and skilled!
This is an episode I watch over and over because they look so good and the dialogue is so much fun. I do, however, fast-forward though all non-Lad parts.
A fine conclusion for the third series.
Bodie, jogging through the cemetery, exhausted: "I've been reading about this jogging business. People have been known to drop dead in their tracks!"
Doyle: "Well you're in the right place, then!"
Bodie: "Hey, come on - we've done our stint."
Doyle: "No we 'aven't!"
Bodie: "Well I have - I'm falling apart!"
Doyle, adopting militarial, commanding voice: "Pull yourself together, man!"
Bodie: "Yeah, right."
Doyle: "You know your trouble, don't you? You eat too much."
Bodie: "I always leave the table wanting."
Doyle: "Yeah and you go back an' 'ave it!!"
Doyle, discovering Bodie's van in the woods and noticing it is mysteriously shaking about: "He's never found himself a milkmaid?!"
Doyle, peering into the back of the van, expecting to see Bodie with his latest conquest, wags a finger: "Naughty, naughty!"
Bodie, trapped in the cellar with Doyle: "Ah - a padlock. Piece o'cake... if we had the key!"
Doyle: "Bound to be under the mat!"
Doyle, finding a chisel: "Here y'are - try that."
Bodie, impressed with Doyle's resourcefulness: "You weren't a Boy Scout, were you?"
Doyle: "Nah - I took dancin' lessons."
Bodie, trying to force the padlock: "I can't shift it."
Doyle, picking up another tool: "Never use ingenuity when brute force and ignorance will suffice. It only saps the brain cells... and you need to save all of yours!"
Cowley's order at the armoury is for two boxes of grenades, each containing 25. However when we later see him open a box at the farm, it is clear each box can only hold six. Also when placed in the boot of the Morris Marina estate, the boxes magically shift from one side to the other. Mind you, I remember cornering in a Marina at anything above 25mph was so bad, it was a wonder the driver didn't end up in the passenger seat! (Thanks to Mike Morgan)
When Doyle visits the armoury he hands his Browning to Cole, warning him that there is still a round in the chamber. Despite this Cole, the supposed arms expert, then inspects the gun by looking down the dangerous end of the barrel! (Thanks to Kari Korpi)
Certain export copies of this episode have the title displayed as 'Master of Two Servants'. This was actually the original name for the episode when the script was going through various redrafts. Even the final script carries this title, so little wonder that there was confusion! I wonder if the original UK transmission had this fault, too, which was subsequently corrected on the UK master print but not re-distributed overseas...?
And that's not the only name-change: fans of the New Avengers will note that Ina Skriver is now calling herself Christina World. Apparently what happened was that she appeared in the 1978 film Golden Lady which was an all-female spoof on James Bond. The film producers asked her to change her name so that the credits could read "Starring Miss World"! What a wonderfully ludicrous idea! Even more bizarre that she actually chose to stick with the new moniker! (Thanks to Andrew Sumner for this info!)
David de Keyser appeared in previous Brian Clemens productions such as Thriller and The New Avengers.
Glynn Edwards (Alf Cole) is best remembered as Arthur Daley's gullible business partner n Minder but also played Michael Crawford's long-suffering neighbour in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
John Savident (Plum) was a regular in soap Coronation Street, though also had a semi-regular role in Yes, Minister and in the early 1970s was the star of cult espionage show Tightrope.
Watch out for Tony Scannell's early appearance (as the "terrorist"). He later went on to play hard-drinking copper Ted Roach during the golden years of The Bill.
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