Last updated : 1st August 2016





Episode 'Blood Sports'
Story Synopsis When the son of a South American president is assassinated, CI5 move in to protect his daughter. WriterGerry O'Hara
Guest StarsRuby Wax, Jonathan Morris, Pierce Brosnan (all cameos) DirectorPhil Meheux
Production Order
& Filming Dates
Block 4, Episode 5
11th to 22nd August 1980Main shoot.
3rd September 1980Lads en route from the cricket to the polo match, Doyle joins the pursuit of Lacoste's taxi, the lads en route to the University, scenes with car thief Norman and subsequent search of his house.
Original UK TransmissionSeason 4, Episode 8
26th October 1980
Dave's Comment
Story
Action
Pace
Humour
Violence

Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z....

Practically no storyline whatsoever! Doubtless had the fourth season been green-lit by LWT with more advance notice, this script would have either been rejected or significantly rewritten.

Bodie playing cricket hardly helps to promote the show's usual action-packed character - though the pay-off is a very funny scene with him trying to change out of his whites while being thrown around in the back of the Capri!

Doyle's so-called relationship with Anita is a non-event, despite some fairly good scripting: "Listen, there are certain aspects of my job I'm not entirely happy with, you know?!" / "I can imagine." / "Can you?" / "We too have Secret Police in my country." / "It's not the same!" But there isn't enough decent, sparky dialogue to save the episode.

Not really much action to speak of, either and the whole thing just plods mechanically along.

I did wake up when I spotted the blonde flying around in the bronze TR7, though! <G> (Incidentally her character is credited as 'Helen Tippett'). Definitely the highlight of the ep. In fact I tend to replay this bit over and over and fast-forward through everything else. Hi Sharon!

As in 'Need to Know' there are tell-tale skid marks on the road BEFORE Martin spins his Capri around!

And yes, folks, it's time for the good old gunsight-in-the-sunlight routine! Will these terrorists ever learn?! Or will the writers ever think of a more innovative way of catching them?

Sharon's Comment

I agree with much of what Dave says about this episode. The plot (ha ha) is pathetic. If it had been presented to me as a short story, I'd have said "nice first draft". Could do without the hokey Spanish guitar riffs, too.

But I like watching it. There are such wonderful moments. (and I don't mean the blonde in the sports car - sorry, Dave)

I don't care why Bodie is playing cricket - he looks cute doing it. And Doyle spending the afternoon watching what I understand to be a very tedious spectator sport (YEP!! -Dave) just because his partner is playing is endearing. Bodie undressing in the back seat while Doyle drives is a High Moment in Pros. <G> And when he reappears it's in black leather. What's not to like?

The small scene where they move the car to avoid the bomb is wonderful. Has nothing at all to do with furthering the nonexistant plot but it's typical of the Best of Pros.

Other small wonderous scenes: the restaurant where they're spying on Anita. Doyle and Anita - there was real chemistry between them. Bodie bugging Anita's flat. (By the way, he seems to be wearing the same tight fawn trousers he had on in 'Blackout') Banter in the buggy-boo - Bodie seems to be deliberately annoying here, pushing Doyle's buttons one after the other. <G> Pierce Brosnan. The entire buggy-boo sequence including the fore and aft sections with Doyle on R/T is nicely done comedy. Lew at his best.

Larger wonders: Bodie with the automatic rifle on the golf course. Doyle kissing Anita. Doyle in blue, Doyle in yellow, Doyle in green....

Not a good episode at all. But my goodness there are moments!

Bloopers

The young Cabreros boy is called Francisco throughout the episode, but the end credits name him as Jaime! In fact the original script names him as Jaime and the change occurred at the last minute. Clearly somebody forgot to change the credits!

At the polo match, the villain's car has a registration number of WLX 672S, yet its tax disk says XEX 902S. (Thanks to Rainer Schmidt)

Sidenotes

Lizzie Spender who played the CI5 agent in the TR7, Helen Tippett, kindly got in touch recently with some interesting revelations about the episode...

"Mine was supposed to be on ongoing part as Gordon Jackson's sidekick [but] when I arrived on set they realised that I was taller than [Martin] and [Lewis], so I was not allowed to stand up (hence always in the car) and all my other scenes (like running through the tube station with them) were cut. Poor me! I made friends with Lewis Collins years later when I ran into him in a scriptwriting class in LA."

It sounds like Lizzie fell victim to the production chaos that surrounded the fourth season.

Lizzie didn't spend much time with an acting career and eventually settled into writing in Australia with husband Barry Humphries of Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson fame.

Deja Vu

Jonathon Morris (Francesco/Jaime) is best remembered for Scouse sitcom Bread. Has done practically nothing since, though I think he presented a kids gameshow for the BBC in the mid-90s and recently competed in a "celebrity" mini-Olympics for Channel 4, "The Games".

Ruby Wax (the American student) is now extremely well-known in the UK (are our American friends familiar with her?). Starting out with minor acting roles in films such as Chariots of Fire and Omen III, she rapidly progressed to writing and producing comedy such as the sitcom Girls on Top and then went on to presenting her own shows interviewing other celebs. Along the way she co-scripted Absolutely Fabulous.

Stephen Bent (Norman) appeared in a couple of Sweeney episodes and as an SAS officer in Who Dares Wins.

It's somewhat ironic that Pierce Brosnan (the radio operator in the "buggy-boo"), here in an extremely minor role, would usurp Lewis Collins as a contender for James Bond when he happened to visit the set of For Your Eyes Only (his then wife, Cassandra Harris, had landed a role in it). Cubby Broccoli was convinced he'd found a new 007 for whenever Roger Moore decided to hang up his Walther PPK. At the time, though, Brosnan had just completed scenes for the gangster film The Long Good Friday - another minor role in which he got no more than about three lines and was still a struggling young actor. According to Professionals casting director Esta Charkham he took the Bloodsports role just so he could earn enough money to pay the fare to fly to the US, where he had been offered a role in a mini-series called The Manions of America (I don't know if this was ever shown in the UK). Manions was a good move as it led directly to the popular detective show Remington Steele. Unfortunately his contract with that show prevented him from becoming Bond in 1986 and he had to wait a further seven years. Other stuff to watch out for include the all-action thriller The Fourth Protocol, Mrs Doubtfire, Mars Attacks! and the recent remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Ben Roberts (CI5 op 9-4) became better known to fans of The Bill.

Mike Savage (mechanic) played the father of long-suffering pupil Rowland Browning in Grange Hill.

Locations
Son of a South American president, Jaime Cabreros is asassinated while playing polo in England. The inital shots of the match appear to be taken from stock footage, however the "genuine" ones are documented as being filmed at The Guards Club, Smiths Lawn, Windsor Great Park, Windsor.
Mewanwhile Doyle is watching Bodie play cricket at what is documented as the Metropolitan Police Sports and Social Club, Aldenham Road, Bushey. As the view of it on Google Street View is extremely limited, the only similarity I can identify is the white "box" on the top of the pavilion.
Doyle's enjoyment of the game - and his blonde companion! - are spoiled by a call from Cowley, who is being driven along Wembley Park Drive, Wembley...
... In the next shot, Cowley is on Empire Way, Wembley.
The lads hurry to the polo ground, via the corner of Braybrook Street and Osmund Street in East Acton. Although the screenshot looks very different to how it is now, historical photographs do show the green was flat with very few trees and some sort of factory complex beyond it. When the scene switches to the interior of the car, it confirms this is the correct location. (Braybrook Street was the scene of the massacre of three police officers in 1966).
The assassins pick up their pay-off at The Thatched Barn, Rowley Lane, Borehamwood. This location was used in many television productions during the 60's and 70's but has since been demolished, somewhat surprisingly.
Finding the fingerprints of known car thief Norman on the assassins' dumped Lancia, the lads check out a dodgy car dealer on Mount Pleasant Crescent, Tottenham.
Still looking for Norman, the lads continue enquiries in a car body spray shop. We only see the interior but it is documented as being in Ossian Mews, Ossian Road, Stroud Green.
Cowley calls the lads while being driven by the juntion of Randall Avenue and the North Circular Road, Neasden - note the small building with the steep apexing.
Meanwhile Norman, having been tipped off, elects to do a runner. He leaves his house on 86 Shaftesbury Road, Upper Holloway.
Unaware that he's being pursued, Norman drives north-east along Crouch Hall Road, Hornsey. He stops for the lights, only to have his own put out for him!
Jaime's sister Anita speaks with Doyle at the Saville & Son Funeral Parlour, 569 High Road, Wembley - still there today and run by the same family!
Cowley visits the Cabreros' security chief, Captain Hidalgo, at his hotel. This is documented as the Eurocrest, Empire Way, Wembley, though we only see the interior.
Anita's oddly indifferent attitude towards her brother's death prompts the lads to watch her. They tail her to a bistro, documented as 'The Dock', Port-A-Bella Dock, Ladbroke Grove. It no longer exists - not surprised given the dodgy-looking drinks they served!
The following day Doyle talks with Anita at her university: London House, Mecklenburgh Square, St Pancras.
Bodie plants listening devices in Anita's flat. This actually used two locations. The interior is documented as Lochbie Mansions, 10 Warltersville Road, Crouch Hill, Hornsey Rise, while the exterior is Hillside Mansions, Jacksons Lane, Highgate.
Bodie invites Doyle to join him in the "buggy-boo". We see Doyle drive along Notting Hill Gate...
... The scene switches to the interior of Doyle's car. This is documented as Chalk Farm Road, Camden but the limited view we have of the exterior makes it difficult to verify.
Doyle spins the Capri around in Adelaide Road, Camden. (And note the sound of the nearside wheels smashing into the kerb!).
Anita's boyfriend, Lacoste, leaves her apartment and takes a taxi along Chalk Farm Road. In the episode we see a William Hill bookie's... which is still there today!
In a location cheat, Doyle pursues the taxi along Station Road, Harlesden.
We then switch to an interior shot of Doyle's car. The documentation of the location for this is unclear but it may be Adelaide Road, Camden. There are similarities such as the presence of pavement bollards and the telephone sub-exchange "green box" just about visible in the background. Also, other scenes of Doyle's car were shot on this road the same day.
Doyle attempts to mow down a couple of traffic wardens - what a guy! - outside Chalk Farm Tube Station.
CI5 agent 118, Helen Tippett, is also following along Chalk Farm Road.
Meanwhile Doyle emerges from the station on its Adelaide Road exit - but Lacoste is nowhere to be seen.
Bodie drives Doyle to Anita's university via Victoria Road, North Acton.
Bodie drops Doyle off at the Uni on the north side of Mecklenburgh Square, St Pancras.
Lacoste and one of the assassins spy on Hidalgo and Anita during a party at what is documented as Brent Town Hall, Forty Lane, Wembley, though the camera angles used make this impossible to verify... (OK, it's just an excuse to post a shot of that redhead!)
... However when Hidalgo leaves Anita, they have been magically transported to St Hubertís House, St Hubertís Lane, Gerrardís Cross! It's not made clear in the episode but this is the house where Anita is holed up at the story's denouement. (Incidentally the Rolls Royce is the same car used by villain Simon Sinclair in 'Where the Jungle Ends'.)
The remainder of the episode was shot around Burnham Beeches Golf Club...
The assassin is dropped off by his accomplice but the precise location is difficult to identify.
Expecting the assassin to return, Doyle patrols the roads around the club and encounters horseriders near the junction of Pumpkin Hill and Victoria Drive.
Informed that Lacoste may have got to Anita, Doyle spins the Capri as Dorney Wood Road near a house called 'Kilnwood'. The similarties between the screenshot and the Google Street View here are fairly obvious: the entrance to the house itself, the way the road turns in the background and the triangular roadsign warning of the nearby junction (with Curriers Lane). Interestingly, though, the wooden fence must have been replaced by the period brick wall some time since 1980.
Doyle narrowly avoids an oncoming van as he blasts across the junction of Green Lane, Curriers Lane, Park Lane and Pumpkin Hill. In fact this does appear to be a stunt that very nearly went wrong!
One of the other CI5 ops chases down the assassin's accomplice. However the precise location isn't clear.



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