Last updated : 1st August 2016
|Episode 'The Gun'|
|Story Synopsis||After a pusher murders a drug-addict, his hastily-discarded gun is found by a young boy. The pusher must get to the boy while being pursued by his own people.||Writer||Chris Wicking|
|Guest Stars||Barry Angel||Director||Denis Lewiston|
& Filming Dates
|Block 4, Episode 1
|Original UK Transmission||Season 4, Episode 10
9th November 1980
Most fans seem to agree this is a dire episode. It's even more disappointing in that it was written by the usually reliable Chris Wicking who had already contributed the excellent 'The Madness of Mickey Hamilton' and later the amazing 'Discovered in a Graveyard'. Given that the fourth season was commissioned at the last minute and there was a mad dash to get scripts ready - with this being the first to be filmed - I suspect this is a story recycled from some other TV series as, although CI5 had a wide remit, this is very firmly Drugs Squad territory.
In fact it looks like even Laurie Johnson gave up on this one as his incidental themes here are uncharacteristicly lacklustre, too.
The lads do plenty of talking but don't get much opportunity for the heavy stuff in this one. The brief fight scenes in the warehouse - well-choreographed and violent as ever - and at Franco's place are easily the highlights of the episode. In contrast, the story is weighed down with bags of "filler", particularly the football match. The scenes with Harry Devlin provided some nice action but are inconsequential.
The whole thing is rather reliant on coincidences. Tony just happens to be a pupil at the same school Paul attended. Inger just happens to be refereeing the school football match that Tony is due to be playing in. The story almost suggests that the school is the only one in the district and Inger is its only teacher! Furthermore, having apparently killed his friend and with a witness on his trail, why on earth would Tony's first thought be to fulfill his obligation to play? Surely he'd be looking for somewhere to hide?
The story leaves loose ends, too. Nobody gives a toss about the fate of Inger's CI5 bodyguard... nor young Jerry Lee - the very, ahem, "trigger" for the whole episode!
There is no "punchline" or explanation to Doyle's car being missing, either. It's tempting to speculate that as this was the first episode to be filmed for the rushed-into-production fourth season, a suitable car simply wasn't available in time (The RS2000 having been sold off by this point). However this was no ad-libbed idea: all lines of dialogue around it were in the original script.
As fans we tend to bemoan the mess of the original broadcast order of the series' episodes but, in this case, it deserved its mid-season transmission slot.Anyway, can't sit around here chatting all day...
The Gun is almost a complete dud. If it were not for a few good moments I'd never bother watching the episode again. It plays as if The Lads and CI5 are stuck in here and there just because it's running as a Pros ep. I could go on, but I'll just say this one is my least favorite of the entire lot.
The Good Things:
The ongoing gag with Doyle's car. Doyle's dirty laugh in the opening scene. Bodie in a robe, hunting for junk food and whining about his libido. Bodie being extremely untactful with Inge about Paul's death. Bodie (Lewis) clowning around on the play set with the Nazi helmet. Both men look good though rather weary.
And that's it, folks. To review it I watched with my nose held and one finger on the FF button.
The Bad Things:
The pacing's awful, the music sucks and the editing is unbelievably bad. Watch the finale in the house – where the heck does Doyle suddenly come from? Very, very poorly done. Further, now that I'm on a roll, the characterization even of the three leads is off. Nothing seems "right". For example: Doyle [with his Drugs Squad background -Dave] not aware a baby of a heroin addict would be suffering withdrawal? Puleeze.
Augh. Too many problems that are too annoying to waste my time listing them here.
Was someone in a hurry?
Patricia Buchanan: "CI5 ?"
Doyle: "Yeah, it's kind of like MI5."
Patricia: "What's the difference?"
Doyle: "Well they invent the problems - and we have to solve them!"
Bodie, driving: "How come we're always using my motor? Oh, of course, you've lost yours!"
Doyle, indignant: "I have never lost a motor!"
Bodie, needling: "Think someone could have stolen it? Could be very humiliating. Reported it gone?"
Cowley, over the R/T: "Doyle?"
Doyle, spooked by the coincidental interruption: "His mother was a witch!"
When Gary is being interrogated in the back of Franco's car, they appear to drive past the same house (and row of cars) twice. (Thanks to Mark Gibbon)
Original episode title was 'The Gun, The Horse and The Mules', slang references to the drugs and the couriers. The shortening appears to be an attempt to avoid audience puzzlement over the terms but some of the characters use the "horse" term without explanation anyway.
In one scene Doyle arrives outside Franco's house in a green Ford Cortina. Apparently this was to be Ray's official mode of transport for the entire season but, naturally, the production unit - and probably Martin Shaw himself - deemed such a plain "bread-and-butter" car to be inappropriate for one of CI5's action men!
This episode's problems may be due to the fact it was the first to be filmed for the fourth block and underwent a number of hurried revisions. In March 1980 LWT reversed their (albeit unofficial) decision to axe the series, giving Mark 1 just eight weeks' notice in which to get scripts written! As such it wouldn't be surprising to find that Chris Wicking simply adapted an existing work.
Perhaps as a result of the urgency, some scenes were dropped from the script. The opening was to have been of Gary in his flat preparing to track down Paul by lubricating the gun and showing the audience that it had an unusual safety catch. A final scene of Bodie and Doyle leaving the CI5 computer room to pursue some of the "mules" in Bodie's car was also dropped.
Young Tony was originally to be called Jesus (pronounced "Heysoos"). Zoot Money's rock-star character was originally to be called Tom Dooley. That change may have come about so as there was (and still is) a real-life band called The Dooleys, who had a number of hits in the late 1970s.
It is rumoured that Doyle losing his car was to cover for the RS2000 having been stolen just prior to filming on this episode. However there does not seem to be any evidence of a theft and all the dialogue about it being missing was in Chris Wicking's draft scripts, anyway. I suspect it was merely a plot device to generate more of that much-loved car banter. The final scene was to see Doyle producing a large set of car keys from his pocket and saying to Bodie: "It's amazing how many people leave their keys in their car". I'm not sure if this is supposed to be some kind of joke but I'm not surprised it was dropped.
Celia Gregory (Inger) starred in the legendary mid-70s apocalyptic drama Survivors, private eye series Hazell and mini-series such as Reilly: Ace of Spies and the cheesey American effort Lace. Quit acting in the mid-1990s and sadly passed away due to cancer in 2008.
Barry Angel (Tony) played the lead in the well-remembered 1983 series Codename: Icarus concerning a school for gifted children being duped into creating weapons for the Russians. Hmmm... all sounds a bit far-fetched now!! Angel seems to have dropped out of acting after this.
If you think Sylvestra Le Touzel (playing Patricia Buchanan) looks very young here, us forty-something Brits should recall her from the 1971 cult classic (and, for me, absolutely terrifying) The Boy From Space. In the 1980s she appeared several times on Alas Smith and Jones impersonating Princess Diana (Charles, watching TV: "Diana, where's the channel-changer?" / "Oh, it's his night orff!"). I think she also starred in a 1985 ad for Heineken which was a spoof of My Fair Lady, wherein she played a posh young woman being taught how to speak with a Cockney accent. In 1993 she starred as Tony Clark's girlfriend in the superb police procedural series Between the Lines. Most recently seen in the amusing vetinary sitcom Beast.
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