Last updated : 1st August 2016





Episode 'Hijack'
Story Synopsis Silver bullion being shipped in to Britain from behind the Iron Curtain is hijacked by one of their own officials. WriterRoger Marshall
Guest Stars Dennis Lill, Stephen Yardley, Dave King, Jill Baker, Rachael Davies Director Martin Campbell
Production Order
& Filming Dates
Block 4, Episode 6
25th August to 6th September 1980Main shoot.
9th September 1980All scenes with hitman and attack on Mandy.
11th September 1980Lorry driver Wally is discovered tied up in a garage.
12th September 1980Cowley wants to know who requested a trace on Merhart's car.
Original UK Transmission Season 4, Episode 11
30th November 1980
Dave's Comment
Story
Action
Pace
Humour
Violence

This episode has a rather odd opening: the lads are keeping watch on a house and break in to discover a dead girl. This plot is then completely abandoned and the main synopsis takes over. Very odd! Anyway, the main strand is actually a lot better than it sounds.

Admittedly there aren't many notable scenes in the story (and I can understand why some folk may not be impressed with it) but it is still enjoyable and reasonably well-paced. The fact that the villains are quite likeable helps.

Am I going to be crass and say how absolutely lovely Jill Baker is? You bet I am!! Jill Baker is absolutely lovely! Definitely a high-point in the ep! <G>

Fave scenes include the assassination attempt on Mandy excellent combination of stunt work and editing there. And a quick mention for the short scene of the young lad bemused at the squad's arrival at the derelict house - see the Dialogue section below. It's delightfully bonkers throwaway scenes like this that help make the series a joy to watch.

As we often see with Roger Marshall scripts, there are some obscure - or "Did they cut something out there?" - events as the plot unfolds. What's all the malarkey with Doyle deliberately letting Mandy realise he has searched her apartment? Is it to warn her? Is it to test if she is nervous about something? And why does Swetman use a taxi to send his shotgun to the hotel?

The ep reaches its climax in fine gun-blasting form. The ending is odd, however, in its contrast over how Walter and Merhart are dealt with.

Sharon's Comment

Another less than favorite episode, but this one does have some great moments.

Among them:

Doyle in the opening section. He's trying so to be good and not get caught up in the lusty mood of his girl. When his neck and ear are nibbled and kissed he seems to wriggle with pleasure and give in. Ah. Ray has a gee spot. <G> Wonder what went on in the elevator ride to the 6th floor?

Unshaven and cold Doyle very annoyed with clean and cheery Bodie. Bodie happy as a clam in sand having obviously enjoyed the kind of activity Ray had intended the night before. Bodie making a very tacky joke about the Seven Dwarves. Listen carefully. It's quite naughty.

The search of the flat with the dead girl in the bath is well choreographed. The tiny bit of dialogue from Bodie with the kid on the steps. Nice, nice. (note Murphy is visible but not acknowledged in several scenes)

Doyle's interrogation of Mandy during the car washing and flat searching bit is well written and played as is Bodie's exchange with the truck driver. Fine work by all involved.

Doyle in the racing car, saving Mandy.

But best of all and one of my favorite Lads moments is Doyle, absolutely deadpanned and unrepentant, cheating at Mastermind while Bodie whines. It's exquisite.

Note that just before the assassin tries to strike, Bodie (Lewis) pulls the tab on the pop can and it spews all over everyone. It's clear from his expression this was not supposed to happen.

Or, with Lew's mindset, perhaps it was.

I do a lot of FF through this one but the good parts are constant rewinds.

Dialogue

Josef: "We are speculating on the London bullion market. When the price is low, we buy and we ship it home. When the price rises, we sell - we ship it back."

Harry, astonished but giggling at the bravado: "Naughty little Communists!"


Deborah: "Come on up!"

Doyle: "I wish I could!"

Deborah: "So what's stopping you?"

Doyle: "I'm on stand-by!"

Deborah: "So stand by me!


Bodie, seeing the children's poster: "Ah, seven little dwarves in the bath all feeling happy. Happy got out, so they all felt Grumpy!"


Small Asian boy, curious at the lads' arrival: "Hello!"

Bodie, friendly: "What's your name?"

Boy: "Ubi. What's yours?"

Bodie: "George."

Boy: "George who?"

Bodie, cheerily obtuse: "That's right!"

Boy, confused "'George Who'?!"


Bodie, staring at the dead girl in the bath: "That's a nice, clean finish."

Cowley: "Recognise her?"

Doyle, craning his neck to examine the naked body: "Not from this angle!"


Roy: "Fresh air: smells sweet doesn't it?"

Dusty, thoughtful: "Yeah... the bail - where did that come from?"

Roy: "Not your problem, son."

Dusty: "I'm grateful."

Roy: "'Course you are - and I'm gonna give you the chance to show it!"

Dusty, realising nothing's for free: "A job?"


Merhart, trying to explain his motives: "You think I want to see my wretched homeland again? Totting up points to see whether you merit a bigger flat, another bedroom, a new wash=-basin! All those dreary stores, those grey-faced uniformed, narrow-minded dumplings!"


Sir Alan, recalling his time cheering on the national football team: "'England! England!' Takes you back, eh, George?!"

Cowley: "Oh, not me, Alan: I was shouting for Scotland!"

Sir Alan, naughty: "Oh, my condolences!"


Sir Alan, recalling the 1966 World Cup: "England: 4 - West Germany: 2"

Cowley, getting his 'revenge': "Like so many great English victories: in the past!"


Ambassador: "We use silver oxide in the manufacture of photographic paper."

Cowley: "But you ship the silver back to London again for re-sale."

Ambassador: "Only occasionally, when we have surplus."

Cowley: "According to my figures, you're one of the largest single dealers on the London Metal Exchange. Forty-five million last year."

Ambassador: "It's a flourishing business!"

Cowley: "The 'photography' business? Cynics might say the dealings coincide with fluctuations in the price."

Ambassador, feigning shock: "Mr Cowley, are you suggesting we are speculators?"

Cowley, aware that he is now in diplomatically dangerous waters: "Of course not. However you have been a little cavalier with your security arrangements. A lot easier and safer to stick it in a vault in London and do all your transactions on paper."

Ambassador, quick-thinking: "But, Mr Cowley, how would that help our photographic business?"

Cowley, realising he's beaten: "Of course."


Bodie: "It was just a normal run, right?"

Wally, the lorry driver: "Yeah - do 'em before, do 'em again."

Bodie: "Regular?"

Wally: "As in 'All-Bran'!"

Bloopers

Bodie's contact Ross is from MI6, the intelligence service, but later in the episode we hear that Bodie got his info from 'Five', referring to MI5 (counter-intelligence).

In the hotel room where Mandy is holed up, a knock is heard at the door but when Bodie answers it, the lights in the room have been turned off. The camera angle changes and the lights are obviously on again! (Thanks to Chris Swindells). [POST-SCRIPT: The BBC remastering and restoration work on this episode (primarily for Network's BluRay & DVD releases in 2016) corrects this problem.]

In the hotel room shoot-out, Swetman fires at a roughly forty-five degree angle, yet the shot seems to go straight up into the ceiling! (Well spotted Donald Gresko!)

Sidenotes

The strange character name Dusty Rhodes was previously used by Roger Marshall in his 1967 Avengers episode 'The 50,000 Breakfast'.

Although we see Steve Alder (as Murphy) on the motorbike, that's only for stationery shots. On attempting to ride it he hit some mud and the bike fell on top of him, causing a leg injury. One of the stunt team consequently replaced him for moving shots.

Deja Vu

Dave King (Harry Walter) was a stand-up comedian who branched out into acting. Perhaps best remembered as the corrupt cop Parker in The Long Good Friday. Passed away in April 2002.

Jill Baker (Mandy) guest starred with David Jason in an early episode of the classic sitcom Only Fools and Horses and worked again with the actor in March in the Windy City, a US-based pilot that was ridiculously touted as a revamp of The Equalizer - in fact it bore more relation to the soporific Inspector Morse than the classy, fast-paced Edward Woodward show. A series was never forthcoming.

Dennis Lill (Merhart) appeared in the New Professionals story 'Hostage'. Perhaps best remembered for his long-term appearances in Survivors and Only Fools and Horses. During the 1970s and 80s he notched up a tremendous amount of guest spots on various TV shows such as Van Der Valk, Rock Follies, Mapp and Lucia, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf.

Rachel Davies (Deborah) played Lewis Collins' ex-wife in The Cuckoo Waltz. Pops up in all sorts of things but rarely has a lead role, strangely.

Stephen Yardley (Roy) came to fame in the eponymous cat-burglar role of drama series The XYY Man (which was the forerunner to Strangers and Bulman, though Yardley did not reprise his role in either of these). Went on to the cult BBC television adaptation of Day of the Triffids and then soapy adventures in the bland Howards Way. Also starred in Virtual Murder, a short-lived series made in 1992 by the BBC, touting it as a their own version of The Avengers. Most recently appearing in the Channel 5 soap Family Affairs.

Mark Eden (Ross, Bodie's MI6 contact) is best remembered as the nice-guy-turned-psychopath Alan Bradley in Coronation Street.

Locations
The episode opens with Doyle being invited by girlfriend Deborah to her flat, which she shares with her friend Mandy. The apartment block, including the underground carpark, is Cavendish House in St John's Wood. The only exterior shot in the episode isn't accessible via Google Street View but the brickwork design is recognisable.
Doyle has to leave Deborah for surveillance duties on 134 Downham Road, Islington.
Meanwhile two of Mandy's friends, disgruntled East European embassy worker Josef Merhart and Harry Walter, ostensibly a legitimate businessman, meet to discuss the idea of stealing a shipment of silver bullion. Harry and his sidekick Roy Swetman later start to plan the blag by the junction of Coronation Avenue and Uxbridge Road, George Green, Uxbridge.
Harry and Roy continue to plan in the Hendon Hall Hotel, Ashley Lane, Hendon. This was also used as Harry's office later in the episode.
Roy prepares a fake police van in a scrapyard documented as P. Atkinson Limited, 169 Boundary Road, South Wimbledon but it no longer exists.
Having spotted Merhart's car outside Mandy and Deborah's flat with potential security implications given the governmental work they do, Doyle makes enquiries. Bodie later meets up with MI6 man Ross to get info on Merhart at what is documented as The Curry House, 119 Wembley Park Drive, Wembley. We only see the interior but we do appear to see Empire House outside as the scene opens.
The robbery goes ahead with a lorry hijack staged at a slighty different location to the earlier recce, the junction of Uxbridge Road and Billet Lane, Iver Heath.
Cowley talks to silver commodities expert Sir Alan at Wembley Stadium.
The lorry driver, Wally, is found tied up in the garage of "The Larches", Pinewood Green, Iver Heath.
Cowley discovers that the lorry had been carrying the silver on behalf of Merhart's own embassy in London, filmed at Peacock House, 8 Addison Road, Holland Park. Interiors were recorded here as well, apparently.
Suspecting an "inside job", Cowley heads back to CI5 HQ along Joel Street, Northwood Hills.
Meanwhile Bodie questions Wally about the robbery. The interview room is documented as 54-56 Wharf Road, Islington, though we only see the interior.
Mandy reads of the robbery and suspects that Josef is behind it. Starting to panic, she follows Harry's advice and leaves the city for her mother's house, documented as Black Park Cottage, Black Park, Queen's Drive, Fulmer.
Cowley and Bodie discuss the case while enjoying a quick bite to eat at a hot-dog stand on Noel Road, Islington. The tenement block in the background is just about recognisable today.
Suspecting that the lorry was taken by well-known "wheelman" Dusty Rhodes, CI5 has him apprehended at his flat, Copeland House, Garratt Lane, Tooting. It's difficult to get a useful view on it on Google Street View but the building shown here, Smallwood Primary School, is seen in the background when the police car pulls up.
Meanwhile Harry is concerned that Mandy is becoming a liability and hires a hitman who shoots at her in what is documented as Black Park, Fulmer.
Doyle takes Mandy is taken into safety at the Hotel Hardy, documented in reality as the Phaedra Hotel, 12 Shepherds Hill, Highgate but we only see the interiors.
Merhart checks the stash of silver bullion at the City Road Basin, off Wharf Road, Islington.
Harry and Roy meet up to discuss to discuss the "Amanda problem" in Christchurch Road, Collier's Wood. (The high-rise office block seen in the screenshot looks as though it is now in the process of demolition.)
Believing that it was Josef who arranged the hit, Mandy contacts Harry from the hotel and he tricks her into revealing her location. Ordered to carry out a second attempt, Roy uses a taxi parked in Hazelhurst Road, Tooting to get to the hotel.



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