Last updated : 1st August 2016





Episode 'Kickback'
Story Synopsis As part of attempting to capture members of Italian terrorist organisation the People's Liberation Army, Bodie and SAS-man Keller go undercover to carry out a hit on their behalf, with the opportunity of faking the killing. But Keller has an ulterior motive... Writer Stephen Lister
Guest Stars Norman Eshley Director Ian Sharp
Production Order
& Filming Dates
Block 4, Episode 8
22nd September to 3rd October 1980Main shoot.
8th October 1980Doyle talks to Bodie over R/T about the planned hit on Richardson, Travajoli lands at the airfield, Valerii drops Travajoli at his London house, Richardson is taken to the safehouse.
Original UK Transmission Season 4, Episode 14
20th December 1980
Dave's Comment
Story
Action
Pace
Humour
Violence

For an episode that doesn't have much by way of actual storyline, it is admirably fast-paced and intricately plotted. But with little by way of humour or daffy banter, it's a rather 'empty' piece.

The opening is heightened by a quick burst of a remixed New Avengers theme tune!!

The story works well, even if it's not particularly inspiring. However there's a huge plot hole at the end: without giving too much away for those who have yet to see this ep, Keller's plan only works because Travaioli manages to escape from Doyle. How could Keller count on this?

Some great action scenes here such as Spelman being sprung, Doyle pelting after him, the rigged assassination and Bodie's helicopter jaunt.

Norman Eshley's intense but dry performance as Keller is the ep's best aspect. Watch his expressionless, emotionless eyes as he viciously chloroforms Travaioli - not even looking at his victim as he does it. Very effective little scene, that. Difficult to believe that Eshley was appearing in the sitcom George and Mildred at the same time!

The final shoot-out and punch-up sequence - the latter being particularly violent - are well-choreographed, probably helped by PLA henchaman Valerii being played by stuntman Val Musetti.

Sharon's Comment

Ah, Kickback. Wetsuits, guns and betrayal. Bodie just doesn't have much luck with his old mates, does he? Doyle aside, look at the roster: Krivas, Benny, Williams (from 'Wild Justice': dead SAS man), Marikka and now Jimmy Keller.

The wetsuits are a rare treat. Thanks ever so much to all responsible and involved! Note, by the way, the slight "Jaws" sound in the music at the very first water shot. My only problem with the opening scene is the flashbacks which are distracting and weird. Once the story begins to unfold they make sense but by then they're over and past and this episode was shown long before most viewers had VCRs. If we're supposed to be seeing the flashbacks from Bodie's point of view it's even more odd Ė he ought to be concentrating on the present operation, not thinking of past ones.

We can only wish that Bodie had been as warm in his suit as Doyle - tunic removed and longies unzipped to mid-chest. Nice bare arms. Ah.

Once out of the wetsuits both men are well-dressed throughout this episode. Bodie tends to wear black, always a treat. And Doyle wears the lovely white sweater for the first part, a sports coat for the rest, although he does have on the same yellow shirt for what seems to be a period of several days. They both look very good no matter what they're wearing. They're moving well and looking quite sharp.

Murphy has several tiny appearances.

Loved Keller's description of Bodie as "not too bright but a damned good marksman."

Bodie does quite a bit of shooting and it is a lovely sight to behold. Some major pouting views in this episode. And when he's dumped by Keller, he suffers in what must be described as a cute manner! Rather like a little boy who's been hurt by a friend.

During the RT conversation between Bodie and Doyle we get another of those odd and unexplained "real life" elements when Doyle returns to his car to catch Bodie's call and says he was "just out for some air". Or answering another call of nature? In any event it's an example of those "you're really there" moments sprinkled liberally throughout Pros. Nice, nice work. Good touch of humor with Bodie whinging about being in the country while cheerfully sucking down booze.

The story's a good one though there are loose ends unexplained. The girl Keller has at the farm seems extraneous unless she's supposed to indicate that he is not as straight-arrow as he seems. Also why does Keller put himself in harm's way for Bodie at the final gunfight? Is his loyalty to his old mate so strong he's willing to die? Motivation?

Nevertheless my only criticism of this episode is that The Lads aren't together enough. Fun when they are, however. I liked it.

Dialogue

Cowley, musing over who would target Richardson: "Used to be Principal Inspector of Taxes."

Doyle: "Well we'd all like to put a bomb under them!"


Major Nairn: "Bodie?! Is he toeing the line, these days?"

Cowley: "Pretty well. Gets a bit 'exhuberent' now and again."


Bodie, on Richardson: "Wouldn't have thought he rated a terrorist hit."

Keller: "The PLA move into Mafia territory once in a while. Matter of finance. Easier than robbing banks. That's what I was arranging when you so nicely cocked it up. I'm gonna need a replacement. One man should do it but he'd have to be pretty good."

Bodie: "Got anyone in mind?"

Keller: "Yeah... YOU! Welcome to the PLA!"


Major Nairn on Richardson: "Who on Earth would want to put out a contract on a man like that? He's hardly a public figure. One of the faceless..."

Cowley anticipates with the answer: "... wielders of power and influence!"


Bodie, on Keller's girlfriend: "What is this? I mean you're really something aren't you?!"

Keller: "Now, listen..."

Bodie: "'Don't overreact', he says, 'I've got someone with me, just play it nice and cool'. She's wanted by Interpol on a load of dope charges and association with known terrorists!"

Keller: "OK, great, so you've done your homework. Now here's something you might not have read: she was only marginally involved."

Bodie: "Ha! She's managed to convince you then, has she?"

Keller: "Bodie, I know her - you don't"

Bodie: "Oh, wonderful, isn't it? I leave you alone for a couple of years and you get shacked up with some half-baked terrorist groupie!"

Bloopers

When Doyle arrives in the Granada outside the safe-house, Cowley and Richardson are supposed to be in the car with him but they clearly aren't.

In the scene where Doyle is photographing the exchange of money between Travaioli and Sutherland, our hero actually appears to be angling his camera away from the villains?? (Thanks to Neil Ward).

In the scene where Bodie uses the helicopter to attack the guy in the blue Ford Cortina, you can tell by the tyre tracks that the scene was filmed out-of-sequence. Also watch for various decals on the car disappearing and reappearing. (Thanks to Mark Gibbon)

Sidenotes Another ep penned by 18-year-old Stephen Lister.
Deja Vu

Norman Eshley (Jimmy Keller) will always be remembered for his role as Jeffrey Fourmile, the long-suffering neighbour to the Roper couple in the classic sitcom George and Mildred, though he actually played a completely different character in that show's forerunner, Man About the House. I think he was a regular in Warship, the naval drama in which Lewis Collins guested in one episode. He also starred in a fantastic episode of The Sweeney in which he played a schizophrenic cop. He played Sue Johnston's university tutor in Brookside for several episodes, ending up being suspected of her rape. He won the part of a police inspector in the 1997 Christmas Special for the sitcom One Foot in the Grave - apparently Lewis Collins was second choice for the role. Tragically he is not seen much on television these days as head injuries sustained in a car accident in 1993 ultimately left him struggling to learn lines of dialogue.

Locations
The episode opens with the lads capturing PLA member Spelman in Harleyford Marina in Marlow.
When Bodie spots his old mate Jimmy Keller on the boat, a flashback sequence shows them engaged in a previous SAS operation. This was filmed at the same farm Keller uses later in the episode, Halls Farm, Halls Lane, Waltham St. Lawrence
Spelman is promptly taken to CI5 HQ. This week it is documented as the Territorial Army Centre on the corner of Horn Lane and Creswick Road, Acton. It has since been demolished (and replaced by another building) but we only see the interiors anyway.
Keller is holed up in an old warehouse. This was Cadby Hall, Hammersmith - also used as CI5 HQ for this episode. It was completely demolished in 1983.
Concerned that the squad is getting tangled with an SAS operation, Cowley meets with Major Nairn in Springfield Gardens, Acton. The high-rise in the background, Rufford Tower, is the giveaway here.
Having agreed a joint operation, the lads drive to Keller's warehouse via Talgarth Road...
... and then Shepherds Bush Road.
With Spelman captured, Keller meets with PLA member Benedek at Littlefield Green, White Waltham to discuss hiring Bodie as a replacement hitman for a contract the group has been hired for.
Benedek meets Bodie during some target practice. This is also documented as the aforementioned Littlefield Green but the precise location is uncertain.
Keller drives to his farm with Bodie via what's documented as Shurlock Row, Waltham St. Lawrence.
Although the target is discovered to be renowned troubleshooter Alexander Richardson, Spelman won't reveal who has ordered the hit. On the pretext of transferring him to another CI5 location, Murphy takes Spelman along Maclise Road, Hammersmith...
... and then down Addison Gardens...
Now cruising along Sinclair Road, a van emerges from Hofland Road...
Next there's a cheat because the van and Murphy's car are coming back down Sinclair Road to turn into Hofland Road.
Spelman is "sprung" and ushered towards a Triumph TR7. The location of this is not documented but it appears to be the south end of Blythe Road, Hammersmith. The tell-tales are the buildings in the background - circled - which appear to be around the junction of Hammersmith Road and North End Road. The Google Street View shot I've provided here shows the building with the apex roof and that with the white-coloured stripe.
Spelman arrives outside the office of the man who hired the PLA (unnamed in the dialogue but credited as "Price"). This, the interior shot of the office, the iron gangway and Spelman's futile attempt to clamber up the tall gate were all filmed at the aforementioned Cadby Hall. The screenshot here shows a view south onto Hammersmith Road and looking down Auriol Road. The red postbox can still be seen.
Assassination target Richardson lives at 4 The Grove, Highgate.
Sutherland - the "customer" for Richardson's killing - is being chauffeured along Tooting High Street. The same road is used in subsequent similar scenes.
Doyle and fellow CI5 op Simms attempt to listen in on Sutherland's phone discussions. The "Buggyboo" is parked in what is documented as the original Royal Agricultural Hall on Liverpool Road, Islington. However the building has undergone much redevelopment since 1980 (and now called The Business Design Centre) so what we see on-screen is no longer recognisable.
Realising that Sutherland's carphone is using a scrambler, Doyle is dispatched to nobble it. He follows Sutherland to his office block at 125 High Street, Collierís Wood. The car park in the following scene was also filmed here.
Meanwhile Keller, Bodie and Benedek meet up to plan Richardson's assassination. Benedek's caravan is documented as being on the Harleyford Estate, near Marlow (adjacent to the marina seen earlier in the episode).
Keller and Bodie set up the assassination in Finsbury Park.
En route to the official inquiry Richardson is working on, his limousine passes the famous 'The Flask' pub on Highgate West Hill.
After Richardson is shot, Cowley and Doyle rush him to safety, 70 Coolhurst Road, Crouch End - though the entrance to the house's garage is on neighbouring Wolseley Road.
Mission accomplished, Keller drives into Chadwell Street, Islington...
... and heaves Bodie out of the car!
Meanwhile PLA leader Travaioli arrives in Britain via what is documented as White Waltham Airfield.
Bodie reports Keller's odd behaviour to Cowley, who is driving by the junction of Liverpool Road and Theberton Street, Islington.
Doyle tails Sutherland to the old Royal Agricultural Hall on Liverpool Street, Islington where he will pay Travaioli for Richardson's assassination. Although the building survives to this day, it is now the Busines Design Centre and the interior has been completely refitted...
Inside the Royal Agricultural Hall Doyle gathers evidence of Sutherland's dealings with Travaioli. (Photo of Business Design Centre copyright Phil Verney)
Deal done and CI5 gives chase to trap Sutherland in Cloudesley Street, Islington...
... Arriving at his rented house, 15 Myddelton Square, Finsbury, Travaioli has escaped... or so he thinks!...



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