Last updated : 27th January 2002

Episode 'High Speed'
Story SynopsisWhen events in Bosnia leads to the discovery of gold being smuggled into Britain, Curtis and Keel find out that motor racing is not just about fast cars, glamour and girls!
WriterBrian Clemens DirectorHarley Cokeliss Sweden Tx Date29th October 1998
Dave's Comment

Although the episode starts quite promisingly, this is a very unoriginal plot. The first ten minutes in 'Bosnia' are definitely the highlight of the episode. Interestingly a female agent is killed – a first for The (New) Professionals, I think.

But we can't really be expected to believe the plot premise: surely gold engines would weigh far too much and impede a car’s performance?

The joke about the Lonely Hearts column is reasonably funny, I suppose, but Martin and Lewis would have carried it far better.

Backus gets out of the office again – but it's barely worth her trouble as she goes into Legs-Apart-Swinging-A-Gun-but-Nothing-Else mode. I enjoyed her short skirt, though ;-)

If Keel's car had been 'checked' prior to the accident, then how come nobody spotted the loose brake-line in the first place??

Once again we have an episode that becomes a predictable bore. An almost complete waste of guest star David Threlfall's talents.

Ann's Comments

Spanning from Bosnia to England, this is a caper that stirs up ghosts from the past for Malone, who's taking a very personal interest – telling our resident "hothead" that not getting emotionally involved is sometimes the hardest rule of all to follow. Equalling Cowley in his despise of wartime crimes (and criminals), Malone is very much in the midst of the action this time (and highly enjoyably so), albeit leaving most of the physical nitty-gritty to Keel and Curtis.

The beginning is chilly in all its meanings, from the bleak settings to the potent emotional undertones, but definitely very good indeed. My favourite part is when Keel (love that coat, btw) and Curtis set after their opponents with grim determination. Heavily armed (quite possibly using the Heckler & Koch MP5, a 9mm submachine gun often used in counter-terrorist operations), the guys (Keel in particular) move like they've just come from the SAS training camp! It's also very interestingly filmed, in particular the lighting.

There are also some really funny parts, in particular when Keel and Curtis discuss girls. Lamenting that his latest relation didn't work out due to his job (as if that need be a problem), Keel dismisses Curtis' suggestion of Contact Ads by revealing what happened on his last blind date. Hilarious! And I've never before noticed the way Keel can arch his left eyebrow to great effect! I didn't know he was 1/8 Navaho either, but it might account for his instincts, or something... ;-)

In this speedy story the stars are also the cars, in particular the McLaren and – at last – the Lotus. Funny, though, I was under the impression that the Lotus was supposed to be Curtis' off-duty vehicle {yeah, that was what I was told, too –Dave}, but this one at least was rented. However, at least this time the pair catch on to the fact that a mechanical failure may well imply sabotage! ;-)

Backus is also on the scene. Posing as a 'PR girl', she proves herself as... by... um... well, apart from showing off her long legs she does aid Curtis at one point (though I think he would've managed as well on his own). While I approve of her getting into the action, it would be nice if there was actually a valid reason for it!

Jack's Comment

Tx date in New Zealand: December 30, 2001

Of the Clemens scripts, 'High Speed' is well strung together and the plot holes can be overlooked for the most part. It is only let down by poor direction and editing.

It's one of the rare times in this series that I've enjoyed Edward Woodward's performance. Clemens has given Harry Malone more depth – the drive back from Bosnia in the Landcruiser is acted with sincerity – and it appears that Woodward is happier doing the location filming. The actor seems more refreshed and happy with the scenes. The parts filmed in "Bosnia" and masquerading as HM Customs at Dover are convincingly performed, as is the finalι (filmed in the studio). In fact, Malone is given a chance to show his hatred for war criminals and a chance to execute some swift justice of his own when the lads are in danger in the Bosnian warehouse.

Lexa Doig isn't given much air time, which is a slight pity, but there is more than enough in banter and action from Kal Weber and Colin Wells.

David Threlfell is suitably menacing as Bosnian war criminal Pradic, and while the character breaks no new ground for a Clemens story, it is properly cast.

Slip-ups for the late-'90s include Curtis and Keel opening fire through a doorway and killing the villains in an entire room, while their similarly armed enemies targeting a very narrow area manage to miss the pair; and as Dave points out above, how come Keel's McLaren F1 still manages to lose its brakes despite the pre-practice check?

The technology and use of computers is forced, not unlike the days of James Bond films when they started putting rockets into it to "modernize" the Fleming books. Why does Col van Meer need a satellite to tell Malone something in a television broadcast that could be done either by conventional or satellite phone? Once the technology begins to get a role that it doesn't deserve, it's not unreasonable to think that it's covering up for some deficiency.

Director Harley Cokeliss expects us to believe that Keel's driving and his Lotus Esprit can outrun a small plane – but falls so far behind a Mercedes-Benz CLK which departed half a minute before that its occupants have parked, left and boarded that same plane which has already begun taxiing down the runway.

Nonetheless, 'High Speed' is pacy, has the spirit if not the execution of the originals, allowing for character development. A good effort and while not overwhelming, one of the better ones in the series.

Rating: 6/10

CI5 cars: Toyota Landcruiser (Malone); Lotus Esprit (on loan to Keel)

Cast List Spencer – Adrian Irvine
Radovan Pradic – David Threlfall
Gerry Bluckner – Benedick Blythe
Elkie – Ingeborga Dapkunaite
Vance – Peter Hudson
Paul – Steven O'Shea
Tania Slovic – Maya Dokic
Colonel Van Meer – Adam Bareham
Inspector Dimitri Stanoslavic – Robert Jezek
Comissioner Hoffman – uncredited

Locations include Brands Hatch and Brannon Airport.


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