Starring: Mike Pratt (Jeff Randall), Kenneth Cope (Marty Hopkirk) and Annette Andre (Jean Hopkirk).
Guest-Starring: Ivor Dean (Inspector Large), Sue Lloyd (Elizabeth Saxon), Roy Desmond (Kevin O' Malley), Linda Cole (Anne-Marie Benson) Olga Lowe (Angela Kendon), Richard Kerley (Sergeant Hinds), John Glyn Jones (The Chemist), John Hughes (Bank Worker), Tom Bowman (Security Man), Roger Avon (Uniformed Policeman), Norman Beaton (Policeman), Don Vernon (The Choreographer) and T.P. McKenna (Voice of Kevin O'Malley, uncredited).
Technical Personnel: Ronald Liles (Production Supervisor), Brian Elvin (Director of Photography), Charles Bishop (Art Director), Cyril Frankel (Creative Consultant), Edwin Astley (Musical Director), Philip Aizlewood (Post Production), Harry Ledger (Editor), Malcolm Christopher (Production Manager), Jack Lowin (2nd Unit Director), Gerald Moss (2nd Unit Cameraman), Denis Porter/Bill Rowe (Sound Recordists), Guy Ambler/Lionel Selwyn (Sound Editors), Alan Willis (Music Editor), John Owen (Casting), Sue Long (Set Dresser), Bill Greene (Construction Manager), Val Stewart (Camera Operator), Michael Meighan (Assistant Director), Sally Ball (Continuity), Peter Dunlop (Production Buyer), Elizabeth Romanoff (Make-Up), Jeannette Freeman (Hairdresser), Laura Nightingale (Costume Supervisor), A. J. Van Montagu (Scenic Artist), Frank Maher (Stunt Co-Ordinator), Cinesound (Sound Effects Suppliers), Chambers + Partners (Titles), Dennis Spooner (Creator/Executive Story Consultant) and Monty Berman (Producer). An ITC Production.
Jeff: Jeff's luck with the ladies isn't improved in this episode... he spends the start of it trying to initiate romantic liasons with his lawyer, Elisabeth Saxon. She makes it clear she wants to keep it on a business-only level and ends the episode in the arms of Jeff's old friend Kevin O'Malley.
Jeff Scraps: With Jeff locked up for most of the episode then there's no Jeff action of any kind this week.
Marty: Marty can use his mind to move a plane's compass in this episode.
Jeannie: Jeannie has two Aunts according to Marty... one named Sybill and one named Matilda who lives in Sussex.
Story: Jeff is on a business date with his lawyer Elisabeth Saxon when he finds his old friend Kevin O'Malley in his home. Seeing Jeff after around a six-year absence he has a job offer for him for old times' sake. However, as the last job offer concerned 27,000 pairs of false teeth then Jeff is initially skeptical. The job turns out to be the authorised burning of £475,000 (around £5.7m in 2009 terms)... with O'Malley switching boxes at the last minute so that all that gets burned is empty boxes.
Although Jeff's morals prevent him from initially agreeing to the job, his severe financial state makes him change his mind. However, the crates are intercepted by the police and Randall is spotted at the scene. Held in a small cell for questioning, Jeff refuses to tell Marty the truth. Yet when Jeff's car is proven to have been at the scene and Jeff's fake alibi doesn't hold up, Marty realises the truth. Feeling responsible, O'Malley feigns drunkeness so he can get arrested and speak to Jeff. However, they both blame the other for taking the money and realise the only way they can get away is by keeping quiet.
Matters are made worse when £20,000 is found planted in Jeff's office... yet O'Malley turns out to be innocent of the whole thing, having had second thoughts and backed out like Jeff himself. It turns out that two of O'Malley's nightclub workers did the job, and they make their getaway in a small private plane. Fortunately Marty is at hand to materialise in the plane and make the compass go awry... so awry that the two real criminals fly the plane back to an airstrip that they think is in France, and into the arms of the waiting police.
Production Order: This was the fifteenth episode to be filmed.
Trivia: For reasons undisclosed, Roy Desmond (O'Malley) is dubbed throughout by T.P. McKenna.
The date the episode begins is mentioned by Inspector Large as "Tuesday 23rd." As the 23rd only occured on a Tuesday in two months of 1969 and there's no reference to impending Christmas celebrations (December) it can be assumed that the story is set in September 1969.
There's a silent supermarket scene 8'59m in, which, if not quite breaking the 1800 line rule, does appear to bend it considerably.
This is the only episode other than the first, The Ghost Talks, It's Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water and The Trouble With Women to feature non-Caucasian actors*. As well as two band members and some spectators in the nightclub scenes there's a brief three-word part for a black actor as a policeman 10'32m in. The lack of non-white actors in the UK industry and on TV was common for the time, as was the actor in question - Norman Beaton, better known as the star of Desmonds (1989-1994) - speaking with a very strong RP accent.
* correct me if I'm wrong on this one... I didn't spend every episode of Randall and Hopkirk counting non-white faces and may have made a mistake, but the lack of ethnic actors in ITC Productions is striking.
"There's a bit o' Irish in me, an' all!"
"Yeah, the worst bit."
The first episode of Randall and Hopkirk I ever saw, and a pretty good one. Sure, Jeff doesn't have a big involvement in the plot, Roy Desmond being dubbed is distracting, and (in transmission order) it's the second "female villain(s) has her plane getaway foiled by Marty" ending in a row, but it's good stuff despite this. Even the extended backscreen projection car chase has a charm, of sorts.
What makes it such an intriguing episode is how low key it all is... like the preceeding two episodes it's Randall and Hopkirk as a serious drama with light overtones, rather than vice versa. Jeff being so desperate for money he considers turning to crime is an rewarding character development, as is his and Marty's touching relationship over the matter. I've been critical of Ken Cope's performance in some of these reviews, but I ought to make it clear I do like him a great deal in the part. It's just that in some of the more comedic episodes he seems encouraged to go more and more over the top, his voice almost constantly shouting. When - as here - he gives a more subdued performance, it's a real treat.