Episode Seven : A Double Life
Written by: John Collee
Directed by: Christopher Baker
Episode Length: 51'46m
Originally Broadcast: 17th Aug 1987, 20:35
David Calder (Nathan Spring), Erick Ray Evans (David Theroux), Trevor Cooper (Colin Devis), Linda Newton (Pal Kenzy), Jonathan Adams (Alexander Krivenko) and Sayo Inaba (Anna Shoun).
Brian Gwaspari (James Bannerman/Albi) and Nitza Saul (Chamsya Assadi).
Technical Personnel :
Chris Boucher (Series Deviser); Ian R. Wallace (Production Associate); Gary Downie (Production Manager); Karen Jones (Production Assistant); Penny Norman (Assistant Floor Manager); Robin Lobb (Video Effects Supervisor); Mike Kelt/Malcolm James (Visual Effects Designers); Reg Poulter (Technical Co Ordinator); Doug Watson (Studio Camera Operator); Charles McGhie (Graphic Design); Chris Ferriday (Properties Buyer); Dennis Collett (Videotape Editor); Julie Mann (Vision Mixer); Peter Catlett (Studio Lighting/Director); Chick Anthony/Gerry Borrows (Studio Sound); Lynda Woodfield (Costume Designer); Jill Hagger (Make-Up Designer); Justin Hayward (Theme Composer/Theme Sung By); Justin Hayward/Toni Visconti (Incidental Music); Joanna Willett (Script Editor); Dick Coles (Designer) and Evgeny Gridneff (Producer).
Character Development :
Krivenko is an Opera Buff, while Theroux is knowledgeable about Classical music. Krivenko's father was also a geneticist. Kenzy confirms she has no children, while Devis, a policeman for ten years, claims he never felt the need for a religion. (Theroux also has a ring on the ring finger of his left hand - does this make it canon that Theroux is married in the show?) Working on Earth, Star Cops enlist the help of Colin's "friends from the Met(ropolitan policeforce)" to help guard a suspect.
Future lives :
Moonbase relies quite heavily on private investment, including quite considerable sponsorship from Madam Assadi. A billionaire related to the Saudi Royal Family, she owns many companies including Samson Mineral Holdings, Surefirm Metals, Assadi Chemicals, Assadi Retail, Assadi Industrial Mint, Unicert Domont and Manburys Futurefacts. Assadi is undergoing nuclear transplantation to fertilise embryos from her late husband.
James Andrew Bannerman is a classical pianist, composer and conductor born 5/5/1995. The illegitimate son of the geneticist Cyrus Teil and the Opera singer Marguerite Bannerman, he spent time with charges in Scotland, where he attended the Rannoch boarding school until the age of eighteen.
The Crimes :
Madam Assadi's embryos are stolen from Moonbase and are being dissolved one by one by an unknown kidnapper for the ransom of fifty million pounds. (A nice touch is the box where the embryos are stored and the swipe exits are Chandri products, relating back to episode three). All the evidence points towards the famous concert pianist James Bannerman.
The Solutions :
Bannerman had a genetic clone made without his knowledge when he was just a baby. Bannerman's father created Albi, who in turn stole the embryos to avenge his father's death. His father was murdered by Assadi for pulling out of a deal to help her have children.
Things to look out for :
Box's computerised image of James Bannerman begins to enlarge the second time before Nathan says "and again". And while not exactly a mistake, it's curious to note that the coffees Colin hands out in the episode (To Nathan and Anna respectively) are only just over half-full. A new 21st century craze we're yet to discover? The episode also marks a rare appearance of a Star Cop other than the regulars: early on a dark-haired man with an American badge, whose name reads "Watton" serves tea to the main cast. He is referred to by name for the first and only time the following week. (See Other People's Secrets). Lastly, Moonbase has at least sixty exit points.
Viewpoint 2008 :
"You know, if your understanding of English were better you'd recognise a joke when you heard one." "If you were more sophisticated, I might share your sense of humour."
There are so many things working against A Double Life that it's a wonder it turns out as good as it does. For a start, there's the general ludicrousness of the plot itself, a SF concept stretched to extreme levels for a "future realistic" series. Then there's Madame Assadi, well played by Nitza Saul, but a horrific stereotype and always accompanied by some Arabic musical theme whenever she appears in her own "palace". There's also the extreme cheapness of the budget - as witnessed by the quotation marks for palace - that sees even a wealthy concert pianist live in some 2D art deco set up. In fact, I knew James Bannerman's house had always reminded me of something, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Play the video below and scroll forward to around 2'10m to see what I mean:
I do believe that such cheapness of budget could have been disguised better with a different director, but this episode and the next also mark a return back to bright lighting under the hands of Christopher Baker. That said, Sayo Inaba does better under Baker's direction for some reason, and there are plenty of witty lines in the script. Okay, Pal Kenzy's dialogue is a little overtly Australian (and is there anything more 80s in the whole series than her casual wear?) but then if the rumours are true Linda Newton really does talk like a stereotyped Australian anyway. This is also arguably the only episode in which someone other than Nathan gets to have a real hand in solving the case... even if they do all seem to discuss these private cases in the middle of a public canteen. Yet in many important respects this is almost a four-star episode... it's a sharp script only held back by the distinctly inferior execution, and well worth a view.