- Posts: 3943
So much depth; a depth of crap, but it's still depth. In every episode I watch - and this is probably the fourth time I've seen most of these - I notice something new, and have to rewind the disc to make sure I wasn't imagining it. In the one I watched last night, Doyle has a framed photograph of Cowley in his front room. A framed photograph of his boss. Has anyone here got one of those?
Crap is incredibly compelling, though.
I'm currently rushing home from work on weekdays to see a double bill of ITV comedies from the 1980's - 'Second Thoughts' and 'The Upper Hand'.
Both, by turn, utterly rubbish yet compulsive in their awfulness.
So we've got this episode which begins with the lovely Linda Hayden, star of a billion depressing 70s British sex comedies, crashing through the doors of a church dressed only in her underwear, staggering up the aisle and collapsing on the altar. It's like a writer's exercise: here's the pre-titles sequence, now write the script.
It's a Brian Clemens episode, though, so the script is complete bollocks and absolutely nothing makes sense. It's great. Turns out Linda Hayden's character is German, so Cowley speaks to her in German, and it's a bit embarrassing because Gordon Jackson is clearly fluent and his accent is perfect (ironic in light of what happens in The Great Escape), whereas Linda Hayden can't do a German accent to save her life; an important plot twist rests on the word "buchhalter", which she mispronounces, but obviously no one realised, or cared.
Anyway, she has total amnesia but keeps repeating the name of a place where an important political meeting (or something) is going to happen the next day, and CI5 have to work out what's going on. They don't know where to start, until one of the boffins says that traces of hops were found in the girl's hair, and apparently hops are grown in Kent - so Bodie and Doyle are ordered to get in the Capri and drive her around Kent in the hope that something will jog her memory. That's not "north-west Kent", by the way, or "Maidstone in Kent" - just Kent. All of Kent.
Considering they've got less than 24 hours to explore the ninth largest county in England, the boys don't seem to be in any particular hurry: at one point they stop for ice-creams. Then they go into a pub and stand around for a bit drinking white wine. Bodie even finds time for a quick game of skittles - but then becomes bizarrely impatient back in the car, snarling and calling the young lady "Fritz", completely out of the blue. Lunchtime drinking... it's a motherfucker.
Anyway, who'd have thought it - it turns out that they're in the right part of Kent after all, and oh look there's the right house. We learn that Linda was a nanny for one John Parker, a bank manager, who's vanished and his family have been kidnapped. So CI5 have to find where they're being held captive, and they only have about 20 hours left... that won't be easy. Oh no wait - within about half an hour Doyle's managed to find them by driving up and down some streets at random until he sees a house with a bit of carpet hung up at the window as a curtain. That must be the place - so naturally, he disguises himself as a milkman for no particular reason, kicks down the door and crashes into the house with all guns blazing. Sure enough there they are, tied and gagged at the mercy of some villains, who Doyle mows down in short order. They do shoot back at him with machine pistols in a very confined space, but they miss.
So to cut a long story fractionally shorter, we end up with a situation where this John Parker is still AWOL and can't be found anywhere, but CI5 have worked out (somehow) that the baddies are going to shoot at the building where this important meeting is being held, with a massive grenade launcher or some shit like that, and somehow it's got something to do with this John Parker bloke. That's about all they've got to go on. So a CI5 posse, led by Bodie, are sent to check all the local buildings which could potentially be used for a sniper's nest. No luck. "We've checked everywhere", moans Bodie.
But then - wait, hang on a minute - he walks past the bank where John Parker is the bank manager. Despite having been up and down the whole street, they haven't looked in there. So he goes in and says to the bloke behind the counter, "Where's John Parker?" and the bloke says "Oh, he's upstairs." Bodie goes upstairs, breaks down a door and oh look, John Parker is actually being held hostage by some baddies who are pointing a massive gun out the window. So Bodie (who has told his partner to wait outside) gets them all single-handedly, despite the fact that he broke his arm when he shoulder-charged the door.
He's also broken his flash new watch, which he was very proud of, so he's a bit glum when CI5 are having their celebratory drink in the pub afterwards. Doyle produces a present for him - "we all clubbed together" - and he looks really excited and unwraps it, but it turns out it's a kids' watch with a picture of Superman on it. Everybody laughs. "Look," says Bodie, leaning over to show it to the German girl. "They bought me a Superman watch!!!"
That's the end.
You can keep your fucking Wire, man.
Incidentally, I forgot to mention - in the same scene where Doyle is revealed to have a framed photograph of Cowley in his flat, he's also got an album by Magma. Yeah, Magma . Because that's the kind of music people like him listen to. Doyle out of The Professionals, Steve Davis, people like that.
The most convincing TV character's record collection I can recall was Terry from Brookside having I Just Can't Stop It by The Beat at the front of his albums in 1988.
God knows I have no intention of hijacking this thread - I mean, I couldn't possibly anyway - but further to my previous post I'll definitely be dropping everything to get home for 'The Upper Hand' this evening.
From the online ITV3 guide;
17:20 The Upper Hand
Series 1. Episode 11/12: Just Like Charlie Tom tries to act like a younger Charlie by stealing a hub cap. Joe McGann stars (Sitcom)
Now that's a storyline.
VILLAIN: "I want to see a lawyer."
DOYLE: "One more word out of you and what you'll want is a dentist."
Was it Second Thoughts which once featured Lynda Bellingham and Belinda Lang in Emma Peel-style black PVC catsuits? That wasn't what anyone expected.
Christ, your memory is sensational, Taylor.
I thought the inner cities were the most dangerous place in Britain in the late 70s/ early 80s.
I was wrong. Seems you couldn't walk down the street in Henley-on-Thames without a machine gun being fired at you.
Tony C wrote:
I tell you who I really fancied in the 1970's; Vicki Michelle. That 'Two Ronnies' spoof of 'The Professionals' reminded me why.
Yeah, Lynda Bellingham - rather like Linda Hayden - was staple crumpet in a host of British sex comedies (you could conceivably put inverted commas around both 'sex' and 'comedies' there) and well remembered for those godawful Robin Asquith 'Confessions' films.
Lovejoy's more of a Thief Takers man - entirely due to the presence of Reece Dinsdale who he had seen in ID a couple of years earlier and admired greatly. This all happened around the time he first acquired a season ticket for the Matthew Harding stand.
btw, race issues are always tackled with great subtlety. I haven't seen that episode but I'm sure the Asian villains all have shopkeeper dads who want them to be doctors.
I have seen this one though:
Christ, has the thing ever been repeated? Do we even want it to be?
I must say I think Linda Hayden looked quite lovely in that episode (Blackout from 1980) which Taylor brilliantly dissected up-thread.
Also staring was Ben Cross - a year away from Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire - as C15's 'undercover man in South London', but roped in to help out with this ridiculous plot. Him and Doyle almost come to blows before they bond over a bacon butty purchased from a burger van on the South Bank of the Thames.
Tony C wrote:
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