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In which Jason King is evil

We are in London. This is made abundantly clear by the sort of stock footage beloved of Hollywood movies, which goes to show how ITC were aiming for the international market when they made this. At a big, distinguished bank, a man is crawling about the floor in agony, with static blasting away inside his head. A persistent voice speaks to him, but there is nobody else in sight; and when he tries to escape the voice, he can't. It's always with him, chatting away, and ordering him to obey it. If he resists, the static drives him to his knees. Therefore he agrees to do as he's told, and helps the mystery voice to steal $30 million from his own bank. Elsewhere, two crooks celebrate their victory. They've stolen £30 million dollars, in gold, and nobody knows a thing about it. Hurrah!

Meanwhile, back in Geneva, Craig Stirling meets with an informant, and hears a rumour about a big robbery. Tremayne is sceptical that anybody could pull off something that big undetected, but Craig is sure that his informant is sound. The chase is on, then. Whilst the crooks melt down their gold, and disguise it as a big piece of machinery, the Champions try to track down the right bank, and find out what's going on.

Lest we disbelieve the large caption saying 'London'.

A banker, being told by the Prime Minister that he's not allowed his bonus.
Or, alternatively, a banker being tortured with static by a strange and unknown voice.

Entirely pointless but fun scene where Craig and Richard are in the gym, and Darth Vader comes in to show off.

Judging by the evidence, Darth Vader is not actually capable of being Luke's father. And don't tuck your trousers into your socks, Craig.

Craig meets with his informant in a cable car high above the Alps.

And I do mean high above. I think it's hanging from an aeroplane.

Stolen gold, being melted down by our two friends.

It's Peter Wyngarde!

Having melted down the gold, the crooks disguise it as a piece of machinery, that they plan to ship abroad using their pet dockyard chief to expedite matters.

You've got to give them credit - it's a lovely scheme.

However there's Champions on their tails, including Stealth Sharron, who is apparently the team's linguistics expert as well now.

And also including Craig, who is in no way stood in front of a backdrop.

Eventually the investigation leads to our poor, tormented bank manager, and with his amazing super hearing, Craig is able to hear the mysterious voice that speaks to him. Before he can do anything, though, Poor Tormented Bank Manager is declared a dangerous loose end. He winds up stabbed, and Craig sees evil!Jason King pronounce death at the scene. Sharron, who now also turns out to be the team's autopsy expert on top of everything else, discovers that their man had recently had ear surgery. Consequently Craig, whose favourite hobby is sticking his head in lions' mouths, decides to drop by and visit the poor fellow's doctor. Who turns out to be none other than evil!Jason King. Golly!

Not that this is much of a surprise to the viewer, granted, since we've been there with the crooks all along. And what lovely crooks they are, too. They're clearly a couple, which is rare for those days, at least when handled in this way. Homosexuality would be hinted at occasionally, usually as something sleazy or dangerous, but here these are just two guys who happen to be together. Granted Crook II is a bit of a caricature, but their relationship, whilst understated, is treated fairly even-handedly. There seems to be genuine affection there too, even though it's not hard to see who wears the trousers.

Sharron, having just done the autopsy on our poor dead banker. I really hope she cleaned that table well before you sat on it, Craig...

Crook II is suffering an attack of the shakes after killing the banker, and evil!Peter Wyngarde consoles him.

Back in the doctor's surgery, Craig is being typically obvious about suspecting something. Hiding in an adjacent room, Crook II toys meaningfully with a scalpel, but Craig, in one of those attacks of mild over-enthusiasm that are his trademark, bursts in, recognises him from the murder scene, and loudly announces his suspicions to anybody who happens to be within earshot. Unsurprisingly, this earns him a bash over the head from Peter Wyngarde. Rather more surprisingly, it has no effect. This is the first proper fight we get to see from one of the Champions, and it's a beauty. As evil!Jason King's blow bounces harmlessly off the top of Craig's head, Craig doesn't even blink, and carries on enjoying himself, hurling crooks about the place with gay abandon. Evil!Peter has a trick or two up his sleeve, however, and turns on the nearby anaesthetic taps. Trapped with Craig, Crook II succumbs quickly, but Craig is still able to put up a fight before he finally collapses. Klytus injects him with some sort of knockout drug, which sets the alarm bells ringing for Richard and Sharron. Insisting to a baffled Tremayne that Craig is in buckets of deadly danger, they go dashing off to London, finding nothing but an abandoned doctor's office. Oh no!

Yes, he is tall, isn't he.

Airborne Peter Wyngarde!

I keep wanting to call him Peter Wingfield. He is not Peter Wingfield. To the best of my knowledge, Peter Wingfield did not look like that in 1968.

Craig is not quite superhuman enough to entirely fight off the effect of the anaesthetic, although he doesn't do too badly, considering.

Peter Wyngarde, here demonstrating that Jason King's... odd... fashion choices were not entirely down to the writers.

Craig's plight is relayed to his companions back in Geneva by Champions FM.

Sharron is somewhat startled. Although I don't think that in any way excuses those earrings.

Richard and Sharron realise that they have to hotfoot it to London, and try to find the best way to explain this to poor old Tremayne. They must be subtle. They must in no way reveal that they have a secret psychic link with the third corner of their triangle.

So they fling their arms up in the air, shout "Craig needs us!", and run away very quickly. Tremayne is completely taken in by their calm reserve.

Meanwhile, now in Holland, Peter Wyngarde's wardrobe is growing progressively more peculiar. So about normal for him, then.

He does have a rather nice car, though.

Craig has by now been dumped in a Dutch ditch, and left to stagger his way back to civilisation, whilst our two crooks set off to transport their gold to safety. It's been thoughtfully delivered to Holland for them, but they have to drive it across the border to... somewhere else... in order to be safe. Craig, however, is the tenacious sort, and is not to be put off by drugs, Dutch ditches, and 40km treks cross-country. Up he pops at the port, but the crooks have sneakily fitted him with his own little secret transmitter device. With a quick burst of static, they're able to turn the tables and nab him again, but Craig does not like to be nabbed. He runs off and jumps in the sea for a bit, killing off his transmitter, and leaving our crooks convinced that he's dead too. Fully confident that they're now home free, they set off with their stolen gold in a rackety old truck. By this point, I'm actually rather wishing that they'll get away with it. Yes, they are guilty of Craig cruelty, but in all fairness he does rather ask for it, dashing about the place all the time baiting crooks – and besides, it gave him a good chance to field test some of his new powers, and that's good, right? Their plan was almost perfect, and there's something rather endearing about them, and their relationship. Jason King's the brains and the commander of the operation. He doesn't need his friend. There's no hint of a doublecross, though, and the way that he smiles benevolently when Crook II dozes off in the truck is really rather sweet.

Having made his way to the dockyard, Craig calls Tremayne. I'm not sure why, but it's always nice to see the poor old fellow.

He's moved his coloured pencils, look. I wonder if that means he's been using them.

Craig is captured again. Rather intriguingly, Klytus seems to have grown an extra ring on his finger. He didn't have that one when he got the injection ready earlier.

Craig goes for a swim. An ability to hold their breath almost indefinitely is apparently another superpower to add to the list.

Meanwhile, Richard has a very lovely Alfa Romeo.

Here it is again in close up. I think it's a Giulia. Possibly a Giulia Sprint Speciale.

Some very happy crooks. But oh no! What's this?

As it happens, it's a rather nice Alfa Romeo. Mid-sixties model.

And a windmill, just to prove that we're in Holland.

Victory is in sight, but with the Champions close behind, things go badly wrong for the crooks. The tyres on their old rattletrap are not up to the pressures of a chase, and the truck careens off the road, tipping over, and trapping Crook II beneath the gold. Ouch. Peter Wyngarde panics and runs off without him, and his vengeful boyfriend shoots him in the leg in a hissy fit. Jason stumbles off, but there can be no escape with three superhumans closing in. He's captured.

Poor Klytus.

Crook II. Interestingly, Crook II has the ring that Peter Wyngarde was wearing earlier, when he recaptured Craig at the docks. I suppose they could be wearing matching ones now that they're on the run.

Injured and run to ground, poor evil!Jason is cornered in a forest. Better luck next time, Jason.

Just to recap, Craig has been attacked, gassed, drugged, dumped in a ditch, tortured with a secret radio transmitter, had a 40km trek to the sea, which he then jumped into... and yet he doesn't have so much as a hair out of place. Superpowers are good that way. Oh yes.


( 6 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
You have to give them cred for the mileage they got out of the director's holiday footage!

And that windmill is clearly in Holland and in no way Norfolk or East Anglia or wherever in England it might possibly be. *cough*

I think they were driving the gold to Switzerland to deposit it in the bank that Craig's informant worked for. But then that would be a bit too much like a plot, so maybe not *grin*

I think the Alfa is Richard's car for Europe, as he and Sharron generally drive British cars. Or it's a rental. But they did have some really nice cars between the three of them, didn't they?

Do you know, I never pegged them as a couple?! Maybe because I was too busy thinking 'Jason King!' or my slash!goggles were focussed elsewhere *cough cough*, but I honestly hadn't seen it before.

Thank you for sharing another entertaining and enlightening review :)
Jan. 19th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
There were some very nice cars on the show, yes. They chopped and changed a lot, so presumably they used whatever happened to be available. The Alfa does crop up a few more times, though.

You've never thought of them as a couple? That's interesting. I don't know quite what it is about them that makes me see them that way. Something about their interplay, I guess.

I wonder what it said in the script!
Jan. 19th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
Aww, nothing like a half decent plot, which involves a good lot of Craig-wumpage.

I have to say I do particularly enjoy it when Craig jumps into the docks backwater swimming pool docks. Mainly because they obviously made Stu jump into the actual murky water - and presumably, because these things never go quite right, maybe made him do that a few times, and dunked him in and out for when he clambered out...but the underwater shots are clearly a swimming pool, complete with ladder and tiles in the background XD SO someone enjoyed watching Stu being tall AND wet.

And he does have his hand somewhere rather...personal when he's causing Peter Wyngarde to catch some big air!
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
I guess they had to go somewhere where the camera could get a nice, clear underwater shot, which would certainly equal multiple wetness. It's a hard life being a superhero. :)
Jan. 19th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
The girls are ALWAYS the language specialists, aren't they? And how does Sharron bug her eyes out like that? Eve Myles has nothing on that girl.
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:11 am (UTC)
She's superhuman. I guess eye-buggage must be yet another superpower.
( 6 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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