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A Vintage Year For Scoundrels

It's Adam Adamant! He's being evil, but I imagine that he's only working undercover. Because he's Adam Adamant! And Adam Adamant would never be evil. Being evil is naughty. Anyway. Adam Adamant and some friends are watching newsreel footage of a sheikh arriving in London. Shortly after, Adam chats on a radio to a man, who gives an affirmative, then pulls the pin out of a grenade and races towards said sheikh, who appears to be making some sort of official visit to an abandoned shed. Despite having been shot a dozen times by the sheikh's guards, the man gets near enough to throw his grenade. He then collapses and dies. So does the sheikh, the guards, and probably the cameraman. ‘Tis a massacre. Send for the Champions! But tell them not to be horrible to Adam.

In a world first, today's opening tag scene of Champions At Play is actually relevant to the main plot. Displaying the ability to suppress pain - despite losing said ability for the remainder of the series right afterwards - Craig rescues a woman's bracelet from a barbecue. He then reports in for a briefing at Geneva HQ. The murder of the sheikh at the beginning of the show was the latest in a line of high profile political assassinations, apparently all co-ordinated by the same group of ruthless killers. Richard, posing as a military prisoner who is a likely candidate for recruitment, will work undercover for the organisation, whilst Craig and Sharron keep an eye on him. Richard consequently reports to military prison to be substituted for Richard Carson, a steely-eyed ne'er-do-well whose political convictions we're apparently supposed to find abhorrent. Or the bloke in charge of the prison does, anyway. He's a Staff Officer, though. I haven't trusted them since I saw Anzacs. ;) Richard is promptly liberated by Adam Adamant, a big gun, and some explosives, in a very neatly executed raid on a prison transport. Craig and Sharron chase after them, but they rather unsportingly fly away in a helicopter. Since Champions can't fly, Richard is on his own - at least until the others can figure out where he is.

It's Adam Adamant!

Adam Adamant chats on a radio.

To a nut. Soon to be a dead nut.

Craig rescues a barbecued bracelet for some random woman, who promptly faints. Happily he's super fast, and catches her before she falls, although personally I'm not sure I'd have bothered.

The Champions at their latest briefing. Why can Sharron not wear grey too?! Would it kill her just once?!

It's Donald Pickering! I heard recently that he died in December, which is rather sad. He played the perfectly odious Hallows in my beloved Return To Treasure Island, and he's almost as brilliantly oily and unpleasant here. This episode is getting to be quite the reunion.

Doctor Watson Richard Carson, whose place Richard will be taking for the foreseeable future.

Craig and Sharron wait outside the prison, so they can tune in to the sound of the engines, and follow from a distance without being seen. Handy, these super powers.


Richard is taken for a nice drive past a photograph of the English countryside.

Adam Adamant, in decidedly ungentlemanly attire. And with a gun, Adam? Tsk tsk.

Craig and Sharron watch Richard fly away into the clouds. Nobody aboard the ten-feet-away chopper seems to notice them, except Richard. Well, that's handy.

Richard flies off, all on his lonesome. Except for Adam Adamant. And the pilot.

Poor Craig looks back forlornly as his playmate disappears. Sharron's clearly not bothered. :D

Richard, meanwhile, is flown a short distance away, where the little helicopter puts down beside the road, so that they can travel the rest of the way by car.

Anxious to test their new recruit before they give him a job with their organisation, Adam Adamant clobbers Richard over the head, which seems to knock him out for the count. Wimp! When Jason King clobbered Craig a few episodes back, he didn't even flinch! Mind you, Adam Adamant is way cooler than Jason King, so presumably he hits harder. He's then whisked away to a country house, where he wakes up tied to a table. Adam Adamant has decided to question him on The Life And Times Of Richard Carson - and if he gets an answer he doesn't like, he'll zap Richard with electricity. Or rather, zap Craig. Which is really rather mean. The interrogation gets underway, with Richard unable to keep the snark under control, which earns him extra jolts. As it turns out, though, he's really not bothered in the slightest, presumably as a result of the pain suppression that we saw earlier. As soon as Adam Adamant gets bored and goes off, Richard bounces up off the table as though nothing has happened, and goes for a quick wander around the house. He then purposefully electrocutes himself again, in order to knock out the lights for a quick distraction, so by the look of it he really rather enjoys electricity. He then gets the drop on Adam and his various cronies, agreeing eventually to hand over his gun as a show of faith. Adam's impressed, Richard's on the team, and they all sit down to have a nice cup of tea to celebrate the occasion.

Craig and Sharron work on locating Richard.

Who is busy sampling the local electricity. Entertainingly, however, he's not the one being tortured.

Craig is. So that's gassed last time, and electrocuted this time. If these sympathy pains continue, Craig, I'd consider finding that Himalayan lot and suing. :D

Sharron is not sympathetic, however. At one point, when he theorises that it must be "some kind of telepathic pain", she just rolls her eyes at him, like it's all some dreadful bore.

Ah. Yes. Another instance where the compilers of the DVD set could have been a little more careful in deciding the order of the episodes, I think. After escaping from his cell, Richard goes on a quick recce. This is the hallway that he finds himself in.

And this is the hallway in which Richard and Craig fought the supermen in the previous episode:

It's blatantly obviously the same place, but decorated differently. Might have helped if these two episodes hadn't been put right next to each other. And if I hadn't watched them both in the same night.

Richard finds a radio, and sends off a quick message to Nemesis, telling them to contact Craig and trace the call. He has to hang up before the trace is complete, but there's enough to narrow things down a lot. Craig and Sharron race to the rescue. Typically, Craig is driving. With everything that's going on, is this really a good idea?!

Richard, meanwhile, puts the finishing touches on his performance, by impressing Adam Adamant enough to be welcomed into the organisation with open arms.

Shortly after inducting Richard into the League Of Insane Murderers, Adam goes off on a business trip; and whilst he's away, who should turn up but the real Richard Carson, freshly escaped from prison, and anxious to set the record straight. Richard manages to keep the bad guys guessing long enough to get the drop on the lot of them, just as Craig and Sharron turn up. After rifling through Adam's safe, they find the identity of the next target for assassination - Tremayne. Off they dash to save the life of their boss. There is no time to waste! Although there is time for Richard to change his shirt. A man cannot play the hero in a cheap shirt, after all. Adam Adamant would surely approve. Tremayne is at a party at the House of Commons, where security, in those long ago days, was practically non-existent. Consequently it's not at all difficult for a random woman to turn up at the party with a gun in her handbag. The Champions are there to save the day, and a veritable battalion of police officers are on hand back at the house to arrest poor Adam. Never mind, Adam. I'm quite sure the Prime Minister will see that you're free again in no time.

Oh noes! It's Doctor Watson Richard Carson! He accuses Richard of being a phoney, but Richard's rather smarter than he is.

Craig likes to make a dramatic entrance, clearly. Despite his mad dash to save Richard, he arrives slightly after the nick of time, however, and Richard has already saved himself.

They do have a lovely reunion, though. The interplay here is wonderful, as they slide straight into gentle humour, despite the adrenalin high they've both been operating on for some time. I particularly like it when Richard tells Craig about the electrocution, followed by Craig's meaningful "I know."

Richard practices his super safe-cracking skills.

Searching through Adam's files, he soon finds out who is the next target of the Loony Club. Despite the fact that all three Champions can clearly see who it is...

... he still feels the need to hand the file over to Craig, so that he can hold it up for us them to see properly. Craig even helpfully says Tremayne's name out loud, just in case any of the three of them have failed to identify their own employer. They then hurry off to London to rescue him.

That's London, just in case you were forgetting.

Back at the house, Adam issues his instructions to his waiting killer.

At the House Of Commons, the gang have warned Tremayne, but he seems none too concerned. They hang about, looking for possible assassins, and drinking lots of champagne, just in case that helps.

An assassin.

Wearing what looks suspiciously like the curtains of my parents' first caravan. She fires off a shot at Tremayne, before being overpowered by Sharron.

Tremayne, however, decided to take his agents' warning seriously, and snuck off earlier to change into a bullet-proof vest.

Elsewhere, poor Adam is met at the door by the police. :( No fair. You can't go arresting Adam Adamant.

I like Adam Adamant. :)

Craig selflessly offers to manhandle the pretty woman out to the waiting police car. The others are quite impressed by his generosity.

And celebrate with another drink. Richard, that's the third glass you've had since you arrived. At this rate you're going to be getting Craig drunk.

Of course that might well be the idea.


( 6 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Jan. 28th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I love your reviews. And they've inspired me to take the entire series (must find missing disc - argh!!) to work on Saturday to watch them. (I'm working alone for 8 hours, putting together complex electrical components, which, now I've done so many, I could do with my eyes closed).

It is odd how they find and lose their powers - I assume it's the fault of random writers just making shit up. But fun for fic.

And I'd say, possibly worryingly, that the whole woman/gun/HoP scenario isn't so far fetched, even today. I (very, very randomly) found myself running around Parliament at midnight just before Christmas, whilst quite drunk and having gone through the most cursory of security checks! I've stood in the Commons and the Lords and all sorts of secret places!
Jan. 29th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
I definitely approve of Champions-while-you-work. :)

And I also definitely approve of running around Parliament at midnight whilst drunk. Why are we not all doing this? Last time I went there was in 1992 on Budget Day, and the entire company practically got strip-searched before we were allowed in. It was a school trip, though. Quite frankly I wouldn't have trusted us either.
Jan. 30th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
Which episode are you going to do next? As I'm 6 hours into my working day/DVD watch, I'll watch whichever you're doing next, so I can join in discussion and actually know what happened in the epi!

Jan. 30th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
I should be posting "The Silent Enemy" this evening. After that comes "To Trap A Rat".
Jan. 28th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
Another excellent review, I love them! Tired and on way to bed, but had to stop and say two things:

One, does your DVD have Richard cleverly sticking his fingers in the light scoket? Mine does, but apparently some versions had it cut out for fear of kids copying him. (I'd normally say strike one for the health & safety nazis, but I think they might have a point this time)

Two, I think you'll find it's also the hall in The Night People and it also miraculously transports itself to mainland Europe for the episode where they defuse the nuke (I forget the title of that one) They really knew how to get mileage out of sets in those days didn't they?!
Jan. 29th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
My copy does have the fingers-in-the-light-socket, yes. It's the Network release, though, and I'd be surprised if that was edited. The edited version is probably the previous Carlton release.

I shall have to look out for the hall again!
( 6 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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