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Jailhouse Rock

A dark figure clambers into an embassy in the middle of the night, rifling through a safe, and going through the top secret documents contained inside. Moments later, having apparently photographed these documents, he makes a hasty escape. The embassy staff have overheard his break-in, however, and call the police, who promptly apprehend him - very promptly, and on a quiet country lane at that. We're not allowed police officers in the countryside anymore, so this scene rather dates the episode. ;) Having been told of the sensitive documents that were photographed, the police confiscate the camera, only to find that it's empty. There's no sign of the film anywhere, and no indication of anywhere that it could have been left. If the information contained on it is passed on to enemy countries, all diplomatic relations between Britain and whichever fictional country that we're dealing with this time will collapse. Quickly! Send for the Champions!

Or two of them, anyway, as Sharron is off on holiday again. She always seems to be on holiday. She does get a rather good opening scene, though, where she's driving alone in the middle of nowhere, and stops for a pair of hitchhikers. One of them gets rather heavy-handed, so as the car goes through a tunnel, she displays a little of her super-strength undercover of darkness, and emerges with a newly empty car. Exit two troublemakers. :) After that, it's goodbye to Sharron for much of the episode, as the boys report to Nemesis HQ for a briefing with Mr Tremayne. He tells them it's imperative that the missing film be recovered, so somebody will have to get close to the thief, a rather entertainingly cocky fellow named Westerman. This means that one of them will have to go into the prison where he's being held awaiting trial, and hopefully get him out. Richard nominates Craig, who is delighted with his new assignment, and promptly reports to the prison to get locked up with his new cellmate. As ever, though, things are not straightforward. Eager for further information, the ambassador of whichever fictional country is at the centre of things this week - I think it's called Colombria, or it is now, anyway. It's a whole lot quicker to type - decides to stage his own prison breakout. He hires the services of a spectacularly oily fellow called Booker, who will get Westerman out for him. Craig and Richard, therefore, have to be sure to get him out first.

Paul Westerman, super sneak thief. And, also, the bloke who says "When you hear the air attack warning..." at the start of Frankie's Two Tribes. There's your useless fact for the day, folks! That's because he was the voice of the 'Protect And Survive' public information film, of course, not because he was in Frankie Goes to Hollywood. As far as I know.

He also has a rather nice car.

So does Sharron, off on another holiday in the English countryside, although hopefully staying clear of dodgy stately homes this time around.

Finding herself slightly lost, she pulls over to look at a map. Although really, you have to wonder why she doesn't just ask the bloke who's standing right by the car if he'll give her directions. He doesn't show up quite so well in a still photo...

... although he's a little more visible if I blow up the relevant section. In the moving picture he's very clear, though, puffing away on a pipe, and wearing a nicely dated looking pullover. I wonder which member of the crew he is. :D

Back in Geneva, Tremayne plays Craig and Richard a tape of the robbery, and is increasingly perplexed by their ability to tell what every single tiny noise on the tape is. He then explains the situation to them, and Richard votes for Craig to be the inside man.

Craig is over the moon.

Meanwhile, Richard puts on his best suit, and goes over to the Colombrian embassy to try to smooth relations somewhat.

The ambassador, however, does not wish to be soothed. He's an odd fellow. He appears to have Lindt chocolate figurines decorating his desk. Personally I'd rather just eat them.

Craig, in his natural environment.

Getting settled in with Westerman, he neatly establishes himself as a handy man to have around, by producing cigarettes, matches and whisky. And doing magic tricks with his tie.

The duo bond over a cigarette. Craig has a very strange method of smoking. It doesn't seem to involve inhaling at all. Whenever he uses a cigarette as part of a cover, it's a wonder he doesn't turn blue.

Manual labour!Craig.

Working with an inside man at the prison, oily crook Booker plots to snatch Westerman. Craig finds out about the rival plot, and works hard to convince Westerman to throw in with his own escape plans. Westerman, however, cannot keep his mouth shut, and soon enough, Booker is informed by his contact all about the second escape plot. He decides that he will have to commandeer it, and sending some heavies to deal with Richard, as he sits in wait outside the prison, Booker shanghais Craig and Westerman as soon as they get out. He's interested to know just why so many people are so anxious to get hold of Paul Westerman, but he doesn't know which of his two shiny new prisoners is the right man. Worried about what the future may hold for him, Westerman switches his ID with Craig's and, anxious to keep him in good shape until the missing film is recovered, Craig does not argue when he is himself 'unmasked' as Westerman. Even when, desperate to discover what it's all about, Booker decides to torture him to find out what he knows.

Slimy crook Booker contacts his prison informant, although he keeps turning his back on the Morse message in order to translate bits of it for his secretary. Presumably this means that he misses half of it, but he seems to get the important bits.

He's wearing a Naval tie. It's a lovely detail on the part of the costume department, but I'm left wondering how the hell he ever made it past the selection board.

Father Richard arrives for a visit with Craig, delivering a nice long rope and some escaping tools.

Whilst back in Geneva, Sharron has finally turned up, in that ghastly jacket again. Tremayne sends her off to help Richard, but for all the good she does, he might just as well not have bothered.

Richard waits outside the prison, ready to whisk Craig and Westerman away post-escape.

And having broken out of their cell, several storeys up in the air, our cat burglar friend suddenly remembers that he has vertigo.

Craig is a lot more understanding than I'd be. Mind you, I suppose he does have to keep the guy in one piece until he can hand over that film. Down on the ground, however, there's trouble. Richard has been accosted by three thugs.

Fortunately they wait until Craig is no long climbing down the rope before they deliver the incapacitating blow - what's happened to your super fighting skills this week, Richard?! - but Team Good Guy is still in trouble. Craig grabs Westerman, and they run...

... only to be accosted by Booker and his Naval tie.

And his secretary, who actually seems quite apologetic about it all. Which is nice.

Richard manages to struggle to his feet, but it's too late. Booker's car speeds off, and he's left behind.

In the back seat, Westerman switches his wallet with Craig's. Do people in prison have wallets? Never mind. Anyway, Craig notices, but says nothing.

Booker's house rather nicely continues the Naval theme, with a collection of nautical paintings in the drawing room. That's some lovely work on the part of the backroom boys on the show, it really is. They've clearly made an effort to flesh him out well.

Westerman's wallet, with a nice pre-decimalisation five pound note on display.

Elsewhere in London, Richard wonders what he's going to do to find Craig. Sharron offers to help, but he sends her away again, thus making her visit quite splendidly pointless. Still, it was nice to see her, especially since this time she's not wearing pink.

Craig, meanwhile, is busy being tortured again. Honestly, between them, he and Richard practically have the torture market cornered. On this occasion, in an unpleasant variation on the method used on him by the drug pushers in "To Trap A Rat", he's strung up by the wrists in a gym, whilst Booker's chief thug progressively adds weights in an attempt to gradually tear his muscles and dislocate his joints. Which is all very charming. Meanwhile, Richard beetles around trying to find him. Also on the way is the Colombrian ambassador, who is eager to collect his thief. When he arrives, he thoroughly befuddles Booker by identifying 'Stirling' as Westerman, before revealing that the whole embassy robbery was a ploy. Westerman is really a Colombrian agent, and faked everything in order to cause a breakdown in relations between Colombria and Britain. The film is not missing - it never existed in the first place. Sweeping out with his thief in tow, the ambassador runs straight into Richard, who argues with them about diplomatic immunity whilst they wait for Craig to free himself and mop up the bad guys.

Craig is hooked up to a pulley system and some weights. What is it with bad guys wanting to stretch Craig?! This is the second time it's happened. Can they not think of some sort of torture that doesn't involve making him several inches taller than he already is?!

Just as last time, however, when he so helpfully assisted the drug dealers in chaining him up, Craig proves to be an extremely polite torture victim.

Booker and his secretary stop by for a brief perusal of the agonising torture. As you do.

Whilst Father Richard pays another visit to prison, this time to try to wrest Booker's name and hideaway location from the inside man.

Craig, meanwhile, is not doing well. Look on the bright side, Craig. It's probably very good for your back. Eventually, having reached the end of his tether, he switches to superhuman super reserve, and breaks the torture device, before passing out.

His chief torturer, Booker's splendidly sadistic chief thug, then casually lights up a cigarette. I love that. It's another lovely little detail, and so nicely paints him as a complete bastard, even more so than the torture itself did. He's a good thug, he is. They should bring him back again some time.

Richard, poor fellow, is driving a Cortina. Maybe the Alfa is in for repairs.

The ambassador arrives to collect his friend Westerman, whilst Craig plays possum in the corner.

Having learnt that Westerman was working for the ambassador all along, that there was never any film, so never any reason to keep Westerman safe - and, therefore, no reason at all for him to be tortured - Craig flashes the pair of them a rather charming smile. I think he sometimes fancies a career on the other side of the law, you know. He's had a lousy day, but he's still quite happy to acknowledge that the opposition had a nicely thought out plan.

With the ambassador and Westerman gone, Craig proceeds to turns the tables on the real villains of the piece - namely Booker and his rental goon.

I love the idea of using weights as staves. :)

Meanwhile, Richard gets the drop on the ambassador and Westerman. The ambassador points out that he has diplomatic immunity, and that Westerman, as a naturalised citizen of Colombria, does also. Richard still seems to feel that Westerman can be had for the break-in, though. Not sure about that, Richard. Surely it was technically on Colombrian soil, so for them to deal with?

Anyway, he and Craig haul him off for questioning, regardless. It's all nicely polite and friendly, though.

Back in Geneva, Tremayne congratulates everybody on a job well done, and hears that the whole thing was a set up on the part of the Colombrian ambassador, who was trying to sabotage some arms deal or other. Which, surely, can only be a good thing, but never mind.

There then follows an almost entirely unfathomable gag about Richard having his own secret film of Craig feeding the birds in Trafalgar Square. Those two have some very odd out of hours hobbies.

Up next, "Reply Box No. 666", in which a certain unseated dictator from a few episodes back makes a return visit. Only we're not supposed to recognise him, because he's in disguise.

Personally I was completely fooled. Oh yes.


( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Feb. 19th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
My thoughts on the opening 'Sharron shows off her powers' sequence went along these lines: "Why does she need to check a map? She has super-recall, surely she can't have forgotten where she's going?" "Why is there a spooky man staring at her as she checks the map?" "OMG that man has horrifically bad hair." "Why is Sharron, having got rid of her hitchhikers, now driving down the same piece of road where she picked them up again? Is she having second thoughts about throwing them out of the car, and looking for them again??"

I also wondered why on Earth everyone tries to stretch Craig...Surely they should stretch Richard and do the other stuff to Craig?

Although it's sweet that Richard comes and checks Craig isn't doing his usual bed-sharing trick with anyone else, whilst in prison... ;) All in all, a good episode - good plots, good acting, just a shame the trio were so split up all the time. Still, defo a favourite.

Feb. 20th, 2010 11:10 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought about the map, but you're right, she shouldn't really have needed it!

And yes, good episode. I like Richard's Irish priest, and Booker is fabulously slimy. It's also got a nicely thought out plot, but I agree that it's a shame the gang were apart for so much of the time. The episodes when they're interacting more do tend to stand out, because the chemistry is so good. I guess that's why "The Night People" has been my favourite one so far during this rewatch.
Feb. 20th, 2010 11:17 am (UTC)
I just watched 'The Beginning', with commentary. Best line ever: "Hey, what is this, Brokeback Mountain?" from the scene my icon is capped from XD Yay!! I only wish they'd done the entire series!!

It is good that they at least got Richard and Craig to interact with the priest thing - love it in the corridor, when Richard asks the other prisoner if the guy he's to give the tin to will have matches XD

And I love that the prisoners have ties!! Never be allowed nowadays. Back then there was just a better class of crooks, obviously! (Although I wonder how he got the bottle of whisky into the prison-issue bedding roll. Did he just walk up holding it, then slip it inside the blankets...hmmmmmm...or is Westerman supposed to think he has friends amongst the guards or something?
Feb. 20th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
It would have been wonderful if they could have done more commentaries, yes. Time and money are always the enemies, though. They were initially only supposed to record the one commentary, as Stu had to dash off on another appointment, but because he had had such a good time doing "The Beginning", he rearranged his whole work schedule so they could do "Autokill" as well. So we did get a 100% bonus, which is nice.

I guess the guards know who Craig is, so it was easy enough for him to get the whisky in there. So yes, the idea is probably to make it look as though he has contacts, so that Westerman will throw in with him instead of the likes of Pickering. Craig wanted to make him believe that he could get him out quickly, I suppose.

And yes, that was a good line about the matches. I like those little flashes of humour - like in "Shadow Of The Panther", when Craig tells Richard to lock their hotel room door, which has just been torn off its hinges by the zombies. :)
( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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