Last updated : 27th March 2013
|Episode Title||Where the Jungle Ends|
|Story Synopsis||Old comrades of Bodie's turn up in England and perform a violent bank raid to impress a top London gangster.|
|UK Episode #||A06|
|UK Tx Date||03 February 1978|
|Production #||Block 1, Ep 3|
|Approx Filming Dates||18th - 29th July 1977|
|Guest Stars||David Suchet, Geoffrey Palmer|
I think this episode starts quite well but, halfway through and particularly towards the end, it declines into a rather "comic-book" style. The scrap between Bodie and Krivas is puerile and undoubtedly fuelled critics' complaints that the series was frequently moronic.
Another problem for the story is that there aren't any likeable support characters and there is a noticeable lack of humour, too – except for the highly amusing scene involving the lads "kidnapping" Sinclair's daughter. Martin's underplaying works extremely well ("Oh yes, you're certainly pretty.... it's just that I haven't being feeling very well lately!") but Lew arguably spoils it by slight overacting.
The scene where Bodie tells about the girl he lost to Krivas was hammed up, too.
There is some interesting social comment: the state of the high-rise block and attitudes towards the police. As with many similar scenes in other episodes, still relevant to today's problems. Brian Clemens was right: the stories are still fresh today.
Benny's interrogation scene comes alight once Cowley threatens to deport him back to Angola. Benny pleads with Bodie and Lew's expression is perfect – obviously sympathising with him yet fully supporting his chief's actions.
Despite an early sighting of Cowley "out in the field" the episode does not contain enough high-points to recommend it.
This one's a showcase for Bodie. The opening scene has him showing his matter-of-fact tough and nasty character, then turning to Doyle and engaging in some matey patter.
We learn more about Bodie's pre-army mercenary past. More about his loves and losses. The three main actors work quite well together throughout. Bodie is driving now with Doyle as passenger. There's good character development during the "chat on the stairs" and kudos to the writers for that scene! Note that when Cowley chews out Bodie, Bodie takes it like a soldier rather than fighting back verbally as Doyle always does. Bodie obeys; Doyle questions.
Doyle again demonstrates his hot temper. Bodie restrains him. Watch Bodie's face when he finds the door to the armorer's place open. This is an expression he uses a lot when he finds doors unlocked or open – it's in 'Heroes', too, when they enter the warehouse only to find it empty.
Here we see the "sneaky" Cowley for the first time – the man who's quite willing to put his boys on the line in order to advance the case. The "kidnap" scene is both funny and awkward – MS plays it well but LC seems to be straining at the dialogue. Possibly this is one of the infamous "dubbed" scenes.
The two leads are starting to work with "the looks" rather than talking about what they will do. The audience has now come to accept their ability to read one another's minds, I believe.
The plot - well, uh. I cannot imagine a leader as volitile as Krivas actually keeping a band together. He's mad as a hatter and untrustworthy. Doesn't work for me.
The best part of the entire episode is the destruction of that awful suit and red shirt Bodie sports. Who is in charge of wardrobe in this one? MS seems rather embarrassed at the finale. I do not blame him.
Not my favorite ep, but Bodie does look good!
In the opening scene at the airport, a wall calendar reveals it is 27th July 1977 (which was the actual date the scene was shot), yet after the bank robbery the following day, the newspaper headline claims it is 23rd November! (Well spotted, Petri Kaasalainen!)
When the planes are scrambled to intercept Krivas' plane, they keep swapping between Harriers and Jaguars! Also the landscape keeps switching between lowlands and mountainous regions. (Thanks to Mike Pounder and Ted Taylor)
Krivas is only ever known to Sinclair as "Mr Smith", yet when Bodie tackles Sinclair, the latter recognises Bodie's reference to "Krivas".
When Krivas threatens to shoot Benny, the pistol's slide is locked in the open position, which indicates that the pistol is either out of cartridges, or a cartridge (or catridge case) has jammed within the pistol and so cannot be fired. (Thanks to Peter Bahniuk and Martin Edge).
In the scene where the trio are chasing Krivas' lorry, you'll see that the seat headrests in the Rover keep disappearing and reappearing!
Also, in the scene where Cowley is trapped by the motorbikes: keep an eye on his handkerchief!
|BTW||Contender's DVD re-release includes (extremely funky!) incidental music during the bank raid that had been inexplicably missing on previous releases.|
David Suchet (Krivas) of course went on to play Belgian detective Poirot in the long-running 1990s ITV series. Recently seen alongside Keith Barron in the BBC's National Crime Squad: Manhunt mini-series.
Geoffrey Palmer has had a busy career since the 1960s, carving out an unlikely niche in British sitcom (Butterflies, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Fairly Secret Army, As Time Goes By). Also had a hilarious cameo as Field Marshal Haig in Blackadder Goes Forth. More recently he appeared as General Roebuck in the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
Del Henney (Benny) reappeared in 'A Man Called Quinn'. Film appearances include the controversial (indeed banned in the UK) Straw Dogs. Other credits include guest shots in shows such as The Sweeney, Rumpole of the Bailey and the popular Jonathan Creek.
Robert James (Cusak) reappeared in 'The Rack' as the Coogans' lawyer. A massive catalogue of television appearances, including the very first (now lost, sadly) Avengers episode and a number of other stories from that show. He also appeared in Brian Clemens' cult fantasy Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1972). Passed away in 2004.
Note: despite most of the bank raid action being shot in Slough and Eton, some brief shots were taken several weeks after principal shooting, this time using Harefield. Whether there had been camera faults discovered during film processing or the production team decided that the action was improved further with the insertions of the later shots is not known.
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