Last updated : 21st May 2005
|Episode Title||The Purging of CI5|
|Story Synopsis||CI5 is racked by bombings and assassinations of its own agents.|
|UK Episode #||C01|
|UK Tx Date||27 October 1979|
|Production #||Block 3, Ep 7|
|Approx Filming Dates||13th - 24th August 1979|
|Guest Stars||Simon Rouse, Christopher Fairbank|
Hardly an original or imaginative plot, but pacey direction keeps it going well with quite a good twist at the end.
The episode opens with a terrific scene of Cowley's office being blown up. Good banter between the lads both before and after this: "I'm gonna ask Cowley for a rise." / "That's one way of getting yourself killed. Or failing that, he'll hang you.... and not by the neck!!".
Also the playful punch-up in the lift provides an excellent "counter-action" to Cowley nearly being killed.
The scene of the second bomb (in the block of flats) is too padded out – unusual for this fast-moving show.
The scene where the lads "defuse" the RS2000 is great fun. (And notice how, back at base, Philips is fiddling around with the things on Cowley's desk, much to the boss' annoyance!). When the car is thought to be safe a relieved-but-still-nervous Bodie announces "See – nothin' to worry about.... unless, of course, it's rigged to go off as soon as you hit 30!", to which Doyle replies by flooring the throttle!
But with regards to the above, how come when Doyle defuses the telephone bomb, the lads jump back into the unlocked Escort without checking it again? Oh, well – think I'm getting a bit picky now!
The caravan scene is also excellent with amusing dialogue and Bodie checking Doyle's curly mass for dangerous materials! Shame they used the age-old plot device of the villain's gunsight being caught in the sunlight. However the van being blown up looks and sounds terrific!
But the lads pretending to be dead just doesn't work, IMHO. And considering they've just been in an explosion involving dirty great black clouds of smoke, they both look amazingly clean and unscathed! And, sadly, even Bodie's Awful Grey Leather Jacket survived intact!
As Sharon says, at last we get to see a woman playing an active role within CI5 (actress Sally Harrison, who had also played a hooker in 'The Female Factor'). But why didn't we actually get to see her tackling Parks? If the Avengers girls could do it, why couldn't she? And, like Diana Weston in the second season, poor Susan soon gets demoted to chauffeuse in later episodes! However I have recently uncovered a shot from the series that seems to show a fight scene was filmed – see below.
Doyle questions why Catrall used a tape recorder to deliver his phone messages – this is never explained in the episode... unless I missed something.
Despite the little pitfalls, this is still a good 'un!
In spite of the three things wrong with this episode it remains one of my favorites. The best scenes are classics.
1. The way they look. Both men are having an extremely bad hair day. Doyle's perm looks like he stuck his hand in a light socket and whoever cut Bodie's hair ought to be keelhauled. (In one of the annuals Lewis said that he cut his own hair... that would explain a lot! <G> – Dave) Except for the occasional exceptional close-up they both look pretty crummy throughout. Bodie wears the Awful Grey Jacket, and the green tee shirt makes Doyle look at times like he has a paunch. Not a show to introduce a newbie to the charms of The Lads.
2. There's not enough consistent presentation of backstory to explain things. We get it all in a lump right at the end. By then we don't care.
3. Too much camera time is spent on watching the poor doomed agents.
Aside from that:
Purging contains some of the best moments in Pros. Notably:
The opening scene when the camera cuts from The Lads clowning around with very clever patter to the ominous pre-bomb phone call. While they are chattering we learn a lot about them and see the easy interaction. The moment just before the explosion when Doyle raises his hands is a marvel of direction. The giggling and scuffling in the elevator sets the tone for further close moments throughtout this story.
Susan shows up well in this. One of the few times a woman agent has a good and effective role.
The whole scene at the council flats seems so real it could be a news film (except for the shadows of Bodie and Doyle playfully scuffling just before they are seen again – watch the tape closely as they get out of sight) .
The Interrogation of Billy is not only well acted by all three participants but the camera work is terrific. Doyle-the-destroyer again. He does deliberate mayhem so nicely. Makes him much scarier than Bodie, IMO.
The car "bomb scare" moment is marvelous. Good camera work and very believable behavior on the part of both agents/characters. Watching Bodie telling Cowley they've decided to let Billy go is a great character study. Again, very smooth, very believable action and dialogue. Like the little "cough" Bodie does as he sets out to tell Cowley the news. He does this again in other episodes when he's either lying or nervous.
And Best of All: the bomb defusing scene in Bodie's flat. Ah. So sweet. "Hold your breath, Sunshine." And the close-ups!
There are so many "cute" scenes between The Lads in this one.
I love the "London A-Z" moment: "Do you know where you're going?" (Improvised, I suspect – Dave)
Well worth watching over and over.
Note that Doyle starts the show out by griping about his pay. This topic comes up again in the next episode, 'Backtrack'. Unusual since there's little episodic consistency in Pros. Also note that before Bodie spots the tampering with his phone, he's eating. So he went for food before calling his girlfriend. <G> Seems if you want to get Bodie, wire his fridge, not his phone.
So much character development done in so many nice little ways. One wonders how much was provided by writers and how much the actors themselves contributed.
The lads meet Parker and find the dead body at a railway yard that might be Thornton Heath or Thornton Heath. (Thanks to Bob Rocca.)
Cowley, Bodie and Doyle are taken to the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead.
The supposedly dead guy on the train visibly contorts his face when Doyle smashes the window! (Thanks to Tobias Kessler)
The London A-Z keeps disappearing from the RS2000's dashboard. Also the RS isn't in quite the same position between the lads entering Bodie's flat (in the telephone "defusing" scene) and when they emerge minutes later. Later, when they drive Parks away to be executed, he seems to disappear from the back seat in a couple of brief shots. (Thanks to Chris Swindells)
When Billy pushes past the ladder during the chase with Bodie, the camera angle changes slightly and the window-cleaner chap is suddenly a couple of rungs further up. (Thanks to Petri Kaasalainen).
Stephen Lister was an 18-year-old fan of the show who sent this episode to the production team and, against all odds, was promptly accepted! He also contributed Kickback in the fourth season.
A couple of things to watch for: in the scene where King's car is blown up, a nearby rubbish skip has some grafitti scrawled on it: "Dennis Abey Rules, OK"! And here's another little quirk - have a VERY close look at the scene where Bodie notices the fragment of wire on his phone. Notice anything odd?
The pic seems to show that Sally Harrison did film a fight scene with Peter Jolley. If so, why was it dropped?
Simon Rouse (Phillips, the CI5 boffin) went on to star in the sitcom Bread and then to greater fame in The Bill.
Christopher Fairbank (Billy) is best remembered as Scouse arsonist Moxey in the classic comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and, I believe, is involved in the upcoming new series. Also starred in The Scarlet Pimpernel with Martin Shaw.
Bill Treacher (Dave, the telecom engineer) is only on-screen for about three seconds. The actor is now familiar to millions of people as the depressive Arthur in the top-rated soap EastEnders.
Terry Yorke (Catrall) was actually a stuntman (sometimes credited as Terry York or Terence York) but was also given bit-parts in the episodes 'A Hiding to Nothing' as the (uncredited) car driver who knocks down Frances and 'Bloodsports' as the polo team manager. Passed away in 2003.
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