Written by Ray Jenkins
Directed by James Goddard
Amos Green Must Live is a bit of a misfire. Although Amos Green’s views are just as topical today as they were over forty years ago, a slightly incoherent script does tend to drag the story down.
Amos Green (Corin Redgrave) is a politician with a clear message – Britain is full to bursting point, so he advocates sending the immigrants back home. He’s clearly a man who likes to court controversy and when his life seems to be under threat, the Section are tasked to protect him.
Corin Redgrave is by far the best thing about this story. He’s very watchable in all his scenes and Ray Jenkins’ script provides him with plenty of good material. Whether Green actually believes what he says or whether he’s simply making political capital is left to the view to decide. Later in the story, Hunter (who for some inexplicable reason is attending one of Green’s dinner-parties) does make the point that before 1967 Green never spoke about immigration, which does visibly ruffle the politician’s feathers.
As for the worst, Annette Crosbie as Green’s housekeeper May Coswood, takes some beating. It’s probably not Crosbie’s fault, rather it’s the way the part has been written. May is besotted with a black man called Casey (Stefan Kalipha). Naturally, she keeps this from Green, but she starts to act very oddly – stealing a dress, for example. Her erratic behaviour only draws attention to herself (and Casey).
If May’s motivations are sometimes hard to understand, then the same can be said of Casey. Towards the end we learn that he’s the prime mover behind the plot to kill Green – but there are various plot-holes along the way which are never resolved.
The Section are originally drawn into the case after a black civil rights activist from America called Arrillo is fished out of the river. In his pocket was a book of matches with a picture of the Ace of Spades. A similar book of matches is sent to Green, so it’s surmised that his life will also be under threat.
Casey admits that he was the taxi-driver who picked up Arrillo. As the American was carrying a considerable sum of money, we can surmise that Casey killed him for it – which he planned to use to finance an attack against Green. If this is so, why would he place the matches in Arrillo’s pocket and why send a similar matchbook to Green? If it hadn’t been for the matches, then Green wouldn’t have known that his life was in danger. But frankly, it’s a very obscure clue – what are the chances that somebody would have made the connection between Arrillo and Green?
Although Casey is organising the attack against Green (with gas weapons and guns) it’s actually carried out by several Americans (well, I think they’re attempting American accents, it’s hard to be sure). Were they recruited with the money Casey stole from Arrillo? Or since Arrillo was an American, did they follow him over?
Whilst there are a few nice moments (Lonely buying Callan the most hideous tie imaginable as a thank you present, for example) it’s certainly one of the less engaging episodes of the series. When a General Election was called in 1970, the episode was pulled from the schedule and transmitted later in the run (as previously mentioned, Breakout should have been the series finale). So there is a certain historical curiosity in watching this (albeit-temporarily) “banned” episode.
The character of Amos Green tapped into the debates of the day (he’s clearly a thinly-veiled portrait of Enoch Powell, notorious for his “Rivers Of Blood” speech) but whilst Redgrave is fine, the episode in general is just a little too heavy handed and from a modern viewpoint feels rather crude.