Harold Tovey (Kenneth Cope) is a bookish, mild-mannered man who continually finds himself hen-pecked by his wife Margaret (Pat Ashton). When she tells him to take a relaxing holiday abroad by himself, he’s suspicious – as he’s certain she’s involved with the smooth-talking Mickey Walker (Tim Pearce).
But if there was any fight in him, it appears to have long gone and he dutifully plods off to the airport. However, when his flight is cancelled he heads home to see his wife and Mickey heading out together. This is the catalyst for a series of unlikely adventures, which start when he appropriates a large sum of money previously stolen by his brother-in-law Tony Kinsley (Paul Darrow).
Jackpot is a comic treat with Kenneth Cope (Coronation Street, TW3, Randall and Hopkirk) on fine form as the bookworm who turns. The first fifteen minutes or so constantly reinforce the notion that Harold is a complete and utter nonentity – his wife says so, Tony Kinsley says so, even the boys at Dock Green nick say so! But even the mildest-mannered man can only take so much and his eventual revolt is a delight.
He turns up at a posh hotel, complete with chauffeur, and proceeds to take the grandest suite. He’s also acquired a nice new suit and, best of all, a full head of hair (thanks to a very impressive wig). Outrageously tipping the hotel porter (Eric Mason) ensures that he gets the very best service – including some female company to help him relax. His encounter with the escort Sybil (Pamela Moiseiwitsch), is another highlight of the episode as he does everything he can to impress her. “Do you have a bucket of caviar for dinner every night?” she asks him
The performance style of the guest-cast is best defined as “broad”. The likes of Pat Ashton tended to play comedy anyway whilst Paul Darrow’s broad cockney accent also raises a smile, although that probably wasn’t the intention. Darrow’s very entertaining though, even if it’s hard to accept he’s a hard-bitten villain.
The comedic antics of Harold do contrast somewhat with the more serious scenes at Dock Green nick. The two different environments don’t really connect very well – probably because the Dock Green officers aren’t integrated into Harold’s story (in fact, we could have concentrated solely on Harold and we probably wouldn’t have missed the input of Dixon and the others).
Quite a short episode, clocking in at just over forty-six minutes, it’s another one that succeeds thanks to the guest cast, especially Kenneth Cope.