The Main Chance – With All My Worldly Goods (23rd July 1969)

The final episode of the first series, With All My Worldly Goods has an abrupt opening – an irate Main insistent that he won’t defend George Mynter (Brian Oulton) on a charge of murder. This turns out to be the secondary plot of the episode, but it’s fascinating nonetheless.

Both Henry and Margaret Castleton view Mynter with a bizarre indulgence – he may have viciously bludgeoned his wife to death, but since he’s a pillar of the community and apparently was provoked (returning home to find his wife in bed with another man) they’re prepared to give him a free pass. This is a little difficult to swallow ….

In Outlon’s handful of scenes he manages to exude an air of Crippin-like menace. There’s no closure to the case, but it seems more than likely that Mynter is insane (possibly he fabricated the story of another man in the house). This leaves Main and Margaret (who’s acting for him) with a serious dilemma – given Mynter’s glowing record of public service it’s possible he might only have to serve a token sentence, but  do they have the right to get him off so lightly?

The main plot of today’s episode initially seems a little unpromising. I find it difficult to be too concerned about the business travails of the wealthy Tim Cowley (Richard Wyler), partly because Wyler offers a somewhat wooden performance. The fact that he and his wife, The Hon. Fiona Cowley (Elizabeth Shepherd), then engage in a rapid and bitter divorce is more interesting, but the real bombshell is yet to come.

In open court it’s revealed that Cowley has been having an affair with Julia (Kate O’Mara), David Main’s estranged wife ….

It’s strange that Julia didn’t feature more during the first series (this one certainly gives her the most to do). What’s also odd is that by the end of the episode it seems plain that she still wants to be involved with him (even if they can’t live together). But With All My Worldly Goods would prove to be O’Mara’s swansong – possibly she felt that the character was unlikely ever to add up to much or maybe this decision was taken by the production team.

With Neil Wilson and Hamilton Dyce both appearing, this is almost like a dry run of Spearhead from Space (well, sort of, there’s no meteorites or shop-window dummies).  It’s also good to see David Lodge again (playing Det. Sup. Guthrie).  Guthrie’s sometimes strained relationship with his old pal Sidney Bulmer (the always immaculate John Arnatt) is something that could have been developed a little more.

If the episode is a bit of a slow burn to begin with, then the final twenty minutes or so (Main goes off the rails, gets drunk several times, beds a lovely young lady and defends himself against a charge of professional misconduct) is definite recompense.

Revisiting series one has been rewarding, so now it’s onwards to series two and colour ….

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