Drew Heriot (Jeremy Wilkin) and his sister-in-law, Anne (Rosemary Nichols), continue their quest to locate the “underminds” – brainwashed individuals intent on destabilising the country by whatever means necessary ….
A somewhat forgotten series (despite the fact it’s been available on DVD for a few years) Undermind certainly has some points of interest – not least the fact that it’s nice to see Wilkin (one of those actors who spent most of his career in supporting roles) take the lead for a change. Rosemary Nichols (later to play the third banana in Department S) also gets plenty to do, today’s episode especially.
The series’ writing team was a strong one. It was created (or evolved, according to the credits) by Robert Banks Stewart, with the likes David Whitaker, Bill Strutton, Hugh Leonard and Robert Holmes supplying episodes.
In this episode, Drew’s name is discovered on the client list of a murdered prostitute (along with the names of a great many influential men). Given that the Profumo affair would have been very fresh in the memory at this time, the character of Mr Beymer MP (Derek Francis) has an obvious satiric touch. He may profess to be an upright public servant, but it’s plain that there are some skeletons lurking in his closet. Francis gives a nice performance, although his stick on beard is a little distracting.
Best turn of the episode comes from Patrick Allen as Fenway, a shadowy type who gives Drew an intense grilling. At first it looks as if Fenway might be part of the undermind conspiracy, but he’s simply doing his job – ensuring that public confidence in the establishment isn’t destroyed. This is certainly a theme that’s as topical today as it’s ever been. Garfield Morgan, as Fenway’s no 2 (the suspiciously named Smith) also catches the eye, due to his habit of wearing dark glasses indoors.
Anne is very proactive today, posing as a former call girl in order to investigate a shady employment agency. She does pretty well, although it’s an initial shock to see the previously straight-laced Anne transformed into a short-skirted woman of easy virtue.
David Whitaker’s script does drag a little, so I can only give The New Dimension a cautious thumbs up. And that’s similar to my feelings of the series to date – three episodes in and whilst I’m happy to return for another installment next week, the series has yet to really grip me.