S02E12 (2nd December 1970). Written by Robert Barr, directed by Brian Parker
The Task Force officers are investigating a spate of lorry thefts. This leads them to a farm owned by a Mr and Mrs Kerr (Jon Rollason and Chloe Ashcroft). The Kerrs have recently made the acquaintance of a man called Mott (Victor Maddern) who tells them he works at the local market and is looking for somewhere to store his stock. It turns out that Mott is planning to stash the stolen gear at the farm, which means that a stake out is set up ….
Those hardy souls who have been reading all these reviews will know that I haven’t been terribly impressed with Robert Barr’s scripts so far, and this one – his third for the second series – is sadly on pretty much the same level as his others. If one were being generous then you could say that the opening (focusing on Snow and Evans tailing a lorry that may or may not be hijacked any minute) is an accurate reflection of the routine and humdrum nature of the majority of police work (nothing happens). But it doesn’t make for very entertaining viewing of course.
There are consolations to be found with the guest cast however. Victor Maddern had a wonderfully long career playing twitchy underachievers and is perfect casting as Mott. Mott is the acceptable face of the gang (which makes sense, since he has to be the one to sweetalk the Kerrs into letting him use their shed). Whenever I see Victor Maddern I find it impossible not to think of this Dixon of Dock Green outtake. I’m probably not alone in this.
Jon Rollason (who was one of The Avengers for a very short time – about three episodes in fact) and Chloe Ashcroft (forever remembered for Play School) are both rather good. Mr Kerr is keen to assist the police and possibly grab a substantial reward whilst Mrs Kerr is much more concerned for their personal safety. Ashcroft is slightly off-key throughout, although this may have been a performance choice rather than a case of bad acting. Ken Hutchison, another familiar television face, can be spotted amongst the heavies in the gang.
Do Me A Favour was the second of the all-film episodes and, like the first, it does rather look as if it’s been dragged through several hedges backwards. But once you get over the shock of the faded film quality, it’s interesting to compare the story with the more typical SS:TF fare. It’s obviously more “filmic” and less reliant on dialogue and character-byplay, which for me is quite detrimental (there’s little of the usual interaction between the regulars for example). Although whether this is because of the nature of film compared to videotape or just because Barr’s script didn’t concentrate on this aspect of the series is a moot point.
So overall this is passable but a little uninvolving.