S03E18 (2nd February 1972). Written by Arnold Yarrow, directed by Geraint Morris
After three months patient work, Barlow is now in a position to crush a major pilfering operation that’s been operating at Kingley Airport. But a potential riot from a group of disgruntled football fans threatens everything …
Hand on heart, I can’t confess to finding either of these plot threads that enthralling. The football fans (who are more than a little irked after their flight operator – Jason Travel – goes bust) shout and wave their rattles a lot, but they’re not really that threatening. Although maybe that’s intentional – instead of being portrayed as psychopaths, maybe we should just take them as decent enough types who after one drink too many decided to barricade themselves into the airport bar and create a bit of a disturbance.
Jean Watt (indeed, she’s now credited as Watt once more) finds herself caught up the melee. By a remarkable coincidence, Watt and Jean are at the airport waiting for another flight (also from Jason Travel) which should have taken them off on a well earned holiday. Watt could have just been present on duty – but having Jean along isn’t a bad move as it develops and broadens his character a little. It’s always good to see the way he moderates his behaviour when she’s present.
Later, a highly indignant Watt confronts Christopher Jones (John White) the smooth-talking businessman who used to own Jason Travel (but sold it in order not to be liable for its debts). Their scenes together are the definite highlight of the episode – Jones attempts to bribe Watt by writing him out a cheque to cover his losses (something Jones refuses to do for the football fans). After a beat, Watt rips up the cheque, but pockets it (as potential evidence?)
The other plot thread finds Snow working undercover as a baggage handler. Terence Rigby always did intimidating very well – so he’s perfect here as a potential new recruit for the airport’s pilfering ring (which not only consists of rifling through suitcases for trinkets but also knocking off boxes of food and booze, etc).
Ken Priest (Nicholas McArdle) is the Mr Big of this operation. McArdle (a recognisable television face of the period) attempts to exude a little menace, as do Priest’s underlings, but you never feel that Snow is in over his head – indeed, at any time I get the sense that Snow could take them all on …
Flight trundles along quite reasonably then (a spot of location filming at a real airport helps) but it’s pretty average fare.
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Apart from his turn as De Vries in Doctor Who – The Stones Of Blood, Nicholas McArdle is now best remembered for that infamous Quaker Harvest Crunch advert :