Adam Adamant Lives! – To Set A Deadly Fashion

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Adam pops along to an Embassy ball and falls into conversation with Oretta (Nancy Nevinson), the wife of the Italian Vice Consul. And after she falls dead into his arms, he instantly turns detective ….

There’s no mystery about Oretta’s death as her conversation with Adam is intercut with shots of two eavesdroppers (Howarth and Watkins) who are able to hear every word that’s spoken. She’s wearing a bugged dress then, that’s different. And not only is it bugged, when it’s decided that Oretta has said too much they’re able to kill her by remote control.

The dress has been designed by Roger Clair (Colin Jeavons), a fashion designer who has plenty of connections in high society. Where do you start with Jeavons’ performance? Calling it camp just doesn’t do it justice – Jeavons is clearly enjoying himself tremendously, periodically winding himself up into explosive paroxysms of petulance.

Howarth (Alister Williamson) is his stolid number two. A much less showy turn, but then there’s only room in the story for one Jeavons-sized character.  Given how prima-donnish Clair is, it’s difficult to credit that he’s responsible for creating such an intricate espionage network – but it seem to be so.

Tony Williamson’s script also seems a little unclear in other places too. We’re told that a number of other society matrons have died in a similar way to Oretta (all apparently from heart attacks) but Clair was deeply upset when Howarth decided to terminate Oretta (Howarth was worried that Adam was getting too close to discovering their operation). So why did the others die? Oh well, possibly you’re not supposed to dig too deeply into the specifics of the story.

Adam toddles along to Clair’s latest fashion show, but is appalled when the models – dressed in bathing costumes – begin to parade themselves. Poor Adam, given a front-row seat, can’t bring himself to look whilst Georgina (it won’t shock you to discover) has signed on as Clair’s latest model.

This turns out to be a godsend for Clair as he’s able to pop the unsuspecting Georgina into a bugged dress. There’s a lovely spot of dialogue from Clair as he first recoils at the notion of Adam living in a car park, before approving of the notion of his flat (“what a ducky idea”).

Another episode highlight occurs when Adam, safely back with Georgina at his flat, suddenly twigs that her dress might be dangerous. He writes her a note (“take off your dress”) only for her to counter with a note of her own (“get lost”). Given she’s been panting over him since the start of the series, I’d have thought she’d have been quite keen to get undressed for him ….

Towards the end of the episode Adam has the chance to indulge in his usual spot of fisticuffs before facing the possibility of a grisly death at the hands of Clair’s wicked invention. Fear not though, the ever resourceful Adam can take just about anything that’s thrown at him and then throw it back with maximum vengeance.

Another solid episode, this one benefits enormously from the performance of Colin Jeavons.

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Adam Adamant Lives! – Allah Is Not Always With You

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Allah Is Not Always With You opens in eyebrow raising fashion –  an attractive young woman called Linda (Miranda Hampton) is tied to a bed and offered the prospect of torture unless she does as she’s instructed. Golly. The attentive viewer will probably notice that she’s dressed in fishnets and a fluffy upper costume, which raises the kink factor an extra notch.

You have to say though that maybe the baddies’ hearts weren’t in it, as once Linda is left alone she unties herself with embarrassing ease and manages to dodge past the tough guarding the door.  If this is slightly hard to swallow, then more swallowing is required when (fleeing down a long corridor) she’s knifed in the back.  Had the distance between Linda and the knife thrower not been so great then possibly this wouldn’t have come across as such a superhuman feat.

Mortally wounded though she is, Linda still manages to pop on a coat (sorry, I’ll try and stop nitpicking soon) and takes a cab (driven by George Tovey, who always did a very nice line in cabbies) to Adam’s flat.  Her arrival in Adam’s sitting room (her barely conscious form carried over the threshold by Simms) is an amusing moment. It’s also significant, as this caused the original Simms (played by John Dawson) a great deal of trouble – sent off to hospital with a bad back, Dawson was quickly replaced by Jack May.

Everything seems to centre on The Fluffy Club which is a joint where the hostesses are dressed in a fluffy fashion (nothing to do with the Playboy Club, honest). It’s the sort of decadent gambling den you know Adam will find totally abhorrent, even if by today’s standards it looks amusingly tame.  And if it’s somewhat predictable that Adam’s ended up in such a place, then it’s even more predictable that Georgina – having ignored Adam’s order not to get involved – has enrolled at the club as a Fluffy Girl in order to be his inside woman.

She has all the attributes to be a Fluffy Girl, her legs seem to go on forever ….

Kevin Brennan oozes melodramatic menace as Vargos, the club owner who intends to ensnare Ahmed (David Spenser), a wealthy Middle Eastern playboy. Whilst Ahmed heads off to be fleeced in the big card game, Adam is lurking about the corridors. At this point it’s hard to see how he’ll fit into the narrative (he can hardly gatecrash the game) but luckily there’s another damsel in distress close at hand and a few toughs for Adam to duff up.

Adam’s new damsel, Helen (Jennifer Jayne), is – of course – an associate of Vargos (poor Adam always seems to hone straight in on the bad women). So clever, but oh so vulnerable. She manages to snatch a quick kiss with him and he doesn’t pull away. Perhaps Adam is slowly moving into the sixties …..

Fictitious Middle Eastern states were an ever-present staple of sixties adventure series and today’s example is a fairly common one. Ahmed is the headstrong young heir to the Sheikdom who’s been assimilated into – or corrupted by – Western culture whereas his father is much more of a traditionalist.  The Sheik is played by a browned-up John Woodnutt, which is the sort of casting that may look a little odd today but was perfectly common back then.

It’s interesting that whilst Adam finds himself sidetracked by Helen, Georgina is the one who’s doing all the hard graft – taking Ahmed out for a bun in order to find out what Vargos is up to. And once she’s got the info, Georgina scooters off to Adam’s pad to share the news – almost running into Helen who’s just been enjoying an intimate tête-à-tête with Mr Adamant. Frosty stares are exchanged between the two females.

Eventually Georgina is able to persuade Adam that the Sheik’s life may be in danger (in London for a routine operation, if he dies then Vargos will be able to pull Ahmed’s strings and rule by proxy).

Allah Is Not Always With You chugs along quite nicely with all the familiar story beats of the series – easily duped Adam, plucky Georgina, fisticuffs ahoy – firmly in place. It never quite kicks into top gear though since Vargos is too nebulous a villain whilst Ahmed is also quite sketchily portrayed (given this, it’s hard to feel any particular sympathy for him).

The identical pleasures – a horrified Adam meeting the sedate fleshpots of the Fluffy Club, say – are the moments which really stand out. Not bad then, but hopefully more substantial fare will be just round the corner.

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