Drake is back in the Middle East, in an unnamed state suffering a violent uprising. The entire Royal Family (who have been sympathetic to the West) appear to have been massacred but it turns out that an infant – now heir to the throne – escaped from the turmoil with his Scottish nurse, Mary MacPherson (Eileen Moore). In a land where few can be trusted, Drake has to somehow lead them both to safety ….
The Nurse opens with a not terribly thrilling pre-credits sequence – a man and a woman are slowly making their way across the desert plains. Once the credits have rolled they’re revealed to be the American consul and his wife, fleeing from the fighting. Despite the danger, both are impeccably dressed (her gloves still look gleaming white).
Having located them in a chopper, Drake and the pilot prepare to ferry them away. But then Drake learns that a British nurse is hiding out at a farmhouse nearby and decides to go there alone. This is a definite mark in his favour – at this point nobody knows about the baby (and the possible benefits to the West if a sympathetic ruling class can be restored) so he’s motivated purely by the thought of helping someone in need.
Drake and Mary are quickly forced to go on the run and a bond forms between them. Drake, never usually one to thaw when in close contact with a female, does seem almost human as the pair hide from their pursuers in the dunes. Eileen Moore, probably best known for playing Sheila Birling in the Alastair Sim film version of An Inspector Calls, offers a strong performance. Mary’s honest, uncomplicated goodness and her obvious devotion to her infant charge might be the reasons why Drake seems a little less harsh than usual.
Reaching the nearest town they take refuge at the inn, but the innkeeper (Eric Pohlmann) seems rather untrustworthy. Pohlmann doesn’t have a lot to do but he manages to radiate a low-level of malevolence. Jack MacGowran as Launcelot Prior, has a little more to play with. The British-born Prior works for the local ruler, the Moukta, and his initial geniality is quickly stripped away to reveal something far less appealing.
Harold Kasket, a man who racked up a long list of television and film credits, is one of a number of British born actors playing Middle Eastern types today. He’s convincing enough as the autocratic Moukta, although as ever during the first series there’s rarely the time to really dig into characters.
Mid-way through the story is where the plot starts to go a little awry. Drake, Mary and the baby are summoned to the Moukta’s presence. Drake decides it’s not safe for them all, so he goes alone. But surely it would have been better had they stayed together, as by this point it’s become public knowledge that the young prince has escaped. Once Drake leaves, the Innkeeper focuses his beady eye on Mary and the baby.
Following his short and not terribly sweet meeting with the Moukta, Drake is driven away to meet his fate. But inexplicably he’s not killed, simply duffed up slightly and dumped on the outskirts of town. This means that it takes him no time at all to return to the Moukta, who by now has Mary and the child in his clutches.
With rebel forces – keen to kill the young prince – apparently closing in, the situation looks grim. But Drake manages to save the day by forging a proclamation from the rebels and circulating it around the town (it declares that the prince can be identified by a heart shaped mark on his leg). Of course the prince doesn’t have one, so Drake is able to convince the Moukta that the baby is simply an innocent child.
We briefly see the note and it doesn’t look that impressive (there’s no seal, for example). This rather convenient plot resolution is swiftly negated anyway after it’s revealed that the town has just been secured by forces loyal to the Royal Family (so Drake’s spot of forgery turned out to be superfluous). Why they didn’t just use one of these two possible endings and stick to it is a bit of a mystery.
Fairly routine stuff then, but as always it’s fun to spot familiar faces (Heather Chasen, Andrew Faulds, Maxwell Shaw) making brief appearances.