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SEASON 3 EPISODE 9 FLOOD by Ian Curteis


'One more inch! A mere inch! And we would have had a full-scale disaster in the very heart of London.'

NB: The following story comes from a rehearsal script that has been amended by hand, eliminating a set and changing some of the dialogue.

Colin Bradley is driving along the banks of the Thames with Doctor Quist asleep in the passenger seat. The radio programme Colin is listening to is interrupted by a flood warning advising all listeners to tune into Radio One. Flood sirens begin to wail in the background as Bradley wakes up Quist and they listen to the announcement which gives instructions to those living in the affected areas.

In the London Flood Room, dominated by a giant map of London, the announcer is in the corner speaking direct into a throat mike whilst around him in the busy operations room, Critchley takes confirmation of 'First Bell message from Southend. Ericson, the Chief Engineer mutters it is last night all over again, but higher. An assistant on the telephone orders a London tidal flood warning caption to be transmitted.

Meanwhile, the police drive around streets issuing instructions through loudspeakers.

Back at the Flood Room, Number Two bell level is reported. The second surge is catching up again and will be here in London in forty five minutes. Ericson phones the Minister, insisting he is woken up. Critchley studies a diagram of the events. 'Disobeys just about every natural law in the book.'

TITLES

Stafford is awoken up in bed by a phone call from Quist who is speaking from the Flood Room. This freak tide is so freak that there could be something more to it. Quist wants Stafford to get onto his Admiralty 'chums' for sea conditions near Greenland and the Norwegian seas where the surge must have originated. Stafford thinks it is probably classified – that's NATO Western Fleet. Quist is surprised. Weather reports, classified? But the Minister wants a report by breakfast time. 'Rang me himself! By breakfast, Neil.' Ericson shows Quist the map and explains how the tidal surge, funnelled into the Thames is due either to a normal high tide or to winds building up in a particular place. If the two happen together, they get very high water. 'As London is low and vulnerable, it tops the defences and bingo.' 'London floods,' concludes Quist. The surge is now twenty five minutes from London Bridge. The North Sea is as calm as a duck pond. So why the high tidal surge?

Stafford is now at the Doomwatch office where Bradley is still there, '24 hour robot, that's me,' offers him some coffee as the Commander uses the phone. 'The Admiralty too,' says Stafford. 'Over a score of them, sitting up in the Ops Room, acting inscrutable.'

This second surge is one they won't know how large until it reaches London Bridge. Ericson wished they had sent out the warnings earlier. Quist takes Stafford's call. The oil rig Hopkins reported a four foot surge last night travelling south. Two other rigs reported it an hour later, further south. They don't know the speed of the surge. There is also a routine minor NATO exercise going on in the Norwegian sea but they reported nothing. He can't get the weather report either. Ericson says that the worst thing that could happen is the tide being one foot over the defences. 'You can write off any sort of normal life in London for days... We just hope the police get everyone out before then.' They watch a gauge indicating the level of the Thames at London Bridge – it edges up to eleven inches then stops...

We see 'stock shots of Lewisham flooding.'

'One more inch! - a mere inch! - and we would have had a full scale disaster in the very heart of London! As it is, the cost of the evacuation will be astronomical!' The Minister pities the people, as he talks to Quist. They have spent millions on defences after the 1953 disaster. Uselessly, it seems. Half of the underground is already out of action. He asks for Quist's report. The tide disobeyed most of the known laws of tidal hydrology, to give a massive surge all round the North Sea. Most of the information they need isn't available yet due to half of the telephones being out of order. They are investigating seismological activities in the North Sea. The Minister is intrigued. Quist doesn't think it's a man made event – 'an explosion big enough to do this would have to be nuclear; and however deep you buried the thing it would still stand out a mile on a seismograph.' 'The second was bigger than the first,' the Minister muses. 'and if it's a series... in a further 24 hours, and proportionally bigger...' Quist is suspicious. What makes him think it could be a series? The Minister blames it on cabinet questions... 'It is something that may well be raised or perhaps planned for.' The Minister wants him to find out what caused it and with evidence. Irrefutable figures by noon. To Quist's growing suspicion, the Minister agrees to his needs and for representation at any meeting the Minister plans to hold to plan against another surge. He is also surprised that the Minister has the information from the Admiralty Stafford couldn't get. In future, he suggests Quist goes through him. 'It looks better. I must confess I was surprised at (Stafford's) actions.' 'He works for Doomwatch now,' replies Quist. He thanks the Minister for breakfast but before he leaves, the Minister reminds Quist to purseu all possibilities. Natural and man made. 'An open mind.' Alone, sir George Holroyd asks to speak to General Gunnarson at NATO Headquarters...

Barbara Mason has joined the throng at the Flood Room writing down numbers in columns as Critchley relates them to an assistant marking them on the map. This relates to the second wave before it caught up the other one.

In the Doomwatch lab, Bradley talks with Doctor Tadley, the Government seismologist, a ponderous and droll man. Seismic events have been recorded and they can get a rough point of origin. More readings from Europe are coming in. 'You chaps get the budget,' Tadley remarks. At the moment all they can say is that somewhere in the Barents sea area, there was a 'bloody riot' up there early yesterday...

Ericson's assembly of readings also points to the same area.

Quist studies a map of the North Sea. Stafford is surprised that the Minister gave Quist the figures personally. There could be something to hide. 'You stuck your neck out a bit,' remarks Quist. 'In a good cause.' Quist has to leave for another meeting – WATCH. An emergency committee in case there is a third wave. 'Operation Gopherwood... what Noah's Ark was made of.' Bradley brings in Tadley. The figures show the west end of the Barents Sea where the NATO exercises are. Tadley says that there are ways of disguising nuclear testing so it resembles earth tremors on a seismograph. Stafford knows that the Russians have a testing ground close by in Novaya Zemlya. Tadley is reluctant to admit the possibility.

The Minister joins Ericson and representatives around a model of the Thames Estuary. Ericson points out the facilities at risk by the flood. A population of one million, two hundred thousand, fifteen power stations, four major sewage works, forty six miles of underground and seventy stations, some of which are already out of action. A General is shocked. The Greater London Council man says that when their flood barrier is finished in 1978, they shall be able to withstand it. The Minister wants the assembled group to consider on a supplementary plan, Operation Gopherwood, in case of a third surge. A Minister of Defence man, Mr. Adams, recognises the reference. 'Genesis six verse fourteen.' The G.L.C. man is surprised by the Minister's pessimistic nature. 'I don't believe in playing ducks and drakes with people's lives, if that's what you mean.' The Minister won't be drawn into why he fears a third event. They discuss the number of troops needed and how to get 8,000 men into London. The Minister wants them here as soon as possible, the Government will pay. The press will get on to it, warns the G. L. C. man. The General mentions Plan “E.” This has been in place since 1945 and would need Cabinet approval. The meaning of this is not lost on the others, presumably the plan after a nuclear explosion. The group are suspicious of the Minister and he presses them for a decision. Quist enters with his information but is quickly rebuffed by the Minister. The men decide to wait three hours before the twelve hour warning is needed. The Minister agrees and asks them to give their phone numbers to his assistant, Mr. Duncan. Ericson advises strategic sand bagging along the estuary by troops which is agreed. As the Minister leaves with Quist, the General remarks that he is a scaremonger. But the G.L.C. man suspects there's more to it than he's saying... Ericson phones the office. 'Telex Advance Warning Stage A. They'll have to change the guard some other time...'

In a car, the Minister tells Quist that the Minister of Defence regrets his facilities are already fully committed. He won't help, says Quist. Can't help, corrects the Minister who needs something more concrete before he can start bulldozing. Quist tries to explain that it is conceivable these disturbances were man made but the Minister already knows that. He had a report from the Global Seismology Unit in Edinburgh and they are too woolly for his purpose. .'Chapter and verse needs time.' 'Just what we haven't got. It's been ten hours man!' 'Perhaps Edinburgh could help you.' 'Don't get huffy with me, Quist,' snaps the Minister, also pointing out that a shave is good for morale. Quist asks him about the NATO exercises in the Norwegian sea. The Minister will enquire. 'I will give you every help I can, but there are some things I am bound to silence over. God knows, I don't wish to be. Just get me that proof, within two hours.'

Back at the office, they are still working hard on the figures. Tadley who is still working on them in Quist's office thinks the epicentre is Bear island, only 600 miles from the Russian testing ground and on the continental Shelf. 'But to produce something with a surge wave 1,600 miles away...' ponders Quist. Bradley reminds them of the Test Ban Treaty and SALT. Barbara asks what SALT is. 'Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.' Quist isn't convinced. It's so detectable. All they have to do is overfly the area... Quist wants to speak to Doctor Rogers at the National Physics Lab. Stafford knows that General Gunnarson was at the Cabinet meeting earlier – the C-in-C Eastern Fleet. Quist is puzzled. What the hell are they playing at? Stafford offers to go to Eastern Fleet HQ at Northwood and since he is ex-Service Intelligence, an old mate. Barbara has Doctor Todd on the phone, and Quist puts a purely hypothetical problem to him...

Stafford drives into the Head Quarters at Northwood unchallenged by security and enters the main building.

Tadley is still working on his figures by hand despite an anxious Quist's offer of an analogue/digital computer... Quist refuses tea and sandwiches from Barbara who wishes Doctor Tarrant was here to make him. Bradley has got Quist a plane from the American Air Force at High Wycombe. Quist tells a nervous Bradley to go and undertake the journey – 'urgent scientific research...'

Stafford, accompanied by an armed Marine, is having to give an account of himself to Lieutenant-commander Morrison outside of the Ops Room. Stafford just wants to look around, revisit his old stamping ground. He is aware that something big is going on what with double security... 'Oh, I forgot to mention upstairs, I work for United Press nowadays, and I'm doing a piece on the Barents Sea disturbance. It'll be an interesting addition that there's a double security NATO Op going on... Is Virginia involved? ... anything really big and you have to keep referring up to Virginia – that hadn't changed.' Stafford runs through the list of Ships he served on, names of the Captain, and is not tripped up by Morrison's mispronunciation of C-in-C (Sync) as sea in sea... Morrison is convinced, and admits Stafford's senior rank and goes to fetch the General.

Bradley is flying over the NATO exercises and has plotted the positions of the ships as he radios back to London. He is not alone. 'At least two Ivans are having a peek as well...' He plots the formation, which is significant. Some of the boats have what could be sonar equipment just below water level. Tadley emerges with the figures. The exact epicentre, unanswerable. Red marks on the chart were put there by Stafford – the NATO exercises.

Getting impatient, Stafford loses his Marine guard and peaks inside the Ops Room as the alarm is raised! The entrance is sealed off. Stafford asks a Lieutenant if General Gunnarson is still talking to Virginia? 'No sir, but the line is still open.'

The Minister tells Quist that Stafford has been arrested and put under close guard at Northwood. 'What the hell happens to people when they start working for you, Quist?' Quist wonders if he was on to something. The Minister agrees – getting arrested was a signal. He reminds him that all M.O.D. matters must be channelled through him. He knows about the arrangements with the Americans Quist shows the Minister their conclusive findings. 'A detonation of the order of 16 megatons was sited on the sea floor here, at a depth of 8,000 feet, at 6.20 the day before yesterday. There was a blow out, giving rise to a tsunami or shock wave which surfaced as it entered the shallows of the North Sea and reached the Thames Estuary 20 hours later as a 10 foot wave. This coincided almost exactly with the normal high tide. Something similar happened 24 hours before that.' Sixteen megatons is 800 times what happened at Hiroshima. Quist is appalled by the ultimate lunacy of all this going on, in such an area and with NATO's knowledge and with the treaties and the SALT talks. 'The one area of progress, the one definite sign that we had become so frightened of what we were doing, we were prepared to compromise with our worst enemies to achieve something!' Quist asks the minister if he is aware that we wouldn't have survived with the increasing level of fallout from nuclear tests years ago without the treaty... The Minister fights back. He has been fighting tooth and nail to prevent it! He knew what was happening. Quist thinks it is NATO behind the tests. The Minister telephones the Prime Minister and needs to speak with him. As he holds on, he asks Quist that if in his place, he would have resigned, and blown it to the press, Quist confirms, even to the world press. The Minister finds his naivete breathless. 'Your case had better be watertight. We were assured there was not the slightest possibility of any surface disturbance from an explosion at that depth.' 'As we were assured could be no fallout from the Bikini H-Bomb in 1954. Tell that to the fishermen who died in agony of radiation over a hundred miles away.' The Minister talks to the Prime Minister about the connection with the flooding and the explosions. They have a meeting arranged in ten minutes. The minister tells Quist that a third in a series of six explosions occurred at 8.40. 'It's effects should be well on the way by now.'

At the Flood Room, a force 5 gale is reported building up in the North Sea. Ericson decides to bring forward by two hours the alert.

Morrison brings the handcuffed Stafford to Quist, but at a distance. 'In one piece, I think. no bones broken?' Quist claims to have authorisation from the Prime Minister and from Gunnarson, arguing their respective cases. Stafford asks who won? Morrison tries to stop this conversation and threatens to restrain Quist too until he can get clearance. 'We had a garden gnome just like you, once,' remarks Stafford. Quist has a meeting of the Emergency Committee in the Flood Room in 35 minutes and needs all the information he can get. But Stafford manages to give Quist some clues by talking about holidays in the Aleutian Islands. Morrison is given a note that Stafford is not to be released. Quist leaves uttering dark warnings.

As the weather gets worse over the North Sea, a meeting is held in the Flood Room with the Man from the G.L.C. attending with the Minister. High water is at 3:18 a.m. which is seven hours away. The water may well reach a higher level. With the weather and the 'phenomenon' there is a possibility of flooding of the whole of the marked areas and beyond! The G.L.C. man points out that they have no contingency plan for beyond! The General also is appalled and wished for more warning considering the nature of a series... The Minister insists that the General contact his people and get an accurate estimate of the number of troops available. He has authority to take whatever steps he deems necessary. Each borough is being appraised as they evacuate and take the disabled with whatever transport they have got. 'Over a million people?' the General is amazed. Quist asks if the planned evacuation points are now safe. Ericson doesn't know. The M.O.D. man comes back with 4,200 men available, half of what is needed. The BBC will issue flood warnings, but only three hours before the flooding begins. The GLC man needs requisition facilities for extra food and supplies if the flooding exceeds this line. The General suggests using the Plan E food store for this which is in Salisbury Plain. The Minister will mention it to Downing Street. He takes Quist with him to Downing Street as the four hour notice is given. The General asks if there is nothing they can do to prevent it... 'Nothing,' says Ericson. Taking out sea walls to allow marshy land to be flooded will make no real difference to a twenty foot surge.

Quist tells the Minister in the car that the tests were several thousand feet too shallow resulting in a blow out of the sea bed. In three areas of the Barents Sea, it's killed the fish. Floating on the surface. Fish from that area must be banned forthwith. The Minister asks what explanation can they give? 'That's one for the politicians,' replies Quist. The magnitude of the problem hits the Minister.

It's getting worse in the Flood Room. Another weather event. But the only chance London has now is if the wind changes direction. It would take the disaster element right out. Critchley moves markers on the map indicating the position of the wave, and the site of the normal tidal surge moving down the East coat. Ericson comments he has nightmares like this.

Quist wakes up a sleeping Bradley, back from his jaunt. It's the waiting game now. Bradley mentions that the Americans have been on again, offering Quist everything bar the American fleet. 'They think you're lovely.' Quist has forgotten about Stafford. The Minister phones, remonstrating with Quist for vanishing. The Prime Minister does not want to make an announcement on the fish which appals Quist. The Health authorities of each country concerned is being told and can makes their own plans. The Minister warns Quist about threatening resignation and how any one planning to break the Official Secrets Act can be arrested in advance... The cover story will be toxic chemicals dumped on the sea floor in sealed containers. 'Which one, there have been so many,' asks Quist wearily. The freak weather will have broken them open. Quist asks about the trawler men and the ten of thousands who depend on fish for their living... 'Politics is rough justice,' answers the Minister.

The radio announces that the evacuation is cancelled. Weather conditions have changed so markedly over the past two hours that the only areas to be affected will be the low lying areas of Kent and Essex where some flooding has already occurred. There is also an announcement from the Ministry of Health of the utmost importance to come...

The next morning, Quist is working out the background to these whole events. The Americans were insisting on going ahead with their tests on the Aleutian Islands, and the Russians would only continue the strategic arms limitation talks if they could test some of their new warheads too, but for some reason were tested out of the Barents Sea onto the continental shelf where there are certain unpredictable elements like turbidity currents. 'The shelf is a slope of loose material. Any earth movement starting in turn cause a surge...' It seems to be a secret agreement. The Minister cannot comment. 'Political expediency may be dirty words to you, but it achieves more in the long run than the noblest gestures.' The rest of the series of tests have been cancelled. Quist feels tired. 'sometimes I feel like nothing so much as King Canute.' 'For what people always forget about that gentleman is – he drowned,' says the Minister as Quist looks up.

Synopsis by Michael Seely

Review

This absolutely top rate script by Ian Curteis could have been a series one script with very few changes. For Stafford, read Ridge and his MI6 gallivanting days. Quist just had to be suspicious about the two surges threatening London with floods in succession – what sinister forces is behind this? – and the game is on! But, it's not. It's a third series script and an infinitely superior one with that.

It is the closest Doomwatch ever got to being a docu-drama, with its electrifying tension as the threat of the flood gets worse and worse, and there seem to be very little anyone can do about it. The script is resplendent in detail. We get to see a representative from the Greater London Council (which was abolished in the mid 1980s by a right wing government not caring for a left wing power base just on the other side of the Thames from Parliament), descriptions of how London would evacuate those most affected, the problems the army would have in mobilising enough troops to help, in the time scale permitted (a reference to Northern Island where the British troops were most active at the time is there), with an extra line written into the script where Ericson thinks even the soldiers who guard Buckingham Palace would be drafted in!

Not for the first time this series, Doomwatch is being manipulated by the Minister, although, unlike an episode of Special Branch, of which the third series has similarities, it is in order for him to prevent a catastrophe that the Government is unaware they are encouraging. Throw into the mix NATO, and the Russians and you have a very good example of the 1970s too. Wensley Pithey, who plays Ericson, was the lead in Special Branch for some of its first series.

The underlying cause of the flood was a secret underground nuclear bomb test by the Russians as compensation for an American test the year before in order to safe guard the existing ban on nuclear explosions in the air or under the sea, and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks that were going on at this time. Quist refers to how the radioactive fall out was in danger of slowly poisoning the world unless it was halted. The ban came into effect in 1963 and was signed by the USA, the USSR and Britain. France, famously, conducted underwater tests in the Pacific Ocean during the mid 1990s after a brief moratorium and before it signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996. The six tests in the French Polynese outraged Australia. Quist used Hiroshama as a yard stick to measure the explosions in the episode. At the time, Greenpeace said that the weapons being tested by France were 110 kilotons, compared to Hiroshima 13. A series of well publicised riots in French controlled Tahiti's capital, Papeete, took place as a result.

Quist also mentions the effects the tests have on the fish stock, and historically, on those people who were close to testing regions in the past. It's only been recently that Governments have admitted to the health hazards they exposed their own soldiers too, and of those living near by. They prefer to wait for the original claimants to die out before putting their hand into their pockets. Cheaper, see. Twenty three bombs were exploded in the Bikini Atoll. The Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryo Maru was a victim of the contamination and its twenty three victims caused a scandal in Japan. It even inspired the film Godzilla! Again, the French tests which were filmed but did not show the consequences – the floating dead sea life that resulted.

The scripted character Dr. Tadley (renamed Ridley by the time the episode was made), probably worked for The Atomic Weapons (Research) Establishment Blacknest which has for over 40 years specialised in forensic seismology, researching techniques to distinguish the seismic signals generated by underground nuclear explosions from those generated by earthquakes. Seismographs can record disturbances in the earth's crust anywhere in the world! A recent earth tremor in the UK which happened when most of us were asleep was reported by an American agency when some of us listened to the news to discover what had woken us up that night!

The episode postulated the combination of the wave generated by the tests with a normal high tide, and later, with another event – strong gale force winds blowing south.
“A storm surge generated by low pressure in the Atlantic Ocean sometimes tracks eastwards past the north of Scotland and may then be driven into the shallow waters of the North Sea. The surge tide is then funnelled down the North Sea which narrows towards the English channel and the Thames Estuary. If the storm surge coincides with a spring tide, dangerously high water levels can occur in the Thames Estuary.”

In 1953, as the Minister remembers, On the night straddling 31st of January and the 1st February there was a combination of a high spring tide and a severe wind storm which caused a storm tide, overwhelming flood defences in England and Holland. It killed under 2000 people in the Netherlands and 307 in the UK. East Anglia was very badly affected. There was no warning in Holland by it being a Saturday night and a lot of offices were unstaffed. The events triggered the creation of the London Thames barrier. The G.L.C. man thought it would be finished by 1978 in the script – some six years away, but work began in 1974 and was finished by 1982. Situated in Greenwich, it is an iconic structure.

Quist is still suspicious of Stafford who is more on Doomwatch's side than the Ministers, suggesting that this script may well have been considered for an earlier slot than it eventually went out in. In terms of characterisation, Stafford is still trying to prove his worth and loyalty to Quist in the manner he performed in High Mountain and Waiting For A Knighthood. His scenes in NATO's Eastern Seaboard HQ are a particular delight as he outfoxes Morrison, who is described as a short man in the script. Colin Bradley gets to ride in a helicopter and provides a few moments of light relief. In an exchange altered by hand in the script, his mention of SALT was to confuse poor Barbara Mason, who only has a handful of lines anyway.

And what of the great man himself? Because of the Ministers' dominance in some episodes of the season, Quist seems to play second fiddle some of the time. In this script he is nearly back to form, given a chance to explode at the lunacy of the resumption of tests that a saner world had tried to ban. But one does get the feeling that he is getting tired. The fight isn't quite out of him, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Review by Michael Seely

FACT FILE

Although Colin Bradley is in the rehearsal script for the opening film sequence, he is not listed in the Programme As Broadcast Sheet for having appeared in film sequences. A helicopter set is crossed out and all of Bradley's scenes inside are instead relayed as his voice, out of vision to the Doomwatch lab set. Some stock film sequences are crossed out, showing the effects of flooding, and an establishing shot of Bradley's plane.

Dr. Tadley's name is changed to Ridley.

Audience Research Report
12th September 1972

It is estimated that the audience for the episode was 12.5%, with ITV at 26.2% and 2.5% were watching BBC2. Based on 200 questionnaires the majority (40%) found the episode thoroughly entertaining. Reactions compared favourably with the other plays in the series.

This had been a particularly satisfying edition, in the opinion of a number of reporting viewers, with a credible and thought-provoking theme and a gripping plot that contained more action and suspense than some recent plays in this series; indeed, it had been 'more like the earlier Doomwatch we used to enjoy' or if 'still not the old Doomwatch, coming close'. The threat to London by flooding provided 'a horrifyingly real situation' since it was known that London was vulnerable to exceptionally high tides - 'the implications were very disturbing'.

'It was of more immediate interest than some of the earlier episodes in this series. Some of the London flood warning details etc. were fascinating'.

'The plot was first class and could, in fact, be true to life; made one think what could happen if there were flood warnings of a like nature'.

'One of the most realistic of the present series - absolutely fascinating throughout'.

Both acting and production )'of the usual high standard') had captured the atmosphere of realism and tension, it was said.

Other reporting viewers found certain aspects rather unconvincing ('This was a bit far-fetched - you would not expect the Government to allow such a situation to develop'; 'A bit far-fetched; would have been better to have had an undersea volcano causing the flooding') and parts rather flat, the ending particularly disappointing a few. The plot seemed to be in the style of an old-fashioned thriller and the setting rather melodramatic to a small number of the most dissatisfied - 'the sort of thing you expect in a boys' comic'. However, only a small minority were seriously discontented.

Viewers were asked which of the regular characters interested them most, and why. Dr. Quist, convincingly and pleasingly played by John Paul they observed, was most often singled out by those answering this question (a substantial majority). As 'the central figure who stirs up action from authority when he learns of environmental dangers' he appeared to be a very realistic and 'really human person', showing great integrity, a sincere concern for humanity, and the strength of character to get things done. 'John Paul really seems to be the part. A man trying to do his job and hamstrung at every side with red tape'; 'Dr. Quist must be the most interesting; his continual fight for his high principles and against bureaucrats makes him everyone's ideal scientist'; John Paul is my favourite character; I like his voice and his cool natural movement and expression'. Only a small number wondered if Quist was not 'a little too good to be true' - 'in reality such personal involvement might interfere with his efficiency'.

The Minister ('stole the show in this episode', a few commented) was also frequently mentioned as particularly convincing and satisfyingly played by John Barron; he was admired as a 'forceful', 'competent' man with 'great aplomb'. Both he and Colin Bradley introduced some humour, it was occasionally noted. Commander Stafford, according to quite a few, was developing into a more active and likeable character - 'one of the most interesting' - 'very deep and unpredictable'. Simon Oates, who had played John Ridge, was missed by several ('he added a considerable amount of colour'), some of whom asked for his return to the cast. Dr. Tarrant and Barbara Mason were mentioned favourably here and there. Some listeners declared that they like all, or most, of the regular characters ('they make a good team'). while others found 'none particularly interesting' or said that they had not watched enough episodes to comment.

Recording

Studio TC. 6
Expenditure Ref. 02240/4586

Thursday 30th March 1972
Camera Rehearsal: 2.00pm - 7.00pm
DINNER: 7.00pm - 8.00pm
Camera Rehearsal: 8.00pm - 10.00pm

Friday 31st March 1972
Camera Rehearsal: 10.00am - 1.00pm
LUNCH: 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Camera Rehearsal: 2.00pm - 6.00pm
DINNER: 6.00pm  - 7.00pm
Sound & Vision Line Up 7.00pm - 7.30pm
RECORDING: 19.30 - 22.00 onto VTC/6HT/77977

VT EDITING: Tuesday 4th April 1972
11.30am - 21.30pm at T.V.I?.

Cast

Dr. Spencer Quist
JOHN PAUL

The Minister - Sir George Holroyd
JOHN BARRON

Commander Neil Stafford
JOHN BOWN

Colin Bradley
JOBY BLANSHARD

Barbara Mason
VIVIEN SHERRARD

Dr. Ridley
DEREK BENFIELD

Lieut-Commander Morrison
PATRICK JORDAN

Dr. Ericson
WENSLEY PITHEY

Critchley
RAYMOND MASON


Assistant
DAVID LANDON

BBC Reporter
TIM NICHOLLS


General
ROBERT RAGLAN

G.L.C. Man
ROBERT JAMES

Ministry of Defence Man
MICHAEL LEES

Lieutenant
STEVE KELLY

Marine (Guard)
PETER ROY

Naval Officer (in NATO basement)
IAN MUNRO

Naval Officer (in NATO Ops. Room)
PETER WHITTAKER

Wrens
BARBARA BURMEL
JEAN SADGROVE

Marines
BRIAN MOLAN
ALAN LENCIRE
RON TINGLEY
ALAN THOMAS

Sailor/Messenger
STEVE ISMAY

Sailors
KEVIN MORAN
ROY PIERCE


Crew

P.A.
ROBERT CHECKSFIELD

Assistant P.A.
PETER NOVIS

A.F.M
BRIAN ROBERTS

Assistant
JILL RODGER

T.M.1
JOHN DIXON

T.M.2
DICKIE ASHMAN

Sound Supervisor
CHICK ANTHONY

Sound
D. ANTHONY ??

Grams
GERRY BURROWS

Crew 1
DOUG ROUTLEDGE

Vision Mixer
RHODA CARSS

Floor Assistant
MICHAEL THRONE

Designer
OLIVER BAYLDON

Costumes
SHEILA BEERS

Make-Up
ELIZABETH ROWELL

Props
PETER SPORLE

Lighting
JOHN DIXON

Film Editor
ALISTAIR MacKAY

Assistant Producer
GLYN EDWARDS

Producer
TERENCE DUDLEY

Directed by
QUENTIN LAWRENCE

TX:
31st July, 1972 @ 9.20pm - 10.10pm

With thanks to John Archbold for the Radio Times listing and cover.