Warship - Series 2 comes to DVD

Monday, 09 November 2015 00:00 Written by 

Warship - Series 2 comes to DVDIt is with some sense of relief that I can report that Warship is back on DVD with its second series. The first series came out in September 2014, and I have to say I actually pre-ordered my copy of that title, such was my anticipation for seeing the show again. There are certain fictions that stay with you, and the cobwebs of time do nothing to blur your vision of what it was actually like to watch a show. Storylines and characters might fade in your memory, but the feeling of being a viewer of such a format endures. Such is the case with this series, and from viewing that initial release, the memory hadn’t cheated. This was good stuff, well made.

The fictional HMS Hero, F42, featured across all four seasons, clocking up 45 episodes in its run between 1973 and 1977. With some studio-based scenes intermingled with footage filmed in various locations including Gibraltar, Malta, Hong Kong, Singapore and Norway, this was a show that painted on a wide canvas. The episodes were written to reflect the then-contemporary real life in the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines. There is no doubt that this was one work of fiction which did no harm at all to military recruitment in its era.

Warship had more continuity of casting in its first two runs. Donald Burton portrayed Commander Mark Nialls, a high flying young officer in the first two series, although he would return for one episode later in season three, “The Ides of Mark”.

David Savile was Lieutenant Commander Derek "Porky" Beaumont for the first three series. Norman Eshley, who would go on to play harassed neighbour Jeffrey Fourmile in George and Mildred was another of the characters who was around only for 17 episodes of the first two series.

There are some notable guest stars as well, including Lewis Collins, Ed Bishop, Isla Blair, Jenny Hanley, Mary Tamm, Seretta Wilson, Bernard Kay, Kevin Stoney, John Savident Christopher Blake and Robin Davies (Catweazle).

Two men devised the series, who before meeting had been working towards the same conclusion; one being a serving Royal Navy officer, Ian Mackintosh, the other BBC producer Anthony Coburn, who wanted to produce a series “… that would do for the Navy what Z-Cars had done for the Police”. Mackintosh, meanwhile, had first pitched an idea on this theme in 1971, and was subsequently seconded to the BBC for the series. He was awarded the MBE for his work on the show in 1976.

Seven Leander-class frigates played the role of HMS Hero and for continuity, all were repainted with the pennant number F42 of HMS Phoebe, the main warship used for filming.

Warship – Series 2 is out now from Simply Media. The three-DVD set has a ‘PG’ certificate, a running time of 500 mins approx, and a RRP of £29.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com 




Donald Burton (Commander Mark Nialls)

David Savile (Lt Commander Beaumont)

Norman Eshley (Lieutenant Bob Last)

Don Henderson (MAA Heron) [1, 4-9]

James Cosmo (L/Reg Fuller) [4-5, 8-9]

John Lee (Lieutenant Commander Kiley) [4-5, 7, 10]

Graeme Eton (Lieutenant Wakelin) [4-6]

Colin Rix (LMA Milner) [6-8]


Produced by Anthony Coburn

Series Devised by Ian Mackintosh and Anthony Coburn

Theme Music composed by Anthony Isaac, performed by The Royal Marines, DEAL (Lt Col P J Neville MVO FRAM RM)

Script Editor – Ian Mackintosh


2.01 “The Raid”

Action station as HMS Hero is flown over by two reconnaissance aircraft. Heron tells Grogan in no uncertain terms his response was sluggish. We are introduced to Palfrey, just out of training in Exeter, his father having been the youngest Brigadier in the British Army. Can he live up to that reputation? With support from the Ark Royal and the USS Enterprise on hand, this is a training exercise to take out a ‘radar station’. Led by Palfrey, the raid goes wrong, and the commandos are captured. Palfrey is subjected to an interrogation by a Major, where his background, and father, is known about. Things don’t end well, and Palfrey goes on the run.

Guest starring: Michael Cochrane (Lt Palfrey RM), Kenneth Scott (Corporal Blundell), David Sterne (Sergeant Watkins), Steve Gardner (Able Seaman Grogan), Geoffrey Toone (General Tiering), Frederick Treves (The Major).

Writer: Allan Prior

Director: Cyril Coke

Original UK Transmission: 15 October 1974


2.02 “Without Just Cause”

Palfrey uses all his marines skills to evade capture. He steals some clothes, managing to sneak back onto the HMS Hero at night. He must face a court martial, and begs Nialls to ensure this is in England rather than under the control of a foreign country. Can Mr Cook, his barrister engaged by his mother Angela, ensure he only faces a charge of manslaughter, or will Hilliard, the Navy barrister, known for being ruthless, win through? It’s up to Nialls to step forward as a character witness to make the difference.

Guest starring: Philip Bond (Commander Hilliard), Michael Cochrane (Lt Palfrey RM), Frank Duncan (Mr Cook), Arnold Peters (President of the Court), David Goodland (Officer of the Court), Helen Lindsay (Angela Palfrey), Kenneth Scott (Corporal Blundell), David Sterne (Sergeant Watkins), Geoffrey Toone (General Tiering), Frederick Treves (The Major), Paul Williamson (Judge Advocate), Kenneth Shaw (The Norwegian ADC).

Writer: Allan Prior

Director: Cyril Coke

Original UK Transmission: 22 October 1974


2.03 “Who Runs Across the Sea”

A plane crashes into the ocean, and Captain Ragg of the HMS Reliant, A84, picks up what he thinks are survivors. They are, in fact, members of the Special Action Squad of the People’s Army for Freedom; Arab guerrillas in Ragg’s book, but they see themselves as freedom fighters. The raiders know about Reliant’s cargo of 16 Polaris nuclear warheads, but don’t know about the code word “imperial”. Zardi is their leader, with a degree in civil engineering from London and a girl in Chelsea. It’s Luna that everyone must fear, as she does not mind being a martyr for their cause.

Guest starring: Kevin Stoney (Captain Ragg), Sean Lynch (Zardi), Anne Raitt (Luna), David Ashley (Ahmed), Julian Holloway (Chief Officer O'Morra), John Savident (First Sea Lord), Michael Langdon (Minister of State), John Quarmby (Defence Secretary), Keith Smith (DNOT).

Writer: Ian Mackintosh

Director: Bill Hays

Original UK Transmission: 29 October 1974


2.04 “The Immortal Enemy”

Sub Lieutenant Penn is Hero’s new Deputy Weapons Officer, but is more hippy out of university than his cadetship graduation should have prepared him more fully for military service. His girlfriend Zimba hadn’t introduced him as new Hero crew member to Bob Last at a party. It looks like Penn is going to be stuck in the Navy for his five year term unless he can work the system and the rulebook to his advantage. How can he prove he has a “lack of officer-like qualities” when his skills sets are so valuable? Can Beaumont knock him into shape, when he is fighting Navy tradition, and in particular the upcoming Trafalgar Day celebrations?

Guest starring: Struan Rodger (Sub Lieutenant Penn), Mary Tamm (Zimba), Jon Croft (CPO Firth), John Ringham (FO Gibraltar), Allan Travell (Quartermaster).

Writer: Ian Mackintosh

Director: Tristan de Vere Cole

Original UK Transmission: 5 November 1974


2.05 “One of Those Days”

Fuller is late back from shore leave, which is not like him at all. He’s been trying to avoid the husband of a lady he had hooked with, complicated further by the man in question being a local policeman, now out for revenge. Bob Last has his own problems, as he had drunkenly invited a ‘mature’ stripper to the ship, but had given his name as Beaumont! When a lady turns up, looking for Beaumont, it turns out it’s her beautiful daughter Karen, sent along instead, and Beaumont is at last happy to go along with the deception, even if it’s Kiley who finally reaps the rewards. Meanwhile, Nialls is reluctant to entertain the influential Captain (F), especially as the only suitable meal is potentially-dodgy seven-month-old pheasant out of the freezer.

Guest starring: Seretta Wilson (Karen Halbert), Peter Cellier (Captain (F)), Peter Davidson (Constable Munk), John Bowe (L/Std Jenkins), John Colclough (Quartermaster), Eric Kent (Bosun's Mate).

Writer: Ian Mackintosh

Director: Roger Jenkins

Original UK Transmission: 12 November 1974


2.06 “The Man from the Sea”

A Transocean Airlines Boeing explodes over the sea, carrying 99 passengers and ten crew, and HMS Hero, 90 minutes away, is the nearest ship to able to check for survivors. Hero’s Wasp helicopter 471, ‘The Fighting Forty Two’ goes on ahead to begin the search, as the ship prepares to make space for those to be rescued. Whittaker, a Doctor, joins the ship by Wessex helicopter, but by the time they locate survivors, they are still five hours away from Stornaway and dry land. There are 15 survivors, three in a critical condition, one of which is Miss Gardiner, a heroic stewardess who had helped so many from the plane. Meanwhile, Nialls is unsure whether survivor Maritain is who he claims to be – could he be Venezuelan guerrilla leader Juliano Lander, announced in the media as being on the plane, heading for talks in Seattle, and the potential target for a bombing? Especially as his death was announced on South American radio half an hour before the explosion in the aircraft? Officers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, perhaps MI6, are sent to board the Hero to investigate.

Guest starring: Aharon Ipalé (Maritain), Ed Bishop (Sanders), Simon Lack (Grey), Gail Grainger (Heather Gardiner), Stephen Hubay (Ramos), Peter Cartwright (Sg Lt Commander Whittaker), John Bowe (L/Std Jenkins), Anthony Barnett (Std Selkirk).

Writer: John Wiles

Director: Roger Jenkins

Original UK Transmission: 19 November 1974


2.07 “Nothing to Starboard”

Beaumont is in command, taking Hero into port, when he seems distracted and nearly collides with a tug boat, if it hadn’t been for the intervention of Nialls. They have shore leave for a few days. Beaumont visits his well-to-do parents, and Paul Danbury turns up at the house, the father of Helen, the object of Beaumont’s affections, to offer him a job. If he quits the Navy after 16 years, and serves his final necessary nine months, it will be perfect timing to take up the post. Helen, however, doesn’t want to be the reason for whatever his course of action is. Meanwhile, Nialls calls in on Sarah, a 30 year-old divorcee with a ten year-old son, who herself wants more commitment from him, as another suitor she’s not in love with may have to get her attentions. Back at sea, Nialls picks up a bug, but is reticent to surrender command to Beaumont as they are about to refuel at sea with the A271 tanker, while outrunning a hurricane.

Guest starring: Isla Blair (Sarah Foules), Jenny Hanley (Helen Danbury), Patrick Holt (Paul Danbury), Noel Johnson (Rear-Admiral Beaumont), Mary Hignett (Mrs Beaumont), Neil Wilson (Barman).

Writer: Martin Worth

Director: Roger Jenkins

Original UK Transmission: 26 November 1974


2.08 “Distant Waters”

The Vigilance, a fishing boat, brings in a disappointing catch of just a couple of baskets. The Hero is involved in a fisheries protection task, and has Newcombe, a new doctor, on board. With Skipper Briggs losing the respect of his crew, due to his poor choices of catchment areas, he faces up to a mutiny. A signal is transmitted, and Hero is sent to investigate. Unfortunately, the Skipper has locked himself in his cabin with a revolver, and carries a secret which will change everyone’s attitude towards him.

Guest starring: Bernard Kay (Skipper Briggs), Christopher Blake (Surgeon Lt Newcombe), Tom Chadbon (Ron Walker), Ian Liston (Harry Shotton), John Hartley (Stan Beaton), Thomas Heathcote (Norman King), James Walsh (Joe Carter).

Writer: ‘Norman Ashby’ (Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln)

Director: Cyril Coke

Original UK Transmission: 5 December 1974


2.09 “Away Seaboat’s Crew”

Two new sailors, Steele from HMS Lochinvar and Jones from HMS Vernon, join up with the Hero. Steele quickly comes into conflict with Radcliffe, who's had a bit of previous form with Steele on the Scott, a previous ship, where Radcliffe was the senior as a Petty Officer. The roles are now reversed. The situation escalates when Steele reports Radcliffe for insubordination. When Steele disappears, presumed overboard, suspicion falls on Radcliffe. With Steele's chances of survival in the cold North Atlantic water dwindling as the hours pass by and night sets in, it’s Radcliffe who insists to Nialls that the search is not called off.

Guest starring: Lewis Collins (L/Sea Steele), Robin Davies (Ord Jones), Antony Webb (AB Radcliffe), Peter Winter (Lieutenant Meville), Ellis Jones (AB Richards), Joe Dunlop (L/Sea Crimlisk).

Writer: John Armstrong

Director: Tristan de Vere Cole

Original UK Transmission: 12 December 1974


2.10 “Echo of Battle”

Lescher, a German minister, has specifically asked to board Hero to watch an exercise where the ship plays out an encounter with a German submarine. Amongst terrifying flashbacks to World War II, it turns out that Lescher knows of Beaumont’s father. In amongst chatter about the West Germany versus Holland final of the 1974 World Cup, Lescher is reliving his time aboard a U-boat. And what is the relevance of the picture of ‘Lottie’ which Lescher takes with him everywhere?

Guest starring: Richard Warner (Lescher), Geoffrey Russell (Williams), David G March (Muller), John Oxley (Wimmer/Wickert), John Bowe (L/Std Jenkins).

Writer: Allan Prior

Director: Cyril Coke

Original UK Transmission: 19 December 1974


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