1990 Series 2 out on DVD now

Monday, 05 June 2017 17:23

1990 - Series 2 out on DVDFollowing on from the release of 1990 Series 1 earlier in the year, here we are already with the second and final series now on the shelves to complete this compelling story. Wilfred Greatorex described the format as "Nineteen Eighty-Four plus six" and details Jim Kyle’s (Edward Woodward) fight against a corrupt government in a disturbing then-future Britain, devoid of rights of any kind, in a world which is heading in the direction of the worst nightmares foretold by Orwell and Huxley . It is as relevant today as when it first aired, and is something a lost gem for Cult TV appreciators to get their hands on.

For those of you familiar with what has happened previously in this dystopian vision from 1977-8, here’s what’s changed between runs. Kyle’s actions at the end of the last series mean that Dan Mellor is no longer the Home Secretary, replaced by Kate Smith (Yvonne Mitchell), who Skardon (Robert Lang) sees as a threat. Delly Lomas and Henry Tasker have been moved away, to be replaced in one swoop by an old flame of Kyle’s, Lynn Blake (Lisa Harrow), put there to keep Kyle on a leash. And Kyle no longer has ‘Tiny’ Greaves as his editor – he’s gone to the ‘Alcoholics’ Laundry’ and been replaced by Tom Doran (Clive Swift) who now rather weakly fills his boots, he’s not much into putting the cat amongst he pigeons.

For those of you not blessed with being familiar with Series 1, here’s a quick recap. Government bureaucracy is out of control. The lives of ordinary citizens are in the hands of the Home Office’s corrupt and overbearing Public Control Department (PCD), which has its watchful eye on everyone in order to monitor and expose all possible and imaginary threats to the country. The PCD uses sophisticated surveillance systems in order to expose anyone threatening the status quo. Special State-sanctioned brainwashing units, cunningly disguised as caring rest-homes, are ruthlessly used to suppress independent thought and ‘cure’ dissidents.

A strict rationing of food, alcohol and travel is imposed, and ID cards are required in order to work, which can be withdrawn by the state at anytime. Free speech is forbidden, censorship is rife, and with no rule of law to protect the vulnerable, all citizens are left at the mercy of the state's tyrannical control.

Edward Woodward is the calm, witty and charming rebel Jim Kyle. He’s a journalist working for one of the last remaining independent newspapers, and a secret dissident who is fighting the corrupt establishment by covertly helping others escape. He risks prison or even death if identified.

Unrest is growing in series 2, as a ‘Pentagon’, a growing network of dissident groups, is preparing to take on the PCD. Kyle continues his renegade activities against the establishment. But Kyle's actions are not going unnoticed.

Signage seen through the episode says “Trust Your Government – Read All Literature – Free Government Statements. Help Your Government to Help You – Make Yourself Aware of Future Plans. Have You Claimed Your Full Benefits? Check Your Entitlement”.

Digger tells Dave that “State sunflower cutlets give you flatulence”. Woollen blankets don’t exist anymore – they have been replaced with “ones made with chemicals, with names a foot long”.

Originally broadcast on BBC Two in 1978, this is the very first time the second series has been available on any home video format.

Woodward leads a strong supporting cast including Robert Lang (Othello (1965)), who gives an unforgettable performance as the PCD's ruthless controller Herbert Skardon; and series 2 introduces Lisa Harrow as Lynn Blake, Kyle's ex-lover, as the new Deputy Controller of the PCD. 

1990 also takes a rare and original spin on the dystopian fiction genre, depicting a totalitarian regime where the Government follows a socialist agenda, instead of the more usual fascist regime. In a society today where the proposed ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ has been passed by the British Government, justified as a means of combating terrorism, Greatorex's fictional vision of the future may not be so different from our real present.

1990 – Series 2 is out now from Simply Media. The twin DVD set has a ‘15’ certificate, a running time of 440 minutes approx, and a RRP of £19.99 – or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com BY CLICKING HERE.

Series 1 of 1990 has already been released by Simply Media on DVD 20th March 2017. You can also purchase 1990 - Series 1 from the Cult TV Store BY CLICKING HERE


1990 – Episode Guide

Edward Woodward (Jim Kyle)

Robert Lang (Herbert Skardon)

Lisa Harrow (Lynn Blake – 01, 02, 04. 05. 06, 07,

Yvonne Mitchell (Kate Smith – 01, 02, 03, 05, 06, 07,

Tony Doyle (Dave Brett – 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07)

Clive Swift (Tom Doran – 01, 02, 04)

Paul Hardwick (Faceless – 01, 02, 04)

David McKail (Inspector Macrae – 01, 02, 04, 05, 07

Stanley Lebor (Digger Radford – 03, 04, 05


Series devised by Wilfred Greatorex

Producer: Prudence FitzGerald

Theme Music: John Cameron




2.01 “Pentagons

‘Pentagon’ is one of a growing army of dissident groups preparing to take on the PCD. Kyle is being rather obviously followed around in his new Ford Granada by the authorities.

Faceless is now no longer has his identity hidden from us. In his green 2CV6, he briefs Kyles in a car wash, telling him that Lynn Blake is a new deputy controller, someone with whom Kyle has some history. There is a plot to intimidate Returning Officers at a forthcoming election. In areas where the local MP is considered unreliable, surveillance is being stepped up in order to gather evidence to be used against them if necessary.

Westminster is the only place where more than five people can gather together for political purposes. Pentagon, as per its name, sees groups of five gathering around the country. There could be thousands of them, and there is some frustration as nothing seems to be happening collectively from the groups.

We learn that Dave Brett is now considered a dissident, but has kept his job as he is seen as important for exports.

Kyle is brought some photos of Returning Officers, who are being bullied and brainwashed to rig the election. He finally gets to meet Lynn Blake again, who sees the PCD as a necessity. They met when she was digging into the sagging hospital service, working at the Department of Health. She tells him they are going to ‘smoke out’ Faceless, and seems to be encouraging him to go into exile – all while savouring an ‘excellent’ Irish Whiskey.

A trap is set to the identity of Faceless, by setting 38 false stories running, so whichever one is leaked will demonstrate who Faceless is.

Skardon is looking to holiday in Cuba, and has met in the House of Lords restaurant with Perez, the First Secretary at the Cuban Embassy. Kate Smith the new Home Secretary is introduced to the Embassy official by Skardon.

Kyle has obtained a file which gives the headline “Deaths among Dartmoor prisoners on special punitive diet”. Blake asks Kyle not to run the story, noting it to be a “ticket to hell with you and your contact”. She tips her hand by demonstrating she knows who Faceless really us, and instead suggests a story about watermarked voting papers that will be used for the next election. These will be traceable, meaning the State will know who everyone voted for.

Meanwhile, Andre Tomson, one of the Pentagon members we saw earlier, is practicing his marksmanship with a telescopic rifle. It is an act which would see him arrested and interrogated if caught.

Macrae and some PCD heavies raid Kyle’s office just as Dave and Kyle are phoning around trying to locate Tomson, as they reckon Skardon is his intended target.

They cannot stop the shooting, but Skardon is fine. Dave and Kyle find Tomson, and tell him the only thing that was hurt was Skardon’s bottle of Burgundy. Kyle makes no bones about the fact that Tomson must leave the country that night.

Back in the carwash with Faceless, Kyle realises that they both now know that Blake knows the true identity of Faceless. Despite this, he cannot talk Faceless into leaving the country.

Guest starring: John Nolan (Tomson), Barry Lowe (Frank Fenton), Oscar James (Everton), Edward De Souza (Perez), David Rose (Policeman), Norman Mitchell (Sewell), Paul Beech (Green).

Writer: Wilfred Greatorex

Director: Peter Sasdy

Original Transmission: 20 February 1978


2.02 “The Market Price

“This mate of yours is a shark. With his jaws into whole cargoes. Petrol. Fags. Booze. Grub. It's up to us to nanny him?” When food available in the supermarkets steadily evaporates, Kate Smith's government turns their attention to black marketeers profiting from illicit supplies. Ministry of Food MP Peter Greville feeds Kyle information about the matter, but soon both himself and his family become the focus of suspicion from the Public Control Department.

Faceless sets up a meeting in a supermarket, which is all empty shelves and ration cards, with Peter Greville - keen on vegetarianism, particularly nuts and soya beans for protein. On television, the Home Secretary is talking of tolerance, but blames the black market for mothers and children ‘going without’. She states men are selling their rations, and that courts will impose exemplary penalties on anyone doing so.

Parks have become jungles at night – advice is to never visit one after dark. Black market touts meet in decrepit buildings. Kyle tries to find out who the /big shark’ is in the black market game from Dave, who knows who is getting hold of the contraband.

Skardon meets the Home Secretary and Blake at the House of Lords restaurant. The Home Secretary is aware that Skardon is always entertaining foreign envoys and dignitaries; perhaps he is looking to visit some of these far-off climes on a visa, just as many high-up people are.

Kyle and Dave are trying to work out how contraband is getting to the pushers in the parks, who are mere tiddlers in the scheme of things. As they investigate on the scene. Greville is caught there by the PCD, with Macrae in command of the unit. After this, Greville’s wife starts to get silent phone calls. Jodie, his daughter, gets picked on at school by Miss Dalton, her teacher, for not doing well at chemistry, despite it having been her father’s best subject, the whole act taking place under surveillance. Greville himself is taunted by Skardon about his daughter, who then attacks him.

Dave fixes up a meeting for Kyle with Charlie Graydon, the black market shark, who has an ID card that belongs to a dead man, and is someone Kyle is not happy to be dealing with.

Blake tells Kyle that Skardon is looking for a way to leave what he considers to be the sinking ship. Kyle looks through the visitors’ book at the House of Lords for clues, and sees how many foreign dignitaries Skardon has been entertaining.

Greville is taken to an Adult Rehabilitation Centre and shown a man who has been broken by their techniques.

Kyle then confronts Skardon, noting he has interviewed several envoys and has the internal information on him asking for visas.

Dave and Kyle take a refuse truck to the Adult Rehabilitation Centre, and begin loading waste bags. A very weak Greville sees them and tries to make his way to them, but collapses to the floor, dead. At his funeral, a helicopter flies overhead, spooking those assembled at the graveside.

In a darkroom, Kyle and Dave check out pictures from the disturbance, and talk of having to deal with Blake when they develop a picture of her.

Guest starring: Lyndon Brook (Peter Greville), John Ronane (Charles Graydon), Fiona Walker (Miss Dalton), Ann Curthoys (Mrs Greville), Jane Forster (Jodie Greville), Michael Cassidy (Alf Turner), Max Harvey (Rev Newgate), Olu Jacobs (Alan Msawi), Norman Rutherford (Surveillance Man), Marc Wolff (Pilot), Ken Halliwell and Pat Gorman (ARC Guards).

Writer: Wilfred Greatorex

Director: Roger Tucker

Original Transmission: 27 February 1978


2.03 “Trapline

“Who are we out to nail? Careguard, the Home Secretary or Skardon and the PCD?” Jim Kyle is in trouble - he has fallen into the hands of Police Commissioner Hallam.

Careguard is a new outfit on the scene, and their officers are inspecting a line of people, pulling one aside as they find a screwdriver hidden on him. Richard Hallam is a Police Commissioner, who in days gone by might have been described as ‘an honest copper’. He’s not sure about this new civil police force. Kyle wonders about William Grainger, who’s pally with Skardon of the PCD and the Chairman of Careguard, who seem to be notorious in the services they provide in filling the caps created by an understaffed Police force.

Dave is spending time with Harry Blaney, a spiv/thief/black marketeer. On the ‘Billingham Depot Job’, Harry has heard that Careguard were in charge of security, where 30 armoured car engines were stolen from under the noses of the PCD. Grainger is sure that Harry, via Digger Radford was responsible.

Kyle finds that Foreign Secretary Kate Smith is not keen on the Careguard concept, as she does not want Skardon to effectively have his own private army. With elections on the horizon, Careguard want 20 safe vehicles to deliver ballot boxes to a central depot. However, thumbprints on the ballot papers will mean that they will know how 90% of people have voted.

Kyle and Dave realise they both have an interest in Careguard, who always squeal to the PCD, and look after MPs and Civil Servants when they are on their ‘three months’ recuperative leave’. They infiltrate political gatherings using the ‘strangest faces you’ve ever seen’. So, the duo plan a trap to give Grainger and Digger the engines.

Skardon, meanwhile is at his flat with a lady called Barbara, as they reminisce about her having gone up three grades in the DoE Environment department in the time he has known her.

Tony Borden – known as a child molester who wanders the slums looking for children with no place to go – is part of Careguard and come to take Harry away. However, Kyle takes the wind out of his sails, thanks to Dave’s tape recorder.

Grainger and Skardon meet and discover they both know Kyle. Kyle goes to see Superintendent Hallam, noting that Digger will be apprehended with 15 armoured car engines, but if the Superintendent turns up earlier, he’ll find Digger and Borden with 25. This information is given with the understanding that Digger is given immunity.

Kate Smith the Home Secretary demands that Skardon gives Hallam the files on Careguard under the ‘Law of the State’. Surprisingly, she then gets a phone call from Hallam, who says he no longer needs them as they can get along without such input.

After leaving a newspaper printers, Borden accosts Kyle, but Hallam arrives in time to save his neck, and takes Borden and the Careguard gang into custody overnight.

It turns out that at the sting operation, Grainger and Borden were not there as they had been tipped off by someone in the PCD. The Home Secretary was in on the plan, and everything happened in a jurisdiction where Kyle knew the magistrate for the area was on his deathbed, so would have had nothing to lose in charging Grainger with receiving goods.

Grainger meets with Skardon, who shows footage of Hallam having to allow him out on bail, and is told by him not to skip town, as his routes out are all being watched. Skardon doesn’t want the ballot box scam revealed when Grainger is behind bars, so instead suggests to Grainger that he does indeed skip the country.

Digger reveals to Kyle that Grainger has a farm. Kyle wants pictures of Grainger with Borden on that estate, to use as PR stuff on his newspaper. Dave pays a visit to Borden, and tells him Grainger is skipping, and if he wants to go too he had better hand over the Careguard files.

Kate Smith finds out that Grainger and Borden are in Denmark. Skardon will be held responsible for their emigration and will count as strike on his record. She then meets Kyle at the House of Lords Dining Club. They make some small talk, noting how at one time this country had the best agricultural regulations. Kyle revels in Kate and Skardon being at odds with each other.

Guest starring: John Carson (William Grainger), Donald Burton (Harry Blaney), John Paul (Richard Hallam), Norman Eshley (Tony Borden), Sandra Payne (Barbara Fairlie), Peter Diamond (Thug).

Writer: Edmund Ward

Director: Peter Sasdy

Original Transmission: 6 March 1978


2.04 “Ordeal by Small Brown Envelope

“Authorised Systematic Harassment has enormous potential. The slow and noiseless steamroller of the State. The daily brown envelope dropping on the mat”. The Public Control Department, in response to more dissident remarks printed in the underground press from Kyle and Tony Doran, devise a plan to turn the heat up on the pair by employing a systematic campaign of Authorised Systematic Harrassment (ASH). Using all the bureaucratic mechanisms at his disposal, Skardon launches a tirade of officialdom against the two men, which succeeds in pushing Doran and his wife to breaking-point.

A newspaper article is titled “The Power of the PCD in retain”. It has an illustration of Skardon as a spider with an intercom. Blake’s ‘fake news’ includes ‘farragoes’ such as ASH – Authorised Systematic Harassment. The powers that be actually consider this and other things as good ideas, so she is tasked to develop ASH.

Kyle admits to his editor as being behind articles appearing in the foreign press. Editor Doran is scared as where this will all lead, and is particularly scared for his family.

Blake is informed a new Deputy Controller will assist with ASH. The new ‘special bailiff’ will have complete authority to demand assistance from any Government department, and Doran will be their first target. Skardon introduces Blake to Hayes, the special bailiff.

Faceless advises Kyle that papers landing on his desk in PCD have been doctored. He tips Kyle off about ASH, describing it as an authorised version of Chinese water torture.

Meanwhile, Dave informs Kyle that France is being difficult on immigration, and they need to visit Denmark to stop it going the same way, and fix up some more safe houses. The new plane they will travel over in came in crates from Japan, marked ‘official use only’.

While out shopping, Mrs Doran is menaced by a bunch of smart-suited men. Hayes then pays her a visit at home – he got the keys from the now-state-owned bank where they have their mortgage. He informs her that her family have been marked down to ‘Status 3’, meaning they must move to a lower level of accommodation, which Mrs Doran knows means slums. Hayes suggests she discusses the details with her husband.

Mr Doran is then followed very obviously by the same men who had followed his wife. Skardon orders a compulsory eye test for Mr Doran, which he fails and that means his car is impounded. He has his phone disconnected. Mr Doran than has to sleep in his office due to his hours being outside a regular 9-5 shift which gives access to transport. He is then told he has failed his job evaluation test and must accept a new post at half his current salary.

Mr Doran meets Kyle and shows him the letters he has received. He’s had no sleep for a week. He can’t see a Doctor as his new one is too busy to see him. Kyle helps out by lending him his car.

Kyle meets Blake, as is not pleased with her involvement in ASH. He knows Hayes is carrying out her ‘lousy idea’.

Mr and Mrs Doran and their children leave their house for the last time.

Skardon and Hayes discuss privilege, and now have the power to implement real sanctions, even with those in grace and favour. In the next election, candidates can have ASH applied to them if they don’t tow the allowed line, and it is time to draw up a list. Up next for ASH will be Mawdsley, a bossy treasury accountant the Home Secretary dislike who they suspect might even be friendly with Kyle.

Kyle and Blake meet again, but Kyle hasn’t been able to tell Doran he is looking to help due to Doran’s phone having been cut off. Blake breaks the news that Hayes and his wife had died from carbon monoxide fumes, their children from barbiturate poisoning, all in Kyle’s car in their garage.

Kyle meets Faceless, who advises Blake might know who he is, as Skardon has had him replaced as an accountant at PCD. He also knows he is on the ASH list and will therefore now make his exit – he turns out to be Mawdsley.

Digger and Dave meet up with Kyle, who blames himself for Doran’s death. He wants to take Hayes down the same road as Hayes took Doran. Digger takes on the first stage of the task, kidnapping Hayes and putting him in the boot of a car.

Doran’s death was unexpected to Skardon and Blake, so future ASH subjects will be psychologically tested so they are not pushed over the edge to suicide.

Blake acquires Hayes’ files, and lets Kyle read them, but wants an assurance she won’t have any problems from the use Kyle will make of them.

Hayes is interrogated by Digger, who insists that he signs some paperwork.

Dave steals the necessary papers so that Harry can make out he’s a Special Constable. As he has had his fingerprints removed, he can take on any identity with the right photo pass. They also have the keys to the Hayes home so Harry can barge in. Soon, there are 24 hour eviction notices for every member of Hayes’ family, telephone disconnection notices, and authority to impound all vehicles on all premises. Digger will plant money belts filled with Krugerrands, well-forged ration books, and then telephone the Public Enforcement Office. It will be their own version of ASH. Harry takes on the mantle of ‘Bailiff Waring’, while Digger plays ‘Mr Featherstone’.

Skardon and Blake are confused by what is happening. Blake reveals she has destroyed the files that Hayes had on the two of them, including details of when Skardon had forged meeting notes to cover several times he had spent with Barbara.

Hayes will be certified for treatment at a Rehabilitation Centre. Kyle speaks to his contact Hank on the phone. He’s feeding a story to the Washington Post: “A man called Tom Doran. Byline: Anonymous. An obituary for the 44 year old, and the PCD’s role in the death of him and his family”.

Guest starring: Jim Norton (Arthur Hayes), Hermione Gregory (Jane Doran), Donald Burton (Harry Blaney), John Saunders (Carter).

Writer: Edmund Ward

Director: Kenneth Ives

Original Transmission: 13 March 1978


2.05 “Hire and Fire

“If Kyle can uncover those extortionists where an expert PCD man failed, he is obviously implicated with them”. When workers fall prey to an extortionist network collecting money in exchange for their continued silence, Kyle's involvement attracts the attention of PCD controller Skardon, who recognises an opportunity to eliminate the network and the thorn in his side in one stroke.

London. A pair of smart types in a yellow sports car are looking for particular ‘non-citizens’, with certain looks and types on their list. They locate on, inject him with an abattoir pistol, killing him and putting the body in the boot of the car.

Father Conrad meets Dave, introducing him to a ‘non citizen’ who saw the incident. Conrad notes that this makes five people who have been killed on their way to his public shelter.

Meanwhile, the killers drop off the body on the doorstep of Mrs Hutchinson, saying she must tell her husband Joe to watch his step. Joe has connections, and gets word to the Home Secretary via his union leader Ernest Harrison about the extortion taking place. Skardon considers this a criminal not a political matter. The Home Secretary tells him the money being raised might be for sedition, so she wants action at the highest level.

There is an admission that the Civil Police can be bribed to overlook crimes. Skardon informs the Home Secretary he wants Blake in charge of the operation to find the extortionists.

Kyle wonders if tests are being carried out on non-citizens. Blake wants help from him, but Kyle wants her to start working from within, and he’ll speak up for her when the day comes when the system is over-turned. Blake accuses Kyle of backing an extortion racket to tempt him into assistance.

At the House of Lords Dining Club, Blake introduces Kyle to the Home Secretary and also Ernest Harrison the Trade Union leader, who is not happy to talk with Kyle, let along eat with him. Ernest informs about the body on Hutchinson’s doorstep, who Kyle has discovered was known as ‘Canary Joe’, due to him keeping a canary and always being on the lookout for seed for the bird. Kyle is amazed when the Home Secretary asks him to help the PCD on this case.

Skardon’s Scottish aide Chief Inspector Macrae has been tempted with an offer of becoming a Deputy Controller. Having heard that Kyle has been seconded, Skardon asks Macrae to intervene and help the operation fail.

Kyle visits Skardon, and Macrae is there, he having not responded to Kyle’s request for a list of Union stewards, convenors and officials. So, Blake asks to have it instead. There is talk of State Factory Number 7, where workers have clammed up, and are not revealing anything to a PCD Intensive Questioning Unit. Kyle is sanctioned to go undercover as a Convenor by Harrison, in order to try and find out what is going on.

Dave fills Digger in on the death of Canary Joe. The big problem they have in getting justice is that the evidence of non-citizens is not permissible in Court.

Blake tells the Home Secretary that Macrae was sitting at her desk, trying it on for size.

Newspaper head man Robert Jessup talks to Kyle about what’s going on at their title, and that they are certainly continuing to ask difficult questions. Kyle notes that the exclusives they have run recently seemingly baiting the establishment were run with the co-operation of the establishment! Kyle also knows that Jessup went to one of Skardon’s parties. Jessup accuses Kyle of disloyalty in writing for foreign papers, and fires him on the spot.

Dave gives Kyle artist’s impressions of the non-citizen killers. Hutchinson has decided to reveal the ‘inside track’, those who want to work administered by the bureaucrats and the snoopers. Not behaving yourself will mean being sent to another workplace, where you hate the local football club. There is talk of a ‘network’ wanting another sort of Parliament, more international relations, less civil servants, more human rights, and getting people to sign on for membership. Then these victims discover it’s a racket for crooks to extort money, threatening sedition on those who have signed up. The cause is known as ‘Freedom Day’. Hutchinson agrees to say that Kyle is keen on joining, and realises that he can benefit from this by potentially getting hold of a very useful list of dissidents.

The Home Secretary is angry with Jessup for firing Kyle. He is told to reinstate Kyle or his paper will feel her wrath. Meanwhile, Kyle meets the extortionist killers and convinces them that they have to prove to him the viability of ‘Freedom Day’, and if they can he will deliver them the names of 15,000 dissidents.

This is a well-laid trap, and Kyle ambushes the killers with Gripper and Dave. They find the list of dissidents, and then Kyle rings Macrae to send in his team.

The killers are interrogated, and they mention ‘the book’ which Kyle has spirited away which has all their contacts in it. Kyle denies having it, and notes that all these dissidents running around committing sedition will not look good for Skardon. As part of his deal, Kyle gets a helpful non-citizen reinstated as he will give testimony in Canary Joe’s murder trial. Kyle also insists on Macrae being demoted to constable.

Guest starring: David Buck (George Molloy), Colin Douglas (Joe Hutchinson), Joseph Brady (Ernest Harrison), Simon Cadell (Robert Jessup), Ken Kitson (Johnny Rolfe), John Bott (James Conrad), James Greene (Gerald Arnold), Sally Travers (Mrs Hutchinson), Eric French (The Non-Citizen).

Writer: Edmund Ward

Director: Alan Gibson

Original Transmission: 20 March 1978


2.06 “You’ll Never Walk Alone

“Britain is not the land of opportunity … The authorities have refused me an exit visa for the Chess Championship because they fear I might not come back".

Blake is being watched, as prying eyes make notes of all cars leaving the PCD building. Skardon is escorted from a car, and note is made of this on a map.

We are at a multi-player chess game, one man, Phil Ross, is taking on ten opponents at once. Kyle now finds himself reporting on such entertainment. Skardon, now branding himself as a patron of sport, comments that he still thinks Kyle is making money from selling stories to foreign papers.

Kyle corners Ross about him being a ‘British Lion’ champion as described by Skardon. The two of them knew each other from a protest movement many years previously, when Ross was just a maths teacher from Blackburn.

Kyle goes to see Blake at home, having done so three nights out of four. He has found out the Home Secretary has squeezed his boss Jessup to give him his job back.

Skardon and his mother are having a meal in style. A call from work informs him that a guy called Jackson has been picked up with a list of Skardon’s movements. So far he has resisted interrogation and wants to see Kyle.

Dave is meeting with a gang, and are discussing Jackson. They tell Dave the time is right for taking hostages, as security has been relaxed on everyone but Skardon. They reveal they are going after Blake, but Dave demands that Kyle is informed first.

The UK is complaining at the UN in New York about various countries interfering in the affairs of others. We learn that Ross will become the chess world champion if he beats a player called Asher the following week.

Blake notes to Kyle that they can celebrate that it will be 12 years next Tuesday since Kyle first took her out. Kyle receives a phone call from Dave, and they must meet. Kyle leaves Blake by sating that he might still love her, but is not sure.

Kyle meets up with the prospective kidnappers with Dave, and tells them to grow up. They tell him why Blake is their target, Kyle reiterates they should leave her alone, but they are unperturbed. 

Kyle meets with Ross and shows him former sporting heroes who are now down on their luck. He says Ross will get the same sort of treatment when he starts losing.

The Home Secretary, Skardon and Blake talk about being on ‘revenge lists’. The Home Secretary doubts that Blake is on everyone’s lists. After she leaves, the Home Secretary tells Skardon to increase the number of guards watching her.

On the night of the big chess match, and Kyle speaks with Ross’s American opponent, Asher, and notes he hopes Asher can win, and that he should publicly challenge Ross to play him in the States. This comes to pass, and later Skardon says he cannot, as he cannot guarantee his security in the USA.

The gang kidnap Blake, but it goes wrong for them – they are shot, and their getaway car explodes. Meanwhile, Ross finally takes a stand and takes up Asher’s challenge, but notes to the watching media that it all depends on an exit visa which may not be granted.

Kyle tells the gang that their man Abe is in intensive care. Alan, their leader, wonders why Blake was better protected than they had been expecting. Kyle tells them to get out of the country, angry at their accusation that he tipped the PCD off about their proposed kidnapping. Kyle is the only one who can tell their story, which he sees as leverage.

Skardon and his mother are playing chess, and he accuses her of cheating. Ross joins them, having been brought there. Ross confirms the mother’s knight is not where it should be. Skardon then threatens Ross, wanting assurances he won’t ever pull a stunt like that about visas ever again.

Kyle and Blake are at her flat again. He makes her a ‘Bloody Mary’. She tells him that her abductors were using blank bullets. He chides her for sticking to her routine, while she informs Kyle that she told Skardon she felt ‘insecure’, nothing more, which Kyle doesn’t believe. They argue, but he still ends up staying the night.

In the chess games, Ross is losing many games in his continuing battle with Asher. He is a broken man.

Guest starring: Joyce Carey (Nancy Skardon), David Rintoul (Philip Ross), Adam Bareham (Alan), Geoffrey Burridge (Cyrus Asher), Alan Leith (Rickerby), Raymond Boyd (Chess Correspondent), Gretta Gouriet (Newsreader), James Murray (Abe), Sue Woodley (Annie).

Writer: Wilfred Greatorex

Director: David Sullivan Proudfoot

Original Transmission: 27 March 1978


2.07 “Young Sparks

“Kyle will be back to normal in about an hour. Until then he'll probably show an amusing tendency to tell the truth”. Groups of dissidents, once-divided in their opposition to the Public Control Department, are putting aside their differences in a bid to bring down the bureaucratic machine in a consolidated movement. Meanwhile, controller Skardon increases his pursuit of Kyle, whom he believes he can break, and thereby shatter the plans of the opposition.

A taxi driver is waiting for a man, and nabs his fare from another taxi. Despite the fare objecting, a woman jumps in the back with him, and then gasses the man with an aerosol.

The Home Secretary and Skardon are in debate over Vasalie Pallin, a foreign trade minister, as he was the one taken and they have no idea where he is. They decide to put Blake in charge of investigating.

The taxi driver is Alan, the leader of the gang from the previous episode. They have a plan to “break into the state TV slush”. Blake discovers that Pallin is “on for the Ladies”, very young ones. Macrae was given the responsibility for Pallin’s security, but Pallin ditched both the embassy guard as well as the PCD.

In an Adult Rehabilitation Centre, “Steiner” is being awaited for treatment. Pallin is placed on a stretcher and put into a PCD van by the gang, and taken for treatment, but he dies.

Meanwhile, Blake is still trying to defend her having asked for more security protection, and the officials are sure that Kyle tipped her off about her planned abduction. Kyle is called in, but to talk about Pallin, who he is aware of and his penchant for young women. Skardon offers Kyle money for information, but when he refuses, Macrae is on hand to interrogate him. He is injected with truth serum, Skardon noting that the PCD carries out 3,000 interrogations a day. Skardon and the Home Secretary tell Blake they need to know who Kyle has “heard rumours from”.

The gang have realised that Kyle is important as he can get stories into the foreign press. 

Kyle’s interrogation continues, but only gives away the name ‘Abe’. Blake arrives with orders from the Home Secretary to give Kyle the antidote – Kyle will recover in an hour. Blake takes Kyle home. There is an answerphone message from the gang, about ARC5 and “Steiner”, who was admitted at 5.10pm. Blake calls ARC5, and they note a ring was recovered from a deceased patient marked ‘VP’.

We are told about the ‘Cambridge Three’ – Jefferson, Howsden and Ramsden – who were also interrogated as they refused to divulge the results of their tests on human behaviour to the PCD. Blake can’t talk of them, but Kyle suggests one of them is released per day that he can keep the Pallin story out of the foreign press.

Macrae has found Pallin at ARC5. Mayers and his colleague are hauled over the coals for Pallin being killed. A post mortem will show cardiac arrest linked to an epileptic attack. Macrae gets Pallin’s body put into his helicopter.

Skardon notes to the Home Secretary their cover story that Pallin died in the arms of a prostitute. Blake reveals the conditions of Kyle’s offer to help. As a follow-up, Blake tells Kyle that the call on his answerphone was a hoax, and if he goes along with that then the “Cambridge Three” will get exit visas.

Kyle meets up with the gang and asks if they were responsible for Pallin. He believes Alan Graham was responsible, which is why he wants to see him, and doesn’t want him leaking stories to the foreign press. Alan appears, and Kyle explains that he needs the Pallin story being kept quiet, noting the potential release of the three scientists in return. The gang want to take Skardon to ARC5 next, but Kyle notes Skardon has a bigger role in eventually being a ‘scarecrow of the state’. After Kyle leaves, Alan decides he would rather go after Blake than Skardon.

Skardon is angry as the foreign press has the Pallin story. Blake advises that Kyle has said he had nothing to do with the story getting out.

Alan pretends to be “Reynolds” on the phone to Blake, and says the Home Secretary wants to see her immediately, despite her being engaged on a dinner date with Kyle. As she is taken to the false rendezvous by car, the gang kidnap her. They carry out a mock trial, finding her guilty of being a Deputy Controller of the PCD. She is told she is going on a trip and is given the aerosol treatment.

Kyle gets suspicious when Blake is away for a long time, and calls Skardon, who tells he the Home Secretary left three hours ago. Calling Alan, the gang leader asks Kyle what he will do if he has Blake. Kyle calls Skardon again to get him to stop all activities on females admitted at ARC centres that evening. Skardon refuses. Kyle finds Alan, who points a gun at him while he admits they took Blake. A Mexican standoff follows, with everyone pointing guns at each other.

Skardon calls ARC5, and stops Blake being worked on beyond Stage 1, the team there will try and bring her around. Later, Kyle and Blake are reunited, her with a blanket draped over and in tears.

Guest starring: Julia Schofield (Liz), Adam Bareham (Alan), George Pravda (Pallin), Martin Fisk (Sanders), Peter Clay (Mayers), William Wilde (Riley).

Writer: Jim Hawkins

Director: Kenneth Ives

Original Transmission: 3 April 1978


2.08 “What Pleases the Prince…

“We always said there'd be Peace Crimes Trials one day … We're winning now. There'll have to be a purge of the PCD soon”. The success of the dissident assault on the Public Control Department has resulted in the organisation being plunged into bitter in-fighting.

Kyle is part of a group circulating copies of the Magna Carta. Along side this, 22 people returned books to libraries yesterday with money inside the covers.

Macrae and PCD hoods turn up at a meeting in a flat, who accuses those there of political assembly. They say there are only five of them allowed, but Macrae counts six including an uninvolved mother, and takes one of their number away who he thinks is being cheeky.

Skardon has been implementing a ‘Pentagon Trawl’ – a screen tells him that as of 15:22 hours, the numbers are “Greater London 729, Greater Manchester 166, Greater Birmingham 89, Greater Liverpool 204. Total detained: 1,437”. As this is less than 1,500 calls in half a day, Skardon demands that they must do better! Blake notes that Kyle is a member of 23 Pentagon groups, so the numbers themselves actually mean little.

The brother who was taken away is Robert Brooks, and is being questioned. He is asked who is Angus Milburn, and notes he is just a GPO Driver.

John Brooks is asking about his brother at an information station. The PCD Clerk says she cannot say where he is being held. John then goes to an indoor tennis court, where he is waiting to talk to ‘Harry Wardle’, and is let into an inner room, where Kyle can be found, working on an underground newspaper. Kyle notes that people from different Pentagon cells should not talk to each other. John is not happy that Kyle is so unhelpful, but Kyle relents and makes enquiries. Robert is just listed as ‘unwell’. The Home Secretary contacts Skardon and tells him to release most of the Pentagon detainees, including Robert specifically. Skardon knows Blake has seen the Home Secretary about this. As he is unwell, Robert is only given visiting rights instead. So, John and his Mother go to see him – he is a broken man, and makes no response to seeing them.

Kyle is visited by the young lady who was at the Brooks meeting and tells him she wants Kyle to et the foreign press to Trafalgar Square early on Sunday morning for a demonstration – there hasn’t been one there for seven years. Kyle agrees and has a pair of cameramen on the scene, along with a handful of press overlooking the Square from a high-up room. John turns up, takes out a can of petrol, and douses himself in it. Kyle rushes to try and stop him, but he is too late.

The USA Overseas News Agency has the footage, and Kyle has done the voiceover for the report they make from it. It is enough to mobilise the ‘Freedom Fighters’. The USA announces trade sanctions against the UK. From Geneva, the Human Rights Commission has asked for the powers of the PCD to be curbed, and for free elections to be restored.

Skardon is asked by the Home Secretary whether all this will blow over. Blake suggests a limited purge, perhaps even Skardon resigning. The Home Secretary will not be bullied by foreign powers. Skardon receives a phone call which threatens both him and his mother.

Dave has acquired a stash of automatic rifles and wants to pick up PCD personnel. Kyle reminds him that they said they never wanted lynch mobs, and that there will be a purge of the PCD soon.

Meanwhile, citizens are both throwing their various cards down drains or burning them. A screen notes “Destroyed and Recovered Cards 8,372”, then the number starts going up – 12,194, then 16,530. And up and up the number climbs – 30,000, then 34,000.

A package is left in Trafalgar Square. Skardon suspects it is an explosive device and calls the Bomb Squad. It turns out to be nothing more that 200 ID cards.

The Home Secretary to do a mandatory telecast about “the ID card nonsense”. Blake suggests arrests of 5,000 to 10,000 citizens and then to announce an amnesty. Skardon wants paperwork signed before he will do this. The Home Secretary scorns him, saying he has lost his nerve, so he gets on with it regardless.

The Telecast begins, with the music used being “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk.

Kyle and Dave are taken in by Macrae, but before they are marched out, they ask to see the broadcast first. It talks of a campaign against “our country” and those who “slander our own land”. The instigators will have to be punished, and the Home Secretary notes it is not the Government which people are rebelling against, just one department of it – the Public Control Department. People are sinning against the unacceptable face of bureaucracy, in the form of faceless civil servants. She will not rubber-stamp faceless tyranny, and announces an immediate amnesty for all those held by the PCD for not possessing ID cards – they will be let out right away. The PCD must act for the people not against them. An enquiry will also look into the running of ARCs and any abuses. She finishes by saying there will be no cover-ups! She then announces there will be a free General Election.

Macrae, despite the broadcast, still tries to take Kyle and Dave into custody. At this point, Dave’s dissident friends pull guns on Macrae and his PCD hoodlums. Dave says it is time for them to be taking prisoners.

Skardon gives Blake a letter for her to give to his mother. No-one is taking his calls. He packs his bags. His girlfriend Barbara appears, and wants to escape with him, but he gives her the slip.

Blake is joined by the Home Secretary, who advises she has told Emigration Control to seal all ports and seaports. It appears Skardon has thrown away his trackable ID card, and is riding off on a motorcycle. He turns up at a flat, asking if he can travel abroad. Thinking he is on his way, he is instead taken to Kyle, Dave and their militia. The phone calls Skardon was making were him trying to organise a route out of the UK.

Kyle asks which country would have had him. Skardon says instead he will stay to face whatever music his masters choose to put on. Kyle says he will get him out of the country anyway. “What pleases the Prince has the force of law”. Kyle and Dave then argue over Skardon’s fate. Before Kyle can stop things escalating, Skardon is dragged off, and a shot is heard. Skardon has been shot… but only in the leg. He will be put on trial, a legal one, and is taken to hospital.

PCD control is stormed by Dave and the militia. Later, Blake and Kyle talk. They have two hours before she will be taken in. The Home Secretary has given Kyle his old job back. Kyle receives a call to be told Blake’s schedule has been moved forward, and she will be arrested now. Kyle asks them to wait just a little bit longer…

Guest starring: Michael Tarn (John Brooks), Jenny Laird (Mrs Brooks), Michael Osborne (Robert Brooks), Primi Townsend (Verna Wells), Norman Rutherford (Surveillance Man), Sandra Payne (Barbara Fairlie), Ysanne Churchman (PCD Clerk), Tony Sibbald (Newscaster), Edmond Bennett (Caretaker).

Writer: Wilfred Greatorex

Director: Alan Gibson

Original Transmission: 10 April 1978

Last modified on Monday, 18 September 2017 17:28

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