Between The Lines – tape 1699

More gritty police-based drama with Between The Lines now. The first episode here is Close Protection, from series three where Tony Clark (Neil Pearson) and Harry Naylor (Tom Georgeson) are no longer with the police, but now work in private security.

They’re hired to run protection for a Chilean General, who’s visiting the UK privately, and so doesn’t get official protection. As civil servant Hugh Bonneville explains, Chile’s human rights record means the UK government can’t officially work with them.

Hugh Bonneville

They’re getting some serious equipment. Is the Amiga the go-to computer for surveillance and protection?

Amiga Power

This is their first job free of their old (crooked) boss Deakin. Clark goes to old colleague Maureen (Mo) Connell (Siobhan Redmond) to research possible Chilean political threats to the General. Getting the old gang back together.

Meantime, Clark’s (ex?) girlfriend Sarah Teale (Sylvestra Le Touzel) wants to make a documentary about the General’s visit, hoping her ties to Clarke will get her access.

The problems of dealing with a fascist General are demonstrated when an older woman who attempts to confront the General at a banquet to ask about her daughter, one of the ‘disappeared’, is taken out the back and beaten by the General’s men, and Clark and Naylor have to wade in to stop it.

Later, someone plants a bullet casing in the old woman’s flat. She finds it and passes it on to Le Touzel who tells Clark. They infer there’s going to be a hit on the General, placing the blame on the protesters.

While Clark is out, Naylor gets a message that his house is broken in to. The General’s head of security tells him he should go home to sort it out – he seems far too eager. Sure enough, as soon as Naylor leaves, he turns off the security system, and the shifty bloke who planted the shell casing makes his way onto the property.

Clark arrives back, just in time to tackle him, but the equally shifty Chilean head of Security shoots the man dead.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 16th November 1994 – 21:30

Before the next episode, there’s the end of the Nine O’Clock News, a trailer for Tony Robinson in Great Journeys, and Newsroom South East, looking at the possibility of new terror attacks in London.

Then there’s weather from Peter Cockcroft, a trailer for Airplane, and a trailer for Crocodile Shoes.

Then, another episode of Between The Lines. In Blooded, Redmond is undercover with an animal rights group, carrying out attacks on fur shops.

Harry is undercover at a laboratory where animal testing is going on.

Harry the Dog Lover

At one point, the (evil?) John Deakin is on a park bench reading, when a dog comes sniffing around him, so he whacks the dog on the nose with his book. It’s a book about Saint Francis of Assisi.

There’s a lot of surveillance in this episode, and Redmond and Georgeson have terrific fun in a scene where she has to pretend to pick him up in a pub – awkward for the longtime colleagues. And of course the leader of the radical animal rights group drives a blue VW Camper Van – like the Libyans in Back to the Future.

Things don’t go well for the team when the activists dump Redmond and go early, beating up Harry and leaving him unconscious with bombs ticking.

Clark and Connell find the researcher in the lab who had been feeding the lead guy information, and tell her what’s happening. She’s surprised, since as far as she knew, she’d been selling industrial secrets to a Swiss pharmaceutical company, and the animal rights stuff is just a front to damage the company.

Mo uses the PA system to tell the group about their leader’s true intentions, and Harry gets released, but the other members of the gang can’t let to go at that, shoot the leader in a hail of bullets, then blow the bombs up themselves, giving Harry a ‘cool guys don’t look at explosions’ moment.

Cool Guys don't look at explosions

In the credits there’s a disclaimer: “The laboratory premises filmed for this episode do not use, and have never used, animals for any procedures whatsoever” – added, no doubt, by the owners of the building, worried that idiots might thing they were secret vivisectionists and do something drastic.

Premises disclaimer

BBC Genome: BBC One – 23rd November 1994 – 21:30

There’s a Christmas trailer for BBC1 before the next episode.

Then, there’s a Budget Response from Gordon Brown to the budget.

Gordon Brown

There’s a trailer for Corocodile Shoes.

Then, more from Between the Lines, and an apparent suicide by a young Asian man might be something else, as the family don’t believe it could have been suicide. The man worked as a computer engineer in the defence industry, and the coroner ruled that it was suicide caused by stress at work, but his wife doesn’t believe that.

Tony and Harry are brought in by a journalist, James Nesbitt, to investigate the death.

James Nesbitt

They don’t take long to determine that the method of suicide – he was found under his car, in a closed garage, with the engine running – was extremely unlikely. They can’t even close the door from the inside given the position of the car.

It’s all very suspicious. The coroner was read a statement in private. The defence firm tells them that the victim ‘didn’t have much of a future at the company’, and most suspicious of all, old boss John Deakin warns Tony off the case. “You don’t want the defence industry mucking up your CV.”

Things start to get hairy. Tony’s flat is broken into. Mo and reporter Nesbitt are involved in a car accident with a car driving straight at them.

Then Tony is bundled into a van, has a plastic bag put on his head and is told to drop the investigation. So Tony caves, but has trouble persuading Mo and Harry. But in the end, they drop the case.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 30th November 1994 – 21:35

Before the next episode, the end of the news, and Newsroom Southeast. Plus, Suzanne Charlton gives us a bad weather warning.

Bad Weather Warning

There’s a trailer for the National Lottery, and a trailer for Crocofile Shoes.

Then, more Between The Lines. There’s a violent shootout between uniformed men and a bunch of drug dealers.

Mo is brought in by her former boss to talk to Roger Allam of MI-5. He’s worried that John Deakin is getting unauthorised work from rogue elements in MI-5 and wants Mo to spy on Deakin, with the promise she might get her old job back.

Roger Allam

It all starts getting a bit neo-nazi, as the uniformed gunmen at the start are suspected to be far right wing vigilantes, and it’s possible their guns were smuggled in by MI-5. I’m afraid I’ve lost track here of who;d supposed to be good. I suspect nobody.

There’s a scene where one of the nazis (wearing an old German helmet) is playing a video game. I can’t see what the game is supposed to be, but he’s playing it with a big 90s-style joystick, and the sound effect sounds a lot like Defender. I suspect that’s a generic ‘video game’ sound effect used by the sound mixer.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 30th November 1994 – 21:35

After this, recording continues with a trailer for Casualty. “Who will be the Casualty?”

Then there’s a trailer for Sports Review of the Year 1994.

Then there’s the start of a film, starting with words to strike fear into the heart of all moviegoers.

In a Michael Winner Film

It’s a Charles Bronson/Michael Winner film called The Mechanic. The name rings a bell, and sure enough, this film was remade in 2011 by Simon West, with Jason Statham in the lead role. I bet that one’s better than this version. Golly, it looks boring.

The tape ends during the film.


One comment

  1. Seeing Suzanne Charlton reminds me of another Mary Whitehouse Experience joke: “Eat something!”

    The Mechanic isn’t too bad actually, for a mean, moody thriller. Scorpio is the really boring Winner thriller from the early 70s.

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