Espionage

Trivia, Quotes, Notes and Allusions

Quotes (4)

  • Andrew Evans: Killer dogs can't be cured. They're trained to kill. They keep on killing till the day they die.

  • The Minister: Bluster is an ineffective method of communication.

  • Tovarich: God save the king!
    Wicket: Up the workers!

  • Smith: Squalor always brings out the poet in me.

Notes (13)

  • In addition to resembling the 1960 movie "Circle Of Deception", as noted in the review, this episode also resembles one of the "Brigadier Gerard" stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in which the braggart Gerard is given a false message by Napoleon in the hope that the English will capture him and be misled. However, this story plays the idea strictly for laughs, and also formed part of the plot of the 1970 film version, "The Adventures Of Gerard", directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.

  • This episode is the pilot for the series.

  • The un-named organization opposing the nuclear arms race is clearly meant to represent the real-life Committee For Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which still exists today. Its sit-ins and marches were familiar news items in Britain during the 1950s and 1960s, when some high-profile personalities were amongst its members, including writers and senior churchmen. Perhaps its most famous and outspoken member was the philosopher Bertrand Russell (Lord Russell), who might be the model for the character of "Lord Kemble" in this episode.

  • The Scottish actor Andrew Keir plays Sir Roger Casement, a real-life person, in this episode. Casement was a prominent consular official in the British government, which knighted him after he had been instrumental in exposing abuses of native labour in parts of Africa and South America. He retired from the consular service in 1913. An Ulster Protestant, he devoted the rest of his life to the cause of Irish independence, in defiance of his former governmental colleagues; he was involved in secret activities in Germany during the First World War and was executed by the British at age 52 in 1916. His body is now buried in Ireland, according to his last wishes - these wishes, however, were not carried out until 1965.

  • Lee Montague is cast in this episode as a real-life person, Sun Yat-Sen. A revolutionary who had failed to overthrow the Qing Dynasty as a young man, he was involved in the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and became Provisional President of China a year later. He died in 1925, aged 59, and is often regarded as the father of modern China.

  • The joking reference made by the Larry Gates character to "when the shrimp begins to whistle" - i.e., when something impossible happens - derives from a famous (or infamous) remark made by the then premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khruschev.

  • This was the only episode of the series to be filmed in the United States rather than Britain.

  • The script is credited to "Mel Davenport" - a pseudonym covering the identity of Waldo Salt, a Hollywood writer blacklisted for a dozen years from 1950 because of his leftist sympathies. However, he had resumed a screenwriting career under his own name the year before this episode was aired, so why is this script credited to a nom-de-plume? One explanation may be that a detailed rewrite was anonymously done, at director Michael Powell's insistence, by the Canadian-born writer Larry Forrester, who did much British TV work and had recently been working on an (unrealised) movie project with Powell.

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Trivia (37)

  • First televised in Britain, where it was made, on Saturday, October 12th, 1963.

  • First televised in Britain, where it was made, on Saturday, October 19th, 1963.

  • Although this episode uses Malcolm Arnold's regular theme music over its credit sequences, Arnold himself is (untypically) uncredited.

  • First televised in Britain, where it was made, on Saturday, October 5th, 1963.

  • This is the only episode of the series in which the leading actors are listed during the opening credits (along with the writers, producers and directors) as well as at the end.

  • The song which Angela Douglas sings, "So What?" (music by Stanley Myers, lyrics by Johnny Whyte), was often performed in the early 60s at fundraising events for the anti-nuclear cause, and was also performed elsewhere on television.

  • First televised in Britain, where it was made, on Saturday, October 26th, 1963.

  • First televised in Britain, where it was made, on Saturday, November 2nd, 1963.

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