Boon - Season 5

ITV (ended 1995)


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Episode Guide

  • The Eyes of Texas
    The Eyes of Texas
    Episode 13
    Harry is making plans to sell his stake in Woodcote Park because it is losing money. He is thinking of buying "Hugo's", a nightclub and disco, but is warned off by a ruthless Scottish businessman, Vic Carpenter, who also wants to buy it. Eventually Harry and Helen sell Woodcote so it can be turned into timeshare apartments. Ken is seriously considering moving to Texas with Rebecca Patterson. Rebecca reveals that she is over in England to divorce her estranged husband, Terry. Having stolen nearly 100 thousand from his family firm, Terry had fled to America and married Rebecca. However five years later he has now left her and returned to England. Although he has been hiding from his brother since then, Ken reasons that he will come to his father's funeral. Ken arranges to meets him at Sneinton Windmill late at night for him to sign the divorce papers. However Rebecca turns up and, shouting "Nobody walks out on me", shoots Terry... dead! For a while, Ken is accused by the police of being an accessory, until Sergeant Hatchard, an old friend, puts in a good word for him. The episode ends with Rebecca being brought to the police station to be charged with her husband's murder, and Ken feeling as if the world has collapsed around him.moreless
  • All in a Day's Pork
    All in a Day's Pork
    Episode 12
    Ken is employed by Amelia Woods, a secretary at a local meat-processing factory, to investigate why various dictation tapes and letters go missing from the office and then re-appear a few days later. He soon learns from Bert and Joe, two of the drivers, that there is something very suspicious about the firm - strange late-night deliveries from Amsterdam that don't go through the books and are treated differently from the rest of the stock. And it seems that the owner, Mr Sandford, and his son-in-law, Trevor, are involved. Helped by Laura and Rocky, Ken stages a road accident to hold up the lorry containing the special cargo and they take one of the boxes back to Woodcote. Having thawed it out, they discover, hidden underneath the bacon, pornographic magazines and videos. "Can you get that muck out of here. I find it extremely upsetting," Helen wails. Meanwhile, Harry and Helen are invited to a jousting tournament by a local businessman, Ben Seymour, and become mixed up in a bout of rivalry between The Black Knight, The White Knight and the damsel that they are fighting for - in real life as well as in the tournament. Harry also goes on a quest to recover a talking parrot that he has bought for Helen but which Rocky has allowed to escape. Rebecca Patterson, a Texan woman who is staying in a cottage nearby, asks Ken and Harry for help late one night when her fuses blow - and so begins passionate affair with Ken.moreless
  • Don't Buy from Me, Argentina
    Helen is hosting a party for Argentinian polo players at Woodcote Park. She falls for Raoul Gomez, a suave Argentinian. Aiden Curtis, the husband of one of the English guests, asks Ken to watch his wife Merrily (!) who is "terribly easily influenced", meaning that he knows every man in the room fancies her and that he thinks she is having an affair. Ken follows her and uncovers a conspiracy between her, a local vet, David Rennet, and one of the Argentinian polo players, Celestino da Silva. Merrily's horse, Deauville Dancer, is infertile but Rennet has signed a certificate stating that it is in perfect health. She "sells" the horse to da Silva, thus establishing its value so that the insurance company will pay out when, six months from now, Rennet "has no choice" but to have it destroyed. She arranges to return da Silva's money when the insurance company pays up, but instead she leaves him as the owner of an infertile horse and disappears by plane with his money, accompanied by another (unknown) man. Rocky's bike is in the garage so he has to suffer the ultimate indignity of riding around on a Honda 50 moped! He is asked to collect a valuable painting from an auctioneers for Thomas Kilverton, an irascible old man in a wheelchair. When he is stopped by the police (for speeding!), he is nonplussed to discover that his name is on the sales receipt, making him the legal owner! Later, he is knocked off his bike by a mysterious black car and the painting is stolen. Eventually he tracks down the "thief" - she is the ex-wife of Thomas Kilverton. Kilverton was trying to reduce the size of the alimony that he paid her by pretending to sell off all his assets. In thanks for recovering the painting and uncovering the scam, Mrs Kilverton gives Rocky a brand-new Yamaha 500 motorbike.moreless
  • Big Game Hunt
    Big Game Hunt
    Episode 10
    The Bisons, a secret society similar to the Freemasons, is holding its meeting at Woodcote Park. Large amounts of alcohol are consumed. On the way home, one of the Bisons, Derek Donaghue, is stopped for drink-driving. Helen asks Rocky to take some of her chairs to sell at an antique shop. Roxanne, the shop assistant, realises that he knows nothing about antiques and rips him off. He and Helen come up with a plan to get his own back. He invites Roxanne for a slap-up dinner at Woodcote, then disappears while pretending to book them a room for the night. Helen makes Roxanne pay the bill! Ken receives a peremptory phone call to meet a potential client, Vincent Brack. Brack wants Ken to watch his wife, Nina. Ken follows Nina to a pub where she changes into a tarty dress and blonde wig, and leaves without Ken realising. The following day he is ready for her and follows her to a club where he discovers that she works as a hostess and singer, using the name Susie. Suspecting the worst, Ken gets chatting to her but she vehemently denies being a prostitute: "I don't do tricks," she protests, "That's not my department." She explains that she is desperately unhappy and that her husband regularly beats her up, thinking she is having an affair. When Ken and Harry compare notes, they find that Vincent is a member of the Bisons, as well as being a policeman in the Vice Squad. After watching him they realise that he is tempting his fellow Bisons to get drunk and then tipping the police off so they will be caught as they drive home: he seems to be more concerned with making sure that they will be caught than with stopping them driving in the first place. Ken confronts Nina, revealing that Vincent has hired him but that he is on her side. Nina tells him that she and Vincent once had a daughter but she was killed by a drunk driver - this explains Vincent's vindictive attitude to drunks. Nina also suspects that Vincent is corruptly accepting money from the club's owner, Laker, in exchange for protecting the club from Vice Squad raids. Ken and Harry present evidence of Vincent's habits to the police; consequently he will be dismissed from the force and may face criminal charges. Nina decides to leave Vincent and return to London. Ken goes to the railway station and begs her to stay, but she refuses.moreless
  • Love Letters From A Dead Man
    As he is driving along a country lane towards Woodcote Park, Harry sees a racing cyclist being harassed by a souped-up car. The cyclist, Ian, turns out to be Helen's nephew. He is staying at Woodcote Park while he trains for a road-race through the centre of Nottingham. Greg Simpson, the manager of a racing team, is pressuring Ian to leave his present team and to join Greg's. He threatens to publish a letter which proves that Ian once conspired to fix the result of a race by letting a friend win. Harry uncovers proof that Greg's soignier (team doctor) is prescribing drugs to addicts; this would not go down too well with the sponsors of Greg's team, a health-food company. Faced with a clear case of stalemate, Greg realises that he cannot win and backs down. Ken is asked to trace the author of love letters written to Barbara Lake. They are apparently from her husband, Ronnie, a bank robber - but he died in a plane crash six months ago... Either he is still alive or else the letters are cruel forgeries. Laura and Rocky study the newspaper articles and accident report describing the crash, while Ken discusses Ronnie Lake with an old friend, Sgt Hatchard. The more they discover, the more certain they are that Ronnie really did die in the crash. Hatchard tells Ken that Ronnie had been involved in a robbery just before he died; the money has not been found. So who is writing the letters. Barbara's house is being watched. She receives a parcel, supposedly from Ronnie, containing a large amount of cash. Then she gets a letter saying that he wants to meet her in "our special place" - Room 324 in a hotel. Ken keeps Barbara company as she waits in the hotel bedroom. While he is investigating a noise that she hears on the fire escape outside, she quickly takes down a ceiling tile in the bathroom and removes a holdall - evidently this contains the proceeds of the robbery. Just as Laura is complaining that Ken never gives her anything interesting to do, a suave man called Charlie Cochrane turns up at the office, wanting someone to do some research into his family history. Laura is only too pleased to help. Charlie asks her out and send her red roses. She is clearly besotted with him. But Charlie Cochrane is not what he seems. It is he who has been watching Barbara's house, and now he searches the hotel bedroom. He then turns up at her house and threatens her with a gun unless she reveals where the money is hidden. Ken arrives but walks right into the trap. It is Rocky who saves the day by phoning the police and then creating a diversion which allows Ken to overpower Cochrane. Laura is heartbroken at Cochrane's treachery, but Rocky buys her some flowers to cheer her up and to show her that he cares.moreless
  • In It for the Monet
    Mr and Mrs Sheridan, parents of Isobel, a university student studying Art History, ask Ken to investigate why their daughter has changed and why she suddenly seems to be suspiciously wealthy. Ken talks to her former boyfriend, Geoff, and learns that she used to be very keen on rowing but then suddenly gave it up a year ago and now has a new set of friends. Laura and Rocky go undercover, posing as students. They see Isobel and a friend, Dominique, all dolled-up and getting into a brand new flashy convertible. They follow her to a hotel. When Rocky sees the women leaving a hotel bedroom after a little while, and an Italian man gratefully handing over money, he jumps to the obvious conclusion - that they are on the game! Then, outside Isobel's room, Laura finds syringes and a note referring to poppies - perhaps she is a drug dealer. What should Ken tell her parents? Ken eventually discovers that Isobel is selling her essays to less able students - with the knowledge of her tutor, Dr Michael Harrison. However Ken is suspicious of Harrison's involvement. On closer inspection he finds out that he has been selling the essays world-wide, without Isobel knowing or getting any money. Isobel has just won a doctorate to Florence University. At the end-of-term party, Ken tells her what Harrison has been doing. She is furious but can't blow the whistle on him because he will reveal that she has been selling her essays to students. However in her acceptance speech she makes veiled hints about "other people being able to benefit from her work" and she asks Ken to keep all the evidence, in case Harrison tries the same trick again. Ken and Harry become involved in a family feud. Two brothers, Andrew and Graham Barker, are squabbling over ownership of a classic car. Andrew approaches Ken and Harry, claiming that he had been left the car by their father and that Graham has stolen the body. He wants to sell the car and offers them a share in the selling price. But when they go to see Graham, he claims that the car was left to him and that Andrew has stolen the chassis and engine. Andrew and Graham's mother says differently: the car was left to both of them to share, but "cutting it in half" isn't playing fair by the terms of their father's will, so the car reverts to her. She wants it back and offers them 500 for helping. They take the body from Graham's workshop. Then, with Mrs Barker and her butler providing a diversion, they drive away in the chassis, with the brothers in hot pursuit. Harry starts to assemble the car and is considering buying it himself to use as a courtesy car for Woodcote Park, until Helen pours cold water on the idea. The brothers try to steal the car back but their mother tells them in no uncertain terms to stop squabbling. She arranges that they will all meet at a motorway junction where they will be "pleasantly surprised". The surprise is that she and her butler, William, have just got married and are going on their honeymoon in the car. She never pays Ken and Harry the 500 that she promised.moreless
  • Sickness and Health
    Ken is employed by the owners of a nursing home to investigate a series of petty thefts of patients' money. Because of pressure of work, he passes the case to Harry who goes to stay at the nursing home, posing as a businessman suffering from stress and a nervous breakdown. Laura also helps, posing as Harry's gushing and utterly spoilt daughter! After eliminating the cleaner and the gardener, Harry soon suspects Mary Foster, an eccentric old lady who is a long-term patient. He marks a wad of 5 notes and leaves them in his bedside drawer. They soon disappear and Harry finds them in Mary's handbag. He presents his findings to the Matron, telling her that he has traced the thief. Much to his surprise, the Matron herself confesses to the thefts. She has been taking the money to give to Mary, in order to perpetuate a white lie - Mary thinks that her son, living in New Zealand, is paying for little treats on her birthday, whereas in fact the son died two years ago and the Matron hasn't the heart to tell Mary. Harry agrees not to shop the Matron, as long as the thefts stop, and even offers to pays for Mary's birthday treats himself. Helen is approached by her old friend Chris, a social worker, and asked to look after Judy Shelley and her two unruly sons, Lee and Simon. They need somewhere to stay in hiding until Judy can get an injunction against her Canadian husband Peter. Peter is a doctor and a respected member of the community, but Judy is alleging that he beats her up. Helen gets Rocky to keep an eye on the boys, but they play various pranks on him, culminating in him being stranded on the roof after Lee pretends to be stuck. While on the roof, Rocky sees a man watching Woodcote Park through binoculars. He suspects (correctly) that the man is working for Peter, trying to trace Judy's whereabouts. Although sworn to secrecy, Helen takes Ken into her confidence. He investigates the man, who has now checked into Woodcote as a guest called Patterson. To begin with he thinks that Patterson may be Shelley. Shelley contacts Ken and tells him his side of the story - that Judy is mentally ill and lives in a fantasy world. But Shelley and Patterson are plotting to "recover" (kidnap) the boys. They bundle Lee and Simon into Peter's car and make off down the drive, hotly pursued by Ken and Rocky. Helen blocks the gate with her car, forcing Judy and Peter to confront each other. Peter again tells his story about mental illness. Judy vehemently denies it and lifts her blouse to show that her body is bruised and that she has four broken ribs. Peter turns violent and has to be restrained. When he realises that he has lost both his children and his professional reputation, he drives away furiously, knocking Harry over as he arrives back from the nursing home. Harry's leg is injured and he finds himself back in a hospital bed.moreless
  • Arms and the Dog
    Arms and the Dog
    Episode 6
    Ken and Harry are guarding Tinkerbell, a greyhound, at Woodcote Park, before her big race. The owner, Mr Hancock, insists that Tinkerbell must be fed "Mr Marrow" dog food and a detailed record must be kept of how much of it she eats. Harry gets Rocky to feed and walk the dog, and it soon becomes clear that Tinkerbell hates "Mr Marrow". An attractive blonde woman turns up at Woodcote, delivering cases of wine in a Range Rover. While Harry and Rocky are helping to unload the wine, she drives off with Tinkerbell. Harry and Rocky try to trace the owner of the Ranger Rover. Then Rocky has an idea: there is going to be a charity event before the greyhound race - perhaps the dog thieves will be there. They locate the car and follow it back to an opulent house owned by a Mr and Mrs Hipkiss who claim to own Tinkerbell. Mr Hipkiss tells them that Hancock used to work for him but wasn't up to the job. Hipkiss believes that Hancock had stolen Tinkerbell in revenge for (as he sees it) being sacked by Hipkiss. When Tinkerbell wins the race, Hipkiss claims on television that she is always fed on "Mr Marrow", but Rocky knows from experience that she won't touch the stuff. Hancock is eventually traced. He tells Ken and Harry that Hipkiss owns the company that makes "Mr Marrow" and is using Tinkerbell as free publicity. Having worked for him, Hancock knows that top dogs won't touch "Mr Marrow" and wanted to use Harry's feeding record to prove it to the world. Charlie Fowkes employs Ken to locate his son Ben who has deserted from the army and run away from home after Charlie refused to lend him the money to buy his way out of the army. Ben is a keen and talented boxer, but Peter Mortan, who trains him, hasn't seen him since he deserted. Ben's girlfriend, Alison Carter, says that she too hasn't seen him recently, but in reality she is hiding him. Ken learns that Ben is wanted both by the Military Police as a deserter and by the civilian police because they suspect him of stealing some plastic explosive from a quarry. Ben flees from Ken and both sets of policemen, but Ken eventually catches up with him and Alison. Mortan is planning an illegal unlicensed fight between Ben and an American professional boxer, Valdez. If Ben wins, his prize money will buy him out of the army. At the derelict warehouse where the fight is being staged, Harry overhears someone in the audience saying that Valdez has had his licence revoked because he has a blood clot on the brain and is not fit to fight. Ken warns Ben that if he hits Valdez, he will probably kill him. Ben fights defensively and never even lands a punch. Consequently he loses. But Alison has bet all her money on exactly this outcome because she knew that Ben wouldn't even try to fight once he knew of Valdez's condition. As the Military Police wait to arrest Ben, she reveals that with her winnings she can now buy him out of the army.moreless
  • Do Not Forsake Me
    Do Not Forsake Me
    Episode 5
    Robert Messener employs Ken to act as his bodyguard and chauffeur, and to run various errands associated with the sale of his house and his nightclub, in preparation for a hasty departure to Cyprus. Messener's previous minder, Freddy Tucker, had walked out on him after being beaten up. Ken is suspicious. He wonders why Messener is leaving so suddenly and why everyone hates him. When Messener's dogs are shot, he tells Ken that he suspects Sammy Robinson, a "madman" who used to work for him but who is now in prison for manslaughter, for which he blames Messener. Ken traces Sammy's ex-wife, Natalie, who tells him that Sammy accused Messener of having an affair with her. Messener had got Sammy to beat up a rival night-club owner - who later died. It is Sammy's brothers who are responsible for killing the dogs and for crushing Messener's car. Sammy is due out of prison in a few days and his brothers think he will want Messener disposed of. Messener completes a deal with Douglas Cruikshank for the sale of his club and is due to leave by train. But Cruikshank tips off the Robinson brothers. Sammy is waiting for Messener and chases him through the station and onto the railway line, eventually cornering him in a disused tunnel. Messener cowers and grovels on the floor. But Sammy, whom everyone thinks of as "a psycho", is more angry with his brothers for taking matters into their own hands. He tells Messener that he forgives him and simply wants his share of the proceeds from the night-club sale - and never to see Messener again. Harry has troubles of his own. Huge oily patches keep appearing on Woodcote Park's golf course and tennis courts. The hotel is beginning to smell of sewage. Harry eventually traces the source: leaking drums of pesticide from a neighbouring farm owned by Ditton, a belligerent farmer. Helen and Ken bring in the Health and Safety investigators. Ditton is to be prosecuted and will also face a large compensation claim for the damage that he has caused to Woodcote.moreless
  • Vallance's Liberty
    Vallance's Liberty
    Episode 4
    A middle-aged couple, Terry and Gill Conroy, driving an expensive Jaguar, break down in a residential street, outside the house owned by George and Irene Boxall. The Boxalls offer them a cup of tea while the Conroys wait for the breakdown truck to arrive. In recompense, Terry Conroy invites the Boxalls to join them at a Tyrolean night. But all is not as it seems. When the Conroys never turn up at the Tyrolean night (which is being held at Woodcote Park), George and Irene become suspicious and ask Ken for help. A mysterious young woman, Meryl Spicer, turns up at Woodcote Park, looking for Helen. She claims to be Helen's long-lost daughter whom Helen had given away for adoption (!) It turns out that the Conroys used the Tyrolean invitation simply as an excuse to get the Boxalls out of their house, with Meryl at Woodcote Park to alert the Conroys as soon as the Boxalls leave to come home. The reason for this subterfuge is that Tom Vallance, a bank robber, had hidden some plans in the Boxalls' house some years ago when he owned the house. Having just been released from prison, he wants the plans back. When subterfuge fails, Vallance and Conroy break into the house, terrifying the Boxalls, and Vallance attacks the walls with a sledgehammer until he finds the plans. He then takes George and Irene to a deserted farm. The police surround the farm and Vallance tries to escape. Harry is forced to reverse at high speed along the farm track, pursued by Vallance's Land Rover, until the police can recapture Vallance.moreless
  • The Relief of Matty King
    At the Magistrates Court, the renewal of a gaming licence for the Carrington Club run by Dick Vaughan, is postponed pending further enquiries after a punter in the public gallery alleges that he was cheated by Vaughan. Vaughan does not realise that the "punter" is really Rupert Cole, who runs a rival gambling club. Vaughan gets Ken to investigate - if any of his croupiers are cheating, he wants to know before the Gaming Board investigators call on him. Ken spends the evening at the Carrington but sees nothing unusual so he asks Helen to come with him the following night. She soon notices that Jackie, one of the blackjack croupiers, is cheating. Ken pretends to be a writer, researching a university psychology textbook on gambling, in order to gain Jackie's confidence. He challenges her and she admits that she has been persuaded by Cole to cheat and to make sure that she is caught, so that the Carrington will be blamed and will lose its gaming licence. Ken has one of his famous conflicts of loyalty: should he tell Vaughan (who is after all his client) about Jackie or should he help her. He takes pity on her after learning that she is a single mother and that Cole has a hold over her: she has a criminal record for shoplifting many years ago and would lose her job if he revealed this to Vaughan. He suggests that she should set up Cole. With Ken secretly recording the conversation, she confronts Cole in his casino and demands more money for doing the dirty deed on the Carrington. Having got the evidence of Cole's corrupt dealings, it is a foregone conclusion that he, not Vaughan, will lose his licence. Matty King, a has-been comedian, is staying at Woodcote Park while appearing in Nottingham and gives Harry, Helen, Ken and Laura tickets to his show. Susan, one of the waitresses at the club where Matty is performing, seems to hate him and as he is about to go on stage she passes on a note which terrifies him. His act goes down very badly: he is simply not funny and the audience doesn't laugh. He collapses and is rushed to hospital suffering from nervous exhaustion. He eventually confesses to Harry that he is deeply in debt to Rupert Cole (see above) because he is a lousy card player, a compulsive gambler and a boozer. Many years ago, he used to be part of a double-act with Jimmy Jester, but he is very reluctant to say what became of Jester. However when Susan confronts him again, it becomes clear that she is Jester's daughter. She puts up "cancelled due to illness" banners on his advertising posters and then accuses him of deserting her father after he became terminally ill. However Matty reveals to her that far from not caring, he actually paid for Jester's hospital treatment on the condition that Jester must never tell his family where the money came from.moreless
  • Of Meissen Men
    Of Meissen Men
    Episode 2
    Ken is approached by Marion Kershaw who is looking for her missing husband, Geoff, who is in "the import/export business". Ken soon discovers that Geoff Kershaw owes money to the taxman. At the squash court that Kershaw uses, Ken finds a holdall containing a large amount of cash, a false passport and a gun. The police tell him that Kershaw is wanted for running an antiques smuggling business, stealing antiques around the country and sending them abroad. Ken and Harry agree to stage a fake robbery at Woodcote Park so as to have some "stolen" antiques with which to tempt the smugglers. The local contact for them turns out to be Eric Beveridge, an antiques dealer who has just sold Helen some chairs for Woodcote Park. Geoff and Marion meet up at a deserted quarry - the "missing person" story is evidently a cover. With Harry and the police tailing them, Beveridge takes Ken to the quarry where Marion recognises Ken. After a dramatic chase, Beveridge and the Kershaws are arrested. Helen catches Ken and Harry as they are replacing the "stolen" antiques. Two men in a van turn up in the grounds of Woodcote Park. It looks as if they are planning to dig up Civil War relics. Harry challenges them and tells them to "pack up and bugger off". It turns out that the men are preparing for sheepdog trials, as they have done every year, since being invited by Helen's late husband. Harry's mood changes dramatically when he discovers that one of the men is a Viscount.moreless
  • Walking off Air
    Walking off Air
    Episode 1
    Ken has moved to Nottingham and has set up Boon Investigations, operating out of a small office near the Castle. His first case involves him being employed by Gerry Anscomb, manager of a local radio station, Sherwood Sound. He wants Ken to act as minder for Eddie Cotton, "The Man You Love To Hate", a brash loud-mouthed young DJ who has a habit of turning up for work drunk... or not even turning up at all. They want to make sure he will not let them down at a Charity Telethon this coming weekend. Eddie gives Ken chance to plug Boon Investigations on the radio. Ken and Eddie go to a snooker club where Eddie gives Ken the slip and picks up Donna Delaney, a leggy young woman who wears cowboy boots and has closely-cropped blonde hair. Eddie and Donna go to a night club where she drugs him. He makes something of a spectacle of himself and gets his photo printed in the gossip column of the local paper. He misses his show and a fellow DJ, Tony Lyons, has to stand in for him. He eventually turns up, severely hungover, and Bill Stone, the managing director, fires him on the spot. But Ken suspects that Eddie was drugged. Because he is no longer retained by Sherwood Sound, he needs to enlist the help of Laura Marsh, the station's receptionist, to get back into the studios. To begin with, he suspects Tony Lyons, but then he discovers that Gerry Anscomb is leaving at the end of the month. He also finds out that Donna Delaney works for the radio station that Anscomb will shortly be joining. He and Laura decide to set up Anscomb and Donna. Laura passes on a message to her, apparently from Anscomb, asking her to meet him at the Telethon. Once Anscomb and Donna are seen together, the game is up and Anscomb admits that he deliberately set out to damage Eddie's reputation to get him sacked because he wanted Eddie to join him at the new station and knew he would not do so voluntarily. Such is friendship! Eddie gets his old job back and the Telethon is saved. Laura is not so lucky. She is sacked for letting Ken into the studios after he no longer had reason to be there. Ken offers her a job at Boon Investigations, working as his secretary and personal assistant. Harry has gone into partnership with a widow, Helen Yeldham, to run Woodcote Park, a hotel and county club in the Nottinghamshire countryside. He has big ideas about setting it up as a venue for international sporting events such as golf and tennis tournaments. He plans to convert the nearby Trent Meadow into tennis courts and is negotiating to buy the field from Richard Gibbs, a neighbouring farmer. However Gibbs wants to turn his farm into a commune and to build accommodation in the Meadow. David Tredegar, an eccentric naturalist who was a friend of Helen's husband, Philip, has come to stay at Woodcote. He discovers that Trent Meadow is inhabited by a rare breed of Natterjack Toad which are a protected species. Consequently neither the tennis courts nor the commune can be built there.moreless