Season 4 Episode 8

I Never Wanted the Job

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Apr 19, 1972 on ITV
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Episode Summary

I Never Wanted the Job
Lonely becomes the unlucky witness to a mob hit an unwittingly involves Callan and the Section, at a time when Hunter is considering Lonely's future - and if he should have one.

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  • When Lonely witnesses a mob hit he unwittingly involves Callan and the Section. It's up to Callan to protect his friend from both the mobsters and from Hunter, and at the same time carry out a mundane security task with Meres at the airport.moreless


    A white Jaguar, the car of well-heeled crooks and coppers in the 70's (I watched the Sweeney), pulls up at a housing estate. Two blokes are sitting in it, Steve and Sunshine, watching and waiting until a taxi pulls up. A young bloke, Dollar, and his girl get out, happy and laughing. The other two run up with a shotgun and give a yell. At the signal the girl, Tina, runs to them and they shoot the boyfriend dead, before all climbing into the Jag and speeding off. The taxi driver is a horrified Lonely, who quickly drives away.

    In a greasy, grimy café for taxi drivers some of the inhabitants are reading about the murder in the paper and claiming it was a gang war killing – the victim was a proper villain, the man called Dollar. Apparently Scotland Yard want to speak to the taxi driver who was at the scene.

    Lonely turns up for a cup of tea. It is certainly his sort of place. You could catch salmonella looking in the window. While there he hears on the radio about the investigation into the murder and how the police are looking for him and the woman, who they think was a lure used by a rival gang. Lonely scarpers. It's what he does best.

    Callan is in his flat sneezing and coughing, and opens the door to a frantic Lonely. Lonely admits it was him who was the taxi driver in that Dollar killing. Callan ignores his cold symptoms and puts all his effort into being angry with Lonely because he was out touting for fares when he was supposed to be working for Section.

    Lonely whimpers and says he is sorry, but he hopes he will be safe because nobody saw him… did they? Of course they did, Callan snarls, that's why they're trying to find you now. How does he know no one got his licence plate? And if they track down Lonely then Callan is in it, too. That's why Callan is so riled up.

    Callan arrives at Hunter's office, still the worse for wear from his cold. Hunter calls in Meres who saunters in and fills Callan in on their new case. "Someone has a phobia so there is a bit of a flap on at Luton airport." Huh? Callan is baffled so Meres clarifies a little. Special branch are pulling in a two-bit courier called Griffith and the Section are to watch and observe but do nothing. Callan snorts, insulted that it's office boy work - they don't do 'nothing'. Hunter is insistent that Callan will do as he is told.

    When Lonely parks the taxi in the garage he is ambushed by the two thugs who shot Dollar, Steve and Sunshine. They easily bully Lonely and warn him to not speak to the police, then Sunshine starts smashing up his taxi with a hammer. Lonely's more scared of Callan and what he'll do if the taxi is damaged. He warns the thugs it's not his cab and it belongs to a friend of his who won't be happy if they break it. This just makes them laugh and they smash up the headlights and windscreen.

    Lonely tells them his tough mate will get them, and he's done worse to bigger blokes than them. This doesn't perturb them at all – they are henchmen and henchmen are always overconfident. "Tell your tough friend; anytime. Okay?" Steve says and they stroll off, pleased with themselves, while Lonely whines and surveys the wreckage.

    Holed up in the café of squalor, Lonely is drinking tea and reading the paper when the police CID branch turn up and start asking the café owner if he's heard anything about the taxi driver in relation to the Dollar murder. The owner shrugs them off – he knows nothing and he wouldn't say if he did.

    The two detectives cosy up to Lonely, the only customer, and question him. They say they know the murder victim had a coloured girl with him and caught a taxi with a licence plate containing an H and a 5. They ask where Lonely's taxi is but he tells them it's in the shop being fixed as he had a little accident. The café owner reminds them Lonely had the day off on the day of the shooting and was in the café all day. The police are suspicious but leave, asking the owner to call if he finds out anything. The owner gives Lonely a look and shakes his head.

    Callan returns to his flat and finds Lonely waiting. As Callan makes tea he tells Lonely he needs the taxi to pick him up the next day. Lonely snuffles about but eventually admits: "The cab is bust. It got itself damaged." Callan figures he had another accident but Lonely indignantly denies it and says it was these two fellers, and it's to do with that gangland murder. Callan guessed that.

    Lonely insists he never told no one about Callan, though, and Callan agrees Lonely would never do that – or else. Frightened, Lonely explains it was the two fellers who did the killing who smashed up the taxi to warn him not to talk to anyone. What should he do? Lonely asks and says Callan has to tell him what to do because it's all his fault. Lonely never asked to be a cabbie! Callan got him into all this trouble. Callan knows he got him the job to save his life but he can't explain that so he just grits his teeth.

    In an empty bar Sunshine and Steve meet with their boss, Abbott, and his coloured girlfriend, Tina, who was part of the killing. Abbott is the head gangster and rebukes his two flunkies – he wanted them to warn the taxi driver off, not advertise themselves. After all, are they even sure it was that cabbie? They think it was. What about this other geezer he talked about, his tough friend? The two think it was just a bluff but Abbott is not so sure. If there is another bloke then that means there are now two witnesses the law can use against them.

    Abbott says he told them not to shoot Dollar until the cab was out of sight – they stuffed up the killing. The henchmen pass the blame onto Tina for getting out at the wrong place, but she says it's not true. Abbott has had enough of the accusations and incompetence. He tells the henchmen to find the cabbie again and force him to take them to his friend, then do both of them. Neither henchman is happy but Abbott threatens to put them where Dollar is if they don't comply. Considering they seem to be his killers, you wonder who he would get to do it.

    Hunter complains at the amount of money Callan wants to repair the taxi – sixty quid! If Lonely has had an accident he has to fill in the forms, he says. Callan hedges about and says it wasn't that kind of accident – there was no other party involved as such. All he needs is a chit from Hunter to give to accounts to get the damage repaired. Hunter becomes suspicious. Are the police involved? Not really, Callan says. Hunter warns that if his friend Lonely breaks cover they are both finished, and tells Callan to sort it out... but was it really an accident, he asks?

    Callan coughs and complains about his cold before shuffling out the office. Once he's gone Hunter calls Meres in.

    Meres strolls in, all smiles, especially when Hunter tells him the MCF, the taxi, has had an accident. "What, Lonely's little bus?" He chuckles.

    "I want to know exactly what kind of accident."

    Meres feigns concern. "Is Lonely hurt, Sir?"

    Hunter pauses for effect. "Not yet."

    Meres arrives at the garage and sees the damage to the taxi, and is smart enough to see it's no accident – and the hammer is still on the front seat. With a smirk he trots off.

    Meres stops by at Callan's flat and has a cup of tea. I think this episode is sponsored by Tetley. Meres is being charming and admiring Callan's taste in things. Callan shrugs off the niceties. Then Meres mentions he heard about Lonely's 'accident' with the MCF, dismissing it as the little taxi-thing Callan dreamed up during his brief sojourn as Hunter. Meres says Callan must have been mad, involving Lonely in Section business but Callan defends his decision and says Lonely isn't involved, then tells Meres to drop the subject.

    Meres shrugs. "Alright, David. It's your funeral. And he'll probably drive you to it one day, if there's anything left of the cab, of course."

    They talk about the job at Luton the following evening and says he will pick Callan up. Neither of them are overjoyed at the task but they have to follow Hunter's orders. They plan to meet tomorrow at seven at Lonely's garage.

    Meres leaves and while Callan is washing his dishes Lonely knocks on the door frantically. Very frantically. He even calls Mr.Callan 'David'. It makes Callan suspicious enough that he pulls out his gun and prepares himself for the worst. He unlocks the door and tells Lonely to come in. Lonely is shoved through and Callan slams the door on the hand holding the gun behind him, thumps the guy and drags him inside. While Steve is groaning on the floor Callan gestures with his pistol for Sunshine to follow. Callan holds the two henchmen at gunpoint. Lonely whimpers that they made him bring them there.

    Meres reports to Hunter that the cab was smashed deliberately and it was no accident. A personal thing Lonely got himself into? Hunter wonders, but Meres remarks if it was personal with Lonely then it involves Callan. Hunter agrees. "I'm getting a little tired of our friend, Lonely."

    "If I can be of any help, Sir…" Meres subtly offers what he does best.

    Hunter declines for now. "Oh, I hope not. For his sake. But Meres? I'll bear it in mind."

    Callan shoves the two thugs at gun point into the empty nightclub. At the bar Abbott and Tina are surprised to see them. Callan finds a linen cupboard and shoves the two heavies into it. When he looks around, Abbott is pouring himself a scotch. What, no tea? No wonder Callan declines the offer. Abbott asks what the deal is and Callan tells him to just lay off his cabbie friend or else, and to prove a point tips up a table and smashes the glasses on it.

    Abbott is wary. Is this a threat? he asks, but Callan defines it is a promise. Will Callan bring in the law? No, Callan replies, the law can look after its own affairs - this is very personal. "If you or your blokes touch him once more, I will touch you. Very hard."

    Tina sneers at his show of friendship for Lonely. "What's so special about your little friend. You queer for him?"

    He laughs at this. "No, darlin'. But with scrubbers like you around it's a wonder we're not all bent, innit?" He knows how to charm the birds. Callan tells Abbott he just wants him and Lonely to be left in peace, but Abbott refuses to believe it – Callan must want something. Money, power, to muscle in on the territory… No, Callan says. Abbott warns him he will never be able to stand up in court to tell about him. Callan simply doesn't care and sneers. "Who needs us to tell them about you?"

    He walks out and Abbott glares after him. Now the threat is gone Tina is outraged by his audacity and asks who he thinks he is. Abbott says it's irrelevant because he won't be much longer.

    In Hunter's office, Hunter is annoyed with Callan's lies about the taxi and the 'accident'. Hunter says he doesn't like liars but Callan claims he didn't lie… he just didn't tell everything.

    Hunter says he knows there was no accident and the damage was deliberate, but now he wants to know who did it. Callan is evasive and says he's sorted it all out.

    Hunter warns him. "You better start worrying about your friend Lonely. You brought him into this affair. Just make sure you don't have to take him out."

    Callan promises to otherwise Meres will do so.

    Back in Abbott's club, Tina arrives afters snooping around and tells her boss what she found out about Callan. He's a book keeper, a civil servant who works for social security… or something. Abbott finds this difficult to believe – the man roughed up his minders and carries a shooter. She adds that Callan likes to keep himself to himself, and Abbott feels this should be encouraged.

    At the garage at night Callan bullies and threatens Lonely. He must never drag Callan into things again. Lonely complains it's Callan's fault, as he carries a shooter and does all these heavy jobs. Before Callan can physically hurt Lonely too much he restrains his temper and says he just saved Lonely's life – for what it's worth. Lonely doesn't seem too grateful and continues to sulk. Callan walks away to check the damage to the taxi and starts on Lonely for not doing his job – but this time it's too much for the thief.

    Lonely snaps back and says he's had enough of being hurt and threatened by Callan. He never wanted the job with the taxi, and if he hadn't had it he wouldn't be in so much strife now. Callan snarls if he hadn't had the taxi he would be dead by now. Lonely storms off but only gets as far as the main garage door, because just then the white Jaguar squeals up and three heavies leap out, shoving a gun at his face. Before he is seen, Callan ducks behind the cab with his gun already in hand. Abbott is in the car and asks if Callan is there, and Sunshine and Steve round on Lonely to tell them. He swears he doesn't know so they hit him and pass him to another thug. The two minders skulk through the garage with guns drawn, hunting Callan, while he slips past them. As they go into the office at the far end, Callan knocks out the thug holding Lonely and they hide in the taxi.

    Abbott sees them and calls his men back.

    Trapped, Callan manages to shoot the gun out of the hand of Sunshine but he's now in the line of sight of Abbott. Before Abbott can shoot, Meres takes him out with a shot to the back. The thugs all surrender and Callan locks them in the office. As Meres saunters over to Callan, Abbott manages to stagger to his feet for a last bit of retribution and aims at Meres. Callan spins and takes the gangster out, saving Meres. Both appreciate they saved each other from death. They jump in the taxi with Lonely at the wheel and flee, leaving behind a trail of blood. Lonely is horrified with what he saw.

    In Hunter's office, Hunter is chatting on the phone to his contact at Luton airport. Apparently the thing with Griffith at Luton was nothing, but Hunter is grateful for the assistance. He hopes the people he sent up were of help… then he finds out Callan and Meres didn't make it. He is curious and hangs up.

    Before he can call for the two they enter the office, looking a little bedraggled. They apologise to Hunter for not getting to Luton, but when he asks why they haver a little and ramble about traffic and cars breaking down. It's a very uncharacteristic bit of camaraderie between them based on both covering each other for being naughty.

    Of course Hunter is suspicious and doesn't believe a word, but he can prove nothing. He demands a full report first thing in the morning, and they both happily agree. He tells them the Luton job was a waste of time anyway and Griffith is in the clear – which is more than he can says about the two of them.

    He rounds on Callan angrily. "Since when has it been your job to clean up the underworld, Callan?"

    Caught out, Callan shrugs off the significance. Oh... that, Sir? Well, you told me to sort it out. I sorted it out.

    When Hunter calls them both a couple of gangsters Callan laughs and says that's exactly what they are.

    Hunter claims their work is essential to the safety of the country. "We are not hired thugs."

    "Of course we're not, Sir. We are civil servants, aren't we?" Meres nods agreement with Callan.

    Hunter tells them the police assume the killing of Abbott was a gangland hit as a tit-for-tat for killing Dollar. He angrily tells them to get out of his office but once they leave, Hunter smiles.

    Outside in Liz's office Callan and Meres are still patting each other on the back and seem happy they got away with things. Meres particularly seems to have enjoyed a bit of unplanned killing. He says Callan should introduce him to more of his friends like that, and Callan agrees that Meres would get on very well with them.

    Back in Callan's Spartan but relatively clean flat, Callan has a 'Love' towel over his head and is inhaling fumes from a bowl, trying to shake his cold. Lonely stands over him, concerned, filling up Callan's scotch glass and fluffing up his cushion. Lonely is chuffed with the newspaper headline about the retaliation killing of Abbott because he figures they are safe now. He tells Callan they make a pretty good team. Callan glares up at him, unable to speak his disgust, and Lonely scarpers before he gets hurt.

    An interesting episode in that the actual case they have is irrelevant and doesn't even get done. Lonely has a lot of snivelling to do and even manages to stand up to Callan for a bit. Hunter is his wily self, figuring things out and ready to give the bad orders if he must for the good of the Section. Meres and Callan even share a bit of a good time together – which is odd in a way but seems to work in this case.

    Meres still has his smug, sinister moments when he offers to solve some of Hunter's problems, and fortunately he has no problems killing gangsters as the need arises. There is also something satisfying about the supposedly untouchable crime lord getting his comeuppance from Callan. You can't help but feel a little sorry for Abbott; so used to dealing with petty crooks he is all at sea when he meets the government's hit men. As you would expect.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Hunter [ of Lonely's accident ]: I want to know exactly what kind of accident.
      Meres: Is Lonely hurt, Sir?
      Hunter: Not yet.

    • Meres [ on Lonely and the taxi ]: All right, David. It's your funeral. And he'll probably drive you to it one day, if there's anything left of the cab, of course.

    • Hunter: I'm getting a little tired of our friend, Lonely.
      Meres [ eagerly ]: If I can be of any help, Sir?
      Hunter: Oh, I hope not. For his sake. But Meres? I'll bear it in mind.

    • Tina [ of Lonely ]: What's so special about your little friend? You queer for him?
      Callan: No, darlin'. But with scrubbers like you around it's a wonder we're not all bent, innit?

    • Hunter: I don't like liars.
      Callan: I'm not lying.
      Hunter: What do you call it then?
      Callan: Well… It's just not telling.
      Hunter: I'm told everything.

    • Hunter: You better start worrying about your friend, Lonely. You brought him into this affair. Just make sure you don't have to take him out.
      Callan: I'll tell him.
      Hunter: If you don't, I know who will.

    • Hunter [ on the killing of Abbott ]: Since when has it been your job to clean up the underworld, Callan?
      Callan: Oh… that, Sir?
      Hunter: Yes. That.
      Callan: Well, you told me to sort it out… I sorted it out.

    • Hunter: I didn't tell you to take the law into your own hands like a couple of gangsters!
      Callan [ laughing ]: It's exactly what we are, Sir
      Hunter: Our work is essential to the safety of the country. We are not hired thugs.
      Callan: Of course we're not, Sir. We are civil servants, aren't we?

    • Lonely: The cab is bust. It got itself damaged.

  • NOTES (0)


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