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Season 4 Episode 1

That'll Be the Day

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Mar 01, 1972 on ITV
out of 10
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Episode Summary

That'll Be the Day
Callan is dead. Or so the KGB — and his 'friends' — would have you think.

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  • Callan is dead - or so it appears. Actuallly he is in the KGB prison Lubiyanka, enjoying a nice interrogation. As far as Section is concerned that's the end of him, and Cross is happy to take his place. But Hunter is under pressure to get Callan back.moreless


    Callan's funeral is attended by everyone who cares from Section: well, that's about eight of them including Liz, a previous Hunter, the current Hunter, Cross and Stafford. The last two look like they were told to be there. Only Lonely is missing... because he wasn't told. When he finds out he races to the funeral (stealing a wreath from the churchyard on the way)and catches the end of the parson's sermon. Written by Hunter, it is as flowery a piece of absolute fiction as could be imagined. Callan was apparently a quiet, gently man who could not do much physical because of his weak heart, which was his cause of death. Lonely is flabbergasted and thinks it must be the wrong man in the coffin. Hunter is worried Lonely might cause trouble. Lonely stays at the grave and miserably asks, "What's gonna happen to me?"

    Meanwhile in bleak prison cell a worse for wear Callan, with the haircut from hell,is starting to crack under severe chemical interrogation. Despite being told it will destroy him if he resists for too long and he will be treated well if he cooperates, he won't do it out of stubbornness.

    Cross and Stafford are told to pick up a top Russian spy they have been watching, a man called Richmond. They bring him in to interrogation by Dr.Snell but Hunter's boss, Bishop, has a plan.

    Cross and Stafford bully Lonely into agreeing Callan is dead and to stop stirring up gossip. Stafford is horrified when Cross goes too far in a forced game of Russian roulette, shooting Lonely - even if it is only with a blank.

    Bishop wants to exchange Richmond for Callan, so Richmond can only be lightly questioned. Hunter is annoyed they cannot squeeze everything out of Richmond - the whole matter of Callan in prison doesn't perturb him. Callan had been caught on a job in East Berlin and handed to the Russians but that was just tough luck. A swap of prisoners is arranged and both Cross and Stafford are to take Richmond to Helsinki and bring back Callan. On finding out Callan is alive they are anything but pleased. Resentful, even. Not only is he coming back - probably to Cross's position - but it means handing over Richmond before they got everything they wanted. None the less, Bishop has demanded it be done.

    Callan in his bleak prison is suddenly being fed steak and wine and put under a sun lamp - so he looks healthy. He knows this means a swap. Richmond, in England, also realises by his light treatment that he is going home.

    The swap goes ahead in a Helsinki hotel. Richmond is bemused his British captors seem none-too-keen on getting their man back.

    When Callan and Richmond finally meet, they size each other up, understanding what they are worth - each other - in the scheme of things. Callan leaves with his colleagues and returns to London, knowing why Cross and Stafford are giving him such a frosty reception; the top man is back so everyone else has to shuffle down one level again.

    On meeting Hunter, Callan is also not surprised when he is told flatly that Hunter did not want to exchange Richmond for him. He is surprised to find Lonely went to his funeral. Callan wants to see his grave and when he turns up, there is Lonely with a bunch of flowers. Lonely faints at the ghostly image of his dead friend and Callan looks at the ironic headstone that reads: At Rest.

    It must be nice to know that everyone dislikes you, or at least would rather you just rot in a foreign prison somewhere. Now if this was a modern American show, people would be doing all sorts of deals and things to release Callan.... not this show, though. The only person that seems to take an interest in Callan's welfare is his interrogator, but like Dr.Snell, it could just be Dr.Karsky's professional manner.

    This episode shows a lot about why Callan is considered such a hard bastard - certainly tough to crack - and shows just how pleasant it is to be part of Charlie's Section. Even Lonely is developed more in this episode; one of Callan's only and most loyal friends despite the occasional bullying he receives from his mate. Well worth watching. Also notable for the start of an over-theme with Richmond, the KGB equivalent of Callan in a more sophisticated way.moreless
Julian Glover

Julian Glover


Guest Star

Michael Godfrey

Michael Godfrey


Guest Star

Jonathan Newth

Jonathan Newth


Guest Star

Clifford Rose

Clifford Rose


Recurring Role

Lisa Langdon

Lisa Langdon


Recurring Role

Paul Williamson

Paul Williamson


Recurring Role

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (17)

    • (Cross shoots Lonely in a forced game of Russian roulette, but it's just a blank.)
      Cross: I don't waste live rounds on Lonely.

    • Callan [ reading his tombstone inscription ]: "David Callan. At rest." That'll be the day.

    • Callan: What next?
      Hunter: Oh, holiday I think. Good food, fresh air, a little exercise…
      Callan: …A little debriefing?
      Hunter: That too.

    • Hunter [ on the funeral service ]: Liz cried.
      Callan: Yeah, well she would, wouldn't she?
      Hunter: I think your friend Lonely cried, too.
      Callan: Blimey! You didn't invite him, did you?
      Hunter: I doubt he's been invited anywhere in his life.

    • Hunter: We couldn't risk a show trial so we put you in your grave.
      Callan: Tell me, is there a body in it, sir?
      Hunter: Yes, of course. Just in case we needed an exhumation order, you know.
      Callan: Yeah, well the Section never had any trouble in finding bodies, did it?
      Hunter: No, we've been pretty lucky so far.

    • Callan [ to Richmond, as the two men are exchanged ]: Not many people know what they are worth.

    • Richmond [ on the prisoner exchange ]: Don't you want your colleague back?
      Stafford: We want a little quiet, Mr. Richmond.

    • Callan [ trying to engage his captors ]: What do we do now, play strip poker? That's a little capitalist joke I thought up.

    • Callan: We both start with a clean slate.
      Dr. Karsky: Clean? That is a very odd word you use.

    • Hunter: Callan used to say I played God. Perhaps he was right. You're going to assist in a resurrection.
      Cross: I'm not with you, sir.
      Hunter: Callan didn't die.
      Cross: What about the funeral, sir?
      Hunter: We buried someone, I agree, but it wasn't Callan.
      Stafford: And the death certificate?
      Hunter: Snell signed it. Heart failure, correct as far as it goes. Anyone's heart fails if you put a bullet in it.

    • Prison Guard: You'll be back.
      Callan: Not even to kill you, sweetheart.

    • Richmond: Will there be more questions?
      Bishop: No.
      Richmond: Ah ha!
      Bishop: Ah ha? Is that a Russian expression?

    • Richmond: You really are extremely talented.
      Dr. Snell: Thank you.
      Richmond: I should very much like to kill you.
      Dr. Snell: So many people would. It's much easier than answering questions.

    • Dr. Karsky: Then why fight me?
      Callan [ uncertainly ]: Because… I must?

    • Dr. Snell: You always expect me to perform miracles.
      Hunter: My dear doctor, if you couldn't perform miracles you wouldn't be working for me.

    • Parson [ euologising Callan ]: His life was sedentary as indeed it had to be. Sedentary and solitary, too. The weak heart, which finally took him away from us, forbade any physical exertion.
      He worked patiently and uncomplainingly as a clerk in a humble employment. And may I say how good it is to see so many of his friends and colleagues here today.
      Not rich, often ill, he accepted his lot, living a life of quiet usefulness. A law-abiding citizen who refused to succumb to the temptations of these turbulent times.
      Not for him the violent passions and so called passions that do so much to mar the image of generation.
      This was a gentle man, always willing to help others, doing good by stealth.
      A man of peace, a man who can meet his maker, as our prayer book says, in the sure and certain of hope of resurrection.
      For gentleness and goodness, though unfashionable, yet still they merit a great and everlasting reward.
      Lonely: Gawd Blimey! They're burying the wrong geezer!

    • (Stafford and Cross barge into Lonely's dingy flat.)
      Lonely: I got nothin'!
      Stafford: Except a vile case of B.O.

  • NOTES (0)