Action, Crime, Mystery
pr co. ITC Entertainment; d. Cyril Frankel; w. John Kruse (based on the character created by Leslie Charteris); exec pr. Robert S. Baker; ph. Frank Watts (Colour | 1.33:1); m. John Scott; ed. Bert Rule; pd. John Stoll.
cast: Ian Ogilvy (Simon Templar), Gayle Hunnicutt (Annabel West), Stratford Johns (George Duchamps), Derren Nesbitt (Insp. Lebec), Joe Lynch (Capt. Finnigan), Michelle Newell (Genevieve), Edward Brayshaw (Oscar West), Peggy Thorpe-Bates (Mrs. Cloonan), John Hallam (Bernadotti), Leon Lissek (Pancho), Michael Robbins (Beeky), Prentis Hancock (Vic), Wensley Pithey (Franklyn), Cyril Luckham (Coroner).
Originally broadcast as “Collision Course” a two-part episode of Return of the Saint (1978-9), this was compiled into a feature film for the home video market as well as receiving a limited theatrical release. Hunnicutt’s husband is killed when his power boat blows up during a race and sets off for the French Riviera to collect ‘The Brave Goose’, a luxury yacht he has left her. She is followed by associates of her husband, who believe she knows the whereabouts of the spoils of a gold bullion robbery, whilst the Saint (Ogilvy) is also on her trail. Although shot on location in France, the film struggles to escape the limitations of its TV budget and whilst the story is passable it rarely catches fire. Ogilvy lacks the charisma Roger Moore brought to the role a decade earlier and Frankel’s direction is a little flat. Some good underwater footage during the finale adds much-needed suspense to an otherwise overly familiar tale.


Bergerac Second Time AroundBERGERAC: SECOND TIME AROUND (UK, 1989) ***½
      Distributor: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); Production Company: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) / Seven Network; Release Date: 23 December 1989; Running Time: 97m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Dolby; Film Format: 16mm; Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1; BBFC Cert: 12.
      Director: Peter Ellis; Writer: Ian Kennedy Martin; Producer: George Gallaccio; Director of Photography: John Walker; Music Composer: Ray Russell; Theme Music: George Fenton; Film Editor: Bernard Ashby; Production Designer: Martin Methven; Costumes: Barrie Sedwell; Make-up: Christine Greenwood; Sound: Malcolm Campbell; Stunt Arranger: Gareth Milne.
      Cast: John Nettles (Jim Bergerac), Terence Alexander (Hungerford), Sean Arnold (Crozier), John Telfer (Willy Pettit), David Kershaw (Ben Lomas), David Schofield (David Mason), Jenifer Landor (Elizabeth Dufresne), Donald Sumpter (Harry Tilson), Prentis Hancock (Arthur Medley), Richard Hawley (Michael Fulton), Chris Langham (Devas), Andrew Sachs (Moise Davidson), Rupert Frazer (Ted Grob), Sarah Neville (Sally Collins), Derrick Branche (Damian Shore), Elizabeth Bradley (Mrs. Maurice), Lisa Climie (Wendy), Pavel Douglas (De Lavarre), Clare Byam-Shaw (Dr. Bonham).
      Synopsis: David Mason murders Ted Grob by throwing him into a swimming pool, handcuffed to a patio recliner. Jim returns to duty to solve the murder and is asked by an ex-con who believes he was framed to go back over the details of the robbery of a courier company some years earlier which has a connection with the recent death.
      Comment: The fourth of six feature-length Bergerac specials, this one broadcast at Christmas 1989 ahead of series 8. By this time changes were afoot in the series with Nettles’ Bergerac a much more reflective character following his split with long-time girlfriend Susan Young (an absent Louise Jameson); Sean Arnold’s Crozier has been promoted to Superintendent and is operationg from police HQ, without the services of secretary Peggy Masters and Jim’s ex-family are long gone to London. The stories had become tougher and the new approach is no more evident than in this flashy, violent heist thriller with its explosive finale. It’s well-written and typical of Kennedy Martin’s hard-nosed approach to crime series – he did, after all, create The Sweeney. There’s a strong performances from Schofield – in one of his unhinged bad guy roles – and Landor briefly gives Bergerac hope of a new love interest. Producer Gallaccio may have been trying to move the series away from its cosier approach by giving it the edge of the more action-orientated dramas of the period, but in doing so he had taken something of the character of the series away.  As a result, the series lost some of its charms whilst gaining a bigger budget and slick action set-pieces.