Bergerac: Ninety Per Cent Proof (BBC-1 10 Dec 1983, with Anthony Steel)

In Ninety Per Cent Proof Jim’s former trouble with alcohol comes back to haunt him and it almost costs him his job on the force.

The Bureau have been trying to convict arsonist businessman Jerry Le Fevre, they know is guilty but Jim has his hands full when he meets a woman named Susie Walsh. She claims a friend from Alcoholics Anonymous recommended him but she really needs help with her husband who is harassing her. Jim, unwisely, goes back with her to her hotel and when she says she sees her husband on the street outside Jim goes to talk to him. When he returns Susie is lying dead on the bed and Jim is knocked out cold.

Not one of Jim’s best looks…

Later Jim is seen staggering around the Royal Yacht and everyone automatically assumes he has fallen off the wagon. We know Jim has been forced to drink but nobody else does and nobody believes him. Jim knows he has been well and truly set up but proving it won’t be so easy. He also doesn’t know why he has been set up.

RELATED:   BBC Proms 2024: How to Watch and Listen

It’s a tough few days for Jim. He’s been suspended from duty and he’s been plied with so much alcohol that it could cause him to start drinking again. Thanks to Debbie (who interestingly is the only one who believes him) and a fellow AA member (a priest called Michael) he is able to get the alcohol out of system without succumbing again.

Jim’s ex-wife Debbie is the only one who is sympathetic and sort of believes his story.

Back on the straight and narrow Jim discovers that Susie Walsh is alive and well and is in reality an actress called Irene Maybank. Jim also discovers that she is involved with Le Fevre. Jim is then able to play Le Fevre at his own game.

A great opening episode to the third season with a typically fabulous Thriller style script by Brian Clemens relying on an extravagant set up, which when examined doesn’t really stand up but entertains enormously nonetheless.

RELATED:   King & Conqueror: BBC Historical Drama Series Wraps Filming in Iceland

The guest stars are first rate too, with Anthony Steel, Carol Royle, Ray Winstone and Alan Hunter all appearing.

Ray Winstone as Tully

production details
UK / BBC One / 1×55 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 3 December 1983 at 9.00pm

Writer: Brian Clemens / Production Design: Paul Allen / Director: Robert Young

Series: Bergerac Season 3 Episode 1

John Nettles as Jim Bergerac
Terence Alexander as Charles Hungerford
Sean Arnold as Crozier
Annette Badland as Charlotte
Deborah Grant as Debbie
Mela White as Diamante Lil
Tony Melody as Chief
Anthony Steel as Harker Le Fevre
Carol Royle as Irene Maybank
Alan Hunter as Jerry Le Fevre
Hugh Sullivan as Michael
Sue Wallace as Alice Crozier
John Gordon-Sinclair as Fringe actor
Rod Myers as Stage manager
Dallas Adams as Advocate
George Belbin as Magistrate
Michael Jenkinson as Prosecutor
Ray Winstone as Tully
James Coyle as Meaker
Keith Smith as Garage attendant
Neville Barber as Desk clerk
Douglas Stark as Hotel manager
Brian Edwards as Barman

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.