In season four opener Process events take a devastating for David Main. His wife and child are killed in a collision with a truck driver. David’s investigator Walter Clegg discovers that the truck driver, George Duncan, had been drinking but that a samples analyst is on the take, switching positive samples for negative ones and getting drunk drivers off scot free. Walter makes a decision, to steal Duncan’s sample, that has massive repercussions for not only himself but David’s whole career as a solicitor.
Clegg’s actions and David’s collusion at those actions provide the impetus for the whole rest of the season.
Events take place over the course of many months, we only see David mourning in a small way – when he first learns the news and then it is straight back to business. Once the police find out what Clegg has been up to he is arrested. David acts as his lawyer and Walter is given a two year suspended sentence which means he is no longer able to work for Castleton and Main. The judge also makes it plain that David’s actions need looking at too and Henry tells him that he believes that his days as a practicing solicitor could be numbered.
Before the accident we see Hilary’s car driving off but not Hilary herself, clearly Estelle Kohler, who played Hilary in the third season was possibly unavailable or didn’t want to be in the fourth season. We haven’t been able to find out for certain but chances are it was most likely part of creator Edmund Ward’s bid to give the series a different edge. Incidentally Hilary’s father was played by Jack Watson previously but is here played by Charles Morgan. Frederick Treves had also appeared in the series before as a different character in season three episode Doll On A Wall.
The new theme tune (by Anthony Isaac) and opening titles are definitely more “mid seventies” but whilst the titles abandon the train they do keep David’s travel from London to Leeds part of the scene by showcasing a car travelling at speed along the motorway.
Also John Stride’s hair has turned almost silvery in the two and a half year gap between series, he’s still looking very dapper and cool though!
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Friday 18 April 1975 at 9.00pm
Writer: Edmund Ward / Production Design: Malcolm Middleton / Director: Derek Bennett
Series: The Main Chance Season 4 Episode 1
John Stride as David Main
Margaret Ashcroft as Margaret Castleton
John Wentworth as Henry Castleton
Glynn Edwards as Walter Clegg
Philip Brack as Sam Thornaby
Michael Sheard as Analyst
David Hill as George Duncan
Charles Morgan as Harry Selby
Antony Carrick as James Cosgrove
Nigel Lambert as Eric Anderson
Peter Birrel as Joe Farrell
Frederick Treves as Simon Rimsey
Edward Underdown as Judge
Jeffrey Segal as Magistrate