TV UK TV

Catch Hand (BBC 1964, Mark Eden, Anthony Booth)

In drama series Catch Hand a pair of drifters Johnny Rich and Finn Brodie keeps one eye open for the main chance.

Original radio times publicity… Mark Eden and Anthony Booth star in a new drama series about two young men who are always on the move doing different jobs: Some people would call him a drifter, others a casual labourer, while officialdom classifies him as an intinerant worker. But to the men who work alongside him and respect him, he is “Catch Hand”. Not for him the routine and regular hours of a steady job; he is always on the move, selling his skill and strength to the highest bidder when there is tough and dirty work to be done.

He is, in his way, a specialist, welcomed wherever there are dams to be built or motorways to be driven across the countryside – earning as much as sixty pounds a week but never stopping in the same place for long before the itch to be up and away takes him to another town, another job. He is a character new to television, and the BBC Television series which begins tonight concerns one catch hand in particular, Johnny Rich – a man whose wanderings stem from something more than restlessness, a man in the grip of a force that drives him on almost as though he were escaping from something, or someone…

Sharing his adventures is young Finn Brodie, in every way the opposite of Johnny. Brash, extrovert, exuberant, a labourer who lives from hand to mouth, spending his money on drink and girls. Finn is in truth a drifter – and as events turn out, his drifting takes him in the same direction as Johnny. Mark Eden, who plays Johnny, is well-qualified for the part. Before becoming established as an actor he tried his hand at dozens of different jobs, including milkman, lathe operator, labourer on a building site, tailor’s presser, pier photographer, travelling salesman and fairground barker. He has since appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in a number of television plays and films – the latest, Séance On A Wet Afternoon – and has been seen most recently on BBC Television as Marco Polo in Doctor Who.

Anthony Booth, as Finn Brodie, has had an equally varied career, ranging from the Merchant Navy to work as a labourer, waiter, painter, stable boy, docker, and porter at Covent Garden market. Many viewers will have seen him in episodes of Taxi! And Z-Cars, and he has played in several films with Mark Eden, notably The L-Shaped Room. In tonight’s first story, Stop Counting At One, we meet Johnny Rich as he arrives at a big construction site in search of work. Acting on the principle that all such sites accumulate trouble, he finds where the trouble is and offers to sort it out. It is a dangerous job, which nobody else will tackle – and for Johnny and Finn, twice as dangerous, because it involves thwarting a man with a keen interest in seeing that it is not finished.

production details
UK / BBC / 10×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 1 July – 2 September 1964 black and white

Producer: Terence Williams

cast
MARK EDEN as Johnny Rich
ANTHONY BOOTH as Finn Brodie

THE EPISODES
1. STOP COUNTING AT ONE (1 Jul 64)
2. FIVE PER CENT OF TROUBLE (8 Jul 64)
3. FIFTEEN-BOB-AN-HOUR MEN (15 jul 64)
4. THE JOKERS (22 Jul 64)
5. IT’S NEVER THE SAME (29 Jul 64)
6. BECAUSE IT WAS THERE (5 Aug 64)
7. JUST CALL ME DAD (12 Aug 64)
8. A TIME FOR GRASS (19 Aug 64)
9. IT’S ONLY BRICKS AND MORTAR (26 Aug 64)
10. SHADOWS FROM THE PAST (2 Sep 64)





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