TV UK TV

Enemy of the State, An (BBC-2 1965, Charles Tingwell, Veronica Strong)

In espionage thriller An Enemy of the State computer expert Harry Sutton gets caught up in a deadly game when his company sells a major new computer to Russia and he himself is tasked with installing it.

Original Radio Times publicity… Charles Tingwell and Veronica Strong star in the first of a new season of thriller serials: Harry Sutton’s work means a great deal to him – more, so it appears to his wife, than she does. “You might just as well buy a camp-bed and live in that factory of yours so you can be there day and night without having to worry about anything else”. But Harry does have other worries. He must leave Jennifer at a critical stage in their marriage when he flies to Moscow to install a new computer sold to Russia by his company for two-and-a-half million pounds. There is the sudden appearance of the suave Mr Henderson, who describes himself as an unimportant civil servant but seems to know a great deal about Harry’s private affairs and makes a startling proposition. And while Harry Sutton the offended electronics engineer with principles may threaten to kick Mr Henderson out of the house, Harry Sutton the heavily mortgaged husband is in a vulnerable position. Especially since Henderson is clearly a somewhat unusual civil servant. An Enemy Of The State, which opens a new season of BBC-2 thriller serials, is as topical as today’s newspaper, for in 1965 epsionage is no longer limited to military secrets, nor is the definition of a spy as simple as it used to be.

This exciting six-part story is the work of Ken Hughes, who is well known as a film director, with such productions as The Trials Of Oscar Wilde and The Small World Of Sammy Lee to his credit. His first job in show business was as a sound effects boy with the BBC, which he joined in 1939 – providing door slams for ITMA, glass crashes for Hi Gang!, and every kind of noise for the wartime radio serial Front Line Family. His television play Sammy, which he wrote and directed for BBC Television in 1958 and which starred Anthony Newley, won him the Television Directors’ Guild Award as Scriptwriter of the Year, while his last BBC Television serial, Solo For Canary, gained him high praise for its realistic interpretation of London’s underworld. It was after several visits to Russia that he wrote An Enemy Of The State – a spy story as seen from the other side of the Iron Curtain. Produced by Alan Bromly and directed by James Cellan Jones (who also started on the bottom run in the BBC as a television call-boy, and is now considered one of the most promising young directors), the serial has a strong cast. Among those in tonight’s first episode are Charles Tingwell as Harry Sutton and Veronica Strong as his wife, while Robert Mill takes the part of Mr Henderson, who insists: “It’s just a matter of keeping one’s eyes and ears open”.

Producer Alan Bromly was also heavily involved with the Francis Durbridge thrillers around the same time.

production details
UK / BBC Two / 6×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 17 October – 21 November 1965

Writer: Ken Hughes / Production Design: Spencer Chapman / Producer: Alan Bromly / Director: James Cellan Jones

cast
Charles Tingwell as Harry Sutton
Veronica Strong as Jennifer Sutton
James Maxwell as Colonel Rykov
Alfred Hoffman as Orlov
Dallia Penn as Karin
Jan Conrad as Boris
Peter Stephens as Simons

THE EPISODES
1. THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY
2. POINT OF NO RETURN
3. CAUSE FOR ALARM
4. THE FACELESS MEN
5. THE BLOOD RED TAPE
6. THE RECKONING





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