This fabulous period cult drama focused on Victorian adventurer Robert Baldick who battles supernatural forces across the country, travelling around in his private train, equipped with its own laboratory. Baldick has a pet owl called Cosmo and purchased his specially adapted train after the crown prince of Russia, for whom it was intended, pulled out of the deal. In this episode, which was intended to be a pilot for a series which never emerged (more’s the pity), Baldick is asked by the Reverend Peter Elmsted to investigate the murder of a young woman (one of many cases to have happened in the local area over the years), the locals are convinced her lover is to blame, Baldick becomes convinced that something more sinister is afoot.
A pilot entry from the Drama Playhouse strand for a series that never emerged. Very well made and with a great central performance from Robert Hardy. There were some less than special effects though, notably the over use of cso for when the train was on the move, although the shot of a bible bursting into flames was pretty well done. There was also a nice little twist at the end with an artifact found in the soil.
The production was scheduled to air 6 September 72 but this was postponed because of the Black September attacks at the Munich Olympics. Made with the co -operation of the Severn Valley Railway Co Ltd.
UK / BBC ‘Drama Playhouse’ / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Monday 2 October 1972
Writer: Terry Nation / Costumes: Dorothea Wallace / Music Advisor: Anthony Isaac / Production Design: John Burrowes / Producer: Anthony Coburn / Director: Cyril Coke
Series: Drama Playhouse
ROBERT HARDY as Robert Baldick
REGINALD MARSH as Charles Adlington
JAMES COSSINS as Rev Peter Elmstead
JOHN RHYS DAVIES as Caleb Spelling
JULIAN HOLLOWAY as Thomas Wingham
PAUL HUMPOLETZ as Walter Sturry
BARRY ANDREWS as Seth Marden
DAVE MOBLEY as Lenham
RON WELLING as Daniel Pluckly