And so we come to Broke, the very final episode of the series. Beginning with the opening episode of the season when James over extended himself in an attempt to move into a position of leadership at the merchant bank things have gone steadily sour for James. Now the bank have called in their loan.
Geoffrey Osborne, who persuaded James to buy shares in the bank in the first place, has disappeared to the bahamas leaving James very much in the lurch. A hastily arranged board meeting at the bank shows James just how determined they are to get their money back. James has one piece of ammunition left – the agreement he made with Geoffrey is considered illegal and he tells the board that he will go to the press if they don’t extend his loan. However the letter of agreement about the loan is on Geoffrey’s file and nobody has access to it.
The bank decide to call James’s bluff – on the advice of his solicitor, Tim Balfour, he calls an extraordinary general meeting of the banks shareholders in which he will discuss the situation of the illegal loan and ask for a vote of no confidence to get rid of the board. When the board get wind of it they suddenly manage to get a look at Geoffrey’s file and claim there is no letter.
Before the meeting can be convened the official receivers are brought in and James has all of his assets frozen – even down to the money in his wallet. On top of that the bank put forward their own motion to remove James from the board.
Thankfully Tim Balfour tracks Geoffrey Osborne down and pays a flying visit to the bahamas. It returns with a letter explaining the whole situation, at the same time as the official receiver going through Hadleigh’s letters at Melford discovers an opened missive from Osborne that just happens to contain a photocopy of their arrangement. It also means that because the loan was illegal there is no way that the bank can enforce the loan.
In a sidebar James seems to have finally met his match in the romance stakes with Stella Clisby but, like Jennifer, is only willing to take Hadleigh on without Melford. When Melford is saved she decides to leave James to it.
Along with Favours it has been a superb final couple of episodes bringing the series to a very satisfactory close. It would have been devastated if James had lost Melford. As much a part of the series as any of the human characters. The final scene plays out with James asking Sutton to fetch a bottle of champagne and three glasses – for himself, Lady Helen and Sutton.
The door is left open for potentially another series but it wasn’t to be and apart from an appearance in an episode of family show The Flockton Flyer a couple of years later, Gerald Harper all but retired from acting after Hadleigh.
“The chances are I shall end up with nothing…”
“Maybe Charlie was right, if I do go I may just find out who I am.”
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Friday 28 May 1976 at 9.00pm
Writer: Ian Curteis / Production Design: Mary Rea / Director: Brian Farnham
Series: Hadleigh Season 4 Episode 13
Gerald Harper as James Hadleigh
Peter Dennis as Sutton
Ambrosine Phillpotts as Lady Helen
David Horovitch as Tim Balfour
Myra Frances as Stella Clisby
John Woodvine as Driberg
Michael Aldridge as Quantock
Barrie Cookson as Cecil
Norman Scace as Bestman
Preston Lockwood as Registrar
Richard Pescud as Clerk
Matthew Long as Sampson
Roger Hammond as Brunswick
John Rolfe as Thompson