Shoestring: Higher Ground (BBC-1 14 Oct 1979, Glyn Houston)

In Higher Ground, Eddie investigates when Jean, the wife of Major Hansford, an ex soldier now running a private school near Bristol, becomes convinced that someone is targetting her husband. He refuses to talk about his past but a series of strange occurrences and acts of vandalism see’s Shoestring deciding to dig further into just what is going on.

Eddie thinks Hanford’s son Rodney might be involved (he actually knows the young man having been in the same psychiatric ward as him!) but matters very quickly get out of hand when someone tries to shoot Jean and then succeeds in killing her by deliberately cause the horse she is riding to buck her off. It seems though the real answer to the case might lay in the major’s past in Northern Ireland and a large haul of stolen money that was never recovered…

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Much of the joy in this episode comes from the interaction between Shoestring and Glyn Houston’s Major Hansford who has an undisguised contempt for the “Private Ear”, Houston is always a strong actor and he really comes into his own in the final third here when his world starts unravelling. There are some nice humourous moments too back at Radio West when Don tries to persuade Eddie to dress as Philip Marlowe for a publicity shoot.

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production details
UK / BBC One / 1×50 minuute episode / Broadcast 14 October 1979

Writer: Dave Humphries / Costumes: Kirstie Colam / Production Design: Humphrey Jaegar / Director: Marek Kanievska

Series: Shoestring Season One Episode Three

guest cast
GLYN HOUSTON as Major Hansford
ANNA CROPPER as Jean Hansford
DEREK ANDERS as Curtis
PETE WILSON as Rodney Hansford
ALAN DAVID as Ben Fischer
GORDON KAY as Tom Clarke
KATE PERCIVAL as Stable Girl
BEAU DANIELS as Miss Blair
ANDREW BRADFORD as Photographer
ARTHUR LOVEGROVE as Porter
GEOFFREY GREENHILL, GILLIAN McCUTCHEON as Parents

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.