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Special Branch: Catherine the Great (ITV 21 Feb 1974, with Jacqueline Pearce)

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In Catherine the Great Craven is at the docks attempting to stop a noted German assassin, Helmut Rehfuss, getting into the country. Rehfuss, though, slips off ship disguised as a woman.

Craven knows that Rehfuss is in the country to peform a hit. The problem is he doesn’t know what Rehfuss looks like or who is intended target is. However Strand has more than a little clue who the target is – a Caribbean despot who is paying a visit to the UK.

Haggerty isn’t in this episode but North is and he is now an Inspector in the CID. He and Craven have to work together – Craven was the man who got North kicked out of Special Branch. At the time Craven felt North didn’t have the killer instinct and in fact that turned out to be case when he was unable to fire on a suspect. It naturally has repercussions for the episode and it is in fact North who brings down Rehfuss with a shot to the chest.

Special Branch Catherine the Great

Michael Sheard plays antique shop owner Adrian Penfold who has a thing for Rehfuss. It ends with Penfold dead.

Genre favourites making an appearance include Jacqueline Pearce as the girlfriend of hitman Rehfuss and Michael Sheard playing homosexual antiques dealer Adrian Penfold with the hots for Rehfuss and who helps him get the weapon he needs.

There was rather a lot of screen time (and we are talking several minutes worth) given over to Rehfuss’s drag alter ego Catherine the Great’s dance routine on stage at “Dragsters” club.

There was also  little piece in the TV Times about how guest star Tony Beckley broke his ankle whilst filming on location but being a proper trouper he continued until the scene was over.

Special Branch Catherine the Great Roger Rowland

Series 3 regular Sgt North makes a guest appearance – he’s now a CiD man and has been promoted to Inspector.

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 21 February 1974 at 8.30pm

Writer: John Brason / Director: Douglas Camfield

Series: Special Branch Season 4 Episode 2

cast
George Sewell as Craven
Paul Eddington as Strand
Frederick Jaeger as Cmdr Fletcher
Roger Rowland as Inspector Bill North
Jacqueline Pearce as Helga Moritz
Tony Beckley as Helmut Rehfuss
Claire Nielson as Det Sgt Isobel Ross
Michael Sheard as Adrian Penfold
Tommy Eytle as General Yqueras
Neville Barber as Stanley Mace
Tommy Osborne as Drag compere

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Hazell: Hazell and the Big Sleep (ITV 24 May 1979, with Ian Marter)

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Hazell Nicholas Ball

In Hazell and the Big Sleep, James goes undercover at an hotel, posing as a wealthy antiques expert from America. He has been hired by an old police colleague who now runs security at the hotel. Somebody is stealing on a pretty intense level.

There are plenty of suspects it would seem, from the concierges on the front desk, to various of the residents.

A chance meeting at the hotel with Choc Minty sees Hazell more or less being blackmailed into working for him – two Mafioso’s have arrived from the US and Minty wants Hazell to find out what they are up to. Especially as various big time London heavies are also showing up to pay their respects to them.

The so-called Australian girl who Hazell has been getting friendly with is actually an FBI agent, also on the trail of the two Mafia gents.

Not the best episode of the series by a long shot. The playing by all concerned is way too big for a start. Star Wars fans may find the episode of interest though for it’s brief appearance by Peter Mayhew who is best known for playing Chewbacca.

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 24 May 1979 at 9.00pm

Writer: Trevor Preston / Production Design: Philip Blowers, Peter Elliott / Director: Baz Taylor

Series: Hazell Season 2 Episode 6

cast
Nicholas Ball as James Hazell
Roddy McMillan as Minty
Desmond McNamara as Tel
Peter Bourke as Graham
Geraldine Gardner as Sheel
Richard Durden as Jeremy Ironside
Ian Marter as Roper
Glyn Jones as Meltzer
Blain Fairman as Koch
Irene Sutcliffe as Mrs Lovegood
George Tovey as Webb
Ken Parry as Lugosi
Peter Mayhew as Giant
James Fuller as Sam
Paul Haley as Dave Dunn
John Quarmby as Billy Bush
Martyn Whitby as Danny Scaife
Charles Pemberton as Tony Rycott
Rosalind Wilson as Girl in Office

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