Special Branch: Diversion (ITV 2 May 1974, with Denis Lill)

In Diversion Strand takes centre stage after becoming convinced that there is a traitor in his department. He is making a show of appearing drunk in public and spending a lot of time with the married Beth Summers (she is the only one who has been taken into his confidence)

He hasn’t told anybody apart from Beth what he is doing and his activities soon bring him to the attention of Fletcher and Special Branch, Haggerty is quick to paint him as guilty but Craven is not so sure.

We get to find out quite a bit more about Charles Strand in this episode and the fact that he works for “D” department. He’s not averse to taking the pretend relationship with Beth further, in fact it turns out that that’s what the whole thing is about. Strand thought his colleague Lister was the target but in reality it’s Beth Summer’s and her husband Tim, who also works for the department. The pair record Strand’s night of passion with Beth and then try to blackmail Strand. Mainly because Tim is the one leaking information (for cash) and thinks he is about to be discovered.

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Craven and Haggerty are keeping a close eye on Strand who has visited a strip club. 

Lister, who has already claimed his loyalty to Strand, decides to take matters into his own hands. An “accident” involving a “faulty” gas installation leads to the death’s of the Summers’.

There was an interesting two page interview in the TV Times (27 Apr 74) with guest star John Cairney. He had been quite a well known player in the 1960’s but had had something of a breakdown. He had recently moved his family back to his native Scotland, to the tiny village of Pittenweem in Fifeshire where he was renovating a medieval house.

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Denis Lill’s Tim Summers is not quite as trustworthy as he makes out.

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 2 May 1974 at 8.30pm

Writer: Peter J. Hammond / Director: William Brayne

Series: Special Branch Season 4 Episode 12

George Sewell as Craven
Patrick Mower as Haggerty
Paul Eddington as Strand
Frederick Jaeger as Fletcher
Nicolette McKenzie as Beth Summers
John Cairney as Lister
Denis Lill as Tim Summers
Keith Marsh as Head Waiter
Peter Sproule as Constable
Sandra Hale as Stripper

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.