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Strangers: The Wheeler Dealers (ITV 9 Jan 1979)



In The Wheeler Dealers, the opening episode of the second season, Bulman, Doran and Willis are all working undercover at the local docks. They are trying to discover a link between Britain and Holland that equals trouble in Ireland. The trio run into a bit of trouble when they cross swords with Special Branch.

Bulman seems to spend most of the episode either hurting himself or getting stranded aboard ship but there are some touching scenes between him and the Dr who treats him after he injures himself at the docks.

Despite it being only a few months between series there have been a few subtle changes, not least in Willis’s beard and a shorter hair-do for Doran. There are a few new scenes in the opening titles too. The humour quotient is definitely much higher in this episode too, from the fact that it’s nothing to do with the IRA but actually taking stolen bikes to sell in Holland to Bulman singing the theme tune to The Dambusters when he goes in to rescue Willis. Finally Doran, Bulman and Willis go in pursuit of villain’s truck on three of the stolen bicycles.

Don Henderson was given a good feature in the TV Times (6 Jan 79) in which he revealed the truth about Bulman’s constant glove wearing. It was something that happened when he was sourcing his outfit for Bulman’s first appearance in The XYY Man, saying they “were just the sort of thing Bulman would think were posh and help him become an Inspector.” He also talked about the shock death of his 26 year old wife Hilary the year before, she died from a rare virus infection and revealed that he was devoted his spare time to raising money for a special scanning machine at the hospital where she died.

Strangers Wheeler Dealers

classic quote
“It fell apart didn’t it, bloody handlebars come off. You gave me that bike on purpose didn’t you. Willis. Willis.”

production details
UK / ITV – Granda / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Tuesday 7 January 1979

Writer: Murray Smith / Production Design: Michael Grimes / Director: Carol Wilks

Series: Strangers Season 2 Episode 1

Don Henderson as Bulman
Dennis Blanch as Willis
Frances Tomelty as Linda Doran
John Ronane as Detective Sergeant Singer
Christopher Assante as Harry
Anne Kristen as Dr Helen Slater
Jo Beadle as W.P.C. West
Keith Clifford as Detective Chief Superintendent Bliss
David Hargreaves as Chief Inspector Rainbow
Luke Hanson as Ship’s Cook
Raymond Campbell as Harris
Neil Johnston as Detective Inspector Deacon
Johnny Mulcahy as Detective Sergeant McMillan
Tariq Yunus as Khan
Walter McMonagle as McQuade
Gerry Cowan as Hotel Manager



Hazell: Hazell and Hyde (ITV 7 June 1979, with Maev Alexander)




Hazell Nicholas Ball

In Hazell and Hyde James is asked to find a young woman, Claudine, who has apparently joined a group of squatters. When Hazell tracks down the group he is told that they had forced her to move on – her drug use was causing big problems. When a body turns up it looks like Hazell has found her, and an identification by her father seems to confirm it. However Choc Minty quickly arrives on the scene and makes it plain the dead girl is not the Claudine he is looking for but a woman who had apparently crossed Claudine in some way.

Claudine actually turns out to be something of a psychopath and having killed once has decided to make her next target our intrepid hero.

Meanwhile Jim has finally found himself somewhere else to live, his old flat having been reclaimed by the fellow he lent him the use of it.

It’s definitely something of a walk on the seedier side of life for Hazell. Maev Alexander, wjho plays the disturbed Claudine, is best known for her role as Christine Russell in the first couple of seasons of Sutherland’s Law.

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 7 June 1979

Writer: P.J. Hammond / Production Design: Robin Parker / Director: Baz Taylor

Series: Hazell Season 2 Episode 8

Nicholas Ball as Hazell
Maev Alexander as Claudine
Peter Bourke as Graham Morris
Myrtle Devenish as Old lady singer
Christopher Godwin as Claw-Hammer
Betty Hardy as Mrs. Gladys Hazell
Michael J. Jackson as Squatter
Norman Lumsden as Old man singer
Ronald Mayer as Pianist / Singer
Roddy McMillan as ‘Choc’ Minty
Desmond McNamara as Cousin Tel
Yvonne Nicholson as Squatter
Mark Penfold as Mortuary attendant
John Rapley as Mr. Clive
Katherine Stark as Annie

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Hazell: Hazell and the Suffolk Ghost (ITV 31 May 1979, with Meg Davies)




Hazell and the Suffolk Ghost

In Hazell and the Suffolk Ghost our intrepid hero pays a visit to the seaside when an accountant, Peter Harlow, calls him in over a cottage he has been left in a will. He has no idea why he has been left the cottage but since he has taken over ownership more than a few strange things have been happening.

Hazell stays at the cottage for a few days and manages to find no small amount of comfort when Harlow’s wife Stephanie turns up (Harlow himself is in New York). Although there is clearly something spooky going on it’s definitely man made and it doesn’t take Hazell too long to work it out.

The episode was a rare outing outside of London for the series, it was filmed in the East Anglian village of Walberswick and surrounds. Although all the interiors were filmed in studio of coure.

classic quote
I may be common but I’m not stupid

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 31 May 1979

Writer: Richard Harris / Production Design: Philip Blowers, Peter Elliot / Director: Mike Vardy

Series: Hazell Season 2 Episode 7

Nicholas Ball as Hazell
Michael Gaunt as Peter Harlow
John Woodnutt as Vicar
Desmond Llewellyn as Bell
Richard Simpson as Weaver
Meg Davies as Stephanie Harlow
Desmond McNamara as Tel
Peter Woodward as Gregory Summers
Joy Steward as Mrs Summers

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Hazell: Hazell Gets The Boot (ITV 10 May 1979, with Billy Murray)




Hazell Gets The Boot

In Hazell Gets The Boot Hazell finds himself more or less coerced into taking on a supposedly simple job for villain Dave Castle. His Bently has been stolen and he wants James to get it back for him. Hazell’s investigation leads him to a scrap yard where the car is being hidden. He gets more than he bargained for when two of the Connell gang ambush him and give him a thorough going over.

Meanwhile Hazell’s love life is also going through a troublesome patch. Patsy Flanagan is spending some time at his flat after having a dust up with her husband. Hazell is keen for the arrangement to be just a night or two of pleasure but Patsy is keen on a more permanent arrangement.

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 10 May 1979

Writer: Willis Hall / Director: Carol Wilks

Series: Hazell Season 2 Episode 4

James Hazell as Nicholas Ball
Billy Murray as Big Dave
Pauline Delaney as Sister
Peter Bourke as Graham Morris
Liz Crowther as Cynthia
Betty Hardy as Mrs Gladys Hazell
Cindy O’Callaghan as Patsy Flanagan

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