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The Guardians: Head of State (ITV 24 Jul 1971, with Edward Petherbridge)



In Head of State there are highly important defence talks about to take place between Britain and France but the French president is refusing to speak to anyone from the British Government knowing that they are just puppets – he wants to talk to the real power behind the scenes. We know already that there is a such a shadowy figure as we have seen several phone conversations between Norman and the man. We soon learn that he is an old school friend of Sir Timothy and is simply known as The General.

Meanwhile Tom Weston’s wife meets Christopher Hobson, she doesn’t know that he is the Prime Minister’s son. She tells him about Tom being missing for more than a month and the fact that he was a communist. She also reveals that she has had a miscarriage.

Sir Timothy realises he has to make the French believe that he is in charge and sacks key cabinet member Bullmore but Norman is not at all happy and has Christopher Hobson arrested in a bid to make Sir Timothy toe the line. It’s the final straw for Sir Timothy, he demands a meeting with The General. It all actually turns out in Sir Timothy’s favour – he arranges for The General to take a position on the Cabinet as Minister of Defence.

In a bit of exposition we learn that much of Europe, Spain, Greece, etc, is heading down a similar route to Britain and The Queen has left the country refusing to return. The Guardians is proving to be a highly relevant to a modern audience.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 24 July 1971 at 10.10pm

Writer: John Bowen / Production Design: John Emery / Director: Robert Tronson

Cyril Luckham as Sir Timothy Hobson
Derek Smith as Norman
Gwyneth Powell as Clare Weston
Edward Petherbridge as Christopher Hobson
Peter Howell as Geoff Hollis
John Bryans as Bullmore
Geoffrey Russell as Henry James
Virginia Hewett as Henrietta Baxter
Andre Maranne as Felicien de Bastion
Stephen Yardley as Cockney Guardian
Ray Lonnen as Birmingham Guardian
Kenneth Benda as The General

Season 1 Episode 3