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The Guardians: The State of England (ITV 10 Jul 1971, with Robin Ellis)



In The State of England, the opening episode of the series, Tom Weston is a rising member of The Guardians, the sinister and seemingly way too powerful police force that run Great Britain on behalf of a puppet government. Newly promoted to Captain he is unsure about the motives of new arrival Peter Lee. What Weston doesn’t know is that Lee is the son of Mr Norman, a man at the top echelons of the government and who seems to hold much of the real power (much to the annoyance of prime minister Sir Timothy Hobson).

Weston’s wife has discovered she is pregnant and is also seeing a psychiatrist and it’s made clear to us that she has more than a few problems with her husband’s choice of career, in fact she is convinced he is going to get killed.

Like 1990, which followed later in the decade, this is a series that doesn’t make too much of it’s scifi credentials. There are a few technological touch to say that this is a dystopian look at a Britain a few years hence but not overpoweringly so. Initially it looks like Robin Ellis’s character Peter is around for the series and it’s somewhat of a surprise (spoiler alert) when he is killed in the closing moments. It is also left somewhat ambiguous as to whether Weston is actually pro-Guardian or working from the inside to disrupt them.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 10 July 1971 at 11.00pm

Writer: Vincent Tilsley / Director: Robert Tronson

John Collin as Tom Weston
Gwyneth Powell as Clare Weston
Cyril Luckham as Sir Timothy Hobson
Derek Smith as Norman
Robin Ellis as Peter Lee
David Burke as Dr Benedict
Windsor Davies as First Worker
Stuart Mungall as Student
Patricia Dermott as Receptionist
Garth Watkins as First Minister
Tony Kenway as Second Minister

Season 1 Episode 1