Van der Valk: Dead on Arrival (24 Oct 1977, with Bob Hoskins)

In Dead on Arrival the Van der Valk’s weekend away in London doesn’t get off to the best of beginnings when a man on the plane has some kind of bizarre attack claiming he has seen a premonition in which two people will die and then promptly drops dead himself.

It turns out that the man is well known Dutch clairvoyant Sartorius who was travelling to the UK to meet Johnny Palmer and journalist Millie Sanger. Johnny has recently been released from prison for a murder he is adamant he didn’t commit. Sanger and a former cop, FInch, are convinced that Sartoriius had the means to clear Palmer’s name.

Van der Valk Dead on Arrival
The always brilliant Bob Hoskins plays Johnny Palmer.

Of course Arlette is none too pleased when the British police, led by Inspector James, ask Piet to help on the case.

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The cast is first rate in this episode too with the lead role going to the brilliant Bob Hoskins, there are also key roles for Pamela Salem, Richard Davies (as the police segeant assigned to help Van der Valk) and Michael Culver.

Dead on Arrival of course offered the team the chance to make an episode of the series without having to go location shooting in Amersterdam.

Van der Valk Dead on Arrival
Richard Davies is excellent as Taff Lloyd, assigned to help Van der Valk while he is London.

classic quote
“Which is quicker ferry boat or taxi.”
“Oh darling, they don’t have ferry boats here.”
“Really? How stupid of them.”

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Monday 24 October 1977 at 9.00pm

Writer: Patrick O’Brien / Director: Ted Childs

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Series: Van der Valk Season 3 Episode 8

Barry Foster as Van der Valk
Joanna Dunham as Arlette
Bob Hoskins as Johnny Palmer
Pamela Salem as Millie Sanger
Michael Culver as James
Richard Davies as Lloyd
Brian Poyser as Finch
Bill Hootkins as Frank Garvin
Roger Kemp as Wainwright
Arnold Diamond as Dr Pritchett
Peter Cartwright as KLM Captain
Michael O’Hagan as Special Branch man
Valerie Holliman as Samantha
Hazel McBride as Stewardess
Jeremy Young as Eddie Palmer
Robert Gary as First Detective
Robert Swales as Second Detective
Ken Parry as Sartorius
Anthony Collin as Clerk
Suzanne Fleuret as Nun

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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.