Villains: Sand Dancer (ITV 26 Aug 1972, with Alun Armstrong)

Sand Dancer picks up directly following the daring escape of the “bog robbers” whilst they were en route to the appeal court. Tel is trying to get home to South Shields to see his girlfriend Rita. It’s an incident filled trip, first off stealing money to get a taxi to the train station. There’s a difficult moment when the police search the train he is on, luckily he is in a carriage with a young mother and her three children and the police think he is the father.

His next break sees him stealing a car belonging to window dresser Mervyn (played by a super camp Gorden Kaye) before hitching a lift off a lorry driver. From there he finds himself caught up in a students demo against blood sports. which is not the wisest move as the students are arrested – only to be let off with a caution.

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Meanwhile the police are staking out his old haunts but against the odds Tel manages to spend an idyllic afternoon with Rita before giving himself up.

Another excellent episode, a travelogue more than anything, all shot on film and offering up some fabulous glimpses of the north in the early seventies.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 26 August 1972 at 9.30pm

Writer: Andrew Brown / Production Design: Andrew Drummond / Director: Robert Tronson

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Series: Villains Episode 6 (of 13)

Alun Armstrong as Terence “Tel” Bolden
Anne Godley as Muriel
Mark Elwes as Nicky
Desmond Jordan as Shop Assistant
Juan Moreno as Taxi Driver
David Sinclair as London Policeman
Rosalind Elliott as Rita
Catherine Terris as Annie
Caspar Wickham as Casper
Polly Adams as Mother
Saskia Wickham as Saskia
Rupert Wickham as Rupert
Philip Anthony as London CID man
Malcolm Terris as Newcastle detective
Gorden Kaye as Mervyn
John White as Billy
Anthony Dutton as Yorkshire CID man
Alfred Bell as Yorkshire patrolman
Anthony Bailey as Lorry driver
Sylvia Barter as Tel’s mother
Holly Wilson as Student
John Malcolm as Yorkshire policeman
Gwendolyn Watts as Evie
Richard Steele as Geordie policeman

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.