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Assassination Run, The (BBC-1 1980, Malcolm Stoddard, Mary Tamm)

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In the exciting early 1980’s spy thriller The Assassination Run Mark Fraser, a former member of British Intelligence but now living a quiet life in a small village, is forced to get back into the game when a political group (an offshoot of Baader Minhoff) kidnap his wife Jill. They demand they assassinate a leading Spanish political figure before they will let her go. Mark is determined to play things his way.

The vibe is like a cross between an episode of Bergerac and something like Who Pays The Ferryman. The incidental music is a bit dodgy though sounds almst like a cast off from Return of the Saint. Malcolm Stoddard is good in the lead and the character of Fraser is quite a strong one, he brooks no nonsense and will do whatever it takes to get his wife back, even if it means hurting a few people in the process. The actual plot line is quite convoluted too with involvement from all manner of secret service agencies including the KGB, one interesting point is that Sandor Eles, a Spaniard, plays the Russian agent Grigor!

The previous year the production team had mounted a similar three parter called Running Blind and based on a novel by Desmond Bagley before coming up with this. The following year saw a sequel called The Treachery Game featuring the same main characters.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 3×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 4-18 January 1980

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Writer: Jack Gerson / Music: John Scott / Costumes: Denver Hall / Production Design: David McKenzie / Camera: Stuart Wyld / Producer: Bob McIntosh / Director: Ken Hannam

cast
MALCOLM STODDARD as Mark Fraser
MARY TAMM as Jill Fraser
SANDOR ELES as Vladimir Ilyich Grigor
LEON SINDEN as Bartlett
JAMES DRAKE as Sir James Mackieson
BEN ARIS as Frank Lloyd
SEYMOUR MATTHEWS as Rolf
JENNY LIPMAN as Elisa
PHILIP BOWEN as Jurgen
HOLLY DE JONG as Gudrun
INGO MOGENDORF as Scherer
JOHN ELLIOTT as Alexei
PETER VAN DISSEL as Peter
MAX HAFLER as Carl
VIC TABLIAN as Costain
DANIEL GUET as Duke of Almirado
MARY RIGGINS as Shopkeeper
JIM HOLLANDER as Santos
CLEMENTE LEON as Farmer
MANUEL GARCIA as Racas
FRANK BENNETT as Servant
LESLIE TOWNLEY as Marques de Triana


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.

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