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Consultant, The (BBC One 1983, Hywel Bennett, Pamela Salem)

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The Consultant Hywel Bennett BBC

In The Consultant Chris Webb is a highly skilled computer consultant co-running a small scale company with his partner Newton. Webb specialises in uncovering cases of fraud. He is called in by Watermans clearing bank to investigate possible hacking opportunities and close the stable door before the horse can get a chance to bolt.

When Webb tests the banks system to see how secure it is he discovers that Alloway, one of the key men at the data centre, is up to no good. Chris, who has actually been systemetically stealing small sums from his clients realises he can do the same and make himself a fortune. When Alloway finds out what Webb is up to he warns him off.

In one of the thriller’s quirks Webb talks to his own computer and inputs various questions, one of them is what should he do about Alloway – the computers response is – kill him. Webb does! Having literally gotten away with murder Webb tries to find out how Alloway’s system works so he can copy it.

A smart thriller adapted by Alan Plater from John McNeil’s novel. Hywel Bennett is his usual brilliant self and the storyline would have seemed very modern at the time, and while to a modern eye the jargon and giant banks of computer databanks may seem quaint, the same rules apply now only the hardware has gotten smaller.

The Consultant Hywel Benntt Philip Jackson

Webb confronts Alloway (Philip Jackson) about his scheme.

Besides Bennett there is a strong role for an up and coming Jonathon Morris as a young computer expert who work’s for Webb and ends up being drawn into Webb’s money making scheme. Philip Jackson has the small but pivotal role of Alloway and the glamorous Pamela Salem also works at the data centre and ends up having a fling with Webb.

production details
UK / BBC One / 4×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 11 June – 2 July 1983

Writer: Alan Plater / Novel: John McNeil / Script Editor: Jenny Sheridan / Music: Mike Moran / Production Design: Paul Montague / Producer: Ron Craddock / Director: Cyril Coke

cast
Hywel Bennett as Chris Webb
Donald Burton as Harrington
David Shaughnessy as Chambers
Geoffrey Whitehead as Clement
Pamela Salem as Jennifer
Philip Jackson as Alloway
Geoffrey Toone as Sir Neville Johnson
Albert Welling as Newton
Peger Birrel as Susskind
John Gabriel as Waterman
Jane Hayward as Susan
David Gretton as Elliot
Jonathon Morris as Jake Kennedy
Mary Healey as Betty
Holly De Jong as Ellie
Lyndham Gregory as Mr Sondhi

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