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Australian TV

Link Men, The (Channel 9 1970-1971, Kevin Miles, Bruce Montague)

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Link Men

Crime drama series The Link Men featured the cases of three detectives from the NSW police and based at Sydney’s CIB headquarters. The trio were specialist investigators who were detached from the CIB to carry out crime detection on an international Link basis – from murder to con tricks to industrial espionage.

The series was made with pretty big UK involvement both in front of the camera (star Bruce Montague, probably best known for his role in the sitcom Butterflies) and behind the cameras (writer Glyn Davies – who created the show) and executive producer George Spenton-Foster, the show was filmed in black and white mainly because the makers couldn’t find an overseas market, the series was given a publicity splash but the viewers didn’t take to it and in the TV Week of 7 March 1970 star Bruce Montague asked viewers to give the series a chance and that he thought the series would become the top crime series in Australia.

The Link Men had a budget for each episode of $1500 and 70% of the show was produced on video tape as opposed to film giving the production a less than high quality look.

The series was dropped before it finished its proposed 13 episode run (only 12 made it on air and the final three being shown many months later). In the TV Week of 21 March 1970 the producer George Spenton-Foster and star Bruce Montague laid the blame for the failure of the series at the feet of the writers and producer Michael Latimer blamed poor scripts and lack of planning.

In a 2 May 1970 edition of TV Week George Spenton-Foster made a number of other claims for the shows failure including the cast behaving like prima donnas, a nude scene of actress Elke Neidhart being clipped and Channel 9 stifling creativity.

production details
Australia / Channel 9 / 12×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 1970 – 1971 black and white

Creator: Glyn Davies / Producer: Michael Latimer / Executive Producer: George Spenton-Foster

cast
KEVIN MILES as Detective Sergeant Randall
BRUCE MONTAGUE as Detective Sergeant Sutton
TRISTAN ROGERS as Constable Gamble

THE EPISODES

1. DIE LAUGHING Broadcast Date: Thursday 22 January 70 / 8.30pm
The investigation following the discovery of a vagrant’s body uncovers the tragic life led by his wealthy widow. She lived unaware that her husband, a wartime hero and a happy family man, had become a Sydney derelict.

guest cast
DIANA PERRYMAN

 

2. WHERE IS YOUR DAUGHTER’S HEAD? Broadcast Date: Thursday 29 January 70 / 8.30pm
While escaping from a Nazi prison camp during World War II Sydney Jewish art dealer Josef Vogelsang stole a valuable Titian painting. In Australia he must keep the existence of the painting secret for fear of being deported and members of a right wing organisation – knowing Vogelsang’s position – blackmail him and terrorise Jewish members of the community.

 

3. SEE AMSTERDAM AND DIE Broadcast Date: Thursday 5 February 70 / 8.30pm
When Van Stroom, a Dutch gemmologist is murdered in Holland the Sydney CIB is implicated when Stroom is found to be carrying an Australian passport.

 

4. FLARE FOR MURDER Broadcast Date: Thursday 19 February 70 / 8.30pm
A prisoner with a grudge is released from jail and attempts to murder D.S. Sutton but is slain by hitman Bennie. Later during the planning of a jewel robbery Bennie is ordered to eliminate one of the conspirators but his boss is unaware that his daughter is in love with the intended victim.

 

5. WHERE DID YOU MEET CAROL JOHNSON? Broadcast Date: Thursday 26 February 70 / 8.30pm
The death of a young society girl is investigated by the Link Men who bring together conflicting stories about her private life.

guest cast
BARBARA FRAWLEY as Carol Johnson / JUNE SALTER as Judy Raymond

 

6. THE DISHONORED SAMURAI Broadcast Date: Thursday 5 March 70 / 8.30pm
At the scene of a murder the Link men combine their experience with aid from forensic experts, the press and the use of black tracking or the RAAF Search and Rescue Squad to hunt wanted men.

 

7. THE QUIET ONE Broadcast Date: Thursday 12 March 70 / 8.30pm
Giovanni Amarti, a fruit and vegetable farmer tries to sell his produce outside of the Mafia, much to their annoyance.

guest cast
TOM LAKE as Giovanni Amarti / ERIC REIMAN as Mario Costello

 

8. SOMEONE’S KID IS MISSING Broadcast Date: Thursday 26 March 70 / 8.30pm
A kidnapping brings the Link Men to the brink of their patience. Randall needs to keep a strong restraining hand on Sutton as they investigate the strange disappearance of a little girl.

 

9. YOU’LL NEVER GET IT WHOLESALE Broadcast Date: Thursday 2 April 70 / 8.30pm
While Gamble investigates the death of a child caused by drug taking Sutton is involved on a fraud case concerning the sale of a yacht. Two seemingly individual investigations which however, tied together, lead to the uncovering of a drug trafficking operation.

 

10. HOME RUN Broadcast Date: Tuesday 25 January 1971 / 11.05pm
An Australian born union leader is deported from the United States. In Sydney he masterminds the murder of the visiting US senator who was responsible for his deportation.

guest cast
MICHAEL LATIMER / JOHN FEGAN / SANDRA GORE

 

11. TO HANG BY A THREAD Broadcast Date: Tuesday 16 February 1971 / 10.35pm
A country girl wins a beauty contest and against the wishes of her fiancée leaves home for a modelling career in the city. Soon after her arrival the mutilated body of a young woman is found in the harbour.

guest cast
KATE McKITSICK

 

12. TIME AND TIDE Broadcast Date: Tuesday 9 March 1971 / 10.35pm
A small rowing boat found floating in the harbour has a body with a fishing spear in it. Ralf Ramsden is the prime suspect in a case involving deadly espionage.

guest cast
MOSHIE KEDEM / SEAN McEUAN