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Mr Palfrey of Westminster (ITV 1983, Alec McCowen)

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Mr Palfrey of Westminster

Spy drama series Mr Palfrey of Westminster emerged out of an episode of anthology series Storyboard. It focused on the cases of civil servant turned spycatcher Mr Palfrey working for the Special Intelligence Service.

The middle aged Mr Palfrey utilised the services of the younger Blair if there was any nastiness to contend with and answered to the his female boss “The Co-Ordinator”.

Four years after the series ended the character of Blair popped up in another episode of Storyboard. This may well have been an attempt to spin off a series involving the character.

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 12×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 28 August 1983 – 23 May 1985

Executive Producer: Lloyd Shirley / Producer: Michael Chapman

cast
Alec McCowen as Mr Palfrey
Clive Wood as Blair
Caroline Blakiston as Co-Ordinator
Briony McRoberts as Caroline

THE EPISODES
STORYBOARD28 August 1983
1. THE TRAITOR

SEASON ONE 18 April – 9 May 1984

1. ONCE YOUR CARD IS MARKED
Palfrey’s first case handed out to him by the Co-Ordinator sees himself involved in a dangerous case of murder.

guest cast
DAVID BUCK as Springer / ALAN MacNAUGHTON as Dr Crawley / VALERIE HOLLIMAN as Susan

WRITER: George Markstein
DIRECTOR: Christopher Hodson

 

2. THE HONEYPOT AND THE BEES
Mr Palfrey discovers that a top ranking RAF officer is being groomed by the ‘other side’ as part of a Honeypot trap.

guest cast
RICHARD JOHNSON as Air Vice-Marshall / LEONIE MELLINGER as Melissa / FRDERICK TREVES as Admiral Frobisher

WRITER: Michael Chapman
DIRECTOR: Peter Cregeen

 

3. THE DEFECTOR
Mr Palfrey is convinced their is more to a Russian novelist’s wish to defect than there appears to be on the surface.

guest cast
JULIAN GLOVER as Volkov / RONALD HINES as Duggie / ANTHONY BROWN as Kilpeck

WRITER: Philip Broadley
DIRECTOR: Christopher Hodson

 

4. A PRESENT FOR LEIPZIG
Mr Palfrey finds himself in charge of a valuable stolen Icon.

guest cast
MARTIN JARVIS as Armitage / LOUIS SHELDON as Dieter / FORBES ROBINSON as Velliadis

WRITER: Anthony Skene
DIRECTOR: Peter Cregeen

 

SEASON TWO7 May – 11 June 1985

1. FREEDOM FROM LONGING
The beautiful foreign agent Martina is determined to get her claws into Mr Palfrey.

guest cast
ESTELLE KOHLER as Martina / BRIAN DEACON as Grant / DONALD DOUGLAS as Bunny

WRITER: Philip Broadley
DIRECTOR: Christopher Hodson

 

2. RETURN TO SENDER
Mr Palfrey has to try to help a fellow spy, Baliev, who is anxious to return to his home.

guest cast
CLIVE FRANCIS as Baliev / FIONA WALKER as Frankie / VIVIENNE RITCHIE as Becky

WRITER: Philip Broadley
DIRECTOR: Gerlad Blake

 

3. MUSIC OF A DEAD PROPHET
With a bigger fish to catch Mr Palfrey has to use a murder victim to try and reel his man in.

guest cast
DAVID SAVILLE as Forbes / DAVID QUILTER as McNair / PAUL HERZBERG as Dearborn

WRITER: Michael Chapman
DIRECTOR: John Davies

 

4. OFFICIAL SECRET
Mr Palfrey lays a trap to to unmask a possible traitor within the organisation.

guest cast
MAURICE DENHAM as Benedict / GEORGE ROUBICEK as Zoltan / GARY WALDHORN as Garforth

WRITER: George Markstein
DIRECTOR: Christopher Hodson

 

5. SPY GAME
Mr Palfrey investigates the murder of a fellow spy, the roots of his death laying in a battle fought centuries before.

guest cast
DAVID BAXT as Madison / DALLAS ADAMS as Roche / DENNIS EDWARDS as Turnbull

WRITER: Barry Appleton
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake

 

6. THE BAITED TRAP
Mr Palfrey’s final case sees him coming face to face with the co-ordinator.

guest cast
CLIVE FRANCIS as Baliev / ROGER HEATHCOTT as Colonel Piscarov / JIM NORTON as Standing

WRITER: Philip Broadley
DIRECTOR: Robert Ide

 

STORYBOARD23 May 1989
1. A QUESTION OF COMMITMENT