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Mike Gwilym in The Racing Game Mike Gwilym in The Racing Game

TV

Racing Game, The (ITV 1979, Mike Gwilym, Mick Ford)

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Based on the character created by racing legend turned thriller writer Dick Francis The Racing Game follows champion jockey Sid Halley, who, days after his wife has left him, is badly injured in a racing accident which leaves his left hand badly mangled. Feeling somewhat bitter and now out of the racing game Halley is losing himself in a fog of drink but his ex father-in-law offers him a lifeline investigating a series of accidents at Seabury racecourse. Teaming up with karate pro Chico Barnes, Sid discovers a whole new vacation. The pair setting up in business as private detectives, calling their agency Trackdown.

A great and seldom seen glimpse into the racing world, Halley only appears in a couple of Francis novels but is an interesting character that’s for sure, getting his hand mangled in the first episode he has a prosthetic hand by episode two (which looks suspiciously like a normal hand with a surgical glove over it!), the dynamic between Halley and Chico is excellent too. The series only ran to 6 episodes, which is shame, but some high quality guest stars appeared including the likes of Susan Wooldridge as Halley’s ex-wife, Jan Francis, Iain Cuthbertson, Susan Penhaligon, the great Leslie Sands, Jeremy Clyde and Anthony Steel.

production details
UK / ITV Network – Yorkshire TV / 6×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 21 November 1979 – 9 January 1980

Story consultant: Dick Francis / Music: Mike Moran / Stunt Arranger: Peter Brayham / Production Design: Vic Symonds, Mike Long / Executive Producer: David Cuniffe / Producer: Jacky Stoller

cast
MIKE GWILYM as Sid Halley
MICK FORD as Chico Barnes

THE EPISODES
1. ODDS AGAINST
When strange events begin to beset Seabury Race course Sid become convinced its because a property developer is trying to get his hands on the course.

guest cast
James Maxwell as Charles Roland / Gerald Flood as Howard Graves / Susan Woolridge/ Rachel Davies as Dora Graves / Roger Milner / Maurice Bush / Holly de Jong / David Scase / / Rosalie Williams / Michael Turner / Annabel Rees / Peter Land

WRITER: Terence Feeley
DIRECTOR: Lawrence Gordon Clark

 

2. TRACKDOWN
The owner of a promising race horse is convinved that someone is out to nobble it.

guest cast
Leslie Sands / Jeremy Clyde / Jeananne Crowley / Carol Royle / David Calder / / John White

WRITER: Terence Feeley
DIRECTOR: Lawrence Gordon Clark

 

3. GAMBLING LADY
Whilst investigating a possible insurance scam involving a horse killed in a seemingly ordinairy accident Sid realises there is more to the case than meets the eye.

guest cast
James Maxwell as Charles Roland / Caroline Blakiston as Sylvia Guiccoli /Anthony Steel / Susan Woolridge / Anne Zelda / Neville Phillips / Jonathan David / George Waring / Simon Turpin / Robin Soans / Johnny Shannon / Barry Lowe / Sean Flanagan / Fred Gaunt / Graham Simpson / Jonathan Hyde / Rosalind Wilson / Roy Alon

WRITER: Evan Jones
DIRECTOR: Peter Duffell

 

4. HORSES FOR COURSES
Sid realises that something odd is going on when a bookie is stung for a massive amount of money after a long shot comes home first.

guest cast
Jan Francis as Kate Ellis / Maurice O’Connell as George Benson / John Bindon as Terry Flynn / Robert Swann / Milton Johns / Thelma Whiteley / Geoffrey Tomlinson / Brian Stirner / Simon Thompson

WRITER: Leon Griffiths
DIRECTOR: John Mackenzie

 

5. HORSENAP
A famous racehorse is kidnapped by a group of people who are desperate to prove that a man languishing in prison is innocent of the crime he has been ‘sent down’ for.

guest cast
Iain Cuthbertson as Lankester / Susan Penhaligan as Carol Tomes / Larry Lamb as Steve / Tommy Wright / Tommy Boyle / Peter Blake / Sandy Ratcliff / Derrick O’Connor / Robert Oates / Stewart Harwood

WRITER: Trevor Preston
DIRECTOR: Colin Bucksey

 

6. NEEDLE
Is someone out to nobble the hot favourites in a number of races.

guest cast
Meg Davies as Sally / Davyd Harries as John Fenby / Nicholas Donnelly / Charles Hodgson / Neil Johnston / John Harvey / Margaretta Scott / Andrew Downie as Inspector Kilbride / Michael Wardle / Bert Oxley / Nelson Fletcher

WRITER: Terence Feeley
DIRECTOR: Peter Duffell

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