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Rules Of Engagement (ITV 1989, Karl Johnson, Kenneth Cranham)



In Rules Of Engagement World tensions increase when a crippled US nuclear sub drifts towards Soviet waters, with a major outbreak of war on the cards Martin Goodman has been appointed controller of a South Coast naval city by the Home Office. As the situation worsens the town is closed off from the outside world.

Midway through episode five the crisis is averted and ex-soldier Dave Gillespie and journalist Annie McPhee work to uncover the true facts around the death of controller Martin Goodman’s girlfriend. While the crisis was going on both Gillespie and McPhee were proving to be thorns in the side of the government controlling the city and Gillespie had been tailing Goodman looking for evidence of an affair on behalf of Goodman’s wife. He discovers the body but the Home Office want the whole event closed down.

At times reminiscent of The Old Men at the Zoo this is a highly watchable slice of drama, part dystopian Orwellian stuff and part crime tinged drama especially with the goings on of local spiv Mick Rendall played by the excellent Ralph Brown and town big man Harry Cartwright working to get a secret boat off to safer waters – for a price of course. There is also that world war two Blitz type old Dunkirk spirit vibe going on too with the community under fire and pulling together.

production details
UK | ITV Network – TVS – Future Media


RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes | NUMBER OF EPISODES: 6 | AIRDATES: 12 June – 17 July 1989

WRITER: Graham Hurley | EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Graham Benson | COSTUMES: Rebecca Allen | MILITARY ADVISOR: David Carson | PRODUCER: Terence Williams | DIRECTOR: Robert Walker

KARL JOHNSON as Dave Gillespie
KENNETH CRANHAM as Martin Goodman
AMANDA FAWCETT as Suzanne Wallace
DEREK FOWLDS as Oliver Davidson
CATHY TYSON as Annie McPhee
PHILIP LOWRIE as Nigel Quinn
NEVILLE A. DENTON as Captain Drewitt
LEO KAY as Sean Gillespie
FIONA VICTORY as Sandra Gillespie
RUDOLPH WALKER as Harry Cartwright
PETER ATTARD as Albie Curtis
RALPH BROWN as Mick Rendall


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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