Slip-Up / The Great Paper Chase (BBC Drama, Jeremy Kemp)

In one off true story Slip-Up (later renamed The Great Paper Chase) is set in 1974 when Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Slipper (Jeremy Kemp) of the Yard and the British press to go after great train robber Ronnie Biggs (Larry Lamb) after they discover he is in living in Rio in Brazil. The drama kicks off when journalist Colin Mackenzie discovers a man who looks like Biggs is in Rio, Slipper is assigned to the case and heads out to Brazil – closely followed by the world’s press.

Slip-Up turned into something of a controversial production for the BBC. Based on Anthony Delano’s book about Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Slipper and his failure to bring Biggs home. Brazilian law had it that the train robber could not be extradited because he had a child born in the country. Jack Slipper (allegedly known as Slip-Up of the Yard by his colleagues) warned the BBC that he would take legal action if they went ahead with the broadcast on Tuesday 30 December 1986. He claimed that their portrayal of him was highly misleading. The BBC postponed the broadcast until the legal issues could be sorted out. A repeat of Noel Coward’s Star Quality play Mr and Mrs Edgehill was shown instead.

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Meanwhile the production sat on the shelf until Friday 11 November 1988 when it was eventually broadcast as The Great Paper Chase. Several cuts and edits were made and the emphasis switched to the press side of the story.

Cast: Jeremy Kemp (Slipper), Larry Lamb (Biggs), George Costigan (Jones), Nicholas Le Prevost (Colin Mackenzie), Tony Doyle (Vine), Fulton Mackay (McColl), Barry Jackson (Hitchen), Desmond McNamara (Lovelace), Gwen Taylor (Charmian), Philip Jackson (Purgavie), Michael Aitkens (Hinch), George Sweeney (Brennan), Valerie Braddell (Anthea), Jack Watling (Champion), Julian Curry (Edwards), Denys Hawthorne (Neill), Simon Cutter (Benckendorff), Ian Hastings (Steel), John Flanagan (Monks), Daniel Webb (McCabe), Alastair Cumming (Australian), Richard Ashley (Reporter), Richard Bonehill (Sub Editor), Desmond Cullum-Jones (Horace), Dennis Edwards (Judge (Out of Vision)), Guy Standeven (Foreign Editor), Silvina Pereira (Raimunda), Toze Martinho (Garcia), Armando Cortez (Flat Superintendent), Suzanna Borges (Lucia), Adelaide Joao (Wife Favela), Antonio Evora (Husband Favela), Eustasio De Abreu (Desk Sergeant), Angela Erreira (Phyllis), Rui Neves (TV Interviewer), Lidia Franco (Receptionist), Rogerio Samora (Desk Clerk), Antonio Anjos (Taxi Driver), Joao Sarababando (Anthea’s Driver), Ricardo Luis Macedo (ITN Reporter), Antonio Salgueiro (Old Prisoner)

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Writer: Keith Waterhouse / Book: Anthony Delano / Script Editor: Martyn Auty / Producer: Graham Benson / Director: James Cellan Jones

UK / BBC One – Polymuse – W W Entertainments / 1×95 minute episode / Broadcast Friday 11 November 1988 at 9.30pm

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.