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The Man In Room 17 (ITV Drama, Richard Vernon, Michael Aldridge)

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Crime drama series The Man In Room 17 detailed the cases of two criminologists, Oldenshaw (Richard Vernon) and Dimmock (Michael Aldridge), who solve baffling crimes from the sanctity of their office in the Department of Special Research.

Room 17 was situated somewhere in Whitehall and was the highly secret centre for the DSR. Each case that Oldenshaw and Dimmock handled had already baffled the secret service. The duo used only their powers of deduction to solve the mysteries. Season two saw the departure of Dimmock (who had gone off to study the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the arrival of Imlac Defraits (Denholm Elliot in his first series role). Defraits was an Old Etonian and a former Hussars officer who had arrived at Room 17 via the Home Office.

Interestingly the series almost treated the scenes shot inside Room 17 as a different show, more often than not utilising a completely different crew (including writers and directors) for the non room 17 sequences.

The Man in Room 17 ITV Michael Aldridge Richard Vernon

Michael Aldridge as Dimmock and Richard Vernon as Oldenshaw.

Guest stars included some well known names including the likes of Mike Pratt, Dinsdale Landen, Laurence Hardy, Sean Walker, Michael Gough, Carol Cleveland, Brian Wilde, Dilys Laye, Denis Quilley, Peter Wyngarde and Geoffrey Keen.

Writers included John Lucarotti, N.J. Crisp, Ian Stuart Black, John Kruse, Robin Chapman, John Hawkesworth and David Weir.

Series creator Robin Chapman hit on a rich vein with this series, a sequel followed in 1967 called The Fellows which saw Oldenshaw and Dimmock now ensconed in All Saints College, Cambridge. The Fellows then had it’s own spin-off with Spindoe. This was a much more violent affair set in the London underworld – something Chapman carried over in his next series, the controversial Big Breadwinner Hog. This is very much set in the same milieu as Spindoe and was going to feature one of the characters from that series (Scaliger played by George Sewell) but the actor was unavailable so the part was recast and renamed.

Cast: RICHARD VERNON as Oldenshaw; MICHAEL ALDRIDGE as Dimmock; DENHOLM ELLIOTT as Imlac Defraits; WILLOUGHBY GODDARD as Sir Geoffrey Norton

Creator: Robin Chapman / Script Editors: Ian Stuart Black (Season 1), Robin Chapman (Season 2) / Theme Music: Derek Hilton / Producer: Richard Everitt

UK / ITV – Granada / 26×60 minutes / 11 June 1965 – 1 July 1966