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The Three Hostages (BBC Thriller, Barry Foster)



In one off period thriller The Three Hostages, written by John Prebble and based on the novel by John Buchan, we are in 1924 where Richard Hanney (Barry Foster), a freelance adventurer, gets involved with the machinations of a crime syndicate. The three hostages of the title are an Oxford undergraduate, a millionaire’s daughter and a ten year old boy. But how are they linked.

The same production team had made the popular Rogue Male for the BBC the year before. The decision was made to trim and dye Foster’s trademark blond curls lest viewers should mistakenly believe they were watching a strange episode of Van Der Valk (the third season of the popular crime series that starred Foster had aired on ITV earlier in the year.)

The BBC had previously produced the story as a traditional six part adventure in 1952 with Patrick Barr as Hannay. The character of Hannay was best known for The Thirty Nine Steps famously filmed by Hitchcock in 1935. It would be make another a big screen outing a couple of years after this with Robert Powell as Hannay. Powell would go on to play Hannay in the late 1980’s ITV series called just Hannay.

Cast: Barry Foster (Richard Hannay), Diana Quick (Mary Hannay), John Castle (Dominick Medina), Peter Blythe (Sandy Arbuthnot), Hilary Mason (Mes Medina), Constance Chapman (Madame Breda), David Markham (Greenslade), Donald Pickering (McGillivray), John Shrapnel (Gaudian), John Quarmby (Newhover), Richard Cornish (Archie Roylance), Philip Sayer (Turpin), Stuart Mungall (Angus), James Copeland (Kennedy), Pat Gorman (Odell), Maurice Quick (Fletcher), Andrew Bradford (Abel), Margo Cunningham (Shopwoman), Arthur Cox (Salvation Army Captain), Pat Starr (Salvation Army Singer), William Relton (Lord Mercot), Bobbie Brown (Adela Victor), Saul Eden Smith (David Warcliff), Noel Davis (First Club Member), John Harvey (Secone Club Member)

Writer: John Prebble / Novel: John Buchan / Script Editor: Richard Broke / Production Design: Don Taylor / Producer: Mark Shivas / Director: Clive Donner

UK / BBC One / 1×85 minutes / Broadcast 27 December 1977