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"1990" Health Farm (1977)

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"They said it couldn't happen here. But it has!"

9/10
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
3 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The third episode of '1990' is a different kettle of fish; it has more plot than the earlier ones combined.

Charles Wainwright ( Ray Smith ), a union leader, is sent to America by the P.C.D. to promote their cause, but instead makes a powerful speech roundly condemning them. The Home Secretary ( John Savident ) has Wainwright sent to an A.R.C. ( Adult Rehabilitation Centre ) for 'correction'.

Kyle helps his dissident friends break into the Centre to try to reverse the damage wrought by Dr.Gelbert's drugs, but to no avail. Wainwright's next appearance on television features a completely changed man; denouncing his earlier broadcast, the union leader goes on to announce his retirement in favour of a P.C.D.-backed puppet.

Like I said, quite different to the earlier Wilfred Greatorex-scripted editions. A sympathetic trade union leader was a rare sight on British television in the late '70's, as they were being demonised by the right-wing media at the time as 'the enemy within'. Whenever you saw a photograph of say Len Murray in 'The Daily Mail', he was made to look like something out of 'Aliens'.

The writer here is Edmund Ward, who along with Greatorex wrote several fine episodes of 'Man In A Suitcase'. His other credits include 'The Power Game' and 'The Main Chance'.

Ray Smith is excellent as 'Wainwright', although it is hard to understand why he goes back to Britain after his American speech. Surely he would have guessed what the P.C.D. would do to him? His recantation is difficult to accept too; it is obviously coming from the lips of a man whose mind has been tampered with. The P.C.D. could have achieved the same effect by merely discrediting him, making it look as though he were on the take for instance.

The idea of there being secret establishments for brainwashing political undesirables was first seen in 'The Prisoner'.

John Rhys-Davies, later to play 'Sallah' in 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark', plays Wainwright's replacement.

No much for the Delly Bird to do here, alas. No wonder Babs Kellermann left after the first season. It could not have been much fun playing a woman so completely devoid of personality.

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