The Champions: Season 1, Episode 20

The Silent Enemy (12 Feb. 1969)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
6.7
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The entire crew of the submarine 'Keppel' are found dead at their posts. All have died of cardiac arrest. The Champions join a fresh crew to re-trace the voyage but in the Atlantic they ... See full summary »

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Title: The Silent Enemy (12 Feb 1969)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Stuart Damon ...
Alexandra Bastedo ...
William Gaunt ...
Anthony Nicholls ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rio Fanning ...
Lighthouse Keeper
David Blake Kelly ...
Lighthouse Keeper
...
Minister
Marne Maitland ...
Minoes
James Maxwell ...
Stanton
Paul Maxwell ...
Capt. Baxter
Warren Stanhope ...
Admiral Parker
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Storyline

The entire crew of the submarine 'Keppel' are found dead at their posts. All have died of cardiac arrest. The Champions join a fresh crew to re-trace the voyage but in the Atlantic they lose radio control.They find an uncharted island which is being used for illegal nuclear tests by a country whom the U.N. denied nuclear weapons. The 'Keppel' crew were killed because they came across it. Richard and Craig join a landing party but they are all gassed, except the two Champions, who are taken to be experimented on by mad scientist Minoes.The lads escape but must flee the island before it is engulfed in poison gas. Written by don @ minifie-1

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12 February 1969 (UK)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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Island of death
27 July 2012 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

At Galway Bay, lighthouse keepers ( Rio Fanning and David Blake Kelly ) sight a submarine - the William J. Kepple - which was reported missing at sea months ago. The crew are at their posts - but they are all dead! Cause of death - cardiac arrest. With a new crew and the Champions aboard, the Kepple sets out to retrace the ill-fated voyage. But there is a problem - enemy agent 'Stanton' ( James Maxwell ) is on board, pretending to be a crew member. He sets out to stop the sub from reaching its objective...

Donald James' 'The Silent Enemy' is another 'Champions' submarine story, and a good one to boot, offering more by way of thrills than 'Ice Station Zebra' ( 1968 ) managed in a two hour plus running time. As was the case with 'Operation Deep-Freeze', once again an insignificant country is determined to become a super-power, this time, through the acquisition of a nerve gas that induces heart attacks and quickly disappears without trace. Its inventor, 'Minoes' ( Marne Maitland ), is testing the gas on an uncharted volcanic island. Anyone setting foot on its soil will die unless properly protected. The crew of the Kepple had found out about it which was why they had to be silenced. Craig and Richard are puzzled to find dead fish washed up on the beach. The crewmen with them perish, and they themselves collapse, although being superhuman they do not die. Minoes has them brought to his underground laboratory, where he intends testing the gas on Richard by pumping it into a room.

Robert Asher keeps it all moving nicely. Some good scenes including Richard breaking out of his prison by ripping the ventilation grille out of the wall, and Craig attacking two guards in a stylistically-designed corridor. The cast includes the late Paul Maxwell as the Kepple's new captain, and Warren Stanhope as 'Admiral Parker'. Bond fans may recall Marne Maitland as 'Lazar', who made Scaramanga's bullets in 'The Man With The Golden Gun' ( 1974 ). What stops it becoming a ten-star episode ( we will overlook some of the poor submarine model work ) is the performance by the late Esmond Knight as 'The Minister'. This normally dependable actor - who was blind in one eye - is so over the top as to be practically in orbit. You half-expect his head to explode a la 'Scanners' ( 1981 ). When the Minister died of a coronary, I came close to cheering.

Sharron is again sidelined, but gets to upstage the others by climbing down a ladder into the sub, her shapely legs attracting looks of admiration from the crew! This was the final episode to be shown by the U.S. network back in 1968. The lukewarm response can probably be attributed to the fact that fantasy shows were waning in popularity at this time - 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' was cancelled a few months before, and other shows such as 'Batman' and 'Star Trek' would not last much longer.


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