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"Department S" The Man from 'X' (1969)

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Jason King Gets The 'X' Factor

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
15 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1991, B.B.C.-2 devoted an entire Bank Holiday Monday to archive '60's programmes. Entitled 'One Day In The Sixties', it included a Marty Feldman compilation, the game-show 'Call My Bluff', the first episode of 'Adam Adamant Lives', 'The Sandie Shaw Supplement', and this 'Department S' caper.

'The Man From 'X'' has a blinder of an opening; a young necking couple have their fun interrupted by a figure in a space suit, who drops dead in front of them. His air tank had run out.

Sullivan visits the firm responsible for the suit, and meets Carter ( John Nettleton ) who tells him that none of their suits are missing. Sullivan says to forget about checking the serial numbers, and just count the suits on the racks. One is indeed missing. Driving back to London, Sullivan is almost killed when an oxygen cylinder goes off in the boot of his car, causing him to laugh uncontrollably. He jumps out before the car crashes.

Jason King impersonates an American safe-cracker to infiltrate a gang intent on pulling off a major robbery, one that requires the use of space-suits...

A smashing episode, boasting a well remembered teaser. Jason's American accent is about as convincing as the one Felicity Kendal had in 'Honey For Tea; but never mind. Wanda Wentham is here, and looks stunning ( this was around the time she did 'U.F.O.' ). Tony Selby - 'Corporal Marsh' of 'Get Some In!' - is one of the gang. John Nettleton was 'Sir Arnold' in 'Yes Minister'. The necking girl we see at the start is Sally Jane-Spencer, 'Linda' from 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin'.

The director, Gil Taylor, went on to become director of photography on a little-known film called 'Star Wars' ( 1977 ).

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