'Hear No Evil' is one of several excellent 'Doomwatch' episodes to sadly no longer exist in the B.B.C. archives. It was written by Harry Green ( author of that same season's 'Friday's Child' ) but credited to Gerry Davis following a rewrite. A Yorkshire-based firm - Jedder And Co. - has bugged the homes of union officials 'Reid' and 'Owen' and intends discrediting them before they can bring about a strike ( triggered by impending redundancies ). Doomwatch becomes involved in the matter by accident - 'Bradley' ( Joby Blanshard ) is in the area on unrelated business and his equipment detects the presence of the bugs. The firm has not done anything illegal. 'Quist' ( John Paul ) asks 'Ridge' ( Simon Oates ) and 'Wren' ( Robert Powell ) to turn the tables on company boss 'Falken' ( Griffith Jones ) without causing a national strike.
The first thing to be said about this is it breaks the mould in its depiction of union officials. Television had slavishly copied the movie 'I'm Alright Jack' by slandering Union men as lazy and stupid fools who brought about strikes for the flimsiest of reasons, such as the watching of football matches. 'Owen' and 'Reid' are not your usual ranting, Hitleresque stereotypes, in fact they're given sympathetic treatment. Although Falken's disgraceful behaviour does not land him in trouble with the law, he is found to be in violation of government sanctions by selling equipment to Rhodesia ( now known as Zimbabwe ). Episodes such as this would become few and far between over the course of the decade as television drama and comedy laid on the union bashing with a trowel ( remember that episode of 'The Good Life' in which a workman was depicted as being so thick as to not know what an 'N.B.' ( nota bene ) stood for ). The use of bugging devices was novel also, predating the real-life 'Watergate' scandal by a few years.
Brian Cox, who plays 'Cook', went on to become the first incarnation of 'Dr. Hannibal Lecter' in Michael Mann's 'Manhunter' ( 1986 ).
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