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"Man in a Suitcase" The Bridge (1967)

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The Lad Most Likely To Kill Himself!

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
20 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Richard Bradford cites this as the show's worst episode. He is of course entitled to his view, but it is not one that I share, even though it is basically a retread of 'Sweet Sue'. Rodney Bewes, fresh from the hit B.B.C. sitcom sitcom 'The Likely Lads' ( in which he played 'Bob Ferris' ), plays 'Tim Gormond', the psychologically disturbed son of a Lord ( Bill Owen ). He keeps trying to commit suicide by jumping off the Albert Bridge in Chelsea. McGill is hired by Lord Gormond to bring him home following his latest attempt. Tim tells Mac he is suffering from a guilt complex as he believes he was instrumental in the death of his best friend 'Danny' ( Michael Culver ). Both men had climbed to the top of the bridge as part of a childish prank, and Danny had fallen. Mac's investigations uncover a different version of events, one centred around Danny's girlfriend 'Annabelle Fenchurch' ( Jane Merrow ) with whom Tim was secretly in love with...

Bewes acquits himself well in an unfamiliar serious role. According to Bradford, the actor climbed up the bridge himself, and he felt obligated to do the same. Bradford later learnt that there was no insurance, meaning that had he suffered an injury, no pay-outs would have been forthcoming. Robert Muller, the writer, was the husband of actress Billie Whitelaw. His story gives the impression of having been intended for A.B.C.'s 'The Human Jungle', which starred Herbert Lom as psychiatrist 'Dr.Roger Corder'. Mac does not try to psycho-analyse Tim, he gets to the truth by questioning his friends. Annabelle's father, 'Sir Walter' ( Anthony Nicholls ) does not want to see his daughter charged with Danny's death ( she pushed him off the bridge after he humiliated her ) and hires thugs to warn Mac off the case by roughing him up in a garage forecourt. One is played by Christopher Coll, best remembered for his recurring role as 'Victor Pendlebury' ( boyfriend of Thelma Barlow's 'Mavis Riley' ) in 'Coronation Street'. Quite a few of the cast went on to success in shows a few years later; Bewes starring in the Thames sitcom 'Dear Mother Love Albert' before resuming the role of Bob Ferris in 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads', Bill Owen took on the part of 'Compo' in the long-running 'Last Of The Summer Wine' in 1973, Anthony Nicholls was NEMESIS boss 'Tremayne' in I.T.C.'s 'The Champions', and Simon Williams ( who makes his television debut as 'Lestrange' ) was 'Captain James Bellamy' in L.W.T.'s hit period drama 'Upstairs, Downstairs' in 1971. An uncredited Robert Urquhart makes one of two ( the other was in 'Day Of Execution' ) appearances as 'Jarvis', a boozy but knowledgeable Fleet Street hack, a sort of one-man Wikipedia! The late Peter Birrel plays 'Rossiter', co-owner of trendy night-club 'Rossiter's Roost'.

Good location filming on the Albert Bridge, combined with a decent cast, make this an interesting episode, though as usual in shows of this kind the depiction of young people is rather off-beam. The flashback to Danny's actual death ( "Annabelle loves Danny! Annabelle loves Danny! Danny does not love Annabelle!" ) is cringe making. I reckon anyone stupid enough to talk like that from the top of a bridge deserved to drown. One last comment - was there anyone in London at that time who did not know that McGill was kicked out of American Intelligence?

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