Steed discovers the afterlife. Emma digs deep to save him.
6 x 15-minute episodes
based on the television episode
written by Brian Clemens
Donald Monat as John Steed
Diane Appleby as Emma Peel
Colin Fish as Mother
Hugh Rouse as The Narrator
Adapted and directed by Dennis Folbigge
Produced by David Gooden
Transmission on Springbok Radio (7.15-7.30pm):
Episode 1 - Tuesday 8th August 1972
Episode 2 - Wednesday 9th August 1972
Episode 3 - Thursday 10th August 1972
Episode 4 - Friday 11th August 1972
Episode 5 - Monday 14th August 1972
Episode 6 -
Tuesday 15th August 1972
This is a best guess based on available data
Are his charges as dead as they seem?
A distraught woman collapses in
the middle of nowhere and is taken to hospital. Mother tells Steed
and Mrs Peel that he wants find out what's happened merely to
"establish superiority" over the newly-created and rival
department of Strange and Inexplicable Happenings. Steed enlists
the assistance of a man named Cordell. The woman, who it is
discovered is called Helen, awakens in a confused state and talks
about a dead man and a coffin. Cordell has discovered that a
coffin was being transported on a train to the Happy Meadows
burial plots shortly before she was found, so Steed pays a visit.
At Happy Meadows, Steed
discovers the coffin contains the remains of a Mr Jupp and
returns to the hospital with photos. Helen at first recognises one
of the photographs as the dead man and then remembers that he
threw her from the train! Steed goes back and exhumes Jupp who
appears to be dead. Attending to Helen at the hospital, Mrs Peel
saves her from a murder attempt by a man who subsequently dies.
Steed returns and learns the
attacker's identity is Morton who, like Jupp, is known to have
been a shady financier. He was repored to have died six months
previously and was buried at Happy Meadows. Steed goes back.
Meanwhile another man wants to assassinate Helen but can only take
note of her minders. Morton's coffin is empty and contacting
Mother with the names from some other gravestones, they recognise
those of four more financiers. They decide to exhume the bodies,
only to find all the coffins are empty when they are dug up.
Cordell visits Jupp's widow and
she tells him her husband had been arranging a trip with Mystic
Tours. The men there arrange for him to get to Happy Meadows.
Mother is just suggesting some night surveillance when Cordell
tells them where he's going and Steed follows him. There he is
told that Cordell died in a road accident and after examining his
grave confirms this to Mother. The night vigil falls to Mrs Peel.
In fact, Cordell is not really dead and is quite close by,
discovering what's going on at Happy Meadows – he has found out
that the financiers are hidden away below the burial plots,
secretly living in style. However, he is recognised by Helen's
would-be assassin and is shot. After an uneventful night, Mrs
Peel insists that she too examines Cordell's grave.
The fact that Cordell's corpse
has a gunshot wound to the forehead baffles both Mother and Steed.
Courageously wanting to take the same route as him to solve the
mystery, Steed visits Mrs Jupp and finds Mystic Tours. On
producing enough money, he is accepted for Happy Meadows but is
told he must go there immediately and isn't even allowed to call
his 'mother'.Paying it a visit to Happy Meadows, Mrs Peel is told
that Steed is dead! Refusing to believe it, she examines his grave
and finds it empty. Digging further, she stumbles upon Steed, just
in time. They round up the Mystic Tours men, Jupp and the other
financiers. With much groundbreaking effort, Mother's superiority
has been established.
This is surely, indeed as
Mother himself says, one of the most intriguing cases that ever
needed to be solved; that of dead men that aren't dead! One thing
added in the radio version is a new Department Of Strange and
Inexplicable Happenings. Mother doesn't like it. This competing
department annoys him so much that he's particularly determined to
solve the case and the adaptation does make him noticeably more
irritable. I have to admire Brian Clemens writing a story about
supposedly dead men and burial plots that's amusing and is yet
never really offensive (I don't think he avoided black humour in
quite all of his episodes). The characters' behaviour here also
sounds very natural, so the writing and the acting create a great
One interesting part is when
the woman who saw a dead man, Helen, is recovering. The
differences to the TV version are interesting. Here, after Steed
hands her photos, her reactions to the photos she doesn't
recognise are skipped. I could listen to such serials any number
of times, find something new like this, and enjoy thinking about
the choices made. But it's not only thinking about the choices
made, the new language in the radio serials can be a joy too. The
expression of the burial plot manager, Happychap, is described as
suggesting a "spaniel-like plea". The plot and original humour,
like having a "Paradise Plot" is all still there too of course. I
spotted a small difference when Cordell visits Mrs Jupp. She's
slightly more upset and nervous here, which seems to make sense
because a widow would normally be missing her husband. Cordell's
subsequent visiting of the travel agent is then, as I recall it on
TV, pretty unaltered.
Mother seems more forceful than
I remember when he suddenly suggests that they hand the case over
after all, and I so liked his competitive spirit at the start!.
Happychap is very good when getting a word in early as Steed
revisits, saying "they are all staying where they are!" I love
bits like this where we sympathise with the predicament and yet
know it's a lost cause. So it's a great story, the way the scenes
change back and forth, and is one of my favourites. It is fitting
that it ended up as the final one on TV (as Bizarre). The
gravediggers aren't forgotten about either, and they get a great
line of dialogue: "We're as expert now at bringing them up as
putting them down". What a contrast between their carefree
workaday approach and that of the despairing Happychap. There's
comic potential in any drama when your boss is almost driven to a
nervous breakdown. As I listen to the great final episode and
consider reviewing in general, I feel compelled to say that it's
almost impossible to write a review, by definition, with any sort
of modesty. This serial really warrants no criticism or needs any
acclaim from me; it speaks for itself.
TO THE TELEVISION EPISODE
Name Changes: Helen's
dog now has a name – Peter.
William Cordell's first name is
changed to Peter (presumably to allow the amnesiac Helen to almost
remember her dog Peter).
Not a name change as such, but
the two gravediggers, Tom and Bob are frequently mentioned by name
here, where in the television version they were only referred as
such in the end credits.
Character Changes: This is one of a number of
episodes adapted for the Sonovision Avengers which replaces
the television character of Tara King with that of Emma Peel.
Mr Happychap is to be imagined
as a slim young man. In the television version, he was a short and
rotund fellow (played by comedy actor Roy Kinnear).
Steed and Mrs Peel assist with
Mother's wheelchair instead of Rhonda.
Another character, Croaker
Waysgoose, and his new department of Strange and Inexplicable
Happenings are added and are a continuing annoyance to Mother.
Storyline Changes: In
the radio version, Steed accompanies Cordell to the scene where
Helen is found.
Whereas in the TV version the
missing Steed is located simply when the phone rings, in the radio
version Mrs Jupp needs to be traced via a telephone directory and
Cordell is not shot in the
chest, but the head, quite possibly a concession to the family
After reading a newspaper,
Mother apparently doesn't think much about the (by then topical)
Steed tells Mr Happychap that
he's lucky his father didn't like synthesisers (instead of
sousaphones in the TV version).
The Master is understandably
made to respond to the sound of Steed's coins instead of
Instead of the 'out of this
world' ending of the TV episode (and series), Mother toasts the
In Episode 4, Paradise Plot is
referred to as Paradise Place.
At the start of Episode 5,
there is a long recap – presumably as it was transmitted on a
In Episode 1, Steed remarks
"circumstances are bizarre," perhaps hinting at the TV episode
This serial is known to have
been the next one broadcast after Who Shot Poor George / XR40?
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