Series 1 — Episode 8
The Radioactive Man
by Fred Edge
Production No 3372, VTR/ABC/1156
Production completed: February 25 1961. First transmission: February 25 1961.
TV Times summary
Dr Keel hunts the radioactive man, knowing that every moment makes the danger more deadly — death more certain
The following episode summary is written from the original scripts as this episode is now lost. There may have been changes made during filming.
Marko, an illegal immigrant, is convinced by a countryman to help plan a bombing to draw attention to the plight of their country. Tricked by one of them into thinking the police will deport him for having a forged passport, he pancis when he discovers the police are looking for him. In reality, the police are searching for him because he is carrying a highly radioactive isotope capable of killing anyone nearby. After help from Marko’s landlady Mary and her son Peter, Dr Keel locates Marko and convinces him he is radioactive by using a geiger-counter. Marko goes off to hospital and Steed congratulates Dr Keel on a job well done.
Milan Radosevick (Barry Shawzin) returns to the radio repair shop he runs and greet his daughter, Dora Radosevick (Marie Devereux). She tells him Inica and Frane have arrived but Marko has not, so he asks her to shut the shop then heads into the back room. He has a map showing the movements of the bobby on the beat and they will have an easy twenty minutes to plant a bomb; he plans to blow up a train delivering exports to the country they are exiled from and says no-one will be hurt. Frane (Mira Tomek) objects and says their cause is pointless; abusing the hospitality of their current country will not help, but Inica (Madeleine Kasket) is in favour of Milan’s plan.
INICA: It is not the train - it is the principle.
MILAN: And the publicity.
INICA: When it is over we will give ourselves up. They will listen to us - perhaps tell the world.
Frane feels conflicted despite Milan’s assurance that no will be hurt and decides he will do whatever Marko thinks is best when he arrives.
Marko Ogrin (George Pravda) meanwhile is in the corridor outside Dr Graham’s lab, cleaning up. Dr Graham (Arthur Lawrence) asks him to join him in a cup of coffee. Marko is worried and says the lab is out of bounds for him but the doctor says there’s no harm if he’s there as well and lets him in. Marko gazes around in wonder and says he wished to be a scientist if things had been different back home. Graham tells Marko his wife is having difficulty with her pregnancy and he could do with the company to take his mind off things. The phone rings, interrupting their conversation and Dr Graham tells Marko he will have to leave, but to finish his coffee first. It’s the hospital, calling about Dr Graham’s wife, and while he’s talking Marko notices a pellet lying on the floor and picks it up on the way out. Graham returns and immediately notices the pellet has gone and calls the night watchman, Campbell (Blaise Wyndham), on the intercom but he’s too late, Marko has left the building.
Marko returns to his lodging and tells his landlady, Mary Somers (Christine Pollon), he has a present for her son - the pellet that he thinks is a lump of lead and the boy can use when he goes fishing. She scolds him for spoiling the boy but is pleased, Marko is in love with her and dotes on her son. Graham meanwhile asks Campbell to get the Ministry involved as they don’t know where Marko lives.
Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry) and Carol Wilson (Ingrid Hafner) are about to finish for the evening when John Steed (Patrick Macnee) rings, summoning Keel to assist him. They mean at the Thames Embankment where Steed informs Dr Keel about Graham allowing a cleaner to leave with a highly radioactive pellet that could kill him and anyone who comes in contact with him. He asks David to visit Graham while he continues the search elsewhere and says it’s a national emergency, handing him a number to call.
Dr Keel visits Graham who confirms that Marko will be dead in ten hours and anyone else he meets will be contaminated. The pellet looks like a fishing sinker on a nylon line and the radium inside it will have started breaking down his blood cells already if it’s in his pocket. In four hours’ time he will have nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. They can’t wait until five o’clock, they must find him by one o’clock! Campbell arrives breathless, having discovered Marko’s address and they all head off.
Marko has arrived at the radio repair shop where Dora has just told them off for living in the past and they should embrace their new country before going out to see friends.
MILAN: Sit down - sit down. We hoped you would come. Tonight is a spacial occasion!
MARKO: Yes, you told me so - but I still don’t know why...
MILAN: You have always been a patriot. And now we are going to give you an opportunity to prove that you still are.
Dr Keel and Dr Graham visit Mary’s house where her son, Peter Somers (Dane Howell), shows them to Marko’s room. He tells his mother that Dr Graham searched Marko’s drawers. which worries her. Graham reminds David that Mary’s house may be contaminated and he’s going to get a geiger counter. Mary mentions the fishing line Marko had brought home for Peter which pricks up their ears - but he took it with him. Dr Keel gives Mary a number to call if Marko returns or calls her. Marko meanwhile refuses to be part of Milan’s plan, saying England is now his country and what they propose is criminal. Milan sneers at him and he and Inica threaten Marko, saying they’ll tell the police he entered England on a forged passport.
Dora passes Marko’s house, noticing two policemen sitting in a squad car outside. They notice her too but as she doesn’t enter they only discuss her attractiveness. Marko arrives a bit later and stops when he sees them, shrinking back into the darkness just before the car radio squawks a general alert to be on the lookout for Marko as he’s unknowingly carrying a radioactive capsule.
Marko rings Mary, telling her he thinks they’re after him because of the passport, he asks her to bring it to him at Allan’s cafe. She sneaks out the back door and arrives a moment later, giving him his money and passport. He confesses that during the war he fought against the Allies, he had been made to, but it meant he couldn’t emigrate after fleeing his homeland to Italy, so he bought a false passport so he could. Mary is upset that he plans to leave, she had hoped for a future together - so too did Marko but he sees no other choice. He tells her he must visit Milan to do something for him, then feels a bit faint and staggers. He dismisses it as the flu and leaves.
At Mary’s house, Dr Graham’s geiger counter has picked up traces of radium contamination and Dr Keel tells Peter that Marko is carrying something with radium on it, until he and Mary are found they’re in danger of getting very ill. Peter doesn’t know where they are so they decide to take him away to be decontaminated while they lock the house and put guards on it. ora returns to the shop and tells Milan about the police outside Marko’s house. She goes to fetch the others and then Marko turns up and, picking up a knife, threatens Milan for informing on him.
MARKO: Don’t move patriot.
MILAN: You’ve gone mad!
MARKO: No, Milan. But a man like you, must be dealt with in the only way he understands.
Milan swears he hadn’t betrayed him, he only just found out about the police, and the others arrive to defuse the situation. They, too, think the police are after him about the passport and they plan to get him out of the country.
At the lab, Peter is sent for a decontamination bath while Keel and Graham speak to Inspector Tudor (Basil Beale) who is widening the search and putting out a national appeal. Back at the shop, the immigrants are pooling resources to help Marko escape, planning to get him to Belfast so he can slip over the Irish border. The police announcements comes on the radio and Marko angrily turns it off; by the time Milan turns it back on, they’ve missed the important part about the radioactivity!
Tudor has organised six patrol cars to take Graham’s lab assistants with detecting equipment through the search area and he announces they’ve apprehended Mary who is hysterical and hasn’t provided any information yet. Back at the shop, Marko suddenly collapses and passes out...
Tudor reprimands Mary for not being honest, the public threat of Marko’s contamination is enormous. They’ve sealed off the cafe and the phone box he used. Mary tells them Marko was going out to see some of his fellow refugees which helps Tudor plan a search of Camden Town and Tufnell Park. Keel returns to the cafe where he finds the own, Flynn, arguing with Sergeant Reynolds. The place is pretty clean but Flynn isn’t very helpful in assisting the police. They about to go when the geiger counter goes off - but it’s a box of stolen watches with luminous dials. Flynn claims he was “keeping them for a friend” but they take him off to be decontaminated and charged.
KEEL: Don’t forget Mr. Flynn - if you want to know the time ask a policeman.
Back at the shop, Marko has come round and they’ve collected the money to see him on his way. Outside, police cars cruise the streets but the police have had no leads. Keel notes, “The refugees are apt to be over-cautious. They don’t understand that the police here aren’t necessarily what they’re used to at home. He may think it’s a trick.” Mary tells them about his forged passport and they finally understand why he’s not giving himself up. One of the cars finally gets a lead: the radium-sensitive film it was carrying has fogged up in the Camden Town area. They set off with Mary in tow.
At the shop, they’re ready set off for the airport, Inica has given Marko some money and Frane slips him his gun, just in case he needs one. Marko hands the pellet to Milan, asking him to give it to Peter! Fortunately, the police have just surrounded the shop and they can’t get away. Milan tries stalling the police at the front but Tudor and Keel push past him, declaring they know Marko is there. There is a crash from the back of the house as the police force the door and they enter the back room where Marko is wrestling with John Steed over control of Frane’s revolver. 1 Keel urgently tells Marko the capsule is radioactive and he’s dying, the siren outside is an ambulance arriving to take him to hospital. Marko refuses to believe it until Mary and Dr Graham come in and plead with him but even so it’s not until Dr Graham turns on his geiger counter that Marko relents and he’s escorted to the ambulance.
Steed arrives and congratulates Keel on a job well done. Keel looks at him anxiously and says, “We were only just in time. Another hour and I don’t think we could have saved him.” They go off to round up anyone else he came into contact with as the capsule is safely removed from the shop.
- There is a photograph from series 1 that appears to show Patrick Macnee and George Pravda in the episode, with Steed wrestling the gun away from Marko, so it’s possible that the end of the episode was rewritten at a late stage to give Steed some of the action instead of Inspector Tudor (see at the top of this page). The camera script has Marko knocks the Inspector to the ground when he enters the back room and then confronts the two of them with the gun, Steed turning up after the action is over. ⭮