Series 1 — Episode 18
by Gerald Verner, adapted by John Lucarotti
Production No 3415, VTR/ABC/1340
Production completed: July 6 1961. First transmission: July 8 1961.
Special bonus - the original script’s synopsis
Nighttime in a street alongside one of Her Majesty’s Prisons - Harry Dew keeps the engine of their car purring as Lew Sleater paces up and down nervously and checks his watch, which reads 7 o’clock. Nearby a rope hangs down the wall. A prisoner appears on the top of the wall and scales down the rope quickly, then he and Sleater leap in the car. They drive off around the corner but another car comes out of a side street and cuts off their escape. Two masked men leap out, firing their revolvers and pull the escapee, Ted Mace, out of the car, shoot out the front tyres and bundle Mace into the other car. A screech of tyres and they are gone, Lew firing at the departing car.
Some time later, Carol Wilson and Dr. David Keel are discussing Mr. McCleary, an annoying patient who keeps trying to get medical certificates to get off work, as they close up the surgery for the night. Suddenly there’s an urgent ringing of the doorbell. An attractive woman is there, a car running in the street behind her. She says her husband has cut himself badly and can the doctor come to help? Dr. Keel goes to fetch his bag as she tells Carol her name and address - Mrs. Marsden of Palmers Drive. Carol tells David she’ll wait for his return as he goes out to the woman’s car. When he gets in he’s surprised to find two other men. Bert Mills at the wheel and Brady, sitting next to him in the back, who orders him to put on a blindfold and they drive off into the night. They arrive some time later at a bungalow in a quiet suburb. Keel has his blindfold removed and he comments, “I suppose this isn’t Palmer’s Drive, you’re name isn’t Marsden and there has been no accident? The whole story was a fake?”
Brady simply replies, “Not entirely. In here.” and leads him to a bedroom where Ted Mace lies on the bed, unconscious. Keel examines Mace quickly and discovers he’s been shot and says he needs to be taken to hospital but Brady refuses. Keel says the bullet needs to be removed immediately. Brady simply tells him to do the best he can. When Keel protests he doesn’t have the right instruments Brady organises for Keel to make a list and Mills will take it to the surgery. Brady checks the list and queries the last item, “Fonum Equus”, which Keel says is Latin for a sterilising solution.
Dew and Sleater, two East End toughs, are waiting in the back of a newsagent and tobacconist shop in Soho. Sleater paces nervously and Dew tells him to stop - they’re both on edge as they fear their boss. Sleater says “We were supposed to bring Mace here and he was snatched from under our flippin’ noses. The boss ain’t gonna like that.” He wonders if their boss was behind the hold-up, saying “You never know what’s at the back of ’is mind.” Their employer arrives - it’s Steed! John Steed is most displeased to find that Mace isn’t with them.
Mills meanwhile turns up at the surgery and Carol goes to fill the list. She queries why Dr. Keel would need the items requested for glass cuts, and then she notices the text “Fonum Equus”. Realising it’s code for “Phone Steed” she quickly collects what Keel has asked for and sends Mills on his way before calling Steed’s number. She identifies herself but is disappointed to learn he’s not there and worriedly declines to leave a message.
Back at the newsagency, Sleater and Dew are telling Steed about their assailants but are not very helpful. Steed thinks for a moment and says he has a shrewd idea who was behind it... At that moment, a stout middle-aged man called Bruton in phoning Brady from a public call box. He asks how Mace is doing and warns Brady that people sometimes talk when under anaesthetic so to stay with him. He adds that Mace has to recover - but only long enough to tell them what they want to know! Keel extracts the bullet and observes that it mushroomed slightly, causing a nasty wound. Brady asks if Mace will recover and he and Keel argue when the doctor says he might - if he gets taken to hospital for a blood transfusion. Brady refuses and says he’ll stay until Mace recovers - they’ll send a plausible note to the surgery to explain his absence.
At Keel’s surgery, Carol calls Steed’s number again and learn that they had told him she’d called several times, just before he arrives at the surgery. She lets him in, saying, “Oh, I’m so glad to see you!” and Steed smugly replies, “That’s the sort of greeting I like from a pretty girl.” She lets him in as he asks about why she’s been calling all evening and she tells him she’s worried as she doesn’t know where Dr. Keel has gone, then hands him the list, pointing out the last item. He remarks, “What? ‘Fonum Equus’. This is supposed to be Latin?” then adds “Floreat Etona! ‘Equus’ means horse but ‘fonum’...?” Carol gently points out it’s not Latin at all but means “Phone Steed”. Carol tells him Keel went out on an emergency for a Mrs. Marsden but she’s looked it up and there’s no Mrs. Marsden in Palmer’s Drive. She can’t give a good description of Bert Mills and can only say “short and thin”. Steed offers to take Carol home and they leave the surgery moments before Bert’s car appears in the street. Carol recognises when he stops at the surgery and they watch him approach the front door. Steed climbs into the back seat of Mills’ car while he is slipping a letter under the door. She waits for Mills to drive off then returns to the surgery, opens the letter and reads it.
Back at the bungalow, Lola frets over the situation. Keel is unsympathetic towards her and says he’ll prescribe the treatment. Mace stirs and tries to sit up and Lola goes to fetch Brady. Mace looks at Dr. Keel and says, “My back...” then “The plot... (chokes slightly) it’s... John... John Batholemew’s... plot”. He sinks back onto the bed, dead, as Brady and Lola enter. “She says he’s conscious..” Brady starts, but Keel cuts him off - “She’s wrong. He’s dead”, Keel declares as he covers Ted’s face with the sheet.
Mills returns to the bungalow and Steed creeps out of the back of his car and approaches the bungalow cautiously, looking for an open door or window. Inside, Lola and Brady are surprised that Mace is dead. Dr. Keel sees his chance and grabs her pistol then aims it at them. He says thatas the no longer have anything in common, they’ll do what he says for a change. He backs out of the room but appears behind him and tackles him. They fight and Lola kicks the gun out of Keel’s had and grabs it. “All right, break it up!”, she yells and Keel surrenders. Brady asks for the gun and is about to shoot Keel when Lola intervenes, she’s sure she heard Ted mumble something to the doctor before he died. Brady demands to know what it was but Keel refuses to tell him. Brady waves his gun at Keel which raises the ire of the doctor who reminds them Mace would have lived if they’d done the right thing. Brady gives him ten seconds to speak and Keel responds by putting Mills in a judo lock ,between him and Brady. Steed by now had made his way into the bungalow and smiles as he hears Keel gaining the upper hand. He reaches out with his umbrella handle and pulls a table and vase over with a crash. Brady comes to investigate the noise and Steed trips him up with his umbrella handle but Lola gets in between them, preventing Steed from overpowering Brady. Brady orders them to release Mills or he’ll kill Steed and they acquiesce. Keel shout they’ll get away and Steed replies curtly, “I am not fighting a Webley with an umbrella.” Brady reappears and takes a parting shot at Keel that the doctor dives to avoid then the crooks are gone.
Dr. Keel tells Steed about the dead man in the cabin and Steed reveals it was he who helped him out of jail a few hours earlier. He tells the doctor about the Hatton Garden robbery four months earlier - Ted Mace was the expert safecracker who stole £200,000 worth of uncut diamonds from Lowenstein & Brune. Mace had a trademark style so they picked him up for it immediately but the diamonds were never found. Steed had sprung him from jail to track them down as the insurance company was unhappy with paying the claim. Keel tells him that Mace mentioned “John Bartholomew’s plot” before he died but it means nothing to Steed.
Steed explains that Mace was shot during the ambush of the escape - probably by one of his men. He had wondered how his plans leaked out but now he knows - Mrs. Mace, or Lola, as Keel knows her.
Bruton tells Brady off for running away like “scare schoolboys robbing an orchard” and bemoans the loss of the diamonds now Mace is dead. Brady tells him Lola has gone home and Mills has gone back to the house to see what he can find out. They argue and Brady adds that he’ll find the diamonds - but only for a fifty-fifty split as he’s taking all the risks. Brady tells him Mace said something to the doctor before he died and he has a plan how to get it out of him...
Back at the bungalow, Steed and Keel search the bungalow as Steed didn’t recognise Brady or Mills. Keel says he’d better go to the police and Steed asks him to keep his name out of it. Steed says he’s off to the countryside saying, “I do all my best work at night”. He ribs Keel about having atrocious Latin but the idea was good. He goes on to say Carol is brainy as well as pretty. He goes outside and walks away, Mills emrging from the shadows to tail him. Inside, Dr. Keel is about to dial 999 but stops and rings the surgery instead. She says she saw the note and he tells her to forget it, he’ll be back in the morning. He tells her to go home and get some sleep, he’ll explain everything in the morning. He then calls the police.
Steed arrives at the cottage of an elderly man who is exceptionally deaf and doesn’t hear when Steed asks his name. Steed learns that the old man used to rent the neighbouring cottage to the Maces. He says they were a bad lot and he’ll have to check on Steed before he can let the property. Steed is baffled and asks instead if any letters for the Maces have arrived and the man says a letter arrived for a Lola something did but he gave it back to the postman. At that moment, Mills tries to shoot Steed through the window, smashing the glass, but misses. Steed dives for cover and rushes for the door as Mills fires two more times. The old man yells after him, “Not rentin’ to ‘im I’m not. Just like them Maces up to no good! Well, Old John’s not bein’ had again. He can’t ’ave the place-!”
Carol answers the surgery phone and discovers it’s Mr. McCleary, still begging for a medical certificate. She rings off and answers the doorbell, finding Brady there. He pulls a gun on her and says he saw the doctor leave and to get her coat then orders her to get in his car.
Steed is alone in the back of the newsagency. He uses the phone to report to One-Ten and asks him to search for John Bartholomew in connection with Ted Mace. Sleater enters and tells him he has Lola’s address and informs him she has a “steady” - Al Brady who is a rough lot. Steed orders him to bring Lola in then adds, “And Sleater - be a good chap. Don’t shoot this one!”
Keel returns from a patient visit and is surprised to find Carol isn’t there. Steed arrives and they discuss the case, what Mace saud, and even the sticking plaster on Steed’s forehead, courtesy of Mills’ bullet. The phone rings - it’s Brady, who tells Keel he has Carol. She’s unharmed - at the moment and if he wants her to stay that way he will tell Brady what Mace said. Dr. Keel, realising he has no choice, says, “All right. This is what he said. It’s John Bartholomew’s plot.” Brady doesn’t believe him and says he half an hour to think it over and rings off. Steed, who has heard it all, rings a number to get the call traced.
Brady meanwhile has left the call box and turned to Bruton who was waiting outside. He tells him what Keel just said but neither of them know Bartholomew. Bruton asks Brady where he’s keeping Carol and Brady replies, “Never mind about the girl. You find Bartholomew.” Bruton become suspicious and accuses him of sending him on a wild goose chase while he pockets the stones. Brady gets angry and tells him to find Bartholomew and be quick about it.
Steed gets off the phone, saying the call was traced to a public call box in Hart Street. Keel observes he’ll ring again as Brady didn’t believe him which leads Steed to conclude that means Brady doesn’t know Batholomew either.
Brady returns to his lockup where Mills is guarding Carol. Bert doesn’t know Batholomew either, and Brady indicated Bruton doesn’t either - but he doesn’t trust him. They discuss double-crossing Bruton and then getting rid of Carol, Dr. Keel and Steed as they can identify them.
Bruton rings Lola, knowing that Brady isn’t there, and says he has to speak to him urgently. Lola suggests he try the garage and tells him the address of the lock-up - 17A Hart Street. Bruton delightedly writes down the details hand rings off abruptly when Lola suggests Al is there with Bert and “the other person”. Just as she hangs up, there’s a knock at the door. She goes to answer it, expecting Al but it’s sleater, who barges his way in, pointing a gun at her, and tells her she’s “going visitin’” Meanwhile, at the garage, Carol is wakened from a fitful doze by the sound of the garage door splintering and Bruton looms up before her. A look of fear crosses her face and he says, “It’s all right. I’m here to help”.
Steed interrogates Lola at the newsagency, offering her as fair exchange for Carol but Lola says she doesn’t know anything. Tiring of her stubbornness when she says she doesn’t mind waiting, he suggests they’ll put her in the cellar below which is infested with very large rats. She tries to hold out as she’s afraid Brady will kill her is she speaks. Steed says “Dearie - some rats have two legs, some have four legs - make your choice” but she still refuses to tell. Lola finally relents, asking they keep her out of it. Lola gives the garage address and Steed immediately breaks his word, ordering her to accompany him - “I can’t let you out of my sight. I promised you protection.” He tells Sleater to stay at the shop, h’es going to pick up Dr. Keel on the way.
Mills and Brady are at the public telephone in the street, trying to contact Keel but there’s no answer. Mills complains that “Everyone’s scarpered today” - referring to Bruton and their failure to find Batholomew. He then spots Steed and Keel arrive with Lola and enter the garage, alerting Brady. Brady observes that they’ve saved him the cost of a phone call as they approach the garage themselves. Inside, Steed is angered when Carol is not in the garage and he asks Lola where Brady is.
Brady steps through the door and says, “Here!” and they swing around to see him pointing an automatic at them. Mills notices Carol has gone and Brady snarls “Bruton -!” - he sees Lola react and yells at her, “Did you tell Bruton - as well?” She pleads with him that Bruton called for Brady urgently, tricking her
Steed observes, “And old Leonard Bruton too-. I suppose he had Mace steal the diamonds from the company safe.” Brady tells him to shut up but he adds, “But this is interesting old boy. Mace double crossed Bruton. And Mrs. Mace double crossed her husband. Then you double crossed Bruton. And Bruton double crossed you. It’s almost as complicated as politics.” Brady shouts, “Shut up!” again (and fair enough really). Brady orders Mills to tie them all up as Lola pleads her innocence. “Then you can die with a clear conscience”, he snarls, then coolly informs them he’s going to back their car into the garage and forget to switch it off, killing them with carbon monoxide.
In Bruton’s study, Carol tells him she’s feeling better and asks if he’s one of Steed’s men. He queries “Steed?” then adds “Who I am is of no importance”. Carol doubts him when he asks who Steed is. Bruton asks what the doctor told Brady over the phone, saying it’s terribly important that he knows what it was. He then asks if Brady mentioned John Bartholomew. Carol recalls that Brady said “Bruton doesn’t know him either” - and when he reacts to his own name Carol throws her tea in his face and flees the room, locking the door behind her.
Back at the garage, Brady gives Lola one last chance and asks if she knows John Bartholomew. Almost crying with relief, she tells him they used to rent a cottage from Bartholomew. Brady smiles “Isn’t that interesting. Lola, you’re a darling, I’ll never forget this.” - then, to Lola’s horror, orders Bert to gag her anyway. Even giving him the information he needed will not save her. Mills then goes to start the car.
When Brady and Mills arrive at Bruton’s house, Bruton is still recovering from the hot tea in his eyes. He struggles with the locked door and calls for help, but is horrified when he finds it’s Brady who has opened the door. Bruton tells them Carol got away and Brady and Mills laugh at him for being defeated by Carol. Brady orders Mills to go to the surgery and confronts Bruton who declares he was only wanted to check on the doctor and make sure he gave Brady the right message. Brady glares at him then confirms he found out about Bartholomew. Bruton offers, “All right. You can have seventy-five percent. Eh? Seventy-five percent. That’s fair.” Brady just shakes his head and says “One hundred percent, Bruton. That’s my share. You’re out of the running.” before closing the door and striking him a vicious blow with his gun.
Steed and Keel assist each other in getting free, Keel falling limp after freeing Steed’s hands. Steed then crawls towards the car, keeping low to avoid the poisonous fumes, and drags himself inside and turns off the ignition. He slides out of the car and then drags himself towards the garage doors...
Meanwhile, Carol has been brought back to the surgery by a helpful taxi driver but when she gets inside to fetch her purse to pay him, Bert is waiting for her. He’s startled when she says she’s been to the police but recovers and informs her that Keel is “Dead by now, I wouldn’t wonder ... and the other geezer. And Bruton. You’re the only one what’s left-”. Carol calmly tells him the police know what he looks like and he’s about to kill her when the taxi driver steps inside, asking for his fare. Mills is startled and Carol warns the driver he has a gun. The driver turns off the lights and tries Bert who escapes through the door, dropping his gun. Carol reappears from behind Dr. Keel’s desk where she’d taken shelter and asks him how much she owes him . He says “Four and six on the clock, miss” then Carol bursts into tears and he comforts her.
Back at the garage, Steed and Keel, having made sure Lola will recover, decide to head to Bartholomew’s cottage, which Steed ruefully says he visited the night before, but the old man was as deaf as a post and he never got his name. Steed explains that Batholomew must be one hundred and ten so how could he be involved? Dr. Keel observes, “All I can tell you is that Mace said ‘It’s John Bartholomew’s plot’ - and one hundred and ten or not - he darned nearly put us all in the nearest cemetery”. Steed has an epiphany and realises the “plot” is a cemetery plot. Keel carries Lola to the car and they drive off.
Brady and Mills have already searched the cottage, finding nothing, and Brady demands to know where the diamonds are but the old man says he doesn’t know. Brady threatens to kill him and Bartholomew suggests that the diamonds are hidden behind a large cupboard. Brady and Mills struggle to move it as a smile plays across the old man’s face. They finally move it away from the wall and Mills scramble behind it but reports there’s nothing there. Brady is livid when he sees the old man is laughing. He raises his gun and is confused when the old man simply says it will to be with Gladys again. The old man adds his wife has been gone fifteen years and tells Brady to use his gun as they have their plot waiting for him and not a penny owing. Brady aims his gun but Mills points out the importance of what the man had just said and they rush out to the nearby graveyard. After they’ve gone, Bartholomew fetches a broom and smiles. “Been wantin’ to sweep behind this these last ten years - ”
In the graveyard they find the empty plot next to Gladys’ grave and Mills digs with his bare hands in some dead grass, unearthing a rusted tin. He opens it, finding the diamonds within. Brady asks him if he took care of the girl. Mill lies and says he did, at which Brady points his gun at him saying, “Good. That only leaves you.” Mills is astonished at the betrayal but is saved by Steed who steps up and prods his umbrella into Brady’s back. “Drop it, Brady.”, he orders, and Dr. Keel steps in to pick up his revolver. Steed steps around Brady, jauntily swinging his umbrella and says, “I’ll take those.” and confiscates the box from Mills. Steed tells Keel “I told you I did my best work at night, old boy. Particularly with this”, and waves his umbrella at Keel.
Some time later, Dr. Keel and Carol are in the surgery. She tells him about the incident with the taxi driver and he tells her to take the day off. They smile at each other and then he asks who’s first on the list for the morning and is dismayed to hear it’s McLeary again. Carol tells him the man has broken his arm falling down stairs and Keel says he’ll have to give him that certificate at last, and they both laugh.