• title card: white all caps text reading 'DEATH ON THE ROCKS' superimposed on jewellery lying on a dressing table
  • The assembled dealers, standing around the table, look nervous as Fenton conducts his auction of illicit diamonds
  • Mrs Daniels is strangled with her pearls
  • Nicky, standing between Fenton and Liza, is shocked by their callousness
  • Fenton draws his gun as he and Liza enter Steed's house
  • Steed leans on a ladder as he and Cathy reflect on the case

Series 2 - Episode 10
Death on the Rocks

Teleplay by Eric Paice
Directed by Jonathan Alwyn

A diamond merchant's wife, Mrs Ross (Annette Kerr), has a home visit from a beautician, Liza (Ellen McIntosh), who applies a fast-setting face pack to her client, then murders her by suffocating her with it.
Steed visits the London Diamond Bourse, where two diamond dealers (Jack Grossman & Vincent Charles) are quibbling about the value of a stone. He bumps - literally - into Max Daniels (Hamilton Dyce) and apologises, then asks him where he might find Van Berg, the security officer. Daniels introduces him and Steed asks Van Berg (Richard Clarke) about obtaining a dealing licence. Van Berg says he can apply but not to expect success; Daniels tells him they're worried about illicit trading and suggests he get a job with an established dealer instead. He tells him Ross is selling his house in Highgate so is probably trying to raise capital. Steed recalls seeing that Ross's wife had recently died in mysterious circumstances and might just buy the house instead. Steed visits Cathy, who is being irritated by the incompetent painter (Haydn Ward) who's redecorating her flat. Steed offers her accommodation in the most exclusive part of Highgate, adding that he needs a wife for a few weeks as part of a cover and shows her some rough diamonds. He tells her he's trying to track down £1,000,000 of them and she agrees when she hears the painter smash a mirror.

Liza visits a warehouse where Fenton (Gerald Cross) and Nicky (David Sumner) are checking diamonds. Nicky is nervous - he tells them that all of Hatton Garden knows about the illicit trade and the Federation is out to stop it. Nicky reveals that Ross is going into partnership with a new man called Steed, who paid £30,000 cash for the house in Highgate. They tell Nicky to get close to Steed and demand the use of his workshop. He's scared and wants them to deal from the warehouse instead of the middle of Hatton Garden but Fenton tells him they're not running a small-time smuggling operation.
Steed presents Ross with a deed of partnership and a letter from his banker and will leave the technical side of the job to Ross until he's gained experience - his contribution is putting up capital. They shake hands and Steed asks him about customs duties. Ross explains the Federation and customs works it out when stones are imported - and take a fair whack out, that's why people go to such lengths to import illegally, as they can make a fortune. He warns Steed against illicit trading while they're in partnership. Ross' daughter, Jackie (Toni Gilpin), arrives just as Steed takes his leave and Ross reprimands her for staying out late, especially as it's with Nicky, who is no good for her - he's been in trouble already. Nicky enters without knocking as the argument gets heated and says he's come to see Ross. Jackie's sent to fetch a cup of tea - Nicky insolently asks him about Steed. Steed visits the house and admits to Cathy that Mrs Ross was murdered. He tells her a South African called Fenton was sacked from the Federation for dealing illicitly and went into hiding after coming to London. Steed suspects he's behind the trade and has been called in because the illegal traders have enough stones to take over the whole market. He's set himself up as a dealer so they can approach him.

Fenton conducts a closed auction in Nicky's workshop, with Sid (Douglas Robinson) on guard. He sells one parcel and then the warning light on the wall flickers, Nicky sees it's Van Berg outside. Fenton orders the door be opened and when Van Berg enters he impounds the stones, despite Fenton saying he can't prove they're illicit, and says he'll make a report to the Federation and police on all present. The dealers leave hurriedly and Van Berg is following them out when Fenton pulls a revolver from an archive box. He tells Van Berg the Federation has run the industry long enough and, ignoring Nicky's pleas, kills Van Berg.
Sid returns to Fenton's warehouse and Nicky is told that Van Berg's body will never be recovered from the Thames. Nicky wonders if the dealers are too scared to deal with them and Fenton says they'll come back for the same reason he does - fear. He's ordered to contact Steed and replies that he's attending a party at Steed's house that night.
Steed asks Mrs Daniels (Naomi Chance) for a dance and chats to her while Max smiles at them with a glass of whisky. Max's face changes when he sees Nicky and Jackie arrive, however, and he makes some excuses and they leave, Max glaring at Nicky on the way out. Nicky asks to have a word with Steed and Cathy whisks a worried looking Jackie off. Nicky makes him a proposition - £1,000,000 worth of diamonds, if he wants. Steed says Ross does the buying and when Nicky presses him, saying they'll look after all the details, he surprises the boy by turning down the offer. Steed finds Cathy looking after a tearful Jackie, who claims to be upset by returning to her old home. Steed takes her out for a dance and is interrupted by Nicky again, who tells him that as he turned down the offer they'll have to use other - unpleasant - means of persuasion. Steed eyes him coolly and says, "You're sweating, Nicky".

The next day, Cathy breaks into Nicky's workshop and has just found some rough stones on the floor when Sid surprises her, they fight and she's just getting the upper hand when Nicky enters. Cathy bluffs that the door was open, which Sid disputes. She asks Nicky to repair an imported watch. He refuses to touch it, even though Cathy says Jackie told her he'd been picked up for selling illicit watches a year ago. He declares he was framed and paid off the fine, as a friend lent him the money. Cathy scents blackmail and challenges him, and Nicky asks if she's working for customs or the Federation. She replies, "Neither" and leaves. After she's gone, he discovers the wires for the alarm have been cut.

Mrs Daniels visits Cathy and admits they left the party because Nicky arrived - Max is being pressured by the illicit syndicate and it involves her somehow. Cathy tells her to follow Max's advice and leave London, lest she suffer the same fate as Mrs Ross. She then rings Steed, ordering him to meet at her flat in an hour. Before he leaves the office, he asks to see the stones Ross has just bought. When he open the packet he accuses Ross of buying illicit stones, informing him the Federation suspended the sale of rough stones until the smugglers are caught. Ross confesses and says he warned him not to get involved because he didn't want Cathy to suffer the same fate as his wife; he now fears for Jackie's life.
Nicky visits Fenton to inform him that customs are raiding the Garden and the Federation has suspended sales. Fenton says the Federation has played into their hands by withholding stock - now is their chance to take over the industry. Cathy meanwhile tells Steed Nicky wants to get out, but is afraid, and shows him that the stones from Nicky's workshop are in fact rock salt - which is how the stones are entering the country and Cathy realises Manchuria produces both salt and diamonds. Steed hunts for the 'phone to tell One Ten, but finds Mrs Daniel's body first.

They tell Max, who is determined to go to the police, but Steed convinces him to keep trading so they have a chance to catch the whole gang. The 'phone rings - it's Liza, offering a free trial beauty treatment. Steed tells Cathy to make an appointment.
Nicky proposes to Jackie just before Steed enters his workshop; she leaves and he tells Nicky he's willing to trade - but only £10,000. Nicky tells him Cathy will be used as intermediary, Steed queries the complexity of the transaction and Nicky says he can't afford to trust anyone. "You could try", Steed suggests.
Liza gives Cathy a beauty treatment and arranges a second visit, leaving a 'preparation' for Steed. She asks Cathy for the cash and is startled to be given a cheque. Cathy tells her Steed couldn't get to the bank and made the cheque out to cash - it need only be presented. Liza is unamused and Steed receives an irate 'phone call from Nicky. He feigns ignorance but Nicky is unconvinced and hangs up after demanding the cash within the hour. Fenton tells him Steed wanted to see the stones before he paid up - he would have done the same himself and, upon hearing Steed wants more, tells Nicky to invite him to tonight's auction - they can take care of Steed.
Jackie meanwhile tells her father she's engaged to Nicky but admits she's not sure she can trust him. He advises her to leave London - if Nicky really wants her he'll wait for her. She agrees and he tells her to leave tonight - he has another appointment and won't be able to see her off. Steed and Cathy examine a map of rock salt importers along the Thames and he plans to scan the docks that afternoon so he can spot them getting the diamonds for that night's auction. He concedes he might not attend the auction and Cathy says she should expect another visit from the beautician.
At 10pm, Ross announces he's leaving the auction and Fenton maliciously tells him Jackie wasn't on the 10 o'clock train from Victoria as she couldn't resist saying goodbye to her fiancé. Ross attacks Nicky and is subdued by Sid. The other dealers hurry out and Fenton orders Sid to take Ross to the docks then coolly tells Liza to get rid of Jackie. Nicky rebels, telling them not to hurt Jackie and is grabbed by Sid when he says he'll go to the police; Fenton tells Liza to deal with Steed first. Steed meanwhile breaks into the warehouse and frees Jackie. Fenton and Sid enter moments later with Ross, marching him to the truck. Steed attacks Sid but Fenton covers him with a revolver - Ross flings a handful of salt in his face and is hit in the arm when the shot goes astray. Fenton is caught by a furious Nicky at the door while Steed defeats Sid in the truck. He checks on Ross before covering them with Fenton's revolver and calling emergency. Liza arrives in Highgate and Cathy tells her she won't have much success but then Mr Daniels - the ringleader - enters with a gun. Cathy dives for cover and they exchange gunshots, Cathy capturing Liza just as Daniels runs out of bullets.

The next day, Steed reattaches Cathy's lion head to the wall and Cathy is happy her flat is finally finished; Steed admits the painter worked for him - "I had to get you out of here somehow" and says it's lucky for her Daniels didn't have an 8-shot .38. "I didn't know you cared", quips Cathy and Steed rejoins, "My dear, for better or for worse!"

Produced 15/11/62
London 1/12/62
Sydney 23/12/63
Melbourne 16/07/64

Support this site via Paypal Join us on Facebook Become a Patron!