by Shaun Butcher


Regular Cast

Alfred Burke as Frank Marker

Pauline Delaney as Mrs. Helen Mortimer (Frank's Landlady)

John Grieve as Jim Hull (Frank's Probation Officer)

Alfred Burke as Frank Marker

John Grieve as Jim Hull

Pauline Delaney as Helen Mortimer

Regular Crew

Series Based on an idea by Roger Marshall and Anthony Marriott

Executive Producer - Lloyd Shirley

Theme Music by Robert Earley

Associate Producer - John Link

Producer - Kim Mills


At the end of the third and final series to be made by ABC, Frank Marker found himself sent to prison for a crime he had not committed. Rather than follow him through prison life, the fourth series (the first made by Thames Television) opted to show how Frank coped with life after his release.

This series (the earliest to exist in its entirety and the first to be issued on DVD) is unusual in many ways: running to just seven episodes, it is by far the shortest of the seven series to be made. The amount of focus it places on its lead character is also unique, as is the fact that the series’ co-creator Roger Marshall is the only writer to be credited. This undoubtedly contributes to Public Eye in 1969 feeling rather like a serial; an impression strengthened by the unprecedented number of recurring characters, and by sometimes having plot threads carry over between episodes.

Public Eye © Thames Television

Frank (Alfred Burke) chats with a fellow con, Jakeman (George Sewell)

Frank (Alfred Burke) remonstrates with Grace (Heather Canning), after she steals his money.

Frank (Alfred Burke) visits Freda Jakeman (Anne Ridler)

Frank (Alfred Burke) checks in with his probation officer, Jim Hull (John Grieve)  



by Roger Marshall

Directed by Kim Mills  

Designed by Mike Hall

Original Tx 30/7/1969


After twelve months as a guest of Her Majesty, Frank Marker wakes up to his last full day as an inmate of Ford Prison. During the morning work detail, his fellow prisoner Jakeman tries to draw him into a discussion about life on the outside, and about the perils of being an ‘ex-con’. Knowing of Marker’s former profession and hearing that he plans to live in Brighton, Jakeman asks him to speak to his wife Freda. He wants to know why her prison visits have stopped and why his letters to her remain unanswered…

On meeting his Probation Officer Jim Hull, Marker learns that accommodation has been found for him at the guesthouse of one Mrs Mortimer. He is then subjected to a rather awkward lecture from the Prison Governor, who is concerned about Marker’s solitude and his approach to life in general. All of these discussions weigh on Marker’s mind as he settles down to his last night behind bars.

As the prison van drops him at Ford Station, Marker feels the scrutiny of those around him. This feeling lessens once he arrives in Brighton, and he is relieved to reach his digs and find Mrs Mortimer an affable, unobtrusive landlady. Walking around Brighton, he experiences a kind of agoraphobic disorientation and is haunted by memories of prison life. He sets about trying to catch up on all of the things he missed while there: he orders a large meal in a café, buys whiskey… and whilst drinking it on a windswept beach, is propositioned by a blowsy woman named Grace. He allows himself to be led to Grace’s seedy rented room, but whatever intentions Marker has are thwarted when she steals money from his wallet. Worse, she threatens to cause trouble for him should he decide to call the police, and by doing so reminds him that society now views him as a criminal.

Perhaps in an attempt to recall his old life, Marker goes looking for Mrs Jakeman. She has left her old address, but a clever ruse involving a local butcher leads him to her door. Freda Jakeman turns out to be very bitter about her husband, and about criminals in general; a bitterness that aggravates Marker’s own raw feelings towards prison life. She plans to file for divorce, having found happiness with another man, but when Marker keeps his agreed appointment with Hull, he is disgusted to find that regulations prevent him from passing this news on to Jakeman. Hull promises to inform Jakeman on Marker’s behalf, before revealing that a job has been secured for Marker at Kenrick’s Building Contractors. He is to start the following day.

Frustrated by still being subject to so many restrictions, Marker returns to Freda’s house. Through the window, he sees her laughing with her new partner and walks away without even ringing the doorbell.


“You’ve crossed over the line, mate. There’s no going back. You’re not one of them anymore – you’re one of us!”

As opening instalments go, this one is remarkably successful. Charged with re-introducing Marker’s character, showing what’s been happening to him since the end of the third series, and establishing his situation for this one, it still manages to find the time to involve him in a ‘case’ of sorts. The episode does this by taking the form of a three-act play.

‘Act One’ shows Marker in the open prison where he has spent the last half of his sentence, and is possibly one of the most honest glimpses of prison life ever to have been shown on television. There’s nothing sensational or violent on display here: Marker’s too old and too canny to be mixed up in anything like that, which is why he’s progressed to Ford from Winson Green. The overall impression is one of almost unrelenting dullness instead, and it’s probably no co-incidence that the title sequence (unique to this episode) is made up of shots of Home Office paperwork, rather than ‘exciting’ images of prison doors slamming. Marker is still reflecting on the injustice of his sentence as the episode opens, and by the end of the ‘act’ he seems unnerved by the possibility of never being able to return to his former way of life.

The second ‘act’ deals with the experience of adjusting to the outside world after a year of imprisonment, and it’s a fine showcase for talents of director Kim Mills, particularly during the location scenes. Brighton here is noisy and lonely, and feels anything but idyllic. Mrs Mortimer is the first person we see who does not try to impinge upon Marker’s most private thoughts, and the first to speak about his future in a positive way. She switches on a light in more ways than one, and Pauline Delany makes her enormously likeable from the outset. The calibre of all the performances is very high, not just in this episode but throughout the series, which is why the occasional poor one stands out. Fortunately, there are none in Welcome To Brighton?

While ‘Act Three’ is nominally about Marker tracking down Freda Jakeman (proving along the way that his abilities are keen as ever), its strongest focus is on what it means to be an ex-con. For Freda, there’s no such thing: criminals are just people with an unshakeable aversion to responsibility. What Grace merely hints at, Marker finds spelled out to him explicitly on his first visit to Jim Hull’s (uncomfortably small) office: that release from custody is only the first step towards real freedom. This theme will be revisited, to varying degrees and in many different ways in each of the subsequent episodes, but seldom more strongly than in this one.


George Sewell (Jakeman), Anne Ridler (Freda Jakeman), Martin Dempsey (Prison Governor), Heather Canning (Grace), Michael Graham-Cox (Ashman), Gilly McIver (Waitress), John Bindon (Young Builder), Barbara New (Sweeping Woman).


John Grieve as Jim Hull, Frank's probation officer

Pauline Delaney as Frank's landlady, Mrs. Mortimer

Heather Canning as the prostitute, Grace

George Sewell as Jakeman

Bikers Harry (Terence Rigby) and Frank (Richard O'Callaghan).

Harry (Terence Rigby) operates his scam on the cafe owner (Ken Jones)

Harry (Terence Rigby) and Frank (Richard O'Callaghan) enjoy the spoils of their scam

Frank (Alfred Burke) enjoys a drink with fellow lodger Mr Enright (Peter Cellier)



by Roger Marshall

Directed by James Goddard

Designed by David Marshall

Original Tx 6/8/1969


On the morning of his first day at work, Marker is woken by the sound of motorbikes roaring past. Two troublemaking bikers have arrived in town: Harry and Frank, who use an ingenious trick to con money out of a café proprietor.

At their first meeting, Mr Kenrick confides in Marker that he has a brother in Parkhurst. His secretary Jenny, unaware that the new employee has just left prison, is puzzled by the non-arrival of his National Insurance cards…

Marker’s first job for Kenrick involves repairing a groyne, alone, at Black Rock beach, where he encounters Cooper, an officer from Ford Prison whose attitude towards him seems to have changed for the better. Having had the newspaper snatched from his hand by one of the bikers on his way home, Marker’s next trial of patience is meeting Mrs Mortimer’s other resident probationer. The oleaginous Mr Enright is a solicitor who has been convicted of financial malpractice, and Marker is unimpressed by his pushiness and insensitivity. Against his better judgement, he agrees to go for a drink with Enright at the local pub… where Harry and Frank are repeating their moneymaking ‘sting’. When Marker exposes them to the landlord, he is assaulted by Harry. Although the pair escape arrest (primarily because Marker and Enright persuade the landlord not to involve the police), it becomes clear that they intend to take revenge…

After a night spent sleeping in a beach hut, the bikers follow Marker to work. There, they attempt to intimidate him with threats of physical violence. Marker very cunningly elicits all kinds of personal information from Harry and Frank, manipulates a falling-out between them, and then scares them into believing that the police are on their tails. As the bikers flee, leaving Marker rather shaken, Cooper passes by again, expressing the opinion that the weather is about to change…


“It all adds up, you know. It builds up like a jigsaw. Fascinating!”

In addition to being one name for the confidence trick on show, the title of this episode surely refers to its final scene, which lasts for almost all of Part Three. It’s one of the very best written exchanges in the entire series, and it redeems an episode that can make for slightly disappointing viewing at times. In some cases this is a matter of perspective: the passage of time has robbed the opening scenes of some of their impact, and what might have been an alarming sight in 1969 could now easily be seen as two sprightly grandfathers pursuing a weekend hobby. The casting of Terence Rigby does little to dispel this image, as he looks rather too old and cumbersome to be playing a tearaway - even a ‘Dinosaur’ tearaway! His laboured ‘Derek and Clive’ accent is fairly appalling and it’s hard to believe that it could have been taken any more seriously at the time of broadcast. All of this is a shame, because Richard O’Callaghan is very good as his rather under-used sidekick.

In spite of this, there is still a great deal to enjoy. Marker’s new job and co-workers are established effectively, with some thoughtful continuity back to the days when his office overlooked a Birmingham timber yard. Peter Cellier plays the ingratiating Enright as an insensitive weasel in cardigan and slacks, who repeats all of the unwelcome advice Marker received in prison about the perils of solitude. The exploration of Marker’s character continues, with Alfred Burke able to make even throwaway comments or physical tics seem important.

But everything leads up to the extraordinary confrontation between Harry, Frank and, er, Frank at Black Rock. It’s a magnificent example of how to resolve a conflict without recourse to violence. Marker taunts and confuses the two bikers into revealing their weaknesses, and then takes advantage of those weaknesses to scare them off. Crucial to this is his technique of causing the friends to doubt each other, thereby driving a wedge between them. The threat of real violence permeates the entire scene, which has a dual effect on the viewer: it heightens the suspense to an almost unbearable degree, and it makes Marker’s eventual triumph all the more enjoyable. Typically, when Officer Cooper turns up, he appears not to have seen anything. Marker still has a lot of distance to cover if he really wants to put prison life behind him…


Terence Rigby (Harry), Richard O'Callaghan (Frank), Ken Jones (Cafe proprietor), William Moore (Kenrick), Tania Trude (Jenny, Kendricks' secretary), Norman Jones (Cooper), Peter Cellier (Mr Engright), Norman Mitchell (Landlord), Roy Desmond (Police Sergeant), Val Musetti and Roy Scammell (Stunt Men)


Norman Mitchell as the pub landlord

Terence Rigby as Harry

William Moore as Kendrick

Norman Jones as Cooper

Frank (Alfred Burke) haggles with the Antique Shop Lady (Susan Richards)

Frank (Alfred Burke) shares a police car with murder suspect Barry Osborne (Billy Hamon)

Starkie (Brian Croucher) confesses to stealing Wilson's wage packet

A furious Marker (Alfred Burke), fired by Kendricks



by Roger Marshall

Directed by Guy Verney

Designed by Stan Woodward

Original Tx 13/8/1969


Two weeks into his new job, Marker takes off a half day he has owing and, after collecting his wages from Jenny, goes shopping. He wanders into an antique shop, his attention caught by a porcelain figurine in the window. The figure costs far more than he can afford, but the shop’s owner lets him have it for a knockdown price after he has charmed her with his conversation (to say nothing of his singing skills…)

Back at Kenrick’s, an employee called Arthur Wilson discovers that his wage packet is missing, and when Kenrick calls in DC Broome, Wilson points the finger at Marker: “The new boy! The jailbird!” At the B&B, Broome questions Marker about the theft and about the price of the figurine. Later that evening, Enright shuns Marker, much to Mrs Mortimer’s disgust. She visits Frank in his room to lend her support.

The next day, Marker finds Enright’s attitude reflected in the behaviour of all his colleagues, and their suspicion increases when Wilson’s payslip is found in the pocket of Marker’s overalls. He agrees to accompany Broome to the police station, but they are diverted en route to the scene of a roadside arrest. The suspect, an eighteen-year-old student called Barry Osborne shares the car with Marker and Broome.

On arrival at the station, Marker learns that Broome already believes him to be innocent of the theft: Wilson’s payslip was not in Marker’s overalls when Broome inspected them on the night of the theft! While Broome is busy with Jim Hull, Marker eavesdrops on young Barry’s interrogation by DI Risman, ostensibly for the fatal stabbing of a garage owner. On being told he is free to go, he sees the boy’s father arriving, confident that his son will be free within the hour…

Back at the B&B, Marker and Mrs Mortimer are discussing the Osborne case when Jenny arrives, intent on helping to prove Frank’s innocence. She suspects that a cocky young employee named Starkie is responsible… even as he is confessing the theft to Kenrick and Broome.

With his name cleared, Marker is unimpressed to find the departing Enright back on speaking terms with him. Others are more stubborn, however, and when he arrives at work the following day, Marker discovers that pressure from the union members has left Kenrick with no option but to dismiss him. He leaves, more disgusted than ever with life on probation.


“You lost eighteen quid. I could lose eighteen months!”

This episode recalls Jakeman’s gloomy warning about ex-cons always being the prime suspect when something goes wrong, and reinforces everything Marker has come to resent about being a probationer. Since the audience knows the identity of the thief from the start, and can share Marker’s outrage and frustration, there’s room for another (genuine) mystery here, and it comes in the form of the Barry Osborne case: a mystery that won’t be solved for some time yet…

The sequence set in ‘Fanny’s Curios’ with its rare insight into Marker’s childhood and family background gives us a chance to see him on the brink of relaxation, and Alfred Burke a chance to show Marker’s lighter side before the suspicious fingers begin to point. He has his first fleshed-out character scene with Pauline Delany too, and it’s a great indication of what will come later on in the series. There’s an admirable plausibility about all of the scenes leading up to the point where marker is taken into questioning, and the lack of stereotyping in Leslie Lawton’s DC Broome is particularly refreshing. Billy Hamon deserves a mention too, for playing Barry Osborne as intriguing but believable, and not as the one-note ‘weirdo student’ he might have been. Students watching in the 21st Century might be baffled when Marker asks Barry: “Do you protest?”…

The unusual over-emphasis on Barry’s arrest is the first clue that the story might not progress in the expected way. Once Marker learns that he is not, in fact, under suspicion (this time…), the Osborne interlude almost begins to feel like a nod to the idea of ‘justice’ being dependent on social standing. It’s nothing of the sort, of course, but that revelation is held over for another time. For Marker, there’s no such thing as justice: despite being proved innocent, he is still forced to leave his job, and the final scenes leave us in no doubt as to how he feels about it.

This episode is extremely effective in the way it allows for so much character development, but its structure is distinctly unusual on first viewing. A great deal of the care involved, particularly in the writing and performances, is easier to appreciate after seeing Episode 46, as the ongoing nature of the Barry Osborne inquiry is barely hinted at. In a series that has traditionally followed the convention for discrete weekly storylines, it’s rather a courageous departure, and very rewarding to the keen viewer.


Susan Richards (Antique Shop Lady), Tania Trude (Jenny, Kendricks' Secretary), William Moore (Kendricks), Maurice Good (Arthur Wilson), Brian Croucher (Starkie), Leslie Lawton (Det.Con. Broome), Kenneth Watson (Det. Insp. Risman), Billy Hamon (Barry Osborne), Peter Cellier (Enright), Carmen Dene (Salesgirl), John Baldwin (Workman), Raoul Skinner (Police Patrolman), Joseph O'Connell (Police Driver), William Lucas (Mr. Osborne)


Leslie Lawton as Det.Con. Broome

Kenneth Watson as Det. Insp. Risman

Billy Hamon as Barry Osborne

William Lucas as Ben Osborne (from "Case For The Defence")




by Roger Marshall

Directed by Kim Mills

Designed by Fred Pusey

Original Tx 20/8/1969


Mrs Mortimer has gone to visit her sister, and so Marker is alone when a rather distracted young woman called Shirley arrives at the door and demands a room. Despite his protests, she is determined to book in. Her only interests appear to be her transistor radio (which she never turns off) and the payphone in Mrs Mortimer’s hall, and after Frank leaves to keep his latest appointment with Hull, Shirley makes increasingly distressed calls to somebody called Chris…

Hull is trying to find new work for Marker, and stresses that he will have to leave the B&B once the holiday season starts. Later that night, Marker dozes off in front of the television, waking after 2AM to find that Shirley’s transistor is still blaring in her room. When his requests that she turn the music down go unanswered, he becomes worried and forces the door: he finds her unconscious on the bed, and quickly realises that she has taken an overdose of some kind. He induces vomiting to empty her stomach, and then attempts to revive her. When smelling salts fail to work, he resorts to slapping her face until she regains consciousness. He takes her, barefoot, for a walk along the seafront in the cold night air and forces her back to lucidity, narrowly avoiding the attentions of a police patrol car on the way.

Returning to Shirley’s room, Marker forces black coffee down her throat, and spends the remainder of the night on an improvised ‘suicide watch’. He also finds a sealed note addressed to ‘Chris’. In the morning, Shirley seems unrepentant, which angers Frank: he demands an explanation for the suicide, but when questioned about Chris, Shirley merely shrugs and says, “Married”. He gives her soup to drink, and then leaves her to sleep off the effects of her overdose.

Having found the address on an envelope Shirley had been using as a bookmark, Marker goes to the home of one Dr C Nourse, believing him to be ‘Chris’. He is baffled and infuriated by the indifference of Nourse and his wife, particularly when he discovers that Shirley was only dismissed from their house (where she had been engaged to care for the convalescent Mrs Nourse) the previous day. He expresses his disgust and leaves, but realises on the way out that ‘Chris’ is actually Mrs Nourse.

Shirley is awake when Marker gets home, and sends him out to buy a bottle of Chianti. In his absence, she telephones Chris; only for Dr. Nourse to abuse her and recommend that next time she takes an overdose, she remember to turn off her radio…

Marker returns to find that Shirley has left. Mrs Mortimer arrives  and, on hearing what has happened, berates Frank for trying to cope without professional help. She is even more appalled to hear that he intends to find somewhere else to live during the summer: she wants him to stay. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Chris, who is looking for Shirley. When told of Nourse’s harsh words to Shirley, Marker takes Chris to task over her family’s treatment of the girl. He becomes convinced that she will attempt to kill herself again, but when Mrs Mortimer answers a telephone call, it is from Shirley, passing on her thanks to Marker. She is leaving Brighton on the next train…


“Perhaps I’ve been making botch-ups all this time? This is the first one ever came home to roost…”

In 1970, Armchair Theatre broadcast Wednesday’s Child, a play that shares its writer and director with this episode. Katharine Blake and Gary Watson reprised their roles as Chris and Charles Nourse (with Prunella Ransome taking over from Stephanie Beacham as Shirley Marlowe), and the narrative presented ends shortly before the story of this episode begins. It’s no surprise, then, that My Life’s My Own is also reminiscent of the kind of small-cast single play common on television at the time, an impression strengthened by its ‘domestic’ settings, and by the abundance of close-up shots used throughout. All of this helps to make the nighttime location sequences feel even more cinematic and memorable, arguably even dreamlike.

At first glance, this episode might seem like just an isolated ‘eventful night’ unconnected to those around it, but in fact it’s all been built up rather carefully: Enright’s departure has ensured that Marker will be alone after Mrs Mortimer has been called away, and the long-broken doorbell has been fixed in time for Shirley’s arrival. Such attention to detail in the writing is all a part of what makes this one of the standout episodes of the series. The same is true of the skills of Stephanie Beacham and Alfred Burke, who spend much of their time in a succession of two-handed scenes. Burke’s ‘panic acting’ when Marker discovers the unconscious Shirley is particularly impressive, while Beacham is unnervingly good at turning her character’s mood from maddening to sympathetic (and back again) within a few seconds. It’s a relief that Armchair Theatre revisited the repressed and aloof Nourses because their screen time here feels so brief. There’s evidently an interesting story waiting to be told in full about how Shirley came to leave their employ too, but we’re certainly told enough of it here to draw our own conclusions.

The main segment of the story is ‘topped and tailed, with appearances from familiar faces: Jim Hull puts the idea of moving into Marker’s head, and Mrs Mortimer reacts to the suggestion with telling dismay. Plenty of people have already challenged Marker’s innate determination to ‘cope alone’, but Mrs Mortimer presents the strongest case yet for questioning it. Even Marker looks almost convinced! Pauline Delaney makes the most of her short time on screen, with a superbly layered performance that suggests just how fond she is becoming of her houseguest…

John Grieve is given the opportunity to add a bit more depth to Hull too, and this is an example of this fourth series’ greatest strength. What could easily have been an ‘interlude’ of a halfway point is actually anything but, as the characterisations at the heart of the ongoing story are greatly advanced by this hugely enjoyable chapter.


Stephanie Beacham (Shirley), Katharine Blake (Mrs Nourse), Gary Watson (Doctor Nourse)


Stephanie Beacham as Shirley

John Grieve as Jim Hull

Katarine Blake as Mrs Nourse

Gary Watson as Doctor Nourse

Detective Constable Broome (Leslie Lawton) visits Frank (Alfred Burke), who is working in a supermarket, stacking shelves.

Frank's Morris Minor

Frank (Alfred Burke) questions Mrs Flockton (Anna Wing).

Ben Osborne (William Lucas) tries to coerce Mr Jackson (Richard Bird) into testifying on behalf of his son.

Ben Osborne (William Lucas) visits his son, Barry (Billy Hamon) in custody.

Frank (Alfred Burke) has tea with Dorry Milner (Pauline Challoner)



by Roger Marshall

Directed by Guy Verney

Designed by Neville Green

Original Tx 27/8/1969


Marker has taken a job stacking shelves in a local supermarket, which is where DC Broome comes to see him. The detective has learned that Rylands Enquiries Agency has a vacancy, and he has taken the liberty of suggesting to Jim Hull that Marker might be the man for the job. Broome takes Marker along to an interview with the forthright Joe Rylands, who agrees to engage him ‘on trial’.

Marker’s first job is to meet with a solicitor called Davis, who is acting on behalf of Barry Osborne, the teenager accused of murder in Paid In Full. They hope to reduce Barry’s charge to one of manslaughter, by attempting to prove that he stabbed the garage owner, Stan Flockton, in an unplanned act of self-defence. Marker is unsettled by the bullish manner of Barry’s father, Ben Osborne, and by his confidence that witness statements can be ‘bought’. Nevertheless, Marker agrees to start work on the case, and pays a visit to Flockton’s garage. Posing as a journalist, he asks the victim’s son, Don, about the killing, and discovers that Flockton Snr was a very large man with a notorious temper. Further discreet enquiries at the local pub reveal that Stan had served an 18-month prison sentence for GBH some years ago…

Osborne is delighted by these revelations, and goes with Marker to visit the victim of Stan Flockton’s assault, but is dismayed to find that Mr Jackson has been severely physically debilitated by strokes and has an unreliable memory. Osborne soon perks up when he is warned by Jackson’s daughter / carer, Sally, that “If you lead him, he’ll say anything”, and Marker has to hide his distaste when Osborne tries to bribe the old man. Indeed, Marker opts to wait outside while Osborne promises to find a doctor who will testify that Jackson’s present condition is a result of his beating at the hands of Flockton.

Before heading off to Barry’s university to interview Ben's friend, Dorry Milner, Marker voices his concern to Rylands that Osborne is attempting to bribe witnesses to commit perjury. Dorry is of the opinion that Barry’s troubles are a result of his father’s expectations. She believes he committed the robbery “for kicks”, and that the killing was accidental, and asks Marker to let Ben Osborne know that she is prepared to help in any way she can. Despite Marker’s reluctance to involve her in the case lest her education suffer, Osborne takes Dorry to lunch and urges her to say that she had given Barry LSD on the night of the killing. She rejects his attempted bribery.

Increasingly uneasy, Marker discusses Osborne’s tactics with DC Broome, who ponders the possibility of getting a message to young Barry, who is still being held on remand…

When Osborne visits him the following day, Barry declares that he has decided to plead guilty to murder. He is, however, prepared to plead not guilty if Dorry is not called as a witness. Osborne finally realises that, for all his wealth, he can do nothing more to influence the outcome of his son’s trial, and he wonders how on earth Barry could have known of his plan to involve Dorry…


"For 40-odd years I've got by without too much help at all. Suddenly everybody's helping. Suddenly I'm in trouble!"

The seeds sown in Episode 44 finally come to flower here, and it’s a particularly ugly flower. To anybody who is only familiar with William Lucas from his stint as the upright Doctor Gordon in LWT’s Black Beauty, his performance here as the ruthless and manipulative Osborne is a revelation. The scene in which Osborne first visits Barry in the remand centre contains an almost throwaway line about the unseen (and presumably dead) Mrs Osborne, which leaves us with the impression that she suffered from a prolonged mental illness. This fact is never mentioned anywhere else, but Lucas ensures that we are fully aware of it, and of its possible bearing on his son’s behaviour. It adds an entirely new layer to the story; one that isn’t in the script and one of which the characters remain unaware.

Roger Marshall’s scripts are leaving quite a lot unsaid where Marker is concerned, presumably because Alfred Burke’s performance is so reliable. He manages to convey Marker’s delight at the prospect of returning to investigative work without recourse to words, and the extent of his disgust at Osborne’s behaviour is fully apparent, even when he’s couching his concerns in the rather cautious dialogue you’d expect of someone who really doesn’t want to blow the chance he’s been given. The scenes at Flockton’s garage and, particularly, in The Three Stumps show Marker back to doing what he was born to do at long last, and it’s a joy to realise that prison and parole have not blunted his skills.

The shots of Marker driving his rented Morris Minor convertible down country lanes let us know that this is where his freedom really begins. While there isn’t a lot of location work, it’s all very effective, from the Jacksons’ home in the shadow of a gasometer to the cheerfully new-looking campus of the University of Sussex.

Crucially, we never learn the outcome of Barry’s trial: it was never the point of this episode anyway. What we learn is that Marker has lost none of his talent, but has acquired an even stronger loathing of injustice and of the judicial system than he had before he was sent to prison. Perhaps more than ever before, he is now firmly on the side of the underdog, and it’s hard not to feel that the Frank Marker of old would have walked away from this case in disgust. Here, his circumstances mean that he has almost no choice in the matter.


William Lucas (Ben Osborne), Stanley Meadows (Joe Rylands), Haydn Jones (Davis), Leslie Lawton (Detective Constable Broome), Pauline Challoner (Dorry Milner), Billy Hamon (Barry Osborne), Brenda Saunders (Sally Jackson), Richard Bird (Jackson), Anna Wing (Mrs Flockton), Malcolm Howard (Don Flockton), John Boxer (Barman), George Day (Customer)


Haydn Jones as Davis, Barry Osborne's solicitor

Stanley Meadows as detective agency owner Joe Rylands

Pauline Challoner as Dorry Milner

Billy Hamon as Barry Osborne

Dreaming of stardom: Judy Blackburn (Tessa Wyatt)

Auditions: Billy Raybold (Joe Melia) and Arthur Mack (Leslie Dwyer)

Raybold (Joe Melia) claims not to recognise the woman in Marker's photo

Billy Raybold (Joe Melia) at the Palace of Varieties

Enter stage right: Judy (Tessa Wyatt) prepares for her debut



by Roger Marshall

Directed by Jonathan Alwyn

Designed by Colin Andrews

Original Tx 3/9/1969


It’s the peak holiday season, and Mrs Mortimer’s B&B is very busy as Marker looks forward to spending another day in the divorce courts on Rylands’ behalf. Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Judy Blackburn attends an open audition for Billy Raybold’s end-of-pier show, which she has seen advertised on a poster. Raybold and his friend Arthur Mack are both seasoned showbiz pros, and neither is particularly impressed by Judy’s singing talents, but they agree to take her on. Raybold warns her how dispiriting seaside shows can be, but Judy is very determined that she wants the work.

Judy’s aunt Mrs Reid arrives at Rylands, initially pretending to be Judy’s mother. She is desperate to find Judy (who has run away from her home in London), and rather baffled by her sister’s apparent lack of concern for the missing girl. Marker has deep misgivings about the practicality of finding Judy in a town like Brighton at the height of the season, but he agrees to spend two days on the case. He also recommends Mrs Mortimer as somewhere for his client to stay.

Having been alerted to Judy’s singing ambitions, he takes her photograph around the entertainments venues and eventually encounters Raybold, who denies ever having seen her. Later, when Judy visits Raybold in his room at Mack’s inn, he warns her that Marker is looking for her and asks that she don’t involve him.

Marker re-iterates his concern to Rylands that they are taking Mrs Reid’s money under false pretences, but Rylands makes it clear that he is only interested in the fact that money is coming in. It isn’t long before Marker spots Judy on the promenade, handing out flyers for Raybold’s show. Rather than approaching her directly, he goes to see Raybold and upbraids him for his earlier lies. Like Mack, Marker finds it hard to believe that Billy’s intentions towards Judy are purely professional.

Marker ensures that he, Mrs Mortimer and Mrs Reid are in the audience for Judy’s stage debut, after which the girl’s aunt confronts her in her dressing room. Judy insists that she will not give up her aspirations and go home. Back at Mrs Mortimer’s, Frank confesses his frustration at working for the unscrupulous Joe Rylands. Mrs Mortimer advises him to set up on his own, offering to lend him the money needed to do so. She also asks him to start calling her ‘Helen’…

When Marker seeks out Mack to gain some insight into Billy Raybold’s character, he is advised simply to “Talk to Doris”. Doris, it transpires, is Raybold’s long-suffering wife, who agrees to come to Brighton and speak with Marker. At his urging, she visits Judy and tells her a few home truths about showbiz in general and Billy in particular. She also reveals that her husband has been declared bankrupt. Judy subsequently decides to go back home to Barnes with her aunt, causing Rylands to rage at Marker for closing the case without prior consultation. Marker, realising that his employer is only interested in money, resigns in anger and walks away.


“I could stand being a has-been. But a never-was? That takes some swallowing!”

Once again, the ‘case’ is largely irrelevant here: the first face we see is Judy Blackburn’s, and we are never in any doubt as to her whereabouts throughout the episode. There’s more mystery about the true identity of Marker’s client than there ever is about young Judy (which is no slight on the winning performance by Tessa Wyatt, ironically the future Mrs Tony Blackburn) and it feels like an almost deliberate attempt to ensure that we’re not drawn into Marker’s quest for her, because there are more important concerns here.

At the heart of the episode is a breathtaking, wonderfully-observed character study of Billy Raybold and the decaying world he inhabits. There’s more than a whiff of The Entertainer here; the difference being that Raybold’s long career has never even taken him close to the heights attained by Archie Rice. Raybold’s failure is so thorough that he’s even failed to turn his back on the profession that has brought him nothing: even his friend Mack (nicely underplayed by music hall veteran Leslie Dwyer) has had the sense to open a pub. In every scene he has with Judy, Raybold is reminded of the gulf between them in terms of aspiration and attitude as well as of age. Even at times such as these, he can barely refrain from talking in hollow showbiz clichés and quips. The sexual element attributed by others to his association with Judy is played down by Joe Melia’s performance in favour of a suggestion that all Billy wants is an audience; someone who’ll be impressed by him. Once Doris arrives (Mary Chester cheerfully steals every scene she’s in), the full extent of his tawdry delusions is revealed and, perfectly, he isn’t even present at the time.

“I haven’t felt anything for years,” Billy admits to Judy in the scene where she leaves him exactly where she found him – in every sense.

While all of this is unfolding, the personal and professional tensions between Marker and Joe Rylands are escalating, a fact highlighted from their first scene together. The ludicrousness of Rylands’ petty office rules and procedures ensures that the real cause for concern (Joe’s dishonesty and greed) is never in too much danger of turning Frank into a high-principled cliché. There’s also a sense that Marker feels he’ll never be able to put his recent troubles behind him until he is back where he was before being sent to prison: working for himself and by himself. This is hinted at most strongly in the scene where he discusses the possibility with Helen… a scene that sets up what is still to come in later episodes with the kind of deftness we have learned to expect.


Joe Melia (Billy Raybold), Leslie Dwyer (Arthur Mack), Tessa Wyatt (Judy Blackburn), Mona Bruce (Mrs Reid), Stanley Meadows (Joe Rylands), Mary Chester (Doris Raybold), Varley Thomas (Janet), John Wilding (Pianist), John Crocker (Hotel Receptionist), Peter Badger (Stage Hand)


Joe Melia as Billy Raybold

Mona Bruce as Mrs Reid

Mary Chester as Doris Raybold

Leslie Dwyer as Arthur Mack

Frank Marker (Alfred Burke) and Helen Mortimer (Pauline Delaney) do the washing up.

Frank Marker (Alfred Burke) in his new office.

Bad penny: Helen Mortimer (Pauline Delaney) and her estranged husband Denis (Philip Brack).

Denis Mortimer (Philip Brack) seduces his estranged wife Helen (Pauline Delaney)

Unhappy couple: Rosemary (Deborah Grant) and Peter (Barrie Rutter)



by Roger Marshall

Directed by Kim Mills

Designed by Peter Le Page

Original Tx 10/9/1969


The holiday season is drawing to a close, and only two guests are left at Mrs Mortimer’s: a teenage couple called Rosemary and Peter. They have booked in as husband and wife, but Mrs Mortimer cheerfully confesses to Marker that she knows this is not the case. She is of the opinion that they have almost nothing in common. Marker is amused by this, but, having decided to set up on his own again, is more preoccupied with his search for suitable office premises.

While Marker is being shown round the basement office of a bankrupted tree surgeon, Jim Hull visits Mrs Mortimer. He is rather taken aback by her casual revelation of Marker’s plans, having been unaware that his client had even left Rylands. He finds that Mrs Mortimer is reluctant to take in any more probationers, and when she admits that this is out of consideration for Marker’s feelings, he offers her some unwelcome advice: “Marker’s a very lonely man. I mean he’s a lone wolf. Don’t make too many plans involving him”

At their scheduled appointment, Marker outlines to Hull his reasons for wanting to ‘go it alone’, and while Hull does not approve of the idea, he nevertheless agrees to it. Marker is unimpressed to learn that Hull has been discussing him with Mrs Mortimer.

Denis Mortimer arrives, unannounced, at the B&B, just as his estranged wife is setting off to give Marker a second opinion on the basement office. Denis is evasive about his reasons for turning up after seven years, but soon reveals that he is hoping for reconciliation. It becomes plain that he believes Marker and Helen are having an affair; and the couched barbs and innuendoes are soon flying between the two men.

That night, Peter storms out after a very public row with Rosemary, and it falls to Mrs Mortimer to comfort the girl. Rosemary has deceived her parents in order to go on holiday with Peter, and has found that he does not live up to her expectations. Asked for her advice, Mrs Mortimer suggests that Rosemary end the relationship. When Peter returns early the following morning (having slept under the pier), it is Marker’s turn to offer advice…the difference being that Peter doesn’t listen. The couple leave Brighton on separate trains, while Denis asks Mrs Mortimer to accompany him on a long trip overseas. She correctly guesses that he is only asking her because protocol demands that he be accompanied by a wife, and sends him on his way.

She finally gets to see (and approve) Marker’s office in the basement, and reveals that she has placed an advertisement in the local paper on his behalf. He is back in business at last…


“You know us old bachelors: we scare easily!”

And so colour comes to Public Eye: this episode, while broadcast in black and white as usual, was recorded in colour as a test for Thames Television’s new cameras – possibly because there are no location scenes. It’s appropriate that this instalment opens with the kind of domestic scene more common to soap operas or single plays of the time: in fact, the kitchen sink is almost the first thing we see.

More than ever before, the concern here is with human relationships. We see the onset of a doomed one in the characters of Rosemary and Peter, with the inevitable consequences represented by Denis and Helen Mortimer. Philip Brack makes Denis so manipulative and insensitive that the audience has as hard a time as Marker believing that they were ever a well-matched couple. Nevertheless, the writing and performances leave us in no doubt that they were married a long time; indeed there is far more being said throughout this episode than is scripted to come out of the characters’ mouths. It’s loaded with metaphor and suggestion but always in a way that rewards the viewer. When Marker takes Mrs Mortimer to task, for instance, there is clearly a lot more on his mind than the fact that she has been discussing him with Jim Hull. By this stage, the series can get away with an episode so concerned with characters and emotions precisely because the actors and the direction are so impressive.

Deborah Grant is as dependable as ever, and only Barrie Rutter’s Peter strikes a false note: he’s a bundle of boorish ‘Northern’ stereotypes, with an alarmingly inconsistent accent. Above all, however, this is Alfred Burke and Pauline Delany’s episode. Each gives a thoughtful and nuanced performance, rising to the emotionally broadened script. Their characters’ growing attachment to one another has been signposted throughout this series with a minimum of screen time and virtually no scripted references, and here it reaches a peak of sorts. Even so, neither character expresses it directly, and by the end of the episode (with the credits running over live action of Frank tidying his new office to the telling accompaniment of the jauntier closing theme of the previous series) there is a real sense that each of them has drawn rather different conclusions about how things will develop in the future.


Philip Brack (Denis Mortimer), Deborah Grant (Rosemary), Barrie Rutter (Peter), Marie Sutherland (Mrs Selvedge)


Marie Sutherland as Mrs Selvedge

Philip Brack as Denis Mortimer

Deborah Grant as Rosemary

Barrie Rutter as Peter



The 1969 series of Public Eye is available on DVD from Network Video. The episodes have been digitally re-mastered and restored to a very high standard.

The three-disc set has a number of bonus features, including a surviving episode from the original 1965 ABC series, Nobody Kills Santa Claus, and a clip from another, It Must Be The Architecture - Can't Be The Climate. The set also features video interviews with Roger Marshall and Alfred Burke, photo' galleries, the script for Divide and Conquer and ABC promotional material in PDF format.

The set also comes with an excellent booklet featuring an introduction to the series, an episode list, and an original short story by Roger Marshall. The RRP is £39.99.

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