Greg Preston Episode Title Charles Vaughan


"We don't want outsiders sticking their noses into our affairs,
or involving us in theirs"
- Boult



A woman in a settlement near to Whitecross, is feeding chickens in a field, when she is
suddenly shot down by someone who has been watching her. At Whitecross, Greg and
Charles are chairing a meeting with representatives from neighbouring communities. They
want them to make an inventories of their supplies and weapons.


Woman feeding chickens Meeting at Whitecross

Greg and Charles are frustrated by the attendees scepticism. Especially when they are even
unwilling to supply help to get a telephone system up and running. A man called Boult is
particularly obstructive, questioning the need for two Whitecross representatives. Jenny
interrupts the meeting with bad news. The woman who was shot was the wife of one of the
people present. One of the other representatives reveals that he'd heard of another young
woman being killed at a nearby community.


Greg angry Jenny brings bad news

Greg and Charles take the man back to his community and work out where the shot must
have come from. They also find a spent rifle cartridge and some footprints which suggest the
killer is limping badly.


Scouting the scene Charles and Greg

News filters through of further killings. Jenny briefly wonders whether the killer could be Vic
Thatcher if he managed to survive the fire at the Grange.


Pet Jenny

They decide to keep a close watch on the hills surrounding  the settlement, lay sand traps to
leave footprints and ring a curfew bell before dark to call women indoors. Whilst on watch
Hubert spots someone in the woods. It turns out to be a woman called Daniella who is very
eager to join the Whitecross community. Her first meeting with Charles and Greg is observed
by the killer.


Daniella greets Charles Daniella

After prints are found, Greg is convinced the killer is in the area. It is suggested that this
should be proved before they hunt for him. Arthur suggests setting a trap, using a woman as
bait.  Only Jenny and Pet are suitable for the task and they bravely agree to take it in turns.


Greg Jenny agrees

That evening, Jenny goes out alone in a pretty summer dress  to pretend to mend a fence in a
field close to the woods. Greg and the other watch from a nearby hiding place. The killer is
present and is spotted lining up his rifle on Jenny. Greg goes up to Jenny and walks between
her and the killer so that he cannot shoot her. The figure flees into the woods.


Jenny in dress On target

The decision is made to hunt the killer down. Charles and Arthur set out for help from
neighbouring communities but the response is disappointing. Surprisingly, Boult is willing to
help. He arrives with several of his men. At dawn the hunters form a line across the wood
and move forward, attempting to drive the killer out into the open. The killer wakes up and
flees.


Hunt! Sniper

However, thanks to Hubert's shooting of a fox that has been worrying his sheep, he manages
to escape.
The place where the killer was sleeping is found.

Hubert and fellow hunters Greg and Jenny

Charles and Greg begin a stakeout near a pond at the edge of the woods. Greg is convinced
the killer will not move on and the spot is manned for several nights.


Stakeout Charles and Greg

When John and Lizzie learn that Greg is out using his gun, they own up to Jenny that they
had been playing with it and a part had fallen off it. Arthur tells Jenny that the part is vital to
the operation of the gun. Jenny runs off to warn Greg.


Lizzie and John Jenny and Arthur

Eventually the killer comes to drink at the pond. Greg attempts to work his way behind the
killer whilst under covering fire from Charles. At the crucial moment Greg's gun doesn't fire
and the killer is alerted to his presence.


Greg on the move Greg aims

John and Lizzie reason that they will be in less trouble if they tell Greg what they have done
themselves so run after Jenny.
They make it to the field by the woods before her and the
killer gets them in his sights.
Charles fires a shot and the children hide in the hedge. Jenny
arrives on the scene calling out to Greg.


John and Lizzie in sights Jenny in sights

Charles breaks his cover to warn Jenny away. Greg grabs the killer from behind and attempts
to throttle him with some wire. In the struggle the killer is shot and killed by his own gun.


Jenny and Charles take cover Greg attacks sniper

As the relieved group examine the killer's body, John observes that it is a woman.

Ordeal over Jenny and Greg

 

Episode Review

A Friend In Need (the first script from Ian McCulloch) deals once more with the issue of federated communities and gives us the title of the episode. Neatly, as the killer's intentions become clear and the communities learn that they face a common foe, the arguments for federation are reinforced. Strangely, it is only the objectionable Boult who agrees to help our heroes. Why this is, is never made clear, as it serves to make his earlier speeches entirely redundant. Either he likes being perceived as difficult or he just enjoys a good shootout!

Another strange thing is that Jenny is put in huge danger as bait, when the community already knows a killer sniper is at large. It seems an incredible risk to take, although it does make the episode more gripping.

The final scenes are genuinely exciting as both Jenny and the children run into danger. Its just a shame that the final revelation is spoilt by the fact that the sniper has been very obviously played by a man throughout.

Rating: 8/10

 

 


Episode 20:
A Friend In Need

writer: Ian McCulloch
first broadcast:
12th May 1976


Regular Cast:

Greg Preston:
Ian McCulloch
Charles Vaughan: Denis Lill
Jenny Richards: Lucy Fleming
Pet Simpson: Lorna Lewis
Hubert Goss: John Abineri
Lizzie Willoughby: Tanya Ronder
John Millon: Stephen Dudley
Arthur Russell: Michael Gover

and introducing...

Daniella: Gigi Gatti

Guest Cast:

Boult: William Wilde
Mrs. McGregor: Vivienne Burgess
Roberts: Emrys Leyshon
Morris: Paul Grist
Sniper:
Andrew Bradford


designer: Ian Watson
director: 
Eric Hills
producer:
Terence Dudley
episode recorded:
24th - 29th April 1976



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