"What you have is a police state in embryo!" - Charles

Charles and Pet are travelling back home to Whitecross having been on an expedition to
collect salt. It is late afternoon so they decide to find shelter for the night.

They make themselves comfortable in an old barn and light a fire to keep warm. They are
disturbed by a noise outside and prepare to defend themselves.

Their visitors are some dishevelled young travellers, a man called Kim and a mute girl called
Susan. Pet and Charles invite to share their fire and shelter. The couple tell them they were
forced to leave a nearby settlement. During the night, Charles and Pet are kept awake by the
couple have become violently ill.

Charles and Pet take them back to the settlement they talked about to obtain help. A sentry
refuses them entrance when he recognises the young couple. However they are granted
access when they tell him they have salt which they will trade for assistance.

The four are put into a quarantine hut in the settlement, which is actually an old army camp.
Charles and Pet try to make Kim and Susan comfortable, but it is clear that they are both very

The sentry who is called Lenny goes to tell the settlement leader, Max Kershaw, and his
deputy, Joy Dunn, about the new arrivals. Charles and Pet explain the situation to them, but
they seem to have little compassion for the couple.

The leaders go to talk to a man called Sammy, who discovers that the couple are ill because
they stole and ate some seed wheat which had been coated with a fungicide containing
mercury. The girl is now dead. Joy tells Pet and Charles what has happened and explains
that the man will die soon as well.

Charles is treated to a meal by Joy and she explains a little about the social system at the
settlement. She explains that they believe in selective procreation, no individual marriages
and physical development. Charles likens it to the kibbutz system and asks to speak to
Kershaw so he can discuss the possibility of links between the community and Whitecross.

Charles is angry to learn that Kim has been disposed of by Lenny. Pet shares her concerns
about the settlement with Charles. Whilst he was talking to Joy she has seen fieldworkers
marching to work and back, which she thinks is unnatural. Charles thinks she is overreacting
and is still optimistic about future links with the community.

Meanwhile the settlement's committee is meeting to discuss Charles and Pet and what they
see as their Marxist style settlement. Despite reservations about the new arrivals degenerate
philosophy they are all agreed that they need to know their source for the salt. Joy tells
Charles and Pet that the committee will see Charles that evening. Pet is concerned about her
boots, without which they can't really leave. Joy tells her they will be ready for the morning.

Pet is still concerned about their safety there and after Charles goes to the meeting she bolts
the door to their quarters and stands by with a gun. Charles discovers early in the meeting
that the committee are diametrically opposed to his ideas, believing as they do in controlled
breeding. They actually see random mating as criminal folly.

More alarmingly, they also believe that the death was inevitable due to mankind's genetic
decline. They see the plague as an act of God and themselves as 'the chosen', and are
determined not to be polluted with 'old world ideas'.

They also criticise Charles collaboration with the young couple, who they call 'termies'
(terminal cases) seeing this sort of assistance as ultimately leading to degeneration. Charles
tells them he can see no mutual interests for his community and theirs and refuses to tell
them where they go for their salt supply. He does suggest however that he be allowed to
address the rest of their community to see how they would react to what he has to say. They
agree to this request.

Later that night Joy persuades Max that Charles and Pet should go as they will cause
dissention amongst the community if they are allowed to speak the next day. Max tells
Charles and Pet to leave, bringing the latter's boots with him, claiming that he thinks it would
be dangerous for Charles to speak as the community may turn on him.

Joy visits Charles and Pet a little later, advising them not to leave, claiming that Max will
have them shot them on sight. They follow her advice and stay the night.

At the meeting the next day Charles is not given a chance to speak as instead Joy turns on
him accusing him of endangering the community by bringing the termies in to the settlement.

She then turns her attention on Max, claiming that he has become corrupted by power and
has been deceiving the community. Max denies this but she argues that he had planned to
kill Charles and Pet and that he had set up a plan to have members leave the community only
to return later begging to be let back in. The community are clearly behind Joy as she
finishes her tirade against Max.

Max is deposed as leader and Joy takes his place. Charles and Pet are free to go. Joy tells
Pet that Max will be pardoned. She sees them off the camp with Lenny.

Pet and Charles discuss how Joy used them to seize power and tone down Max's regime
which had become to extreme. Pet suggests that she may have been nervous about her
position there due to their euthanasia policy and the fact that she was too old to bear
children. Pet jokes that she would be an ideal candidate for the first prime minister of the
new world and adds that politicians are always the survivors.

Episode Review

The Chosen is a welcome break from the norm that has become the Whitecross soap opera. Here we have a refreshing episode which more than nods to the format of the third series, during which we witness the exploits of two of the regulars as they experience the world beyond their cosy community.

Thankfully it is the likeable couple of Charles and Pet who are the regulars in question. That Pet is finally out of that kitchen is a reason for cheer, her character having been criminally underused since her promising introduction in
Birth of a Hope. Pet and Charles are a believable pairing, in many ways more so than Jenny and Greg, and the episode reinforces the obvious bond between them which suggests they will remain together long after the events of the third series.

The two central guest characters of schoolmaster turned extreme leader, Max Kershaw, and Thatcher-esque Joy Dunn, are well realised. The supporting players come over less well, simply because the script is principally divided between these two and our regulars alone.

The episode throws up some new and interesting responses to the catastrophe of the death. Eugenics, euthanasia, extreme discipline and religious fervour all get a look in here, providing a somewhat heady mix of concepts and approaches. The episode is word-heavy and therefore rather static, precisely because of the breadth of subjects it attempts to cover. At times, the political power play between Max and Joy appears a little confused and over complex , but nevertheless it all seems to make sense by the time Charles and Pet bid farewell to a triumphant Joy.

Rating: 8/10

Episode 22: The Chosen

writer: Roger Parkes
first broadcast: 26th May 1976

Regular Cast:

Charles Vaughan: Denis Lill
Pet Simpson: Lorna Lewis

Guest Cast:

Joy Dunn: Clare Kelly
Max Kershaw: Philip Madoc
Lenny Carter:
James Cosmo
Nancy: Vanessa Millard
Sammy: David Goodland
Mike: David Neilson
Kim: David Sibley
Susan: Elizabeth Cassidy

designer: Ian Watson
director: Eric Hills
producer: Terence Dudley
episode recorded: 16th - 17th March 1976


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Page Last Updated: 25th February 2003  All text Andy Priestner   Screen Captures BBC