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Legend Of Death
BBC 1965
The Golden Intruder
TX : 19th July 1965

Publicity : Legend Of Death: Mythology has it that in the days when gods lived in the world a young man, heir to a mighty kingdom, won his heritage by destroying a monster called the Minotaur which had its lair in the heart of a maze on the island of Crete. Such was the legend of Theseus - and the exciting new BBC-2 thriller serial which begins tonight gives the ancient story a very modern setting. King Aegeus of the legend becomes "E.G", a powerful industrial tycoon approaching the end of his reign and surrounded by rivals intent on his downfall. The project he conceived as his crowning achievement - the first nuclear-powered aircraft - has come to sicken him because of its cost in human lives. Fourteen volunteers are sent every year to the sinister atomic plant on the remote island of Mitremos, and none has ever returned. He decides the experiment must end, but his colleagues on the board of Edward Gargan International have other plans; and so, for different reasons, has Theodore, the mysterious stranger who visits E.G's wife and then the tycoon himself … with a Luger pistol as his identification. Legend Of Death is the work of Brian Hayles, an art teacher in Canada and Birmingham before he became a full-time television writer last year. The serial is directed by Gerald Blake, and the cast includes David Andrews as Theodore, with Sarah Lawson as Myra Gargan, while John Phillips plays "E.G", who knows that in the city streets he surveys from his eagle's crag of an office there is "someone … one person … waiting to destroy me". (Radio Times, July 15, 1965).

Notes :
Episodes were originally transmitted 9:30pm to 9:55pm on BBC 2.

Journey Into Danger
TX : 26th July 1965

Cast : David Andrews as Theodore, Sarah Lawson as Myra Gargan, Gerald Sim as Edgarsund and Andrew Sachs as Doctor Zemouron.

The Moving Maze
TX : 2nd August 1965

Publicity : Legend Of Death - John Hollis, Sheila Hammond, and Stephanie Randall appear in tonight's episode with David Andrews who is interviewed here by Bernard Adams: The handsome hero is almost a must for the BBC-2 Monday thriller. The man who fills that role and plays the equivocal Theodore in Legend Of Death is slim, grey-eyed, thoughtfully loquacious David Andrews. He enlarges fluently upon Theodore's character: "Theodore has the ability to turn on some kind of aura. He knows that he has charm, but at the same time that he is very vulnerable. At the start he is a completely amoral character; by the end …". Cut: a surprise ending must be kept surprising. But it gives nothing away to say that Andrews sees this serial in quite a serious light, as "a story about morals - about men with an extraordinary allegiance to a weird kind of morality". Just now David Andrews is not content with being an actor - even though he can honestly say he has never had to take a part he did not like. What is troubling him is the pull he feels towards directing - of which he already has some experience. He directed Andy's Game, one of the six experimental films shown on BBC-2 last autumn. He is busy writing a script for a full-length feature film at present, and recently he directed Chekhov's The Bear on closed-circuit television - mainly as an enjoyable exercise. At first he thought only film directing appealed to him; now he finds television is attracting him more and more. He has a chance to drop his acting career temporarily and take a BBC director's course. It is an awkward decision to make: he is naturally reluctant to do any damage to a prosperous acting career. This career has been unusual in that Andrews never did the traditional stint in repertory. The son of an accountant, he went straight from drama school (where he discovered himself as a character actor in Ghosts after spending much fruitless time in juvenile leads) on to the London stage. "It was a fantastically lucky break: the Royal Court happened to see me, and I was invited to read a part for a Sunday-night show". He got the part and met Tamara Hinchco, the actress who is now his wife. This led eventually to the role of the wireless operator in The Long And The Short And The Tall, which had an extraordinarily talented and happy cast including Peter O'Toole and Robert Shaw. Since then he has had numerous parts in the West End and on television - perhaps most notably in Charlie Was My Darling. He counts among his more interesting experiences playing the lead in John Arden's Happy Haven to steadily diminishing audiences in Dublin. In last week's episode of Legend Of Death, Theodore escaped death in a car crash - arranged by those who fear his presence in the E.G International organisation. Tonight Theodore faces danger again: he lands on Mitremos - the island where the company carries out its experiments at an atomic plant. Fourteen volunteers are sent to it annually and so far none has returned. (Radio Times, July 29, 1965).

The Black Return
TX : 9th August 1965

The Death Switch
TX : 16th August 1965

Characters
Portrayed By
Theodeore
David Andrews
The First Library Assistant
Elspeth MacNaughton
The Second Library Assistant
Anna Summerfield
Edward Gargan
John Phillips
Finn
Victor Brooks
Joseph Dugasein
Robert Cartland
Myra Gargan
Sarah Lawson
Irwin
James Cossins
Edgarsund
Gerald Sim
Doctor Zemouron
Andrew Sachs
Yvonne
Felicity Mason
Daniel Spencer
Christopher Tranchell
Anthony Colby
Simon Spencer
Arnold
Brian Cant
Secretary
Susan Maudslay
Estelle
Veronica Lang
Francesca
Sheila Hammond
Adela
Stephanie Randall
Minolti
John Hollis

The series was created and written by Brian Hayles. The series was produced by Alan Bromly and directed by Gerald Blake. Story Editor for the series was Roger Parkes.


Brian Hayles
, having made the successful transition from school teaching to script writer barely a year earlier, turned his hand to contributing Legend Of Death to the enormously successful run of thriller serials produced by Alan Bromly.

Often incorrectly interpreted as a science fiction serial, this high-calibre thriller serial took as its thematic basis the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. The story of an heir of a kingdom having to slay a monstrous beast in order to seize his heritage became the background against which the story of Edward Gargan (John Phillips), a powerful business tycoon, was approaching the end of his reign and found himself surrounded by corporate vultures waiting to strike at the first sign of weakness and swoop for the kill at any moment.

As head of the internationally successful corporation Edward Gargan International, he has made cut throat business decisions with the full cooperation and support of the board. However, as he reaches the point of retirement, he has found himself reconsidering some of those projects, particularly the most recent venture - the construction of an atomic plant on the remote island of Mitremos. Cognisant of the potential cost to human lives, he has become increasingly concerned that fourteen volunteers who were dispatched to the plant over twelve months ago have not been heard from since.


Whilst his fellow board members believe all is well, Edward elects to send Theodore (David Andrews), his closest ally in the corporation, on a mission to ascertain precisely what is happening on the island and report back solely to him. However, his instructions have been overhead by one particularly ambitious board member who is keen to put paid to Theodore's mission - even if it means resorting to murder.

Theodore
, an amoral character who works by the age-old adage of "means and ends", soon discovers that Gargan's suspicions of activities which could endanger life on the island are quite correct, but with forces on the board ranged against him, he soon finds that not only is his own life in danger, but his survival depends upon Gargan himself remaining in the seat of power within the corporation…

A delightfully entertaining and worthy contribution to the thriller serial season produced by Alan Bromly, Legend Of Death was directed by customary aplomb by Gerald Blake and featured supporting performances from Elspeth MacNaughton, Anna Summerfield, Victor Brooks, Robert Cartland, Andrew Sachs and Gerald Sim. A novel and creative take on the thriller genre fusing it with Hayles' strengths in science fiction - after all, he famously created the Ice Warriors for BBC Television's Doctor Who, Legend Of Death was globally exported but never commercially released.

Text © Matthew Lee, 2004.