ACTION TV ONLINE EPISODE GUIDE
EPISODE GUIDE INDEX
Quick Before They Catch Us
BBC 1966
Power Of Three (Part 1)
TX : 7th May 1966
Director : Richard Martin
Writer : N J Crisp

Cast : Maggie Flint (Landlady), Rex Rassley (The Traffic Warden), Edward Brayshaw (Quinn), Frank Gatliff (Waller), John Trenaman (The Foreman) and Colin Douglas (Mr Lane).

Synopsis : A meeting of three young people … a discovery … and an unknown visitor.

Notes : Radio Times greeted the start of the series with this article on 7th May: Pamela Franklin, Teddy Green and David Griffin star in a dashing new serial about three London teenagers. As George Dixon hangs up his helmet for a summer break, into the Dock Green spot on Saturdays comes a new kind of serial in the shape of five complete stories, each in four weekly parts and all involving a lively trio of teenagers. Quick Before They Catch Us moves as swiftly as its title implies - from its hit-potential theme song recorded by one of Brian Epstein's groups (Paddy, Klaus and Gibson) to the adventure of its three attractive young characters on the loose in London. There's Kate: bubbling with vitality and with an offbeat taste in clothes and pets typical of her gay and eager outlook on life, she works part-time in a café while waiting to go to art school. There's Johnny Martin, a technological student, also working part-time in a nearby garage, with the kind of mechanical talent that can assemble a walkie-talkie from a box of assorted wires and plugs and transistors. The third member of the trio is Mark Dennison, son of a fashionable photographer - bookish, cautious, impractical, but remarkably well-informed. Tonight's opening adventure, "Power Of Three", is written by N J Crisp. When Kate starts work at Andrew Lane's café, some unpleasant characters take a sinister interest in her - and particularly in her innocent-seeming attic room.


Power Of Three (Part 2)
TX : 14th May 1966
Director : Richard Martin
Writer : N J Crisp

Cast : Edward Brayshaw (Quinn), Frank Gatliff (Waller), David Graham (Hamilton), Colin Douglas (Mr Lane), Alan Judd (Chivers), Jacqueline Le Maitre (Mrs Wilson), Neville Taylor (Mr Wilson), Charles Workman (Mr Brown), Tony Caunter (Sammy) and Michael Goldie (Frank).

Synopsis : The trio learn of a villainous racket and make a dangerous enemy.
Notes : The signature tune and theme song for the series was composed by Monty Norman and performed by Paddy, Klaus and Gibson.


Power Of Three (Part 3)
TX : 21st May 1966
Director : Richard Martin
Writer : N J Crisp

Cast : Edward Brayshaw (Quinn), Tony Caunter (Sammy), Michael Goldie (Frank), Frank Gatliff (Waller), Brenda Saunders (Mrs Judd), Jody Blanshard (Bill Judd), Colin Douglas (Mr Lane) and David Graham (Hamilton).

Synopsis : Johnny gets beaten up and Mark shows how to track down enemy H.Q.
Notes : Episode length was 25 minutes. The series was transmitted on Saturdays between 6:40pm and 7:05pm.


Power Of Three (Part 4)
TX : 28th May 1966
Director : Richard Martin
Writer : N J Crisp

Cast : Tony Caunter (Sammy), Edward Brayshaw (Quinn), Joby Blanshard (Bill Judd), Frank Gatliff (Waller), Colin Rix (Police Sergeant), Malcolm Rogers (Police Constable), David Graham (Hamilton), Brenda Saunders (Mrd Judd), Colin Douglas (Mr Lane) and Michael Goldie (Frank).

Synopsis : The three friends are in extreme peril at the end of their first adventure.

Notes : On the 19th May the Radio Times gave the series another promotional push: Johnny, Kate and Mark, the trio of young Londoners whose adventures are winning a regular audience for Quick Before They Catch Us, have a magnetic attraction for trouble. It began to brew in last week's second episode, when they ran foul of a crooked estate agent driving local tenants from their homes by harassing them. Henchmen of the gang leader, Waller, tried to frighten Kate into leaving her bed-sitter so that they could use the camera obscura in the roof to spy on tenants - and Johnny took on more trouble than he could tackle. Tonight the action quickens. Johnny, with his technical know-how, has managed to intercept undecipherable radio messages, and the problem is to locate exactly where they are coming from. A television aerial and an electric clock solve that one - plus some hair-raising climbing on various London landmarks - and the trio also discover what the messages mean. As Johnny says: "I've got quite a talent for picking locks" - and, as it turns out, for making Waller and his thugs more than somewhat irritated. This four-part story is the work of N J Crisp, one of the most successful of television writers, who turned to full-time scripting at thirty after an uncommonly varied career: he has been a typewriter salesman, a bank clerk, a pilot, a chain store manager, and a controller of a fleet of sixty taxis. He has written over a dozen original television plays as well as being a regular contributor to such series as Doctor Finlay's Casebook and Dixon Of Dock Green - whose Saturday slot is now filled by Quick Before They Catch Us while Dixon takes a summer break.


Mark Of Distinction (Part 1)
TX : 4th June 1966
Director : Derek Martinus
Writer : George F Kerr

Cast : Colin Douglas (Mr Lane), Christopher Benjamin (The orator), Margo Andrew (Vera), Roy Skelton (Danny), Alan Chuntz (The Thief), James Beck (The Policeman), Peter Vaughah (Yeoman), Talfryn Thomas (Masters) and Royston Tickner (Frith).

Synopsis : A handbag is snatched - and Mark is given an unusual job. It's certainly a case of "everybody run" in today's new adventure for Kate, Mark and Johnny, the three lively teenagers-about-London. But they are not running from anyone this time: they are the pursuers - though they are not altogether sure what they're pursuing … It all starts when Kate, listening to an evangelist, witnesses a handbag-snatch. And she is soon the unwilling passenger in a car driven by Don.


Mark Of Distinction (Part 2)
TX : 11th June 1966
Director : Derek Martinus
Writer : George F Kerr

Cast : Colin Douglas (Mr Lane), Royston Tickner (Frith), Margo Andrew (Vera), Roy Skelton (Danny), Peter Vaughan (Yeoman), Howard Douglas (Askew), Edmund Warwick (Phillipsen) and George Tovey (The Fairground Attendant).

Synopsis : Are the stamps stolen? The trio split up in order to find out.


Mark Of Distinction (Part 3)
TX : 18th June 1966
Director : Derek Martinus
Writer : George F Kerr

Cast : Colin Douglas (Mr Lane), Roy Skelton (Danny), Margo Andrew (Vera), George Tovey (The Fairground Attendant), Royston Tickner (Frith), Talfryn Thomas (Masters), Howard Douglas (Askew) and Peter Vaughan (Yeoman).

Synopsis : Johnny breaks into Danny's flat - and Kate has a nasty surprise.


Mark Of Distinction (Part 4)
TX : 25th June 1966
Director : Derek Martinus
Writer : George F Kerr

Cast : Colin Douglas (Mr Lane), Peter Vaughan (Yeoman), Roy Skelton (Danny), Talfryn Thomas (Masters) and Sheila Barker (The Receptionist).

Synopsis : The trio meet two dangerous conspirators - and show them a couple of tricks.

Notes : Malcolm Middleton had designed the first eight episodes.


Season Of The Skylark (Part 1)
TX : 9th July 1966
Director : Morris Barry
Writer : Jack Trevor Story

Cast : Campbell Singer (Captain Happy), John Gill (Magnus), Betty Baskcomb (Mum), Jean St.Clair (Agnes), Madeleine Mills (Lelita), Suzanne Owens (The Nurse), Vernon Joyner (Doctor Yates), Dudley Harrison (The Announcer), Ray Graver, John Baker and The Keasey Twins (Katherine and Karen).

Synopsis : Seaside jobs for two boys and a girl - and their encounter with a very odd family.

Notes : No episode was transmitted on 2nd July due to sports coverage.


Season Of The Skylark (Part 2)
TX : 16th July 1966
Director : Morris Barry
Writer : Jack Trevor Story

Cast : Campbell Singer (Captain Happy), John Gill (Magnus), Betty Baskcomb (Mum), Jean St.Clair (Agnes), Bettine Le Beau (Cecile), Betty England (Mrs Pilsworth), Suzanne Owens (The Nurse), Vernon Joyner (Doctor Yates) and Madeleine Mills (Lolita).

Synopsis : Whoever saw Kate looking like this? No wonder the boys lose all track of her.

Notes : Barry Newbery designed this four part story.


Season Of The Skylark (Part 3)
TX : 23rd July 1966
Director : Morris Barry
Writer : Jack Trevor Story

Cast : Campbell Singer (Captain Happy), John Gill (Magnus), Betty Baskcomb (Mum), Jean St.Clair (Agnes), Madeleine Mills (Lolita), Bettine Le Beau (Cecile), Geoffrey Alexander (The Duty Officer), Hugh Cross (Detective Inspector Jugg), Harold Rees (The Punch And Judy Man), Roy Skelton (The Punch And Judy Voice) and Derek Lambert (The Boy).

Synopsis : Kate is in grave danger - a search leads to a sudden disappearance.


Season Of The Skylark (Part 4)
TX : 30 July 1966
Director : Morris Barry
Writer : Jack Trevor Story

Cast : Campbell Singer (Captain Happy), John Gill (Magnus), Betty Baskcomb (Mum), Jean St.Clair (Agnes), Hugh Cross (Detective Inspector Jugg), Ric Felgate (The Sailor), Madeleine Mills (Lolita), Douglas Blackwell (The Harbour Master), Geoffrey Alexander (The Duty Officer), Dixon Adams (Police Constable Bates), Bettine Le Beau (Cecile) and Betty England (Mrs Pilsworth).

Synopsis : A fight with the police … a lightning rescue … and the truth at last.


The Tungsten Ring (Part 1)
TX : 6th August 1966
Director : Paddy Russell
Writer : Margot Bennett

Cast : Leonard Sachs (Venner), Ron Anderson (The Van Driver), Walter Sparrow (Frost), Victor Platt (Bunce), Rob Denyon (The Customer), Derek Ware (Plummer), Frank Williams (Ferrars) and Philip Rae (Scott).

Synopsis : What was it Mark photographed?

Notes : Peter Kindred designed this four part story.


The Tungsten Ring (Part 2)
TX : 13th August 1966
Director : Paddy Russell
Writer : Margot Bennett

Cast : Leonard Sachs (Venner), Derek Ware (Plummer), Victor Platt (Bunce), Walter Sparrow (Frost), Norman Mitchell (Police Constable Brown), John Swindells (The Customer), Frank Williams (Ferrars), Cynthia Etherington (Mrs Smart) and Will Stampe (Vincini).

Synopsis : A dive into the river leads Johnny, Mark and Kate to a discovery - and a frightening consequence.


The Tungsten Ring (Part 3)
TX : 20th August 1966
Director : Paddy Russell
Writer : Margot Bennett

Cast : Leonard Sachs (Venner), Victor Platt (Bunce), Walter Sparrow (Frost), Frank Williams (Ferrars), Derek Warfe (Plummer), Benn Simons (The First Sailor), Denis Cleary (The Second Sailor), Leslie Bates (Grant), Norman Mitchell (Police Constable Brown) and Philip Ray (Scott).

Synopsis : Johnny and Mark are too clever by half - and land themselves in an ugly situation.


The Tungsten Ring (Part 4)
TX : 27th August 1966
Director : Paddy Russell
Writer : Margot Bennett

Cast : Leonard Sachs (Venner), Walter Sparrow (Frost), Victor Platt (Bunce), Norman Mitchell (Police Constable Brown), Philip Ray (Scott), Frank Williams (Ferrars), Derek Ware (Plummer), Peter Bathurst (The First Officer), Cameron Miller (The Inspector), Jack Phillips (The Sergeant) and Colin Douglas (Mr Lane).

Synopsis : The three friends set a trap and land a man-size fish in a final wrestle with the conspirators.


The Weasel Goes Pop (Part 1)
TX : 3rd September 1966
Director : James Cellan Jones
Writer : John Gray

Cast : Angus Mackay (Tom Kidd), John Bailey (Senor Miranda), David Ballantyne (Bill Hanson), Charles Lloyd Pack (Maxwell Archer), Llewellyn Rees (Sir Harold Cameron), Jill Curzon (Gloria Smith), David James (The Plumber) and Barrie Dufres (The Plumber's Mate).


Synopsis : Mark and Kate are invited to perform in a new club. But, careful! Don is in charge. Today the trio become a pop group when they begin their new four-part adventure The Weasel Goes Pop. But as ever things are not what they seem and before long they uncover an art fraud.
Notes : Oliver Bayldon designed this four part story.


The Weasel Goes Pop (Part 2)
TX : 10th September 1966
Director : James Cellan Jones
Writer : John Gray

Cast : Angus Mackay (Tom Kidd), John Bailey (Senor Miranda), David Ballantyne (Bill Hanson), Charles Lloyd Pack (Maxwell Archer), Jill Curzon (Gloria Smith), William Sherwood (The Auctioneer), John Owens (The Antique Dealer), David James (The Plumber), Barrie Dufres (The Plumber's Mate), Adrian Ropes (Roloff Banks), Judy Huxtable (Millicent) and Jennifer Baker and Susan Baker (The Twins).

Synopsis : The three friends investigate odd happenings at the "Big A" and soon encounter trouble.


The Weasel Goes Pop (Part 3)
TX : 17th September 1966
Director : James Cellan Jones
Writer : John Gray

Cast : Angus Mackay (Tom Kidd), Jill Curzon (Gloria Smith), John Bailey (Senor Miranda), David Ballantyne (Bill Hanson), Marguerite Young (The Lady In The Office), Adrian Ropes (Roloff Banks), Jennifer Baker and Susan Baker (The Twins), David James (The Plumber) and Barrie Dufres (The Plumber's Mate).

Synopsis : With the help of a new videotape device, Johnny, Mark and Kate learn how the picture is to be stolen.


The Weasel Goes Pop (Part 4)
TX : 24th September 1966
Director : James Cellan Jones
Writer : John Gray

Cast : Angus Mackay (Tom Kidd), John Fleming (The Haberdasher), Edward Colliver (The Builder), David Ballantyne (Bill Hanson), Jennifer Baker and Susan Baker (The Twins), Jill Curzon (Gloria Smith), John Bailey (Senor Miranda), Adrian Ropes (Roloff Banks), Judy Huxtable (Millicent), Charles Lloyd Pack (Maxwell Archer), Frank Middlemass (The Inspector) and Blair Stewart (The Police Constable).

Synopsis : Gala opening night of the "Big A" - and what happens after an ingenious theft.


"A swift-moving television serial about three teenagers on the loose in London." BBC Publicity


During the summer recess of Dixon Of Dock Green in 1966, BBC Television commissioned five writers (N J Crisp, George F Kerr, Jack Trevor Story, Margot Bennett and John Gray) to produce an action serial for the "younger generation". Quick Before They Catch Us featured three London teenagers, Johnny Martin (Teddy Green), Kate (Pamela Franklin) and Mark Dennison (David Griffin), and portrayed the various adventures they became embroiled in through the course of their working and social lives.

In the first story,
Power Of Three, the vivacious Kate became involved in a scheme by an unscrupulous real estate agent to use her attic to monitor the activities of tenants and then blackmail them accordingly. Her actions, combined with the technical know-how of Johnny and the photographic knowledge of Mark, put paid to this nefarious scheme. The second story, Mark Of Distinction, involved a seemingly ordinary handbag snatch which lead the trio into a scheme to steal and sell (at profit) rare stamps worth a king's ransom.

The third story, Season Of The Skylark, saw the trio on holiday on the south coast. Taking holiday jobs, Kate, Johnny and Mark became embroiled in a naval plot, whilst in The Tungsten Ring, a photograph taken by Mark leads the trio into danger. The final four-part story, The Weasel Goes Pop, saw the trio signed to perform as a pop group at the opening night of the "Big A" nightclub. They soon become embroiled in art fraud and prepare to foil a plot to steal a picture on the opening night.

Essentially, Quick Before They Catch Us bears all the hallmarks of Gerry Anderson's 1970s success, The Protectors. Three intelligent people fighting against the forces of evil has always been a tried-and-true concept (The New Avengers is another citable example).

The series was aimed at retaining the young audience who eagerly tuned into
Dixon Of Dock Green, and sustained this audience during the summer recess. The early-evening timeslot ensured that the content was simplistic and very much pre-watershed, but nevertheless entertaining. The mixture of interests and personalities between the three leading characters provided an opportunity for BBC Television to deliver a series which would undoubtedly appeal to 1960s youth audiences.

Whilst the viewing figures were entirely pleasing, the series was not renewed and the return of Dixon Of Dock Green in Autumn 1966 soon blighted the memory of this programme from the public's minds. This is a pity, as the programme reflects a rare example of the BBC producing television in line with ITV's primary objectives - to produce middle-ground, undemanding and audience-pleasing television.

Notable members of the production crew include several worthy
Doctor Who names (Richard Martin, Derek Martinus, Morris Barry and Paddy Russell) and James Cellan Jones. The series has never been commercially exploited, and no longer exists in the BBC archives.


Regular Characters
Portrayed By
Johnny Martin
Teddy Green
Kate
Pamela Franklin
Mark Dennison
David Griffin
Don (episode 2 onwards)
Colin Bell

The series was produced by William Sterling.


Text © Matthew Lee, 2004.