The Champions 1.3 – Reply Box No 666

Tonight’s episode of The Champions was written by Philip Broadley, who had also written several episodes of ITC’s The Saint. Between that show and Danger Man, everybody at that production company got a lot of experience pretending that the backlot and the forests surrounding the studios at Elstree were every environment on the planet. Stock footage helped. Simon Templar was always vacationing in Montego Bay or someplace and the establishing shots sold the illusion that Roger Moore was really there.

They almost pulled it off with this Caribbean-set story. Unfortunately, there’s a massive difference between the circular leaves of the real trees encroaching on the real boat with the camera, and the big, plastic, triangular palm fronds that the stagehands are slapping against the fake boat where the actors are!

I kid, but this is a pretty fun story about our heroes stepping in to follow in the footsteps of a dead enemy agent. Our son had a surprising amount of trouble following it, though. He said that he enjoyed it, but he had lots of questions. The enemy spies never really announced their plans to the camera in the way of typical teevee bad guys, so the audience gets to piece the story together along with the heroes. Even Sharron’s super-hypnosis isn’t any help, because the villain she snares has his cover story too hard-wired into his subconscious!

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