Tonight’s very entertaining episode of Adam Adamant Lives!, written by Richard Harris, is mostly set around a ginormous country estate. The villains are blackmailers who hide behind a supposedly Satanic coven, promising their targets an evening of debauchery and disgraceful behavior.
Like quite a few BBC programs of the era, this story suffers from really cheap, cardboard sets, with walls that shudder when they shouldn’t, and staircases in stately country houses that are allegedly hundreds of years old but wobble as the actors walk on them. But tonight, our son provided a perfectly wonderful explanation when Adam smacks his assailant into a dungeon wall and the entire side of the set trembled. He said “He hit him so hard that he made the wall shake!”
We paused to give our son a quick explanation of the postwar economic situation that hit the gentry and aristocracy with astonishingly high estate taxes and forced many lords to choose between selling their gigantic country homes or finding some way to make money from them. We also reminded him of Lord and Lady Collingford from the second series of Catweazle.
Adam, knowing nothing of the tax issue, is shocked and appalled to find a stately old home that he had known from his previous life turned into a tourist attraction, with a zoo, carousels, an antique rail car ride (just like the Hanson Cars at Six Flags Over Georgia) and a Royal Navy helicopter. These scenes were filmed at Woburn Abbey, which had in reality also been converted into a tourist attraction by the 13th Duke of Bedford in the 1950s. Nevertheless, I’m assuming that Great Britain’s economic situation had been totally reversed by 1966, because this is about the fifth time in eight episodes that Georgie Jones has been able to get a job, training, and a uniform in the time that it takes for Adam Adamant to have a glass of claret with the villain.
I absolutely love the way that Adam does not play by TV hero nice guy rules. He disarms an opponent at one point in this story and then goes ahead and runs him through with his sword anyway for daring to pick the fight. None of this namby-pamby “oh, if I kill you, I’ll be no better than you” nonsense. Nobody else in 1966 was so delightfully ruthless!
As we’ve now watched eight of the surviving seventeen episodes, we’ll take a short break from Adam Adamant Lives! and come back to it at the end of the year, to keep things fresh. We have several other great shows to finish up between now and then, so stick around and stay tuned for more!
(Note: I can play them, but I’m not presently able to get screencaps from Region 4 DVDs, so many of these entries will just have a photo of the set to illustrate it. Click the link to purchase it from Amazon UK.)