1/8/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
region 2 DVD. pub: Network B003WFO4NE. 200 minute 4 * 48 minute black and white episodes and a photo gallery. Price: £10.99 (UK)). stars: John Sharp, Elizabeth Shepherd and Gary Cockrell.
check out website: www.networkdvd.co.uk
check out clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_QBaZVMxhQ
Sometimes you can be dropped in the deep end with an old series and see if falls under our remit. After all, 'The Avengers' does even it has an espionage base. 'The Corridor People' was made in 1966 and employed in its cast actress Elizabeth Shepherd. For those who know their 'Avengers' will recall she was up for the role of replacing Honor Blackman when she left but the role ultimately went to Diana Rigg. Although she's wearing a dark make-up to suggest she's a touch foreign in this series, she does look remarkably like la Blackman so it's perhaps understandable why she didn't become Steed's ally.
'The Corridor People' is extremely low budget and has only two exterior broadcasts in its four episodes. In contrast to that, it has a reasonably large cast, especially of people who were likely to rise to more prominence in the next decade like Pauline Collins, Windsor Davies (not using his normal Welsh accent), Tim Barrett (him, too), Aubrey Morris, Ivor Salter and Nina Baden-Semper. Most interestingly for SF fans, pay attention to Calvin Lockhart, the black actor in the fourth episode, as in 1990 he played King Willie in 'Predator 2'. I only picked up on him by his vocal pitch and stare. Old TV series are full of surprises.
'The title undoubtedly comes from the corridors of power and who manipulates who around the country. Kronk (actor John Sharp who later appeared in 'The Prisoner' as a Number Two) is the head of a covert espionage group. Syrie Von Epp (actress Elizabeth Shepherd) is an open foreign free-lance agent with her own agenda. Phil Scrotty (actor Gary Cockrell) is an American private eye with pretensions to Bogart working in London with dustbins outside his office to catch the unwary and to alert of visitors. All three end up using each other for their own ends when they can which is probably why they tolerate each other. Aiding Kronk are two special branch detectives, Blood (actor Alan Curtis) and Hound (actor William Maxwell). Soon as you realise their names, surrealism enters the picture and you should be careful to take anything that seriously. There's a classic line from them after a dead body is discovered on a park bench as to what to do next and Hound comments, 'Move the bench.' You'll be endlessly re-watching this series to pick out risqué one-liners that managed to get under the line of the time. I love another one: 'I think you'll go far.' 'Where else is there to go?' The scripter of all four episodes is Eddie Boyd who went onto a lot of other series over the years.
Coercion, kidnapping, murder and blackmail is all part of this Machiavellian surreal game and nothing is quite what it seems. It truly does make the best of a low budget with the odd Shakespearean and even pantomime twist. The fact that the cast plays the spoof seriously and know they are spouting comic lines even more so. It isn't likely to appeal to everyone but if you get it, 'The Corridor People' is going to develop its own cult appeal.
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