Mr. Palfrey of Westminster

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Mr Palfrey of Westminster
Genre Spy
Directed by Gerald Blake[1]
Starring Alec McCowen
Clive Wood
Caroline Blakiston
Briony McRoberts
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 10
Running time 50 minutes
Production company(s) Thames Television
Distributor FremantleMedia
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Mono
Original release 18 April 1984 (1984-04-18) – 11 June 1985 (1985-06-11)

Mr Palfrey of Westminster was a British television drama produced by Thames Television for ITV and which ran between 18 April 1984 and 11 June 1985.

Plot summary[edit]

Mr Palfrey is a mild, middle aged man—the epitome of a middle rank British Civil Servant.

He is also a spook.

This series focused on the more cerebral than physical aspects of the espionage business. It was perhaps this lack of action that was regarded as its major drawback for the typically prime-time audience on Britain's then-largest commercial TV channel, ITV.[citation needed]

Two series in total were made in addition to the pilot. The pilot, "The Traitor", by George Markstein, aired as part of Thames Television's Storyboard anthology on 23 August 1983. Series 1 consisted of just four one-hour episodes, and first aired on Wednesday evenings from 9.00 to 10.00pm, 18 April to 9 May 1984.[2] Series 2 consisted of six one-hour episodes and aired on Tuesdays, again from 9.00 to 10.00pm, 7 May to 11 June 1985. A subsequent play featuring Blair, "A Question of Commitment", by Philip Broadley, was first transmitted in the Storyboard anthology on 23 May 1989.

Regular cast and characters[edit]

Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (1984)[edit]

Episode number Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "Once Your Card is Marked" George Markstein Christopher Hodson 18 April 1984 (1984-04-18)
2 "The Honeyport and the Bees" Michael Chapman Peter Cregeen 25 April 1984 (1984-04-25)
3 "The Defector" Philip Broadley Christopher Hodson 1 May 1984 (1984-05-01)
4 "A Present from Leipzig" Anthony Skene Peter Cregeen 8 May 1984 (1984-05-08)

Series 2 (1985)[edit]

Episode number Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
5 "Freedom from Longing" Philip Broadley Christopher Hodson 7 May 1985 (1985-05-07)
6 "Return to Sender" Philip Broadley Gerald Blake 14 May 1985 (1985-05-14)
7 "Music of a Dead Prophet" Michael Chapman John Davies 21 July 1985 (1985-07-21)
8 "Official Secret" George Markstein Christopher Hodson 28 May 1985 (1985-05-28)
9 "Spygame" Barry Appleton Gerald Blake 4 June 1985 (1985-06-04)
10 "The Baited Trap" Philip Broadley John Davies 11 June 1985 (1985-06-11)

DVD release[edit]

The complete series, including the Pilot episode and the Pilot for a series based on Blair's character,[citation needed] was released on a 3-DVD set on 16 August 2010, on Network 7953332.


  1. ^ Jerry Roberts (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-8108-6138-0. 
  2. ^ Television listings for all ITV regions, The Times (18 and 25 April 2 and 9 May 1984). Richard Down and Christopher Parry, The British Drama Research Guide: 1950–1997 (Bristol: Kaleidoscope Publishing, 1997), ISBN 1-900203-04-9, p. DM-11, indicate that Central TV transmitted the last two episodes one day earlier, on Tuesdays, 1 and 8 May 1984. These are the dates also given on the container of the Network 7953332 DVD set. Dave Rogers, The ITV Encyclopedia of Adventure (London: Boxtree Ltd, 1988), ISBN 1-85283-205-3 (cloth) ISBN 1-85283-217-7 (pbk), p. 336, also gives the date of episode 4 as Tuesday, 8 May 1984, without specifying the ITV region(s). The Times, on the contrary, lists on Tuesday 1 May 1984, 9.10–10.10pm, and on Tuesday 8 May 1984, 9.00–10.00 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes ("The Dancing Men" and "The Naval Treaty", respectively) on all ITV regions, and these dates for the Sherlock Holmes episodes are confirmed for Central TV in Down and Perry 1997, p. DA-4.

External links[edit]