Mr. Palfrey of Westminster
|Mr Palfrey of Westminster|
|Directed by||Gerald Blake|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Original release||18 April 1984 – 11 June 1985|
Mr Palfrey of Westminster was a British television drama produced by Thames Television, which ran in 1984–85.
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.
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. 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
- Alec McCowen as Mr Palfrey, the lead character, a Whitehall based spycatcher.
- Briony McRoberts as Caroline, Mr Palfrey's secretary
- Clive Wood as Blair, Mr Palfrey's more action-orientated assistant
- Caroline Blakiston as The Coordinator, head of espionage activities for the British Government
The complete series, including the Pilot episode and the Pilot for a series based on Blair's character, was released on a 3-DVD set on 16 August 2010, on Network 7953332.
- Jerry Roberts (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-8108-6138-0.
- 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.