BBC Radio 4
Hilary Speight is a young red-headed woman of exceptional intellect. However, because of turmoil and tragedy in her past, she is chronically
suicidal. After her latest attempt to take her life she finds that she is a target for a shadowy group who want to use her computer talents for
their own purposes. But the plotters do not have it all their own way since Hilary is no slouch at turning tables on her adversaries. There are
a lot of twists and doubling back with some scary results in this six-part suspense thriller.
Produced by John Tydeman
1) 'Reception' (Monday 1st June 1970)
There's not much laughter for Hilary, a 24-year-old woman who's having trouble dealing with both life and death - her own.
Getting out of hospital after her latest suicide attempt, Hilary encounters a randy surgeon and a helpful psychiatrist. One tries to date her and
the other makes a peculiar phone call to a harpsichordist. Then she meets a young man in a Coffee House who drives a Rolls-Royce. She
accepts an offer of a drive but soon finds out that it is more than she bargained for...
With John Pullen [Dr. Gerald Reece, a Surgeon at the Royal Albert Hospital], Margaret Wolfit [Matron], Deborah Dallas [Brenda, the Duty
Nurse in the Psychiatric Unit at the Royal Albert Hospital], Angela Pleasence [Hilary Speight], Malcolm Hayes [Dr. Wormald in the
Psychiatric Unit at the Royal Albert Hospital], Rolf Lefebvre [Mr. Arnold Beresford], Hilda Kriseman [Jean, Mr. Beresford's Secretary],
Andrew Sachs [Rick, Proprietor of La Gada Coffee House], and Nigel Anthony [Cannon, a Chauffeur].
Harpsichord played by Martin Goldstein
2) 'Pandora Close' (Monday 8th June 1970)
Surrounded by undisclosed and rather quirky characters, some who could be dangerous, Hilary Speight finds that her questions don't bring
answers. Soon she will get some answers, but they will only lead to more questions.
Hilary, recovered from another suicide attempt, was released from hospital only to meet a bright-talking man named Cannon sent to collect
her. He brings her back to Higher Wickham to meet his boss, a mysterious man named Beresford who wants to offer her a job. Beresford
makes it clear to Hilary that he needs her computer skills and he has one persuasive argument to guarantee her co-operation - he knows
what happened to Hilary's father. The girl doted on her father and believed him to be dead, but Beresford tells her it's 'not true', that he is still
alive. If Hilary is to find out anything more, she must help Beresford by cracking a secure CIA file located at the American Embassy in a
With Hilda Kriseman [Jean, Mr. Beresford's Secretary], Rolf Lefebvre [Mr. Arnold Beresford of Associated Charities Trust], Nigel Anthony
[Cannon, Beresford's Chauffeur], and Angela Pleasence [Hilary Speight].
3) 'Zeus' (Monday 15th June 1970)
Hilary has been finessed into a job with Beresford who told her that her foreign correspondent father, whom she believed dead, was in fact
still alive and only Beresford could lead her to him. But who is Beresford and what is his real business?
The quick-talking Cannon who picked her up now appears to be suspected of some sort of wrong-doing and has been taken off the
'project' while Hilary has been sent to one of their safe houses called 'Pandora Close'. Beresford sends over a new agent to work with the
girl - a man named Mortimer. Hilary's reaction is that he is a person who deals in lies, even to talking about his school history. She really
does not like this guy and wonders what became of Cannon?
Mortimer tells Hilary that five days earlier, Peter Proctor, an American Embassy Personnel Officer, who was working undercover for them
got 'bumped off' at the reception hall in the American Embassy. He went down with what was laughingly described as a heart attack as the
body was quickly whisked off to the American Naval Office in Brook Street. They don't think the Americans killed him but are sure that they
know who and the information is stored in their Zeus computer at the embassy. But how does she get access to it?
With Hilda Kriseman [Jean, Mr. Beresford's Secretary], Angela Pleasence [Hilary Speight], Dinsdale Landen [Mr. Mortimer, one of
Beresford's Men], and Rolf Lefebvre [Mr. Arnold Beresford of Associated Charities Trust].
4) 'The Proctor File' (Monday 22nd June 1970)
Hilary has found out that the Zeus computer in London is linked with the Zeus computer in Washington which it syncs with once a day over
a secure transatlantic cable. By tapping into it while the information is being transferred, they can get the file on Proctor.
Caught up in a plot to steal a secret file from the CIA computer, Hilary has the expertise but can she handle the relentless danger, to say
nothing of the constant double-crosses. Sent to do the dirty deed with Beresford's assistant, Mortimer, Hilary finds that she can tap into the
embassy's phone cable underneath the Putney Railway Bridge. Things look good for the first few minutes but then British Rail throws a
spanner into the works. Will the train miss them? Is there enough room for all of them on the bridge at the same time?....
With Angela Pleasence [Hilary Speight], Dinsdale Landen [Mr. Mortimer, one of Beresford's Men], Charles Hyatt [Albert Lenoir, Gunman
on Thames Bank], Nigel Anthony [Cannon, Beresford's Chauffeur], Rolf Lefebvre [Mr. Arnold Beresford of Associated Charities Trust],
Hilda Kriseman [Jean, Mr. Beresford's Secretary], Alan Barry, Nigel Lambert [Two Men in Search Boat], and Brian Haines [The Porter at
Associated Charities Trust].
5) 'Universal General Hire' (Monday 29th June 1970)
After being coerced into stealing a CIA computer file, Hilary discovers that there are new players in the game - and they carry guns.
Up to now, Hilary has managed to retrieve the important CIA code file, survive a plunge into the Thames while avoiding people in a boat
who were trying to capture her, only to be stopped by a man on the river bank with a gun who wanted the tape. Tricking him, she eludes
capture and goes back to Cannon's flat and decodes the file. So all she has to do now is deliver it to Beresford. But there's that old adage
about the cup and the lip or, in this case, between the decision and the knock on the door. Hilary will soon find out that there's a third
competing organisation vying to get hold of her and the file she has purloined....
With Angela Pleasence [Hilary Speight], Charles Hyatt [Albert Lenoir, CIA Agent], Brian Haines [Fake Police Constable / Sentry at
Universal General Hire], Peter Tuddenham [Mr. Williams of Universal General Hire], Hilda Kriseman [Jean, Mr. Beresford's Secretary],
Rolf Lefebvre [Mr. Arnold Beresford of Associated Charities Trust], Dinsdale Landen [Mr. Mortimer, one of Beresford's Men], Brian
Hewlett [Michael, Employee of Universal General Hire], Jo Manning Wilson [Female Employee of Universal General Hire], James
Thomason [Technician, Employee of Universal General Hire], Kerry Francis [Mr. Fernberg, Interrogator for Universal General Hire], and
Nigel Anthony [Cannon, Beresford's Chauffeur].
6) 'The Cross of Light' (Monday 6th July 1970)
'The Joke About Hilary Spite' is a precautionary tale of about the problems of getting involved with strange men; that Hilary carries it to
extremes only makes the object lesson sharper. She found that getting into things is easy; it's getting out that can try a girl's capabilities.
Taken captive by a group of unnamed characters, Hilary has been rescued, or partially rescued, by Cannon. But the two are still trying to get
out of the building through an upper window when they are spotted and become targets for gunfire. Now there comes the intervention, in
the form of a helicopter. Is this the step from the frying pan into the fire? They take the gamble.
After being snatched off the roof by helicopter amid a hail of gunfire, Hilary and a wounded Cannon meet their newest captor; an old
ex-member of the Hitler Youth named Maximillian. And while Beresford teams up with another organisation to retrieve her, Hilary finds
herself being tested once again. The hardest test of all, and this time it leads to... No, you'll have to be there to learn the 'Joke'.
With Angela Pleasence [Hilary Speight], Nigel Anthony [Cannon, Beresford's Chauffeur], Rolf Lefebvre [Mr. Arnold Beresford of
Associated Charities Trust], Dinsdale Landen [Mr. Mortimer, one of Beresford's Men], Kerry Francis [Mr. Fernberg, Interrogator for
Universal General Hire], Harold Kasket [Maximillian, an Old Ex-Member of the Hitler Youth], and Patricia Gallimore [Esther, Maximillian's
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