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The Bishop
16th October 2010, 09:03 PM
5. Last Train To Bufflers Halt

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1094

CAPERS

1. CELEBBERS

This is one of the few episodes which doesn't feature Mrs Appleby but Agent Blake (aka Captain Scarlet) more than makes up for this. Unusually, there is only one very brief sighting of a lead character from another series, namely Captain Ochre from Captain Scarlet, although several members of the Repertory Company do make an appearance.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1110

2. STORY TRIDDLYHOW

A gang of white collar crooks plan to steal £1million in used banknotes which are due to be transported to London on a special train service. They have already failed with one robbery attempt when the consignment was being taken by road in a Securicor van.

The crime is an inside job and has been masterminded by a bank official called Reed. His accomplice, Jackie, visits the signal box and threatens to shoot the signalman if he doesn't stop the train in Blackmore Tunnel. Reed is waiting in the tunnel and operates the points which will send the train down a disused branch line. Whilst the train is stopped in the tunnel, Reed overpowers the train driver and ties him up and then sets about driving the engine himself.

Another accomplice, Callow, visits Albert Hobson, a retired station master at the dilapidated railway station called Buffler's Halt, and tells him that the station is to be reopened. The idea is that Reed can stop the train there and then he and his gang can unload the money before taking it away by road in an old blue van.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1095

After the failed roadblock attempt, the Bishop has anticipated that the same crooks will try and hijack the train and he and Blake are monitoring events at 10 mile checkpoints. One of the agents keeping in touch from a signalbox is Captain Ochre.

3. NE'ER DO WOLDS

Mr Reed is a crooked bank official working with inside information. He is a serious looking character who has played 19 different parts in Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and The Secret Service. His most notable turn was as Igor Sladek in the Joe 90 episode 'International Concerto'. However, he never looked more out of place than as an astronaut wearing a silly hat in the Captain Scarlet story 'Lunarville 7'!

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1096

4. RESOLVEY-HO!

By arranging for a letter of authority from the Prime Minister, the Bishop is able to get both Father Unwin and Matthew on board the train with a view to them influencing events. Who would suspect a country vicar of being a secret agent?

At the critical moment Matthew is able to lure Reed and his colleagues away from the train door by calling out "Reeeed! Reeeeeeeed!" from inside his case. That just buys enough time for Father Unwin to trap them on board by locking the luggage compartment.

There are a few scary minutes when it is established that Albert Hobson, who must have also been a train driver in the days of steam, doesn't know how to stop the new fangled diesel train which is running flat out on the main line. However, instructions are relayed by the Bishop to Unwin via his earpiece and Hobson stops the train at the very end of the line.

There is a shot of the mailbags when the train is in full flight and someone calls out "Help!! Help!!" in a very weedy voice. I assume it must be Matthew but it doesn't really sound right as I wouldn't expect Matthew to panic!

The Bishop
16th October 2010, 09:03 PM
CONTAIN-ITS

5. IF YOU FOLLOW MY MEAL

Purpose

The Unwinese in this episode just facilitates a little comic interlude. It gives Father Unwin the opportunity to reproach Matthew 'under the radar'.

Transcript

Matthew: "If you've got the king, play that.. neither of the guards have got the ace."
Unwin: "I wish you wouldn't inform me of the handy deal, Matthew, and folly for your eyebold!"
Guard: "What was that, Father?"
Unwin: "Well, I happen to know that neither of you have an ace in your hand."
Guard: "Well, that's right - but how did you know that?"
Unwin: "Well, let's say a little voice told me. We'll have to start again.. and keeply quietload this time, Matthew, if you wold."

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1099

Translation

Matthew: "If you've got the king, play that.. neither of the guards have got the ace."
Unwin: "I wish you wouldn't give away their cards, Matthew, and no cheating!"
Guard: "What was that, Father?"
Unwin: "Well, I happen to know that neither of you have an ace in your hand."
Guard: "Well, that's right - but how did you know that?"
Unwin: "Well, let's say a little voice told me. We'll have to start again.. and please don't say anything this time, Matthew."

6. DEEP JOY OF THE MINIATURISATION

I am not sure exactly how many people know of the existence of the Minimiser. Father Unwin, Matthew and the Bishop do but Agent Blake is definitely kept in the dark. Others in the series so far who have seen it in operation are the Ambassador, his Aide and the crew of the Dreisenberg airliner in 'A Case For The Bishop' and Sir Humphrey Burton from 'To Catch A Spy'.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1100

Here is the somewhat battered case used to transport Matthew to the theatre of operations. If the series wasn't quirky enough already then it seems to go to a unique level when you hear Matthew calling "Ree-eed! Over here, Ree-ee-eed!" in that irritatingly childish way.

7. THE MIKE SONG SINGERS

This story is more notable for the railway sound effects but the accompanying music heightens the experience and Barry Gray was always spot on whatever he did!

8. PROPY

When I first heard about The Secret Service in the 1990's I was enchanted by the title of this story - Last Train To Bufflers Halt. The single paragraph of narrative describing the story created vivid pictures in my imagination. I had visualised a steam train so it was something of a surprise to see a diesel.

My mental picture was strongly influenced by the description of a dusty old suburban railway station on a hot summer's day that was memorably written about in the Sherlock Holmes' story called 'The Retired Colourman'.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1097

I couldn't resist including a shot of this lovely model van and can't help wondering if the back of the station has been constructed using the same canopy that can be seen covering the platform in the shot immediately below.

9. SETLOADERS

Here is the station called Bufflers Halt according to the main title or Buffler's Halt according to the platform sign so I take it that the latter is correct. I was tempted to include a screenshot of the station after dark but then it would mean that my review included only one picture of the diesel train which is a central part of the story.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1098

I used to be crazy about trainsets when I was a boy and I had both 2 rail and 3 rail Hornby sets with the die-cast metal locomotives. I am not sure if it is exactly the same train but there was a blue diesel locomotive that was brought out quite late on and is now very rare and highly sought after on eBay - £500 for one in top condition.

The following link takes you to the front cover of the Triang/Hornby catalogue that introduces this model (second one down) http://www.trianghornby.net/catalog.html

The Bishop
16th October 2010, 09:04 PM
NAME DROPNY

10. GLINTY SCINTILLADES

As you can see from the 'Hall Of Fame' there are no appearances by mainstream characters from Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 except for Paul Metcalfe, himself (see below) and a momentary glimpse of Captain Ochre.

11. AGENT BLAKE - O FOLLY TERRIBOLD!

Agent Blake has significant airtime in this story but is still kept in the dark about the Minimiser. He has to leave the Bishop's Whitehall office before the miniaturised Matthew can be revealed.

The modellers have given the heroic Captain Scarlet puppet a quivering, sweaty upper lip (as opposed to a stiff one) and a hesitant, apologetic voice and demeanour. I am surprised that he is not made to do the hoovering wearing an apron!

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1101

Agent Blake makes an excellent foil for the Bishop when they are tracking the progress of the one million pound shipment because he has been kept in the dark about the arrangements. He is naturally worried that the Bishop will lose his temper when the mail train is hijacked not knowing that this was exactly what was wanted.

12. SUPPORTY CARPS

Here is Albert Hobson who was a brand new puppet for The Secret Service and so I don't regard him as being a member of the Captain Scarlet/Joe 90 Repertory Company. He has a wonderful face full of character and is an ideal person to play a crusty old British Rail employee.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1102

There are appearances by Helga from CS 'Model Spy' as Jackie and Waddington from Joe 90 episode 'The Professional' as the signalman. Dr Magnus from CS 'Operation Time' is seen here as a railway guard and apparently Callow was seen in the CS compilation episode 'The Inquisition'. Jason Smith from 'Fire At Rig 15' is one of the quieter members of the gang.

13. CREASEY UNIFOLDERS

There are no uniforms of note but it is amusing to see that Albert is wearing his medals. Agent Blake seems to have lost weight - see screenshot and comments below.

HOUSE & GARBIDGE

This section affords an opportunity to pick up on some of the live action shots and locations which are a characteristic of this show.

14. LIVE HAPPENY

There is not much in the way of live action but there are plenty of shots of members of the crew driving cars.

15. TIMELY PARPS

There are a number of very nostalgic shots of steam engines hauling trucks of earth in what are the last few years of steam travel. There is a sadness about these wintery scenes which capture the passing of a golden era.

There is a nice picture of a diesel express train approaching and I remember so well when the sight of such an engine was an unusual and exciting event. How things change but now even the diesels are in decline as electrification becomes the order of the day.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1104

16. GRANDLY ARCHITEPS

There are no grand mansions in this story but you do get a glimpse of the old stations and signal boxes as the engine thunders towards London. I like the way the music reinforces the seriousness of the situation as the number of tracks and points increases as the city is approached. The final scene when the engine reaches the end of the line is rather disappointing as the trucks and carriages moving in the sidings look like toys - maybe the camera should have been lower down.

17. MOTYCARS CLASSICOLD

I should know what car this is with its chrome bumpers and green paint but am not sure - probably an Austin or a Morris. This appears to be another classic case of a night-for-day (or should it be day-for-night?) scene where filters are used to make it look like dusk.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1103

The Bishop
16th October 2010, 09:06 PM
SUM UPPERLY

18. ALL UTTERY WORDS

There was plenty to keep my interest in this story but pride of place must go to the colour footage of railway engines and stations from a bygone era. I wish there was more of this and it was a little frustrating when the camera was passing a long line of trucks to the left but we did not get to see the engine pulling them.

The following scene is what it's all about and the character of the crooks really shines through. Reed has a very thoughtful face and Jackie's expression is very realistic indeed suggesting a certain amount of suppressed humour.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1107

19. QUANTICOST

For a long time I regarded this one as a 5 Minimiser light episode but I must be fair to the rest of the series and so I have given it 4 lights. I take comfort from my original statement that every Secret Service adventure is worthy of 5 stars and so the Minimiser lights are just fine tuning.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=68&pictureid=947
Rating: Five stars + 4 Minimiser lights


TRIVIAL

20. MICRO MATTHEW

No sign of Micro Matthew today..

21. SPLODEY BANGERS!

.. nor any explosions..

22. LESSON LEARN-IT

.. not to mention that there were no lessons to be learned..

23. JUDGE NOT, MRS APPLEBOD

.. and certainly no sign of Mrs Appleby! I am beginning to wonder about my choice of headings and categories!!

24. WHIMSY CHUCKLODES

Here is an amusing photo of Agent Blake in something of an off-guard moment. I just love those potstick legs and skinny trousers. I was intrigued by this brief scene and wondered if anyone would remember which episode it came from if it was not included in a review such as this.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1106

25. COMPETIGAMES

This is a thread with a difference in that it incorporates a competition for members of the public Fanderson Forum. The winner will receive a small prize consisting of a resin Matthew Harding head which was taken from the original puppet.

The Bishop will soon be retiring on a nice, fat Civil Service pension. To win the Matthew headcast you must answer the following question: What is The Last Errand Of The Bishop?

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1105

Within the threbbers of this page there is a story told
Of saboteurs and crooks and spies and tales of ne’er do wolds.
Hobson is all confuseymost, his station name metsup.
Reverps a word and you will find a clue so don't give up.

Picasso61
16th October 2010, 10:32 PM
I should know what car this is with its chrome bumpers and green paint but am not sure - probably an Austin or a Morris. This appears to be another classic case of a night-for-day scene where filters are used to make it look like dusk.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1103[/QUOTE]Another great summary of this - one of my favourite episodes. This is either a Morris Oxford or an Austin Cambridge, Bishop. Going by the grille I'd say the latter.:)

That registration no. is just great - particularly as I'm a fan of the Electric Light Orchestra!

Bladez636
18th October 2010, 12:19 PM
Ya know, I was trying to make sense as to if Albert was a revamped puppet from Captain Scarlet/Joe 90 or not. I was guessing he was the same puppet who played Morton in "The Trap" but they look rather different in some areas. Now I know he was a new puppet...

Steve Gerard
18th October 2010, 02:44 PM
The Bishop strikes again, well done....Salt...Halt?

air terrainean
18th October 2010, 02:59 PM
I should know what car this is with its chrome bumpers and green paint but am not sure - probably an Austin or a Morris. This appears to be another classic case of a night-for-day scene where filters are used to make it look like dusk.

http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=77&pictureid=1103Another great summary of this - one of my favourite episodes. This is either a Morris Oxford or an Austin Cambridge, Bishop. Going by the grille I'd say the latter.:)[/QUOTE]

Yes, you're right. It is an Austin Cambridge, dating from around 1960-62. I think it may have belonged to the Century 21 Studios projectionist.

The Bishop
19th October 2010, 08:08 PM
http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=72&pictureid=1007
Good Evening, Gentlemen

It is very nice to hear from you and thank you very much for your comments. I will see you in church, no doubt!

I was hesitant about the car model but felt sure that my Dad owned such a vehicle many years ago. He had either an Austin Cambridge or a Westminster in a sort of maroon and custard combination, a bit like the old railway carriages, and it looked very smart.

I thought that Albert Hobson was a new puppet but this was confirmed in FAB59. Mind you I notice that the same article said that Real, from Joe 90 episode 'Breakout', only appeared in 'A Question Of Miracles'. In fact, he also features in 'The Feathered Spies' and has a significant amount of dialogue.

Ah Ha Mr Gerard! - How did that happen? The value of a good editing tool is often understimated! :)

Steve Gerard
20th October 2010, 02:36 PM
http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=72&pictureid=1007

Ah Ha Mr Gerard! - How did that happen? The value of a good editing tool is often understimated! :)

The Bishop was this an intentional mistake as a clue to some mystery within the series?:rolleyes:

The Bishop
20th October 2010, 03:48 PM
http://www.fanderson.org.uk/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=972
Hello Mr Gerard,

It is one of the clues that would enable you to solve The Last Errand Of The Bishop competition and win the prize of this resin head.

Once you know the method a child of 5 could solve the puzzle. The clue in every review points to the method of solving it as well as giving you part of the answer.. :)

douglogger
1st December 2011, 07:49 PM
Your Minimisership
The Doorway Blake scene might've been an off-filming publicityshot that would be in line with those asked from Derek Meddings and the lot at TV21. Taking key craft or vehicles and indiscriminently dropping them wily-nily on oft seen landscapes or streetscapes. Witness the abhorent travesty that has TB2 and the standard-issue multi-series helijet and the MiG 242 Facility front gate Guard Tower all tossed onto the terrain from Spectrum Strikes Back...arrrrgggghhhh!!!Imagey revoltimost oh ITC-folly most.......like this doorway pose has me at BAFFLER's Halt.
Douglogger

Anderfan
26th October 2012, 04:43 PM
The van at the station seems to be a modified mk1 Ford transit

DukeDexter
12th September 2014, 11:36 PM
Yes, you're right. It is an Austin Cambridge, dating from around 1960-62. I think it may have belonged to the Century 21 Studios projectionist.

Spot on, AT - the projectionist Tony Stacey :)

AJR
21st June 2015, 10:47 PM
The locomotive is a Class 35 Hymek which was made by Triang but it is not 00 gauge as mentioned .... it was an 0 gauge model from their "Big Big Train" range which was battery operated. The blue and white version used in the "Buffler's Halt" episode was called "The Blue Flier". There was also a yellow and red version available and if you look in the sidings as the train speeds by you can see the alternative version.
The Hymek was actually a diesel-hydraulic locomotive but in the "Buffler's Halt" episode, it is represented as a single car baggage / parcels DMU.
In case anyone wants to collect one of these models, they are quite cheap to buy on eBay. They were made from 1966 to 1972 by Triang (both blue & white or yellow & red). When Triang was rebranded as Hornby, this range was discontinued. However, the tooling found its way to USSR and re-released under the Novo brand with the same colour variants available between 1975 and 1980.
That would seem to be the end of the tale, but the tooling later turned up in China and was released in red & white and named "The Red Rocket".