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GHOST SQUAD

ghost_squad_bk_gs ghost_squad_tv_gs
 
Full Name: Ghost Squad
Nationality: British
Organization: Ghost Squad
Occupation Agency

Creator: John Gosling, Antony Kearey
Time Span: 1959 - 1971

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Ghost Squad is a division of the British law enforcement establishment.
       Its patch is not a city or even the country but the entire globe although it constrains itself to dealing with those law breakers and terrorist groups which have struck at or threatened British interests. Its few operatives tend to work alone, going undercover as needed to strike back from within.
       In the openings of each of the recorded adventures we are given this introduction:
       "In the world-wide war against crime, there are men and women trained to sink their own identity in the international underworld. They work alone in danger and in shadow, unrecognized by friend and enemy alike. They are the operators of the almost legendary Ghost Squad."
       Leading this organization is, for the first handful of missions we have to follow, Sir Andrew Wilson, a man who is quite dedicated to the mission and to making his people as safe as possible by insuring they are as trained as they can be. Wilson takes it upon himself to scout out the best people and to see to their training himself. Later, Wilson would be (I believe I read) promoted and thus left the group.
       He was replaced by Geoffrey Stock who must have been a major system shock to the operatives because he was not an easy man to work for or with (at least at first). I would give him a tad bit of slack, however, in that he certainly seems to be constantly put upon by the unseen Ministers above him so his pressure might have been enough to make anyone cranky. His secretary, "Porridge" Carter, deserves hazard pay sometimes.
       Out in the field, there will be altogether three agents we are able to follow.
       Initially these is Nick Craig, a Canadian import who was very adept at blending into his surrounding despite being a quite tall. While we know there are other agents in the group, it is Craig we follow exclusively for the first set of missions.
       Eventually we are introduced to Tony Miller. Craig and Miller still worked independently but the spotlight would be on one for an adventure and then the other for the next.
       Towards the end of the recorded missions we are informed that Craig was killed in an explosion on a mission and Peter Clarke joined the organization.

BOOKS

Number of Books:1
First Appearance:1959
Last Appearance:1959

1 The Ghost Squad The Ghost Squad
Written by John Gosling
Copyright: 1959

This non-fiction account of the formation and operation of the legendary British crime-fighting squad was written by one of the original members of that group. The concept of this squad's activities was expanded to be the basis for the television program two years later. It would have the team operate world-wide fighting crime and spies.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:52
First Appearance:1961
Last Appearance:1971
Network:ATV

REGULAR CAST
Michael QuinnNick Craig [ 1-2 ]
Neil HallettTony Miller [ 2-3 ]
Ray BarrettPeter Clarke [ 3 ]
Donald WolfitSir Andrew Wilson [ 1 ]
Anthony MarloweGeoffrey Stock [ 2-3 ]

     Ghost Squad has a couple of firsts on its shelves to make it noteworthy. It is the first British drama to go to hour-long adventures (minus commercial time, of course). And it is one of the first to switch from being network constricted to being syndicated.

     The latter was due to strike which put airing episodes on hold for a considerable time and led to the producers finding alternate viewing options.
     I read that the first set of episodes were recorded on hi-quality film while the remainder, after it went on its own, were with the cheaper but less durable video tape. As a result, not all of the episodes remain available today.
     The various sources for episode titles seem in step with each other but the airing time for each episode after the show went into syndication is erratic and that makes the dates I give quite suspect.


[Note: the episode synopsis shown below were taken from the excellent IMDB]

1 Ticket for Blackmail
Episode s1-1, first aired 09/09/1961
Director: Norman Harrison
Writer: Lindsay Galloway

Disguised as a rich Texas oil man, Craig takes a very exclusive French bus tour that has a track record of blackmail and murder for it's posh client?.

2 Bullet with My Name on It
Episode s1-2, first aired 09/16/1961
Director: Don Sharp
Writers: Brian Clemens, Lindsay Galloway

In Rome,Craig changes places with an American soon to testify in a big racketeering trial back in the states, and the target of ruthless hit men.

3 Hong Kong Story
Episode s1-3, first aired 09/23/1961
Director: Don Sharp
Writers: Connery Chapell, Lindsay Galloway, Anthony Marriott

Nick poses as a crooked navigator to join a sleazy airline crew that's been smuggling in the far east, and is quick to murder anyone, including their own men to stay in business.

4 High Wire
Episode s1-4, first aired 09/30/1961
Director: Norman Harrison
Writer: Lewis Davidson

Craig dons the disguise of a wall of death motorcycle rider to infiltrate a gang responsible for a series of audacious robberies. His ability to ride the machines leads to him being offered the role of lookout on the gang's next job.

5 Broken Doll
Episode s1-5, first aired 10/07/1961
Director: Don Sharp
Writer: Patrick Campbell

Beautiful British blondes keep turning up murdered in Marseilles, all were nightclub entertainers at a club who's owner is obsessed with blondes and making dolls of them.

6 Eyes of the Bat
Episode s1-6, first aired 10/14/1971
Director: Don Sharp
Writer: Robert Stewart

Craig's latest assignment could cost him his life; impersonating a safe blower, he must infiltrate a gang planning a major bank robbery and blackmailing fashion models for their secrets.

7 Still Waters
Episode s1-7, first aired 10/21/1961
Director: Robert Lynn
Writer: Max Marquis

Masquerading as a crooked Dutch diamond merchant, Craig attempts to infiltrate a worldwide smuggling racket and expose the head man. His disguise is penetrated - and barely escapes with his life.

8 Assassin
Episode s1-8, first aired 10/28/1961
Director: Robert Lynn
Writers: Gerald Kelsey, Dick Sharples

The Prime Minister of a small eastern European country is assassinated and an Innocent American is being framed for it. Craig, under cover as a salesman, finds that a cabinet minister is plotting a communist takeover.

9 Death from a Distance
Episode s1-9, first aired 11/04/1961
Director: Robert Lynn
Writer: Lindsay Galloway

Recruited into the GS team on a special mission to ensure the safety of a visiting president. Det. Insp. Brett's methods raise a few eyebrows - none higher than than Craig's, who asks if the newcomer is all that he seems.

10 Million Dollar Ransom
Episode s1-10, first aired 11/11/1961
Director: Don Sharp
Writers: Gerald Kelsey, Dick Sharples

In Sweden to receive a Nobel Prize for physics, an American scientist is drugged and concealed in a car entered in a cross-Europe endurance race. The squad has to find them before it takes a turn into communist territory.

11 The Green Shoes
Episode s1-11, first aired 07/05/1962
Director: Don Sharp
Writer: Robert Holmes

A secret new element has been devised by British nuclear scientists, but the highly volatile specimen has been stolen by a murderous enemy agent who tries to smuggle it into iron-curtain Warsaw in a Ballet Prima Dona's dancing slippers.

12 Catspaw
Episode s1-12, first aired 10/01/1962
Director: Robert Lynn
Writer: Bill Craig

When a man's body is discovered in a crate unloaded from a boat at a Baltimore dock, Craig flies to South America with orders to infiltrate a 'hit' squad, a team of assassins prepared to kill anyone for money.

13 Princess
Episode s1-13, first aired 11/22/1962
Directors: Robert Lynn, Antony Kearey
Writers: Gerald Kelsey, Dick Sharples

Assasination attempts on a haughty Arab princess makes her continued stay at a Swiss finishing school impossible, so Craig must risk getting her safely to the airport, and accompany her on the flight home.

14 The Big Time
Episode s2-1, first aired 01/19/1963
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: Leon Griffiths

A small time crook steals a bag of diamonds being used as bait to trap a smuggling ring that the Ghost Squad had planted, now they and the smugglers are after him.

15 Death of a Sportsman
Episode s2-2, first aired 01/26/1963
Director: James Ferman
Writer: Basil Dawson

In Egypt, Miller insists he's just seen a famous British sportsman in passing at his hotel- the problem is, the chap's been dead and buried for a week. He insists on investigating and uncovers a connection with a smuggling ring.

16 Interrupted Requiem
Episode S2-3, first aired 11/29/1962
Director: John Nelson-Burton
Writer: Bill Craig

A scientist refuses to do further work on a British rocket system after he gets a glimpse of his supposedly dead daughter. Craig is sent undercover to a hostile country under cover as toy maker at a trade show to locate her.

17 East of Mandalay
Episode s2-4, first aired 12/06/1962
Director: Dennis Vance
Writer: Bill Craig

Miller is sent to investigate a British mining corporation in a jungle-choked, revolution-infested far eastern country. After attempts on his life, it's determined that the whole operation is only a cover for international arms smugglers.

18 Escape Route
Episode S2-5, first aired 02/16/1963
Director: Antony Kearey
Writer: Peter Yeldham

Craig poses as an embezzler on the run to infiltrate a criminal network that's supposed to make clients "disappear" into a new identity far away from the authorities that are after them.

19 The Last Jump
Episode s2-6, first aired 02/23/1963
Director: Dennis Vance
Writer: Richard Harris

When a paratrooper's chute fails to open during a training exercise and secret telemetry equipment is stolen from a top secret base and turns up in Germany, agent Tony Miller is assigned to investigate.

20 Polsky
Episode s2-7, first aired 03/02/1963
Director: Dennis Vance
Writer: Tudor Gates

Miller assumes the identity of a Polish expatriate and small time crook to infiltrate cell of a politically motivated international crime syndicate working out of a run-down London garage.

21 The Heir Apparent
Episode s2-8, first aired 03/09/1963
Director: Dennis Vance
Writer: Julian Bond

Threats to an Arab oil sheik's son are monitored while he's a student at an eccentric English public school by Craig, now under cover as the school's sports instructor.

22 The Magic Bullet
Episode s2-9, first aired 03/16/1963
Director: James Ferman
Writer: Maurice Wiltshire

Assigned to protect the life - and secrets - of an eminent metallurgist attending a science conference at a country retreat, Nick Craig springs an elaborate trap on a group of foreign spies.

23 The Menacing Mazurka
Episode s2-10, first aired 03/09/1963
Director: Hugh Rennie
Writer: John Lucarotti

In the guise of a publicity agent, Miller must deal with a Russian dance troupe in London for a cultural exchange, but are rife with Soviet spies. He must decide if a dancer's efforts to defect are legitimate.

24 The Retirement of the Gentle Dove
Episode s2-11, first aired 03/30/1963
Director: Dennis Vance
Writer: Philip Levene

A man at a country old folks home is murdered just as he was about to unmask a double agent from World War Two. Stock goes undercover as a new resident of the home to follow the lead.

25 Mr Five Percent
Episode s2-12, first aired 03/16/1963
Director: Phil Brown
Writer: Louis Marks

A shady minor crook is persuaded to assist Miller in uncovering an international drug and arms smuggler's operations in Rome, where a shipment of high-powered rifles are destined for some revolutionaries in southeast Asia.

26 Gertrude
Episode s2-13, first aired 03/23/1963
Director: Antony Kearey
Writer: Bill MacIlwraith

GS agents Miller and Carter are sent to Scotland to protect a female double-agent who holds the secret of a plan to overthrow a pro-British government. Jean finds herself used to bait to the enemy into the open.

27 Sabotage
Episode s2-14, first aired 03/30/1963
Director: unk
Writer: unk

On his way to assist Mallory, a local GS operator based in the Philippines, Miller is picked up as a saboteur. Under threat of his life, he is ordered to blow up a British secret service headquarters.

28 The Thirteenth Girl
Episode s2-15, first aired 04/27/1963
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: unk

A Swiss agent convinces the squad to investigate an apparently legitimate high class Au Pair agency, who's girls seem to vanish when they start work in England. Sally is sent undercover to infiltrate the agency, and finds drugs, prostitution and murders in the offing.

29 Sentences of Death
Episode s2-16, first aired 05/04/1963
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writers: Geoffrey Bellman, John Whitney

Craig is drugged in a pub, taken to a mysterious doctor's surgery that he can barely remember later. The Surgery was actually a caravan and the "Doctor" used a truth drug to extract top secret information that he now plans to blackmail the squad with.

30 The Grand Duchess
Episode s2-17, first aired 05/11/1963
Director: Christopher Morahan
Writer: Julian Bond

A forgery of an important Spanish painting is stolen from a gallery by unwitting thieves who replace it with another, but the real artwork has been taken by an aging ex-nobleman.

31 The Desperate Diplomat
Episode s2-18, first aired 05/18/1963
Director: Antony Kearey
Writer: Lewis Greifer

Working undercover as butler to a foreign diplomat. GS agent Tony Miller discovers that the man is being blackmailed by an unscrupulous foreigner, who threatened to make known the man's gambling debts.

32 Hot Money
Episode s2-19, first aired 05/25/1963
Director: John Nelson-Burton
Writer: Louis Marks

An old Italian forger has been blackmailed by master criminals into helping them counterfeit thousands of pound notes that have been officially written off as destroyed in a fire.

33 Quarantine at Kavar
Episode s2-20, first aired 06/01/1963
Director: Geoffrey Nethercott
Writer: Basil Dawson

Sent to the Middle East to trace a lost expedition, Nick Craig meets a beautiful girl who claims she has proof that a group of terrorists intend to blow up a seat of government.

34 The Golden Silence
Episode s2-21, first aired 06/08/1963
Director: John Nelson-Burton
Writer: John Lucarotti

A gold smuggling ring is using a travel agency as a front. Miller goes under cover to join the gang and discover how they sneak it into the country.

35 Lost in Transit
Episode s2-22, first aired 06/15/1963
Director: Phil Brown
Writer: Basil Dawson

An agent is murdered at a London airport, but it turns out that he's an impostor. The real agent has infiltrated a secret neo-Nazi organization that is planning a terror attack.

36 The Man with the Delicate Hands
Episode s2-23, first aired 06/22/1963
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: Philip Levene

When, against all the evidence, Helen Lambert insists that the man dragged from a wrecked car is not her brother Paul, GS agent Tony MIller is assigned to to investigate his claim.

37 The Missing People
Episode s2-24, first aired 04/13/1963
Director: Antony Kearey
Writer: Peter Yeldham

An underground smuggling network promises people behind the iron curtain a chance to escape to England-at a high price. Trouble is, they're disappearing instead. Miller becomes a pilot to infiltrate the gang.

38 PG7
Episode s2-25, first aired 05/04/1963
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: Basil Dawson

A top secret gas has been stolen from a government laboratory by a pacifist scientist. He works with an American crook who is trying to sell it to a foreign revolutionary.

39 A First Class Way to Die
Episode s2-26, first aired 12/09/1962
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: John Lucarotti

On a luxury cruise, a scientist and his daughter, refugees from the iron curtain. Murder, stowaways and disguised identities complicate things for Craig, who's assignment is to protect them.

40 An Eye for an Eye
Episode s3-1, first aired 02/22/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

Mourning the death of his fellow agent and friend Nick Craig, Miller, and new GS5 operator Peter Clarke, are sent to check out explosion at sea. Their investigations bring surprising - and to Miller - highly satisfactory results.

41 A Cast of Thousands
Episode s3-2, first aired 02/29/1964
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: Larry Forrester

Working undercover, GS5 agent Sally Lomax discovers that an elusive typewriter holds the key to her investigations into 'accidents' on a film set. Suspecting sabotage, she uncovers a murder cartel.

42 Death of a Cop
Episode s3-3, first aired 03/07/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

Masquerading as a news reporter, Tony Miller investigates the death of a policeman suspected of being 'on the take' from gamblers. His search for the cop killer leads him into the world of high finance.

43 Party for Murder
Episode s3-4, first aired 03/14/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

Assigned to investigate a series of sabotage incidents involving a new machine being designed for South America. Clarke 'defects' to the Fascist party responsible for the crime - with dangerous results.

44 Dead Men Don't Drive
Episode s3-5, first aired 03/21/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

GS5 operative Tony Miller finds himself facing a tough problem: how could a man be seen driving a car though a village and yet, when the vehicle crashed, the man is found to have been dead for several hours?

45 Pay Up or Else
Episode s3-6, first aired 03/28/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

When a protection racket gang declare war on innocent people, GS5 agent Tony Miller is assigned to infiltrate the gang and force the opposing sides into a showdown. He achieves this - with startling results.

46 Dr Ayre
Episode s3-7, first aired 04/04/1964
Director: Eric Price
Writer: Brian Clemens

Stock's disbelief that a 'master criminal' is behind a series of brilliantly executed robberies is severely shaken when operative Peter Clarke brings him conclusive proof that successful criminal Dr Ayre is masterminding further audacious crimes.

47 Scorpion Rock
Episode s3-8, first aired 04/11/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

The island of Baleric hides a sinister secret which GS5 operator Tony Miller must solve if he is to have any chance of locating the whereabouts of a fellow undercover agent believed kidnapped by director Zafre.

48 The Goldfish Bowl
Episode s3-9, first aired 04/18/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

Sent to check out the strange goings on at a secret missile base. GS5 operatives Clarke and Miller find their cover blown and the enemy awaiting their arrival - a dangerous situation when you're seeking a sadistic killer.

49 Seven Sisters of Wong
Episode s3-10, first aired 04/25/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

Masquerading as a dope-peddler, agent Tony Miller meets a beautiful Chinese girl and finds himself involved with a secret patriot army, who intend to use his services - whether he likes it or not.

50 Rich Ruby Wine
Episode s3-11, first aired 05/02/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

Stock assigns his entire department to locate Franz Rodolph Gruber, a former Nazi chief in Hungary. Gruber is known to have in his possession the Howarth jewel collection - which Stock suspects will be used to finance a new Nazi regime.

51 Hideout
Episode s3-12, first aired 05/09/1964
Director: unk
Writer: unk

Undercover operative Sally Lomax is assigned to delve into the past of a man whom Stock believes to be a murderer. The man, Dawson, is new managing a holiday camp - at which several 'accidents' have taken place. Sally books in - but her holiday is far from peaceful.

52 It Won't Be a Stylish Marriage
Episode s3-13, first aired 05/16/1964
Director: Bill Stewart
Writer: Brad Ashton

After a whirlwind courtship on the French Riviera, GS5 agent, Peter Clarke, posing as a shy businessman, 'marries' Yoette, an attractive French girl - in order to discover the secret behind another French girl's mysterious death.

MY COMMENTS

       I have only had the pleasure of watching a small handful of the episodes so my opinion is suspect as a result of insufficient evidence.
       The couple of missions of Nick Craig were, to me, more interesting and flowed easier than the one from the last season that I found to watch. Also I enjoyed Craig more than Clarke. I have no experience yet with Miller so I can give no opinion on him.
       Having said that, I must also admit that the quality of the recording might have been a factor as the earlier ones look better.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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