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THE PIGLET FILES

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Full Name: Peter Chapman
Nationality: British
Organization: MI5
Occupation Agent

Creator: Brian Leveson, Paul Minett
Time Span: 1990 - 1992

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Peter Chapman is an agent with MI5.
       When we first meet him, he is happily working for the past few years as a lecturer at a local polytechnic college. Prior to that this 32-year-old-man got a job after graduating from university at a major corporation, GTK Electronics, where he was for 5 years before switching to his teaching post.
       Chapman is married to the lovely Sarah who works for a publishing company. Both are quite pleased with their life, with the exception of income which they both wish was higher. Considering his position with a lesser-known institute of higher learning, however, they are not expecting that to change.
       Change it does, though, but not through anything Chapman did or sought or even considered might happen.
       Britain's main protection from enemy agents stealing all its vital secrets lies with MI5 and MI5 is having an issue. Technology has progressed extremely far and disturbingly fast and the leadership of that organization has come to the sad realization that its agents are woefully not up to the task of staying current with the changes.
       Even more troublesome is the fact that none of them have the faintest idea how to use even much older tech. Prime examples of this being the leaving of a lens cap on the camera resulting in all pictures of an enemy agent being followed turning out rather dark (i.e. completely black). Or the more interesting instance where a microphone was to be planted in a wall of a Russian facility to transmit to a receiving box a mile away - only to have the agents installing the box in the wall and the microphone left in their car.


       So here comes the change - MI5, needing a tech guy, picks Chapman and quietly probes for his interest in changing jobs. No interest found, they pressure the college to sack poor Chapman and then have the administrator pass along a "potential job offer". A fast but odd interview ensues and Chapman is hired.
       It would be nice to think this the solution to both their problems; Chapman needing a job and MI5 needing a tech wiz. Unfortunately ...


       We find quickly that there is a good reason few of the MI5 agents in question have trouble with technology. A very, very good reason, namely that some would find a on-off light switch on the wall a challenge. And Chapman, being highly intelligent and knowledgeable about all things electrical or wireless or radio-anything, is used to teaching people who are a) interested in learning and b) capable of it.
       Plus poor Chapman is regrettably not the optimum agent material. He shouldn't have to be because his place was in the lab and the briefing room, not the field, or so it was hoped. Things do not work out so well in that regard and Chapman finds himself out in the murky world of the spy where he is not at all trained working with people who are not in least interested in what he is doing.
       Throw in the fact that Chapman is expressly forbidden to tell his wife who he really works for or what he is really doing and so lots of strange problems will pop up.


       The name of this series of adventures of Peter Chapman is called the Piglet Files. The reason for that odd title comes from Chapman asking for a codename - if he is going to be in the spy business, shouldn't he have a codename, he asks? Oh, alright, his new boss concedes and looks in the list of available names. Panda was gone. So was Panther. Next up was Puma. Oh, wait, there was one before that - yes, you are Piglet!


Good Lines:
- When asked during his MI5 interview, 'Are you now or have you ever been a practicing homosexual?' Chapman responds, "No, but I am willing to learn if the job depends on it."
- Again in the interview when asked if he was open to bribery, he says, "Well, I don't know. It depends on what you have in mind."

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:21
First Appearance:1990
Last Appearance:1992
Network:ITV

REGULAR CAST
Nicholas LyndhurstPeter "Piglet" Chapman [ 1-3 ]
Clive FrancisMajor Drummond [ 1-3 ]
John RinghamMajor Maxwell [ 1-3 ]
Serena EvansSarah Chapman [ 1-3 ]

MY COMMENTS

     I first saw most of the first episode several years ago on, I believe, YouTube and planned on watching more because I loved the humor and the mickey it played on the whole British Intelligence community. Then I promptly forgot my promise to myself.
     When I decided it was time to enter this series into the compendium, I remedied my earlier error and watched a bunch. I hope to have time for the rest of the episodes. I really get a hoot out of Piglet.
     One thing I loved about it was the fact that while the MI5 team is shown over and over to be totally out of their elements when it comes to anything even slightly tech-ish, Peter Chapman is himself quite a fish out of water when it comes to spycraft. Watching both sides slowly move towards the middle, and failing usually, is a lot of fun.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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