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AUBREY PERCIVAL

percival_aubrey_bk_bm
 
Full Name: Aubrey Percival
Nationality: British
Organization: British Special Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Arden Winch
Time Span: 1981 - 1984

ABOUT THE SERIES

Aubrey Percival is an agent with the Special Intelligence Service.

It is not known if the 'Special' in that agency's name is in error, really meaning 'Secret' or if this group is actually different from the official MI6. From what is said about him, it is not the same as we are told in a blurb that "ee belongs to no known organization; his power derives directly form the Head of State, His brief - To Safeguard National Security".

It is also not known what is meant by the rank of 'Captain' assigned to him. It is not a very high rank for a man of his advanced age if it came from the Army or Air Force but would be more appropriate if he had earned it in the Royal Navy.

Concerning his age, Percival is very much nearing the end of his career, being likely already moved into the low 60's. By his attitude and his bearing, those years were spent doing exactly what we watch him doing - serving in a hush-hush occupation with its requirement of keeping his thoughts to himself and telling those outside the 'business' only as much as he has to to get the cooperation he needs.

To those with whom he comes into contact, he is the epitome of the English upper class, complete with bowler hat in a time when such things were almost unheard of anymore. His manner of dress is impeccable with only the finest of material. There would be no doubt to anyone that Percival belonged to only the best of the clubs. He speech had all the expected diction and clarity that proper schooling would instill.

As another blurb lets us know, Percival "lives in a luxuriously appointed barge moored in the shadow of Westminster" and "is no more emotionally affected when frying mushrooms as a reward for services rendered by his two assistants than when he is told that the arms manufacturer he has caught selling top-secret missile systems to Russians will find his life dramatically shortened as a result."

His way of moving and talking is always with the least amount of emotion or expression; he is at all times calm and in complete control. Having said that, those who go up against him invariably find him "urbane, charming, and completely ruthless".

BOOKS

Number of Books:1
First Appearance:1981
Last Appearance:1981

1 Blood Money Blood Money
aka Blood Royal
Written by Arden Winch
Copyright: 1981

Novelization of the six-part television story of the same name.
"When a band of terrorists, led by the icy, indomitable Irene Kohl, kidnaps eleven-year-old Prince Rupert Balmoral, Superintendent Meadows, with the covert assistance of SAS forces, oversees the frantic investigation."

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:10
First Appearance:1981
Last Appearance:1984
Network:BBC

REGULAR CAST
Michael DenisonAubrey Percival [ 1-3 ]
Bernard HeptonChief Supt. Meadows [ 1 ]
Terrence HardimanChief Supt. Franks [ 2 ]
Lucy FlemingJo [ 3 ]

     In 1981, television writer and producer brought to BBC1 a 6-part drama, a combination espionage thriller and police procedural called Blood Money, highlighted by Captain Aubrey Percival.
     Two years later, he brought the main characters back for another serial adventure concerning Aubrey Percival, this one told again in 6 parts under the title Skorpion.
     The following year, 1984, the producer, Arden Winch, brought Percival back for more adventures; this time the season consisted not of one story told in multiple parts but 8 different adventures, all under the title Cold Warrior.
1 Blood Money
Episode 1-1, first aired 1981
Director: Michael E. Briant
Writer: Arden Winch

A single adventure told in six 30-minute episodes.
Captain Percival, an operative of British Special Intelligence, works with Scotland Yard to solve the kidnapping of the young son of the Administrator General of the United Nations by a terrorist cell.
The episode times and plots are:
Part 1 - aired 09/06/1981 - The anarchist ring known as the World Revolutionary Army Council are successful in kidnapping 8-year-old British Viscount Rupert Fitzcharles.
Part 2 - aired 09/13/1981 - The Times receives ransom demands from the WRA asking for £1 million for both Amnesty International and themselves.
Part 3 - aired 09/20/1981 - The police develop a promising lead into who had provided the WRA with inside information at the boys school.
Part 4 - aired 09/27/1981 - The teamwork is tenuous between the police and the SIS via Captain Percival as the evidence shows the two lead kidnappers are a German anarchist named Irene Kohl and her Irish boyfriend, Danny Connors. Meanwhile the kidnappers are angry no ransom has yet been paid.
Part 5 - aired 10/04/1981 - The cordon is tightening on the WRA even as that group sends a new ransom demand.
Part 6 - aired 10/11/1981 - The police are confident in an arrest soon, not knowing that Percival has instructed the SAS soldiers on hand to shoot to kill.

2 Skorpion
Episode 1-2, first aired 1981
Director: Michael Hayes
Writer: John Brason

A single adventure told in six 50-minute episodes.
Captain Percival again works with the local police to investigate the crash of a small plane in the Scottish highlands. On that plane had been a woman named Gabrielle, a member of a terror cell now in fear for her life from her own colleagues. She is being chased by a hitman named Delangre so the question is who will find her first, him or Percival.
The episode times and plots are:
Part 1 - aired 01/12/1983 - Chief Supt. Franks investigates a plane hijacking while others look into the disappearance in Paris of terrorist Gabrielle.
Part 2 - aired 01/19/1983 - Franks is told about the evidence pointing to Gabrielle being the hijacker and that she is being pursued by Delangre.
Part 3 - aired 01/26/1983 - Tempers rise when Aubrey Percival from Special Intelligence arrives to take over the case.
Part 4 - aired 02/02/1983 - As the 'team' of Franks and Percival narrow in on the elusive Gabrielle, it is obvious the two have different goals.
Part 5 - aired 02/09/1983 - Gabrielle is captured but now the problem is keeping her alive from Delangre.
Part 6 - aired 02/16/1983 - The showdown comes with Delangre and the truth about Gabrielle is revealed.

3 Cold Warrior - Bright Sting
Episode 3-1, first aired 09/12/1984
Director: Andrew Morgan
Writer: Murray Smith

Captain Percival is on the hunt for arms dealer Gile de Vere who is planning on selling a new NATO weapon called Bright Star to the Soviets.

4 Cold Warrior - Dead Wrong
Episode 3-2, first aired 09/19/1984
Director: Andrew Morgan
Writer: Murray Smith

After a journalist named Russell reveals in a newspaper article the address of British Intelligence agents, one is killed. That victim's friend is now after Russell and Captain Percival joins the case to keep Russell alive.

5 Cold Warrior - What's Good for General Bullmoose
Episode 3-3, first aired 09/26/1984
Director: Pennant Roberts
Writer: John Brason

The death of Sir Robert Constable in a taxi while heading to a meeting with a Soviet agent offers Capt. Percival and a CIA colleague to pass bad into to the enemy.

6 Cold Warrior - The Man from Damascus
Episode 3-4, first aired 10/03/1984
Director: Andrew Morgan
Writer: Murray Smith

Syrian terrorist Mohammed Riffi is on a train alone heading to Paris to seek treatment for a terminal illness when he encounters Capt. Percival.

7 Cold Warrior - The Immigrants
Episode 3-5, first aired 10/10/1984
Director: Andrew Morgan
Writer: John Brason

The use of fake British passports is discovered. Capt. Percival and team learn of a pair of hitmen is on the hunt for an Israeli hard-line minister in England for an important meeting with the British government.

8 Cold Warrior - The Sprat
Episode 3-6, first aired 10/17/1984
Director: Pennant Roberts
Writer: Arden Winch

A Soviet civil servant named Semanov wants to defect to England and claims to have valuable information to trade for asylum. Aubrey Percival is somewhat skeptical.

9 Cold Warrior - A Message From Trebizond
Episode 3-7, first aired 10/24/1984
Director: Pennant Roberts
Writers: David Reid, Arden Winch

A radio producer named Ellison accuses another man of passing information to a terrorist cell in Europe. Percival has his own doubts about Ellison.

10 Cold Warrior - Hook, Line and Sinker
Episode 3-8, first aired 10/31/1984
Director: Pennant Roberts
Writers: Murray Smith, Arden Winch

A debutante named Sophy meets a famous musician who is thought to be working with the KGB. She offers to help Aubrey Percival pass fake intelligence to the man but things get confusing when the musician disappears.

ODDS & ENDS

Number of Items:2
First Appearance:1984
Last Appearance:1984

1 Theme from the BBC TV Series Skorpion Theme from the BBC TV Series Skorpion
.45 Single
BBC Records and Tapes
Copyright: 1983

Performed by The Limelight Orchestra, produced by Bruce Talbot and Simon May, conducted by Simon May.
Side A: Skorpion
Side B: Seven Days of the Skorpion

2 Theme from the BBC TV Series Cold Warrior Theme from the BBC TV Series Cold Warrior
.45 Single
BBC Records and Tapes
Copyright: 1984

Performed by The Limelight Orchestra, produced by Bruce Talbot and Simon May, conducted by Simon May. From discogs.com: "Theme tune to Cold Warrior. A BBC drama series that dealt with the subject of black market in nuclear materials!"
Side A: Cold Warrior
Side B: Seven Days of the Skorpion

MY COMMENTS

The concept of a British gentleman, having gone to all the right schools and knowing all the correct people, being stoic and calm in the face of adversity is a time-honored trope. Not quite as common but still no means rare is having that same 'steady, man' individual be as cold-blooded and merciless as a deceased mackerel. That, in some ways, resembles Aubrey Percival.

And he is delightful in that role. And really spooky at times. It is fun to watch him put Queen and Country above all else though realizing that if it were you at risk, well, 'tough luck, old man'.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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