Network on Air (studio)
30 April 2018 (released)
08 May 2018
This 1990 Mini-series is an adaptation of R. F. Delderfield’s novel of the same name, concerning young Charlie Pritchard’s arrival in a fictitious Welsh seaside town at the tail end of the 1920’s to take up a job as a bank clerk… but gets more than he bargained for.
Meet handsome Charlie Pritchard (Tom Radcliffe), a young lad who, after having worked for some years at a bank in a city is transferred to work at a local branch situated in Permadoc – a drab little place with often miserable weather. Things are about to get even more miserable when it transpires that Charlie’s bank manager Ewan Rhys-Jones (Peter Sallis) also happens to be his new landlord. The atmosphere at the new workplace is stifling and Charlie’s colleagues are, quite frankly, utter assholes who delight in backstabbing each other – well, most of them. Back in his lodgings Mr. Rhys-Jones and his wife Gladys (Sylvia Kay) introduce Charlie to their daughter Ida (Mossie Smith), a somewhat plump and older young woman with wit, charm and a headstrong attitude. They form a sexual bond while at the same time the well-meaning Ida urges Charlie not to waste his time in Permadoc and instead show ambition and leave as soon as possible. Thing is, Charlie seems to get comfortable in his boring new surroundings – or could the real reason be the seductively gorgeous Delphine (Jennifer Calvert), owner of Rainbow Café – the only hangout in town where one feels alive… An incident at the café makes Delphine’s brother Beppo (Jon Joresi) believe that Charlie fancies Delphine and he encourages her to encourage him, so to speak. Meanwhile back at the Rhys-Jones household, Ida packs her bags and leaves, much to the chagrin of her parents who suspect that Charlie broke her heart. Truth is that Ida cannot see any ambition in Charlie and disillusioned heads for London for a more exciting life. Only later do we learn that Ida was pregnant but gave the child for adoption after birth.
By now, the atmosphere at his lodgings are as bad as at his workplace so it doesn’t come as a surprise when Delphine makes Charlie a proposal he initially brushes off as some sort of joke: to rob the bank via a tunnel leading from the café directly to the bank’s vault! But Delphine isn’t kidding, neither is her brother. With promises of going to America after the robbery and other alluring prospects of a more kinky nature Delphine manages to wrap Charlie round her finger in no time – he’s even stupid enough to fall for it all until, during a nightly stroll, he discovers that Delphine and Beppo are in fact a cunning husband & wife team who merely use Charlie as an additional tool in their devilish plan. By now Charlie realises he’s in it too deep to escape the clutches of the wannabe-bank robbers… but on the day of the planned heist nothing goes according to plan…
The series ends with the now old Charlie (Leonard Torrley) returning to Permadoc many years later and we learn that in the meantime, Ida – whom he married years ago – had died and now Charlie has come home to face his ghosts of the past…
The performances are very strong, especially as Tom Radcliffe, Mossie Smith and Peter Sallis are concerned. The series was filmed on the Isle of Man and at Port St Mary and the cinematography makes the most of these locations. On the downside the pace is too slow at times and the incidental music consists almost entirely of some Welsh choir music which, after a while, ceases to enhance the atmosphere.