Now a fixture with us here at Old Time Review until the end of the series, my review of episode four of The Gold Robbers follows – with as few spoilers as possible.
This time we see the robbery again in the opening, this time focussing on George Cole as Barry Porter, the member of the gang who delays the Police response by intercepting their radio communication and giving the impression to the control room that all has gone well.
We find that he is a lifelong criminal, out of prison for six months, living with his sister. He is penniless until his share of the robbery comes through. He is frustrated, argumentative and petty, begging a fiver from her which she won’t give.
When we catch up with DCS Cradock, we find that he is stressed and feeling impatient to catch the gang. He criticises Tommy for focussing on the insignificant participants in the robbery.
But we see Tommy begin to make a connection between Barry and the job. Meanwhile Barry has received his share of the money and is beginning to enjoy himself under an alias.
In this episode, we see another side to Cradock: his methods as an interrogator. The way he interacts with Barry while trying to persuade him to incriminate one of his gang mates shows his doggedness. He is determined, old-school and just honourable enough to remain on the right side of the law. There aren’t any threats of violence, only a calm discussion of the possible legal consequences of Barry’s actions.
George Cole is the star of this episode however. Many may write him off as the spiv type in a lot of British films in the 1950s and wide boy Arthur Daley in Minder. In some ways, his character here is something of a blueprint for Arthur Daley. After all, he’s a petty criminal with loyalty towards his sister – when he can afford it. There is something vulnerable about Barry, for all his cunning. He is plausible, Cole plays him sympathetically as the episode progresses.
Katherine Blake is also something of a stand-out as a love interest for Barry. She is kind and open, more naive than she first appears to be. She is taken in by Barry, and we find that even he is affected by this.
Eve Pearce as Barry’s sister is very sympathetic and forms a large portion of the heart of episode four.
Det. Ch. Sup. Cradock: Peter Vaughan
Richard Bolt: Richard Leech
Barry Porter: George Cole
Valerie Towers: Katherine Blake
Milly Porter: Eve Pearce
Det. Sgt. Tommy Thomas: Artro Morris
Dr. MacLean: Leonard Maguire
Mrs. Turner: Gabrielle Blunt
Sammy: Derek Woodward
Motorcyclist: Marc Boyle
Mrs. Fawcus: Edith Savile
Mr. Fawcus: Frank Dracott
In conclusion, this series continues to impress. The pacing is always just bubbling under the surface, feeling as if it’s gradually building until eventually it will erupt. As The Gold Robbers progresses, I find myself more and more compelled to find out what the climax of the story will be.
Episode four is fairly calm, it grounds us in the “leg-work” phase of Cradock’s investigation. There are 9 more episodes to see. It will be interesting to find out at which point the real frantic jeopardy will kick in. I look forward to episode five and thoroughly recommend joining this series if you haven’t already.