Web Page No 2360
Top Picture: Raymond Francis
Second Picture: TV Screen
Third Picture: Lockhart at work
No Hiding Place
Now who remembers the British television series that was produced at Wembley Studios by Associated Rediffusion for the the ITV network between 16th September 1959 and 22nd June 1967.
Actually this was not the original series as it was the sequel to the series Murder Bag (1957–1958) and Crime Sheet (1959), all of which starred Raymond Francis as Detective Superintendent, later Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Lockhart.
It was intended that No Hiding Place carried on from where Murder Bag and Crime Sheet left off. Murder Bag featured 55 episodes. 30 in Season One (16th September 1957 to 31st March 1958), all untitled and 25 in Season Two (30th June 1958 to 1st April 1959), all titled, and all featuring the word "Lockhart" as the first word of their title. All of the episodes were 30 minutes long and featured Raymond Francis. Backup sergeants and others cast members changed regularly. The murder bag in the title carried 42 items which were needed in the investigation of a crime. The show was produced live in the studio.
In Crime Sheet, Lockhart had been promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent. The writers of the series revealed to the TV Times in 1962 that Lockhart could not be promoted above this rank, as he would no longer be expected to visit the crime scene, thus hindering the potential of the storylines. 17 episodes of 30 minutes were produced from 8th April 1959 to 9th September 1959. Due to Raymond Francis contracting mumps, the final episode of Crime Sheet did not feature Detective Chief Superintendent Lockhart but Chief Superintendent Carr, played by Gerald Case.
No Hiding Place continued to follow the cases of Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Lockhart at Scotland Yard, with a new longer one-hour format allowing for more complex story lines and character development. He was initially assisted by Detective Sergeant later Inspector Harry Baxter played by Eric Lander, followed by Det. Sgt. Russell (Johnny Briggs) and Det. Sgt. Perryman (Michael McStay), and finally by Det. Sgt. Gregg (Sean Caffrey).
The programme was still largely studio-based, but the series now included more pre-recorded film segments. The series was cancelled in 1965 but there were so many protests from the public and the police that it started again for another two years. An amazing 236 episodes were made in total.
Detective Sergeant Harry Baxter was there from episode one until episode 141. Midway through the series he was transferred to E Division's Q Car Squad and promoted from Sergeant to Inspector, a rank he retained when he returned to the Yard in 1963 in a short TV series, Echo Four-Two. Unfortunately, the show suffered from poor scripts and of 13 planned episodes, only 10 were made (30 minutes each, 24th August 1961 to 25th October 1961), interrupted by an actor's strike, and so no more were made.
Both Murder Bag and Crime Sheet are considered lost television series; according to the web site www.lostshows.com, no complete episodes of Murder Bag exist and only one survives of Crime Sheet. The longer-running No Hiding Place fared marginally better than its predecessors, although only 25 of the 236 episodes produced are known to exist in either a full or partial form. This figure includes episodes known to be held by the National Film and Television Archive and those held in private collections. Some early episodes were broadcast live and as a result were never recorded.
But what of the star of the show Raymond Francis? He was born in London in 1911 and his first listed television role was as Dr. Watson alongside Alan Wheatley's Holmes in a 1951 BBC TV series entitled Sherlock Holmes, the earliest TV adaptation of the tales. He later reprised the role in a 1984 film The Case of Marcel Duchamp. His distinguished appearance often led to roles as senior policemen, military men and English aristocracy; he played such parts in series including Dickens of London, Edward & Mrs. Simpson, The Cedar Tree, Tales of the Unexpected, After Julius, Drummonds, the first Joan Hickson Miss Marple episode "The Body in the Library" as Sir Henry Clithering, and his final appearance was in a 1987 Ruth Rendell Mysteries adaptation.
He was also a noted stage actor and made several appearances in films such as Carrington V.C. and Reach for the Sky.[He was married to actress Margaret Towner and had three children; his son Clive Francis is also an actor. Raymond Francis died in October 1987.
No Hiding Place was a firm favourite of mine when I was younger.
‘Bob a Job’ was not just the domain of the boys, whilst you did Bob a job, we Guides were doing ‘Willing Shilling’. On the same lines as Scouts, we were in full uniform and with our pen and Willing Shilling pad we knocked doors for jobs and they ranged from cleaning hearths, polishing brass and shoes, cleaning windows etc,etc.
I do recall some households had copious amounts or brass and silver to be cleaned and they made sure they brought out every bit (I think they raided the neighbours sometimes) and all for a Shilling! I am not sure if it was a one off or an annual affair but I have found reference to it in 1953 in Alberta, Canada and in New South Wales, Australia but I know it didn’t last long as there were concerns about young girls visiting strangers houses and also the abuse for the tasks the girls were being asked to do. Slavery had been abolished by then!
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On this Day 8th April 1960-1965
On 08/04/1960 the number one single was My Old Man's a Dustman - Lonnie Donegan and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was The Budget (All Channels) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 08/04/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmatians. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 08/04/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was The Budget (All Channels) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Film director Michael Curtiz and ex Beatle Stu Sutcliffe die.
On 08/04/1963 the number one single was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Atomic US submarine sinks killing 129.
On 08/04/1964 the number one single was Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Beatles have 13 records in US chart.
On 08/04/1965 the number one single was Concrete & Clay - Unit 4 Plus 2 and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.