“…an unusual kind of cheese.”
We’re in the south of France this week. A dinner suited Simon Templar is playing roulette in a hotel. In a funny sort of way he reminds me a bit of James Bond. I imagine Roger Moore might make a good James Bond. Meanwhile an elderly rich lady gets burgled in her hotel room while she sleeps. She’s disturbed and wakes up terrified but the thief gets away with her jewels.
A police colonel arrives to investigate with his assistant Ronnie Barker. Here in 1966 we’ve seen Ronnie in lots of things over the last few years but he’s familiar most recently from Its A Square World, The Frost Report and on the wireless in The Navy Lark. The colonel asks Templar (who saw the burglar) for a description: “Medium height, medium build”, he says. “Colouring?”, asks the colonel. “Medium”, replies Templar. “Clothes!”, snaps the irritated colonel. “Oh, er, dark”, is the reply. No wonder the police are always suspicious of him. These particular policemen are of the ‘bumbling’ French variety, à la Clouseau.
Templar meets a Canadian girl called Natalie who’s visiting the area. Of course she’s all flirty with Templar. She has to be, that’s the rules. They’re at a cafe and Natalie spots a “terrible old gasbag” who invites herself to sit with them. The gasbag in turn spots a film producer who doesn’t manage to escape quickly enough before being called over. Templar and Natalie immediately make their excuses and head for a somewhere quieter. Natalie is very modern and they go halves on the meal. Simon invites her to a casino but she’d rather go for a drive. Yes, she’s willing to go off in a car with a man she’s only just met. Different times.
Then there’s a scene with the baddies and they happen to mention that they work for a woman. Next shot is a close up of Natalie – hmm…she is a woman. It’s definitely her they’re talking about. She and Templar are talking in the car. Of course she’s not in the least bit frightened when he moves in for the inevitable snog because (a) he’s the famous Simon Templar and no woman could hope to resist him, and (b) it’s the sixties and that’s what men do. But Templar hears a sound and realises they are being watched. It’s Ronnie B peeking by the car. The police think the two of them are planning a robbery.
Meanwhile in Templar’s hotel room, one of the baddies has broken in and is planting some stolen earrings.
Templar and Natalie go back to sit with the old gasbag who has another new friend with her, a girl called Milo who has some connection with Bernie the film producer. (I think I must have missed what their relationship is but they behave like a bickering married couple). Milo isn’t shy of being all over the Saint. “He’s beautiful!” she yells at the top of her voice. In fact she is so unpleasant and irritating that she must definitely be the woman the thieves are working for.
Templar goes to his room and discovers the baddy hiding on his balcony. The man tries to jump across to the next balcony but slips and despite Templar’s efforts to pull him up he falls to his death. The police arrive and accuse Templar of murdering his accomplice. They search his room but find nothing. As the colonel marches out followed by his assistant I like Ronnie Barker’s funny vaudeville bit where he quickly changes step to keep in time with the Colonel. Looked like an ad lib.
After they’ve gone Natalie arrives at the room. Simon knows he’s being framed. The police are guarding his room so he can’t leave so he climbs out of the window.
The second baddy breaks into another hotel room and steals more jewellery. Templar spots him making a noisy getaway in a car. There’s a bit of speeded up film action as ST1 chases the villain around Buckinghamsh…er…I mean er…French country lanes.
The colonel takes a call from a mystery woman (“Oo is zeess?”) who grasses up Templar. She’s told them where the earrings are so they immediately go to his room and confront him. As he rightly points out, anyone who knew they were hidden in a tin in his room must have put them there. The police duo aren’t buying that so Templar is arrested. But en route to the station he gets away by pulling the colonels hat over his eyes (so he thinks it’s night time) and running for it.
Natalie is sitting in the film producer’s room with gasbag and her friends. They all discuss Templar’s supposed thievery. Natalie is disappointed in him. The French girl Milo has changed her tune from earlier, with a new “all men are the same, you can’t trust them” attitude. Natalie and gasbag leave. Milo and Bernie get ready for sleep. She knocks back a glass of wine and chucks her jewellery on the floor. Berated by Bernie: “You’re an awful bore when you’re drunk”, her riposte: “You’re an awful bore when I’m sober.” Nice.
Templar and gasbag have a little chat. He turns on the charm and gasbag lets slip that Natalie was here last year. And Templar’s now suspicious as she’d told him it was her first time there. I’m surprised a man of the world like the Saint would believe a girl who told him it was her first time, but there you go…
There’s another break in, this time it’s Bernie’s safe.
Templar confronts Natalie who is packing, getting ready to move on. He pressurises her and she seems to cave in, about to confess everything? He phones the police.
Shortly afterwards the thief escapes to the roof where Templar springs on him and they have a big end-of-episode fight. Mr thief goes at him with a metal bar. He misses Templar and hits some electrical wiring electrocuting himself dead. The police arrive and search the body, finding the stolen jewellery.
Then the colonel does his best Poirot and points the finger of accusation at Natalie, who they arrest. However Templar tells him he’s picked the wrong girl so gasbag immediately comes clean. It was the old lady all along! I knew it…
Templar and Natalie summarise the plot, he smoothly name checks the episode title, and they snog. The end.