1 9 7 8 (UK)
8 x 50 minute episodes
This eight-part BBC series told the story of a major multiple-vehicle road accident from the perspectives of several of the unfortunate participants.
Four students – Tom Baxter (Daniel Hill), his girlfriend Joanna (Jane Collins), Tom’s expectant sister Diana (Caroline Holdaway) and her radical English graduate boyfriend Mitch (Martin Neil) – are on their way to the airport in a Citroën 2CV when they run out of petrol on a quiet country road in the Home Counties on a wet March morning. One of the students sets off on foot to fetch a gallon of petrol.
Fate brings a minibus along the same road, heading for the same airport. The driver is Jack Dutton (David Harries), a man living a double life. The passengers are married couple Frank and Dilys Martin (Peter Geddis and Patricia Garwood) – both schoolteachers and recently reconciled after a rocky interlude – and young Terri Lewis, (Michelle Newell), single again and heading for Africa and a break with the past after the collapse of an affair.
Close behind – much too close – is a red Cortina driven by a prison officer who is impatient to pass the minibus. In the back seat is a fellow officer and handcuffed to him is a long-term prisoner in transit from one nick to another. Prison Officers Burton (Robert Blythe) and Pritchard (Eric Mason) are unimpressed with their charge, a sex offender named Cyril Edmunds (Geoffrey Hinsliff).
Fate dictates that stockbroker Andrew Buchan (Bernard Kay) will also choose to drive that way that day – cruising at 80 mph with his chauffeur, Megson (Patrick Jordan) sitting in the back.
The three moving vehicles meet at the same moment and place where the Citroën sits immobile at the verge. Bodies are flung together, cut, creased, bent and broken.
The detailed character study featured events prior to the accident, at the time of the accident, and after the accident, employing flashbacks, sections shot in future tense and present-day accounts.
Characters moved from the foreground to the background depending upon the focus of the episode.
Stephen ‘Mitch’ Mitchell
Prison Officer Burton
Prison Officer Pritchard
PC Trevor Banks
PC Neil Galloway
Departure Point | Take Your Partner | The Figures Man | Jack in the Middle | Terri | Victims | Purple One | Ends and Ways