1 9 8 3 (UK)
12 x 50 minute episodes
Debuting on Friday 7 January 1983, this 12-part BBC series featured a group of SOE (Special Operations Executive) agents during WWII training for a mission to destroy a V1 flying bomb facility situated in an underground bunker in Northern France. The climax was the mission itself.
Early episodes dealt with the selection and training of the group. Ordinary people were recruited and subjected to highly demanding training in the seclusion of a large house in the country. They were each given a code name derived from the French name for a different type of bird (such as ‘Hibou’ and ‘Chardonneret’).
Paul Shelley (Secret Army) played Major Hugh Gallagher, the volunteer group’s leader.
Filmed on location on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, the series suffered a raft of problems during production, from bad weather conditions to injuries to cast members – Susan Kyd broke her pelvis and another actor broke a leg – and strikes by technicians.
The title of the series came from a memo to Winston Churchill early in the war. It was headed “The Fourth Arm” and recommended setting up teams for sabotage and subversion in occupied Europe.
Major Hugh Gallagher
Lt. Col. Tim Squires
Solange ‘Chardonneret’ Rohr
Paul ‘Ferdy’ Lamboit
George ‘Choucas’ Macklin
Sergeant ‘Grive’ Cameron
Stephen ‘Hibou’ Lovell
Colonel Hugh Gwillim
Sgt. Sally ‘Hirondelle’ Birkett
Corporal Jack ‘Miff’ Moffat
Simone ‘Rossignol’ Portales
Captain Nigel ‘Mesange’ Macaulay