1 9 8 8 – 1 9 9 0 (UK)
Like the similarly styled Manhunt and Secret Army, ITV’s Wish me Luck was set in World War II and focused on the daring young people who risked life and limb to spy on the enemy and sabotage the Nazi advance. Two women, in particular, were highlighted, both fluent in French, with local knowledge of Normandy.
One was well-bred blonde Liz Grainger (Kate Buffery) from Devon, a twenty-something mother of a five-year-old daughter, who answered an appeal for pictures of Normandy and was duly recruited.
Her brother had been killed in action, and her husband, Lawrence (Nigel Le Vaillant), was away with the forces.
The other was earthy 22-year old cockney Matty Firman (Suzanna Hamilton), whose mother was French and whose father was a London Jew. She was recruited as a wireless operator.
Both worked as agents of the Special Operations Executive (casually known as ‘the outfit’), run by Colonel James ‘Cad’ Cadogan (Julian Glover), assisted by Oxford graduate Faith Ashley (Jane Asher) – dubbed ‘the Snow Queen’ – and wireless receiver Lois Mountjoy (Abigail McKern), who was the teenage daughter of a vicar.
The unlikely duo worked together behind enemy lines, along with baronet’s son and Oxford blue, Kit Vanston (Michael J Jackson), who was the chief intelligence officer in the area, and fellow agent Colin Beale (Jeremy Northam) who had naval experience.
They were also assisted by Claudine (Shelagh McLeod), a wealthy former Sorbonne buddy of Liz’s, who was now forced to work for a living and who took an instant dislike to the ‘common’ Matty.
Claudine developed a risky ‘friendship’ with the increasingly cruel local Nazi boss, Colonel Kreiger (Warren Clarke), later replaced by General Stuckler (Terence Hardiman).
New agents were also introduced in later series, primarily Vivien (Lynn Farleigh), a recently widowed former dancer and Emily (Jane Snowden), a catholic doctor’s daughter.
Mathilde ‘Matty’ Firman
Col James ‘Cad’ Cadogan
Michael J Jackson
Claudine de Valois
Col Werner Kreiger
Nigel Le Vaillant
Col Max Dubois