In 1978 Patrick Malahide appeared as investigative reporter Colin Anderson in the BBC-Scotland series The Standard. I posted before about how good it sounds, which you can read here. Well, now we (RFodchuk and I) have finally watched the first episode Golden Boy. Sadly, there don’t appear to be any other episodes available and this one has a visible time stamp, but (aside from the time stamp) it looks and sounds excellent.
RF: I was pleasantly surprised by how good the picture and colour quality was. It looked far better than some “Minder” episodes I’ve seen!
The Standard S01E01: Golden Boy
Admin: If the first episode is anything to go by, we can safely say it is a very good series. It wastes no time in getting to the point; the acting is excellent and the story is interesting. It fully deserves a DVD release!
RF: I totally agree. Seeing the first episode just whetted my appetite to see the rest, especially after all those enticing episode descriptions on the Action TV page. If they’re all as well written as the first, I’m in.
Admin: The Scottish Daily Standard is a struggling newspaper hemorrhaging money, hampered by over cautious, old fashioned editor James Kendal (Gerry Slevin) and an overzealous union head (albeit not overzealous in his reporting) Alex Forsythe (Tom Watson) who is more interested in calling mandatory chapel (union) meetings.
RF: Our first look at The Standard shows us (1) that they still have paperboys selling them – okay, maybe that wasn’t all that uncommon at that point in time, and (2) that it’s featuring a rather staid and boring headline, which gives us most of the background we need to understand their current situation. I’ve also never seen so many bakelite phones and manual typewriters in my life!
Admin: Enter Englishman “Golden Boy” Peter Dawson (Neil Stacy) who is sent from London with proposals to either close The Standard for good or to invest £5 million for modernization. But, that will also mean changing the paper’s direction by intensifying the reporting and letting some people go.
RF: I realize Dawson is the nominal “Golden Boy” (is there a possibility he was intended to be the series focus?), but I wonder if that title couldn’t belong to Colin Anderson as well… foreshadowing the role he’s going to have in saving The Standard.
Admin: Colin is the Platinum Boy.
RF: …which means he’ll have to invest in a silvery-white shirt and tie, unless he already has them.
Admin: Dawson has a bit of an ally with news editor Felicity Grant (Collette O’Neil). She is a go getter and longs to give the paper bite. She was with a paper called The Newcastle Argus which Dawson was able to turn around to profit, but not without cutting a few jobs. He admires Felicity and wants her on his side.
RF: Felicity uses an alarming amount of hairspray, even by Rooolllahh Lenska standards! I’m also bemused by her Seventies smock fashions. We’re told several times, by several characters, what an utter rarity it is that The Standard employs a female news editor (and such an attractive one!, as they take pains to point out), without the slightest hint of irony. However, despite this one tiny smidgen of progressiveness, The Standard appears to be well-mired in the practices of the past. In a later scene, Felicity is in favour of “splashing” a story about an industrial fire that suggests something fishy at the company, but managing editor Kendal balks at the idea. He really doesn’t want The Standard getting into anything sticky or being “[turned] into a campaigning paper again” because it’s not their “style” any more.
Meet Colin Anderson
Admin: As mentioned, Alex Forsythe is more interested in union matters than in reporting. He is at a press conference where industrialist Jeremy Longmuir (Jerome Willis) will be discussing plans for factory expansion. Colin Anderson, hot shot investigative reporter working for a paper called The Chronicle, is there also.
Admin: Clad in a bright red shirt, a necktie to match and a long blue coat, Colin stands out of the crowd. He greets Alex and is met with little enthusiasm. Colin reveals that he knows The Standard’s proprietors are ready to pull the plug being “cheesed off with disputes.” Alex plays dumb. Colin: “I thought you were the father of the chapel?” Alex reckons because of that the media company would make sure he was the last person to know. “Like me to make some inquiries for you,” asks Colin playfully. Alex calls him a “snide bastard” for his helpfulness.
RF: Apparently Colin thinks you need a touch of red to go with red, sharing some sartorial sensibilities with other characters of Mr. Malahide’s. But hey, no one can argue that he doesn’t know how to match. Seriously, he’s the most brightly clad person in the room (and perhaps the best dressed as well in a sea of polyester), giving us an idea of his brash nature. And he is incredibly, delightfully brash as well as completely confident and outgoing. He’s got his ear to the ground, knowing all the Standard dirt even before its employees do. Like a certain other individual, he’s also good at reading people’s characters, knowing just where Alex is most vulnerable.
Admin: A young man, who Colin cheekily refers to as Andy Pandy, goes to the microphone to say that Longmuir has been delayed because of electric difficulties with his plane. We already knew that because “Golden Boy” Peter Dawson was traveling with him at the time which means he’s late for his meeting with The Standard.
RF: The reporters – an exclusively male group, of course – are mollified by the offer of free drinks, though. Colin’s already availing himself. Continue reading