In 1979, Patrick Malahide had a very brief role as RAF Flight Lieutenant Mike Kelly in “Dead Letter“, the eleventh episode of the Euston Films’ World War II series, “Danger UXB“. That stands for “UneXploded Bomb”, in case you weren’t sure, and the series followed Royal Engineers Lieutenant Brian Ash (Anthony Andrews) through his career in a bomb disposal unit – highly dangerous and stressful stuff.
Malahide’s performance is short but memorable, as we first glimpse him sitting tensely and rather morosely at a dance with the rest of his bomber aircrew (also a highly dangerous and stressful job) – and I have to say, looking extremely attractive in his RAF uniform. For reasons unknown, Kelly glares across the dance floor at a woman named Elspeth (Deborah Grant) whom Ash has met only that evening, but to whom he (Ash) already seems quite attracted. I thought at first Kelly might be a previously spurned lover and was expecting a nasty scene when he seemed to come to some decision and got up to speak to Ash and Elspeth. Indeed there was a confrontation, but not what I expected.
I’ve embedded a link so I won’t say too much more, but short as Patrick Malahide’s performance is, it’s well worth watching. He brings the right amount of intensity and angry cynicism to the role, with no small amount of raw grief underneath, hinting at the stresses to which he’s been subjected.
The rest of the episode involves Ash’s efforts to learn how to disarm bombs with a new type of fuse that’s been designed to maim or kill anyone trying to deactivate it. You can watch the entire 51 minute episode at the link below, skip to the 13:20 mark for Malahide’s appearance, or scroll down for a gallery.
UPDATE: The original clip was deleted by its user, so here’s a new one featuring Patrick Malahide’s performance, very kindly provided by Admin: