00:00 I never look up which ep is which. I’m hoping this is Undercover in teh Pub. Yes, it is. And if anyone hasn’t read Elfinessy’s In The Pub, do it now, it’s lovely and fits seamlessly into this episode.
00:33 Sam just has to snark back at Gene all the time, doesn’t he.
1:00 I really don’t see the point of this sequence; I suppose it gives us a little bit of stunt driving, and Chris being a div, but it doesn’t actually advance the story at all. Unless it’s to introduce the football idea?
03:25 Synchronised thinking – Sam says time of death was 11-30 and Ray doesn’t know why. But Gene does and answers for him.
04:00 Everything is so detailed in this show. While we’re watching Sam tell Ray he’ll talk to the widow, we can see Gene walking over to the ambulance in the background and the stretcher-bearers coming forward. I think that makes it so much more realistic. In Bonkers we just got endless close focus on one speaker then the next, and you really couldn’t see what was happening in the background or around them.
04:55 Did people really have that sort of tracksuit jacket in 1973? I wasn’t at all sporty, so it’s difficult to know, but I know that in general people didn’t have such fancy kit as they have now.
05:25 “Doesn’t take much working out, even for you lot.” Gene doesn’t often diss his own people, does he? Perhaps it being football related makes it too personal.
05:45 “He’s dead. That’s quite serious!” I think I love Gene. Well, I know I do, but that is a particularly shining example of Gene-speak.
09:35 Aww, his Dad has a black leather jacket very similar to his own.
10:00 So suddenly Annie decides she wants to get back in with Sam, all gentle smiles, sweet talk and hanging around his desk. The character is so inconsistent from week to week; I think this series could have done with a show-runner à la RTD. I know the guest writers said it was great having the freedom (who wrote this ep, anyway?), and I’m sure it was, but it wouldn’t have taken anything away from them to plot out the Annie/Sam development a little more believably and consistently.
10:40 Poor Annie; “shag” was definitely rather more risqué in those days; she’s what, 25 ish? Which puts her ten years older than me, and it’s quite a significant ten years in terms of cultural changes.
11:00 Nice little scene change there, seamless. Glide behind the pillar and when we come out Sam has moved. It’s far less jarring than the more usual type of cut.
11:12 Quite a hypnotising look at Sam’s front, as he approaches the camera. Lovely.
11:27 I’d never noticed before, but when Sam is talking to Chris prior to emptying out the bag of rubbish from the alley, Ray is standing in the background watching him closely, for more than half a minute. Just standing, staring.
15:12 For some reason I’m not finding much to say about this ep! Body language, though, Sam and Gene perched very close together sitting on the edge of the desk briefing the team. This is Gene saying very publicly that Sam’s ideas are to be listened to. “We’re thinking, what, inside the box?” Gene is taking Sam’s ideas on board, and showing that even if he doesn’t agree with Sam’s thoughts, he can see the merit in Sam’s ideas.
16:44 “Do either of you two know anything about running a pub?” Synchronised thinking again, and this time synchronised moving. *drags mind back from happy place.* This episode has always been one of my favourite contenders for The Night Gene And Sam Got Together.
17:30 It’s possible that I think this every week, but Gene is looking particularly fine in this “learning the prices” sequence. The eyes are just – guh.
18:40 So often, Sam acts around Annie like he’s been neutered, so it’s nice to see him do the natural thing and peer down her blouse.
So, I was called upon to do the mum bit a moment ago, and without looking back at the screen I clicked to pause it. Two minutes later I’d sorted the problem and looked back at the screen to find – an arse. Oh dear, I’d managed to pause it right on the moon!
19:09 Sam is seriously unimpressed with how much Gene is drinking. Of course, being so much younger, he has no idea of what the culture used to be like, and automatically equates high intake with drinking problem. In 1982, the company I was working for put in a new canteen, with free wine and beer for people to help themselves. At lunch times. (Well, it was a brewer, but we took it pretty much for granted). The most radical thing about this new canteen was that – gasp – everybody had to use it, which was a major talking point. Previously, there had been no less than five different canteens and dining rooms for different ranks and levels of staff.
19:20 I always feel sorry for Sam when he’s working in his grotty little flat. OK, he doesn’t have much else to do, but either it’s so late at night that he could usefully be
shagging Gene asleep, or there are people still in the pub that he could be socialising with. And he actually doesn’t look worried when CTCG turns up.
20:35 Someone a long time ago pointed out the symmetry between Sam & Gene, and Ryan & Wayne (sorry guys, but fourteen-year-old kids in 1973 just weren’t called those names - Mike and Dave would have been much more ordinary). Angular, angsty dark-haired United supporter and bigger, fair-haired City supporter.
20:52 GREEN SHIRT! GREEN SHIRT! Oh, um, sorry. Got carried away.
21:05 Someone might have “sensed an atmosphere”. Blimey, that’s a little airy-fairy even for Sam.
21:12 The way Annie says “Gene” is so very similar to the way the Simm!Master said “Tish”. I wonder if that’s where he got it from?
21:45 “Do you understand the concept of ‘undercover’?” “Too direct?” Gene just quietly takes the rebuke here. He accepts Sam’s authority in the matter!
22:02 What is in that pan, bubbling away?
22:10 Oh yes, go Sam! Bend over and display your arse for Gene! And straight away Gene talks about things up arses!
22:30 Enter Pete Bond. This is such a good character to bring in, because it really highlights the fact that Sam simply doesn’t have any mates. Not a one. And he is gagging for someone just to have a chat with. Or more, of course, depending on how you look at it, but one of the things the whole Pete thing reminds us of is how lonely Sam really is. This man is the sole reason my OC in An Unhappy Man was called Pete.
24:27 Personal space issues. I can never get enough of watching these two standing just a bit too close and staring into each other’s eyes.
24:37 Athletic Gene, climbing over the bar. Why does that do things to my pulse rate?
24:42 One of many things I’d never noticed before – Pete Bond stares at Gene after he knocks the guy out, but it’s not just shock, it’s more like admiration. This is such a slashy episode that when Pete then glances across at Sam, I choose to interpret that as “Lucky bastard, having a magnificent specimen like that for your very own.”
25:00 “I thought it were a good idea.” I’ve always thought – and written – that Gene says “was”, not “were”. Apparently I was wrong.
27:05 I played pool for my local pub through my University years, and red and yellow balls were much later. We had spots and stripes. I used to play in the Courage Social Club too, in 1981-83, and we still had spots and stripes then. Reds and yellows were apparently an American idea, and it was to clarify things for television. Snooker was certainly on television by about 1977 if not earlier, but I don’t think it occurred to us that they would ever show pool.
27:28 This scene always makes me cringe for Sam. He goes to talk to Coxy’s group, and he so hasn’t got it. It’s just embarrassing.
28:05 I’ve finally spotted Gene saying “scum” as he joins Coxy’s gang. Yet another thing I never caught across the room on the TV, but it jumps out when I’m watching on the PC.
28:10 Sam is looking really pissed off at Gene and the gang. Or is he just annoyed because Gene can join in and he didn’t manage it?
29:10 Pete and Sam really look like a couple here; similar body shape, similar posture, loads of eye contact. And Sam watches him very thoughtfully as Pete walks away.
29:45 Ooh, torso. And neck. I normally think a lot more about Phil-Gene, but this episode is really making me focus on John-Sam. The man just has such a perfect body, although in fact Phil is much closer to my usual type.
God, I really can’t concentrate on this now. There’s a music programme on telly which has just got up to about 1970. My era, folks. OMG, Roxy!
Anyway, that’s finished, so back to the episode. My God, considering I didn’t have much to say on this one, it’s taking a hell of a long time. I started at 9 and it’s now 11-45pm. I don’t think I can face any more tonight; I’ll have to finish tomorrow some time.
...TO BE CONTINUED