Callan – Goodness Burns Too Bright

Goodness Burns Too Bright

Bauer (Robert Lang) is to help the Section plant an agent in East Germany. He comes to Hunter with a proposal to tip the East Germans off and send in a decoy – if they find a decoy first they won’t be looking for the real agent. Bauer had a previous run-in with Callan and suggests him as the decoy. Callan is set up to follow Eva (Rosemary Frankau), an old Hungarian acquaintance working for the West Germans, back to Berlin. He’s caught by Bauer and sustains an injury while escaping, so seeks refuge at the home of an elderly doctor (Gladys Cooper).

Not a successful or important man

Bauer doesn’t immediately suggest Callan as the decoy. It’s acknowledged that whoever is sent will be interrogated, so it does have to be a real agent with some genuine information, yet “not the best” nor “a successful or important man”. This is significant when we consider how Callan is described in later series of the programme; he will increasingly be seen as the best in the business and becomes someone the Section cannot risk losing – in fact, they cannot allow him to leave their employment.

hunter: they'll never believe a man is a spy if he has no information to give bauer: then we'll send them a spy who has some information. not the newest, of course, and not the best. but enough to be convincing. hunter: you want us to select one of our men and then betray him? bauer: he would not, of course, be a successful of important manHowever, here, Callan is apparently not that valuable to the Section and is worth sacrificing simply for a chance to get an agent into East Germany. I’m sometimes inclined to believe that this portrayal of Callan, as very good but not exceptional, is more in line with James Mitchell’s outlook on the character. It’s the ‘He’s Not James Bond’ approach. We see that Callan knows how unvalued he is by the Section. After he’s been captured by Bauer, he ruminates to himself in a voiceover about ending up in an East German prison, aware that “Hunter won’t exchange you.” It’s a nice clear grounding of the character and is certainly interesting to compare with Callan being told he’s a “top man” in Series 3’s Breakout and the early events of Series 4, especially its opener, That’ll Be the Day.

Very bad for morale

Hunter agrees to betray Callan and this does feel shocking, although perhaps less so after last week’s episode when he was happy to allow the CIA to blackmail Callan. There are similarities with James Mitchell’s Russian Roulette novel, in which Hunter informs Callan that he has made a deal with the Russians to get back another Section agent – in exchange for Callan’s body. One of the big differences is that in the novel Callan is told that there are going to be foreign agents out to get him, while here he’s totally in the dark about what’s going on until he’s captured by Bauer in West Berlin.

In Goodness Burns Too Bright Hunter is initially reluctant to betray any Section agent. Maitland (Jeremy Lloyd), a Section agent supporting Hunter this week, points out that the news would leak out to others and would be “Very bad for morale”. This is something Callan raises in Russian Roulette, only for Hunter to dismiss it because only he and Meres know: “Meres dislikes you[…] He also wants your job. And he’ll get it. He has no reason to tell the others”. As Hunter does eventually agree to Bauer’s deal, it’s something that remains unresolved in the TV episode and perhaps why James Mitchell wanted to put an explanation for similar circumstances in the later novel.

Interestingly, in James Mitchell’s original storyline Bauer went to Hunter’s superiors and Hunter himself was to resist the idea of sending Callan to Berlin – not for any morale reasons, but because Callan was no longer in the Section so couldn’t be ordered there. However ‘his superiors consider that Callan isn’t just a perfect scape-goat, he’s a nuisance to be got rid of’, so Hunter has to devise a way of sending Callan to Berlin. This version certainly does make Hunter seem a bit less of a ruthless bastard. We won’t see much clear indication of who Hunter reports to in the series for a while, so it’s possible these are both elements that James Mitchell wanted to remove. I do like the ambiguousness around the Section at this point.

We don’t get given any reasons why Bauer is helping the Section get any agent into East Germany and I don’t think we need more – he’s being paid £10,000 by Hunter. As Doctor Schultz says later, “Berlin’s been full of spies for the last 20 years. They’re almost a commonplace.” For Bauer, espionage is just daily life.

We should also consider the fact that Germany hasn’t been formally divided for all that long – it’s under 20 years, and the Berlin Wall didn’t go up until 1961, with many Berliners easily crossing between East and West each day to travel to work or visit family and friends. Many German people would not have had strong loyalties to either of these relatively new countries.

In addition, Robert Lang is in his early thirties; if we assume the character of Bauer is supposed to be around the same age, he wouldn’t even have reached his teens when the war ended, so he came of age long after the Nazis’ themes of “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (One people, one empire, one leader)” had stopped being propagandised. Perhaps his sense of Germanness is lacking overall, hence he has no problem in helping the British plant spies. Maitland tells Hunter that Bauer has “given us a lot of trouble in Berlin” and the implication seems to be that if they can do him a favour then he’ll be less bother. It’s never made clear whether Bauer had worked for the West Germans or if he has always been a freelancer. Either way, he now seems happy to help.

Over the previous decade Robert Lang had had a fairly regular stream of small parts in films and on television, as well as cropping up in various anthology play series like Armchair Theatre (in 1964, 1966, 1967 & 1971) and Play of the Week (The East Wind in 1966), plus a short run as a semi-regular in Emergency – Ward 10 (1963). Off-screen, he was having a steady career with the National Theatre and would continue to be a busy stage actor. His hair was thinning and was sometimes covered by a wig; in the censor clip from Goodness Burns Too Bright he’s wearing a hat, although for the most part he doesn’t seem to have been bothered about covering up. Robert Lang and Edward Woodward would face one another as adversaries again in 1990 (1977-78), with Lang as Herbert Skardon, the ruthless head of the Public Control Department, frustrated by Woodward’s Kyle, a determined journalist in a grim, dystopian Britain.

CENSORED

With not so much as a single photo for the previous two missing stories it was wonderful to experience Goodness Burns Too Bright with a couple of censor clips and a handful of on-set photos.

If you’re unfamiliar with censor clips, they are sections of an episode – usually extremely brief – that were removed from the finished programme by a third party prior to broadcast, often due to concerns about violence, sexual content or bad language. Doctor Who fans will be familiar with the numerous clips from missing episodes that have emerged from Australia and Callan’s ones also turned up there.

I’d love to see a list of Australian television’s 1960s’ censorship rules because while many of the clips I’ve seen contain stabbings and shootings, others seem fairly tame. The cut from Goodbye Nobby Clarke is of Callan telling Hunter to “Get stuffed!” – hardly post-watershed language. However, both the clips from this episode are more unpleasant.

Eva’s West Berlin flat

The first censor clip from Goodness Burns Too Bright is of Bauer slapping Eva in her flat. I can understand why it was cut. It’s nasty, and on the page it seems a surprisingly sudden action, which makes it even more vile.

Accompanied by a heavy called Franz (Les White), Bauer has just jumped Callan. He warns Eva off, saying that Callan is wanted by the East Germans: “Do you want them after you too?” Grabbing hold of Eva to pull her up from where she’s been crouching by the unconscious Callan, Bauer quickly switches to threats – he knows about the espionage job she’s just done in London and tells her, “Forget about this. You understand?” Eva only has monosyllabic “No” and “Yes” responses in the script, so it’s hard to judge whether her tone might have been defensive or scared. But I’m inclined towards the latter as, after being followed onto a plane by them, these two aggressive thugs have just knocked out her friend in her own home. Bauer is determined to ensure she’s got the message: he chucks her across the room and then crosses over to slap her, saying, “We must have discipline,” before raising his arm high and slapping her again.

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Bauer slaps Eva
Bauer slaps Eva while Franz stands by

Bauer’s actions certainly aren’t necessary. He comes across as unpleasant in the script, yet the harshness in the clip makes him seem a truly horrible sod. It’s not just the slaps themselves, with his arm raised high, but Eva’s screams add to the moment too. Suddenly a six-second clip has given plenty more to this story for me. Frustratingly, the clip ends just as the camera is panning down with Franz to Callan’s body on the floor, meaning we just about miss out on having any footage of Edward Woodward in this episode!

Prior to this, the shot does take in the very edge of the set, giving a glimpse of a doorframe and a framed picture on a patterned wall. We can match these up with photos of Rosemary Frankau that were probably taken during the dress rehearsal, scheduled between 15.00 and 16.30 on Wednesday 19th April 1967 before the episode was recorded during the evening. I wasn’t sure if she was wearing a dress or a coat, but I believe it’s probably a coat because she isn’t wearing it in the clip – we can make out that her arms are bare. Therefore it seems likely that this is what Eva was wearing when she arrived at Callan’s flat earlier in the story, removing it in when back in her own flat.

After the scene in Eva’s flat, the script briefly moves to a corridor before an unconscious Callan is dragged into Bauer’s flat. No images exist for this set, with the script only telling us that it has a bed. Bauer continues his sadistic streak, smacking Callan to wake him up, then twisting his arm just so he can hear someone tell him his decoy plan is clever. It’s interesting that this arm twist occurs in the script, as James Mitchell’s original storyline had Callan injured with a broken wrist during his escape and it feels like they could be connected, perhaps with Bauer performing a similar action. Instead, in the finished script Callan provokes Bauer into whacking his ribs – with the butt of a gun.

Doctor Schultz’s home

We’ve got a couple of photos as well as a censor clip depicting Doctor Schultz’s home, which includes the surgery, a corridor and – the other substantial set we’re missing images from – her bedroom. The script’s instructions about camera movements enable us to imagine the layout fairly well, with the surgery on the left and a corridor linking to the bedroom on the right.

In the second censor clip, Bauer layers on his Utter Bastard credentials by knocking an old lady about. It takes place in the surgery, evident from both the script and the lamp that can be seen behind Doctor Schultz.

Hunter sat behind his desk
Gladys Cooper as Doctor Schultz, with a lamp behind her right shoulder

The lamp can also be seen in a colour photo that gives us a good look at the surgery (again, presumably from the dress rehearsal), and, unlike Rosemary Frankau’s posed photo, this one actually depicts a moment from the script, with Doctor Schultz treating Callan’s ribs. We can pinpoint this pretty exactly too as the camera script specifies Callan putting down his gun, which we can see on the examination couch, and then Doctor Schultz walking away after a few lines of dialogue. Gladys Cooper is pulling a suitably nasty face for an injury that Callan describes as “messy” and is confirmed as two broken ribs, with a later reference to lacerations as well.

Callan refuses any injections, unwilling to risk the doctor knocking him out and calling the police, so Doctor Schultz convinces him to have a Schnapps instead. They start to talk about spies, Nazis, Russians, and her husband. Based on the camera movements, I think we are following her around the surgery as she sees to Callan’s lacerations and then prepares to tape him up. For the week Goodness Burns Too Bright was broadcast, another image from this scene was printed in TV World (29th July), the listings magazine for the Midlands between 1964 and 1968. This one is even easier to pinpoint as Callan’s ribs have been taped up. The doctor tells him “This is the part that is going to hurt” and then, as a result of refusing an injection, the scene ends with Callan passing out from the pain, which is apparent in the photo.

It’s a small plot issue that in their next scene Callan wakes up in the bedroom, with no explanation of how he was dragged there – at 5’9” and average build Edward Woodward might not have been the biggest bloke around, but I’m struggling to see the petite 78-year-old Gladys Cooper managing to carry him down the corridor.

The spy who came in from the cold

Another aspect of Callan that seems tied to James Mitchell’s portrayal of the character is how much more vulnerable he’s made. One reason I like the use of Callan’s voiceover in this first series is that we can hear his thought processes and they often reveal that he’s bricking it. This is the first time we’ve seen Callan abroad (something that won’t happen again until Series 2’s Heir Apparent) and it’s a great way of isolating him. He’s on unfamiliar ground, doesn’t speak much of the language and, with no Section on his side and no Lonely to turn to, he’s utterly alone. I like how the tension is heightened by how desperate he is when he arrives at the surgery. Until then, we don’t know how serious his injury is. He threatens the elderly Doctor Schultz, aware of how his injury has made him even more vulnerable.

I’d be curious how harshly Edward Woodward played this, especially because the doctor doesn’t believe Callan will shoot her. He’s holding the gun as he tells her, “You’re an old lady and all that – but don’t lie to me,” and “I don’t want to hurt you, Doctor – so don’t try anything.” Yet in response she’s kind and maternal, saying, “I can’t treat you if you hurt me, can I? Now come along and don’t be so silly” before later starting to call him “young man” and “boy”.

Callan’s humour is frequently there, sometimes with him riffing Doctor Schultz’s words back to her.

Dame Gladys Cooper seems quite a coup for Callan, with a film career behind her that stretched back to the silent era, but in fact by 1967 she had been cultivating a television career on both sides of the Atlantic for a number of years. Stateside, she’d made appearances in Burke’s Law (Who Killed Sweet Betsy in 1963), multiple editions of The Twilight Zone (1962, 1963 & 1964), followed by a regular role in The Rogues (1964-65). In the UK she had guested in several episodes of Emergency – Ward 10 (1965) and earlier this year in Adam Adamant Lives! (Black Echo) as Grand Duchess Vorokhov. ITC fans will recognise her from a similar type of role a few years later in The Persuaders! episode The Ozerov Inheritance (1971).

She’s interviewed during rehearsals by both TV Times (30th July) and TV World (29th July) as part of the promotion for this episode, although we learn no more about her part or the story – simply that Callan‘s production team called her “a real pro”. They talk about her career overall, her family life and why she’s still working. Her TV World interview does offer some insight into her choice to move into television. She talks about missing the connection you get with an audience in the theatre, but still finds television fun, explaining that “you do get the excitement of working in a different medium, learning a new technique.”

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This was still a time when a lot of older actors had a snobbery towards television and, culturally, it was viewed as ‘lesser’ than theatre, film or even radio. With an established and successful career behind her, those attitudes could easily have manifested in Gladys Cooper, so I find it fascinating to hear these views from someone of that generation and for whom television was right at the end of their career. It’s lovely to have evidence of these types of actors embracing and enjoying television.

The scenes between Callan and Doctor Schultz are lengthy enough to keep drawing you in. Bits of her past seep out in their conversations and it’s evident that her experiences have shaped the attitude she has to Callan around death and violence. There’s a motherly, caring sense too, with her asking him to write to her once he’s back safe in London. We’ll see Callan with various female love interests – some he has genuine affection for, while others are simply part of the job – however this is an entirely different sort of relationship with a woman and I’d love to see how these scenes were played.

As Callan continues to flip the doctor’s words back to her, his attitude turns more serious. It’s a sign of his vulnerability here that he has to plead with her, starting to reveal the pessimistic realities of his world.

callan: you're giving me no choice. dr: it's very unfair to blackmail me - just because i have a conscience. callan: if i fight fair, i always lose. please.

Their conversations make him more self-conscious of how bruised and jaded he is, with Doctor Schultz being one of the first ‘normal’ people we’ve seen him have a substantial conversation with. She admonishes him for a cruel remark, to which he responds, “I’m sorry. I’ve been too busy surviving. I forgot there was something better.” Callan’s outlook always comes across so bleakly, but it rarely feels challenged as we follow his experiences and perspective. This reminder that there is more to life, and perhaps the knowledge that it’s unattainable for him, does make Callan a more pitiful character.

After he’s passed out Doctor Schultz takes his gun and gets rid of the bullets. Later, Callan desperately tries to impress on her how much he needs a gun – and therefore what he will do for one, admitting how scared he is.

Callan: They're looking for me. I could go out now and walk straight into them, I've got to have a gun. You think I won't hurt you. But suppose you're wrong this time? I'm scared rotten. That makes a difference.

The story climaxes with Callan shooting Bauer in front of Doctor Schultz, following his attack on her. She says Callan could have wounded him and Callan gets a nicely appropriate serious spy line: “No love. They never taught me how to wound. Only how to kill.” The script tells us that this provokes some sort of reaction from the doctor. Callan phones Eva and speaks to Franz, bluntly delivering the message that Bauer will “never be deader”. Again, the doctor reacts to this in some way. While we can only guess at her expression – it could be horror or disgust – the story’s conclusion demonstrates how her opinion of Callan has developed.

Callan: I've got to go. Dr: you talked about him as if he were a sheep - and you worked in a slaughter house. Callan: I do... Dr: I wanted to like you. But now - Callan: Yeah. It's as well we didn't get to know each other better.

It has similar overtones to Series 4’s Charlie Says It’s Goodbye (also written by James Mitchell), in which a woman, again, witnesses Callan kill someone and quickly changes her understanding of who he is fundamentally.

What’s the Section for?

Maitland is a new character standing in for Toby Meres in this episode, but it’s difficult to be convinced that he needs to. Maitland knows Bauer, or at least knows of him and his Berlin activities, but there is no reason why this background couldn’t have been given to Meres instead.

The answer lies in the production history. With Peter Bowles no longer available after A Magnum for Schneider, Jeremy Lloyd was the next choice to play Meres. However, not everyone behind the scenes liked him for the role and after some discussions he was dropped. When Anthony Valentine was eventually approached it was rather late on and he was unavailable for the first episode to enter production: Goodness Burns Too Bright. Jeremy Lloyd was though, so he got a shot at a Meres-esque character after all.

Jeremy Lloyd is better known for his writing career, which pre-dated his acting one. By 1967 he had penned episodes of Crackerjack! (1958-59) and The Dickie Henderson Show (1960-68), appearing in a couple of the latter. He would go on to create the gameshow Whodunnit? (1970-75), before becoming best known for co-writing Are You Being Served? (1972-85) and ‘Allo ‘Allo (1982-92) with David Croft. He had had several small film parts, sometimes as an uncredited background artist – A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965) among them. There were also a few guest roles on television during the 1960s, including The Rag Trade (1963) and, earlier in 1967, The Avengers (From Venus with Love – he’d return for 1969’s Thingumajig).

Jeremy Lloyd in Smashing Time with Valerie Leon
With Valerie Leon in Smashing Time (1967)

Meres isn’t mentioned in the story and it’s Hunter who visits Callan at home to plant concerns about Eva’s safety. It’s another scene where Maitland or Meres could have stood in; Meres has visited Callan’s home before, yet it’s unclear how well Maitland knows Callan and they don’t actually share any scenes. As noted last episode, the series has yet to establish rules about Hunter staying in the office. Having Hunter out and about does add to the impression that the Section is very small, with him getting directly involved in activities and apparently not needed at HQ constantly.

It’s Hunter and Callan’s only shared scene, as well as being Callan’s only interaction with the Section in the whole story, which does add to the sense that he’s separate from them. He’s fairly guarded in his responses to Hunter, avoiding giving up any real information until he’s aware of what Hunter already knows.

Hunter: How long have you been using perfume? Callan: Since I left the firm I've changed in lots of ways. Hunter: Oh, it's a new one is it? Australian Imperial Cavalry. About 1860, if I remember. allan: You know how I keep forgetting how old you are. You carry it so well. Hunter: This was a Hungarian regiment. You like Hungarians, Callan? Callan: They the ones who invented goulash?

Hunter lets Callan know that he’s aware Eva has been there, and that she’s been in England on a job for the West Germans. Interestingly, Callan jumps to defend himself: “I don’t work with her, Hunter.” Does he think the Section would be more likely to come after him if he did? Hunter’s reply, “It wouldn’t matter if you did old son. Not now,” makes it clear to Callan just how much of an outsider he is already.

While Hunter definitely looks several years older than Callan and is clearly supposed to be relatively senior (being an old Colonel), Callan’s remark about Hunter’s age is great when you consider that Ronald Radd was actually only a year older than Edward Woodward.

This is my favourite of Callan’s missing episodes so far. We also get a truly nasty piece of work in the sadistic Bauer. I like the callous depiction of Hunter and the Section, adding more layers to Callan’s revulsion for them. I am always fond of a Cold War Berlin setting and this one very much places my mind within John Le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963). I love how elements combine to give us the isolated, lone Callan, betrayed by his ‘own’ people – very Alec Leamas.

I enjoy the lengthy scenes between Callan and Doctor Schultz – in my mind’s eye the camera savours all the right beats in their conversations as they each open up parts of themselves to one another. I feel both actors would have provided satisfying performances. When Callan tells Doctor Schultz ,”I forgot there was something better,” it reminded me of Leamas’s realisation that his lover, Liz, has given him “faith in ordinary life”. There are many similarities to be drawn from both men’s stories. Here, both are experienced men, wrapped up too heavily in espionage for too long, making connections with women who remind them that there are other ways of seeing the world.

Callan’s attitude towards the Section should have hardened even more after this, but I expect that as far as the Section are concerned it’s just the spy business and this job certainly wasn’t personal for Hunter. Upon discovering a betrayal, Leamas is told by another agent, “But you can’t really complain, you know. All our work – yours and mine – is rooted in the theory that the whole is more important than the individual[…] The exploitation of individuals can only be justified by the collective need, can’t it? I find it slightly ridiculous that you should be so indignant.” The Section would take this attitude too and, at this point in the series, Callan is refusing to even begrudgingly accept the status quo.

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