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The Sentimental Agent: Meet my Son, Henry.

I wasn't going to write about this show, because I found it difficult to phrase what I wanted to say, but I think this episode may provide the right medium.
Not a favourite in the cult TV world, this one. On the face of it this is hard to understand, but this show manages both to be classic ITC viewing and have what will be for some viewers some major defects. Perhaps I had better say that its main claim to fame is as the first TV appearance of Diana Right.
The opening sequence encapsulates this perfectly. The Aston Martin. The cigarette holder. The sophisticated places. So far we're in familiar territory for our sort of TV. But, oh dear, the theme tune. It's not hummable but gets into your head and does not give the lounge lizard impression we want for a cult TV series.
This episode starts with a daring robbery of top secret plans from a Space Development Corporation. Thus far the show is easy to interpret: the corporation represents modernity. Their building is modern, at least for the time. It is a pity that its softwood windows will now have rotted and it will have been a nightmare of asbestos to demolish. The building and show are of their time. This opening sequence is a rare location shot for the show. It is not therefore completely studio-bound, but does make heavy use of stock footage in the manner of the time. It is very obvious where the joins come, and as usual this is not a criticism, just a statement. The street scenes are wonderfully redolent of a long-gone London.
There are two whacking great plot holes, first that the baddies can just drive into the place and steal the plans. They then have a foolproof way of passing the plans on, which of course goes horribly wrong. That said, while some may see this as a plot defect, there is a playful sense to the plot by which Henry makes nonsense of the baddies' plans and complicates it further by putting a different dust jacket on the book.
And so we come to Carlos Thomson, the star of the show, who is its real problem - by his absence from many of the episodes. The legend on the internet is that he had to pull out because his English wasn't really good enough to cope with his lines. This is a pity, because the show can appear rather focusless. The Oriental manservant is a device which had been overdone even by this time. Oh dear, I'm getting a bit catty about the show and I didn't mean to.
I feel the viewer will either like or loathe the titular son of this episode. He has an IQ in the 200s and isn't ashamed to show what he knows. He proves surprisingly useful in this episode.
One of the joys of these shows is the cars and this one is no exception. There is a sighting of a really old black cab, which looks like a tank. Most of the cars are the latest models (a Rover is my favourite) with older cars in the background.
Visually this show is superb as an ITC show. It moves between the sophisticated venues of the privileged and the gang's lair. There is just one visual thing I find quite disorientating, which is that the hat Henry wears throughout the episode, including indoors, is the same sort as the hats worn by the villains. A mistake surely to make both sides look the same.
I don't want to seem negative about the show, since I think you'll like it if you like ITC, it just has some failings which you might not take to, not least the virtual absence of the lead character.

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