A young couple's stolen furniture becomes a moveable feast
as Eddie takes on the case and causes the thieves to panic.
Series 2, Episode 8:
Original BBC1 tx:
2120 - 2215hrs,
watched by 11 million

Filming dates:
4 - 19 August 1980
Philip and Diana Hosken are moving house. When they arrive at their new home, they find
that the removal van containing all their belongings has been stolen en route.

Meanwhile, Terry Bowen, an ex-boxer, acquaintance of Erica's, and businessman, shows
Cleo and her boyfriend into a house by the sea, which they have rented. Bowen has
furnished the house with the Hosken's stolen property. To provide themselves with spending
money, Cleo suggests that they sell the colour television to a trader in the local market.
When the police are told of the Hosken's theft, they question the trader as to where he got
the television; it matches the description given by the robbed couple.

Eddie is asked to help, and questions Howard and Billy, the removal men. The younger of
the two surreptitiously makes a phone call to Bowen's associates whilst Eddie talks to the
other worker.

Bowen's latest scheme is to frighten an old man out of his cottage. Nearby, he is sheltering
two wanted criminals.

Hearing about the trader, Eddie visits him and hears about Cleo, the 'girl in the red top.'
Terry Bowen becomes suspicious about Eddie and invites him to a seaside charity event,
where he participates in games with kids. Watching Eddie sketch portraits of kids, Bowen
chances to se a drawing of Cleo, based on the trader's description, among his earlier work.

Bowen confronts Cleo and her boyfriend about the television, taking all their money from
them. The girl, however, has kept an antique chess set and proposes to sell this to the
trader. When they do so, the trader tells them that he needs to consult a friend about the
price, asking them to come back in an hour.

The trader tells Eddie that the girl has returned. Eddie, having recently been knocked
unconscious by one of Bowen's men whilst investigating a vacant house, comes to the stall
and talks to the girl, who eventually agrees to help him.

Cleo visits Bowen in his office and tells him that she needs money to 'disappear', as Eddie
wants to use her as a police witness. Bowen pays her and confronts Eddie at the old man's
cottage, the next property on a list which Erica has given him. Bowen is about to assault
Eddie when the old man sets fire to his cottage and disappears inside. Rescuing him, the
two men are surprised when the police arrive and arrest the two criminals, now exposed as
bank robbers, that Bowen has been hiding. They were forced to move in when they saw the
A wonderful episode crammed with incident and character. The
plot is intricate, yet easy to understand, and devoid of padding,
whilst the two prominent one-off characters, Bowen and the
trader, are memorable. Bowen is played with arrogant gusto by
John Forgeham, whilst the trader, dressed in a wonderful array
of old army clothing, and given a series of wry lines, is equally
outstanding. Eddie is at home in the marketplace, bantering
with the stall owners and finding himself, at one point,
mistaken as a trader himself! It's difficult not to laugh at his use
of Erica's exercise bike. Within the dense narrative of this
episode, the production team manage to find room for a plot
thread involving Erica, where Eddie is thrown out of the flat
when her ex-husband comes to visit. Series two seems to
become faster paced with the addition of Chris Boucher as
script editor. After the enjoyable though slower moving
episodes such as "Utmost Good Faith" and "The Farmer Had a
Wife", this differing approach maintains the latter half of the
series' verve.
Eddie finally traces Cleo,
the girl who had sold the
Hoskens' property
Erica is invited for lunch
by her old friend Bowen
A terrific performance by
businessman Terry Bowen
Eddie investigates when the
Hoskens' furniture is stolen on
route to their new home
Bowen thinks it is Eddie who has
called the police at the conclusion
Trader helps Eddie when
the Hoskens' furniture
turns up in the market
Don is not amused
when Eddie's antics
almost lead to his arrest
This is John Forgeham's episode. Ex-boxer Terry Bowen is a villainous character certainly
(who wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Minder, the theme music to which is heard
briefly here!), but he has a lot of genuine charm. He is even a friend of Erica's - they had
met, she tells Eddie, when he was her "star pupil" at a summer business class she taught.
I don't think she would have been taken in by him if he weren't, on some level, sincere. We
see his dealings with other people too, his secretary for one, and although he most
certainly has an unpleasant side, that's not all there is to this man. I reckon his success
isn't just down to shady practices.

Not that he doesn't deserve his fate, but Bowen seems genuinely hurt when the police
show up at the conclusion; as if it's the end of his 'fun and games'. His cry of "You
b*****d, Shoestring!"
is almost plaintive. But for once, Eddie's involvement turns out to be
ancillary (akin to "AN UNCERTAIN CIRCLE") as Bowen has been under police surveillance
for some time, for reasons different to those being investigated here. In fact Eddie needn't
have been there at all (preempting Raiders of the Lost Ark perhaps? Maybe not).
There is more potential for Erica in this episode than is
realised I think (especially given the indisputable talents
of Doran Godwin). We could perhaps have had a scene
at the end where we hear her thoughts on the fact that
Bowen has been arrested. In addition, in this episode
more than any other, she has good reason to be
completely infuriated by Eddie (wonderful chap though
he is): she is as helpful as ever with his investigations,
etc. and yet he runs out on her, rudely, on more than
one occasion. Her feelings on this behaviour are
certainly written all over her face (and she must know
by now what he's like), but maybe it would have been
nice to give voice to them. Not that Eddie, in the midst
of a case, would have listened mind you!