Series 2, Episode 3:
A boastful caller wages a sinister war of nerves with
Radio West and Eddie in particular…
Original BBC1 tx:
19 OCTOBER 1980
2105 - 2255hrs,
watched by 12.3 million

Filming dates:
12 to 28 May 1980
(drn. 49'59")
written by WILLIAM HOOD
directed by BEN BOLT

Malicious messages are being left for Eddie at Radio West. The sender, who has a Belfast
accent, brags that he is going to carry out a series of assaults under Eddie's nose, taunting
him about his abilities as a private ear. A woman returning from work is duly attacked.

After more messages and an attack on Sonia, who is hospitalised, Eddie begins to show
signs of strain. Tom Everett, a security guard at Radio West, works at the hospital as a DJ.
Telling Eddie that he recognises the caller's voice as that of an old patient who made requests,
he finds the tape of his old show and lets Eddie hear it.

As "MOCKING BIRD" begins,
Eddie finds himself becoming obsessed
with the mysterious caller...
Sonia falls victim to the mugger too
Radio West nightwatchman (and part-
time hospital radio DJ) Tom Everett
thinks he recognises the mugger's voice
The caller is identified as Ron Bazely, whom Eddie learns is working for a company named
"Ring-a-Rod". Tracking Bazely down, Eddie pursues him but is knocked unconscious by the
man's mother, who thinks Shoestring has come to demand payment of child support.

When Eddie returns to the flat, he finds a message in his own voice - which he never sent -
asking Erica to meet him at the boat. Erica is attacked at the boat, but is unharmed, and on
their return to the flat Eddie reasons that the tape must have been put together from snippets
lifted from his radio shows.
...and the truth is revealed when
Tom lures Eddie to an empty Radio
West in the middle of the night
Tom Everett calls Eddie, who by this time has been suspended from Radio West, and
asks him to come to the station, where Bazely has just been seen. Eddie arrives and finds
himself locked in a darkened studio with Everett, who taunts him in a Belfast accent.
Everett has been harassing Eddie, jealous at his success as a Radio West detective.
Eddie throws a chair through a plate glass window and pushes Everett into a chair, barely
able to control himself, asking the security guard why he had to attack women to make his

Everett sits silently, and Eddie wins the battle to keep control of himself as he lifts the
phone to call for the police.
Erica worries for Eddie's sanity
as the strain begins to show...
The best "Shoestring" episode - without a doubt! Although
others come close "Mocking Bird" manages to maintain a dark,
unsettling mood without sacrificing a breakneck pace or its
relentless tension.

There are so many set-pieces, many bathed in atmospheric
night filming. These include the attack in the subway, the
impressionistic 'orange sky' backdrop seen through the Radio
West reception, the attack on Erica and the gripping showdown.
Trevor Eve delivers his best performance, lost, bewildered and
manipulated, only just able to keep control. His reaction (and
the accompanying direction) when the cassette suddenly
appears in his car radio is superb.

One of the very best episodes as Eddie is, when
the episode opens, mentally under siege from a
vicious mugger keen to taunt him about his lack
of detection skills as he telephones in clues to
his attacks - no enlisting of his services for once,
straight into the midst of the story.

As a result it is not the largely relaxed, easy-
going Eddie of most of Series 2 that we meet
here. He is taking this very personally indeed
and, on account of the vicious nature of the
crimes, at times comes perilously close to
another breakdown.

Of course it turns out to be Radio West night
security man Tom Everett who is the guilty
party, an ex-policeman (and hospital radio DJ),
insanely envious of Eddie's success.
Eddie discovers the mugger's
cassette in his car radio
"MOCKING BIRD" was repeated on BBC2 on
31 May 1993 as part of a Cops on the Box
themed evening (which may seem bizarre,
however the police do feature more heavily in
this episode of Shoestring than in any other)
The Belfast accents, however, are unintentionally funny. It's unlikely they would fool anyone who
had visited that city. Setting this minor flaw aside, "Mocking Bird" is an awesome thriller - one of
the best I've ever seen on TV or cinema. Virtually flawless.
Don & Eddie leave the Radio West building
in this scene from "MOCKING BIRD"
One subtle aspect of this instalment is in the treatment of Tom before he is revealed as the mugger -
Eddie, who has time for everyone, is casually indifferent towards him. He is not being deliberately
rude, but it is always Tom who seeks him out rather than the other way around. The seeds are sown
early on that this is a very average man who has been overlooked his whole life, an excellent
portrayal of the character fitting in very well with the denouement.

And nice to see Radio West, usually a background for expository material, being utilised as a
backdrop for action for one of the few times. Marvellously paced by Ben Bolt, a definite highlight of
the entire series.
Another recurring Radio West DJ in this episode as Karl Winning (actor
JOHN VINE) from "AN UNCERTAIN CIRCLE" reappears very briefly here --
nursing a hangover, he takes some refreshment from Sonia's watering can!