It is now the early hours of Christmas morning, and John and Meg get up to unwrap their
presents, while Eddie frantically races to the cottage. As the children fit a plug, and move to
switch the game on, there is a power cut - the electric meter needs to be fed with coins.
Eddie bursts in and rips the plug from the wall. He sits down and smiles at the confused family.
Returning to Bristol, having missed Erica's party, Eddie sits down on her sofa with a bottle of
champagne and falls asleep….
Pete Johnson, a market trader who deals in stolen and cut-price goods, fits a plug to his son
Mike's joint Christmas/birthday present and allows the boy to open it early. Switching on the
present, "Lunar Race 2000", at the mains, the boy puts the moon buggy to the racetrack. As
he does so, a fault causes the miniature car to burst into flame. Mike is badly burnt and
receives an eye injury.
Delivering Christmas presents to the hospital, for the children, Eddie is asked to talk to Mike
by a Doctor. Pete Johnson has told the staff that the boy was hurt whilst turning on the TV,
but whilst under sedation, the boy has spoken of his present.
Eddie sits by Mike's bedside and the boy eventually confesses that he wasn't supposed to
tell the truth to anyone. Visiting Pete at his house, Eddie is told to make himself scarce.
Pete's wife arrives, and asks to be taken to the hospital.
Confronting Pete at the marketplace, Eddie manages to get a description of the toy, and the
logo on the box. A Welshman called Taff sold Pete Johnson a batch of the toys. Visiting a
toystore, he learns that the manufacturer is the Wings toy company. Mr Wing denies the
existence of a "Lunar Race 2000" product.
Putting out radio messages on Radio West warning listeners about the game, Don Satchley
is swiftly visited by the Wings company's lawyer. Pete Johnson, having weighed Mike's
"Lunar Race" down with bricks and tied it in a bag, has thrown the dangerous game into the
river. He finds another and gives it to Eddie. The Wings logo is marked on the side on the
box and after a demonstration of the potentially lethal nature of the toy, in front of Don and
Sonia, Eddie returns to confront Mr Wing. Don immediately begins re-broadcasting the
warnings, which had stopped due to legal pressure.
Mr Wing takes Eddie to a warehouse crammed with the toys, telling him that the product
was never put on the market, being withdrawn when it was found to be a safety risk. The
warehouse was stocked with casual labour, and Eddie finds an empty box, which contained
the ten games that went missing.
All but one of the games are found, handed in by parents and the owner of a small corner
shop. Searching hostels for the homeless, Eddie is unable to find Taff. A Salvation Army
musician tells him that the Welshman works in Steve and Ruth's café. Arriving as the café is
closing for the Christmas break, Eddie discovers that Taff has gone.
Don and Sonia console Eddie at the Lightship Bar's Christmas party, telling him that he has
done his very best. Eddie is uncertain, and rushes to the hospital when a telephone call
arrives, telling him that Taff has been admitted after falling down a flight of steps. Waiting for
Taff to regain consciousness, Eddie falls asleep. Eventually, the Welshman wakens and tells
Eddie that he sold the last game to the café owners, Steve and Ruth.
Arriving at the café, Eddie cannot waken the owners. Breaking their kitchen window he
discovers a note, written by their children, John and Meg, telling Father Christmas where
they have gone on holiday.
Series 2, Episode 10:
When Santa gets his toys off the back of a lorry Eddie's
Christmas becomes less than merry…
SYNOPSIS BY NICK:
"THE DANGEROUS GAME"
written by CHRIS BOUCHER
directed by BEN BOLT
Eddie's last adventure is a classic, penned by the talented Chris Boucher. From the opening
moments featuring the dangerous toy and Erica's wry comment that Eddie Shoestring has
the same initials as Ebeneezer Scrooge, "The Dangerous Game" sends Eddie on the quest
for a defective game that touches on all aspects of the modern Christmas season - the
profiteering of toy companies, market traders looking to sell their wares in the festive
season, the series of parties and celebrations held on Christmas Eve, and the plight of the
homeless. Without becoming duly sentimental or patronising to any of the characters of
differing backgrounds, the episode proves to be a real treat.
A veritable menagerie of guest stars have been assembled - including Celia Imrie, Michael
Elphick, Maurice Colbourne and Burt Kwouk. Steve and Ruth are a likeable, believable
couple, and the tense climax, as Eddie rushes to the cottage before the game is plugged in,
proves to be a compulsive end to the series. Our last view of Eddie is one of Bristol's private
ear falling asleep, with a bottle of champagne on his knee, tipping over and pouring its
contents on the floor. Merry Christmas, Eddie.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS BY DENE
Original BBC1 tx:
21 DECEMBER 1980
2120 - 2215hrs,
watched by 14.8 million
20 October to 4 November 1980
Don & Sonia find Eddie, having
located all but one of the games, has
spent the night at Radio West
This may be my favourite episode. Certainly it is a cracking festive instalment which,
unusually for SHOESTRING, doesn't feature any real baddies and yet is as compelling as
ever (if not more). Pete Johnson, Mr Wing and even Taff may appear at first glance to be
villains but in the end they all provide help.
A marvellous idea by Chris Boucher, Eddie searching for the last few remaining of a
potentially lethal electrical child's toy, Lunar Race 2000, before Christmas morning, is
brought to life by director Ben Bolt with terrific results. And an impressive guest cast, many
of whom went to become very familiar faces on television, only adds to the richness of this
I would have no hesitation in recommending this story, more than any other, to anyone
unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with Shoestring. Eddie's total dedication to helping
people is given one final, and marvellous, showcase. Never mind The Wizard of Oz - why
isn't this on telly every Christmas?!
SHOESTRING's principal location, the Radio West HQ (in reality a Post Office
'phone exchange building), seen here far right of the 'Lightship Bar' in "THE
Having unfortunately never visited Bristol, DAVID HARRISON of the Bristol
Times kindly filled us in November 2001 on what developments have
occurred here since the series ended:
"The Post Office have moved out of the building which is
now student flats. The Lightship, which was a
nightclub/bar, sank through old age and had to be towed
away and junked!"
Eddie finds the last game just in time
Pete Johnson's son Mike is the
unfortunate victim of Lunar Race 2000
Initially Mr Wing refuses to admit his
company has anything to do with the toy
With Taff finally awake, Eddie
can find out who bought the
last remaining game
Pete Johnson reluctant to help
Eddie is helping Erica deliver
presents to the local hospital
when Mike Johnson's doctor
asks for his assistance
Steve and Ruth take their
family away for Christmas
An experiment proves the worst
Eddie has no time for the festivities in
"THE DANGEROUS GAME"
CAST & CREW