A battered wife seeks Radio West's help, and Eddie discovers the strange truth
about two husbands…
A homeless drunk is found drowned in a river, and his wife, Betty Craig, now staying in a women's hostel
run by Molly Tasker, asks Eddie to find out how her husband came to be wearing an expensive jacket
and a gold medallion with his initials on it.

Eddie's first stop is the pawnbroker's where Molly has already left the jacket. The pawnbroker tells Eddie
that an actor has bought it for use in an audition for a commercial. Visiting the audition waiting room,
Eddie checks each actor's jacket in turn, before finding the correct one and noting the tailor's name from
the inside label. As he leaves, the director of the advert selects Eddie for the role, stating that he looks
like a 'young Robert Donat….'

The tailor in turn tells Eddie that the jacket was made for Jimmy Colefax. Colefax is currently attempting
to sail the world in a yacht he made himself, and is participating in regular radio link ups, broadcast with
his wife Val, over Radio West.
Eddie visits Betty Craig
at the hostel
Molly Tasker on the air
at Radio West
Visiting Val at her home, Eddie learns that Betty's husband worked for her around the house, before being
dismissed. Learning that the jacket belonged to Jimmy, Molly Tasker and Betty Craig visit her in the small
shop she runs and harass her.

Jimmy Colefax's PR agent Sam Houseman complains to Don Satchley about this. Don in turn reprimands
Eddie, who visits Dr Morris, a hypnotist of dubious credentials who is being used to calm Val's nerves.

After following Val, Houseman and Morris to a disused watermill, Eddie is subsequently contacted by the
elderly radio ham C.J. Daniels. C.J. tells Eddie that she's calculated that the radio transmissions from
Jimmy are of local origin.
Eddie at the audition....
(with actor IAN FAIRBAIRN,
see "PRIVATE EAR" page---)
....a young Robert Donat?
Analysing the tapes of Jimmy's broadcasts, Eddie can hear a train and a saw, when the sections
between sentences are looped. This leads him back to the empty mill, where he finds basic cooking
equipment, and to a garage where the "Little Apple", Colefax's boat, is stored.

When Eddie takes Don to the garage, the boat has disappeared. Confronting Val, Eddie learns that Betty
Craig's husband did not work for her, but stole Jimmy's clothes from the sawmill. Eddie, via the help of a
Radio West colleague who does a local triangulation during a link up, finds Jimmy in his boat, which is
docked by the river.

Jimmy had set out on his voyage but turned back, due to nerves and stress. The rest had been faked, but
Houseman and Val now insist that Jimmy is about to begin his journey, genuinely. When he sets out to
sea, his boat is found to be empty, and Val and Eddie can only assume he has fallen, or jumped,
overboard. Eddie surmises that even in that act, Jimmy had a 'sort of courage.'
Round-the-world yachtsman Jimmy
Colefax, located on dry land
C.J. Daniels, Radio Ham
The strongest example within "Shoestring" of an
initial enigma leading to a completely unexpected
conclusion, "The Link Up" presents another
original use of the Radio West locale and the
Bristol area. The episode contains three wonderful
minor characters, the pawnbroker, the tailor and
CJ Daniels (played with zest by Sylvia Coleridge).
Eddie's unexpected success at the audition is
equally humorous. An episode which keeps the
viewer guessing and, like its title suggests, links
up a series of disparate clues into a well
constructed whole.
Val and Jimmy Colefax
This proved to be something of a controversial episode on account the rather unsympathetic, militant
characterisation of Molly Tasker, in charge of a battered wives' hostel and not above a spot of blackmail to
secure funds!

That aside, another successful instalment. Eddie's investigations into the accidental drowning of local crook
Jack Craig (who was wearing an incongruously expensive blazer & medal at the time), lead him to the
discovery that round-the-world yachtsman Jimmy Colefax, with whom his wife conducts weekly on-air "link-
ups" at Radio West, is in fact holed up on dry land.

We learn a key fact about Eddie here, courtesy of a talk he has with Val Colefax. He says that he has
always been obsessed with details, and fitting them together, and that he had always considered this a
character defect until his doctors told him otherwise. Another reason for his decision to become a private

The success of this episode is in the character of Colefax himself. Having suffered a breakdown, he merely
wants time to recover before going out again. Eddie can only sympathise to a certain extent, and since no
harm has been done, lets things go. The last minute development that closes "THE LINK-UP" is another
excellent example of Shoestring's less-than-pat endings.
Original BBC1 tx:
11 NOVEMBER 1979
2120 - 2215hrs,
watched by 22.2 million

Filming dates:
10 - 24 August 1979
Series 1, Episode 8:
written by PETER KING