I wasn't sure about this one the first time I watched it, but it's an episode that demands, and
rewards, close attention. What begins as simply as Don out fishing when he spots a handbag
being stolen on shore escalates into a rather involved plot involving blackmail and the protection
of an important witness.

Despite the complexities of the story, it is character, as usual, which is of the utmost
importance. And at the centre of it all is Ken 'Boxer' Beatty, pragmatic drugs squad police
officer who feels so threatened by Cahill that he gives up the location of the witness Joe
Anderson. Arguably not the most pleasant individual in the world, in the end Beatty has to be
forced by Eddie into doing the right thing, doubtless to the detriment of his career and marriage.
Another successful characterisation for Shoestring.

The shopping centre set piece, when Christine Page is being given instructions on where to
deliver the blackmail money via public telephone, etc. by Stanley Reeves, is superbly-staged by
Martin Campbell and almost a mini-homage to Dirty Harry!

And Eddie has a amusing scene early on when convinces a sceptical shop assistant that he
really is Private Ear Eddie Shoestring by turning on the radio and anticipating his recording
during the broadcast of a trail for his show!
Don Satchley is enjoying a fishing break when he spots a figure on the distant riverbank
attempting to steal the handbag from the car of a courting couple. Shouting and starting the
engine of the fishing boat, Don attempts to warn them, but the thief and the couple flee, leaving
a handbag behind.

Giving the handbag to Eddie, Don asks him to trace the owner, and Eddie does so, via the
shop from which it was bought. The alleged owner is Christine Page, who was the woman Don
saw, but she denies that the bag is hers, closing the door on Eddie.

Christine is, in fact, being blackmailed by a sleazy character named Stanley Reeves, who
takes pictures of her and her lover, plain clothes policeman Ken Beatty, when they meet at a
museum. Reeves sends the photographs to Christine who subsequently calls Eddie and tells
him what has happened. Reeves wants an amount of money to be left in a litter bin at a
shopping centre.

Meanwhile Reeves follows Ken Beatty to a "safehouse" where he is guarding a witness and
informer. Reeves then tells Cahill, a criminal anxious to find the witness, and lets him use his
information about Beatty (who is married) and his affair with Christine, to let him get to the

At the shopping centre, Eddie chases Reeves after the money pick up, but loses him,
eventually catching up with him at the strip club in which Reeves works.

Beatty's set up has been put in place, and Eddie confronts him with all that he knows, telling
the detective that he will try and put a message on Radio West telling the informer to leave the
safehouse before Cahill's men arrive. It's up to Beatty to prove that he is, after all, a good cop,
and arrest Cahill when he arrives.

Racing to the safehouse, Eddie finds the informer, who has heard the message, and Beatty
informs his police colleagues after all, who arrive and arrest Cahill's men. At the police station,
Eddie spots Christine Page - she is a uniformed officer, on the beat.
Series 2, Episode 2:
written by LESLIE DARBON
It starts as a simple favour for an unknown lady. To Don it looks like a
story. To Eddie it looks like trouble. In the event they are both right…
Original BBC1 tx:
12 OCTOBER 1980
2105 - 2155hrs,
watched by 12 million

Filming dates:
14 to 30 July 1980
(drn. 52'00")
With a sleazily memorable character in the form of the odious
Stanley Reeves, and three fast paced set pieces - the fishing
sequence, the shopping arcade chase and the climax at the
safehouse - "The Teddy Bear's Nightmare" offers many
attractions, not least the amusing sight of Don Satchley going
to work with a handbag on his arm, much to the bewilderment
of other Radio West employees! The episode was directed by
future Bond director Martin Campbell (GoldenEye) and the
cinematic approach, seen in Marek Kanievska's episodes,
comes to the fore once again.
At one point the Radio West DJ played by ROY NORTH
can be heard mentioning The Goons and he says "Ah,
Peter Sellers...are you listening aloft?".

This is a nice tribute to the incomparable Mr Sellers, who
sadly passed away on 24 July 1980, at the time of the
Blackmailer Stanley Reeves
When her handbag is stolen,
Christine Page becomes the
victim of a blackmail plot
Drugs squad policeman Ken Beatty
proves too keen to protect his career in
Sonia helps Eddie trace the
owner of the handbag
Drug dealer Cahill finds himself
in a bargaining postion thanks
to Stanley Reeves' photographs
Eddie & Erica visit a
vegetarian restaurant