Series 2, Episode 6:
It only needs a few sinister words from a computer to ruin the Reynolds.
Original BBC1 tx:
2105 - 2155hrs,
watched by 12 million

Filming dates:
20 April to 7 May 1980
(drn. 52'00")
Tim Reynolds, heavily in debt, climbs to the top of a building in the heart of Bristol and
jumps to his death. His wife, Mary, tells Eddie how she and her husband were in the
process of developing a new computer to be fitted to cars - this would monitor, amongst
other things, fuel consumption.

Mary Reynolds is being pursued by two debt-collectors - Mrs Walsh and the thuggish
Parker - who pay her several threatening visits related to the debt her husband incurred
when he was a student. Initially a small amount, and only considered a debt due to a legal
complexity, Tim eventually found himself out of his depth.

Eddie visits the company which holds the computer records relating to debt records. Dave,
who worked with Eddie at his old computer firm, is now employed there. He is involved with
the debt collecting agency, and Erica's consultation of police records show that he was
imprisoned for four years and has only now secured a job via the use of a set of false
references. Putting pressure on Dave, Eddie forces him to clear Mary Reynolds' debt

Dave runs from Eddie, to be snatched by Mrs Walsh and Packer, who take him to a dock
where they interrogate him. Eddie arrives, and, after a brief fight, dispatches his assailants
and rescues the computer operator.

Soon afterwards, Eddie finds that he is refused the option to buy a new hi-fi in installments,
as his debt record is not clear. Erica bursts into laughter….
This episode marks the last of no less than
8 appearances by actor COLIN MAITLAND
as RW studio engineer 'Stu', seen here in
...and a final appearance (of 4) also for
the D.J. Vincent 'Din' Dinsdale, played
by real-life musician JULIAN LITTMAN
(picture from "FIND THE LADY")
Mary Reynolds' husband takes his
own life after they are plagued by
debt collectors
Sinister debt collectors
Mrs Walsh & Parker
In the tense climax Eddie find himself
at the wrong end of a broken bottle
Eddie discovers a connection between local businessmen Rodgers and Parry
lies at the heart of the computer conspiracy in "UTMOST GOOD FAITH"
A bleak, hard-hitting Marek Kanievska opening here -- played without dialogue -- as Tim
Reynolds, threatened by debt collectors, takes his own life by throwing himself from a
construction rig. This is the gripping prelude to a marvellous episode, one of my favourites.

Potentially this tale of a conspiracy to place businesses on a 'bad debtors' list, and wait for
them to fail before moving in with an absurd offer, perhaps doesn't sound that exciting but it's
in the characterisation of Eddie that makes this a classic (which is not to do Andrew
Payne's ingenious story a disservice).

We are treated to a very good presentation of what makes Eddie 'tick' here. From the
moment he suspects that it is in fact simple computer fraud to blame for the Reynolds'
misfortune, his sense of injustice is evident - his life was almost destroyed by computers,
and here we get an understanding of what it is he hates so much about them.

The menacing, matter-of-fact debt collectors, Mrs Walsh and Mr Parker, who make Mary
Reynolds' life such a misery in this episode, are a bit reminiscent of Mr Wint & Mr Kidd from
Diamonds Are Forever I think. I don't know if Andrew Payne is a film buff or not, but 5
years after this he wrote the homage-filled Minder on the Orient-Express!
In one scene in "UTMOST GOOD FAITH", the familiar registration plate of Eddie's cortina
has changed! Usually VUC 959M, it briefly becomes PLC 628R during a sequence
wherein Eddie's path is blocked by a milk float. Television productions usually have
more than one car on hand for reasons of stuntwork, accidents, second units etc.
When Eddie tries to purchase a
new hi-fi system he discovers
his own credit is no good!
Marek Kanievska again directs an episode of
"Shoestring" which presents a series of striking images.
The two most prominent of these are Tim Reynolds'
surreal, slow motion leap from the side of the building,
falling headfirst towards the camera, and Eddie being
threatened with a broken bottle (the camera is
positioned inside this makeshift weapon, and Eve looks
directly into the lens, which is ringed with broken glass).

The episode's other chief visual touch is Packer and
Walsh's dark, stylish form of transport - a black Citroen
DS. "Utmost Good Faith" manages to evoke a strange
feeling of claustrophobia, through the presence of the
pressures of debt-collectors and the inhuman world of
computer records. Although it has many standout
moments, I feel that these don't cohere to make a
satisfying whole.
written by ANDREW PAYNE