‘Intelligent Listening For Beginners’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is where I believe ‘Star Cops’ found its feet. In the third episode, the majority of the regular cast is set up and there is a tense plot of our heroes solving a mystery of some intelligent listening machines.

Once again, ‘Intelligent Listening for Beginners’ is by series deviser Chris Boucher and is directed by Christopher Baker. The two would contribute more writing and directing duties in the rest of the series.

For this episode, Nathan Spring continues to settle into his role as commander of the Star Cops. He still finds space stuff difficult to adjust, especially as he travels with David Theroux in a moon buggy.

And yes, the Star Cops base is firmly established on the moon with an artificial gravity. I’m thankful our heroes don’t have to do vacuum-less space-walking and have this base of operations to identify with.

But as Nathan gets into his job as Star Cops commander, he fires two Star Cops on the basis of them being corrupt. The two Star Cops are Pal Kenzy and Kirk Hubble. Pal Kenzy was in the series already.

Linda Newton makes a proper appearance as Pal Kenzy after making a cameo in the first episode ‘An Instinct For Murder’. Pal is an Australian as well as Linda Newton. Her character is quite a live wire.

Pal tries to impress Nathan and David with a new weapon she brings into the Star Cops Moonbase. But they’re not interested as Nathan tells her she’s fired. It of course has her very infuriated indeed.

I did wonder how Pal Kenzy would be enlisted back into the ‘Star Cops’ team and how Nathan would accept her as one of the team again. That is partly down to Trevor Cooper as Colin Devis in the story.

It was interesting to see the interaction between Pal Kenzy and Colin Devis in the episode. Colin Devis has joined the Star Cops team, following his first appearance in ‘Conversations With The Dead’.

At first, the two seem to be rivals as there’s friction between them. But on the way back into space from Earth on a shuttle-plane, Colin and Pal meet up and both seem to connect well with each other.

I’m not sure if there’s a bit of flirting going on between Colin and Pal in the episode, but they grow to like each other. This is especially when the two get to stop three hijackers aboard the shuttle-plane.

In fact, Pal has Colin helping her to get reinstated back into the Star Cops team when they get interviewed by the press. Nathan and David witness this on the news. David laughs. Nathan cringes.

As for the other Star Cop who got fired…Kirk Hubble…well, who is the actor that played him? I can’t find his name in the cast list during the episode’s end credits. I can’t find it on the IMDb page either.

Nathan also continues to get over the loss of his late girlfriend Lee Jones, who was murdered in the previous episode. He has his box…err, Box…to comfort him when he talks to it seeking information.

Anyway, during the episode, there’s a terrorist organisation called the Black Hand Gang that makes attacks on a certain chemical plant and a Channel Tunnel (like a tube train). How was this achieved?

Well, via the use of a computer worm of course. This worm implements quotes from a certain poem by Blake. I think it was William Blake they’re talking about, but I’m not an expert on the poet really.

The episode also features David John Pope as Michael Chandri, who is a communications expert engaged in secret research on an outpost on the Moon. Nathan visits Mr. Chandri twice in the story.

I’ve just discovered David John Pope also played the Kandy Man in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Happiness Patrol’ with Sylvester McCoy. Wow! I would not have guessed that it was him in the flesh.

Oh and of course Michael Chandri happens to be the villain of this episode. This is when he warns Nathan and the Star Cops of further attacks by the Black Hand Gang. Nathan susses it out of course.

There’s also Tara Ward who plays a small role in the episode as the shuttle hostess aboard the shuttle-plane. Tara Ward was in that ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Warriors of the Deep’ with Peter Davison.

‘Intelligent Listening For Beginners’ is a good ‘Star Cops’ episode establishing the majority of the main cast featuring Nathan, David, Colin and Pal. I do wonder where the series will go next after this.

The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 1 of the 3-disc DVD set of ‘Star Cops’, there’s an introduction by Trevor Cooper, ‘Continuity and Miscellanea – Part One’ on the first three episodes of the series and there’s ‘It Won’t Be Easy – The Making of Star Cops’.

‘Intelligent Listening For Beginners’ rating – 7/10

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