20th April 1969 (IMDb) or 21st October 1969 (epguides.com)
6th June 1972
We open with some poor quality film of people playing golf. A commentator guides us through the action while, behind the scenes, there is something of a flap about a missing player. His colleagues have been out looking for him but no one has seen him that morning. We cut to a golf ball on a beach before panning across to a golf club and a dead body.
In all, three people are killed and all for the sake of a set of golf clubs…
Where’s Jason, someone asks. Why he’s taking part in the Le Mans 24 hour race of course. More noticeably inferior film shows us this glamorous race about to begin. The flag is waved, the drivers rush to their cars and speed off for a whole day of petrol fuelled fun. Except one – his car won’t start and this delay gives the organisers chance to pass him a message from the Department.
Dawn Addams plays Dianne Lynne (pronounced in a really pretentious way). She is a wealthy benefactor who claims to "encourage young athletes". She funds their training and puts them up at her home. In return, they appear to wait on her hand and foot (if the tennis guy is anything to go by). Dawn Addams’ first husband was the Prince of Roccasecca and her second was Jimmy White. Sadly, unless he was 12 when he married her, not the snooker player.
Norman Eshley – next door neighbour of George and Mildred – plays one of the heavies in this episode (sans moustache and sensible glasses) and his partner in crime is Dudley Sutton. Geoffrey Fourmile and Tinker Dill – as formidable a pair of thugs as you’ll ever meet.
Neil McCallum plays Eddie Curtis – the golfing partner of the deceased and key to unravelling the murder. Like many others, McCallum did the rounds of ITC action dramas and you’ll have seen him in Jason King, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and The Protectors. He also supplied voices for Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet.
Stewart has a key to her apartment which suggests past or present fraternisation. We briefly see her with the Anita Harris but for much of the adventure she’s sporting the full Tara King. Stewart comments that she’s working on the case during her annual leave which supports the view that she’s a workaholic. A casino chip gives her the chance to visit all the casinos in town as she tries to trace it. Her familiarity with the gaming tables supports the counter view that she’s not a workaholic. While working the casinos she dons her Big Night Out hair.
Stewart, when he uses his key to Annabelle’s flat, catches her in the bath. She has the traditional television-bubble-bath which covers everything in a luxuriant lather and singularly fails to melt away no matter how hard you stare at the screen and try to project soapy thoughts. She gets out of the bath and Stewart perves over her through the frosted glass of her bathroom door. Elsewhere, the casino girls are wearing rather "cheeky" dresses.
Not content with driving in the Le Mans race, Jason also takes a parachute jump this week. He is slumming it by wearing the regulation jump suit but makes up for it by adding a cravat.
Back on dry land, he toasts Oscar Wilde before taking a drink. He’s offered a gun and refuses saying "it would ruin my pockets". Not the snappiest line but at least its consistent. Stewart leaves him a note in the casino lavatory and, while searching under the sinks for it, an old gimmer steals Jason’s winnings. Later, in the same lavatory, he hides out in a mop cupboard. He emerges after dark, holding a mop and looking for all the world as if he has no idea what a mop is. He goes from there to a locked door and tries (but fails) to pick it with a set of skeleton keys. He then tries (and fails) with a piece of plastic. Luckily, he gets through eventually and literally flies to the rescue.
Jason’s parachute jump is all for his art – Mark Caine has to jump from a plane and the professional Mister King wants to know how it feels to freefall. The case, once explained to Jason, reminds him of "From China Yours Sincerely" in which the villain has a special gun which fires golf balls. Dianne has a copy of the book which obviously makes us suspicious that she might’ve built a ball gun.
Jason’s latest work in progress is currently titled "Don’t Look Now, Your Clutch is Slipping" which seems a little improbable even for Jason King.
Stewart is in his element – he is a huge golf fan and, if it wasn’t for his putting, he could’ve gone professional (like most men). His outfits include a brown suede jacket, brown polo neck and brown trousers; a grey suit (non-check) and a brown suit which even comes with a matching brown hankie.
He goes to Dianne’s home and chats to an up and coming tennis professional. The pro tells Stewart he needs a bit of work on his backhand before he’ll become a champion. Yes, that may be true, but it would also help if you didn’t smoke a pipe.
Not that he’s the only person with no common sense – Stewart finds the man he’s been looking for in a café. He leaves him to get another cup of coffee and is astonished that the man has gone when he gets back. Stewart’s resistance to the knockout gas in "One of Our Planes is Empty" means we aren’t surprised when he’s also resistant to the truth drug that is administered by the bad guys. Though he does experience all the traditional ITC drugged up special effects.
It isn’t the strongest opening in the show’s history. A man is murdered. That’s it really. Fortunately, the explanation at the end is a good one and so we find ourselves with a back-to-front episode where things actually get more intriguing as we go along. Sutton and Eshley are pretty scary as the episode’s heavies but not as creepy as Dawn Addams as the wealthy lady who surrounds herself with grateful young, athletic men. The only real snag with "Handicap Dead" is that none of the actors playing sportsmen actually looks or acts like a sportsman.