Episode: ‘Crime Watch’
I didn’t know anything at all about this series until very recently. John Thaw plays Henry Willows, a middle aged divorcee who lives alone with the assistance of a ‘Home Help’. Then one day, much to his amazement, his 18 year old son Matthew turns up after falling out with his mum. Henry is by now very set in his ways and Matthew is not made welcome. Despite this, he moves in and the constant bickering between them ensues. His ex-wife and real life partner, Sheila Hancock makes an appearance in one episode.
This particular episode is set in the middle of a crime wave and theirs is one of the few that hasn’t been burgled. In a state of heightened alert, Henry introduces an alarm system which Matthew doesn’t take very seriously and presses the personal attack button which alerts the local constabulary just as Henry is setting off for his Neighbourhood Watch patrol. They call themselves ‘The Minutemen’ because in theory they will make themselves available at a minutes notice and consist of Henry and his friend Gordon.
Later that night, before retiring to bed, Henry checks that the alarm system is set and finds a window open in the lounge. He comes across a stranger asleep on the sofa and it turns out that Matthew had met him in the pub and invited him back. Henry thinks that he is the local burglar and questions Matthew in the kitchen. He makes out that he is a friend of his from School and Henry obviously suspicious, asks for his name.
“Er, I forget, erm, everyone calls him ‘Millwall’…”
“Millwall, he’s a football hooligan isn’t he, yes I should of known by the little piggy eyes and the narrow forehead, Millwall ! What’s he going to do when he finds out I’m a Queen’s Park Rangers supporter?”
There were 4 series and 29 episodes produced by Yorkshire TV and transmitted from 1985 to 1990. Matthew is played by Reece Dinsdale who appeared in ‘i.d.’ as one of the Old Bill who infiltrates a London Football Firm. The writer was Eric Chappell who is well known for the very popular series, ‘Rising Damp’. John Thaw sadly died in 2002.