First Uploaded 11 February 2001 updated
Odell, the Irish detective created by Lester
Powell and played by Canadian Robert Beatty
debuted on BBC radio in the original radio
Lady in a Fog during October 1947.
He was assisted by Brenda Bruce as Heather
McMara, and the producer was Martyn C. Webster.
The serial was adapted into a film in 1952 with Cesar
Romero as Odell.
Robert Beatty & Kathleen Ryan
in a scene from the 1947 film Odd Man Out.
|| The character returned
to radio in June 1948 in The Odd Story of Simon Ode;
this time with Joy Shelton as Heather.
The 3rd serial Spot
the Lady debuted in April 1949. It was followed by the
4th, Love from Leighton Buzzard in
April 1950, Heather in both this and the 5th
story Lady on the Screen (which began in February
1952) was Joyce Heron.
A remake of Lady
in a Fog commenced in April 1958, and a new story Test
Room Eight in December 1958, Heather
was played by Sheila Manahan and the producer
was David H. Godfrey. The Next Story was Tea
on the Island with Diana Olsson as
which started in June 1961.
The series was
made available to overseas broadcasters by the BBC
2 small articles from the New
Zealand Listener about contemporary broadcasts.
Any listener whose heart
has missed a beat or two while listening to the adventures of Philip
Odell is unlikely to be deterred by that from tuning in to the new
thriller from the BBC,
Lady on the Screen, which starts from 4YA this Friday (November
23) at 7:30 p.m. It tells how Odell, on the
trail of a silver acorn, is involved in more beatings-up than he'd bargained
for, while Heather, his assistant, discovers
(to her annoyance) that he also becomes involved with the exotic and temperamental
film star, Marchesa. Robert
Beatty plays Odell, (for Lester
Powell, who writes the Odell stories,
finds it hard to think of the two apart), Joyce Heron
is Heather and Patricia
Laffan is Marchesa.
26, 1959 Issue.
the common, or master-mind type of private detective, Philip
Odell of the BBC's mystery serial Lady
in a Fog is often quite frankly out of his depth. Odell
is a humanitarian, interested and concerned in people. He has an instinctive
understanding of their foibles and motives, and neither condemns nor approves.
The opposition is tough, the men and women involved are hard, unprincipled,
sophisticated and intelligent. It is small wonder, then, that Lester
Powell admits, "Odell makes mistakes
in a human way and puzzles out the solution of a problem much as you or
This may account
for this perennial attraction for audiences: there are no hidden clues,
no over-ripe red herrings, nothing kept for the denouement. Our picture
shows the detective played by Robert Beatty,
together with Heather McMara - a red-head
with large eyes "in which a man might lose his bank balance" - trying to
give the slip to an unwanted follower in Piccadilly. Nothing unusual about
this, you might think, until you learn that Odell's
shadow is a man. The red-headed Heather, by
the way, is played by Sheila Manahan.
Lady in a Fog:
First of eight episodes, ZBs and 1YC, 8:00 p.m., Sunday, July 5, Later
commercial stations. Top . Top
produced by Hammer/Lippert
`Lady in the Fog'
Scotland Yard Inspector (US) (1952)
Lois Maxwell (Peggy), Bernadette O'Farrell (Heather),
Geoffrey Keen (Hampden), Campbell Singer (Inspector
Rigby), Lloyd Lamble (Sorroway), Mary
McKenzie (Marilyn), Alistair Hunter (Sgt. Reilly),
Frank Birch (Boswell),
Lila Lee (Donna Devore).
When her brother
is killed in what appears to be a freak car accident, Heather believes
he's actually been murdered. This proves to be correct when the murderer
is uncovered by reporter, Odell.
Producer - Anthony
Directed by Sam
Writer - Orville
H. Hampton (based on the radio serial
by Lester Powell)
Beatty (1909 - 1992)
Some of the projects
he was involved in were:
999 - an ITV series produced by Towers
of London. In 39 x 30 minute episodes he starred as Det.
Insp. Mike Maguire, a Canadian Mountie assigned to Scotland Yard,
broadcast in 1958-9.
In addition to being "Philip
Odell", The Canadian born actor was very active in both film and
television through most of his career. He was a well know face and voice
particularly in the UK.
Who - The Tenth Planet (October 1966),
This was William Hartnell's
final story in the role, Beatty's
role was that of General Cutler,
the base commander trying to deal with the threat of "The Cybermen", who
were making their debut in this story.
7 - The Way Back (January
1978), He played Bran Foster,
a resistance leader who tries to persuade Blake
that he has been brainwashed, and that he was also a friend and fellow
resistance member. While not a big part, It tends to be one that is remembered
in this important series opening episode.
Also - The Gathering Storm
(1974), The New Avengers - Target (1976),
of Nazareth (1977), The Martian Chronicles (1979), and Minder
on the Orient Express (1985).
Man - a thriller serial by Edward
J. Mason produced by Neil Tuson on
Luxembourg in 1955.
- Fire! - starred as Quentin
Barnaby - insurance investigator, series by Philip
Levene. (Early 1960s).
Big Sleep as General
Sternwood in this Afternoon Theatre adaptation of Raymond
Chandler's novel (1977).
Any Price - starred as Otto
Schultz in this 10 part espionage thriller serial by Ted
Mystery of the Blue Train - adapted from
Christie's book, as Rufus Van Aldin
In August - as Henry
Hickslaughter in Sony Award winning adaptation of Graham
Greene short story by Elizabeth Troop
Odd Man Out (1947), Captain
Horatio Hornblower (1951), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Where
Eagles Dare (1969), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Golden
Rendezvous (1977), Superman III (1983), Superman IV - The
Quest for Peace (1987).
As well as creating and writing Philip
Powell's name turned up with
an occasional television and film contribution. A film - The
Black Widow (1951),
based on a radio serial of his, Return From Darkness
details known by me). He also contributed to
of the Yard (1953), and two early episodes to The
Avengers. The Deadly Air (Broadcast
December 1961), and
Mission to Montreal
October 1962). These were episodes from before the Steed/Mrs.
24 2001 - Additional TV credits
The Inch Man
(BBC 1951-2), an adventure drama series about a "house detective" working
in a busy London hotel. The series switched between behind the scenes activity
at the hotel - and sleuthing of the detective - Stephen
The Man Who was
Two (ABC - ITV Network 1957),
6 part serial about a man who walks into the Western Zone checkpoint from
East Berlin with no memory of who he is or how he got there. On return
to the UK he must determine which of two possibilities as to his true identity
may be true. An antiques dealer or a thief and murderer?
The Big M
(BBC2 1967), a mans seeks to save himself from his involvement in a
An article from the New
Zealand Listener about the broadcast of a "Powell" serial in
the wife of a great Shakespearean actor died in her bath and an insurance
company found she had been insured for £10,000 only six months before
her death, their chief claims investigator thought he smelt a rat. This
is the starting point for The Hidden Motive
, a new BBC serial
by Lester Powell
which is to start from 1XN at 9:30pm on Thursday, November 27. Lester
Powell's name should be sufficient to attract
a big listening audience. For the radio detective Philip
Odell, who will be remembered from such serials as Love
from Leighton Buzzard and The Lady on the
Screen, is among his creations. In eight half hour episodes this
new mystery serial tells of the efforts of `Doc'
Job, the eccentric investigator, to discover what kind of motive
could have prompted Sir Henry Sloan, an extremely
successful and prosperous actor, to dispose of his wife and claim the insurance
money. `Doc' Job directs operations in a Canadian
accent from his book strewn sick-bed, chewing raw Spanish onions - which
he loathes - to counter an attack of influenza. His young assistant, Robert
Damer, carries out the Doc's assignments,
though not to his complete satisfaction. In the first episode A
Claim for Ten Thousand, Damer sets out
to interview a number of "possibles", and collects much convincing evidence.
But there are also in the haul some interesting facts which convince his
onion chewing chief that the trail will lead to proof of fraud, connivance
and murder - and most important of all, of course, that his firm will not
have to pay out the insurance money.
For A Motive.
Hidden Motive is the sixteenth radio serial
Powell has written since 1946. Before settling
down to right for radio in a big way he was a draughtsman, poultry farmer,
film scenario writer and journalist. In this new serial `Doc'
Job is played by Tommy Duggan,
an Irish-born actor who has made a specialty of Transatlantic, Irish and
Jewish roles. Sir Henry Sloan is played
Carl Bernard, who
was the second actor to play the part of Paul
Temple. Listeners may also remember him as
the BBC production of Wuthering
Bailey plays the part of Robert Damer.
The production is by William Hughes.
Hidden Motive will be heard later from other
Powell also wrote Novels
these all seem to have been out of
print for a very long time.
A Count Of Six
1948) [Powell's first novel]
Shadow Play (Collins
Spot the Lady
Still Of Night
The Black Casket
Jeffrey Richards, presenter of BBC Radio 4's
series The Radio Detectives, stated in an
article in The Sherlock Holmes Magazine, Issue
33, 1999 - that the BBC had preserved no episodes
of this series, in relation to why the series couldn't be featured in The
Radio Detectives. Since 1999 it appears some episodes do survive
in private hands.
1/ Joy Shelton (1922
- 2000) featured as Heather in The
Odd Story of Simon Ode, she has a connection
with two of the great classic radio detective series.
49. As Joan Carr,
she featured as Archibald Berkeley - Willoughby's
girlfriend from 1947 to 1953. She and Brian
Reece (PC 49)
also starred in a film A Case for PC 49
in 1951. Adding to this, she played Steve
Trent (later Temple)
in the first movie based on Francis Durbridge's
character, Send for Paul Temple
connection. Not to Paul Temple, but two films based on Television serials.
The Broken Horseshoe
(1953) [based on a 6 x 30 minute BBC
serial from 1952 produced by Martyn C. Webster].
Dr. Mark Fenton
[a character played on television by John
Robinson star of the BBC's
later Quatermass II].
C. Webster is credited as director of the
film, and also noteworthy in the cast is
Coke, this being the year before he became
connection 2. He starred as Tim Forrester
in Portrait of Alison
(1955). [based on the 6 x 30 minute BBC
serial from February 1955 - Patrick Barr
played the part in the original].
Back to Top
Golden Age of Radio - An Illustrated Companion"
by Denis Gifford
published by the Batsford Ltd. 1985.
Complete Avengers" by Dave
Rogers published by Boxtree, 1989.
ITV Encyclopedia of Adventure" by Dave
Rogers published by TV Times, 1988.
Television - An Illustrated Guide" compiled
for the BFI by Tise Vahimagi
published by the Oxford University Press
on British Television - 1950 - 1994" by Ellen
Baskin published by Scolar Press 1995.
Internet Movie Database