“I LIKE IT!” The playground talking point of the year, one of the most preposterous things ever bundled out in the name of “action adventure” television, and absolutely fucking ace.
In full: ANNABEL CROFT introduces two joe ordinaries dressed in romper suits with strange backpacks, one of which contains prizes beyond avarice, but both of which can be locked for good with one zap from the titular blackguard, aka SEAN O’KANE: a leather-clad ‘copter criminal with a penchant for making bird noises, somersaulting over farmyard gates and gurning. Contestants get split up then have to find their way back to each other using “natural landmarks” which then helps Annabel locate them on her map from within her “base in the beautiful county town of Ludlow!”, from where she then navigates them towards rendezvous. All the while the Interceptor hovers above chasing the goons hither and thither, joshing with pilot “Mikey”, before jumping out and donning a disguise to lure them towards his giant hoofer doofer of doom.
The dementedness was summed up by the chicanery that was played out between Annabel and the players at the start of each episode, and which lasted at least a dozen minutes. First came the business of getting the programme title wrong (“Welcome to another edition of Interceptor”), or drastically underselling the whole endeavour (“Welcome to what we HOPE will be another exciting edition of Interceptor!”) followed by a 12-second history lesson (“I’m here in the grounds of the gorgeous Woburn Abbey, with occasional examples of beautiful masonry dating back to the mid-15th century!”), then a painfully convoluted explanation of what the game involved.
Highlight of this section was where Annabel purported to “mix up” the two packs the contestants carried on their backs, ostensibly so they didn’t know which contained money and which was empty, but which always followed the same pattern ending in a pointless bit where she simply stood the packs on the ground and turned them back to front then back again, like that made a crucial difference. Not forgetting the bit where the team were supposed to ask, in a state of dumb wonderment, why they had to always keep their backs to the Interceptor, to which Annabel muttered something about him being able to lock their cases, which triggered the contestants’ response “And why does he do that?” word for word every bloody week. The whole palaver was then topped off by Annabel making great play of waving the contestants off in their helicopter when they were already blindfolded and couldn’t see a fucking thing.
Contestants themselves were always a) posh b) stupid and c) prone to infantile levels of hysteria at the merest whim. One pair almost blew it completely after one of them promised to meet the other “at the bridge” but neglected to say he’d actually be waiting under it. Then there was the hopeless naive toff (“There’s a lovely pheasant – shame I haven’t got time to pluck it”) who forgot how to climb a ladder. Best of all, one decided to talk back to the Interceptor, to wit: “Come on then! Come on then!” Suffice to say the entire series was an absolute embarrassment of riches – and tanked big time, never to return.