TOP BOARDROOM soapfest with sub-DALLAS “black gold” backstory. GEOFFREY “MINISTER OF DEFENCE” KEEN was Brian Stead, number one at Mogul International, with PHILIP “PALLISERS” LATHAM (Willy Izard) attending the books and RAY “OZ” BARRETT (Peter Thornton) and ROBERT “SIEGFRIED” HARDY (Alec Stewart) bestriding the globe as rival titular meddling bastards. Familiar mix of studio-bound office scotch-and-telex chicanery and glossy film location bust-ups. Memorable pacy titles promised fast cars and jets that never appeared again. Focus shifted over time from boring internal politics to shameless foreign junkets, including much-vaunted West Indies expedition, plus stop-offs in Rhodesia, Vietnam and, famously, Alaska – in reality oft-mocked DR WHO Chief Gravel Pit at Gerrards Cross. Hardy pissed off after four years, and various minor replacements (e.g. DAVID BARON as Mike Szabo) ushered in late-era decline, but primetime schedule mainstay throughout.