Diamond Brothers (1991)

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    not really red dwarf-related, but since somebody mentioned the incredibly obscure Diamond Brothers TV series from 1991 on the idea for an episode thread recently, i thought i’d share a bit of trivia on it. a while ago i talked with a bloke who had actually seen it (i think his name was Paul) and he had this to say about it-

    “South by South-East was made into a TV series in 1991 by the production company Red Rooster and was a co-production with a Dutch film company, which allowed them to film in Amsterdam and the surrounding area. Written and directed by Anthony himself, it was broadcast in six 30 minute episodes. It was produced by Stephen Bayley, who was responsible for Just Ask For Diamond. It was broadcast on CITV and I recorded every episode. My VHS copy has almost worn out so I recently transferrred it to a DVD – although the picture is showing its age a bit! During transmission of Episode 3 there was a technical problem halfway through that they couldn’t fix. The following week’s episode (4) had the bit we missed of Episode 3 stuck onto the front.

    Batman’s former butler, Michael Gough, played My Waverly, Michael Feast played Snape, Gordon Wynter played Boyle and Charon/Charlotte was played by Monique Van Den Ven. There were cameos from Jenny Agutter (as the Bank Manager) and Anna Massey (as Mrs Bodega). As a lot of elements of the book and TV series are homages to Hitchcock (McGuffin, Bodega Birds etc), AH hired a well known Hitchcock impersonator to appear at some point in each episode. The ending was slightly different in that Charon tries to kill Tim and Nick in their office with a gun, rather than the electrocution scene in the book which was, I understand, considered a bit strong for kids at 4.35 in the afternoon! (Very much like Anthony’s screenplay for JAFD which excludes Nick’s explosive escapades at the Hotel Splendide. It also explains why Public Enemy Number 2 is never likely to be filmed – its so violent there’d be nothing left!)

    The late Dursley McLinden returned as Tim, as did a very different looking Colin Dale as Nick. He was a bit older by then and boy has he grown up – and his voice had broken too. There are lots of great gags and reminders of the film, such as when McGuffin knocks on the office door and Tim and Nick desperately clear up (as they did with Johnny Naples) and the way the last episode finishes with Nick and Tim walking off, Nick explaining to Tim what’s happened – in much the same way as the film fades out with Nick explaining the plot of Farewell My Lovely. Disappointingly it was never repeated and never got a video or DVD release, which is a shame as it’s actually very good. The cliffhanger to Episode 4 where Tim and Nick are chased by the biplane is brilliant and it’s nice to see Harry Blondini (Lauren Bacardi’s ex) although he’s obviously different to the character mentioned in book of TFM. Oh, and the theme tune is excellent.”

    so yeah, there’s a bit of stuff about it in case anyone was interested. the bloke who told me this (he may have been called Pete) went AWOL ages ago so sadly no chance of getting a copy of it off him.



    Would it be okay if I reproduced this on my blog, where I’ve written a bit about my attempts to track down a copy of this? I’ll link back here and credit you, obviously!



    sure, that’s fine.



    Much thanks!



    the diamond brothers book series was a big part of my childhood (the amount of times i must’ve read Public Enemy Number Two and South By South-East in the school library when i was younger) so it always interested me that there was a television show based off one of the books that nobody knew about, nobody had a copy, and it had only aired once. i asked anthony horowitz about the TV series once and he said even he didn’t have a copy of it. utterly bizarre. even 60s doctor who episodes are easier to find, lol.

    also this discussion reminded me that i’ve never actually read the Falcon’s Malteser book (i only ever watched the film version of it) so i went and bought it off eBay just now. this thread has cost me £1.89



    also- checked your blog, amazed to see you managed to find a publicity shot of the series! colin dale looks almost like a completely different person in it, lol.



    For reference, here are all three parts of the saga of me looking for a copy of this: http://cwickham.blogspot.com/search/label/the%20diamond%20brothers



    yeah, i gave them a read. i doubt a copy of the show will ever surface- since it was only ever aired once, that’s a pretty narrow window for someone to grab a recording of it. and given that it was only aired once, it can’t have been that popular. the film wasn’t too popular either by the looks of it- it’s often sold in bargain bundles where you get 2 or 4 different movies all on one DVD, which is basically a film graveyard.

    it’s a shame, because the film is excellent- Dursley McLinden was absolutely brilliant as Tim and presumably the TV show would’ve had that sort of thing in spades as he had a much more active role in the plot in the South By South East book.



    I’ve been chasing up a copy for years. I’m putting together a video review of Just ask for Diamond (and the Diamond brothers series). I’ve even been in contact with the cinematographer and Anthony Horowitz’s assistant (and Anthony himself on twitter!) about getting a copy but no results anywhere.

    Anthony’s assistant suggested keeping an eye on Britbox when it’s launched, but as has been said on this thread, it’s highly unlikely to see the light of day…

    The VHS version of JAFD is different to the dvd copy (about 40% of the witty voice over from Nick has been removed on the dvd) and a few shots a different. I’ll go through this on my retrospective when it’s eventually done.

    There’s also youtube review of Just ask for Diamond (by Big Buddha is watching) that i’ve commented on and Colin Dale’s brother has been in contact with the guy who made the video review about converting a copy from Colin’s VHS copy, but so far nothing been heard of since.

    If anyone hears anything on the Diamond Brothers TV show, please do let me know.

    Many thanks,




    I was obessed with the books as a kid! In fact, once my teacher in year 6 screamed at me, completely lost it, because I was reading “South” all day hidden away in the corner! In fact, I was browsing in Waterstones years ago and turned a corner to randomly see Horowitz doing a signing.

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