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T Dan Smith (1987)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Murray, a documentary filmmaker, opens a portfolio containing the title cards for the documentary that he and Steve, his co-worker, are making about the notorious former Newcastle councillor T. Dan Smith. Councillor Alan Deal addresses a local union rally. Steve records the opening narration for the documentary.

A cleaner in a block of council flats discovers the body of the building's architect, John Porter, hanging from a walkway. A news report announces that the council is planning to sue Cross Construction, the builders of the flats, for negligent workmanship. Deal receives a telephone call at home from Jack Cross, the builder, summoning him to a meeting. Murray and Steve review footage for the documentary, discussing the approach they should take to their material. Murray receives a telephone call from Smith, asking them to meet him at his flat. Deal collects the local MP, Jeremy Maudsley-Long, from the railway station. He informs Deal of a Police Fraud Squad investigation into the building of the flats. Murray and Steve drive to Smith's flat, where they show him footage from an old interview he had given and discuss it with him. Deal and Maudlsey-Long meet with Cross in the council chamber, and discuss how to deal with the Council's legal action.

Back in the edit suite, Murray, Steve and Smith review and discuss more footage. Subsequently, Murray and Steve discuss their differing views of Smith's account. Cross demands that Deal use his position on the Council to delay the legal claim in order to buy time for Maudlsey-Long to strike a deal with the Government. Murray, Steve and Smith review and discuss more footage, concentrating on slum clearance and housing policy in the 1960s.

Murray and Steve walk through the flats, discussing how to pursue their interviews with Smith. Cross and Maudsley-Long meet at the flats to discuss strategy. Murray and Steve talk to a local resident about their experiences of living in the flats. Another resident confronts Maudlsey-Long about the state of the flats, to Cross's amusement. Back in the edit suite, Murray and Steve review more archive material on Smith. Suspicions grow among the other councillors about Deal's relationship with Cross. Murray and Steve finish in the edit suite and continue their discussion in the pub, focussing on MPs' outside business interests.

At the Council offices, the Housing Committee meets and Deal blocks discussion of the legal action against Cross Construction. At the House of Commons, Murray and Steve interview Labour MP Dennis Skinner about MPs' outside business interests and political corruption. Back in the edit suite, they review more material with Smith. In Whitehall, Maudsley-Long meets with the Home Secretary to discuss the situation regarding the flats and Cross Construction. They agree to a scheme that involves sacrificing Deal to the police investigation.

Murray, Steve and Smith review more footage in the edit suite. Maudsley-Long and Cross announce the Government-funded deal to refurbish the flats to the local media. Murray, Steve and Smith have a drink in the pub. After Smith leaves, Steve confesses to Murray that he is still no wiser about the truth of Smith's account. Leaving the pub, Smith buys a local paper. The paper announces Deal's arrest on corruption charges.