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Compact (1962-65)


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!

Second episode, originally transmitted 4 January 1962
Written by Hazel Adair and Peter Ling, directed by Christopher Barry

Features editor Jimmy Saunders is searching for agony aunt Alison Gray, who is late with her column. Alison tells her secretary, Sally Henderson, that she is looking for her 15-year-old daughter Rosemary, who is missing from school. She worries that Rosemary, who is stage struck, may have run away to try her luck in show business. Unable to concentrate on her column, she takes Sally's advice and bases it on her own dilemma.

The editor, Joanne Minster, prepares a photo layout for costume jewellery with Richard Lowe, the art director, and Alec Gordon, a young photographer. She hears that fiction editor Mark Viccars is having trouble finding a new serial. She recommends a true story about a woman explorer in South America, but insists he find a fictional story for the next issue.

In a coffee bar, Alison meets Rosemary and the TV writer Ted Willis. They persuade Rosemary to go back to school and finish her education. In a pub, Jimmy and Mark have a drink. Learning that the landlord has stopped his bar tab, Jimmy tells Mark how hard it is to make ends meet. Mark looks worried and distracted; Jimmy tells him to forget about work for the weekend. That evening, Joanne tells her husband she cannot go on an Easter cruise to the Mediterranean, but promises to go to Bermuda in October.

Back at work, tea-girl Lily Todd tells Mark about a strange man who followed her home. He is short with her. She tells Jimmy, who wonders why Mark is behaving so strangely. Looking stressed after an unexplained telephone call, Mark is approached by Ruth Munday, a typist who wrote and submitted some stories to him. He loses his temper. Rosemary arrives at the office so her mother can take her back to school. When she catches a glimpse of Alison's column, she runs away again.

As Jimmy gives Joanne the final pages for the third issue, the telephone rings. It is the company director, Sir Charles Harmon, who is dissatisfied with sales of the first issue. He tells Joanne to expect some changes, which his accountant will explain to her tomorrow. Joanne tells Jimmy it can mean only trouble.