Noah's Ark - Episode Three

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  • Tom Kirby - Peter Wingfield
  • Noah Kirby - Anton Rodgers
  • Val Kirby - Angela Thorne
  • Clare Somers - Orla Brady

WRITTEN BY - Johnny Byrne



Phil Summerfield - Wayne Foskett Phil Summerfield
Major Graveny - Jeremy Clyde Major Graveny
Borlace - Peter Jonfield Borlace
Mick Wilson - Anthony O'Donnell Mick Wilson

(For more information on this week's cast, see Cast Notes .)

releasing the badgers - 1 releasing the badgers - 2 releasing the badgers - 3
chemistry? - 1 Shared pleasure... shared attraction? chemistry? - 2
A friend - or a special friend? (Þ) The benefit of the doubt (Þ)


The episode opens with Noah delivering a mal-presented calf. The calf is fine, but the mother has had a tough time, and Noah tells the owner, Phil Summerfield (Wayne Foskett) that he will have to give the cow another injection of antibiotic. He offers to come back, but Phil tells him he has his own drugs and needles.

After breakfast - a much reduced breakfast, thanks to his diet - Noah's next call is to Borlace, a small-time sheep farmer. He had a case of gid (ð) - a nasty infection contracted from dogs with threadworm in dogs or foxes. Borlace wants the sheep put down, and refuses to let him test or worm his dogs. But not long after, Borlace spots a dog on his land - a lurcher belonging to the Wilsons, neighbours of his that he regards as a 'bunch of hippies'. He makes up his mind that his dog is the source of the infection.

Clare comes in after surgery to ask for help in releasing a couple of badgers (ð) she has been looking after back into the wild. The animals have to be rounded up, caged, and returned to where there is an abandoned sett where they can claim 'squatter's rights'. Clare comments that for all the time she has spent nursing them back to health, they still do not know her or trust her. Tom asks he if it is all worthwhile: 'after all, they could be run over tomorrow'. To which Clare replies: 'So could you. Tom Kirby, but I still give you the benefit of the doubt - just.'

On the way to the release site, Clare points out Major Graveny, 'keen naturalist, backbone of the local wildlife watch... bore.' Later, as they watch the badgers run off together, the chemistry between Clare and Tom is very strong. But Clare is still keeping Tom at a distance. She admits that she has been invited out that evening, but she will not tell him by whom or - despite his pressing - whether this is a 'special' friend.

Noah is still being nagged by everyone around him about the shambolic state of his paperwork. Val produces a letter that has been lying under the bed unopened for a fortnight. Noah at first dismisses it as a drug company circular, then he realises that it is in fact information about possible contamination of a batch of drugs, and he instructs Anna to check the stores and remove any of the suspect batch.

Val has gone up to Phil Summerfield's farm to do the accounts. While she is there, he finds the cow whose calf Noah delivered lying on her side in the stall, seriously ill with milk fever. Val helps Phil to inject the cow with calcium - usually a 'miracle cure' - but the cow fails to recover, and by the time Noah is called, she is dead.

Tom assumes that Phil must have made a mistake, until Anna reminds Noah that the contaminated drug he has been warned about was calcium boraglucanate (?). And with a sinking heart, Noah goes to check the batch number of the drug Phil used. When he realises that he was from the contaminated batch, he admits his negligence to Phil, and tells him to bill him for the full value of the cow.

When he returns, Val and Tom are waiting for him. Tom is not going to let him off the hook - he rubs it in that Noah has been negligent. Noah, stung, challenges Tom about why he will not join the practice. Tom replies that he would join, if he thought he could make a difference. 'But this practice is a shambles.' (Þ) Equally angry, Noah retorts that his practice is somewhere where people know that the care of their animals is the first priority - 'and that should matter to you!'.

appealDo you need a hand?

Do you need a hand? (Þ)

Tom storms out to the pub, where he overhears Major Graveny egging Phil Summerfield on to sue Noah. Then Clare arrives, looking for him. One of the badgers has gone missing, and she wants his help to try and find out what has happened to it. 'Not what I had in mind for our first date,' (Þ) he tells her. (But he agrees, of course.)

The Major is busy making himself unpleasant - spreading the word of Noah's 'incompetence' around the community, and accusing him to his face of professional negligence. Noah, ganged up on from all sides, is trying to hold his head up high. But Val quietly tells Tom that 'this practice is crying out for someone to challenge him'.

Another one of Borlace's sheep is dead, and now he is out for vengeance. He demands that Noah test their dog for threadworm, and if it is infected, he will use it to get the Wilson's evicted. Confident of the result, Noah agrees - on the condition that he can test Borlace's dogs too. The Wilsons - who are if nothing else great lovers of animals - agree without hesitation, and Noah goes back to the surgery with two samples. But the results are unfortunate - Borlace's dogs are in the clear, and the lurcher is infected. It looks likely that the Wilsons will be evicted. And he has the unpleasant task of breaking the news to the Wilsons.

Clare and Tom are hunting for clues in the wood when Tom falls into a trap - a pit dug in the ground and covered with plastic and grass. A trap meant for live badgers - which seems likely to mean there are badger baiters(ð) in the neighbourhood. Years ago, Noah was instrumantal in stamping out badger baiting in that area, and now he goes back to the informant who helped him then. But from what he is told, he suspects that it is not badger baiting, but illegal taxidermy that may be behind the traps. And together they plot to lay a trap for the culprit. Tom is uneasy about dealing with 'dodgy characters in pubs', but Noah tells him he is doing things his way. 'Of course I'm not stopping you doing things your way...'

Meanwhile, Val is working at Phil Summerfield's farm when she spots him buying drugs off the back of the lorry. Without telling him where she has seen it, she asks Noah about the suppliers. Noah says the drugs are usually fine, 'but the suppliers lose touch with the drug companies'. Next time she is at the farm, she has a nose around - and finds clear evidence that Phil bought the contimainated calcium from another supplier, not from Noah. Seeing a chance of clearing Noah's name, she challenges Phil. A few hours later, Phil turns up at the house with an admission. Tom forces out an apology, but Noah recognises that he has got off on a technicality. 'It was the merest accident that I didn't cause the death of that cow.'

Just then there is a call from Clare - she has found the real cause of the gid infection. Not far from the badgers' sett, she has found a 'buzzard's bird table' - a dumping ground for dead animals someone couldn't be bothered to bury properly. And it is on Borlace's land. Borlace has his come-uppance, and the Wilson's are saved from eviction.

And finally, the trap for the taxidermist is sprung. Someone is offereing to buy a perigrine falcon they have 'offered for sale'..In the darkness that night, Tom, Clare, Noah and the police watch as the falcon is handed over to - Major Graveny. A fraud caught red-handed.

That should matter to you! This place is a shambles! I'm sorry for what I said

Cast Notes and Odd Facts

No one very well known- to me at any rate - in this episode. I am entirely indebted to the IMdB for what information I have garnered here. Wayne Foskett was in the film Framed and the series A Bit of a Do (with David Jason). Peter Jonfield has had small parts in a number of films, including Frankenstein, Let Him Have It, and A Fish Called Wanda. He was also in one episode of Lovejoy. Anthony O'Donnell has been in A Very Peculiar Practice and Pie in the Sky. Jeremy Clyde has a film career that goes back to The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery in 1966.


(ð) - English badgers are larger than American badgers, and omnivores. Thet live in setts that they dig in woods and forests, and are generally nocturnal. Badger baiting is an ancient blood sport, like cock fighting and bear baiting, where a badger - often handcapped in some way - is set to fight a number of dogs. It is highly illegal and has virtually been stamped out, but still crops up again occasionally, usually organised by highly secretive rings.

(ð) - Gid or staggers is in infection is sheep where the larvae of tapeworm attack the brain and nervous system, forming cysts. The sheep is confused, typically walking in circles. If the cysts are not removed, the sheep will die. The infection is usually contracted from the droppings of infected dogs or foxes, who are themselves not dangerously ill - they can be cured simply by worming them..

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Created by Phillip & Catriona Troth

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Last updated 22/09/1997