The Interceptor

interceptor-1

This is a quick sketch of Sean O’Kane… oh, I’m sorry, Interceptor – that’s actually his name, right? – the star of ITV’s surefire hit, Interceptor… or not so surefire a hit, as it happens; it only lasted for eight episodes in 1989, and then vanished altogether. I don’t know why that is. I concede that is terrible, but at the same time, I think it one of the most hilarious television programmes I’ve seen. It’s a couple of years before my time, but we had a recording of the episode shot just minutes from us, and I must have watched this single programme several thousand times as a youngster.

It was a theatrical mutation of Channel 4’s seminal hit Treasure Hunt (which I will probably weave into a drawing some other time, as it was another show I loved). In Interceptor, two contestants were loaded with a briefcase-style backpack each; one was stuffed with £1,000, the other just weighted to feel that way. The pair were then blindfolded and dropped off by helicopter several miles from each other, in an area they presumably had no previous knowledge of. They not only had to meet up in forty minutes, using bulky communications equipment and the questionable guidance of screechy host, Annabel Croft, who stood out in the middle of nowhere with a giant map trying (and usually failing) to keep things orderly, but they also had to at some point ‘win’ the key to their co-contestant’s backpack. When both keys were won, all they needed to do was reunite, open the packs and collectively cry “jolly d!” at having won £500 each.

However, making every effort to thwart them in their quest is THE INTERCEPTOR, a leather-clad Glaswegian with his own ominous black-and-yellow chopper to hover back and forth between the contestants’ journeys. He was not limited to the air, though; the highlights of the programme were the various hammed up ‘ambushes’, where he came down to ground level and pursued his hapless targets by other means; scaring them silly by jumping out from behind a wall, catching them in a hedge maze, or taking the driving seat of their own transportation… none of it at all staged, of course… and very often making hilarious bird of prey cries in their faces.

“What’s your name?” “INTERCEPTOR, I just told you my name!”

His main goal, though, was to ‘zap’ one of five ‘receptors’ on the back of the backpacks, using a snazzy laser gun contraption stuck to his arm – if he struck accurately, the pack would become stuck shut – even the key won’t unlock the cash, so contestants were best to keep these targets away from the Interceptor at all costs. Given how many times he got a clear vantage point throughout the series, he must either have been a lousy shot or the 80s technology was letting him down, because he frequently seemed to have hit perfectly, then the contestants got to the end and still managed to open them!

Interceptor garnered decent ratings and yet never returned, apparently a casualty of both its considerable production cost and changes within ITV over that period. You wonder if it might have enjoyed a longer life had it been on Channel 4 – it feels more their kind of thing in its kookiness. It was very of its time in that I couldn’t imagine the concept being touched with a bargepole in today’s era of shoestring budgets, even though there is a loyal following still clamouring for a second series, and I believe a genuine gap on TV for something of this adventurous and outlandish nature. I wish I could have gone on it. It would have been hilarious.

Here is the episode shot nearby! Though I could probably transcribe it to you by heart, I feel it would be better in vision. Killer theme tune, aswell:

It seems appropriate with this post to show this, even if some fifteen months late: for Interceptor‘s twenty-fifth birthday last summer, I made this, finished with a helping hand from the Photoshop Gradient Map tool.

seanok-2F

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29 comments
  1. Geke Hop-Wassink said:

    I think he looks very well with the interceptor of the program. You are making a quick progress in your drawings, I see they get better and better by every drawing. So a big compliment is in place, in my opinion, and I hope the other followers agree on that 😀 So cheers on that, and in a while you are selling your work for big money, and we all can say, we saw it happen 😉
    (I hope the spelling is correct, please adjust what I spelled wrong_

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Oh, well, thanks so much Geke! I’m glad you can see an improvement from your perspective. As for the big money – one day, one day, ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Geke Hop-Wassink said:

        Yes, I certainley see big improvents every time you post, and you draw more than when you started, and no more posting but $$$$$$$$$$$ And I would be so happy for you!!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Ha, wow… that’s a lot of dollars! Wouldn’t that be a stroke of luck. I’ll send you a couple of million if I ever get that many dollars 😉 Still, it’s the enjoyment that’ll keep me doing it, not the money – that’d just be a nice bonus 😉

        Like

      • Sean O'Kane said:

        Dear Jacob, first of greetings and salutations.
        Your drawings where passed to me by a friend and I must say of all the sketches that have portrait me through the past twenty five years this by far is my favourite, ethereal and busy just like the character I played.
        Kudos to you and it is axiomatic how talented you are as an artist.

        With Unabashed Optimism and Merriment.
        Sean O’Kane.

        and yes it is really me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Well, it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting this!

        Sean, thank you ever so much for dropping in and leaving such nice comments – this has made my day! I’m thrilled you found and like my portraits; there’s certainly a lot of love behind them as Interceptor was and remains one of my favourite TV shows. Thanks for the entertainment! (That chase in Somerleyton Maze was absolute gold!)

        Many thanks again, and all the very best!

        Like

  2. Lee Hesketh said:

    Never hear d of Interceptor before. You made my day, I’m laughing out loud at this awful show! It’s so ridiculous it’s funny. Only in the 80’s eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Ha! Oh Lee, thank you. I’m glad someone else is actually laughing at this and not just raising their eyebrow quizzically, as I feared they might. Interceptor is brilliant!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lee Hesketh said:

        That noise when he tries to shoot is glorious. Dear o dear!!

        Like

      • Jacob said:

        Ha, yes, sonically it’s a fantastic programme. The theme tune especially, I think genuinely wonderful. I go running to it frequently.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lee Hesketh said:

        A Fabulously nerdy thing to admit 😛 But yeah, it is pretty cool!

        Like

      • Jacob said:

        Well, as you should well know by now, I’m a fabulously nerdy chap! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks so much, Teresa! Glad you like them!

      Like

  3. Wow!! ❤️😃He looks awesome in that sketch! I’m continually amazed at well you draw people. I keep hoping I’ll learn something, and I think I am! Doesn’t mean I’ll draw them, but you made one really striking Interceptor (now investigating this show….hadn’t heard of it! 😊)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      You are too kind, Mr. Doodlewash. Not much I can say other than what I’ve said previously: two-going-on-three years of continuous practice and having not much else better to do!

      Ha, very few over here have heard of it, so I’m not surprised. Interceptor is a brilliantly bad programme. It’s so crazy, they should totally have taken it to the US!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interceptor – I hope that I wrote right. I think I am not enough educate. Google told me Interceptor = fighter aircraft. Other explaining that is a person or thing that stops or catches (someone or something) going from one place to another.
    Approximately 4,600 small interceptors would be deployed in orbit, each capable of homing in on and destroying incoming hostile warheads. He looks like human being, not a fighter aircraft. Maybe is problem, that I don’t watch TV. I use the TV as only monitor for the computer. I am not watching the ever-repeating programs. Result is I don’t know who is that man. But drawing is perfect like always. Camilla 😄

    Like

    • Jacob said:

      Ah, yes, he is definitely the obstructive person and not the aircraft! He was there to intercept the contestants in reaching each other within the time limit.

      I don’t watch much TV at all – mostly old faithfuls that I still enjoy, like Interceptor!

      Thanks Camilla. Glad you like the drawing – that’s the main thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jacob if you don’t want publish my comment is OK. I just explain you… Camilla

    Like

  6. Awesome portrait sketch Jacob, I’ve never seen the show, but your sketch portrays a very tough guy. 👹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks Sharon! Yes, he seems to be built up as some evil villain, though I’m certain I’d have just laughed! Unless he actually zapped me of course, then I’d be pretty annoyed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great drawing, I do remember it now I have seen your drawing and the clip, it was like treasure hunt. Your drawing looks like he has just jumped out of a hedge, squawking away, he should / could be a villain on the old original batman.
    Be great to bring it back, but that health and safety would never allow it to be quite the same as the original, despite its staged appearance. Great episodes though I only saw a few times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Rebecca! Yeah, it was made by the same team as Treasure Hunt (yet another favourite of mine!). It was so much fun. I believe he was actually on horseback for the shot I sketched, chasing a contestant who was fleeing in a vintage car!

      Liked by 1 person

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