16 July 1969 the eyes of the world were on Cape Kennedy . BBC1 and BBC2 covered APOLLO 11 from 1.50 pm with Cliff Michelmore, James Burke and Patrick Moore, while ITN ran MAN ON THE MOON from 2.10 pm with Peter Fairley.

There were updates throughout the day, but once Apollo 11 had launched successfully, TV returned to a semi-standard schedule with Alex Glasgow telling Tales of Northumbria in Jackanory on BBC1 and Freewheelers pitting Ronald Leigh Hunt’s Colonel Buchan against Geoffrey Toone’s Von Gelb on ITV (notwithstanding the irony of a former Nazi threatening the modern world on children’s TV, while former Nazi Wernher Von Braun had played such a pivotal part in the success of Apollo 11 ).
At 9pm ITV screened Yorkshire TV’s The Main Chance. In, Privilege of Justice by Edmund Ward, Solicitor David Main (John Stride) is offered a contract to negotiate the release of Raul Ramira (John Bennett), a political prisoner in Castro’s Cuba. Raul’s family escaped to Switzerland, while Ramira stayed with Castro to fight a guerrilla war against Batista. Ramira served under Castro’s government as a justice minister, but was then charged with “counter-revolutionary activities” and sentenced to hard labour in a prison camp. Now his family are offering to any “fine” that Main can negotiate if Raul’s sentence can be commuted.
Main arrives in Cuba and gradually realises he is a prisoner under surveillance, unable to leave the top floor of his luxury hotel or communicate with the outside world. He is visited by Montero (Alan Browning) the new Minister of Justice. He was an informer in Batista’s police force who clearly resents Ramira (“no sleeping under the stars for me. When they came for me, there was nowhere to run”). Main criticises the current regime that enforces its rule with guns, and takes the possessions of anyone who wants to leave and sentences them to two years labouring in a cane field waiting for a plane out.

Montero responds that Cuba under Batista was, “the brothel of the hemisphere. You could buy children’s flesh cheaper than you could buy tobacco. You could watch the tourist boats pouring in from Miami. Fat men with fat wallets.”
Montero removes his glove and shows him his battered hand without nails. “This is the price I paid for freedom and justice, Mr Main. How much did you pay?”
Back in Leeds, Margaret Castleton (Margaret Ashcroft)is carrying out the bread-and-butter work of the solicitors practice, defending a housewife charged with theft. Mrs Cooper has sold the TV, bought on Hire Purchase, to pay off other debts. She has told her husband that the TV is in repairs, frightened that he will hit her if she admits she can’t budget on what he pays her. Margaret has to explain that Mrs cooper is being charged under the theft act because under Hire Purchase the goods don’t belong to you until you’ve paid off the whole of the debt. Mrs Cooper fails to turn up at court and the magistrates order her arrest. Margaret confronts Mr Cooper, who says his wife should have told him: “Maybe I would have clouted her – but I wouldn’t have meant any harm!” He says she should have been able to manage on what he gave her – other women do. When Margaret asks if he knew she was on tranquilisers, he replies, “She was always in and out of the doctors – it gives her something to do.” Margaret tells him he’s lucky – “The last case like this, the women left the children with a neighbour and killed herself.”
In Cuba, Raul Ramira is brought to Main’s hotel suite. He says he fought for the revolution but disapproves of the results. “I did not fight for the rabid mouthings of men whose paranoia has brought the country to the brink of starvation.” As Ramira and Montero argue, Main says he has the funds to pay any fine if Ramira’s sentence can be commuted. He has a bankers draft for $200,000 that requires two signatures – his and Ramira’s. Ramira says he will refuse to sign, “All I can do is take the one last freedom that every man has – the freedom to die on his own terms.”

Montero tells Main that Ramira has chosen suicide. “To die is easy. To live and work is the hard part. Every day to push belief a fraction forward. to go without the heroic gesture.”
“Forget Ramira’s signature.” Montero tells Main, “Go to Mexico city. Authorise payment as soon as you hear that Ramira has safely been put on a plane. Freedom or a death warrant. You decide.”


At 10:30 pm on BBC2 Alan Dobie starred in the second part of Resurrection Alexander Baron’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s final novel. Dobie plays Prince Dmitri, who is shocked to recognise the accused in a murder trial as a servant he once seduced. Maslova, played by Bridget Turner lost her job when she became pregnant by Dmitri and drifted into prostitution. Now she is accused of poisoning an abusive client. Dmitri tries to intervene to rescue Maslova.