Early in 1973 a group were on Crete filming a BBC drama series The Lotus Eaters. The star, Ian Hendry, was an alcoholic and at times difficult to handle. He was refusing to rehearse a crucial scene. The director turned to the series' writer and creator, Michael J. Bird, for help. Bird disappeared and returned with a shotgun, which he pointed at Hendry. The actor, for once, was lost for words. Trying to stare down Bird didn't work, the writer was on higher ground, and the shotgun in his hands looked very much part of him. The director remembered tales of Bird's wartime service as a spook. Hendry must have heard the same tales: he picked up his script and continued as though nothing had happened. The director believes it was not fear that made the actor change his stance - it was Bird's showmanship and mysterious past which Hendry, an artist of considerable talent, appreciated. The cast and crew were in no doubt. Michael Bird was more than the average television writer.