PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 12:00am


Pearl, 12am

Episode four of this six-part series about six young men who are incarcerated in Changi prison camp in Singapore in 1942.

In preparation for his upcoming driving test, Old Curley (Slim de Grey) is driving around the streets. Temporarily blinded by the sun, he takes a wrong turn and slows down to get his bearings - then the car behind him beeps loudly as it overtakes with a roar. Curley is scared, bathed in perspiration and shaking. He is suddenly back in the hole in Changi - a small, dank, underground chamber, the only light from a hole in the iron trapdoor above his head.

When Rowdy (Geoff Morrell, above) comes to the barracks to ask the boys to take part in a prisoners-of-war concert, Curley (Mark Priestley) cooks up a real showstopper. Backed by Tom on piano, he and Gordon sing Side By Side, portraying prison guards Nakamura and Aso as a master and his dog. The performance brings the house down, but Aso is outraged, recognising he and Nakamura have been made fools of.

Aso doesn't have to wait long for revenge: a few weeks later he catches Curley stealing from the warehouse. He interrogates the terrified prisoner, asking him to reveal the identity of 'The Secret Nine'. He threatens to shoot Curley then throws him into the hole.

Alone in the dark, Curley struggles to remain sane, surviving on whatever the guards throw down to him. As the weeks pass the other members of the Nine are desperate to contact Curley in some way to keep him alive.