They started up again because American money gave them new life! "The Saint" and "Danger Man" were ITC shows made by Lew Grade's Independent Television Corporation and designed to appeal to both the British and the American markets. Once the USA bought the shows, the money was available to upgrade the shows and, inevitably, further re-format them to suit American audiences.
It's interesting that you've only seen the colour episodes of these shows, because that means you're seeing the later, "Americanized" versions, which is why they seem so very different from the general run of British programming, then or now. In the UK they stood out even at the time, precisely because they were British shows with the kind of high-class production values otherwise only seen in imported American shows. If you watch the earlier black and white episodes of "The Saint", for instance, you'll find a much grittier show, with Moore giving an edgier performance that's a good deal nearer the character in the books. The fight scenes are way more brutal, too. (However, in the case of "Danger Man", your memory may be playing you tricks: there were only two episodes made in colour before Patrck MacGoohan broke his contract. Perhaps you're thinking of "The Prisoner", which was shot soon after and entirely in colour.)
All of ITC's product was shot on the same sets and locations. "The Avengers" was produced by ABC (Associated British Corporation) which had it's own facilities, but again, all its episodes recycled sets and locations that were re-dressed as required. And again, its producers managed to sell it in the USA, and it got re-formatted.
By and large I much prefer the black and white seasons of these shows. They're a bit less slick, but certainly more individual and charming - but maybe nostalgia for the world of my childhood is getting the better of me...
Sutherland trained in Britain and began his career here. In fact it was Moore who allowed him to send a showreel of one of his "Saint" performances over to the American producers who were interested in Sutherland for a role in "The Dirty Dozen". The rest is history...
It's amusing (in a nice way) that you think "Ashes" and "Mars" are gritty. They're both pastiches of a 1970s British show called "The Sweeney", about the Metropolitan Police's gun-toting "Flying Squad". Now THAT was a gritty show...
"Duck, I says..."
Hey kducklin2, looks like you and I have hijacked this thread. I didn't mean to imply that I had seen color episodes of "Secret Agent". I meant to say I had never seen any of the "Danger Man" episodes. I have seen a handful of "The Avengers" with Honor Blackman, and I didn't even know there were B&W episodes of "The Saint". I thought "The Saint" began around 1966, because that's all I've ever seen.
I might buy the "Secret Agent" DVDs. Patrick McGoohan was great. I loved "Secret Agent" and "The Prisoner" as a teenager, and he was excellent in "Ice Station Zebra". (He played virtually the same character in that movie as he did in his TV shows).
"Ashes To Ashes" and "Life On Mars" seem gritty to me, especially after watching the smooth and polished Brits in the 60's TV series. Philip Glenister is a genius. He bursts into each scene like Kramer making an entrance into Jerry's apartment, and sets the tone for the entire series.
I have never heard of "The Sweeney", but I enjoy watching these British shows. They are so different from what I grew up on. As Spock would say . . . Fascinating.
One question . . . you say you adopted the mannerisms of Roger Moore, but looked like Mel Smith. Who's he?
There were 71 B&W episodes of "The Saint" across four UK seasons before the switch to colour (47 episodes). The show quickly became popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and all of them were broadcast at some time or other in the US. Interestingly, during the first and second seasons there were several stories set in New York, whereas, once the series had taken off in the States, America was never revisited.
The earliest seasons are a bit patchy in terms of the writing and Moore's characterization, both of which took a while to gel. But seasons three and four are very good indeed, with Moore playing it suave but straight, with just the right amount of hardness showing through. The toning down of the violence in the colour episodes unfortunately but inevitably diluted this.
Another change they made was that in the B&W episodes Moore gave all his pre-credit sequence introductions in person, straight to the camera. This was a lovely device that really drew you into his world. In the colour seasons this was replaced with a voice over, which I think is a lot less effective.
You should definitely invest in "Danger Man" (another character that starts off sounding American and later apparently switches nationality without apology)...
For "The Sweeney" (if you can get these with YouTube's silly regional access rules:
Forget the Mel Smith gag, it's a British thing...
"Duck, I says..."
Remember me? You gave me some info about the B&W episodes of "The Saint" a while back, and you said they were grittier than the colorized versions. MeTV is now showing the early episodes of "The Saint", so I have been checking them out for myself. There is something about British shows that I find fascinating, they have such a different flavor than the shows I grew up with here in the 'Colonies'.
Whereabouts in the UK are you located?
Duke I says.
Hey there Clintessence!
Of course I remember you and it's nice to hear from you. So you're checking out the old B&W "Saint"s, eh? I love the genuine location filming on those shows, which they pretty well stopped altogether when they started filming in colour - you're seeing the London I grew up in!
As for the flavour, it's like me watching "Mannix" or "Burke's Law" - a totally different milieu (though perhaps not so different after my year in LA - don't you just love the shots of the cars as big as landing craft and old boulevards without any traffic markings?).
I live up north, in a little town outside of Leeds in Yorkshire. I was born in London but can't stand the place anymore. The pace is slower up here, which suits me fine.
"Duck, I says..."
Just letting you know I have really enjoyed the London of your youth in "The Saint". You're right about the B&W episodes being grittier and less slick than the colorized episodes. They have a bit more violence in them too. MeTV is only showing one episode per week, so its a slow process, but an enjoyable one.
Yes, Roger Moore is easy to like as a leading man. I even remember when he replaced James Garner on "Maverick", as Bret's and Bart's British cousin, Beau Maverick. After the "The Saint" went off the air, I saw some of the episodes of "The Persuaders" which he did with Tony Curtis. It didn't matter which show he was on, he always played the same suave character which he carried into the Bond movies.
This is Clintessence again. Lo and behold, hulu is now showing "Danger Man". I have never seen an episode of "Danger Man", and I don't think it was ever shown here in America during the sixties. I loved watching "Secret Agent" as a boy, and Patrick McGoohan became one of my favorite actors. This was solidified when "The Prisoner" played here. Then came the movie "Ice Station Zebra". I always felt McGoohan could've been playing the very same character in all four of those vehicles.
Anyway, I am glad to get a chance to see "Danger Man". They are still showing "The Saint" here, but they are the newer episodes in color. They are quite different from the earlier B&W episodes, as you said.
Good talking to you again.
This is your old buddy Clintessence. I butted in here out of order to talk to you. I have been watching "The Avengers" of late, (the ones with Diana Rigg, which are easily the best - both the B&W and color episodes). This show was in its initial run when I was in high school, and I thought it was the "dumbest" show ever. Even as the years unfurled, I watched reruns and felt "The Saint" and "Secret Agent" were far superior.
However, I have taken a fresh look at them of late, and found I thoroughly enjoy the series. It's simply a matter of getting in tune with the intent and feel of the show. It's a tongue-in-cheek fantasy ride, mixed with action, humor, and snappy dialog between John Steed and Mrs. Peel. It has a look and feel that can't be duplicated by today's television.
Since you are a native Londoner, perhaps you can answer a couple of questions for an ugly American like myself. First: I have noticed in all three of the British series I mentioned, that they do a lot of driving around on narrow country roads. Is that indicative of the roads in England? Narrow and fairly deserted?
Second: Steed waltzes around like a true upper-crust British gentleman, wearing a fairly tight suit, stylish bowler hat, twirling an fashionable umbrella. I have always wondered if that was the style in England in the 60's. Somehow, it doesn't gel with my memory of British fashion for the period.
Anyway, I hope all is well with you.
"Uh, that's Duke - not duck!"