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More Network TV-CD music

Wednesday, 05 August 2009 17:11

Things have been incredibly busy in the Network DVD soundtrack CD department over the last few months.  Since our last feature on their first handful of titles (see the previous feature here), another FIVE sets of titles have been released onto the scene. As per the initial titles, all are available only at the website. 

For your consideration this time, we have massive libraries for the like of the one hour Danger Man episodes, as well as The Champions, Strange Report, Jason King, and a brand new exhaustive five-disc collection covering Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s The Protectors.  Listening to these incredible releases almost makes you feel like going and filming your own new episodes for these shows – there is very little missing from what you’d need to support whatever your story happens to be.

Some will no doubt say that these releases are far from cheap, but that is a case of not seeing the bigger picture. The booklets that come with each release are exhaustive, detailing where each music cue was used in the particular series in question, even going down to the level of noting library music tracks that are needed to complete the entire soundscape of the show. This is a microscopic level of detail, involving exhaustive research, for what will be only a few hundred units sold, so the price has to reflect supply and demand.

Yes, of course these releases are designed entirely for the collector market.  Put simply, if you are catering for this sector, you are going to need to be faultless in the facts you present, because this niche market will KNOW when you have got something wrong – any ‘finder’ will wear it like a badge of honour if they can pull up the ‘experts’ on a mistake that has been made. As usual, archivist Andrew Pixley has made it very different to make any point scoring in this regard.

The sequencing on these CDs is superb, meaning you can just pop a disc into your car stereo, hit the random button, and have a unique soundtrack for your journey that day.


The Protectors

The Protectors CD Soundtrack“Each major city in the world has its best detective agency and each of these detective agencies has its best agent. These super-agents are ... THE PROTECTORS. The most sensitive, baffling dangerous assignments are handled by THE PROTECTORS, a brotherhood of adventurers who have no equal among private eyes.”

Admittedly, that original vision from original ITC series sales documentation, whilst evident in the pilot, was brushed to one side for the majority of the rest of the 52 half-hours episodes deived from this format.

Never previously released, and compiled from the original master tapes, this five-CD set comprises the varied themes and incidental scores for The Protectors, containing around 400 pieces of music which were especially composed for the series. Jazz, disco, funk, blues, lounge core, country, comedy and suspense all weave their way into the rich texture of international adventure for Harry Rule (Robert Vaughn), the Contessa di Contini (Nyree Dawn Porter) and Paul Buchet (Tony Anholt), as their organisation of Protectors take on cases across Europe.

In addition, the set includes alternate versions of the hit vocal “Avenues and Alleyways” performed by Tony Christie, and a song from Eartha Kitt. The music manages to reflect the theme throughout, without ever getting repetitive and boring – an amazing feat considering the amount of tracks here present!

Click here for The Protectors - 5 discs for £39.99


The Champions

The Champions CD SoundtrackTHE CHAMPIONS: Craig Stirling, Sharron Macready and Richard Barrett. The possessors of fantastic skills and qualities, both mental and physical. Powers bestowed upon them when their plane crashed in Tibet and they encountered the lost people of a hidden civilisation. Powers that are a secret known only to them. Powers they are able to use to their best advantage as the Champions of Law, Order and Justice. Craig, Sharron and Richard - operators of the international agency of Nemesis.”

Stuart Damon, William Gaunt and Alexandra Bastedo were an enigmatic trio who helped make this outlandish format work, in a day when the only sort of superhero on the box was the Adam West Batman series.

As with the other titles in the Network series, aside from the main theme the tracks on this triple CD have never previously released. They have been compiled from the original master tapes, and comprise the varied themes and incidental scores for The Champions, containing around 200 pieces of music which were specifically composed for the series. Three composers with different styles offer stings and melodies which take the Nemesis super-humans across the world into assorted adventures.

Starting with an operation amidst Chinese research laboratories, after which the gang become lost in the mountain peaks of Tibet, their later missions take them to an island in the Pacific with a deadly secret, across the North Sea to the continent on the tail of a nuclear submarine, from London to Rotterdam in pursuit of stolen gold, to the Spanish estate of a dictator, and a mysterious country house in England for a series of bizarre experiments... plus additional forays to the Caribbean and the deserts of Australia and Africa.

Click here for The Champions - 3 discs for £29.99


Danger Man (One Hour Series)

Danger Man One Hour Series CD Soundtrack“The DANGER MAN is back! ... Danger Man is now produced as one-hour programmes, with vivid new stories which take Special Security Agent John Drake into even more tensely dramatic adventures in every part of the globe ... Excitement and suspense are the keynotes of stories which live up to the title. The emphasis is on DANGER.”

This wording from a 1964 Press Brochure sets the scene for what you find on this gargantuan set. Following the worldwide success of the half-hour format of episodes, the series was renamed SECRET AGENT for the USA so that they could distinguish the new format from what had gone before.  No such distinguishing name change was considered necessary for the UK.

Compiled from the original master tapes, this five-CD set comprises Edwin Astley’s distinctive theme and incidental scores for Danger Man, containing almost 400 pieces of music which were especially composed for the series. With the distinctive harpsichord lead, the tunes and melodies whisk John Drake into fresh danger in colourful locations: the back streets of Arabia, the jungles around Delhi, a fishing village suspiciously close to Albania, the desert town of Beth’ja’brin, a peaceful Scottish island, an emergent African nation, the riot-torn Caribbean, the neon streets of Tokyo, a French château, a bizarre English town behind the Iron Curtain ... or the very heart of London just as the Sixties started to swing.

The only downside to this set is that some of the original audio tapes for the “Shinda Shima” episode are unfortunately damaged, resulting in several tracks where the resultant recording is noticeably inferior to the rest of the music. No restoration work has been carried out on these tracks and they are presented ‘as is’ for reference only. However, that’s the nature of this being a collector’s item – you’d rather have these in whatever form rather than miss out on them completely.

Click here for Danger Man (One Hour Series) - 5 discs for £39.99


Jason King

Jason King CD Soundtrack“Audaciously amusing! Penetratingly perceptive! Suavely sophisticated! This is JASON KING, brought to vivid life by Peter Wyngarde in a series of high-spirited adventures all over the world. Jason King is an author, a bon vivant who savours life to the full, from good food to gorgeous girls. Wherever he goes in search of material for his books, he encounters even more stirring drama, greater danger, deeper intrigue, unexpected situations and more beautiful women than any one man has the right to experience.”

The main problem people have with the Jason King series are the obvious comparisons with its parent show, Department ‘S’. The former series had incredibly audacious opening sequences, setting up an outlandish mystery for King and his Interpol cohorts to investigate.  Jason King was a complete departure from this, investigating King as the tortured artist as writer, doing anything to miss a deadline, while gathering source material for his ‘Mark Caine’ books wherever he went.

Back to the original master tapes again for this two-CD set, which comprise the themes and incidental music for the show. It contains around 70 pieces of music which were specially composed for the series by uber-composer Laurie Johnson.

His melodies transport the listener in and around the world of the playboy novelist, as he is approached by a femme fatale in Athens, finds himself the subject of a contract in Paris, attempts to lose weight at a health farm near Munich, combats a computerised crime syndicate in London, is supplied with cryptic phrases in the Caribbean, dances at discos in Switzerland, leads a trio of detectives in Moscow, studies comic strips in Hong Kong, deals with a doppelgänger in Istanbul, investigates murder in Rome, sees his stories brought to life as films at a British film studio... and attempts to sell his hero Mark Caine to the American TV networks.

Much like the series itself, the soundtrack is a breezy blast of heady loungecore nostalgia.  Great for any 1970s night party you might have in your diary!

Click here for Jason King - 2 discs for £19.99


Strange Report

Strange Report CD Soundtrack“His name is Strange. And his reports are strange. For Adam Strange handles only cases which are out of the ordinary, sometimes bizarre, always intriguing. The stakes are high. They may be of political significance and security may be threatened... Strange is neither a private eye nor an official investigator. He is responsible only to those at top Government level... He is a man with one paramount passion: the Truth.”

The ITC publicity brochure quote above should be enough to make you want to investigate Strange Report. Anthony Quayle is absolutely mesmerising as Adam Strange, and along with his associates Ham Gynt (Kaz Garas) and Evelyn McClaine (Anneke Wills) this is a series which has the reputation of a sleeping giant – simply because at just 16 episodes it’s one of the shorter ITC series runs.  A further batch of episodes were considered to be made in the USA, but the cast thought that the quality might suffer and, besides, it had been a struggle to make the producers keep up the quality.

Again, the music here has been compiled from the original master tapes. This CD comprises the remaining incidental cues for Strange Report, containing around 40 pieces of music which were especially composed for the series, plus numerous library recordings also heard in the show. Unfortunately, unlike the case with most of the releases to date, the co-production basis of this series seems to have meant that the music library for the show is incomplete (Lew Grade’s ITC went into co-production on this show with Norman Felton’s Arena Productions – famous for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.).

What remains of Roger Webb’s rich period score plunges Adam Strange and his friends into the worlds of organ transplants, modern-day witchcraft, a charity cult, a cholera epidemic... and a case of murder committed during the Second World War.

Admittedly this is a rather short entry into the Network soundtrack collection, but what remains is a quality CD, again very suitable for your 1970s parties.

Click here for Strange Report - single disc for £12.99

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37