Jason King on UK DVD

Sunday, 13 July 2008 14:08

First experienced by fans in the hugely successful ITC series Department S, in this follow-on series, Jason King follows Peter Wyngarde’s character from the previous show in high-spirited and outlandish adventures that for decades have had to stand in the shadows of the series that spawned it.

After a couple of episodes came to DVD a few years ago in the UK, now at last the entire series has been released in the UK by Network, and more viewers than ever will finally see what the real main inspiration for the Mike Myers AUSTIN POWERS character actually was!

Jason King comes to UK DVD in fullWithout the same standard of pre-credits teasers which leave the audience scratching their heads as to what the dickens was going on Wyngarde’s larger-than-life personality and equally larger-than-life performance means this is a show that is actually a hell of a lot of fun.

The guest cast included Stephanie Beacham, Ingrid Pitt, Patrick Mower, Julian Glover, John le Mesurier, Alexandra Bastedo and Yootha Joyce, amongst a great many other familiar faces, as our episode guide reveals.

For those of you just coming in to this stuff, Jason King is an author and bon vivant who savours life to the full, from good food to gorgeous girls. Wherever he goes in search of material for his books, featuring the character Mark Caine (who is not a million miles away from Jason’s own character), he encounters more stirring drama, greater danger, deeper intrigue, unexpected situations and beautiful women than any one man has the right to experience! Coping with everything in his own elegant, flamboyant manner, with some of the most corny and memorable dialogue on the planet, anything can happen - and usually does!

Filmed on 16mm stock, something of a cost-cutting exercise at the time as there was a presumption there was not a chance of an American network sale for the series, you’ll notice that the show is considerably more grainy that the earlier ITC releases such as THE CHAMPIONS and MAN IN A SUITCASE – these had the luxury of being filmed on 35mm. Unfortunately, the expense that was lavished by Carlton in fully restoring the much-inferior fellow 16mm ITC series THE PROTECTORS and STRANGE REPORT has not been afforded on poor old JASON KING. That’s a shame, as the show will no doubt be able to play on being the inspiration for “Austin Powers” more than has been openly acknowledged to date.

Much like Network’s DVD set of DEPARTMENT ‘S’ earlier in the year, the extras for this release suffer once more without the involvement of Peter Wyngarde. Whatever the problem was, it is a considerable disappointment not having the guy on hand – perhaps he considers that everything that could be said about the character has already been, but many would beg to differ on that.

Anyhow, pick of the special features in this ‘Special Edition’ set is the follow-on documentary “Wanna Watch a Television Series? Chapter Two: Fish out of Water”. The first part of this exclusive two-part documentary appeared on Network’s DEPARTMENT ‘S’ set, and again it is ably narrated by Peter Bowles and features contributions from the likes of director Cyril Frankel, Kate O’Mara and Burt Kwouk.

From the archives to support the release is a short section of an episode of the chat show RUSSELL HARTY PLUS from 1973, where Mr Wyngarde and Sally Ann Howe are interviewed about their roles in a stage production of “The King and I”. The couple also perform, in costume, a section of the play for the audience – Peter playing the King of Siam is not as daft as it sounds – honest!

An eighth disc in this set is devoted to “The Crossfire” - a play from 1967 concerning a tale set in Algeria during colonial rule, and featuring Peter Wyngarde, Michael Coles, Eric Portman, Ian Hendry and Roger Delgado. Written by Maurice Edelman, and directed by John Jacobs, it’s a mono Anglia VT production, notable for using a theme music which would later become more famous when it was applied to TIMESLIP - if you can get past the archive nature of the recording, it’s an engaging piece of theatre, although it has to be said there is absolutely no connection to Jason King.

The extras also include extensive episodic image galleries, and a suite of Laurie Johnson’s incidental music. We also get textless opening and closing titles, other textless scenes and a commercial break bumper for good measure. Add to this a commemorative and informative background booklet, and the lack of new contributions from Mr Wyngarde are almost made up for.

This eight disc feast of fun is out now, price £59.99 – or get for less at www.culttvstore.com

Jason King - Episode Guide


Episode order is as per the Network DVD release.

01. Nadine

Nadine is a woman who provides Jason with all the inspiration he needs for his new novel, but could she be using him for her own plot?

Guest starring: INGRID PITT as Nadine, ALFRED MARKS as Renzo, PATRICK MOWER as Achille, AL MANCINI as Placide, AL GARCIA as Tony Mussoni, and STACEY GREGG as Kim.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 2 February 1972.

02. A Thin Band of Air

A dead Russian, a pretty girl, and the kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl all spells trouble for the dapper Mr. King!

Guest starring: CYRIL SHAPS as Jean Cazette, FRANCISCA TU as Lee Bailey, JOHN HALLAN as John Hewlett, T P McKENNA as Rene Chenard, TONY ANHOLT as Armand, EDINA RONAY as Irene Culver, and PATIENCE COLLIER as Mrs Zaleski.

Screenplay: Harry W Junkin.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 3 March 1972.

03. A Deadly Line in Digits

Jason is asked by the powers that be in Whitehall to pit his wits against computerised crime, and goes undercover as a Bulgarian master-cook.

Guest starring: DENNIS PRICE as Sir Brian, JOANNA JONES as Julia Marsh, PHILLIP STONE as Superintendent Landon, JAN WATERS as Jan Ross, DONALD HOUSTON as Kenworthy, RONALD LACEY as Ryland, FREDDIE JONES as Mr. Quirly, BARRY LOWE as Lemmy, LEONARD TROLLEY as Charlie, MICHAEL ANTHONY as Count de Ville, MONIKA DIETRICH as Mirard, and DAVINA TAYLOR as Constance.

Screenplay: Tony Williamson.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 13 October 1971.

04. Flamingos Only Fly on Tuesdays

Whilst taking a well-earned break on a Caribbean island, Jason is caught up in a revolution, and is mistaken for a gunrunner.

Guest starring: HUGH McDERMOTT as Pelli, HILDEGARDE NEIL as Lyra Delon, DAVID HEALY as Drakin, PHILLIP BOND as Jaevert, CLIFTON JONES as Sebastian, NIK ZARAN as Marcon, NEVILLE AUBELUIS as Benny, MARCIA FOX as The Clerk, LOUIS MAHONEY as Hector, BLOKE MODISANE as The Waiter, and SIOBHAN QUINLAN as Karen.

Screenplay: Tony Williamson.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 29 December 1971.

05. Chapter One: The Company I Keep

Jason begins to believe he is clairvoyant when everything he dreams suddenly starts to come true!

Guest starring: TOBY ROBBINS as Contessa Di Magiore, RONALD RADD as Alfred Thistle, PAUL WHITSUN-JONES as Giorgio, PAUL STASSINO as Captain Rizio, STEPHANIE BEACHAM as Cora Simpson, ANNE SHARP as Nicola Harvester, SARAH ATKINSON as Anne Wilcox, MARIANNE BENET as Renata, MARTIN WYLDECK as Karl, GEORGE SELWAY as Sven, and FRANCO DEROSA as The Hotel Clerk.

Screenplay: Donald James.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 7 April 1972.

06. If It's Got To Go, It's Got To Go

Whilst on a trip to Munich, Jason discovers a beautiful young woman waiting for him in his hotel suite. When she persuades him to spend a few days at a health farm, he soon discovers it to be anything but healthy!

Guest starring: JENNIFER HILARY as Myra Borgen, NATASHA PYNE as Nylene,

ANNA BRETT as Suzanne, YOOTHA JOYCE as Sister Dryker, JOHN LE MESURIER as Doctor Litz, JON CROFT as Morgan, GUY DEGHYas Inspector Gruman, FELIX AYLMER as Doctor Wilstein, IVOR SALTER as Lorik, and


Screenplay: Tony Williamson.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 16 February 1972.

07. Variations on a Theme

During a trip to Vienna, Jason finds himself the bait in a trap to catch a double agent.

Guest starring: RALPH BATES as Keeble, BASIL DIGNAM as Viney, JULIAN GLOVER as John, MICHAEL DAVID as Dischev, JANOS KURUCZ as Balenov, ALEXANDRA BASTEDO as Alexandra, MAGDA KONOPKA as Greta Weiss, ERIC PHOLMANN as Kolkov, WALTER HERTNER as Hoffman, and SEBASTIAN BREAKS as Hazell.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 20 October 1971.

08. Buried In The Cold, Cold Ground

Whilst holidaying in the South of France, Jason picks up a beautiful hitch-hiker, and discovers a Mark Caine-style mystery hidden within the pages of an old Bible.

Guest starring: FREDERICK JAEGER as Dacre, GARY RAYMOND as Sandro, MICHELE DOTRICE as Felicity, LEWIS FIANDER as Lanz, IRENA MAYESKA as Lanz's Sister, REG LYE as Mistral, LYN ASHLEY as Zoe Ballard, SIMON LACK as Inspector Maziol, JANE LAPOTAIRE as The French Maid, and MAGGIE WRIGHT as Dana.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 6 October 1971.

09. As Easy As A.B.C.

Two small-time crooks decide to turn fiction into fact by recreating crimes described in Jason's Mark Caine novels, which leaves Mr. King as the number-one suspect for the crimes!

Guest starring: NIGEL GREEN as Charles, MICHAEL BATES as Edward, YUTTE STENSGAARD as Arlene, PAUL STASSINO as Captain Rizio, and AYSHEA BROUGH as Mireille.

Screenplay: Tony Williamson.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 10 November 1971.

10. A Kiss for a Beautiful Killer

Jason becomes a pawn in a South American revolution when opposing factions believe that he might hold the key to victory that both sides are so desperately seeking.

Guest starring: CLIFFORD EVANS as Colonel Cordoba, KATE O'MARA as Delphi Mercia, MAURICE ROEVES as Riguera, STANLEY LEBOR as Miguel, PATRICK WESTWOOD as Menendez, ROGER LLOYD PACK as The Radio Operator, and ALEX SCOTT as Rodriguez.

Screenplay: Gerald Kelsey.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 9 February 1972.

11. A Page Before Dying

After receiving an invitation to sell the film rights to one of his novels behind the Iron Curtain, Jason finds himself locked in a safe in East Berlin!

Guest starring: DENNIS PRICE as Sir Brian, RONALD LACEY as Ryland, PHILIP MADOC as Hoffman, HARRY G GILBERT as Schultz, CARL DUERING as Lanik, HARRY LANDIS as Vorsch, RICHARD WYLER as Jenson, OLAF POOLEY as Gorini, MICHAEL SHEARD as The Electrician, JENNIE LEE-WRIGHT as The First Girl, and MADELINE HINDE as Ingrid.

Screenplay: Tony Williamson.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 22 September 1971.

12. It's Too Bad About Auntie

Jason investigates an extraordinary case involving a stolen vacuum cleaner, a sweet old lady, and an innocent woman accused of murder.

Guest starring: JACK WATLING as Geoffrey Winters, ALLEN BICKFORD as Andrew Bishop, DINSDALE LANDEN as Detective Sgt. Roddick, NORMAN BIRD as Detective Inspector Fields, DAVID FIRTH as The Photographer, FIONA LEWIS as Lady Pamela Redfield, GEOFFREY CHATER as Mr Horner, SYLVIA COLERIDGE as Mrs Bishop, SARAH LAWSON as Mary Trevor, BASIL HENSON as Robert Trevor, DOROTHEA PHILLIPS as Mrs Edwards, CLIFFORD EARL as The Police Doctor, and MARGOT FIELD as Miss Howe.

Screenplay: Harry W Junkin.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 10 March 1972.

13. A Red Red Rose Forever

Jason is mistaken as a hit man when he is left holding a bunch of roses at a Swiss airport after coming to the aid of a seriously ill man. To Jason's horror, the roses are soon to be exchanged for a rifle!

Guest starring: RONALD LACEY as Ryland, MIKE PRATT as Carson, ISLA BLAIR as Anne Winters, BARBARA MURRAY as Simone, ALAN MACNAUTON as Dr Claudel, TONY STEEDMAN as Professor D'Arblay, DEREK NEWARK as Carl Hartman, CHRISTOPHER BENJAMIN as The Police Inspector, and ANGELA RICHARDS as The Receptionist.

Screenplay: Donald James.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 1 December 1971.

14. Uneasy Lies the Head

Jason is surprised to receive a newspaper cutting of himself in Istanbul when he's confined to bed with a broken leg! Who is impersonating him, and why?

Guest starring: LANCE PERCIVAL as Trim, JULIET HARMER as Shelley Blackman, HAROLD KASKET as Colonel David, RONALD LACEY as Ryland, ANNE SHARP as Nicola Harvester, SANDOOR ELES as Shimoon, and KARA WILSON as Sonja.

Screenplay: Donald James.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 19 January 1972.

15. The Constance Missal

Jason falls under the hypnotic spell of two female crooks, which steal the only copy of his recently completed film script. For it's safe return, they instruct him to steal a historic manuscript that has just become the property of the British Museum.

Guest starring: GERALDINE MOFFATT as Claudia, JANET KEY as Elaine, CLIVE REVILL as Lord Barnes, CHARLES LLOYD-PACK as Howard, RICHARD HURNDALL as Collingwood, DAVID HUTCHESON as Sir Richard, ANNE SHARP as Nicola Harvester, JURGEN ANDERSEN as Hal, ARTHUR BROUGH as Jenkins, and JANE CARDEW as Isobella.

Screenplay: Harry W Junkin.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 12 January 1972.

16. Wanna Buy A Television Series?

In an attempt to sell one of his stories to a television producer, Jason recounts a typical Mark Caine adventure to a TV mogul.

Guest starring: DAVID BAUER as Harry Carmel, NICHOLAS COURTNEY as Dr Staymam, ANNE ASTON as The Nurse, ANDRE MARANNE as Inspector Rosseau, DEREK FRANCIS as Umberto Bellini, GEORGE INNES as Gerard, JAMES DONNELLY as Frank Calder, JAMES WARWICK as Litchfield, and ANNA PALK as Michele.

Screenplay: Dennis Spooner.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 15 September 1971.

17. Toki

Lacking inspiration to finish his latest novel, Jason decided to take a break in Paris, where he meets a beautiful girl in a cafe. Jason soon falls in love with her, but discovers that she already has a lover; gang-leader, Jean le Grand.

Guest starring: KIERON MOORE as Jean le Grand, FELICITY KENDAL as Toki, TONY BECKLEY as Giorgio, DAVID BUCK as Olivier, OLIVER MacGREEVY as Jules, ANNE SHARP as Nicola Harvester, and YURI BORIENKO as Maurice.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 5 January 1972.

18. To Russia With ... Panache

Jason is spirited away to Moscow to help solve the mystery of three people who were seemingly turned to ashes during a trip in an elevator between the ground and sixth floors.

Guest Starring: PAMELA SALEM as Alexandra Lanova, ELIZABETH COUNSELL as Anna Brenskaja, JOHN MALCOLM as Colonel Kolkov, JEFFREY WICKHAM as Porokov, STEFAN GRYFF as Krosnic, TUTTE LEMKOW as Kivich, and RICHARD MARNER as Markovitch.

Screenplay: Tony Williamson.

Director: Paul Dickson

Original Transmission: 17 November 1971.

19. All That Glisters (Part One)

A valuable, but stolen, Cellini statuette falls into the hands of millionaire playboy, Phillipe de Brion, but hot on his trail is adventurer John Mallen, who engages the help of his old friend Jason King to help his investigation.

Guest starring: LEE PATTERSON as Frankie Luca, CLINTON GREYN as John Mallen, ANTON ROGERS as Phillipe de Brion, JOANNA DUNHAM as Martine, MADELINE SMITH as Jonquil, LESLIE FRENCH as Deshfield , MICHAEL GWYNN as Vaturin, PAUL HUMPOLETZ as Weil, TONY VOGEL as Enzio, MICHAEL PETROVITCH as Emilio, WILLIAM KEARNS as Strobel, JOHN RUMNEY as Rizk, VALERIE STANTON as Mia, and ME ME LAY as Xanthe.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 8 December 1971.

20. All That Glisters (Part Two)

As the search for the missing Cellini moves from Paris to Rome, Jason learns to his peril that helping an old friend can be very dangerous indeed.

Guest starring: see Part One.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 15 December 1971.

21. Every Picture Tells A Story

Jason arrives in Hong Kong and is flattered to find a Mark Caine comic strip in a local newspaper. However, further investigations reveal that the text has been changed somewhat in its translation from English into Chinese.

Guest starring: CLIFFORD EVANS as Arthur Tsung, NEIL McCALLUM as Sam Finnigin, BERT KWOUK as Lee Chang, KARA WILSON as Lucy Cameron, ALLAN CUTHBERTSON as Rutledge, JOHN A PINN as Jimmy Foy, ROBERT LEE as F J Wing, ERIC YOUNG as The Airport Barman, ANNE SHARP as Nicola Harvester, and CHERYL KENNEDY as The Stewardess.

Screenplay: Robert Banks Stewart.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 31 March 1972.

22. A Royal Flush

When a King becomes involved with a Princess, and that king just happens to be Jason, romance and crime become intertwined.

Guest starring: ELAINE TAYLOR as Karen, PENELOPE HORNER as Princess Vania, WOLFE MORRIS as Vitorio, DAVID JANSON as Pietro, ANTHONY CORLAN as Enzio, SEBASTIAN BREAKS as Hazell, INIGO JACKSON as Corso, RICHARD HEFFER as Ludwig, TERENCE LODGE as Boris, GEORGINA SIMPSON as The Nurse, and DONNA READING as Teresa.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Original Transmission: 24 March 1972.

23. Zenia

When Jason recognises a hired assassin on a plane, he deliberately walks into a trap to help rescue the kidnapped daughter of the president of the country he's visiting.

Guest starring: PATRICIA ENGLISH as Leila, MICHAEL GOODLIFFE as The President, ZIENIA MERTON as Zenia, ANGELA DOUGLAS as Dana, DONALD BURTON as Oran, and SHARON GURNEY as Nerine.

Screenplay: Philip Broadley.

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Original Transmission: 14 April 1972.

24. The Stones of Venice

When arriving in Venice, Jason is bemused to discover that he is to be awarded a coveted prize for his novel 'The Stones of Venice' - a book he didn't write! He is even more surprised when two unknown assassins make an attempt on his life.

Guest starring: ROGER DELGADO as Captain Garozzo, ANNA GAEL as Ingrid and Terese Bonival, WILLIAM SQUIRE as Colonel Sardner, JOHN RONANE as Tomasi, IRENE PRADOR as Anna, JOHN CAZABON as Marco, RAY CHIARELLA as Fausto, IMOGEN HASSALL as Gina, and HEATHER BARBOUR as The Secretary.

Screenplay: Donald James.

Director: Jeremy Summers

Original Transmission: 17 March 1972.

25. An Author in Search of Two Characters

Jason is offered a vast fee to rewrite a film script for which he will be paid in cash. Unfortunately for Jason, two heavily disguised individuals decide to relieve him of his money.

Guest starring: DUDLEY FOSTER as Ackroyd, IVOR DEAN as Chief Inspector Hughes, LIZ FRASER as Claire, ROY KINNEAR as Robbins, SUE LLOYD as Eve, JAMES GROUT as The Film Director, and NEIL McCARTHEY as Tredgett.

Screenplay: Dennis Spooner.

Director: Cyril Frankel

Original Transmission: 21 April 1972.

26. That Isn’t Me, It's Somebody Else

Jason goes into hiding when he is offered a proposal of marriage from a lady friend of his, but finds himself in even deeper trouble when he discovers that someone if impersonating him.

Guest starring: PATRICK TROUGHTON as Bennett, GEORGE MURCELL as Bonisalvi, SIMON OATES as Broggi, TOBY ROBINS as Martine, GEORGE MARGO as Malazza, ANNE SHARP as Nicola Harvester, JOHN JUNKIN as Captain Jascheroni, WILLIAM ABNEY as Mayer, VICTOR BARING as Escatore, TOMMY GODFREY as Faipiaz, LOUIS RAYNES as Luigi, HUGO FUTCHER as Jean, HAL GALILI as The Oilman, and JULIE CROSTHWAIT as The Air Hostess.

Screenplay: Dennis Spooner.

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Original Transmission: 28 April 1972.

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