Saracen Comes to DVD

Sunday, 04 July 2010 13:50

Terrorism, kidnapping, hijacking and espionage are the daily dangers faced by David Barber and Tom Duffy, chief operatives for Saracen - a private security firm whose clients are governments, industry and individual contractors worldwide.  Barber? Duffy? Yes, just think Bodie and Doyle from The Professionals.

Their backgrounds and personalities are radically different to their initial inspirations, though – not a permed hairstyle in sight! Barber is tall, dark and with typical English reserve, having left the SAS when a mission went tragically wrong. The blond, ruthless Duffy is a relaxed, ruggedly charming American trained in the elite Delta Force. Under Saracen’s founder and director, retired army officer Colonel Patrick Ansell, the agents take on high-risk tasks too sensitive or unpredictable for other agencies to handle.

The entire series of Saracen comes to DVDTaking its cue from the classic action shows of the 1970s, this high budget series from Central Television featured exotic locations and its fair share of action sequences (with input from legendary stunt co-ordinator Peter Brayham, and Terry Walsh is also on-hand). The regular cast features Christian Burgess (Martin Henderson in Peak Practice), Patrick James Clarke (Fred in Leg Work), Michael Byrne (Ted Page in Coronation Street), Ingrid Lacey (Helen in Drop The Dead Donkey) and John Bennett (amongst other roles, Li H'sen Chang in Doctor Who “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”).

Watch out for guest appearances from voice of ‘Roger Rabbit’ Lou Hirsch, Z-Cars legend Stratford Johns, Karl Howman, Andy Serkis, Christopher Benjamin and Anthony Head. Saracen also features theme music by celebrated composer Barrington Pheloung - he of Inspector Morse fame, and as both shows were created by the same production team, you can see that the connection was made here.

It’s difficult to actually work out why this show wasn’t a bigger success than it was.  It may well be that for an action series of the time, it was perhaps too rooted in reality – the villains were indeed the sort that would later be seen in Spooks on a regular basis, but the viewing public were probably not ready for this in a Saturday night show at the end of the 1980s. It probably also didn’t help that the two leads were shown to keep their distance from each other, rather than actually becoming a traditional ‘buddy-buddy’ relationship.  They were civil to each other, but you couldn’t actually see them heading out to the boozer together on a regular basis.

Available on DVD for the first time, this release contains all thirteen episodes, originally screened in 1989, as well as the pilot movie from 1988, “The Zero Option” – this being an account of Barber’s failed SAS mission and his subsequent recruitment by Saracen Systems. Worth noting there’s almost a complete recasting from pilot to series.


Extras on the set include the aforementioned “The Zero Option” pilot movies, an image gallery, plus on the fourth disc three PDFs of episode guides and press information.

Saracen – The Complete Series is out now as a four DVD set from Network DVD, with a running time of 754 minutes approx, and a ‘12’ Certificate. The RRP is £29.99, or less at  






Time is running out. Hostages have already been killed and there is a serious hitch in the SAS plans to end the siege. But the politicians insist on immediate action. There are no more alternatives, they have reached the Zero Option...

Starring: Stephen Hattersley (Barber), John Walton (Carne), Denyse Alexander (Mrs Vachell), Miles Anderson (Major Fredericks), Judith Anthony (Margaret), Aran Bell (Constable McVean), Lila Cherif (Attache’s Wife), Richard Clifford (Aide), Arthur Cox (Sid), Suzanne Crowley (Sally Barber), Kim Durham (Mortuary Sergeant), Eric Flynn (Colonel Ansell), Robert Gwilym (Hewitt), Linal Haft (Riley), Martin Harvey (Dominic Barber), Anthony Head (Bruce Michaelis), Richard Heffer (Danby), David Henry (Commander), Adam Hussein (1st Secretary),  Sally Jackson (Stephanie), Tristram Jellinek (Standish), Jill Johnson (Angela), ray Kingsley (Journalist I), Iain Lauchlan (Negotiator), Robin Lermitte (Ronnie Collins), Sarah Martin (Journalist II), Tony Matthews (Colonel Donovan), David McAlister (colonel Jones), Jack McKenzie (Dunstan), Michael McStay (Quentin Collins), Francis Middleditch (Tenant), Kate Mitchell (Cheryl), Amanda Noar (Photographer’s Assistant), Mick Oliver (Midge), Neil Phillips (Police Inspector), Joanna Phillips-Lane (Alice), Tim Poole (Art Reporter), Brian Portsmouth (Robert), Carmen Rodriguez (Tracy), David Ross (Nugent), Elias Shehadeh (Doad), Jonathan Stratt (Kenyon).

Music: Geoff MacCormack & Simon Goldenberg

Associate Producer: Laurie Greenwood

Producer: Chris Griffin

Executive Producer: Ted Childs

Writers: Chris Kelly & Ted Childs

Script Editor: Patrick Harbinson

Director: Sarah Hellings

Original ITV Transmission: 19 November 1988



Christian Burgess as David Barber

Patrick James Clarke as Tom Duffy

Michael Byrne as Patrick Ansell 

John Bennett as Nugent

Ingrid Lacey as Alice


Series Original Music: Barrington Pheloung

Series Created by Chris Kelly & Ted Childs

Based on an Original Idea by Chris Kelly

Executive Producer: Ted Childs

Co Producer: Patrick Harbinson

Producer: Deirdre Keir



Kyle hires Saracen Systems to provide security for his guests at a lunch party on board his luxury yacht in the upmarket marina of Puerto Talavera. One of the guests is shot leaving the boat, and top agents Barber and Duffy set out on the trail of the assassin.

Guest Starring: Stratford Johns (Sir Bernard Kyle), Lynsey Baxter (Juliet Isted), Derrick Branche (Antonio Cuesta), Steven O’Donnell (Digby), Samantha Leverett (Spanish Girl), Christopher Simon (First Moroccan), Jose Dominguez (Second Moroccan), Richard Lundy (Boy in Grocers), Vanessa Knox-Mawer (Belinda), Peter Brayham (Peter Peebles), Bernard Brown (Detective Inspector Craven), John Golightly (Biggadike), Corinne Jaber (Pilar Galdos), Belinda Sinclair (Sarah Curson)

Writers: Chris Kelly & Ted Childs

Director: Peter Hammond

Original ITV Transmission: 2 September 1989



Princess Rania has been shot at and Barber and Duffy are concerned about the security at the Qaryat Embassy where her Uncle is the Ambassador. The situation worsens when a British journalist is kidnapped and the Uncle is shot. Rania’s cousin is the prime suspect and Saracen sets out to investigate.

Guest Starring: Zia Moyheddin (Tariq), Geoffrey Hutchings (James Silverdale), Rita Wolf (Princess Rania), Nadio Fortune (Bodyguard), Aftab Sachak (Mahmoud), Paul Bhattacharjee (Prince Jahwad), Nadim Sawalha (Sheikh Sayid Al Kebir), Katy Newell (Cathy), Arturo Venegas (Waiter), Paul Brooke (Charles Lighthill), Henry Moxon (Major Domo), Mark Tandy (Miles Gordon), Stephen Gressieux (Guard), Karl Seth (Youth), Colin Stinton (Lou Grady), Nina Marc (Saracen Secretary), Bridget Turner (Louise Silverdale), Dicken Ashworth (German Hippy).

Writer: Robert Hammond

Director: David Tucker

Original ITV Transmission: 9 September 1989



Barber travels to a South American republic where a military junta has seized power. A British reporter and his crew have been kidnapped by rebel forces and two American mercenaries are acting as go-betweens. One hostage is killed and two hurt as Saracen begin a desperate search for the survivors.

Guest Starring: Alfred Molina (Jose Morazan), Nicholas Farrell (Jonathan Sinclair), Nick Dunning (Adam Sinclair), Mick Ford (Graham Bishop), Jonathan Stratt (Clive Gould), Francisco Morales (Intertel Guide), Roberta Fox (Julia), Michael D’Cruze (Zuviria), Nelson Fernandez (Menard), Francesca Brill (Wendy Sinclair), Andy Lucas (Col Marquez Perez), Norman Chancer (Straker), Michael James Reed (Gruber), Samantha Shamplina (Sally Gould), Sara Clee (Betty Gould), Petronilia Whitfield (Female Bodyguard).

Writer: John Foster

Director: Ian Knox

Original ITV Transmission: 16 September 1989



Merland is chained to a briefcase containing several million pounds-worth of diamonds. He is involved in getting them sold to a South American ex-President. Careless words from a shop assistant lead to a kidnap situation involving small time crooks Jamie and Deanie, who have no idea what they have got themselves involved in.

Guest Starring: Karl Howman (Jamie), Gary Olsen (Deanie), Paul Moriarty (Ray Hall), Lisa Geoghan (Sue), Peter Whitman (Maurice Merland), Don Gallagher (Reid), Tony Marshall (African Waiter), Elaine Lordan (Debbie), Patrick Murray (Pritchard), George Little (Paul), Jeffrey Chiswick (Cyril Daniels), Catherine Clarke (Danya),  Peter Scarsbrook (Heavy One), Leon Greene (Heavy Two), Jenna Russell (Tracey), Stewart Harwood (Cafe Owner), Lloyd McGuire (Neeskins), John Dixon (Policeman).

Writer: Mick Mahoney

Director: Herbert Wise

Original ITV Transmission: 23 September 1989



Barber and Duffy fly out to the Central African republic of Mazimba when a Saracen agent is killed protecting shipments from the Watumba gold mine, and terrorists are threatening further attacks.

Guest Starring: Lisa Eichhorn (Delphine Grant), Malcolm Terris (Da Silva), Geff Francis (Bandu), Dave Holland (Peter Ives), Robbie Gee (Fanzu), James Cosmo (Miekers), William Vanderpuye (Commandante), Jane Wood (Mrs Ives), Eugene Lipinski (Barskov), Andy Serkis (Dudin), Ewen Cummins (Pedro), Alphonsia Emmanuel (Mrs Oriko)

Writers: Chris Kelly & Ted Childs

Director: Tom Clegg

Original ITV Transmission: 30 September 1989



Barber is in hospital, recovering from an accident. Doctor Carmel McGrath gets his attention, and a weekend away together should help his recovery.  However, his fellow Saracen operatives uncover a secret from Carmel’s past...

Guest Starring: Suzanna Hamilton (Dr Carmel McGrath), Patrick Drury (Bernard McGrath), Michelle Fairley (Maeve), John Rees (Poacher), Martin Harvey (Dominic Barber), Wendy Williams (Dominic’s Grandmother), Zohra El-Harrak (Arab Girl), Yannis Lazarides (Bodyguard One), Maggie Shevlin (Breda Toomey), Michael O’Hagan (Declan Toomey), Tom Hickey (Monsignor O’Halloran), Kevin Walsh (SAS Man), Marc Murphy (Young Daniel), Linus Roache (Daniel McAvaddy), Gerard O’Hare (Liam Fogarty).

Writer: Ted Childs

Director: Antonia Bird

Original ITV Transmission: 7 October 1989



Barber and Duffy provide protection for a top cancer research scientist. O’Neill is on the verge of a breakthrough, but is receiving death threats from animal rights activists.  However, Nugent is looking for secrets from O’Neill’s past.

Guest Starring: Lee Montague (Professor O’Neill), Vickery Turner (Betsy O’Neill), David Sterne (Detective Sergeant), Richard Walker (Terry Nisbitt), David Hargreaves (Doctor Claister), Martin Philips (Gary), Jonathan Barlow (Second Policeman), Allan Mitchell (President), Paul Raffield (Tony), Lynette Dundas (Jennifer Gazebee), Robert Oates (Security Man), James Coombes (Peter Vassall), Leo Dolan (Telecom Driver), Nina Marc (Sally), Neil Duncan (Simon Bleasdale), Chris Humphreys (Bonallack), Sukie Smith (Gillian), Gerard Murphy (Features Editor), Sarah Wynter (Editorial Assistant).

Writer: Chris Kelly

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Original ITV Transmission: 14 October 1989



Duffy is visiting on his old army buddies, Steve, who runs a bar on the North African coast. Meanwhile, Barber is busy protecting an Arab prince. An attempt on the prince’s life leads to a trail that goes to North Africa and a team-up with the relaxing Duffy.

Guest Starring: Derek Newark (Metcalf), Lou Hirsch (Steve), Stefan Kalipha (Rahman), Timothy Carlton (Carmichael), Akim Mogaji (Ajlan), Lyndham Gregory (Ajlan’s Friend One), Dinesh Shukla (Ajlan’s Friend Two), Alan Polonsky (Barman), Steve McFadden (Nash), Annie Hayes (Kitty Metcalf), Brian Hall (Harris), Peter Caffrey (Izatt), Ozzie Stevens (Thug), Tariq Alibai (Arab Doctor).

Writer: John Brown

Director: Ian Knox

Original ITV Transmission: 21 October 1989



Barber and Duffy are brought in to smuggle and Eastern European trade union leader into Britain. Naugi has been awarded a major Western peace prize, and it will be a propaganda coup if he can receive it in person.  Their safe house is compromised and it’s up to Alice to hunt down the would-be killers.

Guest Starring: Tomek Bork (Jan Naugi), Barrie Houghton (Marek), Michael Culver (Sir Anthony Mayfield), Martin Stone (Watcher 4A), Michael Mulkerrin (Watcher 4D), Andrzej Borkowski (Jacek), Joe Montana (Adam), Bill Moody (Kowalski), Gregory Karr (Policeman), David Barrass (Mayotz), Martin Harvey (Dominic Barber), Sergai Rousakov (Guard), Katharine New (Secretary).

Writer: John Fletcher

Director: Willi Patterson

Original ITV Transmission: 28 October 1989



Barber and Duffy are assigned to protect a group of African politicians.

Guest Starring: James Grout (Donald Bowker), Edward Wiley (Bruno Dietz), Clare Byam Shaw (Rosie Maskell), Nicholas Day (Terence Swift), Al Matthews (Dube), Elsa O’Toole (Elizabeth Mangaliso), Richard Ridings (Bulmer), Paul Antony Barber (Lydekker), Hakeen Kae-Kazim (Bazantsi), Louis Mahoney (Magubane), Mike Hayward (Detective Inspector Powys), Gary Kielty (Carl), Cyril Nri (Desmond), Ken Parry (Madame Noelle).

Writer: Chris Kelly

Director: James Ormerod

Original ITV Transmission: 4 November 1989



Barber and Duffy have the mission of protecting a retired Nazi hunter. They initially doubt the old man’s life is in danger, until the threat becomes very real.

Guest Starring: David Ryall (Aaron Frankel), Philip Locke (Richard Stellman), Geoffrey Chater (Alan Ross), John Gabriel (Samuel Lisky), Arthur Whybrow (Taxi Driver), Neil Dudgeon (Jimmy), Robert Hudson (Don), Dave Duffy (Geoff), Vanessa Knox-Mawer (Belinda), Kevin Walsh (Electrician), James Snell (Unknown Man), Bernard Spear (Man in Cafe), Mary Henry (Woman in Cafe), Philip McGough (Charles Harland), Chris Samsworth (Policeman).

Writer: Michael Russell

Director: Antonia Bird

Original ITV Transmission: 11 November 1989



An attempt is made on the life of scientist Dr Barkstone, while Veronica, his mistress, has mysteriously left the company they both worked for. Barber and Duffy discover that Barkstone is involved in a plot to trade in chemical weapons.

Guest Starring: Clive Francis (Dr Robert Barkstone), Pippa Guard (Veronica Mills), Christopher Benjamin (Charles Saunders), Avi Nassa (Al Beja One), Jennifer Clulow (Saunders’ Secretary), Timothy Douek (Arnold T Krantz III), Oscar Quitak (Warren Carlisle), Alix Refaie (Sadiq Kebir), Nasser Memarzia (Al Beja Two), Wolf Kahler (Herr Bauer), Lindsey Lomax (Cosmetics Girl), Ahmed Khalil (Bassam), Jacqueline Roth (Al Beja Woman), Anna Korwin (Dr Elizabeth Mostyn), Michael Sheard (Dr Alex Hamilton), Dagmar Franz (Lecturer). 

Writer: Tony McHale

Director: Roger Tucker

Original ITV Transmission: 18 November 1989



Barber and Duffy are involved in training young Arabs in anti-terrorism techniques. But Oliver Thurleigh has other ideas for the trainees, as well as for Dominic, Barber’s son.

Guest Starring: Jolyon Baker (Oliver Thurleigh), Rowena Cooper (Eileen Thurleigh), Denise Stephenson (Penelope Thurleigh), Lisa Climie (Hostage), James Harkishin (Hazzem), Janet Steel (Lyla), Joe Ansted (Third Trainee), Ashok Kumar (Fourth Trainee), Terence Harvey (Police Inspector), Marc Zuber (Tarik Fathy), Lucy Speed (Vicky Thurleigh), Lesley Nightingale (Gloria Roberts), Martin Harvey (Dominic Barber).

Writer: John Foster

Director: Laurence Moody

Original ITV Transmission: 25 November 1989





Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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