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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Action > Adventure > British TV > The Protectors – The Complete Series (1972 – 1974/Network U.K./PAL Region 2 DVD Import Set)

The Protectors – The Complete Series (1972 – 1974/Network U.K./PAL Region 2 DVD Import Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Episodes: B



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Two/2 PAL format software and can be only be ordered from our friends at Network U.K. at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Made four years after the huge worldwide success of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (reviewed elsewhere on this site), The Protectors gave Robert Vaughn his second regular action role as a spy.  This time, he played Harry Rule, leading a trio of for-hire that were expert detective and exceeded in doing more than just legwork and simple investigations.  Joined by the Contessa Caroline de Contini (Nyree Dawn Porter) and Paul Buchet (Tony Anholt), the show as not only part of a continuing series of such action shows from Lord Lew Grade and ITC, but also involved ITC producer Gerry Anderson.


Known for hits like Thunderbirds and the other SuperMarionation series, Grade wanted Anderson to expand and this was the way they decided to do it.  Vaughn would also be a producer and Grade hoped to finally have a big hit with a big U.S. star.  In a move that later (allegedly) made Anderson unhappy, Vaughn made the show a half-hour series (something he may have also wondered if he miscalculated on) and the series only lasted for two seasons.


That is a shame, because this is a fun show and obviously, one trying to imitate The Avengers and U.N.C.L.E. at the same time.  Yet, it also developed its own style and as it heads for its (already?) 40th Anniversary, holds up better than you might expect.  The show has not been broadcast as much as you’d think it would considering all the success Vaughn has had with Hu$tle and an enduring career since of major appearances on TV and feature film, but Network U.K. has issued this Complete Series set with all the episodes in one place and in upgraded copies as well.


Those episodes include (with guest stars where applicable:


Disc One:

1)   2,000 Ft. To Die (Paul Stassino)

2)   Brother Hood (Vladek Sheybal and Patrick Troughton)

3)   See No Evil

4)   Disappearing Trick (David Bauer and Darren Nesbit)

5)   Ceremony For The Dead (Toby Robins, Bob Sessions, Jenny Lee Wright)

6)   It Was All Over In Leipzig (Phil Brown and Paul Weston)

7)   The Quick Brown Fox (Christopher Benjamin)

8)   King Con (Anton Rodgers, Brian Worth, Peter Cellier)


Disc Two:

9)   Thinkback (Ian Hendry, Donald Burton, Keith Bell)

10)  A Kind Of Wild Justice (Anna Palk, Barry Stanton, Patrick O’Connell)

11)  Balance Of Terror (Nigel Green, Laurence Naismith, Janos Kurucz, Barry Warren)

12)  Triple Cross (Peter Bowles, John Neville, John Barrard, Angharad Rees, Del Henney)

13)  The Numbers Game (Margaret Lee, Henry McGee, Frederick Treves, George Innes)

14)  For The Rest of Your Natural… (Damien Thomas, Susan Travers)

15)  The Bodyguards (Freddie Jones, Harry Hutchinson, Manning Redwood)

16)  A Matter Of Life & Death (Julie Crosthwaite, Maxwell Shaw, Cyril Chaps)

17)  The Big Hit (Derek Smith, Arthur Howell, Bob Anderson)


Disc Three:

18)  One & One Makes One (Michael Gough, Neil McCallum, Anthony Stamboulich)

19)  Talkdown (John Nettleton, William Moore)

20)  Vocal (Shane Rimmer)

21)  …With A Little Help From My Friends (Jeremy Brett, Marc Zuber, John Gatrell, Martin Benson, Saeed Jeffrey, Desmond Jordan)

22)  Chase (Patrick Magee, Keith Buckley, Gertan Klauber)

23)  Your Witness (Stephanie Beacham, George Baker, Gordon Sterne)

24)  It Could Be Practically Anywhere On The Island (Vernon Dobtcheff, David Glover)


Disc Four:

25)  The First Circle (Ed Bishop, Sally Bazely)

26)  A Case For The Right (Milo O’Shea, Jacques Sernas, Jeffrey Segal)

27)  Quin (Peter Vaughan, Tristan Rogers, Luis Barboo)

28)  Bagman (Patricia Haines, Stephen Chase, Paul Dawkins, John Ford Davies)

29)  Fighting Fund (David Suchet, Hugh Morton)

30)  The Last Frontier (Hildegarde Neil, Yuri Borionko, William Lucas)

31)  Baubles, Bangles & Beads (Frederick Jaeger, John Barron, Robert Russell)

32)  Petard (Iain Cuthbertson, Ralph Bates, Angela Douglas, Basil Dignam)


Disc Five:

33)  Goodbye George (Paul Jones, Geraldine Moffat, Arnold Diamond, David Suchet (uncredited!))

34)  Wam (2 episodes/Prentis Hancock, Michael Sheard)

35)  Implicado (Peter Firth, Patrick Mower, Ruth Trouncer, Neil Hallett, Ron Eagleton)

36)  Dragon Chase (Donald Houston, William Dexter, Richard Marner)

37)  Decoy (Mark Damon, Ronald Radd)

38)  Border Line (Oskar Homolka, Jon Laurimore, Gabor Vernon)

39)  Zeke’s Blues (Shane Rimmer, Donald Webster, Ray Lonnen)


Disc Six:

40)  Lena (John Thaw, Judy Parfitt, Frederick Peisley Terence Plummer, Roger Lloyd-Pack)

41)  The Bridge (Michael Goodliffe, James Maxwell, Diana Quick)

42)  Sugar & Spice (Cicely Paget-Bowman, Gerry Crampton)

43)  Burning Bush (Sinéad Cusack, Anthony Steel)

44)  The Tiger & The Goat (Derek Newark, Douglas Wilmer, Derek Godfrey, Drewe Henley, Max Faulkner)

45)  Route 27 (Michael Coles, Jeremy Wilkin, Carl Bohen, Virginia Wetherell, Dan Meaden, Terry Richards)

46)  Trial (Joss Ackland, Richard Hurndall, Fred McNaughton, John Ringham, Graham Ashley)

47)  Shadbolt (Tom Bell, Stanley Stewart, Neville Barber)


Disc Seven:

48)  A Pocketful Of Posies (Eartha Kitt, Kate O’Mara, Kieron Moore, Bernard Kay, John Law, Michael Lees)

49)  Wheels (Dinsdale Landen, George Pravda)

50)  The Insider (Stuart Wilson, Donald Hewitt, Allison Griffith, Alf Joint)

51)  Blockbuster (Peter Jeffrey, Christopher Neame, Stanley Meadows, Ron Pember, Maurice O’Connell, Paul Antrim)



When the show finally hit home video in the U.S., it was on A&E DVD in two sets, which we covered as follows:









The only extra from those sets not here is a great audio commentary on the first episode, but the improvements otherwise are very noticeable in this upgraded edition.



The 1.33 X 1 image on the A&E DVDs were fine for their time, but ITC’s owners have gone back to the original 16mm materials the show was shot on and upgraded them, with the result being a richer, warmer set of prints with color not only better than all previous versions of the show, but noticeable upgrades from the best versions of the other ITC shows shot in 16mm: Jason King and The Adventurer, reviewed elsewhere on this site.  Brendan J. Stafford and Frank Watts were Directors of Photography for all 52 shows and they made the smaller film frame look great, something you can really see in these copies.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is an improvement over previous versions, sounding almost stereo-like at times and warmer overall.  Network did a 5-CD soundtrack for the show, so they are working with the best possible materials. Even Tony Christie’s theme song (at the end of each show) Avenues & Alleyways sounds better than ever.


Extras include over 1,500 stills on DVD 7 that show the PR on the show, plus behind-the-scenes and more, plus PDF promotional material including press information and an original brochure.  More would have been nice, but this is not bad at all.  Miss Porter and Mr. Anholt (later on Space: 1999) are sadly no longer with us and they deserve a special thanks in making this show work with their star quality and personalities.  They will be missed.  With Vaughn, they made a fine team as The Protectors and a big screen revival was even discussed recently, but the odds of that working are slim.  It would take three exceptional stars with chemistry together to make it work and achieving that is slim, but why bother when this show is still so good?



As noted above, you can order this DVD import set (PLUS a separate 5 CD complete soundtrack collection of the series noted in the text) exclusively from Network U.K. at:









-   Nicholas Sheffo


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