Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Action > Adventure > British TV > Danger Man – The Complete First Series (1960 – 1961/Network U.K./Region 2/PAL DVD Set)

Danger Man – The Complete First Series (1960 – 1961/Network U.K./Region 2/PAL DVD Set)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     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 ordered from our friends at Network U.K. at the website address provided at the end of the review or at finer retailers.



When the Ralph Smart-created Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan turned up on DVD a few years ago in the U.S., many were not aware of the earlier half-hour shows.  However, many action series began at that length in early TV on both sides of the Atlantic and now, an expanded, improved version has been issued by Network U.K. in a replacement for the all older editions.  We covered the U.S. A&E set at this link:





What follows is a brief look at each show by number/U.S. air date (DVD has the shows in British broadcast order) /writer(s)/director, and note that we mention guest stars before they were names:

1)     View From The Villa (9/11/60; Brian Clemens & Ralph Smart; Terry Bishop) – Drake tracks down the girlfriend of a murdered banker so she can reveal the killer.  Barbara Shelley guest stars.

2)     Time To Kill (9/18/60; Brian Clemens, Ian Stuart Black & Ralph Smart; Ralph Smart) – A young girl causes trouble for a deadly assassin named Vogeler, and only Drake can save her.

3)     Josetta (9/25/60; Ralph Smart; Michael Truman) – Can a blind sister of a murdered senator offer enough clues for Drake to nab the killers?

4)     The Blue Veil (10/2/60; Don Ingalis & Ralph Smart; Charles Frend) – Drake goes to the Middle East to stop slave trading.

5)     The Lovers (10/9/60; Jo Eisinger & Doreen Montgomery; Peter Graham Scott) – Will a president be bombed in a foreign country or can Drake stop it, give or take a love affair in the way.

6)     The Girl In Pink Pajamas (10/16/60; Brian Clemens, Ian Stuart Black & Ralph Smart; Peter Graham Scott) – Another presidential assassination attempt, this time in the Balkans.

7)     Position Of Trust (10/23/60; Ian Stuart Black and Jo Eisinger; Ralph Smart) – Drake goes back to the Middle East to save a friend’s daughter form drug addition.  Donald Pleasance (Halloween, You Only Live Twice) and Lois Maxwell guest star in one of the more interesting shows.

8)     The Lonely Chair (10/30/60; John Roddick & Ralph Smart; Charles Frend) -  Industrial designer’s daughter is kidnapped, so you know who has to save her, but this is a bit better than most of these shows. Sam Wanamaker and Patrick Troughton (Dr. Who) guest star.

9)     The Sanctuary (11/6/60; John Roddick & Ralph Smart; Charles Frend) – Drake has to deal with the IRA, believe it or not, and this includes a prison trip.

10)  An Affair Of State (11/13/60; Oscar Brodny; Peter Graham Scott) – Did a U.S, economics expert kill himself in the Caribbean, or was he simply assassinated.  Drake will pose as one to find out.

11)  The Key (11/20/60; Ralph Smart and Jack Whittingham; Seth Holt) – A leak in Vienna sends Drake in to investigate.  Could it be a newspaper writer (Robert Flemying), someone inside or an enemy agent?  Charles Gray (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Diamonds Are Forever) guest stars.

12)  The Sisters (11/27/60; Brain Clemens & Jo Eisinger; Seth Holt) – Drake tracks a traitor while investigating the East Bloc nabbing of a Brit looking for political asylum.

13)  The Prisoner (12/4/60; Ralph Smart & Robert Stewart; Terry Bishop) – William Sylvester (2001: A Space Odyssey) is in a convincing dual role as a wanted musician and his double, used to help the talent defect.  Interesting for its success in pulling off the two characters in one actor.

14)  The Traitor (12/11/60; John Roddick; Terry Bishop) – Drake tries tracking down a new enemy, but gets more than he bargained for in tangling with the Chinese.  Barbara Shelley (in a new role) and Warren Mitchell guest star.

15)  Colonel Rodriguez (12/18/60; Ralph Smart; Julian Amyes) – Back to the Caribbean, Drake is accused of killing a singer.  Honor Blackman (The Avengers, Goldfinger) makes a brief appearance, but the show is limited.

16)  The Island (1/1/61; Ralph Smart & Brian Clemens; R. Pennington Richards) – A plane carrying two assassins and Drake wrecks, leaving him to clean up.  Not as good as it could have been.

17) Find And Return (1/8/61; Jo Eisinger; Seth Holt) - Drake has to find a girl in the Middle East who is accused of spying.  Despite guest talents like Donald Pleasance and Warren Mitchell (both in new roles), it never clicks.

18)  The Girl Who Liked G.I.s (1/15/61; Marc Brandel & Ralph Smart; Michael Truman) – Drake goes to Munich when a U.S. soldier is assassinated.  Was he selling secrets?  Nigel Green guest stars.

19)  Name, Date, and Place (1/22/61; Ralph Smart & John Roddick; Charles Frend) – Similar murders lead Drake to an international murder organization.  Jean Marsh guest stars, but the show is not that good.

20)  Vacation (1/29/61; Ralph Smart; Patrick McGoohan) – On a break from his usual escapades, Drake has to put recreation on hold when he realizes he has been seated next to a deadly assassin, who he decides to follow.  Not bad, thanks obviously in part to McGoohan taking over the director’s chair.

21)  The Conspirators (2/5/61; Ralph Smart & John Roddick; Michael Truman) – Does a British diplomat’s wife know too much?  Drake goes to the island where she is to make sure she is not killed because of it.

22)  The Honeymooners (2/12/61; Ralph Smart & Lewis Davidson; Charles Frend) – Drake goes to another island and is forced to interrupt newlyweds when the husband is to be killed.

23)  The Gallow Trees (2/19/61; Ralph Smart & Marc Brandel; Michael Truman) – Has a long-thought-dead enemy agent surfaced ten years later?  Drake investigates and finds the man is simply trying to be left alone, running an inn with his daughter.  Too bad someone is still on the kill.

24)  The Relaxed Informer (1/26/61; Ralph Smart & Robert Stewart; Anthony Bushell) - A security leak in Barvaria?  Drake is about to find out. Not too good.

25)  The Brothers (3/5/61; Ralph Smart; Charles Frend) – Two bandits wreck in a plane, then discovers classified documents.  Not everything it could have been.

26)  The Journey Ends Halfway (3/12/61; Ian Stuart Black; Clive Donner) – To get into Communist China, Drake pretends to be an East Bloc engineer.  Fair at best, but is guest stars Anna May Wong and Kwouk (The Pink Panther, Goldfinger) for a more interesting show.

27)  Bury The Dead (3/19/61; Brian Clemens & Ralph Smart; Clive Donner) – Drake goes to Sicily to deal with the Italian Mafia when they cross NATO.  This show may suffer the many innovations in the Gangster genre since 1960, but star power including Beverly Garland, Patrick Troughton and Robert Shaw as the head gangster in hiding make this one of the bets shows in the series.

28)  Sabotage (3/26/61; Michael Pertwee & Ian Stuart Black; Peter Graham Scott) – A transport taking off from Singapore blows up, killing the owner, Jason Scott.  When it turns out to be part of a series of Jason Airlines that have had “problems”, Drake steps in.  This is a good show as well.

29)  The Contessa (4/2/61; John Roddick & Ralph Smart; Terry Bishop) – Drake investigates a cocaine smuggling ring when a dead body shows up.  Bill Nagy & Jackie Collins guest star, but the show is poor.

30)  The Leak (4/9/61; Ralph Smart & Brian Clemens; Anthony Bushell) – Are Northern Africans dying of radiation from a local nuclear plant?  Drake investigates and finds something more sinister may be going on.  Future Bond film alumnus Anthony Dawson and Walter Gotell guest star in one of the better shows.

31)  The Trap (Ralph Smart & John Roddick; R. Pennington Richards) – Yugoslavia has a chance to get a U.S. decoder in London, unless Drake stops them.  Not as good as it sounds either.

32)  The Actor (4/23/61; Marc Brandel; Michael Truman) – Burt Kwouk (as a different character) guest stars as a sound technician who is about to be murdered for intercepting Chinese intelligence.  Drake comes up with a way to find out where the radiowaves are flying from and too, before British Intelligence is compromised.  Drake decides to become a thespian in a fairly good show.

33)  Hired Assassin (4/30/61; Ralph Smart & John Roddick; Charles Frend) – Drake goes to South America to stop another presidential assassin, which is less effective a show that ever.

34)  The Deputy Coyannis Story (5/7/61; Jo Eisinger; Peter Graham Scott) – Drake in the Balkans looking for stolen money.  Charles Gray guest stars, but the show is not that good.

35)  Find And Destroy (5/14/61; Ralph Smart & John Roddick; Charles Frend) – Drake goes to Rio to find a mini-submarine that has sunk into the ocean with many top secrets. This show is fair.

36)  Under The Lake (5/21/61; Jack Whittingham; Seth Holt) – Drake traces counterfeit currency, which leads him to an ex-Nazi who wants revenge for losing the war, among other things.  This print has some slight debris, slight scratches, and it looks like digital video noise reduction was used here.  Walter Gotell gets a larger role and this is not bad considering the Nazi angle.  Hermione Baddeley guest stars.

37)  The Nurse (12/25/60; Ralph Smart & Brian Clemens; Peter Graham Scott) -An Arab king is killed, and Drake flies in to help, with the situation twisted by the fact that a newborn is now the new king.  This is one of the better shows.

38)  Dead Man Walks (5/28/61; Ralph Smart & Brian Clemens; Charles Frend) – Scientists may have been killed by a virus of their own creation, but Drake has to make sure this was not merely an accident, and new clues point to something not so simple.  A fairly good episode.

39)  Deadline (6/4/61; Jo Eisinger & Ian Stuart Black; Peter Graham Scott) – Is a revolution brewing in Africa?  Drake goes to Victoria to check it out and the key is following armaments.  Holds up in the face of political correctness and the rise of multi-culturalism, and is an odd change of pace in delving into more political territory than usual.


So the shows have held up in mixed fashion forty-plus years later, but have their moments and have aged well enough considering similar shows from the era (The Avengers, The Saint) existed at the same time in their earliest forms.  Gadgets had not totally kicked in yet and it is interesting to see the writers try and squeeze a smart story into less than 30 minutes with a resolution.  Still, I am more impressed than I expected and if this is your kind of storytelling, you may be too.


The 1.33 X 1 image was shot on 35mm black and white film and looks about as good as the previously reviewed NTSC set from A&E, but the source material is very good here and we hope a Blu-ray edition is on the way like the very successful Prisoner set both A&E and Network issued already.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is more similar between the two sets and the audio is about as good as it is going to get on DVD.  Hope an uncompressed option shows up on a Blu-ray.


While the A&E set from years ago offered no extras, Network delivers some goods including PDF DVD-ROM accessible materials, several still galleries, mute trailers and a commemorative booklet on the making of the series by Archive TV historian Andrew Pixley.  Now we’ll see if Network reissues an upgraded version of the hour-long shows that followed.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import exclusively from Network U.K. at:









-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com