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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Espionage > British TV > Callan – Set Two (1971 – 1972/British Spy TV/Acorn Media DVD)

Callan – Set Two (1971 – 1972/British Spy TV/Acorn Media DVD)


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



As we watched through the second set of the classic hit TV spy series Callan, lead star Edward Woodward passed away.  One of the greatest actors in British entertainment history, his career was amazing and his performances very rich and consistent for over half a century.  It was with some irony that I watched the final of four seasons of the series, issued by Acorn here as Callan – Set Two, the second and final of the color seasons.  If you missed Callan – Set One, here is our coverage to explain the show better:





This time, David Callan may start running the S.I.S. department he has killed so many people over, but first must get himself out of his latest mess.  The hour-long episodes this time include:


1)     That’ll Be The Day

2)     Call Me Sir!

3)     First Refusal

4)     Rules Of The Game

5)     If He Can, So Could I

6)     None Of Your Business

7)     Charlie Says It’s Goodbye

8)     I Never Wanted The Job

9)     The Carrier

10)  The Contract

11)  THE RICHMOND FILE: Call Me Enemy

12)  THE RICHMOND FILE: Do You Recognise The Woman?




The final three shows add up to what turned out to be the peak end of the show before it was surprisingly cancelled.  It helps to see the previous season(s), but if you can follow the show and its complex nature, you will still be impressed.  It is still a Cold War show, yet its dark truths about the business of espionage are as true as they ever were and only The Sandbaggers (reviewed elsewhere on this site) was ever its equal.  Yes, it is a precursor to The Equalizer (which we have also covered on the site) but this is much darker and amazing.  Callan is an all-time television classic.


The 1.33 X 1 image is once again one of those many classic British series where the interiors are shot on PAL videotape and locations (plus most outdoor shots) are shot on 16mm film, though you are seeing film-to-tape transfers of the time.  The film may sadly be lost, so so much for a semi-HD version, but the quality here is pretty good despite some aliasing and flaws here and there.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is consistent and at a healthy volume throughout.  Extras include audio commentary tracks on episodes #5 and # 11 with Woodward himself that should only be heard after watching the rest of the series.  A feature film was made after this in 1974 and we hope to see that on Blu-ray and DVD soon.  In the meantime, if you have never seen Callan, catch it ASAP!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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