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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Spy > Science Fiction > Mystery > British TV > Adam Adamant Lives! - The Complete Collection (1966 – 1967/Region 4 PAL Import/Madman DVD Set)

Adam Adamant Lives! - The Complete Collection (1966 – 1967/Region 4 PAL Import/Madman 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 Four/4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



When Sidney Newman ran Associated British Corporation, a very successful TV network in the early 1960s, he was one of the driving forces (as producer and sometimes writer) behind what became one of the most successful series in TV history: The Avengers.  As the show took off, he eventually moved to run the BBC and left that hit in the hands of creative people like Brian Clemens.  However, he was determined to have a hit like it and found a show he believed could capitalize on its success.  The result was Adam Adamant Lives!


Running for two seasons, the show would prove to be one of the few imitators of the classic Patrick Macnee hit to accomplish some degree of influence and along with Department S (reviewed elsewhere on this site) managed to at least pick up where The Avengers left off in some way.  While Department S was able to do a fine job of Tara King/Linda Thorson-era stories, Adam Adamant Lives! worked on picking up in its own way where the Honor Blackman/Cathy Gale shows left off in its look (black and white live/videotape) and the immediate interaction and camerawork that marked the show before Blackman moved on to Goldfinger and the series went to all film with Diana Rigg.


Gerald Harper (later of Hadleigh, reviewed elsewhere on this site) plays the title character, a 19th Century Victorian gentleman (good with a sword and his fists) who finds himself frozen in a hypersleep until he is thawed out alive in the middle of 1960s England.  This bit was duplicated by the Austin Powers franchise as its back story and if the name sounds familiar, the look and energy of the show inspired the New Wave/Punk band Adam & The Ants, whose lead singer later became simply Adam Ant.  You can even see similarities between some of his Music Videos and this show.


Now awake, he solves mysteries and more battling wild schemes and more in what turned out to be a healthy tow season run.  For a few decades, the show was considered lost in the BBC vaults and only a few shows made it to consumer videotape, but further digging turned up 17 of the original 29 hour-long shows.  That includes most of the Second Season episodes.  Among those directing episodes was a young Ridley Scott.  Thanks to the BBC’s problems with archiving, only one of the three shows he directed survived.


Other known talents to work on the show behind the camera include Brian Clemens (of The Avengers), Robert Banks Stewart (also of The Avengers, plus Callan, Jason King and The Protectors), Ian Stuart Black (also of The Avengers, plus Danger Man, Doctor Who and Star Maidens), Tony Williamson (also of The Avengers, plus Department S, Jason King, The Persuaders! & Return Of The Saint) ands was co-created by Donald Cotton (Doctor Who) and Writer Richard Harris (also of The Avengers, writing some of their most distinct shows).  That leaves no doubt as to the depth of talent here, proving that The Avengers could never produce enough episodes to show off all that great creativity.


We have decided to list all the episodes, including the ones that are missing for good according to BBC records.  Those not on this set will be marked with a # after their titles:


1)     A Vintage Tour For Scoundrels

2)     Death Has A Thousand Faces

3)     More Deadly Than A Sword

4)     The Sweet Smell Of Disaster

5)     Allah Is Not Always With You

6)     The Terribly Happy Embalmers

7)     To Set A Deadly Fashion

8)     The Last Sacrifice

9)     Sing A Song Of Murder

10)  The Doomsday Plan

11)  Death By Appointment

12)  Beauty Is An Ugly Word

13)  The League Of Uncharitable Ladies

14)  Ticket To Terror #

15)  The Village Of Evil

16)  D For Destruction

17)  A Slight Case Of Reincarnation #

18)  Black Echo

19)  Conspiracy Of Death #

20)  The Bastardi Affair #

21)  The Survivors #

22)  Face In The Mirror #

23)  Another Little Drink #

24)  Death Begins At 70 #

25)  Tunnel Of Death #

26)  The Deadly Bullet #

27)  The Resurrectionists #

28)  We Wish You Were Here #

29)  A Sinister Sort Of Service



Williamson wrote episodes 1, 2, 5, 7, 11, 16 and 29.  Clemens wrote episode 6. Stewart wrote episode 4.  Black wrote episodes 20 and 23.  Co-creator Harris wrote episodes 8 and 10.  Scott directed episodes 13, 24 and 27.  Other names behind the show might not have had as much outside success, but have great work histories that show they fit right into this underrated show, including some who worked on early episodes of…  you can guess at this point.


The show can be politically incorrect in parts, but that is part of its appeal and the kind that is often honesty over PC garbage.  Peter Ducrow (A For Andromeda) was the occurrent arch villain The Face, while Harper was joined by Juliet Harmer (The Avengers, Department S, Jason King) as Georgiana Jones, his female counterpart with chemistry that recalls the Steed/Gale relationship and Jack May (also of A For Andromeda, Doctor Who, The Main Chance, Trog) is William E. Simms, completing the trio on the show battling the latest madmen.  He is never a third wheel and his presence makes total sense, something that would not always be the case with trios in these series.


Michael Robbins, Margaret Nolan, Adrienne Corri, Charles “Bud” Tingwell, Jeremy Young, Peter Vaughn, Christine Finn, Patricia Haines, Annette Andre, Michael Barrington, Gerald Sim, Ian Cuthbertson, Patrick Troughton, John Frawley, Peter Madden, Patrick Kavanagh, Gladys Cooper, Judy Parfitt, Kate O’Mara, Bryan Mosley, Edward Evans, Basil Dignam, Roy Evans, Anthony Dawes, Peter Bowles, Nigel Stock, Hilda Barry, Skip Martin, David Garth, Michael Gwynn, T.P. McKenna, Terry Richards and Alf Joint are among those who make up the great guest casts.  Some of them are also stuntmen.


I waited a long time to catch up with this show and now that I am seeing it for the first time, I am very pleased and glad enough fans pulled for the BBC to find all the shows they could.  Madman has issued the 5-DVD set in a terrific single case with a paperboard slipcase any serious fan of such great TV should strongly consider getting this set.



The 1.33 X 1 black and white, full frame image varies throughout, but was shot on monochrome early PAL videotape with some black and white 35mm filming.  As some of these episodes barely survived, the sources they show up here in can vary throughout.  Sometimes the video only remains transferred to 16mm film, which can degrade the detail as the film shows up the limits of PAL video definition.  However, these transfers look better than I expected overall and may surprise you too.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono can also vary, but is pretty good for its age.  The vocal theme song wants to be James Bond, but incidental music by Hal Shaper and David Lee (sung by Kathy Kirby, who originally cut the Cher hit The Way Of Love) is more dated than any instrumental or incidental music here.


Extras are extensive and include DVD-ROM accessible PDF documents including 12 teleplays, TV Comics and an Annual for the show.  An excellent 64-page booklet inside the case (meant to be read after going through all five DVDs of the show) has an episode guide and details on the show’s history.  Regular extras in the DVDs include Outtakes, a 13-minutes-long Photo Gallery, audio Commentary Tracks for the first and last episodes, Missing Sounds audio extracts from the missing Season Two episode A Slight Case Of Reincarnation, Adam Adamant’s Wheels (a vintage 7-minutes-long piece on his Mini Copper) and This Man Is The One, a brand new behind the scenes 52-minutes-long featurette on the history of and making of the show.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Madman at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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