Edward Woodward gives an electrifying performance as a reluctant professional killer working for British Intelligence. Callan became a national phenomenon in the late 1960s, making Woodward one of the highest profile actors on television and paving the way to his eventual career in America on shows like The Equalizer.
Created by James Mitchell (When the Boat Comes In) and exploring the dingy, twilight world of the professional spy, Callan was the antithesis of the James Bond films (back in the days of Connery and Moore) and presented what was, until that point, television’s most realistic portrayal of government espionage.
This set contains all twenty-two colour episodes from the Thames Television-produced series three and four – the majority of which have been unseen for over twenty years and are available here for the first time. When series three was broadcast it was disrupted and shown out of order – it is included here in its intended order.
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Seedy, grubby spy drama in the same vein as The Ipcress File, morally ambiguous and expedient. Russell Hunter as Lonely, the bullied tramp and habitual thief, is incredibly convincing, anchoring the series firmly to the gutter, and Edward Woodward plays the title role well as an assassin and blackmailer with a heart of gold. A murderous, middle aged, single wargamer (Napoleonics), blackmailed with his past and forced to work for the Section, Callan is a working class anti-hero, a dustman with a revolver. Possibly the best spy drama you will ever see.
This DVD set has pride of place in my video library. Solid gold entertainment. Edward Woodward is Callan! Purchased from Zavvi at a bargain price.
I saw the original colour series, as well as the monochrome series, and can appreciate both. Although some people think the introduction of colour detracted from the programme's impact, I disagree. The quality of the script-writing, programme-making and acting far out-ways the presence of colour - or lack of it. This series still stands as a TV pioneer and did not deteriorate at all in its run. Programmes of this era, especially of action, mystery and thriller genres, rely on good plots, slowly-building and ascending levels of intrigue and suspense and excellent acting. Programmes made today have much to learn and can never deliver this sort of quality, relying as they do on instant gratification techniques. This DVD, with all the colour series episodes, is well worth viewing and can transport the viewer back to a much more sustaining and enjoyable time. I've used sendit.com a number of times and would highly applaud and recommend their prices and service.
Some forty years ago as a child I watched Callan late at night and the experience burnt into me. The intensity of this ruthless tv spy series shone a light on the inside workings of the Cold War and all of its terrors. Seeing it all again now on dvd was in every way just as brilliant. The scripts stand the test of time and are classics of the spy genre, tight, riveting and devestating tales. Edward Woodward delivers his career best performance as Callan, a former soldier with no real choice of employment, a reluctant spy , manipulated cruely, an assasin whose every hit pushes the limits of sanity.