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 television’s most realistic portrayal, until that point, of government espionage.
This set contains the original Armchair Theatre pilot play, A Magnum for Schneider, along with all the remaining black and white episodes from series one and two - unseen in nearly forty years and unavailable in any format until now. The Worst Soldier I Ever Saw only exists as an unedited recording block and has been re-edited into its proper transmission format for this release.
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Having watched all of the original Callan series, I was keen to see how it had aged. It was a pioneer in its time and, I found, still has an edge that more modern productions have trouble recreating. It's a pity some of the original B&W episodes have been lost, but what remains is still a reminder of how professional an actor Edward Woodward was - just compare EW's characterisation in 'The Wicker Man' (1973) with the far inferior one in the Nicholas Cage version (2006). Callan shows what a brilliant actor EW was in how he brought just the right mix of hard intensity, sensitivity and dry wit to the part. I'd recommend Callan to anyone who enjoys good script writing, excellent acting and riveting action.
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