Well, I absolutely had to pick this one, didn’t I? It’s got the red Renault going over the cliff, it’s got another appearance by Ivor Dean as Inspector Teal, and it’s got both Alexandra Bastedo and Kate O’Mara. By a weird coincidence, my copy of the Doctor Who season 24 Blu-ray set arrived earlier today. I watched the Behind the Sofa for “Time and the Rani” and all of the participants had such nice things to say about Kate. The two actresses would appear onscreen together about a year later in an episode of “The Champions”.
This was a pretty good one that we all enjoyed a bit, despite a few hiccups. I was amazed they got Roger Moore actually out on location in the middle of a field this time instead of doubling him like they often did in the color stories, but I did wonder exactly why he got so unusually righteous about a counterfeiting operation and determined to bust heads across Europe to shut it down. But credit where it’s due: it’s a good story by Philip Broadley, about whom I’ve expressed some lack of enthusiasm in these pages previously. I couldn’t help but notice that he’d do a Department S about two years later with some men in turtlenecks doing some counterfeiting in a similar wine cellar though. Probably the same big engraving machine prop, I bet.
Speaking of the same, Philip Madoc’s villain has a silver-haired (usually called white) Persian, and I joked to myself that the cat was saying how his agent had promised him the role of henchcat to Donald Pleasance and he ended up at Elstree instead. Then I started thinking about it…
You know, that could be the same cat. The one that Donald Pleasance adored in You Only Live Twice was apparently played by a cat called Chico. Twice seems to have been filmed at Pinewood in February and March 1967; this Saint episode may have been made in the fall of 1966. I’m sure some Bond aficionado knows for certain, but I can’t confirm it. What do you think?
4 thoughts on “The Saint 5.20 – The Counterfeit Countess”
I think the white fluffy cat was the *true* mastermind behind both the counterfeiting operation and SPECTRE!
I know I’ve seen this one before, but I’m surprised that I don’t remember it better, if only for Alexandra Bastedo, Kate O’Mara, Philip Madoc, Derek Newark *and* a cat all appearing in it. I had to Google it and find some screen shots before I was able to say “Oh, yeah, that one!”
Y’know, it’s funny, I’ve recently been thinking about Philip Broadley, because I’ve been watching Danger Man on the Shout Factory TV website, and he wrote several episodes for that series. And every time his name appears in the opening credits I involuntarily flinch, but then it turns out that the episodes he’d worked on were all quite good.
I get the feeling that Broadley was just fine at scripting “regular” ITC spy / mystery / thriller series like The Saint and Danger Man. But he was a *really* poor fit for Department S, where there’s supposed to be some sort of incredibly weird mystery or mind-bogglingly bizarre twist to justify the team getting called in. Broadley really seemed to struggle to fit those sorts of elements into his scripts. Although, to be honest, most of the writers on that series had a certain degree of difficulty making the bizarre stuff on Department S turn out to have some sort of a logical explanation or purpose.
As much as I enjoy Department S, I think it would have been a stronger series overall if Brian Clemens had contributed two or three adventures, the same way he raised the batting average on The Champions. But I agree, everything I’ve seen from Broadley on Danger Man and The Saint recently is much better than his Department S stories. I’ve also been watching the half-hour Danger Man episodes, albeit pretty slowly, and you’re right – he did great work there.