1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 1 (UK)
39 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 6 4 – 1 9 6 7 (UK)
45 x 60 minute episodes
Patrick McGoohan starred as John Drake, a freelance spy working for NATO, covertly assisting governments wherever security breaches were suspected. His aim was to “preserve world peace and promote brotherhood and better understanding between people and nations”, and he risked life and limb to achieve it.
He was highly competent, athletic, cool and sharp-witted. He was a man of few words who intensely disliked violence but often needed to tackle his enemies head-on.
At McGoohan’s insistence, Drake never became involved with female company on an intimate basis and rarely involved in gunplay, preferring old-fashioned fisticuffs when faced with a fight.
McGoohan even turned down the title role in the James Bond movies on the grounds that the sex was unacceptable because he was married and a practising Catholic and felt the character of Bond was too immoral and wantonly violent
This fast-paced series was created by producer/writer/director Ralph Smart, who was also responsible for creating The Invisible Man, as well as making major contributions to other well-established programmes from the ITC stable.
Danger Man made ex-chicken farmer McGoohan the highest-paid actor in Britain at the time, earning £2,000 a week.
By all accounts he was not the easiest of people to work with though; First, he wanted to direct Danger Man, then produce it, and then write it. He even insisted on re-writing the music for one episode.
Two years after the initial half-hour episodes had ended in 1962, the producers were spurred back into action by the success of the first Bond movies.
Drake was recast in a new, hour-long series, as a member of the British Secret Service – a Special Security Agent working for MI9.
This time he also had an immediate boss, Hobbs (Peter Madden), and – inspired by James Bond – used an increasing array of electronic gadgets, including tiepins that were cameras, cherries containing tiny microphones, and electric shavers which cunningly doubled as tape recorders (pictured at left).
The series was transmitted on the CBS network in America under the title Secret Agent. The American broadcasts also changed the show’s theme tune to Johnny Rivers‘ famous Secret Agent Man.
Two 60-minute colour episodes were filmed in 1967 for a projected fourth season, which was abandoned when McGoohan became involved in his next TV project, The Prisoner.