1 9 6 2 – 1 9 6 9 (UK)
118 x 60 minute episodes
Simon Templar (Roger Moore) was dashing, sophisticated and independently wealthy. He was also a crook – but a gentlemanly, modern-day Robin Hood-type of crook who would brush aside Chief Inspector Teal (Ivor Dean), who he mockingly described as “Scotland Yard’s finest”.
His calling card, a stick figure with a halo (representing a saint), was very well known in society circles – and by the police forces of six continents.
The police regarded him, however, as a mixed blessing because he was dedicated to justice but often used illegal means to achieve his goals.
The Saint had long been a popular character in fiction, first in the best-selling novels of mystery writer Leslie Charteris and later in a series of movies and radio shows in the 1930s and ’40s.
The Saint TV series ran for seven years and was sold to some 80 countries, which was extremely beneficial to star Roger Moore as his deal gave him a share of the worldwide profits. The role of Simon Templar also ultimately led to Moore playing James Bond.
The son of a London policeman, Moore used to be a film cartoonist and a photographic model for anything from swimwear to toothpaste. He once explained in an interview, that unlike his character, he would run a mile to avoid a fight.
Filming of The Saint switched to colour in 1966, resulting in an obvious tightening of the budget for props. The show, however, continued its triumphant commercial success. Some estimates put its earnings as high as £370 million.
Since Moore owned the rights to the colour segments, this would have made him a very wealthy man.
Many people ran a mile to avoid Return of the Saint (with Ian Ogilvy replacing Moore in the title role) in 1978.
Another version of The Saint surfaced during 1989-1990 with Simon Dutton playing the role in a series of made-for-TV movies. Val Kilmer also had a go in the late 90s.
The role of Simon Templar was originally offered to Patrick McGoohan, but he turned it down because he didn’t like the way the script called for the Saint to have an affair with a different girl each week.
Chief Inspector Claude Eustace Teal