1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 6 (UK)
18 x 30 minute episodes
“They seek him here, they seek him there . . .”
Marius Goring starred as the swashbuckling hero, based on Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s famous tale. The series was set in England and France during 1794 when the politically ambitious revolutionary leader Robespierre – under whom a reign of terror saw all opponents of the regime and anyone else considered a threat ruthlessly executed, usually by guillotine – dominated the country.
An apparent fop, Sir Percy Blakeney, donned rapier and disguises by the valise-full to help the poor persecuted aristocrats of 18th century revolutionary France as the daring Scarlet Pimpernel.
Goring’s imperturbable Pimpernel was a curious combination of Scaramouche and Sherlock Holmes, full of insolent charm.
Effecting a series of ingenious rescues from under the enemy’s nose, the hero remained always impeccably polite and reassuring.
The villain of the series was Robespierre’s Minister of Police, Chauvelin, played as a lethal Gestapo-styled officer by Stanley van Beers. The Pimpernel’s regular confederates were Sir Andrew Ffoulkes (Patrick Troughton) and Lord Richard Hastings (Anthony Newlands), while Alexander Gauge made an agreeably jolly Prince of Wales.
Chauvelin’s spy at the Regent’s Court was the Countess de la Valliere, played by the striking Lucie Mannheim (the real-life Mrs Goring).
This was one of ITV’s early programmes to prove popular with viewing audiences. Goring had already played the role in a 1949 radio production first broadcast via America’s NBC radio network.
Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel
Stanley Van Beers
Sir Andrew Ffoulkes
Lord Richard Hastings
Countess de la Valliere
The Hostage | Sir Percy’s Wager | Lady in Distress | The Elusive Chauvelin | Something Remembered | The Sword of Justice | Thanksgiving Day | Sir Andrew’s Fate | The Ambassador’s Lady | The Christmas Present | The Flower Woman | The Imaginary Invalid | The Princess | Antoine & Antoinette | Winged Madonna | Gentlemen of the Road | The Farmer’s Boy | A Tale of Two Pigtails