1 9 5 7 (UK)
13 x 30 minute episodes
Captain Claude Duval (Christian Marquand) was based on a real-life English highwayman whose exploits in the 17th century, embellished in contemporary popular literature, made him second only to Dick Turpin in the public’s imagination.
In 1953 the British comic paper Comet reintroduced the character, now as a gallant Frenchman who had become a Royalist captain during the English Civil War and afterwards served as an agent working for the exiled Charles II.
So popular was Duval as a comic strip hero (the serial strips ran until 1959) that astute producer George King quickly began adapting the stories into a TV series for ITV.
He cast French actor Christian Marquand as the dashing Duval, and Ivan Craig as his sinister Roundhead adversary Major Mould, chief of Cromwell’s intelligence service (also a character from the comic strip).
While little seems to be known about this apparently ‘lost’ series – with no record or trace of existing prints (to date) – available information suggests that its horse-and-rapier, chase-and-rescue format differed little from contemporary swashbucklers.
Terence Fisher, no stranger to small-screen swordplay with his body of work for Sapphire’s The Adventures of Robin Hood and Lance Comfort, who previously toiled on The Count of Monte Cristo were the alternating directors.
Captain Claude Duval