1 9 5 9 – 1 9 6 1 (UK)
24 x 30 minute episodes
This BBC series starred Bernard Archard as British army interrogator Lieutenant-Colonel Oreste Pinto during World War II.
Each episode was completely devoid of action but featured a lengthy interrogation by Pinto, full of psychological tension, to test whether an apparently genuine Allied serviceman or refugee was, in reality, a German spy. His ingenious methods invariably resulted in the suspect giving himself away.
Despite the sparse set – one room, a table and two chairs – and the small cast, this was an excellent and memorable series. With careful closeups, the questioning of the suspects was fascinating to watch as Pinto pierced the armour they tried to shield themselves with.
The real Oreste Pinto was a Dutch-born MI5 intelligence officer during WWII who was generally regarded as the best interrogator in his field.
A radio series, based on the same source material, again with Bernard Archard in the lead, aired on the BBC Light Programme in 1960 and 1961
A Spy-Catcher themed board game was produced by Merit (pictured at right).
Lieutenant Colonel Oreste Pinto