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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes this is Great
A super book. Great value for money. If you like grainy 60s Tv series (like I do) then this is a great read. Sadly short on photos though.
Published 10 months ago by Mr. Andrew D. Shaw

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars it's not a "The making of..."
Firstly, the star rating is given on the fact that this book is marketed on various websites as appealing to fans of the spy/detective/telefantasy series of the 1960s and 1970s. It is an academic source text aimed at sociological studies rather than being a source of information about the programmes themselves. There is almost no production information, and the book was...
Published on 29 Dec 2011 by Parkie


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars it's not a "The making of...", 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: Saints and Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1960s (Popular TV Genres) (Paperback)
Firstly, the star rating is given on the fact that this book is marketed on various websites as appealing to fans of the spy/detective/telefantasy series of the 1960s and 1970s. It is an academic source text aimed at sociological studies rather than being a source of information about the programmes themselves. There is almost no production information, and the book was written before DVD box sets of the series mentioned within became available. There are no interviews (apart from a few extracted quotes) with anyone who was actually involved in the planning, making or distribution of the series.

The first chapter is the most useful as it details the history of spy and detective fiction that led to the arrival of the first ITC blockbuster, "Danger Man". The chapters on The Avengers and The Saint provide insight into the changes that took place in the genre and how they helped inform the notion of "Britishness" that was exported with them. The Adam Adamant chapter has been rendered obsolete by the booklet that accompanies the DVD set, as it offers less material and nothing different.

Unfortunately the rest of the chapters make more or less the same points for each series, as the author takes each series as a "Case", placing it in context to the socio-economic and political climate of the day. This results in the book becoming repetitious, especially in the language used, the words Privileges, Militates and Legitimates become tiresome. Some sources suggest that the remaining chapters give much needed coverage to "Department S", "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)", "The Champions", but what it actually gives is a few TV guide style one line plot synopses, and a great deal of what contemporary critics said. At times it all becomes a bit like "The Machine Stops", the EM Forster story in which a character states that the only things worth discussing are what other people have already said about a subject.

Fans of "Randall and Hopkirk" will be the most aggrieved as Mr Chapman simply repeats the condemnation of the critics who ripped the series to shreds at the time of it's original broadcast. A couple of the points he makes will make fans wonder if he'd actually seen the original series. The damning of it as "sordid" and "seedy" is compounded by his eulogising over the comedy remake by Reeves and Mortimer, the second series of which had just been announced when this book was written.

"Department S" is skimmed over in a fairly half-hearted way, and "The Champions" suffers almost as much as "Randall and Hopkirk", saved only by the faint praise that it was probably ahead of it's time.

One assertion that is repeated in several chapters is that these shows lost their appeal as viewers were repelled by the lavish lifestyles shown when the economy of the country began to collapse in the `70s. This is a very simplistic view and takes no account of the fact that when for most people in the country the economic situation reached it's nadir in the 1980s, series such as Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Howards Way, etc achieved their greatest popularity. Clearly something else was involved but you won't find that answer here.

It's a quick read despite the page count, but will probably be of more use to a student of media studies than a fan of genre television.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes this is Great, 19 Sep 2013
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Mr. Andrew D. Shaw (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saints and Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1960s (Popular TV Genres) (Paperback)
A super book. Great value for money. If you like grainy 60s Tv series (like I do) then this is a great read. Sadly short on photos though.
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