Adam Strange (Quayle) is a retired police detective turned criminologist who solves obscure and sometimes bizarre crimes. There was only one series of sixteen episodes all on this DVD, and every episode is first class and totally absorbing, all episodes are mainly highly relevant to, and evocative of, the late 1960s.
Strange has two part time assistants, Evelyn MacLean (Wills) an artist and model who lives in an adjoining apartment. Sometimes she helps in the investigation, but more often provides light relief in an avuncular relationship with Strange, supplying food, and comforting females in distress. Wills is very good in this (her final appearance as an actress) and her character works very well providing colour to Strange’s rather laid back manner.
The other assistant Ham Gynt (Garas) is a part time forensic scientist who works in the laboratory in Strange’s apartment. I feel Garas is miscast in this role (alternatively there is a basic flaw in the character that the screen plays cannot put right). It seems to me Garas is stifling his larger than real life personality and this inhibits his performance. This is not a major weakness but is the reason I have downgraded the rating to four stars .
There are many delights amongst the supporting actors, Martin Shaw three years out of drama school in his first (and quite substantial) TV role, a very young Keith Baron, an immediately post “Redcap” John Thaw, Barbara Murray who was better known at the time as John Wilder’s wife in “The Power Game”, together with all the regulars of the late 60s.
An aborted second season was planned to be filmed in Hollywood, but one cannot help wondering how this essentially English series (heavily reliant on London and other very English locations) could possibly have been filmed in America.
The series was filmed in 16mm, and the original high quality camerawork has been excellently restored.
on 3 August 2004
This is one of the many series made by Lew Grade supposedly for British audiences, but always with an eye cast towards American sales. The series follows the cases of criminologist Adam Strange (film actor Anthony Quayle), his sidekick Ham Gynt (American resident Kaz Garas), and his neighbour Evelyn McLean (Anneke Wills from Doctor Who). They become involved in all manner of cases, from kidnapping, murder, racism, and donor trafficking. All with a swinging sixties style and soundtrack. This is one of the forgotten ITC series - it ran for only sixteen episodes and has never had full video release or TV repeat. But that doesn't mean it's poor. On the contrary it's great fun, with wonderfully formed characters and witty dialogue. The producer was responsible for The Man from UNCLE, so the series shares the visual flair of its predecessor. There are also appearances from people like Zienia Merton, Keith Barron, Robert Hardy, Martin Shaw, Kenneth Griffith and the like. Some great London locations, and copious shots around the grounds of Pinewood Studios, where the series was made.
on 20 July 2004
I've always enjoyed Anthony Quayle's style of acting so for me this was really an impulse buy as I remember very little about the series.
As impulse buys go it was certainly money well spent. For those of you who don't remember the Strange Report, Anthony Quayle plays Adam Strange a kind of freelance detective who, along with his neighbour, Evelyn (played by Anneke Wills) and side kick Ham (Kaz Garas) embark on various adventures from Adam's London flat. There was obviously high hopes for this production at the time, Robert Hardy, Martin Shaw, Eric Portman, John Thaw, all appear alongside many other well known heavy-weight artistes in guest roles. As revealed in one of the extra features in this box set, it was also planned to take the series across the pond with all the original cast. A thing which sadly never happened.
There are some really nice extras on this disk, the top of which features Anneke Wills walking along London's Embankment (a location used in the opening titles) chatting with her friend Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger in Only Fools and Horses). This for me initially seemed an unusual pairing but it works well and to put it in context, Roger Lloyd Pack's father was a regular in Strange Report. It really was like dropping in on two friends who are just up for a chat and for me was one of the highlights of this box set. Robert Hardy is also on the disk talking about Anthony Quayle which is a particularly nice tribute along with Martin Shaw talking about his work with the great man.
Watching these DVDs you get to see just how much of the UK's culture in the late 60s is encapsulated in each episode. Immigration, communism, the rise of fascism, heart transplants all of which were relevant topics at the time and hence covered by Strange Report. Anyone interested in this period of our history would be well served to watch this series.
Well done the makers of this set. 12 out of 10
on 21 July 2004
"The Strange Report" was a quality series - benefiting from strong performances by the regular characters (in particular Anthony Quayle and Charles Lloyd Pack).
The restoration work looks good, and I found the DVD of extras - interviews, background to the restoration etc. - very informative.
A couple of technical issues, however:
1. On my DVD player, I cannot access the 2nd, 3rd and 4th shows on Disc Two from the main menu. If I click on the "Select Episode" option, I am taken straight into the 1st show. If, however, I then press the "Back" option whilst in this show, I am given the "Select Episode" screen. So - a technical glitch, but one with a work-around.
2. Secondly - the extras disc includes a feature about restoring the film stock - taking out scratches etc. A major item was the removal of a "hair in the camera" from the episode "When is your cousin not?". The feature even includes a clip of the episode with the hair removed. However - when I watched the actual episode (on Disc Two) - the hair was still there! Does this mean Network have issued the pre-restoration version of this episode by mistake? I can't tell - the rest of the episode looks good. But you certainly can't miss the "hair in the camera"!
on 1 January 2006
Strange Report is probably one of the less well known ITC series of the sixties. This is because it had a short run and has not been repeated unril recently on ITV 4. However, it stands up btter than many of the other more popular series. The greatest strength of the show is the genuine warmth and chemistry between the 3 leads. It's other strength is the sheer topicality of the show. It deals with controversial issues of the time such as immigration and people trafficing in an honest and sophisticated way. The show has a liberal perspective on these issues but not in an overly simplistic or sentimental way. Many of these issues could just as easily have been taken from today's headlines. However, the show also showcases swinging London in the late sixties and this is where this dvd really scores with its high quality remastering. It looks like it was photographed yesterday, the picture quality is so good. You feel like you could step out of your house and be back in the sixties. The high quality picture and sound, combined with the fantastic extras such as intros by guest stars and interviews with the cast make this a well deserved high quality release of an excellent programme. I can't thenk the other reviewers who recommended this enough. If you like ITC shows or just yearn for the sixties you MUST buy this now.
on 17 July 2004
I'm so glad STRANGE REPORT has been released on DVD.For me,it is one of the finest ITC serials and one the forgotten gems of '60's television.Quayle's acting is superbly tongue-in-cheek and the series is also a precursor of 1970's cop shows such as the Sweeney,with it's realistic themes of difficult issues such as racism and student uprising and the stark backdrop of a decaying London.To my mind,the serial accurately depicts the cultural come-down at the end of the 1960s and the political troubles which followed in the fast-approaching 1970s.All 16 episodes are collected here so sit back and enjoy a nostalgic slice of England in the late '60's with wonderful acting and production to boot.A classic.
on 3 January 2007
Strange Report is a gem among the ITC 1960s catalogue. Anthony Quayle plays the ex-cop-turned-criminologist Adam Strange with avuncular charm, and although, as a previous reviews suggests, Kaz Garaz is slightly miscast as Strange's Minnesotan sidekick, forensician Hamlyn Gynt, he makes a fair fist of the role, and serves as an excellent foil to the other characters he encounters in each episode. Former Tardis babe Anneke Wills plays Evelyn McLean, Strange's swinging London arty-ditzy dolly-next-door, and again the characterisation is excellent (if gently sexist by modern standards). Charles Lloyd Pack, as the pathologist Professor Marks, is also an asset to the regular team.
Supporting casts feature the cream of UK character actors, with several famed names (eg, Eric Portman, Sylvia Syms) and soon-to-be names (eg, Martin Shaw, Robert Hardy, Richard O'Sullivan, Sally Geeson) in cameos. The scripts are tight, intelligent, balanced, but the `action' sequences sometimes look a bit pedestrian. The direction is assured, and several episodes are directed by Ealing luminary Charles Crichton (latterly of `Fish Called Wanda' fame).
Strange Report was apparently shot on 35mm - i.e. big screen movie - gauge, and the picture quality is accordingly superb - much better than most other ICT serials of the 1960s. Digital restoration has made everything look even better. This pays dividends in revealing the superior sets - some great '60s pads (`Cover Girls', `Cult').
The plotlines tackle some unusually prescient topics, such as politicised racism, abuse of immigrants, crooked charities, infringement of intellectual copyright - not the usually run-of-the-meal TV fare of the times.
Given all these plus points, it is all the more curious that in some episodes there are some real clanging lapses in continuity (in `This Years Model', for instance, there is supposed to be a car pursuit through London's East End - whereas the street signs reveal the action was shot in North London). And Strange seems to have to liaise with a different police supremo on different cases, for no obvious reason.
Another curious characteristic of Strange Report is the unusual lack of `love interest' throughout the series. Strange and Gynt betray the occasional healthy interest in passing females, but it never goes any further. MacLean is pictured with a drippy escort in one episode; but that's it. Gynt and McLean conduct a kind of brother/sister relationship, which is nonetheless convincing.
Apparently Strange Report on DVD was initially issued with a bonus disc of extras that has since been discontinued. If correct, this is a big shame, because I was left hungry for more info about this outstanding series. Never mind: this is top quality entertainment, and worth £16 of anyone's money. Buy.
on 18 July 2004
Strange Report has always been one of my favourite ITC TV series and it has never looked better. In fact I would go as far as to say that the series didn't look this good when it was first broadcast. The digital restoration work is outstanding.
There is a separate disc full of all sorts of extras including interviews with the stars, main title sequence without the text, cut sequences and more. In fact I would say that the extras are the best I have seen for any ITC release.
I hope that Network do as good with future ITC releases like Man In A Suitcase.
on 2 April 2007
STRANGE REPORT (1968) Starring Anthony Quale as Criminologist Adam Strange with his assistants American Kaz Garas as Gynt and ex Dr Who girl Anneke Wills as Evelyn also in all sixteen episodes is Strange's 1950's vintage FX3 Black London Cab TYK 822. In addition to the foregoing Charles Lloyd Pack (father of Roger) played Professor Marks in seven episodes and Gerald Sim played Chief Superintendent Cavanagh in two episodes. Directors included Charles Crichton (four episodes) and Peter Duffell (two episodes) Each episode was given a report number, title and sub-title. Guest star/s etc in brackets as follows:
REPORT 4407: HEART `No Choice for the Donor' (Robert Hardy & Barbara Murray)
REPORT 1553: RACIST `A Most Dangerous Proposal (Jane Merrow & Griffith Jones)
REPORT 0649: SKELETON `Let Sleeping Heroes Lie' (Tom Adams & Eric Portman)
REPORT 5055: CULT `Murder Shrieks Out' (Pamela Franklyn & Ray McNally)
REPORT 2493: KIDNAP `Whose Pretty Girl Are You? (Ian Ogilvy & Sally Geeson)
REPORT 7931: SNIPER `When is Your Cousin Not?' (Martin Shaw)
REPORT 3424: EPIDEMIC `A Most Curious Crime' (Peter Vaughan, & Zienia Merton)
REPORT 4977: SWINDLE `Square Root of Evil' (John Carlisle, Derren Nesbit & Anton Diffring)
REPORT 2475: REVENGE `A When a Man Hates' (Julian Glover, Rosemary Leach & John Thaw)
REPORT 3906: COVER GIRLS `Last Year's Model' (Elaine Taylor & Richard Vanstone)
REPORT 4821: X - RAY `Who Weeps for the Doctor' (Ann Firbank & John Laurie)
REPORT 8944: HAND `A Matter of Witchcraft' (Renée Asherton & Keith Barron)
REPORT 8319: GRENADE `What Price Change' (Bernard Lee & Susan Jameson)
REPORT 1021: SHRAPNEL* `The Wish in the Dream' (Sylvia Syms & Leo Genn)
REPORT 2641: HOSTAGE `If You won't Learn, Die' (Kenneth Haig & Peggy Thorpe-Bates)
REPORT 0846: LONELY HEARTS `Who Killed Dan Cupid?' (Geraldine Moffatt, Donald Douglas & John Bennett)
The above 16 digitally restored episodes refer to the Network 4 DVD Box Set released in 2005 including Introductions for their respective episodes by Robert Hardy, Martin Shaw and Zienia Merton. But which unfourtunately excludes the Special Features CD that came with the Network 5 DVD Box Set released in 2003!
Sadly this charming short-lived series came to an end, when the expected second-half failed to get off the ground, due to the plan to have the characters move over to America, fell through. Nevertheless we still have a top quality ITC television production from the late sixties. Shot on 35mm film at Pinewood Studios and on location for World Wide Distribution. Viewed forty years on these episodes are still fresh and with a very catchy theme music tune composed by Roger Webb. Interesting also when viewed as a piece of social history of the time and place. All round EXCELLENT REPORTS!
*Report 1021: SHRAPNEL "The Wish in the Dream", This episode reunites Anthony Quale and Sylvia Syms eleven years after they co-starred with John Mills in ICE COLD IN ALEX (1957).
on 25 May 2007
Interesting little series released in 1968 about a semi-retired London criminologist and writer who solves unusual cases Scotland Yard finds simply too baffling or bizarre to resolve. Think of it as sort of a precursor to the popular "Quincy, M.E." from the 80's and the now popular,"CSI:Miami" among others.
Noted Shakespearean actor Anthony Quayle is Adam Strange, supported by his two assistants, an American student/museum curator and an interior-decorator/artist, played by Kaz Garas and Anneke Wills, respectively. Supporting castmembers and guest stars are from ITC's stable of fine TV actors including Darren Nesbitt and David Houston among others.
The episodes themselves tended to gravitate towards typical crime themes of murder and revenge and issues related to the late 60's and still relevant today: racial integration, illegal drug trafficking, terrorism, campus activism--even illegal immigration and witchcraft.
Network DVD has digitally remastered this set with great care; the transfers look like new--one can hardly believe this series is almost 40 years old! Although the series is somewhat dated, the stories and scripts are interesting, and "Strange Report" is an enjoyable trip to swinging London circa 1968.