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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 May 2005
Well this series was to be the last of the supermarination group which included the likes of Captain Scarlet and Joe 90. However unlike the previous two shows The Secret Service contained a combination of both puppertry shots and live action, a method that was used on rare occasions in Joe 90. The show idea itself was derived from the Joe 90 episode 'The Unorthodox Shepherd', when watching that episode all will become clear.
The Secret Service is ser in the then present 1960's Britain, the second to do so after Supercar. Father Stanley Unwin works for the British Intelliegence Service Headquarters Operation Preist or B.I.S.H.O.P as it is more often reffered, an organisation which monitors world peace. In order to carry out these missions, Unwin is teamed up with fellow agent Matthew Harding, and by using a special devise left to him from a dying friend, Unwin is able minimise Matthew to a 1/3 of his size.
Certainly when compared to Anderson's other shows, this show contained much more comedy as Unwin himself was a comedian. Also there is more charm in this series than any of Anderson's other shows. However it was The Secret Services charm that led to its eventual cancellation and as result only 13 episodes were produced.
Our of all of Anderson's shows the final three Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and The Secret Service are now all fond favourites. I would certainly reccommend this series to any Anderson fan as its charm alone will be enough to make you fall for the series.
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on 17 October 2005
Yet another top quality classic anderson series. Ive got all of andersons puppet shows on dvd and this is certainly as good as any of them.we all know how quality the likes of thunderbirds and captain scarlet are but this is still great and i cant beleive only 13 episodes were made. What were they thinking. This shows great. What a marvellous idea having a shrinking device in the bible that father unwin uses to shrink his garderner matthew. He then puts him in his case and takes him round with him to take on dangerous missions given to them by the bishop. Well done gerry.The list of classics is endless. supercar,captain scarlet,ufo,terrahawks,joe 90,doppelganger,fireball xl5 etc They are all great.
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on 6 August 2006
I have been a fan of Anderson productions from a very young age and own most of his other series on dvd, however i never got round to the Secret Service until recently.

This is a gem of a series with well written (and often funny) storylines and the best "supermarionation" i have seen in any anderson production.

The only thing for me that spolis the series is the "real life" inserts and the fact that most stories follow a similer theme.

However at this price this really is a steal for some good old fashioned action/adventure for children and adults alike.
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on 25 July 2005
I thank God for this reissued lost classic. I had heard of it as a child in Northern Ireland and we even had a boy from England in our school who seen it and even leant me a novel of it and I got a feel for it through that, but no such priviledge of actually seeing it for us Irish. I never even heard the title theme tune played on radio.
It was 'The Secret Service' allright! 'Top secret!'
I would realy have loved to have seen this as a child and to see it repeated as the other Gerry Anderson series were too throughout the seventies, eighties and beyond.
Take my word for it this is going to be very popular again amoung Anderson fans. Great scripts great humour and the live action works well with the puppet action.
I, like so many sixties children just loved Stanley Unwins Gobbledegook speech and it is used well here in the series.
Its a pity the series was not made to its full length but who's complaining at least we got this much.
Network have done their useuall excellent job in remastering the pictures and sound.
I look forward to their reissues of 'The Saint', 'Dangerman' and the long waited 'Department 'S'. Also if you like these great action series try also 'I Spy' with Bill Cosby and Robert Culp it is excellent but I Spy is only available in American Region 1 format.
Also try checking out 'Space Patrol the complete series' another lost sixties classic puppet series also on Network and its creator Roberta Leigh also worked with Gerry Anderson in the past. Check out its extra feature pilot film called 'The Solarnauts' which I think is one of the greatest science fiction episode ever.
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on 1 September 2005
Although not my fave Supermarionation series this show does have quite alot to offer. You have to hand it to M.R Anderson combining Supermarionation with Live action shots is a fab idea.
The stories show how much mature plot development has become since the days of Supercar. The shows icing on the cake however is that this show is more comedy than action and you have to hand it to Stanley Unwin for his superb acting and unwinease.
The only thing that lets the series down slightly is the fact that most of the stories lack any real tension making the series quite a predictable one. Still don't let this put down your enjoyment. Not to be missed!
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The last puppet show that Gerry Anderson made in the 1960's before moving over to live action is a curious and little seen affair. Quickly killed by the tv company after just thirteen episodes were made as they didn't think it would sell, only one ITV region ever showed it at the time.

But now all thirteen episodes can be seen in one box set, spread across two dvds.

Previous anderson shows had seen live action elements creep in, notably hands on controls in thunderbirds. This goes further and actually uses a human actor at points. Stanley Unwin, famous at the time for speaking in a made up goobledygook language plays father unwin. and also voices his puppet. A country priest with a housekeeper and a gardener called Matthew, he actually works for the british secret service. Via a miniaturisation device he has concealed in a bible he can shrink Matthew down to a very small size. All the better for him to go on spying missions so he can't be seen.

Over the course of these thirteen episodes the two do just that. Keeping the more realistic style of puppets from Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 this is far and away the most realistic in style of these shows. It's more whimsical than quirky, with some episodes playing things in a style not unlike the avengers.

This is the kind of show that will have different appeal to different people. You will either like the concept and the execution or it won't grab you at all. But it's a television curio and it's a relatively cheap dvd so it's worth a look.

There's not much in the way of extras. The usual dvd booklet for this range doesnt have any of the usual background info on the show, just a quick episode guide.

Each episode has direct scene access.

There are no subtitles and the only language track is in english.

Gerry Anderson provides a commentary on the final episode.

There's also a stills gallery and the original scripts as PDF files, accessible by viewing the discs on a computer.

But there are also thirteen bits of good entertaining tv.
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on 13 October 2009
I kept hearing a theme in my head of church singers when trying to remember a kids series I used watch over 40 years ago !...and then I remembered the old yellow vintage car and a wierd contraption that shrunk someone who got into a suitcase and helped Stanley Unwin solve mysteries...and it's here on DVD !

I'm now on disc 2 and to be honest, I am lovin it. When I was a little kid there were no computer games or even videos (what are they ?? ) I think anyone who want's to recapture a bit of nostalgia who remembers the yellow vintage car and the shrinking man, will smile and enjoy this. We never saw the strings on the puppets in those days. it was just great being so young and as you become an old wrinkly like me ( haha)- but there's no escaping it, I'm nearly as old as Stanley Unwin was, so telly like this, keeps the spirit alive. After a mad day at work taking 20 mins to watch an episode, is just like getting home from school and watching telly before having your tea !
So enjoy .... dumdumdumdu-u-um... that theme is so still so catchy !!

Signed by an old grandad who want's to be young again!! haha
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on 21 September 2014
A Gerry Anderson fan I am with nearly of his series bought..this is amazing, if your young (small child) you'll love it, if your older than that and not about 50 you'll be moaning at how bad the graphics and models are...SHUT UP it's from the 60's and part of some of our child hood..enjoy!
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on 27 May 2011
To explain the title of my review its the incident where Mr. Lew Grade decided (Wrongly) to axe the series after just 13 episodes! The show is a little known classic and a fantastic piece of Gerry Anderson whimsy! If this weren't stopped after 13 episodes I'm sure it would have gone on to be well more brilliant than I think it already is! Very novel ideas injected into this show (Shrinking a man, putting him into a suitcase, live action as well as puppetry etc.) and they all add to the charm of 'The Secret Service'. Even revamp puppets from Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 appear. In one episode they use the colonel white puppet who seems to have used a lot of 'Just for Men' in his hair. He has a moustache too to make him look villainous!

Ah well thats a very jumbled review with maybe some uninteresting points but it sums up my opinion. A CGI revamp? (Nah only kidding). I can see it now 'Gerry Anderson's New The Secret Service'. Father Stanley Unwin voiced by um Tom Baker? Random that one!

Jolly good show!
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on 6 June 2015
I always loved this show although the mix of live footage and puppets is odd, frankly with the power on hindsight it would have worked even better as a completely live action 'spy' show and probably would have become a classic. It's a shame that Lew Grade cancelled the show after just 13 episodes so like Firefly we have precious few to watch but unlike Firefly there was no movie finale! Apparently Lew Grade hated Stanley Unwin's 'Unwinese' gobbledygook, and whilst I think it's funny, the show would have worked just as well without it and with Stanley just playing a bumbling, quaint Priest as his cover. An odd show, very British, great and memorable theme tune and a real treat in my opinion.
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