on 25 August 2011
The following is most of what is written on the back cover of the DVD:- "Previously only available with the best-selling 'Saint' and 'Return of the Saint' DVD box sets, this series of highly acclaimed documentaries has now been revised and expanded with new interviews to form one feature-length documentary. 'The Saint Steps In... To Television' is the definitive look at the series production for Lew Grade's ITC company, as told by those involved in its creation. It covers the full story of how Simon Templar came to the small screen in the early 1960's, the series' evolution into colour and its revamping and reformatting to fit the shifting trends of a late 1970's audience. Featuring extensive contributions from Roger Moore, Ian Ogilvy, Robert S. Baker, Johnny Goodman, Patricia Charteris, along with short interviews from Roy Ward Baker, Peter Manley, Malcolm Christopher, Caron Gardner, Alvin Rakoff, Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, Ken Baker, John Goldsmith, Kate O'Mara, Dick Fiddy, Anthony Arnell, Burt Kwouk, Brian Degas and Jeanne Moody.
Picture: 16:9 Colour
Sound: Mono English
Duration: 124 minutes
REGION: O PAL
In conclusion this is a highly entertaining documentary, and a definite must for any fan of The Saint, as it is packed full of interesting facts and insights from The Saints beginnings in books right up to the most recent movies of the Saint, and everything in between in radio and TV.
on 17 April 2012
this was the perfect opportunity to detail and chronicle the making of one of britain's most renown television classics, "the saint." with a running time of just over 2 hours, i naturally took it for granted that the documentary would be in-depth and interesting.
sadly, this is not the case. within the last 15 minutes, i have just viewed the beginning of the documentary "the saint steps into television" and found that the making of the black and white series was overlooked and that details were rather sparse.
it started off promisingly enough: the introduction of the original character by mr. "misery guts" himself, leslie charteris in his novels and short stories, the early radio and film adaptations and then the securing of the rights for the television series. all of the above was quite interesting and also the story of how patrick mcgoohan rather abruptly turned down the role before roger moore accepted and made television history.
however, as soon as it was mentioned that "the saint" series had been commissioned another dozen episodes or more for 1963 and 1964, that was about the time when that part of the documentary was nearly over. no one that was interviewed gave or offered their own insights or opinions with regards to the black and white series and how it was made, nor did any of the actors who had worked on the series between 1962 to 1965. to me, it was a waste of documentary time and the fact that it was over within 31 minutes before the colour series was documented, makes my disappointment worse.
on the positive side, the colour series has been brilliantly documented and detailed. plenty of people who worked in front of and behind the camera, had their own thoughts and opinions on the making of the series between the years 1966 to 1969. there are a few amusing stories relating to roger moore's reputation as a practical joker and for his slightly naughty sense of humour(somehow, i can't imagine the same light-hearted atmosphere existing on the "danger man" set......).
the various infamous memos sent by leslie charteris himself, clearly demonstrate his lack of imagination and of failing to move with the times. surely he must have realised that his stories couldn't have been adapted literally for the small screen as he had written them? his constant moaning and complaining must have driven some people at the studio to distraction. it was a good job that charteris had already sold the rights to ITC, otherwise no episodes would have made, or at least they would have looked very different.
the part of the documentary about the "return of the saint" was fairly insightful. where as the narrating chores had been given to ian ogilvy for the roger moore series, now it was roger moore who narrated the making of the later series. in spite of having better production values, that is no substitute for having rather a silly, trendy theme tune and also a lot of poorly written and uninteresting stories. however, that is no reflection on the documentary on the making of the series.
all in all, the right people were interviewed and at least the interviews were up to date.