Callan - Series 1 Episodes 1-3 
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First three episodes of the 1970 Thames Television series starring Edward Woodward as a tough secret service operator. In 'Where Else Could I Go?' Callan (Woodward) tries to weadle his way back into the service. In 'Summoned to Appear' the death of an innocent man leaves Callan with some explaining to do. And in 'The Same Trick Twice', a planned East-West exchange of captured agents goes wrong and everything becomes very confusing indeed.
Introduced in "A Magnum for Schneider", the hour-long 1967 Armchair Theatre episode of Callan written by James Mitchell about a disillusioned British secret agent of the same name (starring Edward Woodward), went on to offer four popular (if downbeat) series, a spin-off movie remaking the original story and a some-years-later wrap-up play "Wet Job". Remembered for its very distinctive opening titles, with a swinging broken-light bulb and a memorable theme tune, the series adopted a Deighton-LeCarré approach to the grim, treacherous, grubby business of Cold War espionage and made a TV star of the intense Woodward as the sweaty, sometimes conscience-stricken, sometimes robotic Callan. Even in the 21st century this still seems as strong, its complex stories and impressive performances outweighing a low-budget mix of video and film in the production that makes it seem less "professional" than other shows of the time.
A great deal of the series opener is devoted to bringing on new regulars. There's a fresh Mr Hunter who, like Number Two on The Prisoner--with which Callan shares series editor George Markstein--was a title not a name, so several actors held the position over the course of the show. There's also the trendily mulleted thug Cross (Patrick Mower), who would go spectacularly off the rails in the next series and a half. In a dramatic device that has long since fallen out of fashion in television, Callan episodes tend to wind up by leaving the audience to work out all the connections of the plot while Callan himself sits gloomily and ponders the wretchedness of his squalid world. --Kim Newman
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Edward Woodward is chilling as the reluctant Spy / Assassin who is the best the department has, but also a maverick.
His sidekick "Lonely" a small frightened man with a serious body odour problem (Hence the name) is so brilliantly
played by Russell Hunter you can almost smell the fear.
William Squire is Callan's boss code-name "Hunter" and Anthony Valentine is the creepy Toby Meres.
The stories and technology are of the time, but despite being dated and grainy this is so good it is compelling viewing.
Sadly i suspect this may well die out with my generation, although it would stand a remake.
My only gripe is that my boxset supplied by Clearvision at just under £17 has several glitches,and it appears this supplier is selling off a defective batch at reduced price without warning the customer as they are legaly required to do...
So apart from the several freeze ups whilst watching this boxset which mostly seemed play after momentary pauses I rate this as very worthwhile series...
Jim Clark London..England
Yes... this so called "Set 1" is in fact series 3. It contains exactly the same episodes - how ludicrous is that!
I can't award this a precise number of stars really as I haven't seen it yet. I just wanted to point out this error.