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Callan - The Monochrome Years [DVD]  
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Edward Woodward gives an electrifying performance as a reluctant professional killer working for British Intelligence. Callan became a national phenomenon in the late 1960s, making Woodward one of the highest profile actors on television and paving the way to his eventual career in America on shows like The Equalizer.
Created by James Mitchell (When the Boat Comes In) and exploring the dingy, twilight world of the professional spy, Callan was the antithesis of James Bond (back in the days of Connery and Moore) and presented, until that point, television's most realistic portrayal of government espionage.
This set contains the original Armchair Theatre pilot play, A Magnum for Schneider, along with all the remaining black and white episodes from series one and two - unseen in nearly forty years and unavailable in any format until now. The Worst Soldier I Ever Saw only exists as an unedited recording block and has been re-edited into its proper transmission format for this release.
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Top customer reviews
It makes you realise that James Mitchell was a veritable genius of a screenwriter,not only did he create and develop Callan he then went on to do When the boat comes in which, while not being as good as Callan,it wasnt far off.The tragedy is that whilst this Callan collection is great,there are no more to come.
The man responsible for wiping the tapes of the rest should hang his head in shame,he has deprived many many people of watching true TV genius in this dreadful age of Soap and Reality dross that passes for TV now.If you want to watch quality TV albeit in B/W treat yourself to this set.You wont be sorry.
The intelligent, thought-provoking scripts are very ably brought to life by the superb regular and guest cast, most notably Edward Woodward in the title role as the killer with a conscience.
Like many programmes from this era, many of the scenes are clearly studio-based, but if anything this slightly claustrophobic element just adds to the atmosphere.
Edward Woodward has to be one of the most under-rated British actors of the last 40 or 50 years. His portrayal of David Callan, the reluctant assassin, is quite simply remarkable. But he is well supported by Anthony Valentine as Meres, and Russell Hunter as Lonely.
I have read some reviewers bemoaning the picture quality, but in all honesty, the stories are so gripping, you don't even notice!
One of the all-time great tv series of the genre.
Don't let people put you off buying this set with negative comments about the picture/sound quality - yes it's not as good as the DVD/BluRay quality we're all used to nowadays & the quality, especially in the Armchair Theatre & the 2 S1 episodes is a bit up & down. BUT -every single episode remains perfectly watchable. The picture (for 98% of the time) is clear & crisp. the sound is likewise very good.
The stories - although perhaps a little dated because of their Cold War setting - remain high class drama. The scripts, the direction is first rate , the acting especially by Edward Woodward, Russell Hunter, Ronald Radd & Anthony Valentine is superb.
If you were a fan of Callan back in the day - you will not regret buying this set. If you're not a fan - buy this set, you soon will be.