Danger Man

Last updated 6-Jun-2001


Devised by Ralph Smart

An ITC production in the Sixties.

Starring:
Patrick McGoohan as John Drake
Producers:
Sidney Cole and Ralph Smart
Editors:
Ralph Smart and John Glen
Music director:
Edwin Astley (also for The Saint any many other ITC productions)
Casting:
Rose Tobias-Shaw (also for The Prisoner)
Assistant Director:
David Tomblin (also for The Prisoner)

Many other personnel such as directors also went on to work for Patrick McGoohan on The Prisoner and/or eventually to make a name for themselves. For instance the later episodes were edited by John Glen, who went on to direct James Bond films.

John Drake

John Drake believes in using his head rather than using a gun, only drinks when he has to and avoids entanglements with women (unlike James Bond).

In the first series he's an Irish-American NATO agent.

In the second & subsequent series he's a trouble-shooting British M9 agent, has superiors G (Brigadier Gordon) and Commander Hobbs (Peter Maddern) and generally drives an Austin Cooper I (though sometimes a sports car). There is a sister Department headed by General Carteret (Jack Gwillim) which deals with assassinations, which JD opposes.

One of his common phrases is "Be Seeing You" (a key phrase in The Prisoner).

He has gadgets which are just as ingenious as James Bond but more practical, reliable and reusable. Some regulars:

Patrick McGoohan's British secret service agent Mr. Jones in the film Ice Station Zebra (1968) is enigmatic, resourceful and capable - strongly reminiscent of John Drake.


First series

30-minute episodes (less ad. breaks)

Titles: Office block at night in Washington, JD leaves and gets into his car; good but not particularly memorable music. Voice-over talks about various government agencies (MI5 and so on) and his NATO job, though later episodes omit the NATO mention.

Second, third & fourth series

60-minute episodes (less ad. breaks). Known as Secret Agent in the USA.

Titles (series 2 & 3):
John Drake in negative, followed by circularly-sliced "Danger Man"; zippy, distinctive music - Highwire by Edwin Astley - something like The Prisoner.

Titles (series 4 - in colour):
Different arrangement of theme music; the previous circularly-sliced Danger Man replaced by simple lettering, possibly to make it easy to retitle as Secret Agent for the USA. Stories slightly more Bond-like: more action, less cunning. It seems it was abandoned after only two episodes so PM and the crew could begin producing The Prisoner.


Footnotes

M9

M9, whilst never really described, appears to be a mixture of the real Security Service (popularly known as MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (popularly known as MI6); the service's "cover" is World Travel. There are some similarities with James Bond's service, which is never named in the films but in the books is SIS; the service's cover is Universal Exports. At one point (just before WWII I think) SIS was known as MI9.

G

This is probably suggested by James Bond's superior M which in turn probably was suggested by the name C for the head of SIS (deriving from a particular head-of-service's initial - Cummings, about 1910-1918).


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