Sunday, 12 December 2010

TV Series: Danger Man

This series was known as "Secret Agent" in America. It ran from 1960 to 1966. The first season's episodes were 25 minutes each, the later episodes were 45 minutes. It amazes me how much adventure and action were packed into each 25 minute story. The plots are as intricate as most 90-minute films. I doubt anybody could create television shows like this today. It's a testimony to the brilliance of the writer, Brian Clemens, who later went on to write "The Avengers".

The show's main character is John Drake, played by Patrick McGoohan. In the first seeason he's described as an agent for a secret Nato organisation based in Washington. From the second season on he works for the British secret service. He is a gentleman spy who treats friends and enemies with respect. He is frequently sent on missions to fictional counties, such as Baravia, San Pablo and Slavosk.

After the end of "Danger Man" Patrick McGoohan starred as Nr. 6 in "The Prisoner". Even though he frequently shouts, "I am not a number, I am a free man!" we never find out 6's name. Fans of the series speculate that 6 was John Drake. While there is no definite proof, there are many clues that support this theory, and no evidence against it. For me there is no doubt that 6's real name was John Drake. 6 was a British secret agent who was abducted after he quit his job. The two characters played by Patrick McGoohan have identical personalities. The song "Secret Agent Man", that was used as the theme tune from the second season on, has as its chorus, "Secret agent man, they've given you a number and taken away your name". As far as I'm concerned "The Prisoner" is the fourth season of "Danger Man".

One of the things Patrick McGoohan will be remembered for is what he didn't do. He was the man who refused to be Bond. When "Dr. No" was to be filmed, Patrick McGoohan was offered the role, but he turned it down and Sean Connery was given the job. McGoohan refused to be James Bond due his moral convictions. He didn't want to be a secret agent who was living a promiscuous lifestyle. When Sean Connery quit the job was offered to McGoohan a second time, and he refused again.

Would McGoohan have been a good James Bond? Definitely! He would have been similar to Sean Connery, in my opinion, in everything but looks. When watching the early Bond films I can't help feeling that Connery was imitating McGoohan, since "Danger Man" was a well known TV series at the time. The standard introduction "My name is Bond, James Bond" is a copy of the opening line from the TV series, "My name is Drake, John Drake".

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