Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher


Blog follower dvikib asked this question in the comments to Rockford Redux, and I thought it worth giving some prominence because it’s another opportunity to direct attention to one of the best TV series the UK ever produced:

“I envy you that you were able to see the TV version of Callan. Amazon US recently added Callan: Set 1 (1970) for US DVD players. It’s actually the 3rd season April-June 1970. Do you think a yankee would be able to follow the episodes without having seen seasons 1 or 2? I’m not concerned about accents or British slang (which I love) but sometimes it’s hard to jump into the middle of a long running series. I realize the film quality might not be the best but I would love to see that character. Any thoughts would be much appreciated!”

When you say “the TV version” I’m inferring from your choice of words that you’ve maybe seen Callan: the Movie, which is the theatrical feature version of A Magnum for Schneider, which was the TV play from which the Callan series sprang… if you have then the boxed set will make perfect sense, and if you haven’t I reckon you’ll probably be ok with the boxed set anyway. They’re pretty much standalone stories, and their ‘world’ is fairly self-explanatory.

And if you haven’t seen the movie… well, there you go. One for your wish list.

The picture quality of the boxed set is that of old colour videotape — hardly feature quality, but way better than the low-grade 16mm telerecordings that survive of the earlier series.

I have to say that the image at the top of this post is hardly representative of the show’s gritty, downbeat tone, which is far closer to that of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold than to Bond. In fact, if you know the show at all, it’s kinda hilarious.

5 responses to “Callan”

  1. Stephen – thank you so much for your input on Callan. You've convinced me – I must get the one and only US version available at this time even though it's season
    3! You are right, I did see the movie version once on TV during the years the Equalizer ran here (1985-1989). I really enjoyed it at the time but cannot remember too much about it now.

    I recently purchased the first season of The Equalizer and I hope they come out with other seasons of that as well. http://www.imbd.com has been listing The Equalizer as an upcoming movie with an always changing release date (currenly 2011). I wonder if it will ever get made? I'll be furious if they
    pick the wrong actor for the lead.

    I am amazed at how much knowledge you have of American TV shows, past and present. I don't get to see very many British TV shows but I was recently enthralled with the latest Torchwood: Children of Earth. Very well done indeed… I hear John Barrowman may be joining you in Hollywood as he may have an upcoming part in Desperate Housewives. They best not keep him from filming another Torchwood series!

    Hope your work on The Forgotten is going well and very glad to hear you feel at home here.

  2. You'll be sad to hear that Edward Woodward has died after a long illness.

    Hopefully they'll show something as a tribute…although it'll probably be buried late at night knowing the way TV works nowadays.

  3. Stan – thanks for letting us know of the sad news of Edward Woodward's death. After reading your comments, I searched for news articles about his death and found that quite a number of US news organizations are posting tributes to him which I was glad to see. He will truly be missed and the world has lost a great actor, singer and gentleman.