Review Danger Man/Secret Agent (1960)

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Before The Prisoner McGoohan was Danger Man, agent John Drake. Is it heresy to prefer this?
McGoohan was epic in this.
39 twenty five minute episodes then 50 odd fifty minute episodes. Worth getting a hold of.



 
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ant-mac

Administrator
Staff member
Before The Prisoner McGoohan was Danger Man, agent John Drake. Is it heresy to prefer this?
Not at all. I have always much preferred this to THE PRISONER.

Luckily for me, it has been on high rotation repeat on a local commercial TV network for years - usually in the midnight to morning slot. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to see any of the twenty-five minute episodes and only about half of the fifty minute ones.
 

ant-mac

Administrator
Staff member
I had no idea this existed. Now I'm intrigued.
It was in many ways PM's reaction to the James Bond films of that era.

Most of the stories are very plot driven, with very little in the way of sex or unnecessary gun violence. In fact, in the entire run, I think there were only two occasions where John Drake displayed any form of genuine romantic interest in a women - and both characters were played by the same actress. He rarely carried a weapon, but was very hands-on and physical in close-quarters combat.
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
During the making of this episode McGoohan formulated the idea of using Portmerion as the setting for The Prisoner.
In this 25 minute episode of Danger Man McGoohan's John Drake arrives in an Italian village, McGoohan is on record as stating that he had already formulated the idea of The Prisoner and now here was an ideal setting. So here is McGoohan in The Village but it's not The Prisoner but the Danger Man episode View From The Villa.
 
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Full length theme of 50 minute episodes. One episode of interest particularly to The Prisoner fans is " Colony Three".
In this John Drake has to infiltrate a replica English village situated behind the iron curtain which acts as a training camp for spies. McGoohan never admitted Number Six was John Drake, possibly for legal/copyright reasons, but watching Danger Man leaves little doubt.
 

Amyghost

Member: Rank 3
I had no idea this existed. Now I'm intrigued.
Try to watch this one in order, starting with the 30-minute episodes. IMO, probably the best of the wave of telly spy shows that broke over the public in the wake of the 007 craze; although Dangerman had its share of exotic locales, cunning villains and slinky babes, the tone of the series was more in line with John LeCarre than Ian Fleming, suggesting, ultimately, that espionage is a rather bleak business, and one in which no one comes off well at the end.

I suggest watching the show in order mainly because it's of some real interest to watch the character of John Drake progress from eager, and rather naively earnest young man in the 30 minute stories (which are quite tautly written and action-packed for their short running time) to the rather more cynical and world-weary though still chivalrous Drake of the later hour-long series (a bit of retconning is needed to link up Drakes mach I and II, as in Dangerman Drake works for NATO and is obviously an American, whereas in the Secret Agent incarnation he's clearly British and working for British Intelligence). Though there's little hard documentation on this, it seems pretty apparent that McGoohan had more than a slight hand in the writing and the formation of the character as the series progressed; and it's of considerable interest to watch as he begins to smuggle in his own nascent ideas that would blossom into The Prisoner, throughout the later episodes.
 

Doctor Omega

Moderator
This spin off novel of The Prisoner.....


1416835._UY475_SS475_.jpg


Begins with the immortal words....

"Drake woke."


I know that fans have long liked to link the two shows in terms of the central character.

But is that actually feasible as a theory?
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
This spin off novel of The Prisoner.....


View attachment 3726


Begins with the immortal words....

"Drake woke."


I know that fans have long liked to link the two shows in terms of the central character.

But is that actually feasible as a theory?
If McGoohan wanted to remove doubt he could played Number 6 with an accent or with a moustache or something. Of course Six and Drake are the same , but Ralph Smart creator of Danger Man would have wanted royalties if Drake had been used in The Prisoner.
 

ant-mac

Administrator
Staff member
This spin off novel of The Prisoner.....

View attachment 3726

Begins with the immortal words....

"Drake woke."

I know that fans have long liked to link the two shows in terms of the central character.

But is that actually feasible as a theory?
I wasn't aware that there was any doubt on the matter.

Of course Drake and Number 6 are the same person.
 

Doctor Omega

Moderator
Transition to The Prisoner

McGoohan resigned from the series, forcing its cancellation. He created a new project titled The Prisoner, with David Tomblin as co-producer and George Markstein as script editor. Markstein was then the Danger Man script consultant. A number of behind-the-scenes personnel on Danger Man were subsequently hired for The Prisoner.[8] An unused, fourth-series script was reworked as an episode of The Champions.

Secret agent John Drake and Prisoner Number Six

Prisoner fans frequently debate whether John Drake of Danger Man and Number Six in The Prisoner are the same person.[11] Like John Drake, Number Six is evidently a secret agent, but one who has resigned from his job.

According to The Prisoner: The Official Companion by Robert Fairclough, the Prisoner episode "The Girl Who Was Death" was based upon a two-part Danger Man script that had been planned for the fourth series. In this surreal episode, Number Six meets "Potter", John Drake's Danger Man contact. Christopher Benjamin portrayed the character in both series. As well as guest-starring in this show, Paul Eddington played another spy and No.6's former colleague, Cobb, in the opening episode of the latter show.

The first Danger Man season includes four episodes which use footage filmed in the Welsh resort of Portmeirion, which later became the primary shooting location of the Village in The Prisoner. Further inspiration came from a Danger Man episode called "Colony Three", in which Drake infiltrates a spy school in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The school, in the middle of nowhere, is set up to look like a normal English town in which pupils and instructors mix as in any other normal city, but the instructors are virtual prisoners with little hope of ever leaving. It is often thought this episode was a precursor to The Prisoner; it was filmed in the new town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire.[12]

Even reference books conflict on The Prisoner as a Danger Man continuation. Vincent Terrace's The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947–1979 postulates that John Drake's resignation reason is revealed in the "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" episode, which is a follow-up to a mission assigned to Number Six before he was sent to The Village. Richard Meyers makes the same claim in his 1981 book, TV Detectives. He further states that this connects directly to "an episode of Secret Agent never shown in this country [i.e. the United States] with John Drake investigating the story of a brain transferral device in Europe",[13] but no such episode of Danger Man was ever made. McGoohan stated in a 1985 interview that the two characters were not the same, and that he had originally wanted a different actor to play the role of Number Six.






Pop culture references

Danger Man has remained part of pop culture consciousness. Author Stephen King alludes to John Drake's cool in his novel The Shining. The band Tears for Fears refer to the character in their song "Swords and Knives", and Dead Can Dance titled one of the songs on their Into the Labyrinth album "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" after a Danger Manepisode, although the content of the song has no apparent relationship to the episode.

The American theme song has appeared in countless movies and TV shows, including during the climax of the first Austin Powers movie, and was covered by Devo.

In 2000, the UPN network aired a short-lived spy series entitled Secret Agent Man. Due to the similarities in titles between this series and the American edition of Danger Man, Secret Agent Man, a series with no relationship to the McGoohan program, is often erroneously referred to as a spin-off or remake of Danger Man.

The British animated series Danger Mouse was largely inspired by Danger Man and is a broad parody of both this series and secret agent films and television in general.
 
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
The episode Colony Three is available now on YouTube. This was where Drake ends up in a mock English village behind the iron curtain used to train agents by Russia to infiltration. Another germ of an idea for the Prisoner.
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Absolute favourite DM episode of mine, also the final b+w one. With Edwin "capt Hart" Richfield.
Drake goes under cover on a pirate radio station , plenty of 60's music.
 
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