DANGER MAN with Patrick McGoohan
During the 1960s I did a lot of work, with some wonderful people.
First, hats off to Lord Grade, whose production company it was, I met him once when pitching a TV series to him. He was everything as described by the Press and colleagues in the industry, a true showman, who really understood our business and loved it!
I had been doing some terrific roles mainly for the BBC and ITV, mixed in with some film and stage work. I got a call from my agent – would I like to guest star in a TV show, called DANGER MAN. At first I was uncertain, I had been doing some pretty high class stuff, especially at the BBC, a play written by the fine playwright David Mercer and had just played ‘Julia’ in George Orwell’s “1984”. I heard that DANGER MAN aka SECRET AGENT ( US Title) was pure “James Bond” style entertainment. There was some snobbishness in the business at the time about being a “serious” largely classical actress, or one who would go for more commercial work. Still, I thought, I am really just a jobbing actor, it offered a very nice fee and I love to act, so go ahead. I was warned that I would be working with an actor, Patrick McGoohan, who, though regarded as a terrific actor, had a reputation of being rather intimidating and who, reputedly, was not too keen on actresses. Good, a challenge I thought, this could be even more interesting. So long as I knew my lines and hit my marks, all should be well. And what a wonderful experience it was. My first scene was with Patrick and the minute the camera rolled on our first take, I could feel the energy and adrenaline flowing. He was amazing and exciting, like a tightly coiled spring. We batted the dialogue back and forth like a tennis ball , the interaction was thrilling. This the best experience an actor can have. Thank you Mr McGoohan. I absolutely loved working with you. I did three episodes of DANGER MAN and one of Patrick’s later series THE PRISONER.
Then there was Roger Moore. Roger was completely different – charming, sweet and funny. Of course he was playing a totally different character from the one, Patrick was playing. Roger was easy and the scenes with him flowed to a different rythm, perfectly in tune with the material. Roger never took himself seriously and often commented that he had no idea how he had got to his position as a star. Of course it was all nonsense, he took the work seriously and brought his best to it and in the role of THE SAINT and with his easy, relaxed approach, he couldn’t fail. He would set up practical jokes on set sometimes with his business partner Bob Baker….they produced the series together for Lew Grade. Filming a series can be long and often grinding work for the crew and Roger and Bob were always keen to keep the crew happy and relaxed. It worked, it was a contented set. Lovely man was Sir Roger as he became after his work for UNICEF. I appeared in two episodes of THE SAINT. Roger, it was a great pleasure working with you.
With Roger Moore in THE SAINT
I did quite a few other ITC shows, more about them and the leading men and women another time.
Who would have thought that these shows would now be part of cult TV and that we, the actors and actresses, who worked in them would become cult personalities. I consider myself fortunate and I will always be grateful to the wonderful American casting director, who suggested me for the work….Rose Tobias Shaw and grateful to my agent Elizabeth Robinson, who got the ball rolling!
I have read with interest your site and your recollections of early roles.
As someone who is a huge fan of 60s tv and Danger Man, the Prisoner and the Saint in particular it has been lovely to read that you enjoyed working on those series. I would like to say that I am a fan of your performances and thank you for enjoyment they have brought.
There did seem to be a certain chemistry with Patrick McGoohan which comes across.
Thanks for writing…happy to know you enjoyed Danger Man and The Prisoner…two favourite shows of mine and Patrick McGoohan was pleasure to work with! Jane