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Strange Report (1968-69)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment Ltd

Main image of Strange Report (1968-69)
Arena Productons for ITC/ITV tx. (London) 19/9/1969-3/4/1970
16 x 60 minutes, colour
Directors includeCharles Crichton
 Peter Duffell
Production CompanyArena Productions
ProducerRobert 'Buzz' Berger
Writers includeRoger Parkes
 Don Brinkley

Cast: Anthony Quayle (Adam Strange); Kaz Garas (Ham Gynt); Anneke Wills (Evelyn)

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Criminologist Adam Strange, with the help of his assistant Hamlyn 'Ham' Gynt and his neighbour, artist/model Evelyn McLean, fight crime in 60s 'Swinging' London.

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Another in the line of ITC's action-adventure series of the 1960s, Strange Report differed from the fantastical and exotic exploits of, for example, The Champions (ITV, 1969), grounding itself in the reality of late '60s London and dealing with contemporary issues and anxieties. Perhaps because of this, the programme has been neglected in comparison to more escapist ITC shows like Danger Man (1964-67) and Man in the Suitcase (1967-68). This is unfortunate because, in tackling such subjects as illegal immigration, racism, student militancy and euthanasia, Strange Report arguably offers a more honest assessment of the period.

Locating the show in a recognisably contemporary London allowed the programme to display a degree of realism and authenticity unusual for its genre. In the episode, 'Report 8319: GRENADE 'What Price Change'' (tx. 19/10/1969), the investigation of violent student demonstrations reflects and comments upon the student protests that followed the May '68 Paris upheavals. 'Report 3424: EPIDEMIC 'A Most Curious Crime'' (tx. 2/11/69) examined the issues of illegal immigration and people trafficking and 'Report 1553: RACIST 'A Most Dangerous Proposal'' (tx. 7/12/69) dealt with immigration and the effects of racism in the wake of Enoch Powell's infamous 1967 'Rivers of Blood' speech. Such difficult themes were seldom dealt with in the popular action-adventure series of the time and, as a representative of the type of middle-class authority figure prevalent in postwar British film and TV, Strange arguably makes a reassuringly moderate commentator on this tumultuous period.

Only sixteen episodes of the programme were made, giving little scope to develop the characters. Nevertheless, one of Strange Report's strengths is the relationship established early in the series between Strange and his two young companions, his neighbour Evelyn McLean and the American researcher Hamlyn Gynt. Strange's authority and professionalism neatly contrasts with Gynt's idealism and exuberance and Evelyn's youthful enthusiasm. Despite their differences, it soon becomes obvious from the characters' affectionate interplay that they share a mutual respect. The programme achieves a satisfying balance between the actors' light-hearted performances and the seriousness of the storylines.

Michael Ahmed

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Video Clips
1. Joining the protest (2:24)
2. Through the night (3:02)
3. 'I want out' (1:57)
Complete episode: 'Report No. 8319: GRENADE What Price Change?' (49:00)
Champions, The (1969)
Danger Man (1960-67)
Man in a Suitcase (1967-68)