Region 0 Edition (Umbrella Entertainment, Australia)

Reviewed by Matthew Lee

Directors:  Charles Crichton, Gerry O'Hara, Robert Tronson, Pat Jackson, Freddie Francis, Herbert Wise

Featuring:  Richard Bradford, Jane Merrow, George Sewell, Donald Sutherland, Jacqueline Pearce


Ahead of what is surely the most busy festive season on record for DVD boxed sets (with a swathe of Star Trek releases, further Quantum Leap editions, a healthy bundle of BBC titles and a wide range of comedies on the go), Australian label Umbrella Entertainment has launched the first of what will become two highly-prized DVD boxed sets of Man In A Suitcase (the latter coming from Network sometime in early 2005). There has been much discussion, speculation and the like over what will become a feature in Umbrella’s set as opposed to that of Network, and whilst Network may hold a few aces with its suggested compact disc soundtrack, this particular boxed set will take some beating.
As is customary with Umbrella Entertainment titles, there is so much to get through that the only way is to launch straight into it. I purchased this set twenty-four hours ago and have already torn through its entire contents, which perhaps implies how readily I have embraced this particular title!


How many times can you enjoy a signature tune? Well, as Man In A Suitcase has a stonkingly catchy little ditty, one never tires of watching the menu display – and the unquestionably catchy tune which runs over the menu whereupon individual episodes can be selected for viewing. The menus themselves are about as static as those for The Saint DVDs, which is perfectly acceptable as the boxed set is designed to be watched for the content rather than the attractive wallpaper. As per Umbrella’s previous boxed set releases, the selection of individual episodes triggers a new screen with chapter breaks, and a nice quote extracted from the episode to arouse further interest.
With thirty wonderful episodes to wade one’s way through, there’s no time like the present to make a comprehensive customs search of this particular suitcase …


Another sturdy set from Umbrella, with the colour scheme and stills selected very much in-keeping with the series. The spines, as with The Saint DVD titles, feature four different frames (in red) of McGill approaching the viewer, with Man In A Suitcase printed along the spine and marked with “Cases 1-8”, “Case 9-16”, “Cases 17-24” and “Cases 25-30”.

Back Cover Blurb

Anybody who’s been in intelligence soon learns it’s a dead end business. CIA agent McGill (Richard Bradford) has been in it too long. Now he’s out … in the cold … on the run. He’s accused of treason, with both sides after him and no way to clear himself. With only a suitcase and a gun, McGill is a discredited secret agent whose career has been shattered and his reputation ruined. Risking his life is part of the business as he travels the globe plying the only skill he knows – undercover espionage! Produced in 1966-67 by ITC (The Saint / The Prisoner), Man In A Suitcase brought American actor Richard Bradford to England as the cool, tough, no-nonsense McGill, living in a gritty world of back alleys and back stabbers. Since its debut, the series has achieved cult status among TV fans around the world as one of the hardest to find ITC classics. Umbrella Entertainment presents the entire series of Man In A Suitcase, all thirty episodes re-mastered, complete and uncut, released for the first time ever, with special features including Exclusive Audio Commentaries with series star Richard Bradford, writer Philip Broadley, director Peter Duffell, episode introductions by Jane Merrow and George Sewell, plus Original ITC publicity, memorabilia, rare production photographs and more, this is the definitive special edition of a cult TV classic.

If that hasn’t already whetted your appetite for this delicious boxed set, read on … the mouth-watering extras will prize open your wallet or purse!

DISC ONE (Case One)

The disc contains the episodes:

1. Man From The Dead
2. All That Glitters
3. Sweet Sue
4. The Bridge

My observations concerning picture and sound quality are perhaps purely subjective, but I am quite happy to stick my neck out on this one and confirm that the picture and sound quality are equal to that of Network's Strange Report in terms of its clarity for both interior studio-based sequences and exterior filmed pieces, whilst some of the exterior filmed content. The sound quality is crisp and clear, with music presented in surround sound. I found the colour levels and picture clarity to be a decidedly high standard on this title, and can only assume (although I may be mistaken) that Umbrella may well have inherited Network’s clean prints for their own release. In a few short words of summary, 'breathtaking' and 'superb' spring to mind. And this view spans the entire set, not just the first disc.

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Audio Commentary on Man From The Dead with Richard Bradford (Jaz Wiseman moderating)
2. Photographic Evidence
3. Interested Parties
4. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature
5. Umbrella Propaganda

Can it get any better? The insert reprint of the original ITC Publicity Brochure was another wonderful touch to an overwhelmingly-superb DVD boxed set. Spanning four pages, this nice little mini-brochure presents a modest introduction to the series, printed on the back of a pocket-sized suitcase. Wonderful.

The much-awaited Richard Bradford audio commentaries for this boxed set have certainly aroused a great deal of correspondence on a swathe of DVD chat forums, which is somewhat surprising when the casual viewer listens to this first commentary, moderated with customary aplomb by Jaz Wiseman. To be perfectly honest, I found Bradford to be somewhat tedious company during this episode. There is a point where mellow translates to either hopelessly drunk or stoned, and strangely enough Bradford sounds like a lethal combination of both throughout this commentary (fortunately he becomes far more spirited and enthusiastic during the second commentary, once again moderated by Mr Wiseman). His observations are somewhat slurred and it takes all Jaz’s powers of persuasion of illicit any interesting facts and details from the leading man. Jaz provides an informative background to the series and briefly touches upon the origins of the programme, the change of programme title, the premise and the like in the early stages before settling down to discuss the appearance of certain actors on screen and the programme as a whole. However, I found this first commentary to be somewhat lacklustre. Hopefully, however, my lack of enthusiasm for this first feature will not dampen that of other potential purchasers.
The staggering Photographic Evidence feature restored my faith in having purchased this title almost immediately. It never ceases to amaze me how many photographic stills and behind-the-scenes shots are collected for a series, but there are an overwhelming selection of colour and black-and-white shots here to choose from. There are a whopping thirty-seven for Man From The Dead , seventeen for All That Glitters, twenty-seven for Sweet Sue and eleven for The Bridge. The quality is uniformly crisp and clear, and if you originally suspect that some of the shots are generated from freeze-framing the actual episodes themselves, you’re very much mistaken.

The Interested Parties feature of this boxed set provides career biographies for the guest cast appearing in the relevant episodes, which can be accessed by selecting colour stills of the actors themselves. This feature presents biographies for Angela Browne (two pages), Stuart Damon (three pages), Barbara Shelley (three pages), Judy Geeson (five pages), Jane Merrow (three pages) and The Champions' Anthony Nicholls (three pages). Informative material, but essentially a gap-filling exercise in extras as opposed to anything startling.

The Original ITC Pressbook feature on this first disc is marked as Part 1 and covers Man In A Suitcase from a production perspective, which uniquely marries its material to the Sleeve Content generated by Grant Taylor. The two combined present a comprehensive overview of the series from concept stage to eventual casting and production. The ITC Pressbooks are always detailed and informative, whilst Grant Taylor’s overview is brief and to the point (although the end of the piece is more akin to an Umbrella Entertainment press brochure of this particular occasion).

Finally, the Umbrella Propaganda feature makes a welcome return with trailers for The Saint and Return of the Saint, arguably two of the highest-selling titles in the Umbrella range, if sales at my local DVD retail stores are anything to judge by. These titles sell like hot-cakes, and with the customarily high picture and sound quality, coupled with the strong suite of extras, it is not hard to understand why.

In addition to this suite of extras, there is also the added Network-esque bonus of an episode introduction by Jane Merrow and Richard Bradford, who set-the-scene, as it were, for the fourth and final episode on the first disc, The Bridge. Ms Merrow, looking as gorgeous as ever was, pays homage to the writer and director of the episode and confesses that she greatly enjoyed working on the programme (alongside Bill Owen and Rodney Bewes), whilst Mr Bradford (who has put on quite a bit of weight over forty years, it must be said) presents anecdotal observations about the episode, and in particular his slippery bridge climb in pursuit of Rodney Bewes, and the small matter of signing an insurance chitty. Ms Merrow’s piece lasts a little under a minute, whilst Mr Bradford’s recollections span a further two minutes and fifty-seven seconds.

DISC TWO (Case One)

The disc itself contains the episodes:

1. Find The Lady
2. Brainwash
3. The Girl Who Never Was
4. Variation On A Million Bucks (Part 1)

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Audio Commentary on Brainwash with Richard Bradford (Jaz Wiseman moderating)
2. To Chase A Million Title Sequence
3. Photographic Evidence
4. Interested Parties
5. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature
6. Umbrella Propaganda

The audio commentary (once again recorded on October 28, 2004) is introduced by Richard Bradford, who confesses that this is one of his favourite episodes, and this commentary is by far superior to the one featured on the first disc of this set (in my personal opinion, at any rate). Bradford appears more relaxed and comfortable speaking to Jaz Wiseman (who once again delivers a nice background to the episode and engages in light conversation with Bradford about the “nice girls” featured in the series and his observations and recollections about the recording of the episode and the cast featured in this instance). I was amused at Bradford’s priceless response to being asked how he felt after watching the episode, but will leave his actual reaction for viewers to personally savour! Once again, however, congratulations must be extended to Mr Wiseman for dealing with one performer who needs prompting in order to execute observations (unlike Ian Ogilvy or Roger Moore, who more than happily enter into conversation and very often establish topics themselves over the course of an hour).

For the To Chase A Million Title Sequence, it is best quoting from the page on screen – “For the American television market, the two-part episode Variation on a Million Bucks was re-edited to form a feature-length version titled To Chase a Million, running ninety-seven minutes. This version replaced the two double episodes in syndication for future US screenings. Apart from the removal of the end credits from Part 1 and opening sequence from Part 2, the only difference between the two versions was the creation of a new title sequence. The only print which would be located was a black and white 16mm – which we present here”. The actual extra itself is somewhat grainy, reflecting the age of the material, and a little murky to distinguish the running legs in the opening piece, which then moves on to various shots of American dollar bills at various angles. Interesting for interest’s sake, but nothing overly special. This feature runs to one minute and six seconds.

If the sheer volume of publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photographs wasn’t already impressive on the first disc of this thoroughly entertaining set, the second continues in its wake with eleven pictures for Find The Lady, twenty-two for Brainwash, fourteen for The Girl Who Never Was and twenty-three for Variation on a Million Bucks (Part 1). The quality of the colour and black-and-white stills and shots and uniformly good, and makes you appreciation how much the publicity machine was in overdrive for this programme.

Five photographic faces feature in the Interested Parties gallery, spanning the careers of Patrick Cargill (eight pages), Colin Blakely (three pages), Bernard Lee (four pages), Anton Rodgers (six pages) and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)'s Mike Pratt (seven pages). Informative, if a little dry, these sections do tend to read like a casual visit to, but are nevertheless a required extras-filler for DVD titles these days.

The Original ITC Pressbook continues with Part 2: Richard Bradford, a more informative feature than the Interested Parties galley. Spanning eleven pages, this feature provides a neat background to the actor and the series.

The Umbrella Propaganda feature on this disc provides viewers with the customary trailers for Department S (still very much worth the asking price, and a wholly entertaining set) and Jason King (eagerly awaited by fans of Peter Wyngarde).


The disc itself contains the episodes:

1. Variation On A Million Bucks (Part 2)
2. Day of Execution
3. Web With Four Spiders
4. Blind Spot

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Audio Commentary on Day of Execution with Philip Broadley (moderated by Jaz Wiseman)
2. Photographic Evidence
3. Interested Parties
4. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature
5. Umbrella Propaganda

It seems unusual that I found the first commentary in this boxed set so tedious, as the second with Richard Bradford, and this third with Philip Broadley, were stonkingly entertaining and filled with a wide range of nice anecdotes and observations. Jaz Wiseman has a deft talent for enabling people to open up in his company, and Mr Broadley is no exception. However, the commentary itself does tend to deal predominately with Danger Man, The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan and Lew Grade as opposed to a great deal of what’s actually happening in the episode, though with a man of Broadley’s pedigree and having carved out such a notable career for himself, he could have been discussing knitting patterns and it would still have been of interest. Jaz sets the scene early on, discussing breaks in the production schedule for this episode, Day of Execution, but soon changes the subject and ventures Broadley’s views on how he came to write for Man In A Suitcase, how he caught the eye of Lew Grade after writing a successful one-off thriller, the end of Danger Man and the transfer of production staff from that series to The Prisoner, his time working with George Markstein and Patrick McGoohan, and his preferences in writing for one character as opposed to the three he wrote for on Department S and The Champions (Broadley’s laughter at the broaching of this question leads one to wonder whether he enjoyed working on these series).

Another cup-runneth-over offering in the Photographic Evidence section offers up a selection of fourteen stills from Variation on a Million Bucks (Part 2), twenty-two for Day of Execution, ten for Web With Four Spiders and sixteen for Blind Spot. The clarity on some of the black-and-white stills in this selection were somewhat blurred, but nevertheless the clarity of the colour stills more than compensated for this fact.

Interested Parties featured a four-page biography on Department S's Rosemary Nichols, with others for Ray McAnally (three pages), Doomwatch's Simon Oates (two pages), Coronation Street's John Savident (four pages) and the gorgeous Felicity Kendal (three pages) rounding off the august company. Casting an eye over the crystal clear shots of the delicious Ms Kendal just makes you want to watch The Good Life all over again – lucky old Tom!

The Original ITC Pressbook feature on this disc presents Part 3: The Producer, a six-page assessment of the work Sidney Cole undertook prior to and after Man In A Suitcase. Cole was certainly a prolific talent, as exemplified by the staggering amount of work he did before the programme.

The Protectors and Strange Report feature in the Umbrella Propaganda, and I challenge anyone to resist re-watching the trailer for Strange Report if only to enjoy the catchy signature tune. If only Mr Webb’s musical score was available as a compact disc soundtrack from Network as opposed to the equally catchy score for this series, which they intend to release in early 2005...

Grant Taylor’s second contribution to the sleeve material on this DVD boxed set comes with the assistance of Michael Richardson’s contribution to Action TV’s Autumn 2001 edition, with Grant discussing Man In A Suitcase – Days of Execution – Filming Man In A Suitcase (Part 1). The feature makes a nice overview ahead of viewing the episodes on this, the third disc in the set, and kudos must go to Umbrella Entertainment for sourcing material from arguably one of the best archive television resources currently available in the United Kingdom – Action TV.

DISC FOUR (Case Two)

The disc itself contains the episodes:

1. The Boston Square
2. Jigsaw Man
3. The Sitting Pigeon
4. The Man Who Stood Still

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Original Commercial Break Bumpers
2. Photographic Evidence
3. Interested Parties
4. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature
5. Umbrella Propaganda

A largely unimportant, but interesting feature for the purposes of satisfying completists, the Original Commercial Break Bumpers are featured as extras here. Three commercial break bumpers, spanning five seconds apiece, and without a musical sting, are presented. To be perfectly honest, the insertion of these bumpers into the episodes themselves might have proven more effective than the presentation of fifteen seconds of silence with repeated footage as an extra, but we should nevertheless be grateful that Umbrella have gone the extra mile on this title.

The staggeringly impressive Photographic Evidence selection continues unabated with twelve stills from The Boston Square, sixteen for Jigsaw Man, fifteen for The Sitting Pigeon and twelve for The Man Who Stood Still. Once again, the issue of the occasional blurry black-and-white still inserted amongst the crystal clear colour shots is ever-so-slightly distracting, but not enough to detract from the high level of enjoyment as one casts an eye through the range.

Interested Parties offers a further six cast biographies, this time featuring Peter Arne (three pages), John Bluthal (six pages), George Sewell (five pages), Mark Eden (three pages), Ed Bishop (five pages) and Carol Cleveland (four pages).

The Original ITC Pressbook reaches Part 4 and turns its attention to the Associate Producer, Barry Delmaine, with content spanning 5 pages and briefly touching upon his background and expertise which he employed upon Man In A Suitcase.

Umbrella’s Propaganda machine launches a Patrick McGoohan appreciation upon viewers with trailers for the eagerly-anticipated Danger Man set, accompanied by a trip to the village with The Prisoner. Much comment has been made concerning Umbrella’s preliminary artwork for the Danger Man boxed set, which no doubt will be revised ahead of its early 2005 release date.

In addition to this suite of extras, there is also another Network-esque bonus of an episodic introduction by George Sewell for the third episode on the fourth disc, The Sitting Pigeon. Spanning all of one minute and five seconds, Mr Sewell delivers a sprightly selection of fond memories, not so much of the series but of Richard Bradford, whom he recalled was destined for great things, but never amounted to much after Man In A Suitcase, which he considers to have been a great shame. He concludes with the observation that Bradford was, in his assessment, a “really regular guy and very professional”. Short but sweet.

DISC FIVE (Case Three)

The disc itself contains the episodes:

1. Somebody Loses Somebody … Wins?
2. Dead Man’s Shoes
3. The Whisper
4. Essay In Evil

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Isolated Music And Effects Track for Somebody Loses Somebody … Wins?
2. ITC Video Trailer
3. Photographic Evidence
4. Interested Parties
5. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature
6. Umbrella Propaganda

The fifth disc in this highly-impressive DVD boxed set presents an isolated music and effects track, in a similar vein to that which has been previously presented on The Saint DVD sets for Edwin Astley, for the memorable musical score of Albert Elms. One often takes for granted the presence of music accompanying the programmes we all know and love, but the opportunity to enjoy the music of legends such as Astley and Elms heightens an appreciation of their work ten-fold, as exemplified on this disc and on the sixth disc of the set, which features another isolated music and effects track. Kudos to Umbrella for providing yet another attractive extra for this series.

Regrettably, the same cannot be said for the ITC Video Trailer which accompanies this suite of extras. The content will be familiar to anyone who has ever purchased a Carlton Enterprises ITC title. However, this clip appears to have been resurrected from a slurry pit or something of the kind, for as an NTSC conversion it has paid a high price: the colour is drained, the sound is poor, and it far from does the series justice. Perhaps it was included as a pseudo “See How Much Better It Looks On DVD?” extra – if so, it certainly worked.

I cannot say enough about the impressive Photographic Evidence galleries which have accompanied the discs for this series. They are comprehensive and further underline the sheer weight of stills and behind-the-scenes shots which must have been taken for this programme. In this instance, there are eleven for Somebody Loses Somebody … Wins?, sixteen for Dead Man's Shoes, twenty for The Whisper and twenty-eight for Essay in Evil. I had a small chuckle to myself seeing the somewhat camp Derren Nesbitt in full leather kit in one of the stills, but perhaps that’s a personal aside.

The Interested Parties assembling for this disc are Blake's 7's Jacqueline Pearce (four pages), Derren Nesbitt (four pages), John Carson (three pages), James Villiers (three pages), Gerald Sim (four pages) and a beardless Donald Houston (three pages).

The Original ITC Pressbook featured on this disc presents Part 5: The Fight Arranger, and provides a rather rare insight into the background and experience of Roy Vincente, who worked on Man In A Suitcase. ITC and the action genre are a happily married couple, so it does the series (and the programme’s marketing machine) justice to present a background to these often unsung performers.
Umbrella’s Propaganda party piece wraps up this disc, with trailers for Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased) and the eagerly-anticipated The Baron.

DISC SIX (Case Three)

The disc itself contains the episodes:

1. Why They Killed Nolan
2. Burden of Proof
3. Who’s Mad Now?
4. Property of a Gentleman

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Isolated Music And Effects Track for Who's Mad Now?
2. Sponsorship Tag Opening Credits
3. Photographic Evidence
4. Interested Parties
5. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature (The First Of Two Featured On This Disc)
6. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature (The Second Of Two Featured On This Disc)
7. Umbrella Propaganda

A second, and in my personal opinion far more satisfying isolated music and effects track is presented for Who's Mad Now?, and enables viewers to further enjoy Albert Elms’ memorable score which accompanies this memorable series. In this instance, however, there is a far greater range to Elms’ music, and I found listening to this track a pure joy – so much so that pieces of the music remained with me the following day. Once again, a decidedly worthy extra which highlights the power of the musical score in television. It’s just such a crying shame that legends in the field such as Dudley Simpson are, and seemingly always will be, so poorly represented.

The Sponsorship Tag Opening Credits feature is a sheer delight to watch, if only by virtue of the fact that, having watched it, the immediate thought to run through the mind is how much fun this sort of extra would be on programmes like The Avengers, Callan and the like. Running to thirty-four seconds, the feature is ostensibly the opening titles to Man In A Suitcase, followed by a freeze-frame caption of the programme title with the voiceover “Man In A Suitcase is brought to you by …” and then it stops. Such fun! I can see it already – "The Avengers is brought to you by Dead Easy Funeral Parlour, frequented by villains who cross their path”. Delicious.

Superlatives are running short on the ground by this stage, but the Photographic Evidence suite on this disc far excels any which have previously featured on either Man In A Suitcase or the other titles in the Umbrella Entertainment range. The volume is simply extraordinary, as follows: twenty-one stills and behind-the-scenes photographs for Why They Killed Nolan, twenty-four for Who's Mad Now? And thirty for Property of a Gentleman. A staggering array, the majority of which, on this occasion, are presented in full colour.

Six further entries into the Interested Parties hall of fame appear, as follows: Ursula Howells (four pages), John Gregson (four pages), Nicola Pagett (three pages), Roger Delgado (three pages), Philip Madoc (four pages) and Justine Lord (three pages). Being a chronic fan of the grand old days of Doctor Who, I couldn’t help but cast an eye over the Delgado and Madoc pages.

The ITC Pressbook on this disc is divided into two categories, that of Director of Photography – Lionel Banes (spanning four pages) and The Make-Up Man – Jim Evans (spanning a further four pages), the latter of which made for the greater highlight of the pair, if only because it affords a rare insight into production members other than the standard Producer, Director, Script Editor et al.

Finally, the Umbrella Propaganda machine has churned out trailers (such as they are) for Gerry Anderson’s The Secret Service and UFO, the latter of which, despite only being the opening titles, proved irresistible. The stokingly good signature tune and ultra cool opening titles were enough to seduce me into watching it once again … although they are badly edited at the end, as the striking chords of another piece of music start up before the track cuts off.

DISC SEVEN (Case Four)

The disc itself contains the episodes:

1. No Friend Of Mine
2. Which Was Did He Go, McGill?
3. The Revolutionaries
4. Three Blinks of The Eyes

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Audio Commentary on The Revolutionaries with Peter Duffell
2. Photographic Evidence
3. Interested Parties
4. Memorabilia
5. Umbrella Propaganda

Overcoming some initial obstacles with a disc which did not play the audio commentary, I was finally (and quite happily) able to access the audio commentary on The Revolutionaries, which proved to be as equally informative and entertaining as the majority of the others on this comprehensive suite. The added bonus of this particular commentary track is that, unlike many others of a similar nature, this one presents the thoughts and reflections of the man who wrote and directed the episode. The insights and observations which Jaz Wiseman assist in conjuring up made this commentary worth the wait.

The glorious and extensive Photographic Evidence gallery continues with an absolutely whopping entry: No Friend of Mine featured thirty-three off-air and publicity stills, whilst there are thirty-three from Which Way Did He Go, McGill?, twenty-eight for The Revolutionaries and forty for Three Blinks of the Eyes.

In a similar vein to Umbrella’s Return of the Saint DVD boxed set, this particular Interested Parties section contains a mixture of talent in front of and behind the camera. Biographies for Allan Cuthbertson (four pages), Donald Sutherland (five pages) and Frank Gatliff (three pages) are joined by a four-page profile of Dennis Spooner and an unusual two-page profile on Richard Harris (unusual in that a photograph of the man himself could not be sourced as a thumbnail).

A positively superb Memorabilia feature is the highlight of this disc, and something I might have appreciate more had it not been for the problems associated with the audio commentary. Nevertheless, I can appreciate that this was a whopping exercise to complete, and is a fantastic example of the kind of material which is generate to promote and publicise a series. This comprehensive suite of scanned and photographed memorabilia from the series features six stills of the ITC Press Booklet featured in hardcopy in the first DVD pack; a front and back cover scan of The Sleeping Cupid, the original Man In A Suitcase novel; a signed publicity photograph of Richard Bradford; eight ITC publicity sheets heralding the series; five publicity stills of Richard Bradford; a scanned cover of TV Magazine; a scanned cover of TV Tornado (Man In A Suitcase edition); three scanned TV World covers, two Bravo covers; a Bravo publicity sheet for the series; a scanned sleeve from the Man In A Suitcase theme 7" single, the scanned cover of the TV Themes LP (containing the Man In A Suitcase theme); a scanned cover of Tele 7 Jours magazine; scanned scrapbook newspaper cuttings concerning Richard Bradford;, a set of four Spanish Man In A Suitcase trading cards; and scanned covers for the scripts of Three Blinks of the Eyes, Day of Execution, The Man Who Stood Still, Find The Lady (which bears the crossed out working title of My Brother Giulio), The Adventuress, Variation On A Million Bucks (Part 2), Web With Four Spiders and Why They Killed Nolan. A fascinating collection of memorabilia.
A double dose of Gerry Anderson populates the seventh Umbrella Propaganda to feature on this DVD boxed set, with trailers for Fireball XL5 and Supercar for viewers to enjoy.

Grant Taylor’s fourth set of sleeve notes are broken into two categories, Music From a Suitcase and Running Orders. The former is a brief overview of the musical contributions made to the series by Albert Elms and, to a limited but memorable degree, Ron Grainer. The Running Orders feature explains the decision Umbrella Entertainment took in terms of the presentation of episodes on this DVD set, and touches briefly on a similar situation concerning the running order of episodes of The Saint on a worldwide basis.

DISC EIGHT (Case Four)

The disc itself contains the episodes:

1. Castle In The Clouds
2. Night Flight To Andorra

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Richard Bradford In Conversation
2. Textless Material
3. Photographic Evidence
4. Interested Parties
5. Umbrella Propaganda

Accompanied by a mock set of opening titles, Richard Bradford In Conversation (spanning thirty-six minutes and twenty-four seconds) will undoubtedly please the hardcore fans of Man In A Suitcase and entertain those with an interest in Bradford’s observations about the series and his career.

In my personal opinion, I found this feature somewhat flat by comparison with the Ian Ogilvy piece for Umbrella’s Return Of The Saint set, in which Ogilvy was decidedly personable and came across with the same infectious enthusiasm with which he had approached the role. Bradford seemed somewhat tired, and the observations he presented were, in part, re-hashed views which had featured on the commentaries in any event. This is not to say it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, as I believe this will be a sales feature of this set as distinguished against the Network alternative, but it certainly didn’t add anything to my appreciation of this series.

The special feature itself is broken into subtitled sections, as per the Ogilvy equivalent, marked as “The Chase”, in which he discusses the role in the film he performed prior to Man In A Suitcase; “Brando”, and Bradford’s attribution that the legendary actor convinced him to join the profession; “Opening The Case”, in which he discusses the formative stages of the programme; “Lew Grade”, in which he briefly touches upon his relationship with the great man himself; and “Bradford’s 'McGill’”, in which he discusses the important differences between Mickey Spillane and James Bond as opposed to McGill, and his injection of human touches and edges of realism to the character.

In “A Very British Crew” he briefly discusses the production unit he worked with (and the difficulties associated therein), long production shoots and complications with certain members of the team. He reflects on his time as an actor and his time in the company of other actors (some of whom were less than complimentary about his attitude and professionalism), and to his credit, Bradford remains remarkable affable and light-hearted about some of the criticisms levelled against him.

In “Guest Stars”, he becomes somewhat more enthusiastic and animated and briefly recollects his time with some of the more notable English actors  featured in the series, such as Colin Blakely, Patrick Cargill and Rodney Bewes (he reflects that some had a “rod up their end”).

In “Bloody Smoking”, he reveals that he didn’t smoke, but he keenly established that as a character trait, and when production staff tried to dissuade him from smoking so much and dousing himself with so much blood, he took it with a handful of salt.

“On Location” enabled Bradford to briefly touch upon his pleasure at the wide variety of location footage which was mounted for the series (the “Get The Yank Day” observation is somewhat fitting, particularly when supported by his explanation and the footage which runs over the top of the piece), whilst “Where’s McGill Today?” affords Bradford a platform to speculate where his character may be in contemporary society.

Bradford expresses his shock in “A Cult Series..." at the popularity the programme now enjoys, and he reflects on the fact that his character, the series and his career as an actor could have been much more than what they actually became. He discusses the reasons behind his eventual decision to leave the series; and in “Second Series?” he expresses his wish that had he “had a brain at all” he would have been more motivated to do more episodes, but he was tired of the constant battles to get his own way on the programme. His observation that pinching pennies and losing dollars was the root cause of his discontent on the series is also a fairly worthy point to be made. He observes that, in a potential second series, he would have wanted McGill involved with women more often, and for better scripts to have been produced.

The interview concludes with an off-camera query about “whatever happened to that suitcase?”, to which Bradford wryly remarks that he has no idea, and that it was barely holding up even then.

Although this hefty interview may not have inspired me, I can certainly recognise that considerable credit must be acknowledged to Grant Taylor and Jaz Wiseman for their sterling work in this regard.

In so far as the Textless Material is concerned, I can do not better than quote from the screen itself: “The following compile of film, found in the ITC vaults, comes from the original textless elements created when the series was in post-production. Textless material was used in foreign markets, so the relevant country’s language could be superimposed over the episode title sequence. Proceeding some of the elements is a hand-written scrawl of the word `McGill’, the original title of the series. These sequences are silent”. As in the Return Of The Saint boxed set, this proves to be rather a nice diversion as an extra, though once again perhaps the inclusion of an extract from the wonderful musical score to accompany the vision might have been nice.

Another whopping set of stills completes the Photographic Evidence file, with twenty-nine pictures for Castle In The Clouds and a further thirty-four for Night Flight To Andorra, all of which are predominately colour stills.

The final Interested Parties feature contains a thirteen-page biography on Richard Bradford, accompanied by a four-page piece for Charles Lloyd Pack, a three-page stint for Edward Fox and a three-page biography for Peter Swanwick.

And bringing this remarkably comprehensive DVD boxed set to a close is another Umbrella Propaganda, featuring trailers for Minder and The Professionals.


Principally, the first and most notable feature of this remarkably good DVD boxed set is the size and retailing price. The fact that Umbrella have elected to place two discs in each case has reduced its size somewhat from the Department S and Saint DVD boxed sets, and this is also reflected in the price, which is somewhat lower than I had originally been anticipating for a thirty-episode release and as such decidedly welcome (particularly with Christmas spending such as it is!)

The picture and sound quality of the episodes themselves are superb, and second to none. I doubt if even Network could do better (and, as previously stated, I suspect that Network and Umbrella may indeed be using the same restored masters).

The staggeringly high quality of the extras on this set are certainly going to mean Network will be pulling several different rabbits out of several different hats to compete, which no doubt they will (if the mooted compact disc soundtrack is anything to go by). One needs only calculate that there are six-hundred and fifty colour and black and white photographs featured in this DVD boxed set to recognise this fact, let alone the four commentaries and half-hour interview with Richard Bradford.

I thought I’d been bowled over with Return Of The Saint, but Man In A Suitcase has trumped it. Umbrella Entertainment are consistently raising the bar of quality, not only for Region 4 DVD releases, but they are making a firm impact on the level of extra material and standards of picture and sound quality which make it to commercial DVD releases (Network, to do them credit, are top of that particular tree in Region 2 territory). Long may they be able to produce affordable DVD boxed sets of archive television programmes.

Next stop on the whirlwind tour is The Saint (Set 3) in mid-January... the viewing just keeps getting better and better!












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