Region 0 (Australian) Edition  (PAL format)

Reviewed by Matthew Lee

Directors:  Jeremy Summers, Leslie Norman, Peter Sasdy, etc.

Featuring:  Ian Ogilvy, Judy Geeson, Joss Ackland, Mary Tamm, Prunella Gee,

                     Maurice Colbourne, Maurice Denham, Kate O'Mara, Ian Hendry, etc.


The most striking feature of Umbrella’s Return of the Saint boxed set is the colour "ITC Entertainment Presents" teaser, which I had previously seen attached to NTSC versions of Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds, but which makes a nice change from the black and white ITC introductory piece attached to the two Umbrella The Saint sets.

As with the company's Roger Moore The Saint boxed sets, star Ian Ogilvy introduces the programme in an “all those years ago” vein, this time offering up a “Have Fun!” to viewers. The main menu itself is a positive delight, as our friendly little stick-figure Saint trundles into his Corgi model Jaguar and roars off on a silhouetted mountainscape, whilst a selection of slides run as a slide-show in the background. Wonderful stuff, accompanied by the somewhat gauche, yet instantly recognisable, signature tune to the series.


The disc contains the episodes The Judas Game, The Nightmare Man, Duel In Venice and One Black September.

The picture and sound quality are of the customary high standard one expects from an Umbrella release, and whilst it may not rank in the god-smackingly “Wow! Look at how clean these prints are!” stakes so gloriously sustained by Network and company, the transfer to DVD has certainly made these episodes immeasurably cleaner than the brown picture and crackly sound I have often seen slipped into the terrestrial and satellite schedules over the years.

The extras contained on this disc once again reflect Umbrella’s customarily high range of additional material:

1. Audio commentary on Duel In Venice provided by Ian Ogilvy and producer Robert S Baker

2. Insert reprint of the original ITC Publicity Brochure

3. Production Notes – Ian Ogilvy: The New Saint (drawn from the original ITC Pressbook)

4. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature

5. Original Production Images from The Nightmare Man

6. Photographic Evidence Gallery

7. Umbrella Propaganda

Par excellence! The insert reprint of the original ITC Publicity Brochure was a wonderful touch to an overwhelmingly superb DVD boxed set. Spanning six pages, this nice little mini-brochure presents a modest introduction to the series – which appears to have been chiefly exported on the basis of glamorous and lavish worldwide locations and blonde birds with precious little kit on!

The audio commentary (recorded on June 1, 2004), which is introduced by moderator Jaz Wiseman, is glorious, and one of the better commentaries I have heard presented for an ITC series. The detail and depth of knowledge possessed by Robert S Baker and Ian Ogilvy (who are, incidentally, reunited here for the first time since the programme ceased production) is richly rewarding, and Wiseman’s capacity to set the scene and prompt the pair for their comments on production aspects made for a whole-heartedly entertaining hour.

The Saints and Sinners section features career biographies for actors Ian Ogilvy, Judy Geeson, Norman Eshley and Nadim Sawalha, whilst the Photographic Evidence presents a nice selection of stills (some of which appear to be direct screen-grabs, though I may be mistaken, whilst others are clearly publicity stills from the series).

Nightmare Man On Set Gallery is also pleasant, as the photographs are presented as a slide-show of various shots presented in negative frames.

The Original ITC Press Book runs to eight pages and is as customarily detailed as on previous occasions, though the benefits of a widescreen television certainly assist in not going blind from a casual read!

The Umbrella Propaganda on this disc features trailers for The Saint and Man In A Suitcase, both derived from the usual ITC show-reel (though one hopes the picture quality of the programme itself, when released by Umbrella in October, is a good deal better than featured here!).

On this occasion, the sleeve notes also feature website addresses for Umbrella,, and


the disc contains the episodes The Village That Sold Its Soul, Assault Force, Yesterday’s Heroes and The Poppy Chain

A smaller batch of extras are contained on this disc, thus:

1. Isolated Music And Effects Audio Track on Assault Force

2. Production Notes – “The Production Team”

3. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature

4. ITC Video Trailer

5. Guest Cast Profiles

6. Photographic Evidence Gallery

7. Umbrella Propaganda

The Saints and Sinners section of this disc features career biographies for actors Kate O’Mara, Burt Kwouk, Ian Hendry, Annette Andre, Laurence Naismith and Jenny Hanley.

The Photographic Evidence material is, as usual, nicely diverting, whilst the ITC Video Trailer is nothing more than the component once featured on Carlton’s Cool Spies And Private Eyes trailer, which was attached to their VHS range of ITC titles.

The Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature remains an entertaining inclusion, and spans another eight pages on this disc.

The Isolated Music and Effects Audio Track on Assault Force affords an opportunity to enjoy John Scott’s atypically seventies soundtrack, accompanied by a wide range of sound effects included in the soundtrack itself. An explanation concerning the employment of the M & E tracks generated to accompany exported episodes of the series makes for nice background information on the menu in this regard.

The Umbrella Propaganda on this occasion features The Saint and The Baron, the latter of which was a surprise inclusion as I had forgotten Umbrella had secured the rights to this one.

The Production Team sleeve notes (once again derived from the original ITC Pressbook), provide detailed information on Robert S Baker, producer Anthony Spinner, the Lighting Camerman (namely Frank Watts) and the Production Supervisor. This particular set of production notes underlines the calibre of the release, in that not only is there plenty of material to read but an abundance of material to watch as well!


The disc contains the episodes The Arrangement, The Armageddon Alternative, The Imprudent Professor and Signal Stop.

Extras contained on this disc consist of:

1. Audio Commentary on Signal Stop provided by Ian Ogilvy and Robert S Baker

2. Alternate Opening Titles

3. Production Notes – “As Seen By The New Saint”

4. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature

5. Guest Cast Profiles

6. Photographic Evidence Gallery

7. Umbrella Propaganda

The Saints and Sinners section this time concentrates on career biographies for Carolyn Seymour, George Cole, Donald Houston and Catherine Schell, and is accompanied by the Photographic Evidence section which concerns itself with stills from the episodes on offer here.

The Alternate Opening Titles section of this disc was a delicious treat, namely by virtue of the fact that one is able to view a rare print of the opening titles for the series, accompanied not in this instance by the distinctive Brian Dee-Irving Martin signature tune, but backed by the cringeworthy Taking It East theme tune, performed by Oliver Onions (and if the name doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, believe me the tune will!). A combination of the best selection of soundtracks from 1970s XXX-rated pornographic films and lyrics which rival Bonnie Langford at her best, for those of a select persuasion, you can tap your toes to lines such as “I’m gonna sit at home and watch a programme when it’s on” and “Watching the Saint” as you find yourself clutching your ears! Nicely diverting extra, affording a terrifying glimpse of what could have been.

The audio commentary (another recorded on June 1, 2004), which is once again introduced by moderator Jaz Wiseman, comes a close second to the first featured in this boxed set. The detail and depth of knowledge possessed by Robert S Baker far outshines poor Mr Ogilvy, who confesses to the fact that he scarcely remembers the episode in question, Signal Stop. However, throughout the course of the episode, Ogilvy’s recollections are delightfully spontaneous (somewhat unexpectedly for a change, compare to the hackneyed BBC Worldwide commentaries,  in which the actors and crew taking part have been ready-loaded with masses of paperwork about the programme) . This made for another rewarding hour to sit back and bathe in the radiant recollections. Sterling work, as always, by Mr Wiseman!

The ITC Pressbook on this disc is divided into two categories, that of Producer – The New Saint Series (spanning eleven pages) and Creator  - The Saint – Through The Eyes of His Creator, Leslie Charteris (spanning twelve pages), the latter of which made for the greater highlight of the pair.

The Umbrella Propaganda featured on the disc concentrates on The Saint and The Protectors (as an avid fan of the latter, I couldn’t help but pop it on just to listen to the catchy signature tune – but the quality of the picture is a HORRENDOUS NTSC conversion! Let’s hope the quality of the prints is much, much better when Umbrella eventually pop this one into stores!).

Production Notes on the sleeve are The Saint As Seen By The New TV Saint, and whilst a reproduction from the original ITC Pressbook, the interview with Ian Ogilvy featured in the text is nicely diverting and informative.


The disc contains the episodes The Roman Touch, Tower Bridge Is Falling Down, The Debt Collectors and Collision Course – The Brave Goose.

The extras supplied on this disc are somewhat more comprehensive, consisting of:

1. Audio Commentary on Collision Course – The Brave Goose provided by Malcolm Christopher (Production Supervisor) and Ken Baker (Assistant Director)

2. Opening Titles Storyboard Sequence

3. Production Notes – At Home With The Saint

4. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature

5. Guest Cast Profiles

6. Photographic Evidence Gallery

7. Umbrella Propaganda

The Saints and Sinners component of this disc features career biographies for Linda Thorson (such as it is!), Alfie Bass, Anton Rogers, Mary Tamm and Michael Robbins. The standard Photographic Evidence suite accompanies this extra.

The Opening Titles Storyboard Sequence is presented as a slide-show affair, and most notable features some frames which did not, ultimately, make the grade when it came to putting the opening titles together for the series. Forty-seven frames are presented, though on this occasion it might have been nice to include the signature tune over the top so as to have been in a position to fully appreciate the pair combined. Nevertheless, a minor niggle for what is an entirely satisfying inclusion as an extra.

The Original ITC Pressbook feature in this instance is broken into two halves, consisting of France – South Of France Locations For The Saint (spanning eleven pages) and Italy – The Saint In Italy (spanning seven pages, and discussing the nine episodes made in this wonderful country). Once again, customarily detailed and of interest to Saint fans and ITC enthusiasts alike.

The third audio commentary (recorded on June 15, 2004), is once again introduced by moderator Jaz Wiseman. On this occasion he is in conversation with Production Supervisor Malcolm Christopher and Assistant Director Ken Baker. They discuss the first half of the two-part story Collision Course, entitled The Brave Goose (though with the working title of Vanishing Point). Starting with a few amusing anecdotes with regard to filming in Southampton (the early stages of the episode are akin to Howards’ Way in the 1970s!), and with Jaz remarking on the fact that Malcolm brought in call sheets to refer to throughout the commentary, the entire leisurely hour gets into full-flight after the titles have rolled. The discussion between the three gentleman provides Return Of The Saint novices such as myself (I enjoyed the series, but knew precious little about the production background to the series) a rich insight into the workings of the series and some of the more trivial aspects of the programme. Jaz Wiseman should receive rich plaudits for this particular commentary, and indeed the three commentaries presented in this boxed set are worth the cover price alone!

The Umbrella Propaganda on this occasion features Department S and the long-awaited Jason King.

The Production Notes featured on the sleeve (once again drawn from the original ITC pressbook), are entitled At Home With The Saint. On this occasion, the reader can enjoy a leisurely tour of Simon Templar’s luxurious London home whilst the man himself demonstrates that even in a tidy kitchen the Saint can still find time to leave a cake-tin on a hot-plate. Perhaps he’s planning to make a quiche?


The disc contains the episodes Collision Course – The Sixth Man, Hot Run, Murder Cartel and The Obono Affair

Extras featured on this fifth disc are as follows:

1. Isolated Music And Effects Audio Track on The Murder Cartel

2. Rare Commercial Break Bumper

3. Original Memorabilia

4. Production Notes – “The Saint On Wheels”

5. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature

6. Guest Cast Profiles

7. Photographic Evidence Gallery

8. Umbrella Propaganda

The Saints and Sinners component of this disc features career biographies for Gayle Hunnicutt, Stratford Johns, Derren Nesbitt, Rula Lenska and Britt Ekland, accompanied (as always) by the Photographic Evidence suite of publicity stills from the programme, and in particular the episodes featured on this disc.

The Rare Commercial Break Bumper runs to five seconds, so blink and you’ll probably miss it, but it’s nice to see – as in the vein of Network’s commercial release of Strange Report on DVD – that advertisement bumpers are included, if not in the actual programme content itself. The tinkling piano accompaniment over this extra conjures up brief images of the Saint ordering a dry martini whilst lesser mortals watching his adventures trundle off to the bathroom or venture into the kitchen in search of refreshments!

The Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature on this disc concerns itself with the score of the series, namely Return Of The Saint – Music: Study In Strength, and, spanning some five pages, concentrates on John Scott’s memorable musical accompaniment to the series (albeit somewhat dated by today’s standards).

Having said that, I found that the Isolated Music And Effects Audio Track on The Murder Cartel boasted a much more effective John Scott score than that which was made available on Disc Two (Assault Force), and whilst the music itself screams “This is the 1970s! This is the 1970s!” in as much as the pert nipples of a variety of female guest stars heavily implies “You’re watching ITV”, I found this particular extra quite rewarding amongst the pack.

The one notable exception on this disc appears to be the absence of the Original Memorabilia section, which was cited on the back cover but did not make the final roll-call on the disc (as in the instance of the second Saint set from Umbrella, one extra too many fell from the cartload on offer). Not a major problem, but this should have been removed from the cover if it did not materialise on this disc.

The Umbrella Propaganda on this particular disc features the delights of John Drake in Danger Man and the psychedelic wonders of Number Six in The Prisoner.

The Saint Will Drive A Motor-Cycle! is the basis of the Production Notes on the sleeve of this disc, accompanied by a colour publicity still of turtle-necked Ian Ogilvy sitting proudly astride a BMW motorcycle, strangely accompanied by a shameless plug for Ian Ogilvy’s new book Measle And The Wrathmonk, a children’s story concerning “a small boy, a big adventure, and one enormous cockroach”, published by Oxford University Press and the details of which can be located on his own personal website. Not entirely relevant, one suspects, but a nice enough means of ensuring Mr Ogilvy keeps the money rolling in!


The sixth case contains two discs.

Disc six contains the episodes  Vicious Circle, Dragonseed, Appointment In Florence and The Diplomat’s Daughter

The comprehensive suite of extras on this sixth are positively mouth-watering:

1. Exclusive Interview With Ian Ogilvy

2. Textless Sequences

3. Strange Report episode with guest star Ian Ogilvy

4. The Saint And The Brave Goose Trailer

5. Production Paperwork for The Brave Goose

6. Original U.S Pressbook (PDF – DVD-Rom) for The Brave Goose

7. Production Notes – “What Makes A Man The Saint?”

8. Original ITC Pressbook Text Feature

9. Guest Cast Profiles

10. Photographic Evidence Gallery

11. Umbrella Propaganda

The seventh - bonus - disc contains the feature-length compilation The Saint And The Brave Goose – Feature Film Version.

If you can get over the stunning shock value of finding two discs nestling away in the last of the dozen Amaray cases in this boxed set, then be prepared to be bowled over by the comprehensive nature of the DVD extras crammed onto this title to simply blow you away.

On Disc Six, the extras are as follows:

The Saints and Sinners component of this disc features career biographies for actors Tessa Wyatt, Mel Ferrer and Sam Wanamaker, and for crew members Robert S Baker, Ken Baker and Malcolm Christopher, who also contributed commentaries for selected episodes. This feature is accompanied by the Photographic Evidence suite.

The Original ITC Pressbook feature concerns itself with This Is Ian Ogilvy, spanning six pages and bringing its readership completely up to date with the wide-ranging career Mr Ogilvy has enjoyed over the years, and the impact performing the role of Simon Templar had on that career.

Textless Sequences on offer here are the Opening and Closing Credits (in a similar vein to Network’s highly-popular commercial release of Strange Report on DVD), and runs to 1 minute and 36 seconds in length. So, for those of a particular persuasion (and with too much time on their hands), now you can make your own further adventures of Simon Templar in the comfort of your own asylum ward!

The Umbrella Propaganda on this disc features a trailer for Minder (Series 3) in which Richard Griffiths sits by a pool, bickers with Dennis Waterman and then launches a piano into a watery grave, whilst a trailer for The Professionals is nothing more than a grainy version of the opening titles.

The Production Notes are divided into two sections, namely to accompany the two discs in this final case. The section relating to this first disc is entitled What Makes A Man The Saint? and primarily concerns itself with the views expressed by Leslie Charteris and Ian Ogilvy as to what characteristics make particular men saintly. This extract forms the final section drawn from the original ITC Pressbook.

The bonus disc's extras are as follows:

The first extra on this final disc in the set is an Ian Ogilvy Interview recorded in London in June 2004 and directed by Jaz Wiseman, who should be congratulated for his sterling work on the material contained in this extra and the suite as a whole. Ogilvy starts the interview by discussing the fact that there was no audition process, and that Robert S Baker essentially presented him with a proposal for the series and later contacted his agent with the green light to proceed. The interview, which spans 10 minutes and 26 seconds, is broken into nine sections, as follows:

1. The Stunts: Ian Ogilvy recalls his fear of heights and considers the “dorky” helmet he was forced to wear in the opening episode of the series.

2. The Crew: Discussing shooting the series in Italy, and particularly the skiing sequences in Cortina, Ogilvy recounts the story of an assistant producer taking the rise out of the Italian production unit by claiming a whistle he had on location to start the skiers had lost its pea, and saw to it that half the production unit were digging in the snow for a missing pea (which Ogilvy and the man in question knew was not missing in the first place). He also discusses the lighting arrangements in his car (which virtually blinded him whilst driving and had to be removed), and reveals that all the crew had worked previously on the Roger Moore version of The Saint. He also confesses that there is “not an American crew better than the Saint crew”. Ogilvy also discusses that it was nice to be the centre of attention on the series, and his pride at having won the respect of the crew through his professionalism and his ability to remember his lines – he eventually was affectionately termed the “Guvnor”.

3. Writing And Directing: Ogilvy discusses the fact that the series was never intended to be Hamlet, and that it was merely “eye candy” for factory workers would return home after a hard day and watch television which was untaxing, and features a pretty girl, a fast car and a fight. He accredits the scripts for the series as efficient and workmanlike.

4. Pretty Girls: Ogilvy reveals that the crew favourite was Rula Lenska, he discusses the difference in professionalism between the US and UK girls featured in the series and contemplates whether or not Simon Templar was a womaniser.

5. Critics: Whilst he accepts the knocks made against the series by certain quarters of the media, Ogilvy is quick to point out that he received good and bad praise in equal measure whilst working on the series. He also recounts meeting fans of the series during and after its broadcast, and confesses his amazement that the programme is so healthily supported by a large fanbase.

6. The Car: In a wonderfully wry piece, Ogilvy discusses the early stages of Jaguar development and the fact that the car itself had severe reliability problems. He recounts that the gear box disintegrated outside of Rome when he was driving his family back to the UK at the end of shooting on the series in Italy.

7. Gags: Ogilvy discusses the camaraderie on set and on location, and highlights the fact that his workload was particularly heavy on the series because he was essentially the main character throughout.

8. Living With The Saint: In this section, Ogilvy discusses the crass décor in Templar’s home, the fact that he removed as much of it as he could before filming took place, and that not a great deal of the series was recorded in his home environment, which he believes was probably a wise move.

9. …25 Years Later: Ogilvy confesses to not having watched the episodes prior to being asked to record a commentary, but also reveals that he was surprised at how it stands up by contemporary standards, and concludes the interview by claiming that he would be prepared to do it all again.

The I-am-absolutely-bloody-amazed-at-this-one extra on this disc has to be the inclusion of the Strange Report episode Kidnap – Who’s Little Girl Are You? The crisp sound quality and extremely clean print presented reflect the fact that this is basically an extrapolation from the highly-successful Network release earlier this year, but this is nevertheless an entirely pleasurable feature on this pack (and one can never get bored with a Strange Report episode, right fans?) The option of either selecting a Play Episode button of selecting from three chaptered points are made available in the second menu, whilst the first menu contains a brief summary of the concept of the series itself.

The Brave Goose Trailer is a pleasant enough inclusion, although the picture and sound quality certainly reflect the age of the material to hand. The chap voicing the promotional reel is as dire as dire can be, churning out hackneyed lines such as “The Saint is back on a wild, wild goose chase”, but this trailer is no worse than any which pop up on other 1970s-related film and television productions (how anyone was moved to watch anything during that decade is beyond me!). The musical accompaniment for the trailer is equally embarrassing, but the fact the trailer exists at all is a credit to the release.

The Textless Material component of this disc affords viewers with one of the more unusual aspects of the DVD extras suite, perhaps as best described by the menu itself – “At the time of production, textless material was made available to broadcasters in foreign territories, allowing them to insert credits in their local languages. For the Return Of The Saint completist, we have collected all the surviving textless material from the beginning of each Return Of The Saint episode. If you look closely, the occasional episode sequence presents production clapper boards when these sequences were originally filmed. This material is silent”. Sitting silently watching a combination of scenic footage shots (over which locations would presumably have been captioned) and the like is certainly of interest, but presenting them silently as opposed to perhaps marrying pictures with some manner of incidental music may have made this extra, running to 18 minutes and 16 seconds, somewhat more diverting than it actually was. Nevertheless, it was certainly of interest and is another valuable and worthy addition to the DVD extras suite.

The DVD-ROM PDF components of this disc feature The Brave Goose Production Paperwork and the Original US ITC Pressbook, both of which make for enjoyable reading and afford a useful insight into the marketing processes employed by ITC in terms of this series, and the ITC range in general.

A selection of twenty Publicity Stills are also featured on this disc, all of which as particularly clear and are presented as full-frame items.

The Umbrella Propaganda for this seventh disc features trailers for Danger Man and Strange Report, the latter of which has been derived from Network’s comprehensive boxed set released earlier this year.

Having briefly cast an eye over the contents of the discs, there’s doesn’t seem to be a problem accessing the episodes either through the play all or episode selection sections of the main menu, which should go some way to reassuring customers who have purchased the previous Roger Moore sets for The Saint and found access difficult on certain DVD players.

Joss Ackland

Derren Nesbitt

Ian Hendry


Having been positively knocked for six at purchasing a DVD boxed set brimming over with tantalizing extras, boasting three informative and interesting commentaries, featuring twenty-four episodes which have enjoyed moderate restoration (certainly the sound and picture quality are a far cry from the loving attention showered upon titles by Network, but the episodes themselves boast above average sound and picture quality and should impress the majority of potential buyers), I can heartily recommend this title as a worthy addition to any DVD range.

Jaz Wiseman’s contribution to this title cannot be ignored, and he should be showered with praise for another customarily high-calibre turn with regard to this title.

Umbrella, you have done the DVD-purchasing community a great service, and if this is a sign of things to come, you will most certainly be enjoying further intimate relations with my wallet and personal finances.

And in the next race, it’s Man In A Suitcase…. so I’m off to wage war with twenty-four episodes of Return Of The Saint before enjoying the delights of another Umbrella product.

Long may this Australian-based company serve the worldwide DVD community with top-quality, reasonably-priced UK programmes!

Susan Penhaligan

Mary Tamm

Catherine Schell
Sarah Douglas

Anoushka Hempel

Carolyn Seymour
Linda Thorson

Diane Keen

Kate O'Mara











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