Jason King was a crime drama series spin off from Department S. When Peter Wyngarde appeared as one of a trio of investigators in that very groovy ITC Series in 1968 his character, flamboyant novelist Jason King was intended to be the least used character of the three. Such was King’s impact that he quickly became the focus and Wyngarde an unlikely sex symbol with his dodgy facial hair and even dodgier clothes. When Department S ended it was inevitable that King would get his own series, which he did of course…
Jason King hit the screens in 1971 and the format saw King traveling the world looking for inspiration for his books. Along the way managing to get involved in adventure and damsel in distress saving.
ITC (The Incorporated Television Company) had been founded by the legendary TV mogul Lew Grade to make programmes for his ATV network and ITV but also with an eye on the American market. His action adventure series, of which Jason King is one, have become TV classics. All shot on film and with big name actors the formats all tended to be pretty interchangeable, stock scenes were used across the series. In fact footage of a white jaguar plummeting off the top of a cliff can be seen in pretty much every production.
This is actually one of the things that makes the shows so attractive. They have a cohesiveness that means you know exactly what you are getting. Back lots made to look like European locales, rear projection driving scenes, up and coming names and a huge amount of brilliant fun.
Jason King the series runs to 26 episodes. It features such great British names as Ingrid Pitt, Alfred Marks, Dennis Price, John Le Mesurier, Yootha Joyce, Michele Dotrice, Kate O’Mara, Isla Blair, Felicity Kendal, Anton Rodgers and Madeline Smith.
UK / ITV Network – ITC-Scoton / 26×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 1971
Creators: Dennis Spooner, Monty Berman / Music: Laurie Johnson / Titles: Chambers + Partners / Producer: Monty Berman
PETER WYNGARDE as Jason King
ANN SHARP as Nicola Harvester
DENNIS PRICE as Sir Brian
RONALD LACEY as Ryland