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The Champions (ITV Drama, Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo)

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The Champions ITV Drama, William Gaunt, Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo

One of the prime ITC action adventure series, The Champions channels Lost Horizon and Department S to come up with a brilliant spin on the standard ITC format.

The three stars, Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo and William Gaunt play a trio of special agents working for international peace agency Nemesis, however this trio is not just any ordinary bunch of globetrotting agents but a trio of agents with some pretty special powers, following a plane crash in the Himalayas whilst en route to a mission in China the trio are saved by a wizened old man from a reclusive Tibetan civilisation who endow them with a little bit extra when compared to mr average joe, all of their senses have been heightened and they have more strength and stamina as well as some telepathic abilities.

Of course this makes them perfect agents for Nemesis, following orders issued by their boss Lawrence Tremayne (Anthony Nicholls), who was based in Geneva (ie the ITC studios), the team trotted around the globe averting disaster and investigating potential trouble spots.

Like all of the great ITC series The Champions has that glossy slick style, shot on film with one eye on the American market but also with that rear projection standing in for exotic locales vibe that ITC loved.

Some great supporting actors crop up throughout the episodes too including the likes of Peter Wyngarde, Bernard Lee, Donald Sutherland and Paul Eddington. A great show when it was made in the late sixties and still superior television now.

Note that broadcast dates below are for the ATV region. At the time The Champions was made ITV was still somewhat disjointed with not all regions bothering to broadcast some shows or at a later date or incomplete. ATV, thanks to chairman Lew Grade’s bringing his production company ITC under the ATV banner, generally were one of the few ITV companies to ensure a complete run of episodes for any ITC series.

Cast: Stuart Damon as Craig Stirling; Alexandra Bastedo as Sharron Macready; William Gaunt as Richard Barrett; Anthony Nicholls as Lawrence Tremayne

Creators: Monty Berman, Dennis Spooner / Script Supervisor: Dennis Spooner / Theme Music: Tony Hatch / Producer: Monty Berman

UK / ITV – ITC – Film-Makers / 30×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 25 September 1968 – 30 April 1969

THE EPISODES
1. The Beginning
2. The Invisible Man
3. Reply Box No. 666
4. The Experiment
5. Happening
6. Operation Deep-Freeze
7. The Survivors
8. To Trap A Rat
9. The Iron Man
10. The Ghost Plane
11. The Dark Island
12. The Fanatics
13. Twelve Hours
14. The Search
15. The Gilded Cage
16. Shadow of the Panther
17. A Case of Lemmings
18. The Interrogation
19. The Mission
20. The Silent Enemy
21. The Body Snatchers
22. Get Me Out Of Here!
23. The Night People
24. Project Zero
25. Desert Journey
26. Full Circle
27. Nutcracker
28. The Final Countdown
29. The Gun-Runners
30. Autokill