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The Rat Catchers (ITV Spy drama, Glyn Owen, Philip Stone)

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In 1960’s spy drama The Rat Catchers, a trio agents work for a highly secret department of British Intelligence out of a small office in Whitehall. It has no official title and few people are aware of it’s existence (easier for the government if they need to disown it). The team take their orders direct from Downing Street and their territory was not just limited to the UK.

The leader of the trio was Brigadier Davidson (Philip Stone), nominally an advisor to the government on the import/export trade of computers which gave allowed free access to senior agent Peregrine Pascale (Gerald Flood) whose cover was that of Managing Director of Transworld Electronics (which also happened to be true),

Finally Ex Superintendent Richard Hurst (Glyn Owen) was new to the team having been transferred from Scotland Yard against his wishes. He initially has something of a dislike and distrust for his new colleagues feeling the difference in their social backgrounds.

The Rat Catchers on location Glyn Owen in Greece

The Rat Catchers managed a fair bit of location filming. Here Glyn Owen is in Greece.

The series was produced by Cyril Coke and he and Raymond Bowers who wrote the first four episodes would have been heavily involved in the creation of the series. Besides Bowers most of the scripts were written by Victor Canning and Jeremy Paul.

Guest stars included the likes of Wanda Ventham, Geoffrey Palmer, Reginald Marsh, Patricia Haines, Bernard Kay, Hannah Gordon, Derren Nesbitt and Ralph Michael.

It was a high profile series, cashing in on the spy boom somewhat but going down the Harry Palmer/John Le Carre dour realism mode rather than the flash word of James Bond. Unlike most series of the day The Rat Catchers also managed some actual overseas location filming notably in Greece, Amsterdam, Spain, Yugoslavia and Vienna.

The series was made by Associated Rediffusion for ITV and ran for 26 episodes between 2 February 1966 and 9 March 1967. The theme music was by the great Johnny Pearson.