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TV: S is for...

Saint, The/Return of The Saint

Spooks do furnish a roomThe mind bogilvysROGER MOORE tours famous back projection blue screens of the world in-between exchanging fisticuffs with fat-necked bug-eyed heavies, opening secret panels, coaxing a mini-skirted moll to change sides and shooting a pistol out of the reach of a struggling evil henchman. Also suffered unlikely medical condition when constant recognition in crowded continental piazza caused tell-tale Colgate ring of confidence to appear over head, instantly blowing undercover operation. Rog later bought up the rights to the Leslie Charteris-created louche gadabout Simon Templar, mounting repeated attempts at relaunches in subsequent decades. Most notable was IAN OGILVY’s stint, replete with ace quasi-singalong theme tune (“It’s the re-TURN of the SAINT!”). SIMON DUTTON donned the halo for a hopeless and shortlived 1989 re-return.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    June 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Purists never took to the Return of the Saint but it was just as good as the original with more location filming and a cool theme tune. 18 million viewers can’t have been wrong.

  2. Glenn A

    November 28, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    The Simon Dutton version wasn’t THAT bad and introduced British audiences to a mega star in Europe, Arielle Dombasel, who was almost unknown over here. She played some martial arts whizz in one episode about a plan to sabotage the reunification of Berlin. However, the critics completely savaged it.

  3. Arthur Nibble

    November 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Always easy to do at charades – stick a roll of Sellotape over your head for ‘The Saint’, then do it again straight away for ‘Return of the Saint’!

  4. Richard Davies

    November 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Jaguar refused to lend the production team an E-Type as they were worried about publicity overkill, so they went for a Volvo P1800 instead.

    When ROTS came along a Jaguar XJS was used, though Ian Ogilvy complained about the ice cold water that used to drip out of the A/C vents every time hedrove round a corner.

  5. THX 1139

    May 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    The Return of the Saint missed a trick, everyone’s favourite bit was the animated stick man titles, so they should have made him the star of the show and had him interact with the guest stars, do the stunts, etc. Sorry Ian.

  6. Glenn A

    November 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Ian Ogilvy’s Jaguar XJS was so unreliable they had to have another one on standby. and the story about the aircon doesn’t surprise me as these cars were blighted with problems. Indeed other action series of the time like The Professionals and The New Avengers cancelled their contracts with British Leyland as they were tired of problems with the cars.

  7. HardcorePrawn

    January 22, 2015 at 5:35 am

    Rog owned the rights to the Saint? That probably explains why the Roger Moore-alike Ian Oglivy got the nod for the ROTS.
    ROTS had one of the most unintentionally funny opening credits ever: Stick Man taking down the bad guys before smooching an array of scantily clad women. There’s a laugh-out-loud bit when Stick’s shadow appears across the body of a sun-bathing beauty, like some childishly drawn predator…
    They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

  8. Andrew Barton

    October 15, 2021 at 10:45 am

    There was the film version too of The Saint in 1997, with Val Kilmer in the title role.

    The Australian actor Jeremy Sims, when he was filming the Sixties set drama Kangaroo Palace in London, was stopping in the same hotel as the cast and crew of The Saint film. He was recognised by some of the Russian actors as the soap opera Chances, which starred Sims, was a big hit over there unknown to him.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    October 31, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    I wonder if ITV4 will ever re run ROTS as it would complement the current sixties repeats. I really enjoyed ROTS and it had a couple of standout episodes such as the man trying to set off a nuclear weapon in London, an episode in Venice with Bruce Dern as a kidnapper, and one involving a violent bike gang in London. Also Venice was Venice in ROTS, not some stock footage and a set pretending to be St Peter’s Square as would have happened in The Saint, so it will look more modern.

  10. George White

    November 1, 2021 at 7:19 am

    Bruce Dern? Maurice Colbourne was the kidnapper iirc.

    ROTS was an Italian co-pro.

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