2010 is already shaping up to be a great year for spy fans. UK company Network has announced that they will release the surviving episodes of the first two black and white seasons (1967-69) of the stellar Edward Woodward spy series Callan on DVD (Region 2, PAL) for the first time ever in February! Seasons three and four, shot in color, have previously been available in England (where they're now out of print) and Australia, and the first color season made its long-awaited Region 1 U.S. debut this past summer courtesy of Acorn Media (review here). Set 2 (the fourth season) comes out in January. But the monochrome episodes have never been officially available in any country before; they've only circulated as bootlegs. So this is big news! From Network's announcement:
After many years spent trying to untangle the Rights situation for the first two series [seasons], we can now announce that February will see the release of Callan: The Monochrome Years (4 disc set, RRP £29.99).Utterly fantastic! The original pilot plus all the surviving episodes! (Several episodes were "wiped," or erased, a standard–and unfortunate–practice in British television at the time.) Network's announcement concludes by adding that "Callan: The Colour Years, comprising series three and four, is currently scheduled to be released in May 2010." That will put Britain back up to speed on those series, and mean that all four seasons will be available in Callan's homeland next year. There's no mention now of the theatrical film Callan or the TV reunion episode Wet Job, but maybe Network will be able to include them as extras on the color set. Fingers crossed!
This set contains the original Armchair Theatre pilot play, A Magnum For Schneider, along with all the remaining black and white episodes from series one and two - the majority of which have been unseen in nearly forty years and are available here on any format for the first time.
Hopefully this news will also pave the way for Acorn to be able to release the black and white episodes for American fans in the near future.
Read my review of Callan: Set 1 here.
Read my obituary of the recently departed Edward Woodward here.