Yay! Network will release Spyder's Web on May 2. That's one of the ITC spy series I've been hoping they'd put out. (Virgin of the Secret Service is another I'd love to see.) I've never seen it, but I'm intrigued by what I've read about it. The exact premise, however, is a little tough to pinpoint—even from Network's official description:
There are over 40,000 different species of spider. All are cannibals, and almost all kill through cunning.In his essential ITV Encyclopedia of Adventure , Dave Rogers asserts that the lack of clarity in the show's premise is intentional and part of its charm. His intriguing description of the series makes it sound downright Avengers-y in its weirdness. Some of the strangeness that the mysterious government organization Web encounters includes a nursing home that can arrange almost anything, a romance tour company whose clients fall in love and then disappear, a mynah bird who relays orders to field agents (in an episode that also involves life-size puppets), a mad vicar waging a war in the middle of Britain and a gadget that instantly ages humans to the point of skeletonizing them.
There’s only one Spyder, though. Using a documentary unit as an ingenious cover, the specialist organisation is directly responsible to the government – taking on jobs that are too hot or too delicate for the police, or that someone in authority is putting the block on. Operating within the ideal anonymity of the film world, with its headquarters an office in a crumbling shared building in Soho, the ‘Arachnid Film Unit’ has representatives in many places; it spins a web to trap the guilty, with a network of highly skilled agents all licensed to kill.
An offbeat, stylish and humorous ITC thriller originally screened in 1972, Spyder’s Web stars Patricia Cutts as the dynamic Lottie Dean, Anthony Ainley as her trigger-happy fellow agent, Clive Hawskworth, and Hammer horror star Veronica Carlson as Tolstoy-reading secretary Wallis Ackroyd. The series was based on an idea by Man in a Suitcase co-creator Richard Harris, and writers include Robert Holmes (Public Eye), Alfred Shaughnessy (Upstairs, Downstairs) and sitcom veteran Roy Clarke (Last of the Summer Wine).
Network's 4-disc Region: 2 PAL set includes all 13 episodes. Retail is £40.84 but it will be available from Network's website for £35.74. I'm really looking forward to this one!