May 1, 2015

Upcoming Spy DVDs: Chessgame: The Complete Series

This summer, Network will release a Region 2 DVD set of the 1983 UK spy series Chessgame, starring Terence Stamp. This will mark the series' first ever DVD release in its original episodic format. Chessgame was adapted from Anthony Price's excellent series of novels about the intellectual spymaster David Audley and his rotating roster of assistants. Though he doesn't quite match the author's physical description of his hero, Stamp (Modesty Blaise) plays Audley. Robin Sachs (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) co-stars as Hugh Roskill; Michael Culver (Philby, Burgess and Maclean) plays Nick Hannah (an amalgamation of several Price characters including Col. Butler), and Carmen du Sautoy (The Man With the Golden Gun) plays Audley's love interest Faith, whose role is beefed up from the books. The six hour-long episodes cover the first three novels, The Labyrinth Makers, The Alamut Ambush (a truly terrific spy novel) and Colonel Butler's Wolf. They were subsequently re-edited into a trilogy of feature films for television syndication in the U.S., and are available that way on budget Region 1 and Region 0 DVDs of limited quality re-titled (respectively) Cold War Killers, The Alamut Ambush and The Deadly Recruits. Not only does this forthcoming Network release guarantee a level of quality not found on those discs, but it certainly offers a much more attractive package as well! And I'm looking forward to seeing the show in its proper episodic format, with its original opening title sequence. Price wasn't satisfied with these adaptations (and fans of the books will understand why), but they're still quality Eighties spy television. The 2-disc set is due out July 20, and will retail for £12.24. It's available through Network's website or on

Now if only BBC would release their trio of  Michael Denison/Lucy Fleming miniseries, Blood Money, Skorpion and Cold Warriors, we'd finally be pretty well appointed for serious Eighties UK spy series on DVD... (We've already got Smiley's People from BBC, Mr. Palfrey of Westminster from Network and Acorn, Harry's Game from Network, and Glory Boys and The Contract from Acorn.)

No comments: