This section, it’s hoped, will bring modicum of balance to some of the vile and baseless media and Internet stories about PETER that have been embroidered and embellished over the years.
It’s a well-known fact that most tabloid journalists experience multiple orgasms at the merest whiff of a scandal, but rather than seek out witnesses who could provide a sound and reasoned account of what’s happened, they’re far more inclined to rifle through the effluence and excreta on the streets just to help them shift a few extra copies.
It does seem sad, however, that members of the public who, having read one of these skewed reports, will feel sufficiently informed to repeat and embellish those stories in blogs and on forums, thereby perpetuating the myths. It’s especially disturbing that contributors to ‘sites such as the Internet Movie Database which is, primarily, an information service about the cinema, continue to repeat the same threadbare tale, which has absolutely nothing to do with PETER’s professional accomplishments.
PETER is genuinely shocked by many of the things that have been written about him but is, at the same time relieved that I’ve been able to use genuine evidence and structured argument to counter these hypocrites and prevaricators.
“I fully appreciate Tina’s persistence in defending me against the evil shitters and garbage collectors and, believe me, I’m so very grateful to her. The world isn’t full of sweet smelling people, but instead they’re a pack of small-minded worms; drilling away; hurting and mauling reputations as best they can. Thank God for my own Joan of Orleans”. PETER WYNGARDE.
Any erroneous and/or baseless drivel that is uncovered either in the media or online will be confronted, dissected and the lies and/or errors, rectified.
“People love their gossip. I love his work”. A Fan
Taken from The Mirror: By Steve Myall and Robin Turner
How Peter Wyngarde’s secret sex life was exposed by police, destroying career of the 1970s pin up who inspired Austin Powers
Peter Wyngarde was one of the biggest names in TV in the mid 1970s but he hid his homosexuality and when it was exposed it signaled (sic) the end of his career.
Jason King with his ’70s sideburns, bouffant hair and bushy moustache was the only TV detective who sipped vintage port while catching villains. 
Often dressed in a head- turning silk suit and cravat he would down large portions of alcohol at the wheel of a posh Bentley as he chased the bad guys. Small wonder then that Mike Myers based his hugely successful spoof spy Austen Powers on the moustached sleuth who could seduce continental beauties at the drop of his felt hat.
King was played by flamboyant Peter Wyngarde and the portrayal won him legions of female fans – he even had his own women’s fashion column. For three years while show was on air he was one of the biggest stars on the planet and in Australia was mobbed when he visited. When he arrived in Sydney Airport in 1971 he was met by an excited crowd of 35,000 fans. He was crushed when they rushed forward and spent three days in a hospital after suffering concussion.
In the show Department S his Jason King character often got the girl and as she is about to kiss him, he manages to avoid it . It was a clue perhaps to the secret he hid from his fans.
Could that be PETER kissing a woman? Not according to Myall and Turner! ⇒
In 1975, he was arrested, convicted and fined £75 for an act of “gross indecency” in the toilets of Gloucester Bus Station, which followed an arrest  and caution for similar activities in the toilets at Kennedy Gardens in Birmingham the previous year.
After the first incident, Wyngarde was interviewed for the News of the World and the Birmingham-based Sunday Mercury, and asserted that the arrest was due to a misunderstanding; in his defence after the second incident he claimed he had suffered a “mental aberration”. But it was too late.
He was dropped from mainstream acting roles and his career was virtually over. 
He said his career was ruined by ‘small minded people’ following his 1975 arrest. 
It was less than 10 years since the government decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men and there was still a stigma attached to same sex relationships.
It was not until 2007 that claims emerged Wyngarde had a relationship with fellow actor Alan Bates during the ten years he had lived with him in the Sixties.  Beneath the public face of pin up heart throb he was gay  but because of public prejudices, reinforced by newspapers, it was kept secret.
Although well-known in showbiz circles by the nickname Petunia Winegum  it fell to the police – who enforced decency laws which targeted the homosexual community – to out him.
Following his public exposure in 1975 bit parts followed for Wyngarde – notably as masked character Klytus in the 1980 film Flash Gordon  but he did not reach the heights of his previous fame.
In later interviews he talked of how he battled alcoholism telling an interviewer in 1993: “I drank myself to a standstill … I am amazed I am still here”.
Latterly, Wyngarde’s public appearances were mainly restricted to nostalgic events commemorating television programmes where he had a cult following.
He died this week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital aged 90.
This has to big the biggest load of crap I have ever had the misfortune to read!
Clearly Steve Myall and Robin Turner – the two character’s who penned this heap of manure – knew nothing of their subject, and have scoured every conceivable recess of the Internet to pad it out. This would include fake new ‘sites and public forums. Many part of this piece are actually libellous!
So let’s tear this sad excuse for an article to pieces…
 In 28 episodes of ‘Department S’ and 26 episodes of ‘Jason King’, the character of Jason King was never once seen drinking Port. His tipple of choice was, in fact, Stornaway Whisky or Champagne. The Port myth has been taken from a film from the Comic Strip Presents… stable, entitled ‘Detectives On The Edge of a Nervous Breakdown’: Broadcast 22nd April, 1993, featuring a character called Jason Bentley.
⇐ Jason Bentley
 Evidently messrs Myall and Turner had never seen either ‘Department S’ or ‘Jason King’, since PETER is seen kissing at least 12 different women – including (amongst others): Ayshea Brough, Caron Gardener, Felicity Kendal, Isla Blair, Toby Robbins…. The latter part of the sentence is therefore rendered mute.
 PETER was not “arrested” in Birmingham, merely cautioned.
 This fairy story has been covered numerous times. If Myall and Turner had actually bothered to do some research before writing this abomination, they’d have seen that.
 This was a reference to film and TV producers, and so has not had nothing whatsoever to do with the events in 1975. The quote has been taken out of context.
 Taken from Donald Spoto’s disputed biography, ‘Alan Bates: Otherwise Engaged‘
 Complete supposition!
 Again, taken from Donald Spoto’s disputed biography, ‘Alan Bates: Otherwise Engaged‘
 General Klytus was one of the leading characters in the film, ‘Flash Gordon’. The authors have obviously describing him as a “bit part” to fit the tone of the article.
Taken from The Daily Mail – 23rd July, 2018
By Christopher Stevens
I found this comment by an Ian Millard via Twitter
What absolute twaddle! PETER didn’t own a black leather “catsuit” (I’d known him for 30 years – never saw a ‘leather catsuit’). He did, however, own a pair of black leather trousers and jacket. Clearly to some, this constitutes a ‘catsuit’.In the words of one of his album tracks, ‘You Wonder How These Things Began’…N.B. PETER gave up smoking in 1979, and given that he wasn’t a member of the Kensington Rifle and Pistol Club at that time, it would be unlikely that he’d be puffing on a “cigarillo”!
Taken from The JC: http://www.thejc.com
‘PETER WYNGARDE, the actor best known for his role as 1960s TV sleuth Jason King, has died at around the age of 90.
The reason for the uncertainty over his age is due to the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mr Wyngarde’s origins. Everything about his birth – including the date, the year, the place, and even his parentage – have all been disputed’.
The only reason that such details are disputed is due to Wikipedia muddying the waters with misinformation. It would seem that the first port of call for todays lazy journalists is this online encyclopaedia. If they’d take the time to look at Official sources, they’d find that there is no “dispute”!
Taken From ‘Infinity’ magazine – Issue 6 (November 2017)
The magazine (this issue was published in November 2017), boasted an 11-page special, written by Brian J. Robb and Robert Fairclough – the latter being responsible for the following review of the ‘Fall In – The Prisoner at 50’ event at Portmeirion (29th September, 2017).
‘After ‘Checkmate’, there was a buzz of anticipation in the room, as PETER WYNGARDE – the camp crusader Jason King himself and the suave Number 2 in the episode just screened – was the next subject for Dick Fiddy’s gentle interrogation. Anticipation turned to an air of concern as the elderly WYNGARDE entered in a wheelchair, his distinctive face hidden a baseball cap and shades . He’d been taken seriously ill  earlier on, and despite being moved to hospital , had insisted on honouring his commitment to ‘Fall In’ – which required him being driven back to Portmeirion in an ambulance . Even though, for health reasons, WYNGARDE’s interview was restricted to just five minutes, he was full of praise both for McGoohan and his singular brainchild: ‘(The Prisoner) was the most extraordinary thought. Patrick should’ve stayed with us, he shouldn’t have gone to Hollywood, (although) he did OK… He was wonderful to work with, tremendously kind, retrospective, helped you if you had a problem of any kind, and also gave you the feeling that you were doing something original, and that for an actor is the most wonderful thing in the world.’ Like McGoohan, WYNGARDE has, in the past, had the reputation of being difficult, but his obvious enthusiasm for making ‘Checkmate’, not to mention his bravery in the face of being very unwell, earned him many new admirers.
And so to wheedle out the nonsense…
. This suggests that PETER was skulking about – trying to avoid the gaze of any passerby.
Anyone who knows PETER is aware that he rarely ever takes off his baseball cap, so it wasn’t something he’d put on just for that interview. The sunglasses were to protect his eyes from the glare of artificial light, due to a condition he contracted as a child in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
. He wasn’t “seriously ill”. He was diagnosed with a simple stomach bug.
. PETER was never at any point “moved to hospital”. He didn’t leave Portmeirion from me driving him there on the evening of Thursday, 28th September, until we left at around 12.20pm on Saturday, 1st October.
He only left the hotel once, which was when he took part in the Q&A.
. He was not driven ANYWHERE in an ambulance!
A formal complaint regarding this article has been made to the magazine’s editor, Allan Bryce, by PETER’s agent.
Click here for ‘Fall In – The Prisoner at 50’ ; to read hat really of PETER’s trip to Portmeirion.
Taken from Wikipedia – The self-appointed experts on all things Wyngardian
Middle name Louis?
This supposed “middle name” was spouted by the now defunct News of the World newspaper in 1975.
It was mistakenly taken from a relative of PETER’s Mother, that being ‘Lovis’. Just like a bizarre tale of Chinese Whispers, the tale has been told and retold so many times that ‘LOVIS‘ has become ‘LOUIS‘.
It just proves that if you set off along the wrong road in the first place, you eventually end up miles away from your intended destination!
TAKEN FROM http://booksteveslibrary.blogspot.co.uk/
The following load of badly-researched b******s – i.e. copied from Donald Spoto’s Alan Bates biography, ‘Otherwise Engaged’, comes from a blog entitled Steve’s Library.
PETER WYNGARDE has been in the news this week with the rediscovery of ‘South’, a British teleplay from 1959 believed to be the first gay-themed dramatic effort to air on television. If you’re in the US, you may not be familiar with Mr. WYNGARDE but he is a performer of some depth and renown in the UK. He sang  opposite Lucille Ball in her Lucy in London TV special in 1966. He was the new Number Two in The Prisoner. He appeared memorably in many well-known TV shows The Avengers, The Champions and even Doctor Who, all the while maintaining a presence in the classier productions for which British television is known.
It was Department S, though, that made PETER WYNGARDE a star in 1969. The series dealt with a secret Interpol group brought in to investigate “unique” crimes. WYNGARDE’s Jason King character was a mystery author who acted as a consultant to the group. The character stood out from the fairly standard look of the rest of the show by nature of his poofy hair , Sgt Pepper-style mustache  and increasingly flamboyant fashion choices. He was a cocky, egomaniacal ladies man who ended up becoming popular enough to merit his own 26 episode spin-off series, Jason King after two series of Department S.
By the time he got his own show, the character, although still played straight, seems increasingly a parody and is often said to be the basis for Mike Myers’ Austin Powers character. At the peak of his success, PETER WYNGARDE was mobbed in public by fans, had comics characters based on him and put out a bizarre and ultimately controversial record album!
WYNGARDE’s career was quickly derailed  just a few short years after Jason King left the air when he was arrested on a couple of “public indecency” charges  which also served to reveal the star’s homosexuality. Although widely known in the industry —WYNGARDE had been a companion to fellow actor Alan Bates  for a decade at one point–like many stars, he had kept the fact a secret from the public. While such a revelation today might not have hurt his career, at the time it led to two bankruptcies .
Errors and Corrections:
. PETER never “sang” with Lucille Ball – in ‘Lucy in London’ or anywhere else.
. “Poofy hair”? Quite what this means is anyone’s guess. PETER’s hair is naturally curly. Unnecessary nastiness!
. “Sgt Pepper-style mustache (sic)”: PETER’s moustache was actually based on an 19th century Russian style, which he grew for a play entitled, ‘The Duel’, that was set, strangely enough, in 19th Century Russia.
 This old chestnut AGAIN! I suggest ‘Steve’ tries reading https://peterwyngarde.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/they-said-it-was-all-over/
. Unproven. Read: https://peterwyngarde.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/trial-by-media/
 & . Taken from Donald Spoto’s disputed biography, ‘Alan Bates: Otherwise Engaged’. Read: https://peterwyngarde.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/donald-spoto-once-upon-a-time/
. Incorrect. Just one bankruptcy.
Accuracy Rating: 2 out of 10
Review of ‘On Trial: Sir Roger Casement’ – Taken from The Internet Movie Database
When is a man a traitor?
This long forgotten B.B.C. series  is similar to a series hosted by Joseph Cotton that appeared in the late 1950s (only a handful of years before this one). It only lasted one season and (I would suspect) no longer exists. Pity because the stories look interesting (at least to this legal historian) and the casts have many names in them that developed into full careers. Again, as I never watched an episode, I cannot judge the performances or productions but I suspect it was above average.
To this day the name of Roger Casement is a sore spot between England and the republic of Eire. He was executed (hanged) for high treason in 1917  for his part in the events leading to the Easter Rebellion of the preceding year….
…One last point here is the ironic star of this episode. Not as well known in the U.S. (particularly after his own disaster) PETER WYNGARDE was once a popular and handsome leading man in British theatre and television. Occasionally one can see his face on old episodes of programs like The Avengers. Most of his work is forgotten now due to a homosexual scandal that ruined him in the late 1970s. According to his thread on this board his last television performance was in a 1994 episode of Jeremy Brett’s series of Sherlock Holmes’ stories, and it was as a minor character. A sad, and (as I said) ironic fall for the man who played Sir Roger Casement in 1960 .
. The series wasn’t produced by the BBC. It was made by the ITV company, Granada.
 Casement was hung in 1916, not 1917 as stated.
 Same old crap about being “ruined” (see below under ‘Is There Life Outside The Box by Peter Davidson’ for career AFTER “late 1970’s”). This information was obviously copied from another poorly-researched piece!
Accuracy Rating: 3 out of 10
TAKEN FROM ‘Film News.co.uk’
This was a reasonably popular  TV series filmed between 1968/1969 (with Jason King as its spin-off) and here we have 13 of the original 26 episodes of the first three (individual) Department S releases – starring the one and only PETER WYNGARDE.
Department S is a fictitious wing of Interpol and is headed by Sir Curtis Seretse (Dennis Alaba Peters – a bass voiced black actor who only ever appears briefly invariably to de-brief Sullivan). The Department has but three operatives: ex-FBI  Stuart Sullivan (Joel Fabiani), systems expert Annabelle Hirst (Rosemary Nicols) and the one and very much only Jason King, about whom there is considerably more to be said. King is played by the ‘outrageous’ and eccentric PETER WYNGARDE and it would be fair to say that King’s character is the ‘ideas’ man of the team. He also happens to be a mega best selling novelist (hence ideas), although curiously he does not appear to have succeeded in getting a hard back deal. To call Jason King flamboyant would be a gross understatement and one can’t help wondering how much of Mr. Wyngarde’s own input was reflected as to the character. The high vented waisted jackets, the colorful matching shirts and big-knotted kipper ties and so on. The character is irresistibly charming even though he never seems to stop drinking what looks like the same tumbler of whisky or brandy (it’s a wonder he can still stand up). King chain smokes long yellow-papered cigarettes, has a fondness for quoting Oscar Wilde and is -wait for it – an incorrigible womaniser. That last statement was probably the biggest in-joke of all! 
The cases that Department S are assigned to all appear at the outset to be seemingly totally outré and utterly impossible. In the episode One Of Our Aircraft Is Empty (Vol 2) an airplane arrives at London airport – minus its 128 passengers! In Black Out (Vol 3) a man goes to the Covent Garden Opera House and wakes up on a West Indian Island. In The Trojan Tanker (Vol 1) a woman is seen locked inside a lorry but later mysteriously disappears despite the vehicle still being locked, while in the episode The Pied Piper of Hambledown (Vol 1) an English Village is found completely evacuated overnight, save one. In Who Played The Dummy (Vol 3) a car crashes and in the driving seat is a… dummy. Wyngarde’s shirt keeps changing color  from white to yellow and back again in this one as he climbs in and out of same car, the same happens with his straw hat. Talks about bad continuity! That said, the series was probably first seen in monochrome. In conclusion, all the cases are discovered to have logical explanations by our team of experts.
This series was made ‘back to back’ with Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and was written and directed mainly by the same team: the enterprising Monty Berman (producer) and Dennis Spooner (creator). Some of the DEP S episodes start off really promising but disappointingly run out of steam half way through [?!]. The directors on offer here were mostly seasoned veterans (and some Hammer film men) like John Gilling and Roy Ward Baker. However, none of this stops the absolutely atrocious continuity which is so bad it becomes laughable. In one scene of The Double Death of Charlie Crippen (Vol 3) a vintage Roll Royce is supposed to get blown up but the wreck we see is that of an old Bentley (well alright, who is going to blow up a car like that?). On the whole the show is quite fun, with pick up shots abounding all over the place and the same walls (painted in garish green) appearing in three different consecutive interiors in one episode. One can’t help wondering if there were any locations used other than London (that really was Belgrave Square, alright) and Elstree. Department S is not quite on par with series like The Avengers , then again… what was? Truth be told, without WYNGARDE’s hilarious ott kitsch-a-go-go character the series would be far less interesting and as we all know he got his own spin off TV series the next year.
The print of the Blu-ray releases is very crisp indeed and makes King’s suites even more crisp in appearance!
Yet another piss-poor, error ridden article.
. Department S was one of the most popular series on TV in the late 1960/early 70’s.
. At no point in the series does it ever mention that Stewart Sullivan was ex-FBI.
. Conjecture… AGAIN!
. This was not a continuity error. It was due to a camera fault!
. Personal opinion. Many other people think the opposite.
Accuracy Rating: 3 out of 10
The following sentence comes from a ‘biography’ of PETER on Wikipedia:
‘After leaving a 1995 stage production of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari mid-performance during previews, WYNGARDE has not taken any more acting roles’.
What about the radio play, ‘The Pickerskill Detentions’ – broadcast on Radio 4 (28th February, 2007), in which PETER played Mike Poulson-Jabby? Tut-tut!
FROM THE TREVOR MILLER BLOG
‘American Screenwriter, Author and Journalist’
Margie and I watched Napoleon Dynamite on pay-per-view last night. For some reason the character of Uncle Rico (played by John Gries) held a bizarre fascination for me. Perhaps it was the fact that Rico reminded me of guys that I’d worked with in Canoga Park – valley dudes with blow dried hair and Tom Selleck moustaches. Back in the day, while working at Metropolis, failed football-jocks with yet another get-rich-quick scheme would pass through the office daily. They all seemed to live in places like Monrovia. They all had a special product for sale. Usually something they’d discovered that would supplement their income, and pay for that blissful two weeks in Cabo or Costa Rica… The schemes verged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Selling stock in a Country Club that hadn’t been built yet. It was somewhere in the high desert… Not exactly the best place to erect a golf course. There was also phony Travel Agent credentials being sold as some pyramid scheme, and a hair restoring product (called Flourish) discovered by someone’s dad in Israel. My favourite was probably the Personal Trainer selling a garish blue aphrodisiac tincture with the dubious name Rock Hard… That was the name of the aphrodisiac, not the trainer… But back to Uncle Rico. I realized, this morning, that he actually reminded me of the British TV character Jason King…
Growing up in England, in the early ’70’s, the Jason King show was the most popular thing on TV. If you were a teenage boy you wanted to be Jason King. If you were a girl, you wanted to be with him. Jason King was like James Bond, only better. He was pure 1970s kitsch – crazy clothes, a bevvy of exotic beauties in tow, and the biggest handlebar moustache ever to grace the small screen. King was a spin-off from the successful espionage series Department ‘S.’ But it was much more bizarre. In the show, Jason was a successful pulp crime novelist – writing the Mark Caine books. Each week he would be called upon by the British Secret Service  to unravel some international crime/mystery. This basically consisted of him jumping on private planes, shagging lots of birds in exotic locales, and wearing the most ridiculous menswear that you’ve ever seen. Jason King pioneered the massive collar, the flared slack, and the tie-knot that was bigger than a fist. I actually remember one wide collar shirt being known as ‘The Jason king.’ 
Jason King was played by an Australian heart-throb, PETER WYNGARDE . Forget Austin Powers. This guy was the real deal. Not only a gourmet chef, and raconteur  – in 1971 – the King show made WYNGARDE the most famous man in the U.K. When he arrived once at Heathrow airport, he was mobbed by thousands of female fans. He was voted the sexiest man alive in the British Press. Rumours abound that WYNGARDE had been involved with Vivienne Leigh, and numerous of his female co-stars.
The Jason King show only ran for two years. But it bought WYNGARDE a jet-set lifestyle much the same as the character he played – a vast country estate, apartments in London and Rome… Still in 1975 disaster struck. PETER WYNGARDE was arrested for performing ‘Lewd Acts’  with a Truck Driver in a Men’s Toilet at Gloucester Bus Station. At the time, this scandal was far more explosive than Kevin Spacey being ‘caught in the park,’ or George Michael entrapped in a Beverly Hills Bathroom. There were no ‘Gay TV-Stars’  back then. And WYNGARDE had been a hetero-heart-throb. He was trashed in the press. The female fans felt disgusted and betrayed… In short WYNGARDE’s popularity plummeted. Apart from a few B-Movies , and a brief return as a villain in Sherlock Holmes, WYNGARDE was never seen again…
It seems strange how times have changed. If WYNGARDE was ‘outed’ more recently, he may well have survived. You probably would’ve heard of him. Still, I’m guessing that you’ve neither heard of him or Jason King.  As far as I’m aware, the Jason King show is rarely played on U.K. TV – even in re-runs. I’m certain it’s never played on U.S. TV (unlike The Avengers, The Prisoner – et al). However, some say Jason King paved the way for The X-Files , with a series of unexplainable and supernatural-tinged crimes… I can’t help but think that the ‘burying’ of Jason King is due, in some part, to the WYNGARDE Scandal…  All that being said, I’m trying to buy Jason King DVDs on ebay.co.uk… It’s extremely rare, and was only released once in 1993…  For those of you who do remember Jason King, I’ve found a few WYNGARDE/Jason King websites… If you’re my age, you probably had the shirt, maybe even a King-Style Cravat. I hope you can share a moment sometime this week, and raise a glass to the long lamented PETER WYNGARDE… As they say, from the days of Empire… Long live the King… Long live the Jason King…
I realise that this isn’t exactly a roasting, but it’s still error-strewn nonetheless. So let’s start the autopsy…
 In the ‘Jason King’ series, King wasn’t called up by the British Secret Service “each week”. Not sure where THAT one came from!
 Wide-collared shirts might have been known as ‘A Jason King’ in some places, but there was nothing widely or ‘officially’ known as a ‘J.K.’.
 PETER WYNGARDE is NOT Australian!!! (Lazy journalism).
 A raconteur, yes. But a “gourmet chef”? Eh, nah!
 ‘Lewd Acts’? An assumption based on newspaper reports.
 What about Danny La Rue… Larry Grayson… John Inman…?
 No evidence of that; just supposition. The original Official Peter Wyngarde Fan Club, which had a 99.9% female membership, was thriving until 1985. He still has a huge female following.
 ‘Flash Gordon’ wasn’t a “B movie”.
 That was ‘Department S’, NOT ‘Jason King’.
 Selected episodes of ‘Jason King’ were released on video in 1993, but the complete series has been issued in a DVD box-set format, TWICE!
Accuracy Rating: 3 out of 10
Here’s a veritable cornucopia of sub-articles from the early to mid-1990’s, which were written around the time that Department S and Jason King were either about to be released on video, or were featured on one of the terrestrial TV channels Sixties/Seventies marathons.
So here we are – looking back at those in the Nineties who were looking back at the Sixties….
TV Zone – 1993
The tape sleeve sums up it up: ‘PETER WYNGARDE IS Jason King’, because WYNGARDE’s smooth, sardonic, eccentric portrayal of the dandified ‘Crimewriter! Adventurer Lover!’ gives this series a distinctly watchable charm.
The character Jason King left Departments S to “struggle along” (as King puts it) without him. WYNGARDE’s colourful characterization presumably proved the most popular element of the Department S series, so here we are presented with a succession of totally unlikely adventures which befall a novelist (writing the adventures of the indefatigable Mark Caine) who travels the world.
Needless to say, the world consists or reel upon reel of stock footage – of alarmingly variable picture quality, and bits of exotic shrubbery glimpsed through set windows.
The plots are of little note, mostly being concerned with political intrigue, theft and murder – all dreadfully contrived.
In 1971, WYNGARDE was a big hit with the ladies. In 1993, this dapper chappy with the huge moustache, flapping collars, fat ties and turned-up cuffs (reportedly adopted because WYNGARDE lost his cufflinks during filming!) now looks a bit daft . Still, he’s worth checking out.
Errors and Corrections:
- I suspect that the person who wrote this was probably sat at his typewriter (remember them?), in a flame-resistant Shell Suit and jellies. He looks a bit daft now, doesn’t it?!
Accuracy Rating: 7 out of 10
TV Zone – 1994
In the 1970’s, Jason King has obviously left Department S and merited a series in his own right. The episode ‘Toki’ has Felicity Kendall falling in love with Jase (who wouldn’t?), and is set in Paris, France. Jason has now acquired a nice collection of kaftans. How those baddies must have been shaking in their shoes; high drama or high farce? Take your pick.
Accuracy Rating: 7 out of 10
The Lancashire Evening Post – 1994
The sixties were clearly a funny old time. Why else would 35,000 Australian women  claim in a survey that they wanted to lose their virginity to TV tec, Jason King?
Here was a man with the most ridiculous moustache and hairdo in the history of telly, a man with a fondness for crushed velvet  and ties with knots so big they were a danger to shipping. And yet ‘Department S’ and seemingly in real life too, women loved him. Perhaps he was just ahead of his time. Watching King, alias Shakespearian actor, PETER WYNGARDE, wandering through this wildly funny piece of 1969 kitsch, I was often reminded of Nineties pop icons Prince and Lenny Kravitz, who also have tendencies to mince.
Shown as part of another tedious telly marathon on the ‘Swinging Sixties’, that could hardly have been as wonderful as everyone tells us, Department S was like The Avengers meets Batman; a relic of an age which laid itself open to satire almost before it was over. The plot is so daft to recount here – suffice to say the chief baddie bought it after King, wearing a spacesuit, whacked him with a side of beef in a meat locker… But, het, 35,000 Australian women can’t be wrong.
Errors and Corrections:
. The survey referred to in this article was taken in 1971, not in the 1960’s as stated here. The 35,000 women named PETER WYNGARDE as ‘The Man We’d Most Like To Lose Our Virginity To’, NOT Jason King. The author of this article was obviously unable to distinguish between a fictional character and the actor who played him!
. PETER never wore “crushed velvet”. The author, who had probably never seen an episode of either Department S or Jason King prior to writing this article, and so believed that the Comic Strip episode, ‘The Detectives’, was a true representation of the character. Piss poor at best!
Accuracy Rating: 3 out of 10
Video World – 1994
Dedicated followers of fashion will be delighted to discover that they can return to the psychedelic 1970’s this month in the company of old smoothie-chops himself, Jason King. There’s nothing like a good thriller, and these are nothing like a good thriller either, but they’re groovy entertainment nevertheless.
Accuracy Rating: 10 out of 10
Evening Telegraph – 1994
Great television programmes never die, they just go to TV Heaven, where those nice people at ITC Home Video re-issue them for our viewing pleasure.
All that’s best in 60’s and 70’s cult TV can be found on ITC. Out this month are four new episodes from the excellent ‘Man In A Suitcase’. Also out is a new ‘Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) collection, and a wide range of ‘Department S’ videos, if the recent episode on BBC2 has whetted your appetite for more Jason King.
Accuracy Rating: 10 out of 10
Video Trade Weekly – 1994
Get your velvet jacket out of mothballs, shake out your flares and watch out for those wide lapels!
Jason King is back. Just in time to cash in on the 70’s revival the flamboyant writer/detective who first appeared in the hit 60’s series, ‘Department S’ is back. As played by PETER WYNGARDE, the ultimate smoothie who won the Best Dressed Personality Award in 1970 , Jason King is back on two video’s released by ITC. Each features two episodes and will be available for £10.99.
. He won it in 1971 as well.
Accuracy Rating: 9 out of 10
The Daily Star – 1994
BBC2 dusts of the joss-sticks, fumigates the Afghan coat and celebrates a host of classic comedies, dramas and great sporting moments in an unashamed day of nostalgia on Monday. ‘One Day In The 60s’, from 11.45am to midnight, unearths ‘Adam Adament Lives!’ with Gerald Harper as the Edwardian detective, dripping from an icy tomb to fight crime in the 20th century with only a swordstick for company, and Sixties sex symbol, PETER WYNGARDE, polishes up his medallion  as flamboyant thriller writer-turned-super-sleuth, Jason King.
. In the name of all that’s holy, not this old chestnut A-GAIN! I’m getting weary of saying this… PETER only wore a medallion in one episode of Department S (The Man From X), when he went undercover at a nightclub. Clearly, one this author’s Scrunchies was too tight, and she couldn’t think straight!
Accuracy Rating: 6 out of 10
The Radio Times – 1994
PETER WYNGARDE starred as Jason King, the flamboyant thriller-writer who doubled as an investigator for Department S, in this and the early-70’s spin-off, ‘Jason King’. No job is too dangerous, no gadget too complicated, no Paisley shirt too loud for Interpol’s most secret weapon in the battle against crime.
Editors Note: Paisley Shirt or a hemp necklace and dungarees with one strap left undone down? Mmmm – difficult one this….
Accuracy Rating: 8 out of 10
The Daily Express – 1994
On Monday four stories are re-issued for the first time in 22 years on two video’s, ‘Jason King – Chapters 1 & 2 (ITC, PG £10.99), with more to follow later in the year… if you’re man enough to take it.
Sky TV Guide – June 1995
PETER WYNGARDE’s outrageously trendy clothes and even more outrageous hairstyle, are the real stars of this Sixties classic (Department S). WYNGARDE plays Jason King, best-selling crime novelist and member of a secret crime-fighting trio. His co-stars, Joel Fabiani and Rosemary Nichols. But WYNGARDE stole the show to such an extent that he was given his own spin-off series, ‘Jason King’.
Accuracy Rating: 7 out of 10
The Radio Times – June 12th 1995
In March, the Radio Times asked which cult programmes you, the reader, would like to see repeated; the letters flooded in. Even the postman entered into the spirit, delivering the mail with a witty one-liner before scaling the walls of the building. It was if Simon Templar, Jason King, Adam Adament, the suave Persuaders – Danny Wilde and Lord Brett Sinclair, and their gallant, if shamelessly chauvinistic ilk, had never disappeared into the television history books.
You laughed, you cried, you eulogised… you fell in love: “I was 5 or 6 when I first saw PETER WYNGARDE as Jason King, and I had a huge crush on him even at that tender age,” admits reader, Amanda Long of Bristol. “I saw a one-off episode of Department S recently and, though it’s dated, PETER was ludicrously charming and witty. Watching him you wished there were more men like him”.
Accuracy Rating: 10 out of 10
The Times – 10th June, 1995
One of the top ten ‘Cult’ series , according to a poll in the Radio Times last week, Department S, was first seen on ITV at the end of the 1960’s and was chiefly popular because of PETER WYNGARDE, who played a dandified character called Jason King, who was apparently able to solve impossibly baffling mysteries by growing his sideburns, and wearing ever more appalling suits and shirts.
Tonight’s adventure (Six Days), a planeload of passengers is hijacked en route from Rome to London and whisked off to… but to say more might spoil the surprise. You can ignore the plot and sit back to enjoy the extraordinary acting and clothes and the absence of logic. WYNGARDE’s impact was such that he was liberated from the Interpol sub-contractors Department S and given his own show: ‘Jason King’.
Editors Note: “Appalling shirts and suits”, exclaimed the man in the embellished jeans and Bum-Bag!
Satellite Times – June 1995
The title, Department S, describes a little-known, specialist division on Interpol which was brought into action when the most baffling of crimes or events occurred. The programme made a star of PETER WYNGARDE, who played the debonair author and sleuth, Jason King – a character which eventually got him his own series. At the time the programme was aired, Mr. King was just the sort of man that women would die for, and there’s evidence to prove it: Jason was the most popular name for male babies in the early 70’s! The character, wearing sharp, velvet suits and frilly shirts, would examine the latest mystery to confront the team, and use the information and use the information and background material for his next Mark Caine adventure novel.
Although he acted as though there were a 1001 other places he’d rather be, you always knew he really enjoyed detective work, and Mr WYNGARDE is still as enigmatic today – he stole the show with a cameo appearance in a recent Sherlock Holmes TV adventure. Jason’s fellow employees were Stewart Sullivan (played by Joel Fabiani), and American who was always getting knocked unconscious after a particularly vigorous fight, and Annabelle Hurst (Rosemary Nicols), a computer genius with an analytical brain. Rumour has it that script editor, Dennis Spooner, would write the bizarre two-minute pre-credit opening teasers, before giving them to his team of writers to do with them what they could.
Radio Times 1996
Jason King – author, private investigator and offshoot of ‘Department S’, was the personification of the Seventies man. Sporting a ludicrous moustache, flamboyant shirts, velvet catsuits  and the largest medallions , he leapt from bed to bed, purring catchphrases like, “Whenever I feel the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes”. It’s now the most popular show on Bravo, so turn on, tune in and dust off those flares.
Errors and Corrections:
. I’d give real money to the first person who can show me evidence of PETER wearing a “velvet catsuit” in either ‘Department S’ or ‘Jason King’!
. The old ‘Medallion’ chestnut again (Yawn!). Pathetic!
Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 10
The Daily Mirror – 1996
Any man who can conduct a criminal investigation in a full-length mink coat, a flared Prince of Wales check suit  and a bright mauve cravat deserves a second look.
Yes, PETER WYNGARDE is stepping out again as super-suave novelist-cum-detective, Jason King. The only thing criminal here are the plots while the fights are laughable, while some of the acting is so wooden it’s unreal. But that all counts for nothing because, boy, does Jason have style.
From his carefully clipped moustache to his often alarmingly-loud shoes , the man oozes class. This week’s episode involves a typically unlikely jaunt behind the Iron Curtain. It was entitled ‘To Russia With… Panache’. Need I say more?
Errors and Corrections:
. Nope. Never seen Jason in a Prince of Wales check suit.
. “alarmingly-loud shoes”? Nor them either.
Accuracy Rating: 6 out of 10
‘New Jensen, no ’tache required’ – Article taken from The Times
Orders are now being taken for the new version of the Jensen Interceptor, the favourite car of 1970s TV detective Jason King:
Someone get Jason King on the Trimphone — a new version of the 1970s TV detective’s favourite car, the Jensen Interceptor, is here. First deliveries of the Interceptor R began this month, with the Oxfordshire restorer Jensen International Automative (JIA) hoping to build a further 18 this year. The company has no links to the original Jensen Motors, which went bust in 1976.
JIA describes its new vehicle as a “modern interpretation” of the British supercar. Each Interceptor R is rebuilt from a stripped-down donor car, with new suspension, transmission, brakes and interior, plus a Chevrolet Corvette 6.2-litre V8 producing 429bhp — enough for a top speed of 160mph and a decidedly modern 0-60mph time of less than 4.5 seconds.
I’m afraid Jason never drove a Jensen Interceptor. His car of choice was a Bentley Continental! Oh, dear!
‘Take note, Tony Blair: why jewellery looks so bad on men’ – (Article taken from The Spectator)
They think it makes them more youthful. In fact, it shows us they’re desperate.
The real rot probably started back in the 1970s, when Jason King, the fictional TV detective, first draped three pounds of bling around his neck and prowled the fleshpots of Europe. As played by PETER WYNGARDE, he became the maharajah of the medallion men; he was the randy dandy, the lady-killer with a Zapata moustache who could never quite be trusted with the sherry bottle or your daughter. Since then, men who heavily invest in gold necklaces always have a whiff of the lothario about them, a hint of gangland, a whisper of try-too-hard, no matter how undeserved that might be.
“I only ever wore a medallion ONCE in an episode of Department S entitled ‘The Man From X’. That was when Jason went undercover in a nightclub”. PETER WYNGARDE
The above nonsense was written by Jan Moir of the Daily Mail(!), which speaks volumes!!!
THERE’S NO FOOL LIKE AN OLD FOOL!
Classic British Television Of The 60’s, 70’s & 80’s (Facebook group)
The knuckle-draggers were out in force on the Facebook page of ‘Classic British Television of the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s’ recently, after one person posted a photograph of PETER, which was promptly followed by a barrage of derogatory and mindless comments.
Completely oblivious to the fact that they were showing their own ignorance to a much greater extent than they were insulting PETER, these morons displayed the old adage of ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ to its extreme, with each member of the baying horde first sniffing his predecessors backside, then attempting to post something even more insulting or provocative. It ended up with one particular individual – a character by the name of Carl Ireland – implying that PETER is a paedophile.
This kind of victimisation is indicative of a 17th Century Witch Hunt, whereupon one individual – armed with only the most tenuous, unverified information, would point his or her finger at some unsuspecting chump and cry “Witch”. Immediately, every mindless idiot in the village was doing the same. I believed that this kind of senseless behaviour died out with Matthew Hopkins. Evidently I was wrong.
Given the subject matter of the Facebook group in question, it should be assumed that the demographic of its membership must be 45 years and upwards, so we’re not taking about irresponsible teenagers here. These are middle-aged people, probably with respectable lives and careers, who wouldn’t otherwise say “boo” to a goose. However, once they secrete themselves away in the back bedroom to log on, the anonymity of the Internet affords them the opportunity to say and do whatever they please without (they assume), any consequences. This includes the libelling of well-known personalities.
The fact is that if anyone one of these clowns were challenged to validate their comments, they’d be unable to do so – save to say that they’d read this or that in a newspaper, etc. The truth is they know F**K ALL, but mouth off nonetheless. It’s certain that not a single one of these cowards would have the guts to look PETER in the eye and say these things. But when they’re sitting behind the prism of a computer screen, or are running with a pack of other silly old fools, they have all the bravado they need.
Every last one of the names that were complicit in this shameful attack have been noted. ALL have been reported to Facebook and the Administrator of this particular group. Some have been identified as perpetrating libel. Specific individuals will, we hope, be forced to face Mr WYNGARDE in court.
These kind of trolls, bullies and blackguards SHOULD NOT and CANNOT be allowed to run roughshod over someone just because they’ve heard a whisper of a story that was misreported to begin with, and has been added to repeatedly over time to become something far more grubby than it ever was to begin with. If people are forced to take responsibility for what they say on the Internet, then perhaps they’d learn to think before opening their deluded and filthy mouths!
DEFENDING THE INDEFENCEABLE
The following are comments from members of the Official Peter Wyngarde Appreciation Society:
Part of me thinks it’s pointless arguing with someone who firstly doesn’t understand the difference between fact and fabrication and secondly isn’t even aware of which forum he’s discussing it on. The other part of me thinks it’s important to correct such blinding and damaging ignorance, even though it’s a knocking your head against a brick wall syndrome. You can’t reason with stupidity.
Having met PETER, it’s not difficult to see why the ladies love him. He has a charm and charisma that is appealing to everyone. I met him when I was with my fiancée in Birmingham last year. That meeting whereby he charmed my fiancée, coupled with his truly magnificent film and TV career are the reasons I admire him. I have no interest in what stunted people with negative viewpoints say or think. They should neither be seen nor heard. They are vexations of the spirit.
WHEN YOU’RE HOT YOU’RE HOT
There is always one member in any group of blokes, who stands out in the crowd through his style and personality. ‘Flash’ is a common adjective used to describe such individuals.
I am talking here of young men, and a time gone by when trouser waistlines got as low as the hips and that was it. Not shapeless strides that look as if they have an urgent appointment with your ankles.
The only builder’s bums you saw then, were um, well builder’s bums. The resident ‘Jack the Lad’ in our group was Alan.
Alan had Italian antecedents and although he was brought up in England, he still retained a very slight but alluring accent. Alluring to the girls that is.
He took for granted his popularity with women, and whilst the rest of us had to work hard to attract the opposite sex and continuously come up with new and corny chat-up lines, Alan would simply swagger over to his target, lift his eyebrows suggestively, and he was in.
Even his swagger and eyebrow actions were delivered with a Mediterranean accent. A television series of the time was called ‘Department S’ and the main character, Jason King, was played by the actor PETER WYNGARDE.
This oily devil wore sharp suits and sported fashionable long hair and a Zapata moustache. And he always had a babe on his arm or in his Bentley Continental. Alan and Mr WYNGARDE could have been brothers and attended the same school for smooth operators.
I stayed with my old friend in England recently, and nothing has changed. Whilst age has been a bitter enemy of mine, it seems to have simply ignored Alan and moved on to richer pickings.
During my stay he would swan around wearing a granddad shirt, faded blue jeans held up with braces, and scuffed desert boots. And dammit, he looked great.
When I returned home it inspired me to buy a pair of braces on Playa Flamenca market and try to emulate the look. The result was a fair photo-fit of what the father of Worzel Gummidge must have looked like. The Princess thought I had finally flipped.
But that’s the way it is with blokes like Alan. When you’re hot you’re hot, and if you’re not you’re not.
IS THERE LIFE OUTSIDE THE BOX BY PETER DAVIDSON
(Autobiography): John Blake publishing
Peter Moffet… sorry, Davidson, devotes several paragraphs to PETER in his autobiography when referring to the making of the four-part Doctor Who episode, ‘Planet of Fire’.
Quite inconsiderately, the 5th Doctor repeatedly misspells PETER’s name, by omitting the ‘e’ at the end of ‘WYNGARDE’ (it’s even listed incorrectly in the index), which displays an utter lack of respect.
The former All Creatures Great and Small star claims that, once cast in the role of Timanov, PETER’s agent contacted director, Fiona Cumming, to inform her that his client wished to play the character as an “old man” . It’s said at the time that both Cummings’ and Davidson agreed that he WAS and old man! In actual fact, PETER had just turned 50 when the episode was filmed on Lanzerote. Not exactly what you’d describe as archaic. Ms Cummings’ was, herself, only four years younger at 46.
It’s implied that the costume PETER wore – which Davidson describes as ‘looking like something from Lawrence of Arabia’ – was designed especially for him. Anyone who has seen this particular episode will have noted that all the actors playing the inhabitants of Sarn, where the story is set, wore similar costumes(!).
The author also maintains that PETER “hadn’t worked much” prior to his playing Timanov. In reality, he’d worked constantly since taking to the stage as a juvenile. During the decade leading up to his appearance in Doctor Who, he’d appeared in two feature films, directed and starred in eleven plays which were performed both internationally and on national tours of Britain, and recorded four television programmes – including the aforementioned Doctor Who story – i.e.
- Water, Water, Everywhere (play) at The Royal Pavilion Music Room, Brighton 1974
- Present Laughter (Play) – British National Tour 1974
- Dracula (play) – British National Tour 1975
- Time and the Conways (play) – The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guilford 1975
- The Merchant of Venice (play) – The English Theatre, Vienna 1975/76
- Dear Liar (play) – The English Theatre, Vienna 1976
- Big Toys (play) –The English Theatre, Vienna 1976
- Anastasia (play) – British National Tour 1976
- The Merchant of Venice (play) – British Tour 1976/77
- Deathtrap (play) – The Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, South Africa 1978
- Himmel, Scheich und Wolkenbrunch (film)
- Flash Gordon (film)
- Underground (play) – The Royal Alexander Theatre, Toronto, Canada and British Tour 1983
- Crown Court (TV) 1984
- The Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense: And the Wall Came Tumbling Down (TV) 1984
- The Two Ronnies 1984 Christmas Special (TV) 1984
I wouldn’t like to think how PETER might’ve coped if he’d been busy!!! Perhaps Mr Davidson should try THINKING outside the box rather than trying to live outside it!
. The original script for ‘Planet of Fire’ describes Timanov as an ‘Old Man’, so what exactly is Davidson blathering on about?!
IS THAT REALLY JASON KING, THE SUAVEST MAN ON TV?
Written by James Tapper for The Daily Mail
Once he was an international sex symbol, regularly mobbed by screaming girls and boasting a clutch of ‘best-dressed man’ awards.
But when Seventies television star PETER WYNGARDE was spotted out shopping near his West London home last week – clad in knitted hat, camouflage jacket, wrinkly leather trousers and scruffy trainers – it was clear his fashion sense had deserted him a long time ago.
WYNGARDE – now 76 – made his name playing a suave crime author and investigator with a penchant for groovy chicks in the cult adventure shows Department S and Jason King. With his flamboyant suits, bouffant hair and lush moustache he soon became one of the best-known characters on television.
WYNGARDE’s heart-throb status once led to him being mobbed by 30,000 hysterical women at Sydney airport, and he even had his own fashion column for women in a daily newspaper.
His adventures as Jason King were a send-up of spy and detective dramas such as The Saint and The Avengers – a typical plot would see King drive his Bentley to a country mansion where he would drink champagne with the owner and flirt with his attractive daughter before arresting everybody.
Daily Mail caption: When Seventies television star PETER WYNGARDE was spotted out shopping near his West London home last week it was clear his fashion sense had deserted him a long time ago.
He once said: ‘I decided Jason King was going to be an extension of me. I was inclined to be a bit of a dandy – I used to go to the tailor with my designs.’
WYNGARDE camp style was later adopted by the comic Mike Myers as the basis for his own spoof-sleuth creation, Austin Powers.
But WYNGARDE’s career ran off the rails in October 1975 when he was fined £75 for gross indecency, under his real name Cyril Louis Goldbert .
And it emerged in a 2007 biography of actor Alan Bates that WYNGARDE had been living a double life. WYNGARDE was married briefly in his 20s, but had an affair with Bates that is said to have lasted ten years .
Their relationship is believed to have begun in 1956, after Bates made his debut in Look Back In Anger at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
‘I drank myself to a standstill. When I think about it now, I’m amazed I’m still here.’
As a child, WYNGARDE was interned by the Japanese in a prisoner of war camp – the same camp where Empire Of The Sun author J.G. Ballard was held.
No! This is the actor, PETER WYNGARDE, who played a CHARACTER called Jason King on TV over 40 years ago! Duh!
This article is unbelievably poor, even by Daily Mail standards!
Once again, we have a lazy journalist relying on misinformation from unauthorised biographies – i.e. ‘And it emerged in a 2008 biography of actor Alan Bates that WYNGARDE had been living a double life. WYNGARDE was married briefly in his 20s, but had an affair with Bates that is said to have lasted ten years’. Alan Bates: Otherwise Engaged by Donald Spoto. (The content of this book is currently in dispute).
 Same old yarn about PETER’s career “going off the rails” (see above piece on Peter Davidson’s book, ‘Is There Life Outside The Box’ to see how far off the rails his career fell!)
 This would suggest that PETER and Bates were together from 1956 until 1966. In fact, from 1959 until 1961, he was in an open relationship with Vivien Leigh. He was then lived with another lady – Ruby Talbot (she appears on the Electoral Roll as resident at his address) from 1961 until 1965. Go figure!
PETER was married for seven years. Other’s in the entertainment industry have been married for much shorter periods, but issue is not made of that. Evidence, once again, of spin and innuendo.
Even Tapper’s attempt at humour was mainly plagiarised from The Comic Strip Presents… Detectives On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown (1993) ‘His adventures as Jason King were a send-up of spy and detective dramas such as The Saint and The Avengers – a typical plot would see King drive his Bentley to a country mansion where he would drink champagne with the owner and flirt with his attractive daughter before arresting everybody’.
PETER himself wrote a letter to this hack to point out that he’s played hundreds of characters, both before and after Jason King, but doesn’t walk around dressed as them either. He was probably wasting his time in putting pen to paper, since the idiotic columnist probably wouldn’t have the intelligence to comprehend what was being said to him.
TAKEN FROM ‘SHAPERS OF THE 80’s: BRITISH YOUTH CULTURE AT IT’S FINEST’
Emma Peelpants is a keen-eyed blogger who plunders magazine and retail archives in search of 60s clothes and the whole vulgar, vibrant style of that swinging decade. Once in a while, she has a mensday and today she exhumes that male stereotype, “the heel” — the overbearing, amoral lothario who 40 years ago fancied himself rotten and treated women as playthings. Miss Peelpants publishes a hideously recognisable illustration of a heel from a copy of the teenage magazine 19, dated 1972, where one such sophisticat is grinding his heel into a bevvy of scantily clad girls. 19’s Guide to Recognising a Heel shows the just-got-out-of-bed coiffed hair, the bandito moustache, the whisky-and-cigarette in one hand, plus total absence of a smile, which he would have deemed too uncool.
To anybody of a certain age, the dandy in the illustration is all too visibly based on the actor PETER WYNGARDE who shot to fame playing exactly this kind of international playboy in two late-night TV espionage series at the dawn of the 70s, Department S and Jason King. These expressed notions of contemporary glamour by being set in airports and beside Riviera pools. Their action-hero won awards as the “Best Dressed Man In Britain” while Sun readers voted him the “Man With the Sexiest Voice on Television”.
What Emma links us to is possibly the most offensive song ever recorded by a star considered suave in his day. The one-off “comedy” album for RCA in 1970 was titled PETER WYNGARDE and billed as dwelling on “the darker side of human behaviour”. It was said to have been withdrawn from sale after four days. Unbelievably it was re-released on RPM in 1998 retitled When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head with a “Don’t buy this” warning on the sleeve. As a model of appalling bad taste it not only leaves no innuendo unturned, but contains one track actively celebrating rape.
Lest we doubt that political correctness has delivered a few benefits over the years, the Lipstick Thespians have posted this number on YouTube. For those who wish to avoid hearing WYNGARDE’S ripe spoken-word rendition, the Thespians have posted the full wince-making lyrics (words and music by Hubert Valverde and PETER WYNGARDE). Many people feel that the actor met his just desserts when he wrecked his career in what politicians euphemistically call a moment of madness in 1975. He’s still alive and kicking and signing autographs, now aged 7
⇑ The article from 19 magazine
Where do I start?!
This mess of an article is typical of the kind of nonsense churned out by those who know little or nothing about the subject they’re writing about. To begin with:
- Neither Department S nor Jason King were “late-night TV espionage series”. They were originally broadcast around 8pm, and repeated in the afternoon.
- The re-issue of PETER’s album on CD – released under the title ‘When Sex Leers It’s Inquisitive Head’ never, EVER carried a “Don’t buy this” warning on the sleeve.
- PETER’s career was not “wrecked”, as suggested. He actually worked almost continually after the so-called “moment of madness in 1975”, and received most of his most of his most enthusiastic plaudits from critics during that time.
Perhaps a “Do not bother reading” sticker should be attached to the abovementioned website!
‘THE INNOCENTS’: BOOK BY CHRISTOPHER FRAYLING (BFI CLASSICS – PALGRAVE MACMILLAN)
EXCERPT: ‘For the ghosts, Clayton cast the Australian-born stage actress Clytie Jessop, in her first film role, as Miss Jessel – she would later work with Freddie Francis again on Nightmare (1964) and Torture Garden (1967) – and the dark, saturnine PETER WYNGARDE as Quint. Variety (20 March 1961) reported that the young Peter O’Toole had agreed to appear in The Innocents – presumably as Quint – but he was released, to become Lawrence of Arabia (1962). WYNGARDE had recently starred in an adaptation of South (1959), the first television drama to deal with an explicit homosexual theme. Despite his public image of a Don Juan figure it was widely known in the business that he was gay.’
This book is intended to tell the story of Jack Clayton’s gothic masterpiece, The Innocents, and does so very well. However, the above passage is entirely needless, and completely out of context with the rest of the volume, which is meant to describe the process of making the film. Nowhere else in this softback edition is there mention of the supposed sexuality of any of the other cast members, so it can only be assumed that the author included this passage for controversy’s sake and no other.
A letter of complaint concerning this matter was forwarded to the publisher, The British Film Institute (BFI), who concurred with the concerns contained in it. They agreed to discuss it at a forthcoming meeting of the Literary Department.
By the time that PETER was cast as Peter Quint, he’d already appeared in well over 150 television, radio and stage plays, portraying everything from sea captains to Medieval knight’s; murders to Dickensian heroes. Nevertheless, Frayling was only interested in mentioning one production – ‘South’, which afforded him a platform for another agenda.
It’s clear where Frayling took the line ‘…it was widely known in the business that he was gay.’ This ‘One-Source-Fits-All’ mentality immediately smacks of indolent journalism. The ‘Don Juan’ reference surly relates to the Jason King-era, which came many years after the making of ‘The Innocents’. At the time this film was being shot, PETER had not long come out of a six-year marriage to the actress, Dorinda Stevens; had lived for two years with another woman, and had had been in a three-year relationship with Vivien Leigh.
The sad thing is that Dr Frayling had shared a stage with PETER at a Nightwaves Special about ‘The Innocents’ at the BFI, which was broadcast live by BBC Radio 4 on Monday, 2nd December, 2013, knowing full well what he intended to include this paragraph in his book.
While we might expect to find such snide comments from tabloid newspapers on a daily basis, is it not too much to ask that so-called “respected” authors rise above this wretched, timeworn sensationalism and stick to the facts?
‘Damn You, Scarlett O’Hara, The Private Lives of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier’ By Darwin Porter and Roy Moseley, (Blood Moon Productions)
The infamous divorce of Lord and the first Lady Olivier is analyzed in tantalizing detail. And whereas Olivier escaped into the arms of Joan Plowright, whom he eventually married, Leigh lived with actor Jack Merivale, who witnessed first-hand her final mental and physical deterioration. During her final stages, she sustained a brief sexual fling with actor PETER WYNGARDE, with whom she was appearing in the West End play, Duel of Angels. WYNGARDE discovered her running nude one night in the gardens of central London’s Eaton Square, where soon after she encountered a policeman. “Go home,” he told her. “There’s no way in bloody hell I’m going to arrest Scarlett O’Hara for public nakedness.”
This “brief sexual fling” actually lasted for over three years; longer than most Hollywood marriages!
From the now defunct ‘Behind the Beard’ Blog
‘… gay actors would often invent a supposed ex-wife to act as a smokescreen. They’d decline to name this mythical lady, saying that he were merely doing his best to protect her from the unwanted glare of publicity – adding that she lived somewhere abroad. PETER WYNGARDE is a case in point, since he had always refused to discuss his supposed ex, saying only that she now lived in Rome’.
In fact, PETER met Dorinda Stevens (born Dorothy May Stevens) when he was working in rep. at The Grand Theatre in Southampton in the mid- Fifties. Dorinda was a native of the town and was just starting her own career as an actress when The London Players arrived in town.
The Company, who’d been booked to perform four plays at The Grand: Love From a Stranger, Murder Without Crime, Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee and Young Wives Tale over the course of seven weeks. Dorinda who, herself had connections to the theatre, met PETER when the troupe were out on the town following an evening performance.
PETER said that Dorinda was a rare beauty and that all guys fancied her – including Laurence Naismith and William Macilwraith who were part of the Players. “She was the most beautiful girl on the block, “PETER said, “and I got her!”
When their run at the Grand ended and the London Players returned to the capital, PETER and Dorinda spoke ever day over the phone, and would see each other at least once a week.
Whilst on holiday in Sicily that Summer, they decided to get married and found a little church near the coast. PETER said the priest in this tiny village when the two of them arrived, dressed only in beachwear and asked to be married.
When they returned to Britain, the couple managed to find a flat in the centre of London, which was convenient given that Dorinda had started to secure some film work, so it was easy for her to reach the studios in Hertfordshire. However, when PETER was asked to do a run at the Bristol Old Vic, Dorinda moved back to her parents in Southampton so she could be closer to him. After he came off stage every night without fail, he drive the 60+ miles to Hampshire to be with his wife, and then return the following morning in time for the matinee performance.
The longest amount of time they spent apart during those days was when PETER went to Spain to work on Alexander the Great. He did, however, write and call every day, and she’s often fly out to see him at weekends.
The marriage began to fall apart as most actors relationships do because of the time the two inevitably had to spend apart. PETER also blames their ages at the time they got hitched: “We were both far too young. All we did was have sex all day. Other than that and the acting, we didn’t have much else in common”.
The two remained friends after their divorce, and would exchange birthday and Christmas cards every year until her death.
MARTIN BUCKLEY – Motoring Journalist
Jason King: Bentley Continental This was a follow-on series for PETER WYNGARDE, the Australian  actor who played the hunky, spunky Jason King. King was a thriller writer who solved crimes as if he was writing the plot of one of his books. As usual the scripts took the character all over the world but when the action moved to swinging London King would be seen swishing around in his Bentley Continental. With his flamboyant clothes and trendy moustache WYNGARDE was quite a heartthrob  yet cut such a slender, effete figure that the fight scenes always seemed rather unlikely. Jason King wasn’t the success Department S had been and in any case WYNGARDE’s career was cut short  by an incident in a gentleman’s lavatory. The character was parodied by The Comic Strip in the late eighties as ‘Jason Bentley
. PETER isn’t Australian!
. ‘With his flamboyant clothes and trendy moustache Wyngarde was quite a heartthrob yet cut such a slender, effete figure that the fight scenes always seemed rather unlikely’. PETER actually has a black belt in Karate, and could knock almost anyone out if he meant to.
As for him being “effete”: As a child, he managed to survive four years in a Japanese P.O.W., which would suggest that he’s far tougher than Mr Buckley would have us believe!
. His career wasn’t cut short for any reason. Read https://peterwyngarde.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/they-said-it-was-all-over/
Typical lazy journalism!
From ‘The Billen Interview’ – The Guardian 7th August, 1997
Andrew Billen visits author JG Ballard in his peeling semi to discuss class, feminism and the material world
Ballard is not being pious and he is, anyway, in little danger of being damned as politically correct. In 1973, when he was still thought of as a science fiction writer, he published Crash, a novel celebrating the eroticism of car smashes. The kinkiness of Crash, and of some of his other works (one, featuring the Kennedy assassinations, is called The Atrocity Exhibition), reminds me of a fairly weird interview I once conducted with the actor PETER WYNGARDE. The one-time Jason King had talked about his preference for ‘sadistic’ sex. I am reminded because WYNGARDE and Ballard were in the same internment camp.
‘Oh,’ Ballard says when I mention it, ‘I don’t think that sort of thing affects your sex life. I’d have thought it needed to be much more personal than that, but then I don’t have any strain of S&M in me, so I wouldn’t know.’ Is it true, as Lynn Barber wrote, that he used to show off photographs of his girlfriend’s car-crash injuries at dinner parties? ‘Of course it isn’t,’ he says.
PETER did NOT say “sadistic sex”. He actually said “Sophisticated sex”.
The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/