A KIND OF MAGIC

See the source image

In 1972, Peter took part in a magic show on Hungarian television in front of a live audience. Here are some snaps from the show which we hope you’ll enjoy.

Peter meets the show’s hosts and offers to show them a trick…

Peter consults his book of tricks and suggest cutting one of the host in half…

Members of the audience are asked what they think of Peter’s idea…

One rather bashful lady gets to speak to Peter…

…and Peter flashes her a smile.

Peter and the hosts walk across the stage to carry out the trick…

Setting up the necessary equipment…

Peter checks the book one last time…

And with an “abracadabra”, and the addition of a wood saw, the trick is complete!

The audience sound their approval…

…before he waves goodbye.


© Copyright The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/

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THE INAUGRAL JOHN STEED BALL

Saturday, 30th January, 2016 at The Eight Club Moorgate. London

The inaugural John Steed Ball was a charitable celebration of The Avengers hero as played by Patrick Macnee and hosted by lounge legend, Count Indigo.

The ball was an invitation to emulate the timeless chic and fun which epitomised John Steed. It took place at the penthouse private members club Eight Club Moorgate with spectacular views across the City of London from heated terraces.

Peter with Count Indigo at the Ball. The Count is famed for his parties for luminaries including Burt Bacharach and Tony Bennett.

Guests were invited to dress in Avengers appropriate evening wear – either contemporary or period.

The very special guests on the evening was our very own Peter Wyngarde and legendary actress, Fenella Fielding.

The ball was a Swinging Sixties dinner-discotheque. Guests were able choose to have dinner and nightclub entry or the club entry alone which retained many, but not all, of the evening’s entertainments. The fabulous Avenger’s themed line-up included:

  • A 3 course Modern European Dinner
  • Q & A with Peter Wyngarde
  • Charity auction
  • Sabrage
  • Aimi Macdonald singing with piano accompaniment
  • DJs til 2am
  • Author Rodney Marshall discusses John Steed’s cultural impact
  • Catsuit-A- G0-G0 1960’s dance troupe

The John Steed Ball was supported by Studio Canal (who own the worldwide rights to The Avengers) and Vauxhall – the latter with the kind loan of a superb 30/98 to grace the courtyard entrance of Eight Club.

This stylish memorable event took the opportunity to raise funds for two great charities of particular relevance to Patrick Macnee: The Actor’s Fund and Medicinema.

Above: Peter and Fenella Fielding during the Q&A

During the evening, Peter read out a poem that he’d penned himself as a tribute to Patrick MacNee, which you can watch below.

Photos from the night

Photographs copyright to David Tidd


© Copyright The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/

FAN FICTION: Lunch with Jason King

Written by Nick Wray

As a tribute to mark the death of Peter Wyngarde, announced today (Friday 18th January 2018) I’m making this short story available, free of charge, for a limited time. It was inspired, in part, by the appalling Daily Mail ‘news’ story:

“Peter Wyngarde – one time star of 70’s TV series ‘Jason King’ – is looking forward to lunch at his favourite restaurant on the French Riviera. But when he meets his host, a young TV producer from London, all is not as it first seems…”

The bloody sod was late. TV, media-types always were, weren’t they? A breeze stirred as he looked around, once again, searching the restaurant terrace. “One o’clock” he’d said. Lying bastard. The actor gulped back another mouthful of wine. Half full? Half empty? Depended how you looked at it, didn’t it? The glass flashed, blinding him for a moment in the bright afternoon sun. 

Louis, the Maître D, smiled at him from across the terrace, tipped his head to one side and waggled another bottle of wine in the air expectantly. The actor shook his head. No. Not yet, anyway. He had to perform. Better to keep a clear head, he thought, nursing the remains of his wine. And he wanted to make sure that the producer – or whoever it was that supposed to be turning up – was going to pay. Expenses, were not what they used to be, were they? Indeed, nothing was quite what it once was, he thought, stroking his stomach. 

Nearby in the hot, bustling port the bell of the Vieux Clocher rang for the second time since he’d sat at the table. Despite the cue, he still found himself checking the scratched old Rolex once more. ‘Too much?’, he heard himself mutter out loud. Then he wondered: would anyone even turn up? 

He thumbed through the thin sheaf of papers in front of him, again, now wet and ringed from the base of his wine glass: 

“Remember Jason King?” — Janus Productions 

– Background notes – 

Jason King, (TV series 1971-1972) This spin-off from the earlier Department S continued the adventures of hedonistic, womanizing dandy Jason King. After leaving ‘Department S’, Jason settled down to a full-time career of writing (trashy) Mark Caine novels. He philandered his way around the world, doing research for his stories and tripping over a variety of odd — often verging on surreal — cases, usually involving beautiful women. He was occasionally blackmailed into working for British Intelligence under the threat of being arrested for unpaid back taxes.” 

IMDB- The Internet Movie Database 

As if he needed to be told about Jason King! For a moment he thought he was seeing double. It happened sometimes. Then he realised his hands were shaking. It was just stage fright, he told himself. Pure and simple stage fright. 

A cigarette. Yes; a cigarette would help calm his nerves. He could almost taste a Gauloises on the hot Mediterranean air. A proper, old fashioned Disques Bleu. But these days, even in France, for pity’s sake, you couldn’t light up, could you? True, he had always got away with murder. And perhaps not just on the stage. But then Louis, the Maître D, would never permit it. 

Would the interviewer even recognise him? Had he already been and gone?; arrived at the restaurant, looked around, not recognised him? It was over forty years ago, after all, wasn’t it, since Jason King, had been famous? 

Keenly, he searched the terrace again, before returning his gaze to the bottle on the table. 

Even without the glasses he needed, but never wore, he could see drops of condensed water superimposed like beads of sweat on his image reflected in the ice bucket. His homunculus also appeared to shiver. 

What would the first question be? The inevitable “I’ve always wanted to meet ‘Jason King’?” He smoothed his hand over his head. Bandaging his scalp, grimacing as he camouflaged his balding pate from the glare of Marseille’s midday sun. The afternoon heat burning through his thinning, dyed, mane, searing out the bald truth… ‘Excuse me?’ 

‘Yes?’ 

‘I’m sorry I’m so late. Traffic, from the airport… It, it is you, isn’t it?’ asked the young man. ‘I think that’s irrefutable.’ Replied the actor, still seated at the table. 

‘Fantastic! l still can’t believe I’m actually having lunch with Jason King!’ ‘Well, you’re not.’ 

‘I’m not what?’ Said the young man. 

‘You’re not having lunch with Jason King.’ The actor looked at the young man benignly. 

‘I’m sorry… I thought… I’m sure… surely, it must be you…?’ For a moment, the young man’s expression, as a masked play, turned from a smile to tragedy. 

‘You’re having lunch with Peter Wyngarde. The actor who played Jason King. That’s the whole point of all this? Isn’t it? The interview?’ The actor pointed at the wine-wetted paper he’d been reading earlier on the table. ‘To give me a chance to tell my story?’ 

‘What a relief! Yes of course. You frightened me for a moment.’ 

‘A drink?’ suggested the actor. The young man raised his glass towards the actor who winced as he saw it grasped by the bowl, instead of held at the stem. The actor over-filled both their glasses. 

‘To Jason King!’ said the young man offering his wine glass; ‘Cheers!’ A Champagne cork popped flatly elsewhere on the terrace. Their glasses kissed, ringing coldly for a moment, before separating quickly. 

‘It’s Santé!’ Replied the actor. 

‘Sorry, Santé! But you know what I mean?’ The eager-to-please smile appeared again on the young man’s face. ‘Do you mind if I record our conversation? Just for my notes.’ Without waiting for a reply, the young man positioned his shiny black phone on the pure linen cloth, as though placing a chess piece. 

‘Be my guest.’ The young man seemed oblivious to the sarcasm in the actor’s voice. ‘Let’s talk first. We can do some pics and video later?’ 

‘Perhaps.’ Replied the actor. 

‘You’ve had a chance to look at the outline? For the show?’ 

‘Several times… whilst I was waiting.’ Both men swallowed deeply from their wine glasses at the same time. It was the young man who broke the pregnant pause. 

‘What do you think? Good, isn’t it?’ 

‘It’s one of my favourites. A 2007. Domaine LaRoche Grand Cru Chablis.’ The actor took the last sip from his glass. ‘Delicately chiselled texture, with a flinty finish… A little bit like, me, perhaps?’ The actor held his inquisitive expression then burst out loud into laughter. The young man smiled, uncertainly and spoke: ‘I meant the outline. For the show. Good, isn’t it?’ 

‘Ummm. Well, it’s all a little vague, isn’t it?’ Said the actor. ‘Yes, of course. But we can fix everything in the edit suite.’ ‘If only life were so simple?’ 

‘We’ve already put together a rough cut. To set the tone.’ ‘What? How? We haven’t even recorded anything, yet?’ 

‘No. but most of the programme’s been put together from clips on YouTube, Vimeo? That kind of thing?’ 

Clips?’ said the actor. The young man ignored him, as continued. ‘All we really need are a few reaction shots from you.’ 

‘Reaction shots?’ 

‘Yeah, to this kind of stuff…’ The young man grabbed his phone off the table and thrust it towards the actor. See the screen all right, can you?’ 

‘Despite apparent appearances, I’m not completely blind, yet.’ 

‘This one’s from 1971, the original trailer for the show. Here we go:’ With sleight of hand the young man conjured up once familiar footage on the phone’s screen now only vaguely remembered by the actor; once film, then television, and now digital: 

VOICE-OVER: “Peter Wyngarde is Jason King. Suave, sassy, strong yet sensitive, and with a flamboyance to match his flares…” 

WOMAN’S VOICE: “Look at that man!” 

‘Can you turn it down a bit!’ The actor hissed. The other diners… We don’t want everyone in the restaurant to “look at that man”. Assuming anyone would even recognise me these days?’ 

‘But you look just the same to me. You’ll always be Jason King, to your fans, Mr King.’ ‘It’s Wyngarde. Peter Wyngarde!’ 

‘Now, just wait a sec…; The young man smiled fondly anticipating the next video clip about to appear on the phone’s screen: You’ll love this, here we go…and cut to…’ 

ACTRESS: “Jason King?! But that’s incredible!” 

VOICE-OVER: “His quest for adventure and taste for excitement lead him to beautiful women…” 

JASON KING: [RAFFISHLY]: “Well, I hope so…!” 

VOICE-OVER: “Dangerous criminals and exotic locations” 

The young man killed the video on his phone. ‘Well what do you think, Mr King? I mean Mr Wyngarde?’ 

‘I thought the show, the interview was going to be about me?’ About my career. My whole career. The career of actor Peter Wyngarde? Not just Jason King?’ He held back his worn crocodile shoes from snapping a kick at the young man.’ 

‘Of course, it is. Jason. Mr King. Sorry, I mean Peter. But we must set the scene. To lead with what you’re best known for, don’t we?’ ‘What I’m best known for?’ 

‘Like I said that’s just a rough cut. To give you a feel for how we might position it.’ The young man looked between phone and the actor as though at a loved one. ‘So, what do you think, Mr King?’ 

‘It’s Wyngarde! W-Y-N-G-A-R-D-E. P-for-Peter. Peter Wyngarde. I am the actor that played the eponymous Jason King. Gettit?’ ‘Yes, sorry.’ 

‘What else have you got?’ ‘There’s loads more:’ 

VOICE-OVER: “Jason King. He’s an author who creates imaginary stories by solving real life crimes. And he discovers surprise endings he never expected… He’s an expert investigator of a most unusual sort. You probably knew that already. 

He’s Jason King!” 

‘Jason King, Jason King, Jason King! It was all a very long time ago. You must realise. I’m a different person, now. I can finally be, well, me. Isn’t that what your programme is going to be about?’ 

‘Yes. But Jason King’s got to be part of the story, hasn’t it? It’s what you’re best known for.’ ‘Is it? Is it really? Even after all these years?’ 

‘Your voice, that look. No one could mistake you! You haven’t changed a bit. Anyway, like I said that’s just a rough cut. So, what do you think, Mr King?’ 

‘I’m not Jason King!’ A couple at the next table turned as they heard the actor’s raised voice. ‘No but that’s what we’re promoting, aren’t we?’ 

‘Are we?’ 

‘The interview. It’s just a tie-in, really, isn’t it? To help WebFlicks promote “Fit for a King: the complete Jason King library”. All 25 episodes of Jason King, everything digitally remastered; plus out- take material, special interviews… those incredible alternative endings.’ 

‘You must be beside yourself, my boy.’ ‘You must be a little excited?’ 

‘Well I certainly didn’t realise that I – that Jason King – was being resurrected. I’d better call my agent, to remind her to pass on the royalties. Assuming she’s still alive?’ 

‘Sounds like you don’t get much work these days, then?’ ‘I didn’t say that, did I?’ 

‘Do you go to many Jason King conventions?’ 

‘Jason King, Jason King, Jason King! You must understand. That was the 70s – that’s over forty years ago, for Christ’s sake. Jason King really isn’t anything to do with me, now.’ 

‘Your fans don’t care about all that. You’ll always be the same Jason King to them.’ ‘Which channel did you say our ‘tie-in’ would appear on?’ 

‘WebFlicks.’ 

‘“WebFlicks”, you say? So not the BBC, or ITV…?’ ‘No, WebFlicks.’ 

‘WebFlicks?’ Repeated the actor. 

‘You know, streaming, online, the “Interweb”?’ The young man made quote marks in the air as he spoke. 

‘Before we go any further. Who, pray tell, will be interviewing me?’ Graham Norton? Or one of the new ones? Alan, what’s his name, Alan Carr?, God forbid!’ The actor found himself looking 

round the terrace as though for a familiar face from television’s past. ‘Well…’ Said the young man. 

‘Sorry?’ Said the actor, as he turned back to face the young man. ‘I am.’ Said the young man. 

‘You are, what?’ Said the actor. ‘I’m going to interview you.’ ‘You?’ said the actor. 

‘Yes?’ 

‘But you’re just the producer aren’t’ you?’ ‘Oh!’ Said the young man again. 

‘…another “Oh?”’ Quizzed the actor? ‘I thought you knew?’ 

‘…knew?’ 

‘Didn’t anyone from the production company email you?’ 

‘Quite possibly. I never look at email. But you’re a, a producer or something, aren’t you?’ The actor swallowed the remains of his wine with a gulp.’ 

‘Well, I’m not actually a producer.’ 

‘I thought you seemed rather young.’ ‘I’m a Runner.’ 

‘A Runner!’ The actor’s raised voice caused the young couple to look round again. As they 

looked back at each other they giggled. 

‘…to be honest…’ 

‘Well to be honest… I’m not actually a Runner. Not yet, anyway. ‘Go on?’ 

‘Well. I’m an intern. But they’ve said there could be a three-month contract…’ ‘As a Runner?’ 

‘Yep, if…’ 

If…?’ 

‘If I came out here, and filmed a few reaction shots, to the clips I showed you. We’re doing the interview, today. Now. That’s why I’m here.’ 

‘Now! How?’ 

‘On my phone.’ 

‘On your iPhone?’ 

‘It’s an Android, actually.’ 

‘You surprise me!’ said the actor. 

‘Yeah! 4k. You know. Ultra-High Definition? Don’t worry. It’s broadcast quality.’ ‘Is it? Is it really?’ Said the actor. 

‘Yeah, everybody does it this way, now. The video still looks great, Mr King.’ ‘How many times – I’m not Jason King!’ 

‘Sorry, yes of course!’ The young man blushed. ‘I’ve had my head buried too long in the Kong [sic] server.’ 

‘The Kong server?’ 

‘It’s just what we call it. The Jason King server. I’ve been looking through your film archives. 

Everything’s digital now, of course.’ ‘I’m not.’ Replied the actor. ‘You are!’ 

‘I am what?’ ‘Digital.’ 

‘What on earth do you mean?’ 

‘Well that clip was digital, wasn’t it?’ ‘But, that wasn’t me, was it!’ 

‘Well no, but… as soon as we put some teasers on the web you’ll be a meme in no time.’ 

‘I’ve always wanted to be a “Meme in lights.” Louis appeared as the nearby clock struck three. ‘Louis! Thank goodness. Save me from this madness. Before we go any further, young man, let me introduce you to Louis, the real star of this place. Louis is owner and Maître D of Louis’. Our master of ceremonies. He runs the place. Louis, this is…’ 

A loud ringtone played from the young man’s phone. The phone lit up, and started to vibrate and move across the tablecloth as though dancing to the melody coming from the device. 

‘Young man, what on earth is that noise coming from your phone?’ ‘Recognise it? The sound track?’ Asked the young man. 

‘Oh God, no! It isn’t, is it?’ Said the actor. 

‘Qu’est-ce que c’est, Monsieur Wyngarde?’ Said Louis. 

‘It is.’ said the young man smiling proudly, his head nodding to the music. 

‘Monsieur?’ Said Louis looking at the young man, then towards the actor. ‘Monsieur Wyngarde?’ 

‘It’s that theme tune, Louis.’ 

‘Theme tune?’ said Louis, looking puzzled. 

‘The title music. To Jason King, Louis.’ Said the actor, his voice almost drowned out by the sounds coming from the phone. 

‘I digitised it.’ The young man said smiling triumphantly. 

‘Ah, oui. Monsieur Wyngarde?’ Your alter ego, non? The waiter turned to the young man. ‘You have captured him on your phone, non?’ 

‘Yes. I mean “Mais oui!” ’ Said the young man with a self-effacing smile. Like a screen shot, he seemed frozen in time, until Louis broke the icy silence on the baking terrace. 

‘Vous avez choisi, messieurs?’ 

‘I need another drink, Louis. When you’re finished playing with your phone, young man, pray tell, what would be music to your ears on the wine list?’ 

‘Dunno? When in Rome..?’ 

‘But we’re not in Roma, are we?’ ‘Maybe some, some rosé, then?’ 

‘Rosé? Rosé, really? Are you sure?’ 

‘Sorry. I don’t really know much about booze, Mr King. I mean Mr Wyngarde. I have got 

Hugh Johnson’s Atlas of Wine on my phone, though.’ ‘How did you squeeze it all in?’ 

‘It’s not a real book. It’s a Kindle – you know an e-book? An electronic book?’ 

‘Yes, I know. I was joking. So, with all that at your fingertips, surely you’re as much of an expert on that as you are on me?’ 

‘I haven’t actually read it yet, the wine book, to be honest. I’ve been too busy. God, is that the time? I’ve gotta get back to the airport by 7pm.’ 

‘You fly from London to France, for lunch, with me; then you have to rush back before you’ve almost arrived? Can’t you enjoy the moment? The here and now?’ 

‘That’s deep. Are you in to all that? Nice one. You know, I’ve got Buddhify on my phone, too, 

Mr King?’ 

‘What will it be, then?’ Said the actor biting his tongue. 

‘Yeah. A glass of rosé. You can’t go wrong with rosé, can you? 

‘A glass? Of rosé, you say? Really? Well, I suppose it does all rather depend on what we’re eating, doesn’t it? Any thoughts? No? How about over there? No, the other table. See? The Fruits de mer. Now – like me – there’s a truly authentic dish for you, no? Even from here, you can almost taste the lobster, the garlic butter, the mayonnaise. Ah, Marseille! Just look around you. Isn’t it just too beautiful, too real, my boy? The harbour, the sun on the water. And what’s that on the air?: rosemary, thyme, just smell the…’ 

‘Coffee?’ 

‘I was going to say, scent… in the air. This is life. Reality? Can you really capture all this? This truth with your Androids and YouTubes and memes?’ The young man appeared deaf to the actor speaking. ‘What on earth are you looking at on your phone now?’ 

‘Hmm… Uber reckons I need to leave here by four.’ 

‘Smartphones über alles?’ said the actor, tempted to kick the young man. ‘What?’ said the young man looking up. I don’t speak German.’ 

‘What language do you speak, young man? Perhaps you could just leave your phone alone for a few moments, whilst we enjoy a leisurely lunch before, before filming – such as it is – commences?’ A bird’s song seemed to answer the actor’s question for the young man. ‘Yes? Good. 

What shall we eat then? A Provençal speciality? Perhaps a classic Bouillabaisse?’ ‘Bouillabaisse? Eh, remind me?’ 

‘Bream, turbot, monk fish, mullet, shell fish too; sea urchins, langoustine, velvet crab…’ ‘Sounds quite fishy? Cod’s alright. But I don’t like really fishy fish.’ 

‘Too fishy? Very well. Can I tempt you with some of Louis’ delicious moules, then?’ ‘Moules?’ Asked the young man. 

‘They come with pommes frites. No? That’s chips.’ 

‘Moules, moules…?’ Repeated the young man blankly. 

‘Mussels! Louis’ always had great muscles [sic], just look at him.’ The actor noticed a sudden 

change in the young man who seemed to stiffen. 

‘Louis – he’s one of your, your friends?’ 

‘I’ve known Louis for years. If that’s what you mean?’ Said the actor. The young man looked deeply into the actor’s eyes then suddenly broke his gaze away. 

‘Those burgers over there look juicy?’ Said the young man. 

‘Burgers? You mean the steak haché. That’s children’s food. Why not try a steak tartare, instead?’ 

‘I do like steak.’ 

Steak tartare – finely chopped raw minced beef, mixed with onions, capers and a raw egg yolk, with a soupcon of Worcester sauce? What a face! Well, I suppose it’s not to everyone’s taste. Louis’ is a seafood restaurant, really, anyway.’ 

‘Messieurs. Vous avez choisi?’ Both jumped – neither of them at the table had heard Louis’ enter stage. 

‘It’s going to be the Bouillabaisse for me, Louis, and…?’ ‘A steak…?’ 

Tartare, young man?’ Asked the actor. 

‘No. A proper steak’ Replied the young man. 

‘… well done?’ The actor’s sarcasm seemed pitched beyond the young man’s threshold of awareness. 

‘Thank you.’ 

‘No I mean do you want it cooked well done

‘Yes, please.’ 

‘And, Louis, a steak – bien cuit…’ The actor spat the words out like gristle on his tongue. ‘Bien cuit? Oh, non, Monsieur Wyngarde!’ 

‘Oui, bien cuit, malheureusement. The naivety of youth, eh, my friend?’ ‘D’accord. Monsieur, Monsieur Wyngarde.’ The MD walked away. 

‘Funny.’ Said the young man. 

‘What?’ 

‘That waiter.’ 

‘Louis – the Maître D?’ Asked the actor. ‘Yes. His accent it’s so, so…’ 

‘…so?’ 

‘Well, so French.’ 

‘Well he is French.’ Said the actor. 

‘He reminds me of one of those ‘swarthy foreigner’ bit-parts you often had in Jason King. You know “Gino the greasy Italian; Fritz the fat, thuggish German; Stavros the swarthy Greek”? Bit racist, I suppose, by today’s standards? Do you think it was racist?” 

‘It was what it was at the time.’ Said the actor. And don’t let Louis hear you deride his “fake” accent.’ 

‘Sort of topical, though, isn’t it? When you think about it? What with Brexit and everything. 

Might be interesting, to talk about? As long as we don’t get too heavy?’ 

‘Heavy? I can’t see why the most disastrous political vote in the last 40 years by a frankly 

foolish electorate – led by craven politicians should get “heavy” in any way, do you?’ 

‘So, you were a Remoaner, I mean Remainer, then?’ said the young man, suddenly more alert once again. 

‘I’m English. But I live in France. I was born in France. I speak French, amongst other 

languages. I’m a citizen of the world. An, an internationalist, I suppose.’ ‘Like a Communist?’ 

‘No, not like a Communist. But you know at one point, as a child, I lived with my mother in Shanghai. J G Ballard and l — no don’t look it up on your phone, I can tell you. He’s a writer; JG and I were actually playing, there in the streets of Singapore together, when the Japanese invaded.’ 

‘Which war was that?’ 

‘Oh, never mind! I’m sure you can look that one up if you really need to? But at least we’re finally starting to cover more ground than the eponymous “Monsieur King”. You know. before Jason King appeared on television, l worked as an actor? A proper actor, on stage, films…’ 

‘Yeah, I googled that. Apart from “Pardonnez-moi”, Jason King, weren’t you in stuff like Department S, The Prisoner – “I’m not a number I’m a free man”…’ said the young man, punching the air, in a voice which drew the other diners’ attention to their table once again. The actor raised an eyebrow. 

‘And my stage work?’ 

‘Stage work, stage work? Now, weren’t you in, no don’t tell me… The King and I?’ The only 

sound was that of the actor slowly refilling his glass. 

‘You do realise that that was about the King of Siam. Not Jason King, don’t you?’ The actor emptied his glass in one. ‘More wine?’ he asked the young man. 

‘Why not? Yeah – The King and I. Now I saw an old interview of you going on about it 

‘On the Kong server, no doubt?’ 

‘That’s it. Now, what was it called? The, the… I know, wasn’t it The Russell Harty Show

‘l’m not sure if I really count TV-like Russell Harty – or vaudeville, like the King & I – as part of my serious acting career. But let me think. It is true, the King was playing at the Adelphi, wasn’t it? 

262, or-thereabouts, performances – if my memory serves me correctly. It was work. But you know I played Uncle Vanya at the Old Vic? I want to cover that, too. In the interview. And I appeared at National, too, you know?’ 

‘The National? The National Theatre?’ ‘Y-e-s.’ Said the actor. ‘That’s the one.’ 

‘Really? What were you in?’ Asked the young man. 

‘The play… now then, what on earth was it?’ The actor swallowed hard, his throat suddenly dry as he felt his hands shake once more. ‘It was all a very long time ago. Well, I don’t actually remember that now…’ 

‘I can check?’ The young man looked down at the phone in the palm of his hand. 

‘Just give it a bloody rest, can’t you?’ Said the actor. ‘Sorry. What I mean is don’t worry. Let’s just enjoy our lunch for the moment. Let your phone lie. It will come back to me.?’ 

‘So, what are you doing these days?’ asked the young man. ‘Are you still doing any? Acting?’ ‘My point is Jason King was only a few short years of my life.’ 

‘Three.’ 

‘What?’ 

‘It was three years, wasn’t it? If you include Department S, which you probably must, really, shouldn’t you?’ 

‘Sorry?’ 

‘I’m pretty sure, but let’s check…’ The young man picked up his phone once again. ‘Um, yeah, here we go this is what Wiki says: “Department S (first screened March 1969) Spy-fi series prequel to…’ 

‘Don’t say it!’ Pleaded the actor. The young man appeared deaf. 

‘…yes, Department S, the prequel to Jason King… not a great signal, here, is it?’ ‘I suppose eating on the terrace has certain drawbacks…’ 

‘Here we are,’ the young man continued stroking his phone’s screen. ‘Jason King, ended, um, um, um…yes thought so – 1972. 28th April it was.’ 

‘Really? April, was it. The 28th you say. Well I never.’ Said the actor. 

‘OK.’ This time, the young man had heard the sarcasm in the actor’s voice. ‘So, what have you been doing, since then? What are you actually doing, now, at the moment?’ As the young man spoke, Louis who had been hovering over the adjacent table shucked an oyster from its shell which missed the plate and landed on the hot terrace floor. 

‘Well… well.’ 

‘Yes?’ Said the young man. ‘Go on?’ 

‘Well, there’s, well there’s my experimental theatre work I’m, I’m, I’m working as a dramaturge. I’m helping to develop a short piece for a small theatre group in Marseilles.’ Lied the actor. 

‘What’s it about.’ The actor pondered and remembered a story he’d read in Le Monde that morning. Fake News.’ 

Fake News? Really?’, said the young man, sounding surprised. 

‘Yes, fake news and um…’ Now what was the other story he’d seen, he thought? ‘Edward Snowden.’ Said the actor quickly. 

‘You’re saying your play is about Fake News; Fake News and Edward Snowden?’ 

‘And Wikileaks, and Julian Assange?’ The actor couldn’t stop himself, now. 

‘So, you’re into all that, are you? Wasn’t Julian Assange, the one that became a woman?’ ‘No, that’s Bradley – Chelsea – Manning.’ 

‘Your play’s about a cross-dresser? That sounds good! Is that something that interests you?’ ‘No! Well. Yes…’ 

‘Yes?’ 

‘No, well…’ 

‘No! What I mean is that I was hoping this interview would be about a bit more than Jason- King-Kong! I want it to be about me. The real me. There’s been more to my life than that. I’m 77, now. I’ve lived a rich, a full life.’ 

’77?’ 

’Yes. 77’ 

‘77… Are you sure? Hang on.’ 

‘Can’t you just put that phone done for a moment?’ 

‘That’s odd. Wiki says you’re 87…?’ The actor was silent for a moment. ‘How very gallant of this Monsieur Wiki.’ 

‘Wikipedia. The Internet encyclopaedia.’ 

‘Yes. I’m not a complete ignoramus, you know. I was being sarcastic. How very gallant of the internet, if you prefer. But it is 77. And that’s what goes into the programme, too. Got it?’ 

‘Does age bother you then?’ 

‘Tell me young man. What exactly do you actually know about me other than Jason King?’ 

‘Well, I love your cameo in Flash Gordon as General Klytus – “Masked Head of Emperor 

Ming’s secret police force”. I love that film – when Princes Aura says “Look water is leaking from her eyes.” And Max Von Sydow – I mean Emperor Ming replies “It’s what they call tears. It’s a sign of their weakness” At lot of people see your Klytus in Flash Gordon as being an expression of the darker side of Jason King.’ 

‘Listen! Do you know why I wore that mask to play General Klytus? No? I had to. Just to get work. One minute, I’m playing our eponymous playboy, chasing “glamorous women in exotic locations.” The next I’m up before the beak for gross indecency at Gloucester Bus Station. You must know about it? I was – in the language of the time – outed as a bugger. I certainly didn’t dine out like this, for a while.’ 

‘But you’ll always be…’ 

‘…yes, I know: “Jason-fucking-King” to my fans… I’m sorry. But I really can’t see this going anywhere. I think it’s time for the bill, don’t you?’ 

‘No, look. I’m sorry. I’ve never done this before. I’m sorry if I’ve pissed you off. But if l go 

back without an interview, I’ll lose my job.’ 

‘You mean your “trainee-internship”, or whatever it is you do?’ 

‘Couldn’t we carry on? With another bottle of that delicious wine you chose for us? What 

was it called?’ 

‘You mean the Domaine LaRoche?’ ‘Yes.’ 

‘It is rather expensive…?’ 

‘Please? The young man was almost pleading, now. 

‘Oh, very well. But if — and only If — we can cover some real ground. About me. Not just 

Jason King?’ 

‘Yes. Your whole life.’ ‘Everything?’ 

‘I’ll put my phone down and you can just talk.’ 

The actor thought for a moment. Even though the sinking sun formed a halo behind his 

inquisitor’s youthful mane, he could see desperation in the young man’s eyes. It was a chance to be in the limelight. And anyway. What other options did he have? The publicity would be fantastic. And if it raised his raise a profile would always help with some of those bills in life that never seem to go away. And if nothing else it was a chance to enjoy a good lunch. 

Go on tell me everything I’ll leave my phone on the table. Promise. I won’t touch it. Please!’ A gust stirred the air on the terrace. 

‘Well, I suppose I was your age once…’ A buzzing warned the actor that a wasp was dangerously close 

‘Well you’re only 77, now, aren’t you?’ 

‘Exactly!’ Said the actor. ‘Very well. But you’re right. We’ll need another bottle, before we 

begin, won’t we? If Janus Productions doesn’t mind, that is?’ ‘They’ve given me the company Gold Card for today.’ 

‘Excellent! Then I’m sure we can put on a Gold Star performance to match, can’t we my boy? 

As long as you don’t do a runner.’ The actor laughed uproariously. ‘Never mind. Now, Louis, Louis…? where’s that man got to?’ 

And as the afternoon lengthened and Louis’ gradually emptied, their conversation spilled over into laughter, louder and louder laughter, laughter which echoed around the honey stone terrace until the sun set. And then, finally, it was quiet, and all that was left in front of the actor were empty wine bottles whose shadows pointed accusingly towards the young man’s now vacant seat. 

* 

‘It was dusk as the young man, unsteady on his feet, entered the airport. He looked up at the screens, scanning for one which would tell him where to take flight. Trying to find, trying to focus on a monitor which would give him the right information to tell him where to go. As he looked up he pulled his phone out. His fingers automatically made their well-practised ritual movements. His call rang only twice before being answered. 

‘News desk.’ Came the disembodied voice from his phone. 

‘Oh, for fuck sake. I wanted Features. Sorry, can you put me through?’ It was only when he heard the dead space as the call was transferred he added ‘…Arsehole.’ 

‘Hello? Yeah, it’s me. No, I’m still in fucking Marseille, aren’t I. What? No, I missed the earlier flight. speak up. Sorry? I’ve only got half a bar on my phone. You were right. Total piss head! Yeah, I got it. Easy. He was clueless. Still thinks he’s an actor. Silly old poof. I’ve loads of great stuff. You wouldn’t believe half of it honestly. We’ll crucify him. Whole list of names, yeah. Something funny going on with him and the waiter, too. Very tête-à-tête. Reckon they’re bum chums or something. What? No; pretended it was a TV interview. About his life. What? Quite — as if! I’ve got some great shots for Side Bar of Shame, though. The Subs are going to have a field day with the captions on those. I’m just squirting the jpegs to you. You’ve got them, already? “Wow”. The Interweb eh?’ The young man looked at his distorted reflection in a column of chrome as he watched himself draw the quote marks in the air with his fingers for a second time that day. ‘The pictures? How about the one with the open neck silk lilac shirt? Yes, I know: and those leather trousers! It will look great, won’t it? We could Photoshop in a rhino horn necklace, too? No, no, no. Just kidding. Don’t! How about the one with him holding out his wine glass. We can crop out his mate, Louis, the Waiter, Maître D, or whatever he is? My phones just about to die, what? A caption? I dunno; how about “The Man Who Still Thinks He’s Jason King.”? ’ 

Above the warm stones of the restaurant terrace the evening sky was as beautiful as the actor had ever seen it. 

‘Monsieur Wyngarde?’ 

‘Louis! You startled me. Pardon. l was enjoying the sunset.’ ‘Monsieur. Your guest he is returning?’ 

‘Probably, Louis.’ Or someone like him. There’s always someone like him out there. In the ether. But not today, Louis. Not today.’ 

‘…Un café?’ 

‘ “It’s a bit too early for coffee; I’ll have a Scotch.” ’ ‘Monsieur?’ 

‘A private joke, Louis. From the past.’ ‘A line from something?’ 

‘From a part I used to play, yes.’ 

‘Ah, d’accord. Jason King, Monsieur?’ 

‘Yes, Jason King. Somehow you guessed, Louis.’ 

‘Quelques olives? Du fromage, Monsieur?’ 

‘Thank you, but no Louis. I think I’ve had enough cheese for a while. For quite a while, thank you. Je suis terminé. 

And Cut! That’s a wrap, thank you everyone. 

DVD Options 

Alternative Ending: ‘Lunch with Jason King’. (Never screened)… 

‘Quelques olives? Du fromage, Monsieur?’ ‘Du fromage, Monsieur?’ 

‘Thank you, but no Louis. I think I’ve had enough cheese for a while. For quite a while, thank 

you.’ 

‘And cut!’ The actor at the table was speaking.’ There was a bustle as the film crew moved around. ‘I don’t know? Isn’t it just all too poignant? Look, we’ve still got half an hour of light. How about we try this instead:’ 

MAITRE D: ‘…Un café?’ 

WYNGARDE: ‘ “It’s a bit too early for coffee; I’ll have a Scotch”. ’ 

MAITRE D: ‘Monsieur?’ 

WYNGARDE: ‘A private joke, Louis. From the past.’ 

MAITRE D: ‘Ah, Bon! Du fromage?’ 

WYNGARDE: ‘Thank you, but no, Louis. I think I’ve had enough cheese for a while.’ 

‘And then,’ said the actor, ‘the camera pulls away to reveal Wyngarde alone on the restaurant terrace, after the meal, with a film crew filming him. Yes, no? Wyngarde then gets up from his table, goes across to the director, shakes his hand, and finally turns to the camera and winks – at us, the audience. Then fade to black?’ 

DVD Options 

Alternative Ending 2: ‘Lunch with Jason King’. (Never screened) 

‘Du fromage, Monsieur?’ 

‘Thank you, but no Louis. I think I’ve had enough cheese for a while. For quite a while, thank you.’ 

‘And cut! I don’t know. Is it just all too poignant? Said the actor. We’ve still got half an hour of light. How about we try something like this:’ 

“Monsieur Wyngarde? Your guest is returning?” 

“Probably, Louis. But not today. Not today.” 

‘Then they laugh together,’ said the actor. ‘Then the waiter says:’ “Do you think he twigged, Monsieur?” 

‘Then the man sitting at the table says:’ 

“Well, we gave him enough clues. You’d have thought he’d twigged? Seeing that you’re 

famous, after all. But you do make a very convincing waiter, Monsieur Wyngarde.” 

‘So the audience realise that they’ve swapped places,’ continued the actor who had been at the table. ‘Wyngarde has been playing Louis, and vice versa. Do you see? Wyngarde’s been playing the maître d’hôtel the whole time? Yes? No? And then we just finish off with some dialogue like:’ 

MAN AT TABLE (LOUIS): He’s posted it up on their website already, Monsieur Wyngarde. Look: “The Man Who Still Thinks He’s Jason King.” 

MAITRE D (WYNGARDE): A bottle of Champagne and two glasses, Louis. Time for me to call one of the competitors to that man’s newspaper, I think. We’ve got a good story to sell, them… 

‘And then,’ continues the actor, ‘we make a final cut to the face of the young man, back at his newspaper’s office in London, looking at his phone. His face drops in horror as he sees his story 

being held up to ridicule on the competitor’s web site and their caption “Lunch with Jason King?” 

*** 

Notes 

The Jason King ‘trailer’ dialogue (pages 5 and 7) is quoted & paraphrased from original Jason King trailers and is reproduced with kind permission of ITC Entertainment Group Ltd 1971 and with all rights reserved. 

The IMDB quote on page one is reproduced from IMDB- The Internet Movie Database, written by Marg Baskin. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066672/ 

contact: nick@nickwray.com 


Peter’s response to the Daily Mail article…

TRANSCRIPT: Peter Wyngarde on Department S

The following is a transcript of a commentary Peter recorded as an introduction to the Department S episode, ‘A Small War of Nerves’, for the Umbrella Entertainment release of the series. Some of you may’ve already heard this, but for those of you who haven’t, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

The main attraction of this episode is, of course, Sir Anthony Hopkins.

I thought the story had a good idea, and I discussed it with the director, Leslie Norman. He’s made many successful films at the famous Ealing Studios, such as the recently shown ‘Dunkirk’. he was the father of Barry Norman, who presented that wonderful television series, Film ’90, ’91, ’92, ’99; it lasted 20 years. Now taken over by that very funny and delightful, Jonathan Ross.

What Barry Norman didn’t know was that his dad directed me in my very first screen test, around nineteen-hundred and thirty-seven, or thereabout. It was for the male lead in a film that was to star Jean Simmons. The scene was in her bedroom, and I was this Latin-American kidnapper who’d come in to seduce her. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or heard yourself on screen – it’s the most horrible experience in the world!

I took my girlfriend at the time with me to see the rushes of this scene for moral support and boy did I need it! What I saw on the screen bore no relation whatsoever to what I thought I was doing to the camera in the studio. The auditorium darkened. On the screen, we got the Clapper Boy hitting his board, and it said: ‘test for Jean Simmons’ as, erm, Lady whoever, and Peter Wyngarde for Antonio.

I took my girlfriends hand in mine for support. On screen, the door opened. I squeezed my girlfriend’s hand. In came what I can only describe as a total stranger; someone I’d never seen before! The outline was familiar. The dark skin was not. Neither the fatuous grin nor the exaggerated, leering eyes, or the smile showing AT LEAST 520 teeth! It was like the entrance onto the stage of the villain in a Victorian melodrama!

My hand had now gripped my girlfriend’s hand in a vice. But there was worse to come! It was the noise that came out of that enormous mouth. The line was: “Hello. My name is Antonio”. What came out sounded like: “Hhheeeellllooooo. Mmmyyyyyy nnnnaaaaammmmmmeeee iiissss Aaaaannnnntttttooooonnnnnnnnniiiiooooo!”

I heard a gasp from my girlfriend, which I thought was in reaction to what was on the screen, but it wasn’t. My nails that I’d dug so far into her hand had drawn blood!

When I reminded Leslie Norman of this test, he said he didn’t remember it being that bad: “At least no worse than someone called Anthony Hopkins!”

When I read ‘a Small war of Nerves’, I said we must go for the best. Halliday has to carry the whole of the first and second part of the film, and the last confrontation scene requires an actor – by that I mean a gifted actor, who can find nuances and tempo to make the scene work. But above all, he must have sensitivity so the audience can sympathise with his motive. Without the right actor there was no film! If he had charisma as well, we’d got it made! Everybody agreed when I suggested Tony Hopkins.

And he’s superb in this as he is in everything he does. He brings a wonderful sincerity, a quirky nervousness, and an enormous power, as always. He makes us believe completely in the character he plays. English actors love to rehearse because of our theatre traditions, I suppose – our training. So at the beginning of the series, I tried to get the cast together just to do this, so as not to waste time with the technicians who were about doing their personal and professional jobs; sort of preliminary search of the best way to get the truth of the script. Or, in some cases, to get more of the truth into it, which the confines of television had robbed. And possibly, actors are the most hardworking profession. It was never difficult to ask them to rehearse – even out of their contractual time… except for Anthony Hopkins!

When he arrived at the studios, I went to his dressing room – first to welcome him, and then to discuss the script and to ask him if there was anything he’d like to lose, or gain – or whatever. It’s called “throwing it around”, and it becomes second nature – spontaneous.

I knocked on his dressing room door. Nothing. I tried again. There was no answer. Again, I tried it. Still no answer. I thought maybe he’s gone to the canteen or something. Then Fredrick Jaeger, who plays the villain – a wonderfully funny man, who kept us all in fits on the set, had the dressing room next door; I was just about to knock on his door to welcome him, when he came out and said: “It’s no good – he won’t answer. We’ve all tried!” We both looked puzzled, and to this day I don’t know why Tony Hopkins didn’t respond to our knock.

So, the big scene at the end of the film was never rehearsed; it is completely spontaneous., and I think all the better for it. Tony taught me that, for films, the whole point is getting ‘The Moment’ – the French call it ‘mystere’d moment’. I call it good acting!

However, we did find, or notice at least, a small empty half-bottle of Scotch a little way down the corridor. I’m sure Tony won’t mind me mentioning this, because he himself has said that, at the time, he was inclined to have a sniff or two.

He’s superb in this, as he is in everything he’s done. he brings a wonderful simplicity; a quirky nervousness, and an enormous power, as always. It makes u believe completely in the character he plays.

Unlike a feature film, we don’t have time to use the details of the finer brushstrokes, because of the very nature of the time set of commercial television. Our guides are the breaks, and points have to be made within them. It’s like a clever puzzle, which has a teaser at the beginning; a fast action pace in the middle, and a swift denoument at the end. To get some red-blooded acting in is a wonderful bonus. And that’s what Tony and the rest of the cast bring to ‘A Small War of Nerves’. “


REVIEW: The Dybbuk

Broadcast: 21st October, 1952

  • Character: Channon

Background

The Dybbuk (also known as ‘Between Two Worlds’) is a celebrated play of the same name by S. Ansky (pseudonym for Shloyme Zanvl Rappoport), which was written during the years between 1912-1917. The idea for the play came to Ansky as he led a Jewish folklore expedition through small towns of Eastern Europe, which was cut short by the outbreak of World War I. The Dybbuk reflects Ansky’s deep perception of the shtetl’s religious and cultural mores, as well as his insightful appreciation of its hidden spiritual resources. Plans to produce the play in Russian by Stanislavsky’s Moscow Art Theater in 1920 were aborted by the Bolshevik Revolution. Ansky, who died in 1920 never lived to see his play produced. The play however, was destined to become one of the most widely-produced in the history of Jewish theater. Its rich ethnographic tapestry, mystical themes, star-crossed lovers and haunting melodies were designed to bridge the historical abyss.

The Story

The Dybbuk tells the tragic, but ultimately triumphant story of a young man and his sweetheart, who are bound together by love, but who are separated by ignorance and the strictures of convention. However, as in the case of Romeo and Juliet, the device of the young lovers provides an opportunity to explore and reveal other, more profound issues; issues of power, of culture and tradition and, most importantly, of modernity.

The setting is the small village of Brinnitz in Poland in around 1850, where poor hasidic scholar, Channon (Peter Wyngarde), who is deeply in love with Leah (Yvonne Mitchell) – the beautiful stepdaughter of the rich and powerful merchant, Sender (Harold Kasket). For Channon, Leah is no ordinary woman, but the immortal beloved; the human vessel of God’s divinity, and in aspiring to her love, his soul aspires to divine fulfilment.

When Channon is away from the village pursuing his studies, Leah’s stepfather promises her in marriage to Menashe (Donald Morley). When Channon returns, he is devastated. In an attempt to reverse Sender’s decision, Channon turns to his friend and fellow scholar, Chennoch (John van Eyssen) who is known to dabble in the dangerous power of the Kabbalah in an attempt to help him win her back. He chooses a horrific death and the damning his own soul to possess Leah and the entire community of Brinnitz as a Dybbuk to force her release.

When Leah rebels against her stepfather and invites her now deceased lover to her wedding, she rejects Menashe in front of his family and all the other wedding guests, leaving Rabbi Samson (Marne Maitland) powerless to officiate. A message is sent to Azrael (Mark Dignam), a Rabbi from the nearby city of Mirapol who is wise in the arts of the Kabbalah who pronounces the ‘great malediction’ to exorcise Channon’s spirit from Leah. But she is intent on resisting, choosing death over marriage and patriarchy, promising her lover Channon that they will ascend to heaven and live together in eternity.

After Thoughts

  • Playing Channon was one of Peter’s favourite roles.
  • The ‘great malediction’ – or ‘Cherem’ in Hebrew – which is used by Rabbi Azrael to exorcise Channon’s spirit from Leah is the most powerful religious curse in religion. Jewish authorities were at all times reluctant to perform it because of its dreadful implications; its utterance condemns the sinner to everlasting hell. As far as anyone can be certain it was only ever pronounced once in the 20th Century; by Rabbinical Court in Eastern Europe during World War II against Adolf Hitler.
  • The producer of the play, Rudolph Cartier, also worked with Peter on ‘Will Shakespear’ in 1953.
  • ‘The Dybbuk’ is sometimes called ‘the Jewish Romeo and Juliet’, however, scholars have often argued that Ansky’s play is a more multidimensional work, with a deeper philosophical meaning than Shakespeare’s famous drama.
  • The choreographer on the play was Tutte Lemkow, who also worked with Peter on L’Aiglon (TV), 1953; Will Shakespeare (TV), 1953; Siege of Sidney Street (Film); Jason King – To Russia With… Panache! (TV), 1972

© The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/

REVIEW: Bulman – I Met A Man Who Wasn’t There

Broadcast: 14th August, 1985

  • Character: Lol Gallio

Background

Hard-nosed former police detective, George Bulman, has left the force under a cloud and set himself up as a private detective in London with his assistant, Lucy McGinty.

Created by writer and producer, Murray Smith, the series ran on British television (ITV) June 1985 until August 1987.

The Episode

Bulman (Don Henderson) is hired by Kate (Sheila Hancock) to obtain proof that former gangland boss, Lol Gallio (Peter Wyngarde) is back in London after being forcibly exiled for over 20 years. Having formally managed one of Gallio’s numerous brothels and strip joints in London, she wishes to convince the Home Office that he’s back in town and out for revenge.

The grumpy detective attempts to snap a photograph of the crook on his arrival at Heathrow Airport, but is thwarted by a couple of Gallio’s heavies and he’s able to slip away without capture.

Bulman finds Kate at her cafe, which is really just a front for a seedy ‘Peep Show’ she’s running. She tells the detective that she plans to get out of the sex industry and has bought herself a small garden centre in Norwood, Northwest London, and fears that Gallio’s reappearance will end her dream of a new life.

The detective’s assistant, Lucy McGinty (Siobhan Redmond), is dispatched to search the archive of the local newspaper for any information about Gallio that might be on file there. She learns from a reporter there that the ‘paper has already received calls concerning the whereabouts of Gallio, which Lucy finds concerning given that on she, Bulman and Kate knew that he would be returning to the UK.

Bulman learns that Gallio has entered the country under a false name and is now posing as an Amazonian Trade Delegate, and so he heads to Amazonian High Commision where he hopes to catch up with the criminal. However, when he reached the Commission he’s informed that no one by the name of Lol Gallio is there, despite the fact that Bulman has already caught a glimpse of his quarry. To add to the conundrum, the detective is warned off from perusing Gallio by one of his former colleagues (John Benfield).

For her own protection, Bulman advises Kate to temporarily leave her home, so she moves in with one of the strippers that works for her. In the meantime, Bulman realises that his office phone has been bugged, which answers the question as to how the news of Gallio’s arrival in the country had got out.

In spite of her moving out of her own home, Gallio learns where Kate is and forces his way into the taxi she’s hired to take her to her garden centre. There, the Gallio attempts to force her into signing over all her assets to him, but when she refuses, he instructs his gang of henchmen to set about destroying all the buildings and stock at the Centre.

Having got what he came for, Gallio places the documentation he’d forced Kate to sign into a

briefcase and heads Straight for the airport. When he gets there, however, he finds a crowd waiting for him that include Bulman and Lucy, plus several members of the press. In the scuffle, Gallio misplaces his briefcase which just happens to fall into Bulman’s hands. Harassed and jostled by the press pack, Gallio finally loses his cool and punches a female reporter in the face, knocking her to the ground. He’s immediately arrested and marched away by the police, much to Bulman and Lucy’s delight.

Publicity photograph of Peter for the episode

Trivia

Peter told d The TV Times at the time of broadcast that he decided to base the character of Lol Gallio on George Raft’s portrayal of American gangsters in 1940s and ’50s melodramas.


© Copyright The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/

REVIEW: Will Shakespeare – An Invention

Broadcast: 24th May, 1953

  • Character: Will Shakespeare

  • Scene 1: The cottage in Stratford, 1584
  • Scene 2: The Palace of Whitehall – 10 years later
  • Scene 3: Backstage at the Globe Theatre – the first performance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’
  • Scene 4: Shakespeare’s lodgings in London, the same year
  • Scene 5: An inn at Deptford – the same night
  • Scene 6 The Palace of Whitehall – the next afternoon

Rudolph Cartier’s production of Miss Clement Dane’s ‘invention’ was a spirited and dramatic explanation of a problem which has troubled critics and commentators for centuries. How did Will, a seemingly raw and ordinary lad from Stratford, become William Shakespeare, the greatest dramatist of all time; what were the forces that shaped him?

The story begins, funnily enough, in Stratford with Will, though only 20, already married to an ill-tempered Anne Hathaway. Fame, in the shape of Henslowe, a strolling minstrel, beckons the young man to London and encouraged, too, by the coursing demand of his genius, the cries of his characters as yet unborn.

Will (Peter Wyngarde) chooses to seek his fortune and finds it. He also discovers the exacting price of fame. We are to see some of the stormy seas which beset him, and also some of the experiences which contained the very stuff of tragedy.

Here is Kit Marlowe, Murray, the Dark Lady of the Sonnets, and, overshadowing all of them, the splendid figure of Queen Elizabeth I. She is the heroine of this play – concerned for her drama as she was for her navy, and ringing greatness from herself and from Will.

Many of Will’s yet-to-be characters made an appearance in the play, including Ophelia, Desdemona, Hamlet, Rosalind, Shylock, Falstaff and MacDuff – the latter played by the future film and stage director, John Schlessinger.

Ms. Dane certainly presents Shakespeare as a wordy, windy and morbidly introspective man; certainlythe long speeches, most of them in blank verse, may well have bored many viewers.  

Her Elizabeth I was evidently influenced by subsequent twentieth-century representations, and her portrayal of Shakespeare’s relationship with Christopher Marlowe (and others, seldom read or performed today) were equally shaped by myths current in 1921, which was when the play was written.


© Copyright The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/

REVIEW: The Saint – The Gadic Collection

  • Broadcast: 22nd June, 1967

Character: Turen

Istanbul: Simon Templar (Roger Moore) is in the Turkish capital to meet his old friend, Geoffrey Bane (Hedger Wallace) – deputy curator of the Silbatakin Museum; home to the 3,000-year-old Gadic Collection.

While he waits for Bane in one of Museum’s galleries, Templar notices a young woman by the name of Ayesha (Nicole Shelby), who appears to be comparing the items from the Gadic Collection to a set of photographs she has with her. He also observes that she’s being watched by a somewhat unkempt man of seemingly local origin, whose attempt to grab and manhandle her to the ground is thwarted by Templar’s timely intervention.

As she hastily makes her exit from the museum gallery, Ayesha drops several of the photographs which Templar retrieves and hands to Bane on his arrival. The images are taken to the Curator, Ahmed Bayer (Andre Van Gysegham), who recalls that the last time the Gadic Collection was outside the Museum had been 30 years ago, which couldn’t possibly have been when the photographs were taken. It transpires, however, that the artifacts had been taken off display just 3 months earlier for cleaning. The work had been carried out, not by the Museum itself, but by an outside specialist by the name of Abdul Kemal. Templar and Bane decide to pay this contractor a visit, but when they reach his workshop in the city they find it abandoned.

Peter as Turen

While they’re still on the premises, none other that Ayesha arrives followed in short order by the unkempt man that Templar had tackled just an hour earlier at the Museum who, once again, is thwarted in his attempt to abduct the young woman. Bane recognises Ayesha as Kemal’s niece. Templar insists that she take the two of them to meet her uncle.

Kamal is shown the photographs that Ayesha had dropped at the museum and admits to having taken them for the purpose of making replicas of the items from the famous Gadic Collection. He had latterly sold the forgeries to a wealthy foreign art collector. Watching Templar and Bane leave Kamel’s home is Sukan (Michael Ripper), who his himself interested in The Gadic Collection.

Later that evening at his hotel in the city, Templar receives a call from Geoffrey Banewho asks the Englishman to meet him at the Museum. However, when he arrives there he finds Bane dead in his office having discovered that the Collection in the Museum is fake. Within minutes, the police arrive.

Templar attempts to explain to Inspector Yolu (Martin Benson), the senior officer on the scene, what had happened so far – insisting that Ayesha and her uncle will confirm his story, but when they arrive at Kamel’s home they find no one there and that the house appears as if no one has lived there for some years.

After being released by the police on license, Templar returns to Kamal’s home where he runs into an elderly couple who live in the same building. While both of them had seen him, Ayesha and Bane the previous day, they had had told the police they had never seen the Englishman before and that they knew nothing of Kamal. Templar learns that Kamal had paid them to lie to the police.

In the meantime Sukan, who believes that Templar is in possession of the real Gadic Collection, offers to acquire the artifacts for millionaire art collector and criminal, Turen (Peter Wyngarde). Sukan agrees to arrange a meeting. But when Templar refuses to tell Turen the whereabouts of the Collection, he’s put into a dungeon with spiked walls are set to close in an kill its occupant unless he confesses. Horrified by her husband’s behaviour Diya (Georgia Brown) – Turen’s wife – conspires to drug him and manages to release Templar just in the nick of time.

Peter with Roger Moore as Simon Templar and Michael Ripper as Sukan.

With the help of Ayesha, Templar retrieves the genuine Gadic Collection from where Kamal had hidden them and returns them to the Museum. With Inspector Yolu present, the Englishman reveals that Kabal had not acted alone. Indeed, the instigator of the plot is none other than curator, Ahmed Bayer!

With the real Collection back on display in the Museum, the fakes are handed over to Templar by the police to dispose of a his discretion. With the full approval of Turen’s now estranged wife, Templar contacts the crook who agrees to buy the ‘Collection’ for $100,000, believing it to be the genuine article, with Diya and Templar splitting the proceeds.

Points of Interest

  • Freddie Francis, the director of this episode, also directed Peter in ‘The Innocents’.
  • Peter hated ‘The Gadic Collection’ and never watched it.
  • In the 2015 Channel 4 documentary, ‘It Was Alight In The Sixties’, Peter was hauled over the coals for ‘Blacking-Up’ to play Turen. The condescending producer of the programme didn’t appear to realise that white actors playing ethic characters was the done thing back in the 1960s, and that Peter wasn’t unique in doing this.

© The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/