The Baron

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For other uses of "The Baron" or "Baron", see Baron (disambiguation).
The Baron
ALT=Series title over face of title character
Format Action Drama
Created by John Creasey (source)
Monty Berman
Robert S. Baker[1]
Developed by Terry Nation
Starring Steve Forrest
Sue Lloyd
Colin Gordon
Paul Ferris
Theme music composer Edwin Astley
Composer(s) Edwin Astley
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 30 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Monty Berman
Running time 49 mins
Production company(s) ITC production
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format Film 35mm 4:3 Colour
Audio format Mono
Original run 28 September 1966 – 19 April 1967

The Baron is a British television series, made in 1965/66 based on the book series by John Creasey, written under the pseudonym Anthony Morton, and produced by ITC Entertainment. It was the first ITC show without marionettes to be produced entirely in colour. (Previous ITC series Stingray and Thunderbirds had been filmed in colour, while The Adventures of Sir Lancelot in 1956-57 had the last fourteen of its thirty episodes shot in colour and Man of the World 1962 pilot episode was also filmed in colour.)

Plot outline[edit]

The show starred an American actor, Steve Forrest, as John Mannering, an antiques dealer and sometime undercover agent working in an informal capacity for the head of the fictional British Diplomatic Intelligence, Templeton-Green (Colin Gordon). He is assisted by Cordelia Winfield (Sue Lloyd) and David Marlowe (Paul Ferris).

In Creasey's original novels Mannering was British and, after the few first entries, married. In transforming him into a bachelor and casting a Texan in the role, the producers decided that 'The Baron' would be nicknamed after the cattle ranch once run by his grandfather that was described as being "200,000 acres (809.371 km2) 300 miles from Dallas".[2] In the books he was a reformed jewel-thief (the first few novels described that "career" from Mannering's decision to steal to his going straight) whose criminal ties served him well in investigating jewel, art or antiques-oriented mysteries. For the TV series, Mannering's persona was depicted as absolutely straight with no suggestion of past criminality, a fact underlined by his co-opting by British intelligence. In the episode Red Horse, Red Rider it is revealed that Mannering was in the US Army in World War II in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program where he recovered art works from the Nazis. Following the war he three antique stores and was a "charter member of the jet set.

Cast and characters[edit]

Although not regular cast members, Reginald Marsh and Derek Newark also appeared in three episodes (once reprising earlier roles, and once playing different characters). Unusually, several other actors were used twice but in different roles in the same run of episodes, including Paul Maxwell, Peter Bowles and George Murcell.

Production credits[edit]

Production[edit]

Like other ITC shows, The Baron shared a lot of its production crew with the other productions of the time (Danger Man, The Saint etc.), including guest cast members Peter Wyngarde and Bernard Lee, and directors Roy Ward Baker and Robert Asher. The lion's share of the scripts were by Dennis Spooner and Dalek creator Terry Nation. A few episodes were written by Tony O'Grady, a pseudonym of The Avengers writer-producer Brian Clemens.

The character of Mannering was like Simon Templar, a member of the jet set, whose glamorous lifestyle was typified by the (at the time) still-exclusive air travel to exotic locations. However filming never left the UK; indeed was filmed chiefly in and around Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. Locations used included Haberdashers' Aske's School, St. Albans and Ivinghoe Beacon. These featured prominently in several other ITC series of the same era. The backlot at Elstree in particular was extensively used, being transformed alternately into Mannering's antiques shop, a Mexican town, a Parisian nightclub, an East European police station and many others besides.

Paul Ferris was originally cast as Mannering's assistant David Marlowe. However after pressure from the US network (ABC) Marlowe was dropped in favour of the more glamorous Cordelia who had appeared in the first episode. She is 'reintroduced' in "Something for a Rainy Day", the ninth episode to be made, although broadcast third. As originally broadcast, the 'Cordelia' and 'Marlowe' episodes are interspersed, even though Paul Ferris left the production after eight episodes were filmed.

As with other ITC series, the American market was vital, and several episodes were overdubbed (e.g. "petrol" becoming "gas", "whisky" becoming "scotch") to ensure it was fit for US audiences. Baker stated that owing to US sponsorship by a cigarette company, characters "were allowed to light up only in moments of leisure, never when they were frightened or under duress".[3] Unfortunately despite a promising start it did not do well enough on the US network and was syndicated midway through its run. This effectively ensured no second series would be made even though it was well received in the UK.

The Baron's car was a silver Jensen CV-8 Mk II with the registration BAR 1. Unlike the Volvo driven by The Saint, the exclusivity of the car meant the series did not generate the same sales boost as The Saint had done for Volvo. Cordelia drove a considerably less upmarket Daf 33. The episode "Something For A Rainy Day" featured a clip of a white Jaguar plummeting over a cliff. Apparently filmed for this episode (from several angles), its high cost meant that the footage reappeared in several other episodes and series.

The episode '"Portrait of Louisa" was a reworking by Terry Nation of his earlier script for an episode of The Saint entitled "Lida". Two films were put together for European cinema distribution by ITC these were compiled from the two part episodes. Mystery Island was a re-edit of the episodes "Storm Warning" and "The Island" whilst The Man in a Looking Glass was a combination of "Masquerade" and "The Killing". This led to further European releases of ITC film compilations in the sixties for The Saint, The Champions, Man in a Suitcase and Danger Man.

Episode list[edit]

Filmed July 1965 -October 1966 on location and at Elstree Studios.

Airdate[4] is for ATV Midlands. ITV[5] regions varied date and order.

Episode # Prod # Title Directed by Written by Original airdate Filmed
1 104 "Diplomatic Immunity" Leslie Norman Dennis Spooner 28 September 1966 Aug/Sept 1965
A girl steals a valuable Faberge miniature from Mannering's London shop and claims diplomatic immunity in the Pamaranean embassy. She is known to British Intelligence's head, Templeton-Green, who is investigating a number of antique thefts. Mannering to get his Faberge back agrees to go to Pamaranea where he is assisted by Templeton-Green's local agent Cordelia Winfield. Co-starring Sue Lloyd, Colin Gordon and Paul Ferris. Guest Stars Dora Reisser and Frank Gatliff
2 107 "Epitaph for a Hero" John Moxey Terry Nation 5 October 1966 Oct 1965
The Baron is an unwilling accomplice in a major jewel robbery when Cordelia is kidnapped. Co-starring Sue Lloyd, Colin Gordon and Paul Ferris. Guest Stars Patricia Haines and Paul Maxwell
3 109 "Something for a Rainy Day" Cyril Frankel Terry Nation 12 October 1966 Nov/Dec 1965
The Baron acts as go-between in a case involving an insurer's recovery of stolen treasure and the former thief's knowledge of their whereabouts. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Lois Maxwell, Ann Lynn and Patrick Allen
4 102 "Red Horse, Red Rider" John Moxey Terry Nation 19 October 1966 Aug 1965
Mannering finds himself transporting a priceless statuette out of a fascist state at the request of an ailing freedom fighter. Co-starring Paul Ferris. Guest star Jane Merrow
5 110 "Enemy of the State" Jeremy Summers Dennis Spooner 26 October 1966 Dec 1965
Cordelia is arrested by a hostile government, and Mannering hatches a plan to exchange her for a top-ranking official. Co-starring Sue Lloyd and Colin Gordon. Guest stars Anton Diffring and Joseph Furst
6 114 "Masquerade (part one)" Cyril Frankel Terry Nation 2 November 1966 Feb/Mar 1966
7 115 "The Killing (part two)" Cyril Frankel Terry Nation 9 November 1966 Feb/Mar 1966
The Baron acquires an exact double as a criminal gang attempt to pull off the most audacious robbery of them all. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Bernard Lee and Kenneth J. Warren (as Fox-Stuart, substituting for Colin Gordon who was unavailable for filming). Released as a feature film called The Man in a Looking Glass
8 108 "The Persuaders" Leslie Norman Dennis Spooner 16 November 1966 Oct 1965
David Marlowe is kidnapped and as the ransom Mannering is forced to sell a fake painting to a particular client. Why? Co-starring Paul Ferris and Colin Gordon. Guest star James Villiers 
9 112 "And Suddenly You're Dead" Cyril Frankel Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner 23 November 1966 Jan 1966
The mysterious death of a friend of Cordelia's in the French Alps leads Mannering to uncover a plot to sell a particularly lethal strain of germ warfare to the highest bidder. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Alan MacNaughtan, Kay Walsh and Vladek Sheybal
10 103 "The Legions of Ammak" John Moxey Michael Cramoy 30 November 1966 Aug 1965
The Baron is duped into facilitating an unusual deal between the King of Ammak and an eccentric millionaire to buy the Legions of Ammak, part of the Ammak Crown Jewels. However David Marlowe spots that the 'King' is an impostor, which uncovers a plot to depose the real King and carve up Ammak's oil-rich reserves. Co-starring Paul Ferris. Guest stars Peter Wyngarde and George Murcell
11 101 "Samurai West" John Moxey Brian Degas 7 December 1966 July 1965
The sale of a valuable Samurai sword stirs up old rivalries between a former Japanese Prisoner of War commandant and a British prisoner. Co-starring Paul Ferris. Guest star Lee Montague
12 123 "The Maze" Jeremy Summers Tony O'Grady (pseudonym of Brian Clemens) 14 December 1966 Jun/July 1966
When the Baron comes to the aid of a frightened girl on a lonely country road, he suddenly loses 24 hours of his life. As he pieces together the puzzle of the missing hours in the face of a sceptical police and Cordelia, he uncovers an assassination plot. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest Stars Alan MacNaughtan and Judith Arthy
13 105 "Portrait of Louisa" John Moxey Terry Nation 21 December 1966 Sept 1965
A close friend of Mannering's is being blackmailed, but cannot confide in him. As he begins to suspect foul play, the race is on to find out who is blackmailing Louisa Trenton, and why. Co-starring Paul Ferris. Guest Star Moira Redmond
14 111 "There's Somebody Close Behind You" Roy Baker Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner 28 December 1966 Dec 1965
When Mannering is the only witness to a murder perpetrated by a gangland boss, he decides the only way to protect himself is to go on the offensive. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Philip Madoc and Mike Pratt
15 125 "Storm Warning (part one)" Gordon Flemyng Terry Nation 4 January 1967 Jul/Aug 1966
16 126 "The Island (part two)" Gordon Flemyng Terry Nation 11 January 1967 Jul/Aug 1966
Attempting to locate a missing shipment at the docks in Macau, Cordelia stumbles upon a murder on board a cargo vessel. She is immediately taken prisoner, and John Mannering stows away in order to free her, unaware that he is about to uncover a plot to sabotage a US space mission. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Reginald Marsh, Dudley Sutton and John Woodvine. The episodes were spliced together into a film called Mystery Island
17 121 "Time to Kill" Jeremy Summers Dennis Spooner 18 January 1967 May/Jun 1966
18 113 "A Memory of Evil" Don Chaffey Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner 25 January 1967 Jan/Feb 1966
19 117 "You Can't Win Them All" Don Chaffey Dennis Spooner 1 February 1967 Apr 1966
Discovering that Russian icons he had sold in good faith to a gallery have been substituted by fakes, The Baron attempts to secure the originals by playing the thief at his own game around a rigged poker table. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Sam Wanamaker and Peter Bowles 
20 128 "The High Terrace" Robert Asher Dennis Spooner 8 February 1967 Sep 1966
Investigating the disappearance of a client and friend, Mannering uncovers a bizarre sect intent on defrauding its hapless followers. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest star Max Adrian
21 118 "The Seven Eyes of Night" Robert Asher Terry Nation 15 February 1967 Apr 1966
The Baron is at the centre of an elaborate double-double cross which revolves around the sale of the Seven Eyes of Night, a necklace once owned by the Empress Josephine. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Jeremy Brett and Hilary Tindall
22 124 "Night of the Hunter" Roy Baker Terry Nation 22 February 1967 Jul 1966
Mannering and Cordelia arrive in a small Balkan state to broker an antiques deal with the widow of its former president, only to find she is on the run from the newly-installed dictator. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Derek Godfrey and Katharine Blake
23 120 "The Edge of Fear" Quentin Lawrence Dennis Spooner 1 March 1967 May 1966
After an audacious theft takes place, the Baron is compelled to act as authenticator in the attempted sale of the most famous painting in the world. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars William Franklyn and Willoughby Goddard
24 116 "Long Ago and Far Away" Robert Asher Dennis Spooner 8 March 1967 Apr/May 1966
25 122 "So Dark the Night" Robert Tronson Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner 15 March 1967 Jun 1966
Mannering and Cordelia travel to the West Country to value an estate, and become embroiled in the hunt for the proceeds of a bank robbery several years previous. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest stars Gillian Lewis and George Baker 
26 119 "The Long, Long Day" Roy Baker Tony O'Grady 22 March 1967 Apr/May 1966
Assigned to provide safe escort for a witness to a Mafia murder, the Baron is caught in a standoff with the killers in a lonely Italian hilltop village. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest star Peter Arne
27 127 "Roundabout" Robert Tronson Terry Nation 29 March 1967 Aug/Sep 1966
Mannering discovers that his Paris shop is being used as a front for drug trafficking. Guest stars Annette Andre and June Ritchie. (This episode does not feature any of the regular supporting cast.) 
28 129 "The Man Outside" Roy Baker Terry Nation 5 April 1967 Sep 1966
Mannering visits Scotland after the death of one of his associates in a car accident. Things take a mysterious turn when he spots someone in a local pub wearing the antique ring Mannering had instructed his associate to buy. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest star David Bauer
29 130 "Countdown" Robert Asher Terry Nation 12 April 1967 Oct 1966
Mannering comes up against a rival antiques dealer when a long-lost antique sword resurfaces. However only one of them plays by the rules. Co-starring Sue Lloyd. Guest star Edward Woodward
30 106 "Farewell to Yesterday" Leslie Norman Harry W Junkin 19 April 1967 Oct 1965
Templeton-Green assigns Mannering to uncover an art-smuggling operation which is seeing priceless treasures from the Vatican being couriered to London. An old flame of the Baron is also involved, and Mannering is as keen to rescue her as he is to solve the mystery. Co-starring Colin Gordon and Paul Ferris. Guest stars Sylvia Syms and William Sylvester

DVD releases[edit]

The series was released by Network Video on Region 2 and by Umbrella Video (Australia) on Region 0 DVD. Commentaries were recorded by Sue Lloyd, Johnny Goodman and Cyril Frankel amongst others.

In Region 1, Entertainment One released the complete series on DVD on 10 March 2009.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Television Haven's overview of The Baron
  2. ^ p.159 Chapman, James Saints and Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1950s 2002 I.B Tauris Publishers
  3. ^ Baker, Roy Ward (2000) Director's Cut: A Memoir of 60 Years in Film. Reynolds & Hearn. p.123
  4. ^ Dates from ITC Episode guide issued with the Network DVD
  5. ^ Before 1968 ATV transmitted weedays in the Midlands and weekends in London. See History of ITV
  6. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Baron-Complete-Steve-Forrest/dp/B001NH4CEY/

External links[edit]