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Danger Man (titled Secret Agent in the United States, and Destination Danger and John Drake in other non-UK markets) is a British television series which was broadcast between 1960 and 1962, and again between 1964 and 1968. The series featured Patrick McGoohan as secret agent John Drake. Ralph Smart created the programme and wrote many of the scripts. Danger Man was financed by Lew Grade's ITC.

Series development[]

The idea for the Danger Man spy series originated with Ralph Smart, an associate of Lew Grade, the head of ITC. Grade was looking for formats that could be exported.[1]

Ian Fleming was brought in to collaborate on series development, but left before development was complete.[2] Like James Bond, the main character is a globetrotting British (NATO) spy, who cleverly extracts himself from life threatening situations, and introduces himself as "Drake...John Drake." [3]

Fleming was replaced by Ian Stuart Black, and a new format/character initially called "Lone Wolf" was developed. This evolved into Danger Man.

After Patrick McGoohan was cast, he also impacted character development.[1] A key difference from Bond traces to the family oriented star's preferences: no firearms and no seduction of female co-stars.[4]

In the United States, CBS broadcast some of the original format's episodes of the program in 1961 under the Danger Man title as a summer replacement for the Western series Wanted: Dead or Alive. Under the Secret Agent title, the same network aired the entirety of the second and third series in 1965-1966.

Fleming went on to assist in pre-production on the 1964 American series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., as well as the Eon Productions series of James Bond films.


From the first series voice-over:

"Every government has its secret service branch. America, CIA; France, Deuxième Bureau; England, MI5. NATO also has its own. A messy job? Well that's when they usually call on me or someone like me. Oh yes, my name is Drake, John Drake."
― {{{2}}}

The line "NATO also has its own" is not always present.

Programme overview[]

The first series of episodes ran to 24–25 minutes each and portrayed John Drake as working for a Washington, D.C.-based intelligence organization, apparently on behalf of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose assignments frequently took him to Africa, Latin America, and the Far East. They were filmed in black and white.

In episode 9, "The Sanctuary", Drake declares he is an Irish-American.

Drake is sometimes at odds with his superiors about the ethics of the missions. Many of Drake's cases involved aiding democracy in foreign countries and he was also called upon to solve murders and crimes affecting the interests of either the U.S. or NATO or both.

For the second series (seasons 2 and 3), which aired several years after the first, the episode's length was increased to 48–49 minutes and Drake underwent retconning. His nationality became British, and he was an agent working for a secret British government department, called M9 (analogous to Secret Intelligence Service), though his Mid-Atlantic English accent persists for the first few episodes in production. These were also filmed in black and white.

Other than the largely nominal change of employer and nationality, Drake's mandate remains the same: "to undertake missions involving national and global security". In keeping with the episodic format of such series in the 1960s, there are no ongoing story arcs and there is no reference made to Drake's NATO adventures in the later M9 episodes.

Pilot episode[]

The pilot was written by Brian Clemens, who later co-created The Avengers. In an interview Clemens said:[5]

The pilot I wrote was called "View from the Villa" and it was set in Italy, but the production manager set the shoot on location in Portmeirion, which looked like Italy but which was much closer. And obviously the location stuck in Patrick McGoohan's mind, because that's where he shot his television series The Prisoner much later.

The second unit director on the pilot, according to Clemens:[5]

... shot some location and background stuff and sent the dailies back to the editing room at Elstree. Ralph Smart looked at them, hated them, and called up the second unit director and said "Look, these are terrible, you'll never be a film director," and then he fired him. The name of the second unit director? John Schlesinger.

Cancellation and resurrection[]

The series succeeded in Europe, making McGoohan famous. However, when American financing for a second season failed, the program was cancelled.[1] The first season of the series aired on CBS from 5 April to 13 September 1961.[6] A DVD release of the first season by A&E Home Video in 2000, erroneously states on its box that these episodes were never broadcast in the US.

After a two-year hiatus, two things had changed; Danger Man had subsequently been resold all around the world, whilst repeat showings had created a public clamour for new shows. Also, by this time James Bond had become popular, as had ABC's The Avengers. Danger Man's creator, Ralph Smart, re-thought the concept; the second series' (1964) episodes were 49 minutes long and had a new musical theme, "Highwire". Drake gained an English accent and did not clash with his bosses at first. The revived Danger Man was finally broadcast in the U.S., it was now re-titled Secret Agent, and first shown as a CBS summer replacement program, given the theme song "Secret Agent Man", sung by Johnny Rivers, which became a success in its own right. In other parts of the world, the show was titled Destination Danger or John Drake.

The fourth season consists of only two episodes, "Koroshi" and "Shinda Shima", the only two episodes of Danger Man to be filmed in colour. These two separate but related episodes were recut together as a feature for cinemas in Europe, as done with two-parters from other ITC series such as The Baron and The Saint.[7] Whilst "Koroshi" retains a strong plot-line and sharp characterizations, "Shinda Shima" drew heavily on contemporary Bond movies, principally Dr. No. When the episodes were completed, McGoohan announced he was resigning from the series to create, produce, and star in a project titled The Prisoner, with David Tomblin as co-producer and George Markstein as script editor. Markstein was then the Danger Man script consultant. A number of behind-the-scenes personnel on Danger Man were subsequently hired for The Prisoner.[8]

The two colour episodes aired (in black and white) in the UK in the time slot of The Prisoner, which had fallen behind schedule and could not make its airdates. The European cinema film feature version, Koroshi, did not receive theatrical release in the US but instead aired on network television as a TV movie in 1968.

Character of 'Drake'[]

Unlike the James Bond films, Danger Man strove for realism, dramatising credible Cold War tensions. In the second series, Drake is an undercover agent of the British external intelligence agency. As in the earlier series, Drake finds himself in danger with not always happy outcomes; sometimes duty forces him to decisions which lead to good people suffering unfair consequences. Drake doesn't always do what his masters tell him.

Drake is rarely armed, though he engaged in fist fights, and the gadgets he uses are generally credible. In one episode (To Our Best Friend), Drake says; 'I never carry a gun. They're noisy, and they hurt people. Besides, I manage very well without.'

Agent Drake uses his intelligence, charm and quick thinking rather than force. He usually plays a role to infiltrate a situation, for example to scout for a travel agency, naive soldier, embittered ex-convict, brainless playboy, imperious physician, opportunistic journalist, bumbling tourist, cold-blooded mercenary, bland diplomat, smarmy pop disc jockey, precise clerk, compulsive gambler, or impeccable butler.

Unlike James Bond, Drake is often shown re-using gadgets from previous episodes. Among the more frequently seen are a small spy camera hidden in a cigarette lighter and activated by flicking the lighter, a miniature reel-to-reel tape recorder hidden inside the head of an electric shaver or a pack of cigarettes, and a microphone which could be embedded in a wall near the target via a shotgun-like apparatus, that used soda siphon cartridges containing CO2 as the propellant, allowing Drake to eavesdrop on conversations from a safe distance.

As Drake gets involved in a case, things are rarely as they seem. He is not infallible — he gets arrested, he makes mistakes, equipment fails, careful plans do not work; Drake often has to improvise an alternative plan. Sometimes investigation fails and he simply does something provocative to crack open the case. People he trusts can turn out to be untrustworthy or incompetent; he finds unexpected allies.

John Drake, unlike Bond, never romanced any of the women, as McGoohan was determined to create a family-friendly show.[9] Drake uses his immense charm in his undercover work, and women are often very attracted to him, but the viewers are left to assume whatever they want about Drake's personal life. McGoohan denounced the sexual promiscuity of James Bond and The Saint, roles he had rejected, although he had played romantic roles before Danger Man.

The only exceptions to this rule were the two "linked" episodes of the series, "You're Not in Any Trouble, Are You?" and "Are You Going to be More Permanent?", in which Drake encounters two different women - both played by Susan Hampshire - and which contain numerous similarities in dialogue and set-pieces and both end with Drake in a pseudo-romantic circumstance with the Hampshire character.

Drake was also shown falling for the female lead in the episode "The Black Book" though nothing comes of it; this episode is also one of the only scripts to directly address Drake's loneliness in his chosen profession.

John Drake was not blind to the attraction of the opposite sex, often commenting on the prettiness of his latest associate. The implication is that it is impractical for him to launch any liaison. It was also the fact that many times the women in the show turned out to be femmes fatales, and heavily involved in the very plots Drake is fighting.

Although the villains are often killed, Drake himself rarely kills. An examination of all episodes indicates that, in the entire series, he only shoots one person dead, in one of the last half-hour episodes from the 1960 season.

While another shooting occurs in "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove", it is revealed to be a dream.

Drake's uses of non-firearm deadly force during the series number less than a dozen. Yet The Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Television by Ron Lackmann incorrectly claims Danger Man was one of the most violent series ever produced. Drake is almost never shown armed with a gun, and the episode "Time to Kill" centres on Drake's hesitancy and initial refusal to take an assassination mission (events transpire to prevent Drake from having to carry the task out).

Co-stars and guest stars[]

In the second series, Drake displays an increased attitude towards his superiors at M9,[10] first answering unwillingly to "Gorton" (Raymond Adamson) and later to "The Admiral" or Hobbs (Peter Madden), a sinister superior officer sometimes seen fiddling with a knife-like letter opener. This interaction with disagreeable London-based superiors was phased out over the course of the 50-minute series, a clever ploy that reduced plot explanations early on to leave more mystery with the viewer. In the first half-hour series he had an equally edgy, but more good-humoured relationship with his superior "Hardy", as played by Richard Wattis.

Most episodes had roles for guest stars such as Howard Marion Crawford, Donald Houston, Maurice Denham, Joan Greenwood, John Le Mesurier, Sylvia Syms and Burt Kwouk.

Episode list[]

Episodes were usually not aired in production order. Broadcast order varied widely between the UK and US. In fact, CBS, the US broadcaster, used it only as a summer replacement for Wanted: Dead or Alive and did not air even half of the run.

Although aired over the course of 18 months, the first 39 episodes are considered one series.

Series 1 (1960–1962)[]

Broadcast as Danger Man in the UK and US.

Airdate is for ATV London [11] ITV regions varied date and order.

Episode No. Prod No. Title Written by Directed by Original UK airdate Summary
1 002 View from the Villa Template:Start date Brian Clemens and Ralph Smart Terry Bishop Frank Delroy, an American banker is murdered and five million dollars is missing. Drake travels to Italy to find the money.
2 004 Time to Kill Template:Start date Brian Clemens and Ian Stuart Black Ralph Smart Drake balks when he is ordered to kill an assassin and intends to capture him. His plans are thwarted by an interfering Swedish school teacher.
3 028 Josetta Template:Start date Ralph Smart Michael Truman Drake helps a blind woman find and identify her brother's killer.
4 016 The Blue Veil Template:Start date Don Inglis and Ralph Smart Charles Frend Drake flies to the Arabian desert to investigate stories of slavery and helps a stranded showgirl.
5 017 The Lovers Template:Start date Jo Eisinger and Doreen Montgomery Peter Graham Scott Drake has a surprise when he receives a telephone call from an old enemy named Miguel Torres. Torres asks for Drake's help in preventing an assassination.
6 012 The Girl in Pink Pyjamas Template:Start date Ian Stuart Black and Ralph Smart, story by Brian Clemens Peter Graham Scott A strikingly lovely blonde is found wandering in a dazed condition along a lonely road in a Balkan state. She provides Drake with a clue to the mystery surrounding the attempted assassination of the country’s president.
7 007 Position of Trust Template:Start date Jo Eisinger Ralph Smart Drake travels to a Middle East country to find how opium is supplied to criminal syndicates.
8 025 The Lonely Chair Template:Start date John Roddick and Ralph Smart Charles Frend Drake impersonates a wealthy industrialist whose daughter has been kidnapped.
9 018 The Sanctuary Template:Start date John Roddick and Ralph Smart Charles Frend To uncover an IRA cell Drake impersonates a prisoner who has just been released after serving a sentence for a violent bomb outrage. His deception lands him into a web of drama and danger.
10 009 An Affair of State Template:Start date Oscar Brodny Peter Graham Scott Drake flies to a small Caribbean state when an American economics expert, sent there to check on the country’s finances and gold reserves before America agrees to a large loan, is reported to have committed suicide.
11 001 The Key Template:Start date Jack Whittingham, story by Ralph Smart Seth Holt Drake loses no time in getting to know Logan and his attractive Continental wife, Maria. He tells Logan that he has been ordered to contact him with instructions to encode a message for cabling to Washington.
12 008 The Sisters Template:Start date Jo Eisinger, story by Brian Clemens Seth Holt Which girl is telling the truth? This is the problem that faces Drake when a beautiful refugee from a mid-European country flees to England and pleads for political asylum.
13 024 The Prisoner Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Robert Stewart Terry Bishop A U.S. Diplomat has been forced to live within the walls of his embassy for five years, denied egress by the host country. Drake convinces a concert pianist to impersonate the diplomat, in an attempt to win his freedom.
14 014 The Traitor Template:Start date John Roddick Terry Bishop What makes a man a traitor? Drake finds out when his latest assignment takes him to Kashmir, in Northern India, and to drama high up a mountain in a lonely bungalow with a renegade Englishman and his beautiful wife.
15 021 Colonel Rodriguez Template:Start date Ralph Smart Julian Aymes The treacherous Colonel Rodriguez has arrested an innocent American journalist on charges of spying. Drake must find a means of freeing him.
16 029 The Island Template:Start date Brian Clemens and Ralph Smart Pennington Richards Drake, an heiress, and two assassins are stranded on a small island after a plane crash. The assassins and Drake strive to convince the sole inhabitant on the island the truth about who is a prisoner and who is a guard.
17 003 Find and Return Template:Start date Jo Eisinger Seth Holt A woman is wanted by the British authorities on charges of espionage. Drake travels to the Middle East to find her and retrieve her passport.
18 034 The Girl Who Liked GIs Template:Start date Marc Brandel and Ralph Smart Michael Truman In Munich, Drake investigates the murder of a GI and makes a date with his German girlfriend. Is she an innocent or a spy?
19 031 Name, Date and Place Template:Start date Ralph Smart and John Roddick Charles Frend Does a "Murder Incorporated" organisation exist? Drake arranges his own murder.
20 037 Vacation Template:Start date Ralph Smart Patrick McGoohan Travelling to Nice, Drake sits next to a man he recognises as an assassin. Drake takes his place, but who is the victim?
21 030 The Conspirators Template:Start date Ralph Smart and John Roddick Michael Truman Drake is sent to a remote island to protect the wife of a murdered diplomat who is writing a book exposing the truth.
22 033 The Honeymooners Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Lewis Davidson Charles Frend A groom accused of murder and awaiting execution in the Far East is a pawn in a power struggle between the country's Prime Minister and Defence Minister. All is not what it seems.
23 036 The Gallows Tree Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Marc Brandel Michael Truman In Scotland, a stolen car is recovered bearing the fingerprints of long dead masterspy. Is he still alive and working?
24 022 The Relaxed Informer Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Robert Stewart Anthony Bushell In Bavaria, Drake intercepts an enemy courier. Who is supplying the secrets? What is the connection to an isolated religious sect?
25 020 The Brothers Template:Start date Ralph Smart Charles Frend A diplomatic satchel is stolen by bandits when a plane crashes off the coast of Sicily. Drake must deal with the bandits to retrieve the satchel.
26 006 The Journey Ends Halfway Template:Start date Ian Stuart Black Clive Donner Drake uses the guise of a Czech engineer to find out who is betraying people trying to escape from Communist China.
27 011 Bury the Dead Template:Start date Ralph Smart, story by Brian Clemens Clive Donner In Sicily, Drake finds out the truth about the death of another agent who was investigating a gun-running operation.
28 013 Sabotage Template:Start date Michael Pertwee and Ian Stuart Black Peter Graham Scott A transport plane flying over South East Asia explodes. Drake helps the widow of the pilot find the cause of the tragedy.
29 027 The Contessa Template:Start date John Roddick and Ralph Smart Terry Bishop Drake works undercover as a seaman to infiltrate a drug smuggling operation in Italy.
30 032 The Leak Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Brian Clemens Anthony Bushell Drake travels to the Middle East to find out why people near a nuclear plant are showing signs of radiation poisoning.
31 038 The Trap Template:Start date Ralph Smart and John Roddick Pennington Richards A woman working as a cipher clerk at the American embassy in London travels to Italy with her new fiancee. Drake follows to find out whether it is true love.
32 039 The Actor Template:Start date Marc Brandel Michael Truman A Hong Kong radio station is embedding secrets in its broadcasts. Drake gets a job there to find out who is the spy.
33 035 Hired Assassin Template:Start date Ralph Smart and John Roddick Charles Frend Drake infiltrates a terrorist group planning to kill a Latin American president.
34 019 The Deputy Coyannis Story Template:Start date Jo Eisinger Peter Graham Scott Drake is sent to a Balkan country to find out if aid money is being stolen.
35 023 Find and Destroy Template:Start date Ralph Smart and John Roddick Charles Frend A miniature submarine is beached on the coast of South America. Drake has to destroy it before enemy agents can discover its secrets.
36 005 Under the Lake Template:Start date Jack Whittingham Seth Holt A counterfeit operation is circulating US dollars. Drake follows a man and his daughter to find the source of the fake money.
37 015 The Nurse Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Brian Clemens Peter Graham Scott Drake helps a pretty Scots nurse protect the heir to the throne of a Middle East country.
38 026 Dead Man Walks Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Brian Clemens Charles Frend A group of scientists researching bacterial warfare made a dramatic discovery. Now they are being killed. Drake travels to Kashmir to find out why.
39 010 Deadline Template:Start date Jo Eisinger, story by Ian Stuart Black Peter Graham Scott An African country is on the brink of civil war after a murder. Drake plunges into jungle to find those responsible.

Series 2 (1964–1965)[]

Series 2 and 3 were broadcast as Danger Man in the UK and Secret Agent in the US. Airdate is for ATV Midlands,.[12] ITV[11] regions varied date and order.

Episode No. Prod No. Title Directed by Written by Original airdate UK
1 048 Yesterday's Enemies Template:Start date Donald Jonson Charles Crichton Secrets are going astray in Beirut. Has a former British agent set up his own spy ring?
2 043 The Professionals Template:Start date Wilfred Greatorex and Louis Marks Michael Truman An M9 agent is missing. Drake goes undercover in Prague to find him and is targeted by a Czech spy and his femme fatale.
EpisodeNumber=2–3 049 Colony Three Template:Start date Donald Jonson Don Chaffey British communists are disappearing behind the Iron Curtain. Drake follows their trail to a replica of a British town used to acquaint Russian infiltrators with British ways.
EpisodeNumber=2–4 047 The Galloping Major Template:Start date David Stone Peter Maxwell Posing as Major Sullivan, Drake is sent to protect a new African government from election-time deceit and violence. Dodging an industrialist's predatory wife (Jill Melford), Drake discovers the real deceit, and his last-minute plot makes the election more honest than anyone else intended.
EpisodeNumber=2–5 042 Fair Exchange Template:Start date Wilfred Greatorex and Marc Brandel Charles Crichton British agent Elizabeth Lanzig (Lela Goldoni) vows revenge on the East German spymaster who tortured her. Drake is ordered to stop her, and finally succeeds by kidnapping the son of a rival spymaster (Andre van Gyseghem) and exchanging him for her.
EpisodeNumber=2–6 040 Fish on the Hook Template:Start date John Roddick and Michael Pertwee Robert Day The name "Fish" hides the identity of the organiser of a complex espionage system who is in danger of being exposed unless Drake is successful in his hazardous mission to Egypt.
EpisodeNumber=2–7 044 The Colonel's Daughter Template:Start date David Weir Philip Leacock In India, a retired colonel ekes out his pension by collecting and selling butterfly specimens. When the colonel's assistant dies mysteriously, Drake is sent to investigate, and ends up getting help from a local policeman, whose own investigation Drake pursues. Finally, both trails entwine.
EpisodeNumber=2–8 051 The Battle of the Cameras Template:Start date Philip Broadley Don Chaffey On the French Riviera, Drake poses as playboy gambler Peter Simons to gain the confidence of crafty spy czar A.J.A. Kent (Niall MacGinnis) and his accomplices, the beautiful Martine (Dawn Addams) and judo master Genicot (Frederick Bartman). Compromised by an overeager assistant who is photographed and identified, Drake feigns gullible drunkenness and turns a trap around on his enemies.
EpisodeNumber=2–9 052 No Marks for Servility Template:Start date Ralph Smart Don Chaffey International extortionist Gregori Benares marries a lovely young Englishwoman and takes her to Rome; they stay in a villa where the butler is John Drake. An ally of the shy wife and implacable enemy of the sadistic Benares, Drake exposes the man's kidnapping plot.
EpisodeNumber=2–10 050 A Man to be Trusted Template:Start date Raymond Bowers Peter Maxwell Posing as a Scotland Yard detective, Drake arrives in the West Indies to investigate a murder and test the reliability of the local contact for British intelligence, a flamboyant Colonel Mora, played by Harvey Ashby. After close calls with women and voodoo cults, Drake sorts the evil from the good.
EpisodeNumber=2–11 041 Don't Nail Him Yet Template:Start date Philip Broadley Michael Truman British intelligence suspects that Rawson is selling secrets. Drake poses as a wimpy schoolteacher picked on by teenagers, wins Rawson's friendship, and trails him to a soccer game, but resists simply pulling Rawson in until he can prove the treason. Following the man to a bookstore, Drake sees his quarry bolt, but discovers an accomplice (Sheila Allen) and a sinister spymaster.
EpisodeNumber=2–12 054 A Date with Doris Template:Start date Philip Broadley Quentin Lawrence In a revolutionary Latin American state, Drake's friend Peter is framed for the murder of a general's mistress. Extracting the wounded Peter is a job for Drake, undercover as a journalist; and he finds an unlikely ally. When the general himself joins the chase, the escape becomes a matter of hairbreadth timing.
EpisodeNumber=2–13 046 That's Two of Us Sorry Template:Start date Jan Read Quentin Lawrence Drake is sent to a remote Scottish island to investigate a set of fingerprints that belong to a spy who was long thought dead. The results surprise (and chagrin) everyone.
EpisodeNumber=2–14 055 Such Men Are Dangerous Template:Start date Ralph Smart Don Chaffey Drake takes the place of an ex-convict recruited as an assassin by an organisation which believes its mission is to eliminate undesirable world leaders (identified in the episode as the Knights Templar). When sent on his first assignment, Drake allows his victim to escape, revealing his identity.
EpisodeNumber=2–15 056 Whatever Happened to George Foster Template:Start date David Stone Don Chaffey By accident Drake discovers that a new Latin American republic is being sabotaged by a British industrialist for his own ends. Inexorably, Drake hunts down the industrialist's shady past and trades it for the small nation's autonomy.
EpisodeNumber=2–16 057 A Room in the Basement Template:Start date Ralph Smart Don Chaffey Drake's old friend Keith is kidnapped by the opposition and held in the Embassy of Romania in Geneva. Called into unofficial action by Keith's wife, Susan (Jane Merrow), Drake enlists the help of two friends and Susan herself. She poses as a rich hysteric and he as her doctor. The four engineer a daring rooftop-to-basement rescue.
EpisodeNumber=2–17 058 The Affair at Castelevara Template:Start date James Foster Quentin Lawrence Drake is sent to a Latin American country where an heroic old revolutionary is scheduled for execution. The Americans have a plan to save him, but Drake has a better idea, one that involves a documentary film and a chase through a theatre that sports a Rock Hudson poster.
EpisodeNumber=2–18 053 The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove Template:Start date David Stone Don Chaffey Speeding on his way to the airport, Drake swerves to avoid a couple of young boys chasing a ball and loses control of his car. The rest of this story is supplied by Drake's subconscious: A duel of wits in which the hobo he passed on the road right before his accident morphs into the suave, sinister casino owner Mr. Alexander, whose unsavory deeds range from attempting to blackmail Drake to passing secrets via microdots on gambling chits.
EpisodeNumber=2–19 045 It's Up to the Lady Template:Start date Philip Broadley Michael Truman Charles Glover, an idealistic Briton, flees eastward, and Drake follows Glover's wife Paula to a Greek village, where the opposition, in the person of one Nicos, is determined to bag the couple. Drake must convince the wife to return with her husband to England, where he is told the man will receive amnesty.
EpisodeNumber=2–20 059 Have a Glass of Wine Template:Start date David Stone Peter Maxwell A spoof of France, and a chase across its wine country—mostly by night. Drake follows a blackmailed Englishwoman to France where her military secrets are passed to a Russian agent posing as a French wine merchant. They are intercepted by a local female spy who believes she has outwitted both, until Drake turns the tables and brings his own bottle.
EpisodeNumber=2–21 060 The Mirror's New Template:Start date Philip Broadley Michael Truman A British diplomat in Paris goes missing for a day, and claims he can't remember it. Investigating, Drake improvises, first as a German-Irish encyclopaedia salesman and later as the diplomat's gambling buddy. Tortured by two men (one of them Frank Maher, McGoohan's own stunt double), Drake finds the diplomat's triple life has been financed by a dead man.
EpisodeNumber=2–22 061 Parallel Lines Sometimes Meet Template:Start date Malcolm Hulke Don Chaffey Two English scientists, the Brooks, disappear from a beach. Pursuing them to the West Indies, Drake finds a disputed dead man, hears a tale of zombie mineworkers, and meets Russian agent Nicola Tarasova (Moira Redmond). Both spies find themselves following the trail of Dessiles, a Russian atomic scientist wooed by an African government. Dessile's mine is the site of a narrow escape for Drake, along with temporary ally Tarasova and the missing Brooks couple.

Series 3 (1965–1966)[]

Some books list episodes 3-1 to 3–10 as part of series 2 due to change of studio from 3–11. Airdates are again as for ATV Midlands.

Episode No. Prod No. Title Directed by Written by Original airdate UK
01 067 The Black Book Template:Start date Philip Broadley Michael Truman A British Embassy official is being blackmailed and Drake is sent to expose the blackmailers and eliminate their hold over the official. The trail leads to a black book of western blackmail targets.
02 066 A Very Dangerous Game Template:Start date Ralph Smart and David Stone Don Chaffey Drake takes the place of a defector in a plan to infiltrate Chinese Intelligence.
03 065 Sting in the Tail Template:Start date Philip Broadley Peter Yates Drake provokes the jealously of a political assassin, wanted by the Parisian police, to leave the safety of Beirut.
04 062 You Are Not in Any Trouble, Are You? Template:Start date Philip Broadley Don Chaffey In order to infiltrate a murder organisation Drake commissions his own murder.
05 070 Loyalty Always Pays Template:Start date David Stone Peter Yates The last message from an M9 agent in Africa reveals that China is about to gain a foothold in a country where Britain has financial interests. Drake is sent to discredit the Chinese.
06 064 The Mercenaries Template:Start date Ralph Smart Don Chaffey Drake has the job, following a murdered M9 agent, of infiltrating a group of mercenaries that are planning to depose an African leader.
07 068 Judgement Day Template:Start date Donald Jonson story by Michael J. Bird Don Chaffey Drake sent to the Middle East to bring back a German scientist accused of war crimes has to defend him against Israeli agents wanting their own brand of justice.
08 063 The Outcast Template:Start date Donald Jonson Michael Truman When a Wren is murdered carrying secret papers and her missing boyfriend is the chief suspect, Drake follows and befriends him in search of the truth.
09 069 English Lady Takes Lodgers Template:Start date David Stone Michael Truman Drake investigates an agency in Lisbon dealing in stolen secrets and comes across a boarding house landlady dealing in stolen passports.
10 071 Are You Going to be More Permanent? Template:Start date Philip Broadley Don Chaffey When M9 controllers mysteriously disappear in Geneva and a traitor is identified as one of three persons, Drake takes up the position of the new controller.
11 072 To Our Best Friend Template:Start date Ralph Smart Patrick McGoohan Drake finds himself assigned to find out if a colleague is a double agent. Unfortunately for him, that colleague is also his best friend.
12 073 The Man on the Beach Template:Start date Philip Broadley Peter Yates Drake is sent to Jamaica to identify an M9 double agent operating from a luxury hotel but who spends his time drinking and lying on the beach much to his superiors' annoyance.
13 075 Say It with Flowers Template:Start date Jacques Gillies Peter Yates When money is drawn from the account of a dead freelance agent, Drake is sent to the clinic in Switzerland where the man had died three months previously.
14 074 The Man Who Wouldn't Talk Template:Start date Donald Jonson and Ralph Smart Michael Truman When the M9 regional controller is captured in Bulgaria, Drake must effect a rescue before he talks under torture.
15 076 Someone is Liable to Get Hurt Template:Start date Philip Broadley Michael Truman A Caribbean country's elections are threatened by an impending arms deal, but the local M9 agent has disappeared. Drake is sent to investigate.
16 077 Dangerous Secret Template:Start date Ralph Smart and Donald Jonson Stuart Burge A leading pacifist scientist creates a lethal virus and not trusting the government flees to France pursued by Drake and other interested parties wanting the virus.
17 078 I Can Only Offer You Sherry Template:Start date Ralph Smart George Pollock A leak from a British embassy in the middle east leads Drake to an unassuming secretary and, posing as a journalist, he befriends her.
18 079 The Hunting Party Template:Start date Philip Broadley Pat Jackson Drake poses as a butler to a man, and his domineering wealthy wife, suspected of leaking information to the newspapers. But how does he do it?
19 080 Two Birds with One Bullet Template:Start date Jesse Lasky and Pat Silver Peter Yates At a forthcoming Caribbean election in a British colony, M9 learn one of the parties plan to kill their own candidate to discredit the British. Drake has to protect the potential victim.
20 081 I'm Afraid You Have the Wrong Number Template:Start date Ralph Smart George Pollock A British spymaster is kidnapped by enemy counterintelligence agents in Geneva. Drake has to find him and spring him before he talks and betrays the ring he has created in the enemy's embassy.
21 082 The Man With the Foot Template:Start date Raymond Bowers Jeremy Summers Drake is sent on extended holiday when his cover is blown but he is pursued by another agent.
22 083 The Paper Chase Template:Start date Philip Broadley and Ralph Smart Patrick McGoohan Confidential papers are stolen from an embassy official in Rome. Drake is sent to recover them.
23 084 Not So Jolly Roger Template:Start date Tony Williamson Don Chaffey A wartime offshore sea fort being used as a pirate radio station is transmitting secrets to an enemy submarine. One agent has already been murdered on the fort. Drake has to find out how the transmissions are being done and find the culprit amongst the crew.


Series 4 (1968)[]

Airdates are for ATV Midlands. ATV London broadcast on 19 February and 26 February 1967 respectively.

Episode No. Prod No. Title Directed by Written by Original airdate UK
1 085 Koroshi Template:Start date Norman Hudis Michael Truman and Peter Yates An M9 agent is murdered in Tokyo while transmitting a message about the impending assassination of a United Nations mediator. Drake is assigned to protect the official.
2 086 Shinda Shima Template:Start date Norman Hudis Peter Yates Assigned to take the place of an electronics expert to infiltrate a Japanese murder brotherhood, Drake follows a trail to Shinda Shima ('the murdered island').

These two episodes, which were shot in colour, were broadcast in the US as the European cinema movie version, Koroshi. The show's abrupt cancellation, to make way for production and broadcast of star Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, resulted in these final two shows airing in the UK early in 1968, when they were broadcast as fill-in episodes for The Prisoner which had fallen behind the scheduled UK transmission dates, replacing advertised Prisoner episodes that were not yet ready for broadcast. They were originally intended to be broadcast after the finale of The Prisoner in the UK. Some parts of the UK, as well as the US, never saw the episodes in their original form until their DVD release.



  • Series 1 The Danger Man Theme, composed by Edwin Astley
  • Series 2–4 High Wire, composed by Edwin Astley
  • Series 2–4 in the US as Secret Agent, "Secret Agent Man", theme composed by P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri, and recorded by Johnny Rivers.
  • Incidental music throughout all four series by Edwin Astley

The second "Danger Man" theme, "High Wire," developed during series 2-4. The original version features a subdued rhythm section with almost inaudible drums. This was replaced with a revised version with drums and bass pushed to the fore in the mix. The end credits theme tune was set to end in the same manner as the opening theme, ending on the held, questioning, lower "E". The two-note coda was added soon afterwards to make a definite ending. An audio clip from the recording session this comes from can be heard as an extra on the final disk of the DVD set from Network DVD. The revised theme featured this as a normal end to the tune. As series 4 was to be made in colour for the first time, a completely new arrangement was recorded which owed much to the arrangement on Astley's full-length version of "High Wire" (released on single the previous year - see below). The feature film "Koroshi" was created from the only two episodes made for series 4, "Koroshi" and "Shinda Shima", and uses this new arrangement over the closing titles only.


  • 1961 - Theme from Danger Man, the "Red Price Combo" (main theme used in the 1st Series) - Parlophone 45 R 4789
  • 1964 - Danger Man "High Wire", the "Bob Leaper Orchestra" (alternative main theme, not used in any episodes. Features electric piano) - PYE 7N 15700
  • 1965 - Danger Man "High Wire", the "Edwin Astley Orchestra" (not used in series, arrangement influenced series 4 theme arrangement) - RCA 1492
  • 1965 - Danger Man "High Wire", the "Ivor Slaney Orchestra" (alternative arrangement, not used in any episodes) - HMV POP 1347

Program Ident[]

The original opening ID changed as the series progressed. The first series had McGoohan leaving a building and getting into a convertible under the opening narration reproduced earlier, and driving off.

The earlier of the two sequences for the hour-long series features a photograph of a benevolently-smiling McGoohan zooms partly out towards the right of the frame, then stops, adding the legend "Patrick McGoohan as". The three-ringed 'target' revolves round in time to the three-note orchestra hits to obscure McGoohan's photo as it reveals the programme logo on a pure black background.

The second version was in two segments. The first segment is filmed, comprising a full-length McGoohan in stark negative, menacingly taking a few paces towards the camera, then stops. In quick succession, the camera zooms-in fast onto his eyes, freeze-frames, then switches from negative to positive. The legend "Patrick McGoohan as" is added. This then switches to a different photo with McGoohan looking left out of picture. The familiar three-ringed 'target' then reveals the programme logo on a pure black background as before. The music was re-recorded for this version of the ident and lasted for the rest of the programme's run.

Transition to The Prisoner[]

McGoohan resigned from the series, forcing its cancellation. He created a new project titled The Prisoner, with David Tomblin as co-producer and George Markstein as script editor. Markstein was then the Danger Man script consultant. A number of behind-the-scenes personnel on Danger Man were subsequently hired for The Prisoner.[13] An unused, fourth-series script was reworked as an episode of The Champions

Secret agent John Drake and Prisoner Number Six[]

Prisoner fans frequently debate whether John Drake of Danger Man and Number Six in The Prisoner are the same person.[14] Like John Drake, Number Six is evidently a secret agent, but one who has resigned from his job.

According to The Prisoner: The Official Companion by Robert Fairclough, the Prisoner episode "The Girl Who Was Death (1968 episode)" was based upon a two-part Danger Man script that had been planned for the fourth series. In this surreal episode, Number Six meets "Potter", John Drake's Danger Man contact. Christopher Benjamin portrayed the character in both series. As well as guest-starring in this show, Paul Eddington played another spy and No.6's former colleague, Cobb, in the opening episode of the latter show.

The first Danger Man season includes four episodes which use footage filmed in the Welsh resort of Portmeirion, which later became the primary shooting location of the Village in The Prisoner. Further inspiration came from a Danger Man episode called "Colony Three", in which Drake infiltrates a spy school in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The school, in the middle of nowhere, is set up to look like a normal English town in which pupils and instructors mix as in any other normal city, but the instructors are virtual prisoners with little hope of ever leaving. It is often thought this episode was a precursor to The Prisoner; it was filmed in the new town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire.[15]

Even reference books conflict on The Prisoner as a Danger Man continuation. Vincent Terrace's The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947–1979 postulates that John Drake's resignation reason is revealed in the "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling (1967 episode)" episode, which is a follow-up to a mission assigned to Number Six before he was sent to The Village. Richard Meyers makes the same claim in his 1981 book, TV Detectives. He further states that this connects directly to "an episode of Secret Agent never shown in this country [i.e. the United States] with John Drake investigating the story of a brain transferral device in Europe",[16] but no such episode of Danger Man was ever made. McGoohan stated in a 1985 interview that the two characters were not the same, and that he had originally wanted a different actor to play the role of Number Six.[17]

John Draje[]

John Drake, a fictional character, was the debonair and duty-bound secret agent played by Patrick McGoohan in the British television series Danger Man (1960–1962, 1964–1966) (known in the US as Secret Agent). Unlike James Bond, he never carried a gun, rarely used far-fetched gadgets, never got the girl, and rarely killed anyone on screen.

Drake's background was never explored in detail in the series, and also appeared to undergo an amount of retconning involving his nationality. In the first Danger Man series (1960–61), Drake speaks with a slightly exaggerated American accent (commonly referred to as a 'mid-Atlantic' accent), and is described as being an Irish American. In this series he's an operative working for a branch of NATO. In the second series (1964–66), Drake speaks with a less pronounced accent that is more British with Irish undertones which was McGoohan's natural accent. In this later version, he works for a fictional British secret service branch called M9; no further reference is made to him being American. He is now said to be British, except in one episode in which he identifies himself as being Irish. In both versions of the series, Drake is depicted as something of a lone wolf and a maverick. In one early episode he initially refuses a mission that requires him to assassinate a man; he reluctantly takes the mission and is visibly upset when his target is accidentally shot during a struggle. Other episodes (particularly during the later series) have him clashing with his superiors, or at least strongly disagreeing with their methods. In the history of the series, Drake is shown only once intentionally shooting anyone to death, and then only in self-defence. (He is shown shooting people on another occasion, but only during a dream sequence; the aforementioned early episode shooting is depicted as being unintended). Drake was not opposed to using lethal force when absolutely necessary, however, and on rare occasions did kill villains using other methods (throwing off a train, causing the collision of two airplanes, etc.).

Drake is most often shown working alone, having received his orders from unidentified officials (or sometimes stumbling upon a case by himself). During the 1960 - '62 series, he is shown occasionally answering to a British superior named Hardy and in one episode Drake's Washington, DC office is shown and it's learned that he has a secretary. The first season of the '64 - '66 series sees Drake receiving orders from Hobbs, a somewhat cold M9 official who is always seen fiddling with a letter opener. In the following season his superior is a former brigadier, Gorton. During the final full season, Drake is on his own, except for one episode in which he takes orders from an M-like character played by Bernard Lee who played M in the James Bond films. In one episode of the third series, viewers are introduced to a group of M9 technicians who support Drake's missions, including a Q-like gadget man and a wardrobe supervisor.

Drake is almost never shown becoming romantically involved with his leading ladies. This was a requirement put in place by McGoohan who didn't want Drake to become a clone of James Bond in that respect. McGoohan allowed a couple of exceptions (particularly in two episodes guest starring Susan Hampshire, both of which imply Drake and the two different characters played by Hampshire continue a relationship "off camera") and there is a considerable amount of sexual tension present in other episodes. In "The Black Book", an episode in which Drake becomes attracted to a young woman involved in a spy ring, it's learned that Drake cannot allow himself to become involved with anyone due to his line of work; this is graphically illustrated in the American version of the opening credits which depict a female form being separated from Drake by a set of bars.

It is a common belief among McGoohan's fans that the character of Number Six in The Prisoner, the show that McGoohan did after Danger Man, was meant to be Drake; McGoohan denied this but his co-creator of The Prisoner, George Markstein, claimed otherwise. The debate over the identity of Number Six stems from references in dialogue to the character being a former agent, the appearance of "Potter", a character from the final season of Danger Man, and the fact one episode ("The Girl Who Was Death") was based upon a script originally written for Danger Man. Making matters even more complex is the reference to Number Six as "Drake" in some of the officially-licensed novels based upon the series, such as Number Two (1969) by David McDaniel which identifies Number Six by the name Drake in the very first line of the book.

Pop culture references[]

Danger Man has remained part of pop culture consciousness. Author Stephen King alludes to John Drake's cool in his novel The Shining. The band Tears for Fears refer to the character in their song "Swords and Knives", and Dead Can Dance titled one of the songs on their Into the Labyrinth album "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" after a Danger Man episode, although the content of the song has no apparent relationship to the episode.

The American theme song has appeared in countless movies and TV shows, including during the climax of the first Austin Powers movie, and was covered by Devo.

In 2000, the UPN network aired a short-lived spy series entitled Secret Agent Man. Due to the similarities in titles between this series and the American edition of Danger Man, Secret Agent Man, a series with no relationship to the McGoohan program, is often erroneously referred to as a spin-off or remake of Danger Man.

The British animated series Danger Mouse was largely inspired by Danger Man and is a broad parody of both this series and secret agent films and television in general.[18]

DVD releases[]

All four series are now available on DVD in Europe, Australasia and North America.

In Britain, Network DVD released a 13-disc "Special Edition" boxed set of the one-hour shows in June 2007. Extra features include the edited-together movie version of "Koroshi" and "Shinda Shima", the US Secret Agent opening and closing titles, image galleries for each episode, and a specially written 170-page book on the making of the one-hour series. Umbrella Entertainment has released the 24-minute series on DVD in Australia; the 49-minute series has been released by Madman.

Network DVD released the 1st (24 min) series in January 2010 on a 6 disc set with a commemorative booklet by Andrew Pixley. The Carlton 6 disc set is out of issue.[19]

In North America, the three series of hour-long episodes were released by A&E Home Video under the title Secret Agent a.k.a. Danger Man in order to acknowledge the American broadcast and syndication title. However the episodes retain their original Danger Man opening credits (including the original theme by the Edwin Astley Orchestra), the first time these have been seen in the U.S., with the US "Secret Agent" credits included as an extra feature. The first series of half-hour episodes was issued by A&E sometime later as Danger Man. A&E subsequently released a single-set "megabox" containing all of the one-hour episodes; a revised megabox, released in 2007, added the half-hour episodes, and was released again in a modified slimline package in 2010.

On December 9, 2014, Timeless Media Group re-released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 in a 17-disc set entitled Secret Agent (Danger Man)- The Complete Series.[20]

Production notes[]

The Washington title sequence of the first Series 24-minute episodes is a composite of the United States Capitol in the background and the Castrol Building, complete with London Bus stop, in the Marylebone Road, London as the foreground. This building is now Marathon House converted from offices to flats in 1998.[21]

In reality, no such building is allowed to exist in Washington, D.C., as the Height of Buildings Act of 1910 limits the heights of building (except churches) to 130 feet, thus giving the United States Capitol building, at 289 feet, an unobstructed view from any part of the city. (This has led to the popular belief that buildings in Washington, D.C. are restricted to the height of the U.S. Capitol building.)[22]

Original novels and comic books[]

Several original novels based upon Danger Man were published in the UK and US, the majority during 1965 and 1966.

  • Target for Tonight – Richard Telfair, 1962 (published in US only)
  • Departure Deferred – W. Howard Baker, 1965
  • Storm Over Rockall – W. Howard Baker, 1965
  • Hell for Tomorrow – Peter Leslie, 1965
  • The Exterminator – W.A. Balinger [W. Howard Baker], 1966
  • No Way Out – Wilfred McNeilly, 1966

Several of the above novels were translated into French and published in France, where the series was known as Destination Danger. An additional Destination Danger novel by John Long was published in French and not printed in the US or UK.

The adventures of John Drake have also been depicted in comic book form. In 1961, Dell Comics in the US published a one-shot Danger Man comic as part of its long-running Four Color series, based upon the first series format. It depicted Drake as having red hair, a trait shared with Patrick McGoohan, but which was unseen as Danger Man had been made only in monochrome at that time. In 1966, Gold Key Comics published two issues of a Secret Agent comic book based upon the series (this series should not be confused with Secret Agent, an unrelated comic book series published by Charlton Comics in 1967, formerly titled Sarge Steel). In Britain, a single Danger Man comic book subtitled "Trouble in Turkey" appeared in the mid-1960s and a number of comic strip adventures appeared in hardback annuals. French publishers also produced several issues of a Destination Danger comic book in the 1960s, although their Drake was blond. Spanish publishers produced a series titled 'Agent Secreto'. The Germans were particularly prolific, using 'John Drake' and a picture of McGoohan, as the cover for hundreds of "krimi" magazines.



The Australian rights are held by the Nine Network who, over many decades, have shown numerous repeats in non-peak viewing times. Since 2012 there have been numerous showings in the early hours of the morning on Gem, a Nine Network digital outlet, sometimes twice per morning. The Danger Man repeats alternate with re-screenings of another British series Gideon's Way, and of the Canadian program Seaway.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Danger Man - The Beginning. Retrieved on 11 June 2016.
  2. Meyer, Krissy. Sixes and 007s: Patrick McGoohan and The (De)Construction of Spy-Fi’s Golden Age – Part 1.. James Bond Project. Retrieved on 12 April 2017. 
  3. Hamilton, Andrew (15 May 2016). Danger Man. National Vanguard. Retrieved on 12 April 2017. 
  4. Boslaugh, Sarah (27 January 2015). Secret Agent The Complete Series Out Bonds James Bond. Popmatters. Retrieved on 12 April 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Wheeler Winston Dixon (May 1999). The Man Who Created The Avengers: An Interview with Brian Clemens. Archived from the original on 30 October 2004.
  6. Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946–present 5th Edition; New York: Ballantine, 1992, p. 205
  7. The Danger Man Collection, issue 49. DeAgostini, 2006.
  8. Fairclough, R: The Prisoner, p. 29. Carlton, 2002.
  9. "No Girls or Guns for Danger Man", Woman, 30 October 1965, p. 69.
  10. 'Danger Man: The Battle of the Cameras' A Complete Production Guide by Andrew Pixley
  11. 11.0 11.1 Before 1968 ATV transmitted weekdays in the Midlands and weekends in London. See History of ITV
  12. 'A Complete Production Guide' by Andrew Pixley
  13. Fairclough, R: The Prisoner, p. 29. Carlton, 2002.
  14. Matthew White and Jaffer Ali, The Official Prisoner Companion, Warner Books, 1988, p. 145.
  15. Colony Three The Danger Man Website.
  16. Meyers, Richard, TV Detectives, A. S. Barnes and Company, 1981, p. 113,
  17. New Video magazine Fall/Summer 1985 by Barrington Calia
  18. [1]
  19. Network DVD, retrieved 19 November 2009
  20. TMG to Re-Release 'The Complete Series' with Patrick McGoohan
  22. Height of Buildings Act of 1899

External links[]