The Valient Years series was in re-runs on NBC in 1963. On the early afternoon of Friday, November 22, the show was interrupted by NBC newscaster Chet Huntley and then sustained mostly by Frank McGee to provide non-stop coverage of the Kennedy assassination.
Producer Jack Levin, aka Jack Le Vien, was the originator of this documentary series. To get the rights to Winston Churchill's war memoirs, Levin visited Sir Winston in the South of France and took a cage with a budgerigar as a gift with him.
Hollywood producer Edgar Peterson asked Patrick Macnee to produce the British end of the project. At first Macnee only served as the head of the London production staff and conducted interviews with various military people who had worked with Churchill. But when Peterson was fired, Macnee suddenly found himself in charge and was tasked to hire a new director. Patrick immediately contacted his next door neighbor, John Schlesinger. Macnee left the production when he was offered to co-star in The Avengers (1961) and a pay rise from 50 pounds a week to 150 pounds.