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Oh, the 60's were a great era for all genres from action to sci-fi to
comedy. Will we ever reclaim those days?
The Champions was an outstanding fantasy show about three agents who worked for Nemesis, an international agency. In the pilot episode they were given powers by a mysterious monk. They had powers of telepathy, super strength and other powers.
As for the adventures themselves, the Champions battled villains who were threatening no less than the world itself. The Champions were a bit too powerful at times but it was still fun seeing them beat the bad guys. And for a male like myself, it was fun to see the beautiful Alexandra Bastedo kicking butt.
The Champions was one of many great 60's shows.
This is a suprisingly good series. The basic story is that three people
crash in the Himalayas and are rescued by monks and taught mystical
They then return to civilisation and become sort of special agents, using
their powers for good.
It sounds cheesy, but it is actually good fun. The special powers are understated - exceptional hearing, healing and telepathy are among them and whilst playing a key role in the shows, are by no means the central aspect which the series revolves around (unlike later series such as the Hulk etc.)
If you can get to see this series, it'll pleasantly surprise you.
I was 10 years old when this show was on TV. By far it was my favorite. The actors were very credible. Alexandra Bastedo was just gorgeous.... I just order the DVD (15 episodes). They didn't have super-powers. They just had superior human skills (strength, hearing, sight). The 3 actors were very good in their rolls, very believable. There was a good story in each episode. At the time, there were no special effects or explosions everywhere, so the script was suppose to be good, and the characters performs were great. There was no fancy stuff, like in other shows. They didn't try to make a joke every 2 minutes to make a light show. I highly recommend this TV show to anybody that like good stuff.
Three secret agents crash their plane in Tibet, but are saved by the
people of a lost civilisation who endow them with the powers of super
Fun fantasy series which has had some good actors and directors working on it including John Gilling (THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES, THE REPTILE for Hammer), veteran cinematographer-director Freddie Francis (who won an Oscar for SONS AND LOVERS) and Cyril Frankel who worked on just about every cult British TV show from that era. On the acting side John Carson and Gerald Harper have made guest appearances. It was the skills of all the people involved, not forgetting Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo and William Gaunt who made nonsensical material credible to watch.
This show has been re-run on BBC 2 in the mid-1990's and several of the episodes are out on video and DVD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a result of the popularity of 'The Saint' starring Roger Moore,
I.T.C. made a number of shows in similar vein. Monty Berman and Dennis
Spooner followed up 'The Baron' ( starring Steve Forrest and loosely
based on John Creasey's books ) with this - a fondly remembered fantasy
series about superhuman spies that preempted by a few years 'The Six
Million Dollar Man'.
Craig Stirling ( Stuart Damon ), Richard Barrett ( William Gaunt ), and Sharron Macready ( Alexandra Bastedo ) are agents of NEMESIS, an espionage organisation whose headquarters is in Geneva ( the opening titles were played over shots of the Lac Leman fountain ). At the start of 'The Beginning', they break into Red China to steal the latest development in bacteriological warfare. Completing the job, they escape by plane. Red Chinese troops shoot it down. It crashes in the Himalayas. A strange elderly man ( Felix Aylmer ) in robes approaches the wreckage. When the agents awaken, they find that their bodies have been mended and that they now possess superhuman abilities, including lighting-fast reflexes and telepathy. After deciding not to tell Tremayne ( Anthony Nicholls ), their boss, they use their powers for good. Being superhuman certainly helped them survive such ordeals as being thrown out of a plane, tortured in an underground garage, shut in a freezer, and made to fight other agents with identical powers ( 'The Experiment' ).
Damon and Gaunt had an unmistakable on-screen chemistry as 'Craig' and 'Richard', while the luscious Bastedo pouted her way through her role as 'Sharron'. Nicholls made a wonderfully gruff Tremayne, and had an office that put Mr.Waverly's ( of 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' ) to shame. Pressing a button on the desk could cause a wall ( on which a map of the world was prominently featured ) to reverse and display a screen on which films could be projected.
Most of the plots adhered to the standard spy/crime format beloved of I.T.C. shows, but a few had a touch of the fantastical to them, such as those written by the late Tony Williamson. 'Project Zero' is my personal favourite, although 'Shadow Of The Panther' gets involved with voodoo and zombies. Terry Nation and Brian Clemens also wrote some corkers, while Spooner's 'The Interrogation' compared favourably with 'The Prisoner'. Craig is imprisoned in a strange room from which there is no escape. He faces relentless questioning from a man played by Colin Blakely. The twist is that Tremayne ordered the interrogation after becoming suspicious of Craig's successful record as a spy. The final episode - 'Autokill' - had a brainwashed Barrett facing off against his friends.
The excellent theme tune was by Tony Hatch. Robert Farnon, Albert Elms, and Edwin Astley contributed incidental music. Guest stars included Kate O'Mara, Peter Wyngarde, Rupert Davies, Michael Gough, Paul Eddington, William Franklyn, and Donald Sutherland. John Garforth penned a novelisation entitled 'The Sixth Sense Is Death' for Panther, and the short-lived comic 'Joe 90 - Top Secret' ran a two-page strip ( whose stories were often more ambitious than the show's! ).
Though a hit in Britain, any chance it had of success in America was sabotaged by the network screening it - it chose to kick off with 'To Trap A Rat' instead of 'The Beginning'. Viewers watching must have been pretty confused.
I regret that there was never a second series; the concept had so much life left in it. Would Craig and Richard have been competitors for Sharron's affections? What if Tremayne had learnt of the Champions' powers? Did the Champions have any other abilities other than those we saw? We never found out, alas. Perhaps the mooted movie version will answer some of these questions.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wasn't born until 4 years after this wonderful show first aired but
luckily I managed to catch the reruns of the mid 90's and the rest is
history......I was hooked. The premise was pretty simple; two hardened
Nemesis agents, Richard Barrett and Craig Stirling ( William Gaunt and
Stuart Damon) are partnered up with an expert (if not young) Doctor and
Biologist (Sharron Macready) to head behind the bamboo curtain to
retrieve a dangerous biological agent from being used by red china.
Whilst making their escape, their plane is hit by machine gun fire and
they crash in the heart of the Himalayas where their lives are saved by
a mysterious and previously undiscovered civilisation who heal and
enhance the senses of the trio, thus setting the scene for many
exciting adventures to come...
The series lasted for 30 hour long episodes and I guess it was its relatively short lived, one season run that has set it up for cult status.
Monty Berman, the producer, was notorious for making things as cheaply as possible and sometimes the show suffered for this with incredibly tacky sets - particularly in Episodes such as "Happening" ( a studio deputising for the Australian outback) and the 'snow' sets of "Operation Deep Freeze" and "The Beginning" but if you can get past this, and focus on the characters and the story lines, the show was really a lot of fun. It had a great mix of adventure, and plenty of deadpan humour (mainly from some terrific one liners from William Gaunt).
The chemistry from the three leads was fantastic - you get the sense that they were really having a lot of fun making the show and this is borne out in the 2005 reunion documentary where the three reunite after over 35 years to reminisce about the show (and laugh about Anthony Nicholls awful wig!!). They all shared equal screen time and all had their moments to shine. I have to say, I was always a Richard Barrett fan - I loved his sardonic humour along with that dangerous edge - he was certainly a man you didn't cross, and those eyes........the bluest eyes you would probably see on TV. I have also followed Bill Gaunts career with interest since. However, Craig Stirling certainly would have had his legion of female fans and I am sure Alexandra Bastedo had a whole queue of male fans swooning over her too.
The show also had a plethora of guest stars to entice with, including Donald Sutherland, Jeremy Brett, Peter Wyngarde, Burt Kwouk, Anton Rodgers, Kate O'Mara, Jenny Linden, Paul Eddington and Colin Blakely.
Notable episodes for me were : "Auto Kill", "The Interrogation", "The Fanatics", "The Mission" and "The Gilded Cage" but I am sure every one has their personal favourites.
If you do get a chance to watch this show for the first time, or to re watch it after many years, remember to watch it in the context of the time it was made and just sit back and enjoy - the characters and the chemistry from the three leads is what made this wonderful show for me and I don't think I will ever tire of it.
Well, What can I say, other than these people are Super in every way. I quite like Sharon Mcreedy, I enjoy this pure Nostalgic Series And I have the boxed set of 9 discs 30 episodes, I did not realise that they had made so many, I also think that it is a great shame, that they have not made any more. I wish that I got given these powers, Imagine me, being knocked off my cycle, somewhere and being knocked out cold, then waking up in a special hospital. Later on, I discover that my body has been enhanced. Just like Richard Barrat. These stories are 50 Minutes of pure action and suspense all the way, You cannot fight these 3 people, as they would defeat you in all forms of weaponry. The music is well written, and to me, puts a wonderful picture of 3 super beings in my mind, The sort of powers that the champions have are the same as our domestic dog or cats, Improved sight, Improved hearing and touch. and the strength of 10 men for Richard and Craig and the strength of 3 women for Sharon. Who I thought was beautiful and intelligent. When I was a boy, I had a huge crush on her!!!! Now I can see why, on my DVD set. The box is very nice and it comes with a free booklet all about the series. I also thought that Trymane was a good boss, firm but he got things done!
My siblings and I stumbled upon The Champions when our local station
aired re-runs of it one summer in the 1970's. We absolutely adored it.
There was something so exotic and mysterious about it, especially when
compared to the usual American re-runs (Petticoat Junction, Green
Acres... you get the idea). It had a similar feel to The Avengers (not
too much of a surprise, since it was also British and in the
I would love to see it again now -- hopefully it holds up. I've mentioned this show to others and no one has ever heard of it, so I began to wonder if I'd imagined its whole existence. But the wonder that is the web has allowed me track down information about it. Hopefully it will find a new generation of fans.
You can tell by the Buddhist overtones in the first 2 episodes that Dennis
Spooner was involved here. The Champions, or what I've seen of the series
(6 episodes), is yet another in the long line of 60s-70s spy shows from
Great Britain. But the marked difference here is the special abilities
given to each of the main characters.
They all have unusual, superhuman powers which aid them in their crime-busting. It's a bit cheesy at times, but whatever gets the job done...
I know that The Champions are virtually unheard of in my native country, but the videos are commercially available in the UK. If you're fond of obscure technicolor british action-adventure, then you can't miss The Champions.
The only problem I have with the series so far: Why do so many British shows have American actors at the helm?
All I could remember of this show was something about them wearing white; that I loved it at the time (I must have been five when it first aired - I suspect I caught repeats, but it would all have been watched on a B&W TV), and it had something to do with telepathy. Oh, and I thought that there was a connection with Switzerland. I knew the title was something like 'The Persuaders', but that that was another great show (Roger Moore and Tony Curtis). I typed 'telepathy' into the 'plot' search in IMDb TV and 'The Champions' was the first option offered. Eureka! I have had this programme bugging me on and off for about ten years - it was such a relief to find out what it was called and to see those iconic photos. IMDb is such a great site. I'm off to buy the DVDs.
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