The Baron: Season 1, Episode 1

Diplomatic Immunity (20 Jan. 1966)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
8.0
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When the beautiful woman who stole a priceless Faberge bauble from his shop is identified as a Pameranian courier, Mannering decides to visit the country's embassy and demand satisfaction. ... See full summary »

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Title: Diplomatic Immunity (20 Jan 1966)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
Paul Ferris ...
David Marlowe
...
Colin Gordon ...
John Alexander Templeton-Green
Dora Reisser ...
Eva Dummel
Frank Gatliff ...
Georges Sforza
Robert Crewdson ...
Lazlo Polk
Michael Wolf ...
Kimitz
Jolyon Booth ...
Swann
Claire Davenport ...
Anna Lobovitch
Maggie Wright ...
Latticia
Patrick Durkin ...
Gill
Fredric Abbott ...
Lovegrove
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Storyline

When the beautiful woman who stole a priceless Faberge bauble from his shop is identified as a Pameranian courier, Mannering decides to visit the country's embassy and demand satisfaction. He is intercepted by British intelligence agents who convince him to go behind the Iron Curtain and break up the ring of art thieves who have been hiding behind diplomatic immunity, using his real occupation as an antiques dealer as his cover. Written by David Bassler

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Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

20 January 1966 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Quotes

[first lines]
David Marlowe: Beautiful, isn't it?
Eva Dumel: Exquisite.
David Marlowe: It's made by Faberge, the great Russian jeweler.
Eva Dumel: The one who made the fabulous Russian Easter eggs for the czar - all studded in diamonds.
David Marlowe: It's one of a pair. The other one is supposed to be part of the Kremlin treasure.
Eva Dumel: I suppose it's fabulously expensive.
David Marlowe: Priceless, but it's not for sale. It's on loan to us from Lord Calvert's collection.
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User Reviews

 
Mannering's first case
13 August 2012 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

'Saint' creator Leslie Charteris was notoriously fussy about the television adaptations of his books. What John Creasey, creator of 'The Baron', thought of the 1966/67 I.T.C. series starring U.S. actor Steve Forrest as 'John Mannering' is not ( as far as I know ) on record. He had greater reason to be vexed as not one of the 30 episodes was based on anything he had written! The character first appeared in 1937 in the book 'Meet The Baron'. Intended as a rival to 'Simon Templar', he was a reformed jewel thief turned antiques dealer and amateur sleuth. Producer Monty Berman had just done ( along with 'Saint' producer Robert S.Baker ) 'Gideon's Way' - starring John Gregson - and also based on Creasey's books. 'Diplomatic Immunity' was by Dennis Spooner and directed by Leslie Norman ( Barry's dad ). A beautiful young woman ( Dora Reisser ) steals a Faberge sedan chair from John Mannering's antiques shop in London. A hidden camera recorded the theft, and the girl is identified as 'Eva Dummel' of the Pameranian Embassy. He is about to go there and kick up a stink when he is apprehended by two men ( Fredric Abbott and Patrick Durkin ) who take him to a warehouse near the docks. Here he meets 'John Alexander Templeton-Green' ( the late Colin Gordon ), head of Special Branch British Intelligence. He warns Mannering to stay away from the Embassy as Britain is on the verge of clinching an important trade agreement with Pamerania. Dummel is stealing priceless items, and smuggling them out of the country in the diplomatic bag. Mannering elects to fly out, and confront Dummel...

This was not the first recorded episode - 'Samurai West' was - but looks like Lew Grade decided that some back-story was needed for the Baron, hence we learn that he acquired the nickname because the cattle on his Texas ranch sport the 'Baron' brand. Templeton-Green became a semi-regular, popping up like 'Mother' of 'The Avengers' to hand out dangerous new missions. It introduces another character who never existed on the printed page - glamorous British agent 'Cordelia Winfield' ( the late Sue Lloyd ). Paul Ferris played Mannering's assistant 'David Marlowe' initially, but was soon dropped.

A strong flavour of James Bond pervades this story. The girl accomplishes the theft with the aid of a gas-filled trinket box and disguises, and Mannering is given a number of gadgets such as a tape recorder in a shaving brush, bugging devices, and a cigarette lighter that can shoot bullets. Some of the dialogue seems to have crept in too; when Mannering chats up a stewardess, he invites her to 'come over and see my rubbings'. Brass ones, of course.

The enemy makes a number of murder attempts on the Baron, such as locking him in a gas-filled car in a timber yard ( he gets out by hot-wiring the ignition and smashing the windscreen with a plank of wood ). Dummel is in the pay of collector 'Georges Sforza' ( the late Frank Gatliff ), a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, a sort of cut-price 'Auric Goldfinger'. He even has Eva killed and her body left in Mannering's hotel room to try and frame him!

All this is great fun, of course, and Edwin Astley's strident theme tune ranks among his best. But the show would soon detach itself from the Bond craze and become more like its stable-mate 'The Saint'. It set Berman off on a solo path ( with the help of Dennis Spooner ) which ultimately resulted in 'The Champions', 'Randall & Hopkirk ( Deceased ), and 'Department S'.


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