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At first, I was disappointed that it was not. I was likewise disappointed to learn the series was shot on videotape on sometimes cheap-looking sets (though the exteriors always look good).
I became used to that sort of show watching "Masterpiece Theater" in the 1970s, but I thought British television had outgrown that style by 1988.
One sleepless night, starting "Hanny" about midnight, I was pleasantly surprised to discover "Hannay" is by turns fun and exciting.
The series is definitely not Buchan. It's more like a series one would base on the works of E. Phillips Oppenheim or J. Jefferson Farjeon (and it's high time someone did). Still, anyone who delights in that sort of literature will enjoy the series. If all this happened to Hannay, he would hardly be "the best bored man in the United Kingdom." Think of these as the adventures of a cousin Buchan's Hannay doesn't know.
While the series has a few notable guest appearances (Charles Gray, Dennis Lill, Colin Jeavons in an unfortunately wasted part, Joanna David, Bernard Kay, Martin Clunes, Richard Pasco, etc.), most of the then-young actors supporting Powell are quite good.
Perhaps the series is slyly tongue-in-cheek, but it isn't nearly as rude as I feared to the exciting Edwardian literature I am so fond of, and which Buchan exemplified.