Further Classic ATV Series on DVD in August

The Protectors, ATV, ITCTwo dramas commissioned by ATV Network for ITV in the 1950s and 1970s are to be released on DVD in August 2010. Its back to 1959 for The Four Just Men and 1972 for The Protectors.



Two dramas commissioned by ATV Network for ITV in the 1950s and 1970s are to be released on DVD in August 2010. Its back to 1959 for The Four Just Men and 1972 for The Protectors.


The Four Just Men is a crime drama series, loosely based on Edgar Wallace’s novel of 1905, assembles an astonishing array of talent: Jack Hawkins (The Cruel Sea), Richard Conte (The Godfather) and Oscar nominees Vittorio de Sica and Dan Dailey star as the four men chosen to pursue justice and defeat tyranny worldwide; their regular co-stars include Avengers star Honor Blackman, as glamorous secretary Nicole, Lisa Gastoni, June Thorburn, and Andrew Keir (Quatermass and the Pit). 


The series’ cosmopolitan flavour and stylish settings paved the way for many later series that combined crime fighting adventure with the glamour of exotic locations and a touch of romance. The Four Just Men garnered rave reviews from critics and proved a major success for ITC, and is notable for a unique format in which each of the protagonists and their co-stars appeared in turn, in separate episodes and storylines. Judi Dench, Mai Zetterling, Alan Bates, Jane Asher and Patrick Troughton are among the guests making early television appearances in this classic series, first screened in 1959 and 1960, and now available for the first time on DVD.


The storyline evolves around four men who last met in battle during the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943 are summoned to Foxgrove Manor, to hear a message recorded by their wartime commanding officer, Colonel Bacon, shortly before his death. He appeals to them to form a quartet dedicated to fighting injustice and the abuse of power, and has bequeathed a large sum of money for that purpose. London MP and amateur sleuth Ben Manfred, American reporter Tim Collier, New York lawyer Jeff Ryder and Italian hotelier Ricco Poccari agree to carry out the Colonel’s dying wish, and their epic mission takes the Four Just Men across Europe and beyond.


From black and white drama of the 1950s to colour and the 1970s. The Protectors was produced by Gerry Anderson and Reg Hill (Thunderbirds). This glossy, stylish series was one of ITC’s most lavish and ambitious projects, boasting intriguing, action-packed storylines and location filming in some of Europe’s most glamorous cities. John Thaw, Diana Quick, Stephanie Beacham, Peter Bowles, Patrick Troughton and George Baker are among the many stars making guest appearances, while Tony Christie sings the show’s theme tune, Avenues and Alleyways – a UK Top 40 hit on its re-release in 2005. This 7-disc set comprises all 52 half-hour episodes, originally aired between 1972 and 1974.


In this storyline each of the world’s major cities has its best detective agency, and each of these has its best agents; super-agents like The Protectors. The most sensitive, baffling, dangerous assignments are handled by this trio of adventurers with no equal among private eyes. In their nerve-tingling assignments, they function as a highly trained team, but they know that the next mission might mean death – and they live as if each moment were their last. Robert Vaughn stars as Harry Rule, the suave American who leads their operations and works from a London office; Nyree Dawn Porter is the elegant, Rome-based Contessa di Contini, and Tony Anholt is Paul Buchet, a French agent operating out of a Paris apartment.


The Four Just Men and The Protectors were ITC productions for ATV Network and broadcast on ITV. The DVD releases are produced by Network DVD in association with ITV Global Entertainment.


Other classic ATV and ITC programmes on DVD can be found here.