The Strange Report: the CSI of the 60s

streportbig.gifJust in case you’ve not been tuning in, I’d like to issue a semi-hearty recommendation to UK viewers to watch The Strange Report, Mondays on ITV4. It’s a strange combination of the 60s sensibilities that led to The Avengers, The Champions, Department S and the rest of that ilk, with the forensic investigations of CSI. It’s little-remembered but actually deserves better, mainly because of a strong performance by Anthony Quayle.
Adam Strange (Quayle), a retired Scotland Yard detective, investigates crimes that baffle the forces of law and order. Unlike the crimes faced by Jason King, say, these are relatively normal crimes, such as kidnappings and assassinations, and Strange solves them using the very best science the 60s had to offer (the show had a forensic scientist for an advisor).
It’s quite fun, even though it’s played straight the whole time. Quayle embraces the role, but is never hammy, making it almost like Shakespeare at times. The wonderfully named Kas Garas, the token American hunk who’s also a Rhodes scholar, provides able support that offers a little more depth than characters in similar shows of the time.
The same can’t be said for poor Anneke Wills (who played Polly to Hartnell and Troughton’s Doctors Who), whose character is supposed to “slip in and out of undercover roles like a chameleon” but who blends unnoticeably into the background instead. Bad scriptwriters!
All the same, worth a look if you haven’t already tuned in. There’s more over here on the ITC Classics web site.