Patrick McGoohan’s proto-Bond series Danger Man enjoyed a healthy run as both half-hour and hour shows, before metamorphosing into the cult series The Prisoner — and an important part of its success was the inventive, energetic music (for a small orchestra with an important harpsichord part used in percussive fashion) by the highly talented British composer Edwin Astley. The hour long shows, much aided by Astley’s scores, are all highly accomplished, fast-moving mini-dramas, with a wealth of British acting and directing talent making an early mark (Bond director John Glen, for instance, demonstrates his editing skills before his groundbreaking 007 stint). McGoohan is always impressive: stern, sexually attractive to women, but always maintaining a monk-like celibacy. Patrick McGoohan, a maverick talent and prickly man who never quite achieved the Hollywood stardom that appeared to be his due (possibly because of his unbending moral code – the very code that made him turn down the libertine role of 007) still appears – with distinction – in such films as Time to Kill and Braveheart. And while the enigmatic The Prisoner remains his magnum opus (as co-creator and actor), this brisk and effective series – and its music — wears very well. Astley admirers (and they are legion; Jools Holland is a famous advocate) have long argued that the complete scores should be available on CD, and this welcome set from Network (who have separately issued the original shows themselves) is an answer to those prayers – and every available note is here (including, it has to be said, some duplicate cues that could have profitably have been left out of the set). But this is still an irresistible package, with extensive and informed notes by Andrew Pixley.

Barry Forshaw

Danger Man Original Soundtrack: The Hour-Long Shows

Edwin Astley

5-cd Set/Network

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