There was a time when the unsung heroes of classic TV shows were those who toiled behind the scenes. Take the cult espionage show Danger Man, for instance: the public were very taken with the cool, insouciant playing of Patrick McGoohan as the eponymous secret agent, but only those who took any interest in such things realised how important the top-notch team of writers and directors who put the shows together were. Similarly, the success of The Saint, another ITC show, clearly owed a great deal to the smooth and winning personality of Roger Moor as Simon Templar, but his contribution had to be showcased by some extremely talented behind-the-scenes people. One such figure common to both shows was the massively talented composer Edwin Astley, who put together the inventive and nerve jangling scores for Danger Man, utilising a percussively-utilised harpsichord and a hard-driving small jazz group. Astley’s theme for that show, High Wire, is fondly remembered, as is his main title for The Saint. Network had already put together a very valuable compilation of virtually all the available music written by Astley for Danger Man, and they provide the same welcome service for The Saint scores here. If perhaps the music is not quite as distinctive as that written for the companion show, it is nevertheless an essential purchase for aficionados of the composer (and they are many, including some celebrated names — Astley is the ultimate professional composer). Admirers of classic 60s TV shows have much to be grateful to Network for — first of all they make available complete runs of the series on DVD, and subsequently do the same for the scores. Such an enterprise would have been unthinkable a few years ago; one could only be grateful for such largesse.

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