The Saint

The Saint Titlecard
Titlecard of the black and white episodes
Created By Leslie Charteris
Starring Roger Moore
Theme Music Composer Edwin Astley (Black & White)
  Edwin Astley and Leslie Charteris (Color)
Composer Edwin Astley
Country of Origin United Kingdom
Original Language English
Number of Series 6
Number of Episodes 118
Executive Producers Robert S. Baker
Monty Berman (Black & White)
Producer Roger Moore[1]
Running Time 49 to 51 minutes
Production Companies New World (Black & White)
Bamore (Color)
Distributor ITC Entertainment Group
Peter Rogers Organization
Original Network ITV
Picture Format 35 mm 4:3
Black & White (Episodes 1 to 71)
Color (Episodes 72 to 118)
Audio Format Mono
Original Release October 4, 1962 to February 9, 1969
Followed By Return of the Saint

The Saint is an Incorporated Television Company (ITC) mystery spy thriller TV series, which aired in the United Kingdom on ITV from 1962 to 1969. It was based on the literary character Simon Templar created by Leslie Charteris in the 1920s[2] and featured in many novels, novellas, books, short stories, and comics over the years.[2]  He was played by many actors such as Roger Moore and Val Kilmer. The Saint was similar to Robin Hood in that he stole from criminals, then kept the money for himself. His adversary was Claude Teal, chief inspector of Scotland Yard in London, who considered The Saint a common criminal no matter from whom he stole (shades of Les Miserables).[2] [3] [4]

As a result of the excellent performance in the United States of the first two black-and-white series in first-run association, National Broadcasting Company (NBC) picked up the show as a summer replacement in its evening schedule in 1966. Therefore, the program ended its run with both Mid-Atlantic primetime scheduling and color episodes. The television series also proved popular beyond the United Kingdom and the United States, eventually airing in over 60 countries and made a profit in excess of £350 million (In today’s dollar exchange, that equals $451,430,000 USD) for ITC.[5] [6]  With almost 120 episodes, the program is exceeded only by The Avengers as the most productive show of its genre produced in the United Kingdom. As with The Avengers, the color episodes were initially broadcasted in the United Kingdom in black and white, predating the arrival of color display on ITV.

Sir Roger George Moore had before tried to buy the production rights to The Saint stories and was delighted to be able to play the part. Roger Moore eventually became co-owner of the show with Robert Baker after the show moved to color and the production company changed to Bamore Productions. Most of the apparel Roger Moore wore in The Saint was his own.

Roger Moore was reportedly offered the role of James Bond at least twice during the run of the series; however, he had to turn it down both times due to his television commitments. In an earlier episode of The Saint, called Luella, another character actually mistakes Simon Templar for James Bond.

Roger Moore had a few reappearing co-stars, especially Ivor Dean, who played The Saint’s adversary, and Chief Inspector Claude Teal. In three earlier episodes, Inspector Claude Teal had been played by Wensley Pithey, Norman Pitt, and Campbell Singer; Dean featured from the episode, Iris (November 7, 1963) and beyond. Claude Teal’s relationship with The Saint was broadly similar to that characterized in the novels; however, in the series, he is often characterized as bungling, instead of merely Leslie Charteris’ characterization of him as an officious, unimaginative policeman. While in France, The Saint had a similar relationship with Colonel Latignant, played by Arnold Diamond. Colonel Latignant is characterized as being even less adequate than Inspector Claude Teal and is even keener than Inspector Teal to find The Saint guilty, though The Saint repeatedly helps him solve the case. Unlike Inspector Claude Teal, Colonel Latignant did not appear in Charteris’ books. Overall, Inspector Claude Teal was featured in 26 episodes and Latignant in six.

The Saint began as a straightforward mystery series; however, over the years used more secret agent and fantasy-style plots. It also made a well-publicized switch from black and white to color production midway through the series. The earlier episodes are distinguished by Roger Moore breaking the fourth wall and speaking to the audience in character at the beginning of every episode. With the merge to color, this was replaced by a simple narrative. The precredits sequence always ended with someone referring to (or addressing) The Saint by name – “Simon Templar”; at this point, an animated halo appeared above Simon Templar‘s head as The Saint looked at the camera (or directly at the halo). Some episodes, such as Iris, broke away from this method and had The Saint address the audience for the entire precredits sequence, setting up the story that followed.

Many episodes were based upon Leslie Charteris’ books, even though a higher number of original scripts were used as the series progressed; Queen’s Ransom was both the first color episode and the first episode not to be based on a Leslie Charteris’ work). The novel, Vendetta for the Saint, was credited to Leslie Charteris; however, was written by Harry Harrison, was one of the last Saint stories to be adapted. Some of the later stories were novelized and published as part of the ongoing series of The Saint books such as The Fiction Makers and The People Importers. The first of these books, which gave cover credit to Leslie Charteris; however, was actually written by others, was The Saint on TV and the series of novelizations continued for several years after the television program had finished.

The Saint‘s car was a white Volvo P1800 with the license plate number ST1. This model Volvo is still often referred to as “The Saint’s car”, with miniature versions made by Corgi, which have proved prominent. Volvo was happy to supply their recently introduced car in 1962 for its promotional value after Jaguar Cars had turned down a request from the producers to provide an E-type.

Roger Moore in The Saint 1969
Roger Moore (left) with guest star Earl Green in Interlude in Venice in 1966

Unlike its contemporary rival, The Avengers; The Saint was shot entirely on film from the start, whereas the first three series of the other series (broadcast from 1961 to 1964) were videotaped with minimal location shooting. All episodes of The Saint were incorporated overseas.

The black-and-white series were first syndicated in the United States by NBC affiliate stations in 1967 and 1968, and 32 of the 47 color episodes were broadcast by NBC between 1968 and 1969 and have since played in syndication in the United States for many years after (the 1970s sequel, Return of the Saint, aired to high ratings on CBS between 1979 and 1980). Most series are available on DVD in the United States and Canada. Two 2-part episodes from series 6, “Vendetta for the Saint” and “The Fiction Makers”, were made into feature films and distributed to theaters in Europe, and often show up on late-night television in America, which are also available on DVD.

In the United Kingdom, ITV4 has broadcast color episodes. In the United States, FamilyNet and RTV have aired both the black-and-white and color episodes. Memorable Entertainment Television (MeTV) also broadcasted the series. In March 2015, the CBS-owned Decades digital cable network aired a “Series Binge” marathon of the show as part of “Countdown to Decades”, a soft-launch introduction to the network’s official launch in May 2015. The marathon aired every episode of the series back to back. The marathon started March 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time and ended April 3, 2015 at 11:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Filming Locations

In the Television series, Simon Templar lives in London; however, the exact address is never exposed and The Saint is seen travelling to locations across London, the United Kingdom, and other places around the world. The entire series was shot at Associated British Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, with very few scenes shot on location elsewhere. This was accomplished by making large use of the sets at Elstree, new blue-screen technology to simulate different locations in the background, painted or projected backdrops, and revolving painted backdrops for moving scenes. A few exceptions exist, including the extensive location shoot on the island of Malta for the episode, “Vendetta for the Saint”. Lookalikes (or stunt doubles) were used for location shoots in which Simon Templar is seen in the distance entering a well-known building or speeding past the camera.

Fan Club

The Saint and its stories have a fan club organized originally by Leslie Charteris for the fans of the series. The club falls under the control of the honorary chairmen, Roger Moore (until his passing May 23, 2017) and Ian Ogilvy. The club records events such as the publication of books or other information on the series.


The black and white episodes of The Saint were made in 2 production runs. The first, consisting of 39 episodes, was split into two individual series on transmission. The second, consisting of 32 episodes, again split into two series on transmission. The fifth season, the first to be produced in color, consisted of 32 episodes. The second color production run (the sixth and final season) consisted of 15 episodes and has a revamped theme tune, marking it out from the first batch of color episodes.

“The Fiction Makers” from the fifth season was edited into a two-part episode using the revamped theme for inclusion in the sixth season, as was “Vendetta for the Saint”; however, during transmission of the fifth season, communication of the episodes caught up with production, meaning repeats of some of the black and white episodes had to be slotted into the schedule to slow the broadcast of new episodes (this had little impact on viewers as the color episodes were being broadcast in black and white anyway). The fifth season started transmission halfway through production, leading to only 26 of the episodes being used. The three episodes not used plus “The House on Dragon’s Rock”, which in some regions was not broadcasted because it was thought to be not suitable for children, were then mixed in with the sixth season for transmission..

DVD Releases

A&E Home Video released The Saint on DVD in Region 1 (United States, Canada, United States Territories, and Bermuda). A&E Home Video released two sets of monochrome episodes; the first with three discs an the second with four. Each disc includes four episodes, meaning only 28 of the monochrome episodes are available. All of the color episodes were released in seven two-disc sets as well as one 14-disc “megaset”. The two-part episodes are in movie form only, which are no longer being made.

On May 26, 2015, Timeless Media Group released The Saint: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 (United States, Canada, United States Territories, and Bermuda) for the first time. The 33-disc set features all 118 episodes of the series, including bonus features. Afterwards, Timeless Media Group released the first two seasons on DVD in individual 10-disc collection sets on October 13, 2015. Seasons three and four was released on January 19, 2016.[7]

In Region 2 (Europe [excluding Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan], Egypt, Middle East, Japan, South Africa, Greenland, and French Guiana) Network DVD has released two multi-disc sets, with all the monochrome episodes available in an 18-disc set, and all the color ones in a 14-disc set. The color set includes a theatrical version of the two two-part stories as well as the original 48-minute two-part versions. Included as well are a 40-minute documentary and isolated music tracks. Before this, Carlton Video released four separate discs, the first one with the first two episodes and the rest with four episodes each. In addition, a 10-disc set repackages the previous four discs alongside six additional discs, including the first 39 monochrome episodes. The monochrome and color sets are the best out there, in terms of picture, audio quality, as well as special features. In France, TF1 Vidéo released five multi-disc sets, including all the 118 episodes, in French and English as well.

In Region 4 (Latin America [excluding French Guiana], New Zealand, Australia, Caribbean, and Oceania, Umbrella Entertainment released the entire series in Australia, in five boxed sets of six discs each. These are in Phase Alternation Line (PAL) format; however, with no region code. The box sets include a number of extras such as a series of audio commentaries recorded in 2004 with surviving members of the cast and crew, ranging from guest stars to Roger Moore.

Revivals and Remakes

In 1978, the series was revived as Return of the Saint, starring Ian Ogilvy as The Saint.

Two further attempts were made to revive The Saint on television. In 1987, a 46-minute United States television pilot, “The Saint in Manhattan”, was created starring Australian actor Andrew Clarke. In 1989, London Weekend Television in the United Kingdom made a series of six film-length episodes starring Simon Dutton.

Roger Moore never played the role again after 1969; however, he is heard speaking on a car radio during the 1997 film, The Saint, starring Val Kilmer as The Saint. The final film had absolutely no similarity to the books or the television series (and gave no credit to Leslie Charteris). With that in mind, the producers oddly bought the rights to use the character’s name from Robert S. Baker held the rights and had developed and produced both The Saint and Return of the Saint.

On September 10, 2009, it was announced that The Saint was to be remade for television by Vancouver-based studio Brightlight Pictures. Scottish actor Dougray Scott was scheduled to play The Saint;[8]  however, that never happened.

It was later reported that James Purefoy would play The Saint in a remake, of which production was scheduled to begin in July 2011,[9] which never happened.

On December 10, 2012, it was announced that Roger Moore would produce a new series that would star Adam Rayner as The Saint and Eliza Dushku as his girlfriend Patricia Holm.[10] In a promotion, which was released later, it was also shown that Roger Moore would star in the new series, as would his successor in Return of the Saint, Ian Ogilvy. Production of a pilot episode was finished by early 2013. As of summer 2014, it was awaiting a broadcast time in the U.S. [11]


  1. Marnell, B. (2013, February 20). Roger Moore & Ian Ogilvy Return To ‘The Saint’. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  2. Leslie Charteris Dies; Mystery Writer Was 85. (1993, April 17). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  3. The Saint (TV Series 1962–1969). (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  4. Chase, C. (1981, June 25). At the Movies; Roger Moore is anybody’s replacement. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  5. Television, Theater, Cinema, Books: Apr. 18, 1969. (1969, April 18). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from,9171,844733,00.html?promoid=googlep
  6. Bergan, R. (2009, October 2). Robert S Baker obituary. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  7. The Saint: Seasons Three & Four (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  8. McMahon, K. (2009, September 10). The Saint set to be resurrected by major Canadian producer. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  9. James Purefoy as Simon Templar alias The Saint. (2011, April 25). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  10. Andreeva, N. (2012, December 10). Eliza Dushku To Co-Star In ‘The Saint’ Backdoor Pilot, Roger Moore To Co-Produce. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from
  11. Eames, T. (2015, August 11). The Saint: New TV series in the works. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from

Further Reading

  • Barer, B. (2003). The Saint: a complete history in print, radio, film, and television of Leslie Charteris Robin Hood of modern crime, Simon Templar, 1928-1992. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. ISBN 9780786416806.
  • Dickerson, I. (2011). The Saint on TV. Andover, UK: Hirst Publishing. ISBN 9781907959066.

External Links

Cite This Page

The Saint (Television Series). (2017, July 12). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from

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