"You're the famous Simon Templar!"
— The end of every
The series started in 1962. Its hero is charming, intelligent, British and ready to fight the bad guys — not to mention played by Roger Moore
. We're talking, of course, about The Saint
Created by Leslie Charteris in a series of books Simon Templar, nicknamed The Saint (because of his initials
), is a world-famous amateur detective who operates as a modern-day Robin Hood. Many episodes of the Moore series adapted short stories and novels from the book series.
After it finished in 1969, it was followed in 1978 by a revival titled Return Of The Saint
starring Ian Ogilvy. Virtually identical to the Moore series (right down to the opening narration), except for being set in the late 1970s, the revival lasted a single season. Additional attempts have been made to bring Simon back to TV, the most successful (to a degree) being a series of Australian-made TV movies that were syndicated in North America in the late 1980s.
The Saint provides examples of the following tropes:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Early seasons began each episode with Simon Templar talking directly to the audience to set the scene for the episode. When the series moved to color production, this was dropped in favor of off-screen narration.
- Upon people recognising him, The Saint will often look upwards (and then often at the camera - see the illustration on this page for an example) as an animated halo appears to segue into the Title Sequence.
- Cold Open: Home of the aforementioned fourth wall breaking.
- Cool Car: The white Volvo P1800.
- Disguised in Drag: The villain of the first episode drags up as an old woman so he can murder his wife.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most episodes, especially in the black-and-white episodes, are called The Adjective Noun. ("The Careful Terrorist", "The Covetous Headsman", "The Romantic Matron", and so on.)
- Inspector Antagonist: Chief Inspector Teal.
- Just Like Robin Hood
- Novelization: Although many episodes of the series actually adapted short stories, novellas and novels already published as part of the long-running book series, a number of original episode storylines were in turn adapted as part of the Saint book series. Several Return of the Saint episodes were also adapted.
- Setting Update: The stories are contemporary, despite being based on a book series that started in the 1920s.
- Shout-Out: one early black and white episode features a rare case of a predictive shout out. At the end of an epsiode, a middle-aged woman tells Templar she knows who he really is: James Bond. After this, Templar breaks the fourth wall as the Saint halo appears above his head (a rare case of this happening at the end of an episode). Moore, of course, would go on to play Bond in the 1970s, though he did appear as Bond in a spoof for a British TV show during his time as the Saint.
- Moore was also the first choice to play James Bond in Dr. No, but he was tied in to his contract to play The Saint, and they had to go with Sean Connery instead.