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Series / Adam Adamant Lives!

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Adam and Georgina.

"It appears that 1966 has a great deal of capacity for a man of my talents."

Adam Adamant Lives! was The BBC's answer to The Avengers (1960s), but less successful. Produced in black and white, it ran for two seasons from 1966 to 1967. Repeats have been rare, but BBC 4 now shows the occasional episode. All of the surviving episodes were released on DVD in 2006, with script PDFs for the missing ones.

In the pilot, the eponymous Edwardian gentleman adventurer (played by Gerald Harper) was betrayed by his fiancee Louise and frozen in a block of ice by his nemesis The Face. 64 years later he was dug up by some workmen and thawed out, not much the worse for wear but very disoriented. Georgina Jones (Juliet Harmer), a swinging chick and dedicated Adamant fan, found him wandering around central London and took him home. Saving her from a murderous protection racket was his first step in resuming his adventuring career.

Subsequent episodes established more of a formula. Either Adam or Georgina would stumble upon a plot, usually involving some technofantasy element (clothes that kill their wearers, washing powder with an addictive scent, etc.). Adam would forbid Georgina to investigate, but she would anyway. Then he would have to rescue her as well as solving the case. In some of the stories they would solve it together. In episode 2 Adam employed a former seaside entertainer William Simms (Jack May) as a valet. One of the show's highlights was the constant bickering between Simms and Georgina.

There was never much romance between the two leads. Georgina hero-worshiped Adam to the point of stalking him (in one episode she followed him all the way to Japan and disguised herself as a geisha to get near him), but his attitude to her was always more paternal. He would, however, frequently be attracted to female villains. His blind spot was that he could never believe a woman to be capable of evil, no matter how many evil women he met.

The series was produced by Verity Lambert. In late 1969 it would become a significant influence on her earlier series Doctor Who when the third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, would also become a dashing man-out-of-time with a taste for velvet and capes. In 2019 Big Finish (famous for their Doctor Who audio dramas) announced a Continuity Reboot of the series set to be released in January 2020.


  • Arch-Enemy: The Face.
  • As Himself: The BBC newsreader Kenneth Kendall plays himself in "The Doomsday Plan".
  • As the Good Book Says...:
    • Some of the villains do this, especially if they're the Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • Adam gets in on this as well if a villain starts it.
  • Badass Cape: Adam's opera cape.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Adam has this towards Georgina. Oh, and don't hurt or threaten Georgina, just don't, or Adam will become a Knight Templar Big Brother and beat you into the ground and likely kill you.
  • Big Red Button: Surveillance Services' mainframe has a prominent, molly-guarded emergency shutdown button. Its purpose is not to shut the computer down.
  • Blood Knight: Adam has a fair bit of this, but only if you're only threatening him; if you've already killed someone, are threatening someone else, or are about to imminently unleash some evil plan, he's generally all business.
  • Bond One-Liner: Adam uses them from time to time.
    • After incapacitating an assassin lurking in a wax exhibition: "By the way, one of your waxworks seems to have melted a little."
    • On fatally stabbing a minor henchman who tried to ambush him: "If you cannot live like a man, you can at least die like one."
    • After knocking out a bottle-wielding publican: "I think, Simms, he's had one too many."
  • Bonding Over Missing Family: Adam and Georgina now have no family, and come to view the other as family.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: A Goldfingeresque song focusing on Adam's Blood Knight and Celibate Hero tendencies.
  • Brown Note: Aside from developing Mind-Control Music, the evil sound engineer Carson in "Sing a Song of Murder" is developing a sound bomb that will kill through applied sonics. He attempts to test it on Adam, Georgina and Simms.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Adam is effectively from a different culture, was quirky for his time, is very old-fashioned in many ways, obsesses over finding furniture that belonged to his family, and wears old-fashioned clothes and an opera cape. Most people look at him a little strangely and wonder if he is as effective as claimed.
  • Captain Ersatz: The show was initially conceived as a Swinging Sixties update of the well-known British pulp hero Sexton Blake, and when the BBC was unable to get the rights was made in a way that was virtually unchanged other than changing the character's name.
  • Cat Fight: The Designated Girl Fight in "The Terribly Happy Embalmers" verges on one, particularly since one combatant is in her underwear at the time.
  • Celibate Hero: Between his code of chivalry and a bad romantic past, Adam consistently avoids the advances women make on him, and the few times he is interested in someone, they are working for the villain in the episode.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: In "Death By Appointment Only", Adam uses a chair to fend off a villain who has stolen his Sword Cane.
  • Chaste Hero: Subverted (see Celibate Hero above). He can come across as this to others because he's not used to women being as forward as they are in the '60s.
  • Combat Pragmatist: For a gentleman with a high moral code in most things, Adam can be quite the dirty fighter, from trashcan lids to chairs, from kicking a man when he's down to hitting a woman (only if she is directly about to kill someone else), he'll usually take a villain and his or her mooks down by whatever means possible.
  • The Comically Serious: Adam when trying to understand '60s concepts, inventions, and slang.
  • Cool Car: Semi-averted. Adam drives a Mini, a fairly humdrum compact car albeit a bit of a '60s icon, but it's the very sporty Cooper S model, and it has an expensively remodeled interior.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Adam is captured by a group of Satanists and tied to a cross.
  • Cultured Badass: Adam, of course.
  • Deadly Dodging
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Adam's valet Simms, usually toward Georgina.
    • Adam himself towards Georgina, villains, and the time he finds himself in.
  • Death by Disfigurement: Enforced in-universe by the villain of "Beauty Is an Ugly Word". If any of his 'perfect' humans is injured badly enough to leave a scar, he has them killed.
  • Decoy Damsel: Often used successfully against Adam, and is perhaps his only Achilles' Heel.
  • Description Cut: Adam refers to Georgina as a 'poor, frail, defenseless girl.' Immediate cut to her smashing a teapot over her captor's head and making her escape.
  • Designated Girl Fight: In "The Sweet Smell of Disaster" and "The Terribly Happy Embalmers", Adam fights the villain while Georgina tackles his female accomplice.
  • Did Not Think This Through: "The Last Sacrifice" and "Allah Is Not Always With You" both revolve around blackmail schemes that the blackmailer cannot possibly pull off since they would have to actually confess to murder themselves in the process.
  • Dirt Forcefield: Soapsuds rather than dirt, but in the final fight of "The Sweet Smell of Disaster", the foam disappears instantly from Georgina's clothes (and no-one else's) whenever she passes through a doorway.
  • Dissonant Laughter: Adam often does this in the midst of a fight.
  • Duel to the Death: With rapiers in "The Terribly Happy Embalmers", with a fellow Sword Cane carrier in "Sing a Song of Murder", and with fists in "Beauty is an Ugly Word".
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: Done in reverse in the episode "A Slight Case of Reincarnation".
  • Fan Service With A Smile: The costumes of the 'Fluffies' who work in The Fluffy Club in "Allah Is Not Always With You". Naturally, Georgina goes undercover as one.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Adamant keeps presuming this, getting duped by Femme Fatales on a regular basis.
  • Femme Fatale:
    • Initially, Louise with The Face. Also applies to almost all of the women Adam meets in the sixties, with the exception of Georgina. His belief in the purity of womanhood, despite Louise's betrayal, always allows them to get the better of him.
    • Double Subverted in "Death By Appointment Only". Simms and Georgie are both fretting that Adam has fallen into the clutches of a ruthless, sophisticated woman and she'll surely kill him. They try frantically to get in contact with him and warn him, to no avail. Just as they give up hope, Adam strolls in: he saw right through his would-be assassin and outwitted her with contemptuous ease. Then, later in the episode, he turns his back on the woman's employer (another Femme Fatale) allowing her to knock him out and regain the advantage.
  • Fictional Counterpart: One episode had a club with girls with Playboy Bunny-like outfits (but trimmed with feathers instead of ears and a tail).
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Adam was frozen in 1902 and was unfrozen in the The '60s.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Adam's intelligence quotient, perception, and many of his skills seem to frequently increase or decrease as the plot demands; something he didn't fall for in a previous episode, he falls for in another, especially when it comes to suspecting women.
  • The Future Is Shocking: In "A Vintage Year for Scoundrels", one of the first things that happens to Edwardian adventurer Adam when he awakes in the swinging Sixties is that he stumbles into the London Underground where he is confronted by billboards advertising lingerie.
  • The Gadfly: Georgina likes to say and do "improper" things to shock Adam.
  • Genki Girl: Georgina.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Adam.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Adam.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: When Georgie falls victim to the hypnotic music in "Sing a Song of Murder", Adam has to slap her face to free her.
  • A God Am I: Some of the villains.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Adam has no compunction for cold-bloodedly killing villains and will do so without a second thought.
  • Good Old Ways: Adam sticks to his courtesy, old-fashioned dress sense, and considers his time to have been more genteel era (however, he does make some concessions of approval concerning the '60s, like that prejudice is less and the class system is not so tightly stratified).
  • High-Voltage Death: Happens to at least two villains. Melville in "Sing a Song of Murder" is killed when he spears a high voltage cable with his sword cane, and Dr. Mort collides with a generator while attempting to wrestle Adam in "The Doomsday Plan".
  • Hollywood Satanism: In "The Last Sacrifice", Adam battles a British lord who is running a satanist cult complete with hooded robes, orgies, and human sacrifice. He is mostly using it as a source of blackmail, but Adam mentions that his family has a history of satanism cropping up every third generation.
  • Human Popsicle: The main concept. Later we discover that The Face had himself frozen after Adam.
  • Human Sacrifice: In "The Last Sacrifice", a lord runs a satanic cult which conducts human sacrifices. He films prominent citizens being involved in the rituals and then uses it to blackmail them.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Adam, being an Edwardian gentleman, makes a habit of this.
  • Innocent Bigot: While Adam was pretty advanced for his time and class, he still holds many prejudices and negative attitudes of his time and upbringing.
  • Irony: In "More Deadly Than the Sword", Georgina is found out by the Madam of a geisha house after mugging a geisha for her clothes. The Madam chastises her for dishonoring their profession, and angrily tells her that the first step to becoming a geisha is to actually be Japanese. Neither the Madam (Mary Webster) nor the geisha Georgina mugged (Mona Chong) were played by actors of Japanese descent.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: What Adam tells Louise in 1902, but his gesture hardly works considering she ends up working for The Face and using herself as bait to trap Adam.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Adam was friends with Winston Churchill when they were children. He "never thought [Churchill] would amount to anything."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Simms, as far as Georgina is concerned.
  • Loony Fan: Georgina grew up on stories of Adam and constantly stalks him, barges into his house, messes about in his adventures. Adam is initially annoyed and disturbed (especially at her not respecting his privacy), but since the other is the closest thing to family they have, he comes to look on her as something of an annoying little sister who just waltzes into his house as a matter of course (not that he doesn't try to shoo her out as one might any sibling who oversteps bounds).
  • May Contain Evil: "The Sweet Smell of Disaster".
  • Mind-Control Music: The villains in "Sing a Song of Murder" plan to use a subliminal message embedded in records to cause fans to rob banks and deliver the money to them through fan clubs. They use another album to try to compel Adam to murder Georgina.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: The women tend to be far more ruthless than the men in the series.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Georgina.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Georgina mugs a geisha for her kimono in "More Deadly Than the Sword".
  • Old-School Chivalry: Adam, of course.
  • Once an Episode: In most of the first series episodes, whenever Adam is knocked out we see a montage of his original defeat and hear Louise saying "So clever, but oh, so vulnerable... so vulnerable..."
    • Many episodes also include a scene where Simms composes a limerick by way of comment on the situation (all of which were written by Dick Vosburgh).
    • Also, almost every episode ends with Georgina running after Adam yelling for him to wait for her.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Adam gives one of these to a villain who is obsessed with beauty and wants to rid the world of everything he considers ugly.
  • Police Are Useless: The rural policeman in "Beauty is an Ugly Word", who happily hands Georgina back to the kidnappers she's escaped from.
  • Pretty in Mink: Jones wears a white fox stole when she infiltrates an evil escort service in "Death By Appointment Only".
  • Putting on the Reich: The private security form Surveillance Services make deliberate use of Nazi imagery, down to the salutes, black uniforms, and SS collar flashes.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Georgina was raised by her grandfather.
  • Religion of Evil: "The Village of Evil".
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The Face sealed Adam away in the ice as a final and eternal punishment of living death for meddling in his plans.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Face has himself frozen at some point after he froze Adam, when he had better perfected his technique and after his plans to throw the world into utter self-destructive chaos (implied to be the World Wars) is thwarted seals himself away only to be permanently woken a year after Adam is freed.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The fandom. Gerald Harper (not a bad looker, by the way) received fanmail from women who pretty much all commented and gushed about Adam's courtesy and respect towards women, one woman commenting that she'd be all over her boyfriend if he acted like Adam. He even got sent letters about Adam from boyfriends of female fans, some complaining that now their girlfriends expected them to act like him (and some thanking Harper for playing Adam because it inspired them to continue to be or start to be a gentleman.)
  • Sword Cane: Adam's trademark weapon.
  • The '60s: The series' main setting is Swinging London at its height.
  • Telepathic Sprinklers: Averted in "The Sweet Smell of Disaster" — setting off one sprinkler has no effect outside the room it's in.
  • The Slow Path: Louise meets Adam again in "Black Echo", having lived through all the sixty-five years since he was frozen.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: "The Village of Evil".
  • Tranquil Fury: If Adam is yelling at you, smiles, or shows any emotion, you will probably get off with just an ass-kicking; if he starts chuckling maniacally, there's a fifty-fifty chance that's the last sound you'll ever hear; if he is eerily calm, you. will. die.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Happens to the Arab prince in "Allah Is Not Always With You". the entire scheme was a set-up to get him to sign an IOU that would allow the villain to blackmail him once he inherited the throne.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Some of the villains believe this.
  • Values Dissonance: An In-Universe part of the show is that, unlike other characters who have been transported to the future, Adam dislikes the 60s and never fully adjusts to it.
  • Vanity License Plate: Adam's is AA 1000.
  • Villainous Incest: Played with in "The Doomsday Plan". When Doctor Mort's daughter kisses him in a most un-daughterly fashion, Adam is clearly shocked and objects that he is is her father. The girl then laughs and says she is not really his daughter, but that she just plays the role as the public has expectations.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Charity, Faith, and Hope in "The League of Uncharitable Ladies".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "The Terribly Happy Embalmers" the villain's henchwoman (last seen struggling with Georgina) has disappeared by the time Adam has finished his duel. Viewers are left to guess whether Georgina overpowered her or she escaped. The fate of Doctor Mort's daughter in "The Doomsday Plan" is likewise left open.
  • Yellowface: Madam Nagata from "More Deadly Than the Sword" is played by Mary Webster, a white Englishwoman. Likewise, Kodama from the same episode is played by Russian actor Yuri Borienko.
  • With My Hands Tied: In "Allah Is Not Always With You", Adam defeats a knife-wielding thug despite being tied to a chair at the time.
  • Wrongfully Attributed: The episode "A Ticket to Terror" involves a tube train arriving at a station with all the passengers horrifically reduced to skeletons. Many people who watched the (now lost) episode when it was broadcast remember it as a Doctor Who story.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "Black Echo", Louise very literally outlives her usefulness to the Face. Her sixty-five years of faithful service count for nothing with him; he leaves her to die in Adamant's arms while he makes his getaway with his new, younger sidekick.
  • You're Insane!: Adam, to the villain of "Beauty, is an Ugly Word": "You do realize that you are completely insane?" He is promptly proved right, as, shortly afterward, the villain has reached the point of claiming that A God He Is.

Tropes pertaining to the audio remake:

  • Adaptation Personality Change: Rather than being a Loony Fan Georgina Jones is an Everyman sort of character who is more of a fan of the Edwardian time period in general rather than just Adamant, with dreams of one day becoming a writer. Adam himself is more or less the same as the original, but is a bit of a Stepford Smiler and doesn’t share his classic counterpart’s blind spot regarding women.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Unlike the original, it is not entirely clear how Adam Adamant got transported to the ’60s. The first episode opens with a confused and delirious Adamant getting hit by a car and he can’t remember how he got there. There is even the possibility that he is actually a VERY delusional man and is not actually Adam Adamant.
  • Cliffhanger: Volume 1 ends with a depressed Adam leaving Georgina’s funeral and deciding to retire, believing there is no place for him in the ’60s. Meanwhile a very much alive Georgina is being held captive by a man claiming to be The Face.
  • The Ghost: The Face. Adam's Arch-Enemy remains a constant presence in his mind, to the point were Adam imagines constant conversations between the two. He did not seem to get transported with Adamant to the ’60s and there is just as much ambiguity of his existence as Adam's identity. The man at Volume 1's Cliffhanger, he's not the original Face and is just a disgraced psychiatrist who took the identity in a twisted Replacement Goldfish scheme.
  • Shout-Out: Simms at one point turns on the radio and the song playing is by John Smith and the Common Men.