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Series / The Champions (1968)

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They are The Champions, my friends. Top to bottom: Sharron, Richard and Craig.

The Champions is a British spy/science fiction adventure series consisting of 30 episodes broadcast on the UK network ITV during 1968–1969, produced by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment production company. The series was broadcast in the US on NBC, starting in summer 1968.

The main characters are a Power Trio of agents for a United Nations law enforcement organization called "Nemesis", based in Geneva. The three have different backgrounds: Richard Barrett (William Gaunt) is a code breaker, Craig Stirling (Stuart Damon) is a pilot, and Sharron Macready (Alexandra Bastedo) is a recently widowed scientist and doctor.

During their first mission as a team, their plane crashes in the Himalayas. They are rescued by an advanced civilization living secretly in the mountains, who save their lives and grant them telepathy, precognition, enhanced senses and intellect and physical abilities to the fullest extent of human capabilities. Not surprisingly, these powers prove useful in the heroes' work.

Unrelated to old Hong Kong film The Champions (1983), 2011 novel The Champions (2011) or animated series The Champions (2018).


  • Amnesiac Hero: Richard for part of "Happening."
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: The three do this a lot.
  • Break the Cutie: "Autokill" is mostly about this being done to Richard.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Lots!
  • Brits Love Tea: Richard and Sharron love their tea. Lampshaded by the very American Craig who doesn't understand their love of the beverage.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: All of the Champions have it at some point or another when coming up with a plan that one of the others won't like.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Happens to Richard and Craig with some frequency.
  • Compilation Movie: In 1983, ITC edited "The Beginning" and "The Interrogation" into Legend of the Champions, a feature-length film intended for overseas markets. Unusually, the episodes were not simply joined together, but substantially re-cut and edited, with "The Interrogation" being the framing episode and the flashback sequences originally used in that episode (principally from "The Beginning") expanded. Additionally, new credits were filmed, not using any of the original actors but photographs taken at the time.
  • Cool Car: Richard Barret drove a white 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia SS, while Sharon Macready drove a blue 1964 MG B [ADO 23].
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of the Champions, of one sort or another, though the award for best (and most frequent) snarker must go to Richard.
  • Demolitions Expert: Each of them have varying levels of expertise with defusing bombs (and different expertise with different sorts of bombs), though Richard probably has the most training and enjoys planting bombs (while waiting at a rendezvous point with an ally, the ally wonders whether they'd be able to see the explosion from the bombs Richard designed and is planting; Craig assures him that, knowing Richard, you'd be able to see it from the moon).
  • Electric Torture: The favoured method of torture of the villain in "The Fanatics."
  • Fictional Counterpart: Nemesis is one to Interpol, which makes the heroes the fictional counterpart of Interpol Special Agents.
  • Fighting Your Friend: What happens when Richard is brainwashed via drugs into believing Craig is his worst enemy.
  • Healing Factor: A power shared by the Champions. Craig's seems to work the fastest, which is probably a good thing since he's a risk taker and the most likely to get into a big scrap.
  • Implied Love Interest: Sharron and Craig. They're never seen to act on it, but they're pretty clearly attracted to each other, never more so obvious then when they occasionally go Undercover as Lovers.
  • Innate Night Vision: Another of the three's powers.
  • I Surrender, Suckers:
    • Richard allows himself to be abducted in "The Gilded Cage" to find out why someone would want to abduct him and bring them down.
    • In "The Fanatics" he masquerades as someone else who is 'rescued' by the villains, allows them to torture him until they are convinced he's the person he was masquerading as, then takes them all down from the inside.
  • Killed Off for Real: Richard, though it's not permanent; he's brought Back from the Dead a few minutes later by Sharon's Psychic Surgery.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Richard and Sharron. They're very close, but not attracted to each other.
  • Mind Rape: Happens to Richard. He's doped up on drugs that make him highly suggestible and then brainwashed into creating and reliving Fake Memories of Craig torturing and killing his loved ones (some fictional) again and again to try to make him assassinate Craig.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Field Marshall von Splitz from "The Final Countdown", who attempts to detonate a German atom bomb in order to start World War III.
  • Photographic Memory: One of their powers. Craig isn't as good at utilizing it as his companions.
  • Power Trio: The titular Champions.
  • Psychic Link: The Champions can experience one another's emotions and see through the other's eyes if the emotion is strong enough (which, yes, includes the, erm, romantic ones), and Craig and Richard feel phantom pains when the other is getting tortured.
  • Psychic Powers: The three main characters have them to various degrees. Richard's is, perhaps, the most advanced as he can make someone forget something that happened within the last couple of minutes and control the weak-minded with simple commands. Sharron can hypnotise the weak-minded into telling her what she wants to know (not that she needs much help in that area, at least when it comes to men). Craig doesn't have anything specific to himself. Powers shared by Craig and Richard are feeling phantom pains when the other is in literally in great pain. Powers shared by the three is knowing when the others are in life-threatening trouble.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: All the Champions wear them at some point or another, despite having beyond perfect eyesight.
  • The Shangri-La: Where the heroes got their powers.
  • Super-Hearing: The Champions have much better hearing than normal humans and they can also hear frequencies that are unheard by the normal human ear, which combined with them being able to speak at a different frequency allows them to communicate without being overheard.
  • Super-Speed Reading: Also another power the Champions share.
  • Super-Strength: The heroes get this as well as Psychic Powers from their saviors.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Occasionally used as villains.
  • Torture Chamber Episode: The final episode.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Craig and Sharron often masquerade as this.
  • Wastebasket Ball: Not with paper, but with disposable cups. While waiting for Tremayne to get out of a meeting, Richard aims and gets his cup in the precise centre of the basket and Sharron outdoes him by throwing hers inside his.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The leader of the people who save the Champions makes Richard promise that the Champions won't tell anyone about their powers because all the governments of the world will try to find their country and make war on them to get the power and technology for themselves.

Alternative Title(s): The Champions