Jason King (TV series)
|Created by||Dennis Spooner |
|Theme music composer||Laurie Johnson|
|Country of origin||UK|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||50 min.|
|Picture format||16 mm 4:3 Colour|
|Original run||15 September 1971 – 28 April 1972|
|Preceded by||Department S|
Jason King was a British television series produced from 1971 to 1972. Each episode was one hour in duration (including commercial breaks), and the series had a run of one season of 26 episodes. As well as its native UK, the series was also screened in countries as far afield as Australia, Norway, Argentina and Peru (where it was dubbed in Spanish). It was made in the UK by Lew Grade's production company, ITC.
The series has been released on DVD in Australia, the United States and Germany as well as its native UK..
 Series premise
The series featured the further adventures of the title character who had first appeared in Department S (1969). In that series he was a dilettante dandy and author working as part of a team of investigators. In Jason King he had left that service and was concentrating on writing adventure novels following the adventures of the fictional Mark Caine, [which the Jason King character was also writing about in Department S] who closely resembled Jason King in looks, manner, style, and personality. None of the other regular characters from Department S appeared in this series.
In the course of visiting international locations as part of his research, or through being summoned by people needing assistance, King would be frequently embroiled in adventure stories featuring glamorous women, exotic locations (for the era), menacing villains, political turmoil, or espionage intrigue.
The first episode depicted King's retelling of a Mark Caine novel to a television executive, alternating between King's interpretation of events, and the television executive's version. King's version showed style and class, while the executive's version featured added suspense, more cliches, and had the women in more revealing costumes. In the footage representing both men's vision of the novel adapted for the screen, Mark Caine was portrayed by Wyngarde.
Subsequent episodes featured Wyngarde playing King trying to write his novels and being hassled by his publisher Nicola Harvester about deadlines. King, however, was usually distracted by beautiful women and his real-life adventures and was sometimes tricked by Ryland of the British Government into assisting the Government in international political matters: all of which later found their way into the adventures of the fictional Mark Caine.
The series was created by Dennis Spooner and like its predecessor was made by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment production company (which had become successful with such series as The Saint and Danger Man), for ATV – Grade's broadcasting subsidiary of ITC.
In the X-Men comics, the character of Jason Wyngarde (aka Mastermind) was partially inspired by Jason King and Peter Wyngarde. Mastermind had first appeared in the 1960s, but took on the appearance and identity of Jason Wyngarde in the build-up to the X-Men's first confrontation with the Hellfire Club in the late 1970s. Wyngarde had played the leader of another Hellfire club in A Touch of Brimstone, an episode of the popular TV series The Avengers starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg, who appeared in a leather costume that Jean Grey adopted as the Hellfire Club's Black Queen .
Bill Bryson, in Notes from a Small Island (London: Doubleday, 1995) wrote: "The programme that unfolded on the television was called Jason King. If you're of a certain age and lacked a social life on Friday evenings in the early Seventies, you may recall that it involved a ridiculous rake in a poofy kaftan whom women unaccountably appeared to find alluring. I couldn't decide whether to take hope from this or be depressed by it. The most remarkable thing about the program was that, though I saw it only once more than twenty years ago, I have never lost the desire to work the fellow over with a baseball bat studded with nails."
The Two Ronnies performed a sketch entitled "Jason King" with Ronnie Corbett putting on all the airs and graces of King and Ronnie Barker playing a suspect in a murder investigation from their third series in 1973.
Jason King was also the basis for Jason Bentley, played by Peter Richardson in the 1993 Comic Strip Presents episode Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown. Wyngarde, interviewed on BBC TV when this episode was originally transmitted, was flattered by the affectionate parody, but insisted that Jason King would never have been seen dead in crushed velvet!
The character appeared in Episode 1 of Series 10 of Rab C Nesbitt in which he surfaces from inside an armoured vehicle outside the house of the character of the show where he's holding a government minister hostage. On being offered a shirt by Jason King of the type he (Jason) might wear by way of appeasement Rab decides it is time to call an end to the siege and says "When Jason King says 'Jump!', well, you say 'How high?'"
In the 1972 Malaysian comedy film Laksamana Do Re Mi, the characters remark on the villain Menteri Fasola's resemblance to Jason King. Most younger Malaysians have no idea who Jason King is and do not get the 1970s cultural reference.
Harry Enfield's Television Programme in 1992 also featured a sketch called 'The Playboys' which was heavily influenced by Jason King. In the spoof titles the actor portraying playboy 'Sam Moritz' was named as 'Jason Queen' (actually played by Harry Enfield).
- Peter Wyngarde – Jason King
 Repeat guest stars
- Anne Sharp – Nicola Harvester
- Ronald Lacey – Ryland
- Dennis Price – Sir Brian
- Richard Marner – Signor Czibor / Markovitch
- Anton Rodgers – Phillipe de Brion
 Selected quotes
- Jason King, ordering breakfast in a cafe: "A bit too early for coffee; I'll have a Scotch".
- After being held at gunpoint and given a plane ticket with orders to leave the country, Jason replies: "Thank you for your concern, but I never fly economy".
- Translation of dialog of Laksamana Do Re Mi.
- Jason King at the Internet Movie Database
- Paul Lewis, 2009: Review of the Network DVD release of the complete series. DVDCompare