callan-under-the-red-file-book-Regular readers of this blog will know what big fans we are of anti-establishment hero David Callan, the dyspeptic secret agent created for television by James Mitchell and played to perfection by Edward Woodward. I have previously posted about the character several times (just click here if you want proof).

The character would ultimately appear in four series on TV, a feature film, a re-union TV-movie and dozens of short stories and novels. Now there is a new book about the show by über TV historian Andrew Pixley.

Here is part of the blurb:

Nearly ten years in the writing, Callan: Under the Red File has been a labour of love for both Network and the book’s author, Andrew Pixley … This exhaustive book is the definitive look at the creation, production, broadcast and reception of all four series. From its conception as a one-off BBC play, through its development by ABC Television, its success as one of Thames Television’s highest-rated programmes, its subsequent ATV revival and its expansion into novels, short stories and movies – this single volume covers every aspect of James Mitchell’s most successful creation.

These are exciting times for fans of Callan – all the extant TV episodes are available on DVD from all good shops (and in fact currently on sale from Network – click here) – a new documentary about the show is also due out soon and a new collection of short stories by Mitchell featuring the character are due from Mike Ripley at Ostara, a follow-up to his terrific previous collection, Callan Uncovered, which I previously reviewed here.

A new book on the series is also due later this year, The Callan File by Robert Fairclough & Mike Kenwood – for further details, visit the publisher’s website at:

Andrew Pixley’s new guide to the series is now available from Network, who also distribute all the episodes of Callan on DVD. For  more details, click here.


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14 Responses to CALLAN: UNDER THE RED FILE by Andrew Pixley

  1. Colin says:

    Saw this mentioned on Roobarbs and seems to be well received. Pixley is of course familiar to me mainly for his contributions to various Network releases over the years.

    • I’ve got quite a few of his reference books (his one on The Goodies in scarily comprehensive) and we have chatted on the phone a few times and seems like a very nice guy indeed. He was one of the first to really try and pin down what episodes of Doctor Who were extant in the archives and originated a lot of important primary info at a time when nobody else was really bothering. Have you watched any episodes of the show yet?

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    This is very good news, Sergio. I like it when these classics are given new leases on life.

  3. tracybham says:

    Still haven’t sampled any of the shows, but I hope to soon.

  4. Oh we all used to watch Callan together in our family (is that weird? – us kids were quite young!) and enjoyed it very much. That swinging light bulb at the beginning, and was the sidekick called Lonely?

    • That’s right, Callan’s malodorous friend was Lonely while his arch-rival in the section was first Meres (Anthony Valentine) and then Cross (Patrick Mower) while ‘Hunter’ was the boss – brilliantly dark stuff.

  5. Sergio, I haven’t seen the David Callan series on television or in film but I’m quite certain I have caught Edward Woodward in more than one film though I can’t put a finger on it. His body of work is very impressive.

    • Thanks Prashant. Woofward was a terrific actor (sadly no longer with us), very versatile (comedy and drama) and also a terrific singer. He co-starred in Breaker Morant but most people remember his as the star of The Equalizer on TV, which was really Callan relocated to the US. You can watch an episode of Callan online here:

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