The Odd Man was Edward Boyd's offbeat suspense series that expertly mixed political intrigue, crime sleuthing and domestic disharmony, ran from 1962 to 1963, but spawned two other series; It's Dark Outside (1964 to 1965) and Mr. Rose (1967 to 1968).
The Odd Man followed five main characters -theatrical agent and part time sleuth Steve Gardiner (Edwin Richfield), his wife, Judy (Sarah Lawson), the dour Chief Inspector Gordon (Moultrie Kelsall), the amiable DS Swift (Keith Baron) and a mysterious villain named South (Christopher Guinee), as they became enmeshed in a seedy world of crime and intrigue, which led to Judy's murder at the hands of South.
Although each episode was written as a self-contained story the season had an overall thread as Steve Gardiner went in pursuit of his wife's killer. In season two CI Gordon made way for the rather unpleasant Chief Inspector Rose (William Mervyn) and actress Sarah Lawson returned, this time as Anne Braithwaite, the murdered girls twin sister.
The series appeared regularly in the top twenty viewing list, much of its success due to the chemistry between Keith Baron and William Mervyn and makers Granada Television were very quick to cash in on their popularity. Within six months of The Odd Man disappearing from our screens officers Rose and Swift reappeared in It's Dark Outside. This series maintained the same character traits for the two leads, a sort of tough cop, soft cop relationship. Joining them were barrister Anthony Brand (John Carson) and his journalist wife Alice (June Tobin). But this ensemble only lasted for one season and at its conclusion both the Brands and DS Swift departed for pastures new.
Season two introduced DS Hunter (future Doctor Who villain Anthony Ainley), his girlfriend, Claire (Veronica Strong) and her reporter friend, Fred Blaine (John Stratton). Playing the part of, Sebastian, a tearaway ringleader of a group of young juvenile delinquents, was a young Oliver Reed. The series theme song "Where Are You Now (My Love)" became a chart topping hit for Jackie Trent in 1965. Interviewed during season one, actor William Mervyn said of his character: "He's not such a bad old thing really, you know. Quite a jolly fellow at heart."
There was indeed a noticeable mellowing of the hitherto supercilious character that Mervyn portrayed and by the time he had moved on to his third series, Mr Rose, in 1967, it was a more diplomatic and peaceful Charles Rose that the viewers encountered.
Mr Rose's newfound composure might have had something to do with his early retirement from the Police Force to a quiet little cottage in Eastbourne, which he could afford after receiving an inheritance from two maiden aunts. In any event, he could now concentrate on writing his memoirs based on the many case papers that he had kept during his career on the Force. However, after a career of crime solving retirement became boring in comparison and Mr Rose was soon on the scent of villainy once more although this time as a sleuth in civilian clothing. Aiding and abetting him in his Holmesian-like pursuits were his manservant, John Halifax (Donald Webster), secretary Druisilla Lamb (Gillian Lewis) and, in the last series Jessica Dalton (Jennifer Clulow) and Robert Trent (Eric Woolfe).
Mr Rose was finally retired from our screens in 1968.
Published on January 9th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus (22 June 2003) for Television Heaven.