Virgin of the Secret Service

1968 | United Kingdom

Welsh-born Clinton Greyn played the very English agent Captain Robert Virgin of the Royal Dragoons, who was intent on defending the British Empire, or what little remained of it, on behalf of the British Secret Service. But for 007 read 1907 as the series was set in a time when it was "not quite the thing" to have spies working for you - even if they were both an officer and a gentleman. 

Greyn had previously gone to Loughborough College to study for a B.Sc. but resigned after a year when he realised he was doing more acting than studying. He took himself off to R.A.D.A., where his fellow pupils included Diana Rigg and Albert Finney. As Captain Virgin he was accompanied by Col. Shaw-Camberley played by Noel Coleman and Mrs Virginia Cortez (Veronica Strong), one of the Edwardian women who used emancipation to become a photographer. The glamorous lady was (fictionally) a well known figure in London society of the early 1900s. Diplomats, statesmen and royalty visited her studio - and often uttered useful indiscretions during their sittings. Then there was the faithful Fred Doublett (John Cater). He was Virgin's batman, an amateur escapologist, expert at picking locks and a man who enjoyed a bet or two. Finally, there was Karl Von Brauner, Virgin's constant enemy (Alexander Dore). Brauner is cruel, ruthless, indefatigable, brilliant and ingenious and a worthy match to his opponent. But unlike Virgin, he would descend to lies and all manner of ungentlemanly conduct to attain his objectives. But then again, he wasn't British, was he? Nothing was too much for Virgin, whether it be travelling by balloon to the North-West Frontier in a bid to outwit an old adversary and save India and the Empire, crossing the burning sands of Arabia alone, to meet a cruel usurper face to face or travelling to St. Petersburg to face a web of villainy. 

Guest stars - villains and heroes - included Desmond Llewelyn, Gabrielle Drake, Jenny Linden, Roger Delgado, Rodney Bewes and John Challis. 

Published on February 11th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus (April 2008 - based on original TV Times articles) for Television Heaven.