Simon Templar, otherwise known as the Saint. First created by Leslie Charteris in his 1928 novel, “Meet the Tiger”, was also the star, both of a series of feature films, and radio series in the late thirties, early forties, but it is the Roger Moore TV series that we are concerned with here.
The Saint, a kind of modern day Robin Hood, or Raffles, a gentleman, debonair charmer, not entirely honest, but always morally on the side of good. Taking the name of “The Saint”, from his initials ST, The Saint globetrotted around the world. He could turn up anywhere, at anytime, always at odds with the local law enforcement agencies.
The Saint tackled adversaries, so detached from their crimes, that no legal method could ever touch them. He went to the heart of the problem, the crooked financiers, drug dealers, gun runners, etc., those who reaped the financial rewards of crime, whilst never dirtying their hands. He of course, made sure he was well paid for his services, in dealing out justice. The Saint was the first in a new breed of modern hero, those who work outside the law, considering themselves above it.
The series first aired in the UK in 1962, and was an almost instant success. Roger Moore was perfectly cast as the suave, sophisticated Simon Templar. Initially the episodes were adaptations of the popular Saint novels, though in a slightly tamed down incarnation for the small screen. Moore’s Saint is a more likeable rogue, than the far more egotistical, aloof, Saint of the Charteris novels. The producers soon ran out of novels to adapt, so later episodes were entirely new stories written for the series.
In total 118 episodes were made between 1962 – 1969. The first 71 were produced in black and white, then with the sale of episodes to the American NBC Network, a further 47 colour episodes were made. Bamoore produced these later colour episodes, for ITC, a company co-owned by the series star Roger Moore.
One of the things most associated with the Saint of the sixties, were his wheels, in particular the white Volvo P1800, Reg. No ST1, a nice, discreet, inconspicuous little car. The car used for the series was especially flown in by Volvo, as no white models of the P1800 were in the country.