The Return Of The Saint, 1978

An often forgotten piece of cult TV and the successor to the popular Roger Moore 1960’s TV series.

During the 1970’s there were many big budget high action TV Dramas, some of which were updated versions of original shows from the previous decade.  However, The Return Of The Saint was slightly different, in that whilst it presented the viewer with an up to date version of the original, unlike it’s predecessor it did not rely on adapted storylines from the original novels.

Whilst the original might have been based around the world it was for the most part filmed in British studios.  For The Return Of The Saint filming took place on location throughout Europe

In his book, history of The Saint, Burl Barer says the series was originally conceived as Son of the Saint, with Ogilvy’s character identified as the offspring of Simon Templar.  As production neared, it was decided to drop the relative angle and make the series about the original character, albeit updated to the late 1970s.

The series ran for twenty four episodes between 1978 and 1979, usually going out on a Sunday night.  Unconfirmed rumours suggest that it’s short time on air was that it suffered the same fete as another TV re-make, The New Avengers, in that it was too expensive to make.  However it does still pop up on the ITV3 schedules now and again and is worth another look.

Ian Ogilvy became very popular as a result of the series and by the early 1980’s was being tipped as the next James Bond.  He never got the role.

The Car’s The Star

A decade and a half before, Jaguar had turned down the producers of the earlier Saint series when approached about the E-type; the producers had instead used a Volvo P1800.

In Return of the Saint Jaguar seized upon the promotional opportunities offered by the series and Simon Templar drives an early XJ-S with the number plate “ST 1”.  Miniature toy versions were made by Corgi and proved popular.

Lasting Legacy

It’s testament to the popularity of The Saint franchise that Return was not the last we would hear from Mr Templar.  In 1989 Simon Dutton took up the role in a series of TV movies.  In 1997, Val Kilmer grabbed the halo and took The Saint to the big screen.  Several attempts have been made since to bring the series back to out TV screens but nothing has materialised to date.


Ian Ogilvy as Templar, an independently wealthy, somewhat mysterious “do-gooder” known as “The Saint”. Templar is shown travelling around Britain and Europe, helping out the people he encounters, though he is also often summoned by past acquaintances.







Ian Ogilvy


Channel: ITV
Created By: Leslie Charteris
Original Transmission Dates: 10th September, 1978 – 11th March, 1979



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