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Callan Uncovered

By James Mitchell.

Volume 1

Callan Uncovever scan

Publisher: Ostara Publishing
Pages: 284
eBook edition ISBN: 978-1-909619-14-2
Hardback edition ISBN: 978-1-909619-13-5
Size: 216 x 140
Price: £ 12.99
Release Date: October 2014

A 'must read' for all fans of the iconic television series Callan. The first-ever compilation of the Callan short stories written by creator James Mitchell between 1967 and 1976, never published in book form before. Callan Uncovered also includes a Mitchell Outline Treatment for a Callan episode and a previously unseen full-length script - Goodbye Mary Lee - which was never filmed. Edited by Mike Ripley, with a special introduction by James Mitchell's son and literary executor, Peter.

Contents

Preface 7
Introduction by Peter Mitchell 9
A Funeral Has Been Arranged and Will Shortly Take Place (Treatment)15
Merry Christmas from the Section 19
File on a Deadly Deadshot 23
File on an Angry Artist 30
File on a Reckless Rider 37
File on a Weeping Widow 45
File on an Angry Actor 53
File on a Lucky Lady 60
File on a Dancing Decoy 68
File on a Deadly Diary 76
File on a Classy Club 85
File on a Fearsome Farm 95
File on a Careful Cowboy 103
File on a Doomed Defector 112
File on a Pining Poet 122
File on a Powerful Picador 131
File on a Difficult Don 140
File on a Darling Daughter 150
File on an Awesome Amateur 162
File on a Joyous Juliet 173
File on a Mourning Mother 185
File on an Angry American 197
File on a Deadly Don 209
File on a Tired Traitor 218
File on a Harassed Hunter 228
File on a Beautiful Boxer 237
Goodbye Mary Lee (Script) 247

Read an essay about the search for the short stories and background to James Mitchell's writings on the Ostara Publishing website.

Volume 2

Callan Uncovever scan Following the success of the first anthology of James Mitchell's 'Callan' short stories in 2014, Ostara Originals now publishes more 'missing files' in Callan Uncovered 2, featuring 15 short stories not seen for over 40 years, a special 'Get Callan' feature written by James Mitchell for the TV Times, and two reconstructed scripts from 'lost' television episodes of which no recordings are known to survive.

With the help of dedicated fans of the iconic character and the legendary television show, Ostara editor Mike Ripley has tracked down 15 previously uncollected stories from 1970-72. Already a hit on British television thanks to the charismatic performance by the late Edward Woodward in the title role, on 20th September 1970 the Sunday Express announced the launch of what became known as its regular 'Callan Casebook' feature:

Callan, the cynical, enigmatic agent in the rumpled raincoat, has won an enormous following among television viewers. Now Callan appears in a new medium - in a series of stories specially written for the Sunday Express by the author of the television series.

The 'Callan Casebook' stories continued to run until 1976 in the Sunday Express and many were syndicated to newspapers in Singapore and Australia. In two volumes of Callan Uncovered, Ostara has now published 40 of James Mitchell's stories, but editor Mike Ripley fights shy of claiming they have the complete collection, saying: It would not surprise me at all if more stories turned up - with Callan, you just never know.

the stories in this collection are:

File on the Happy Hippy (20th September 1970)
File on a Faithful Husband (27th September 1970)
File on a Loving Sister (4th October 1970)
File on a Painless Dentist (11th October 1970)
File on a Fancy Lawyer (18th October 1970)
File on a Chinese Hostess (8th August 1971)
File on a Willing Victim (15th August 1971)
File on a Kindly Colonel (22nd August 1971)
File on a Chelsea Swinger (29th August 1971)
File on a Missing Poet (5th September 1971)
File on a Friendly Lady (23rd April 1972)
File on a Jolly Miller (30th April 1972)
File on a Deadly Doctor (7th May 1972)
File on a Man Called Callan (14th May 1972)
File on a Gaelic Charmer (21st May 1972)

In addition to the newly uncovered stories, two James Mitchell scripts from 'lost' black-and-white episodes have been reconstructed from technical 'camera' scripts ('shooting scripts') used during recordings at ABC TV's Teddington Lock Studios. Goodness Burns Too Bright was broadcast as Episode 4 of Season 1 of Callan on 29th July 1967 and Blackmailers Should Be Discouraged was Episode 8 of Season 2, broadcast on 26th February 1969.

Daza's review

Daza's pictureAlmost 50 years after Callan hit the small screen fans of the series really are being spoilt by Ostara who give us a second collection of James Mitchell's Callan short stories; crisp and sharp tales of violence, deception, regret, and ruin. The briefness of the stories mean most characters remain very plainly drawn, and in these early stories, which were originally published before those in Volume 1, it is only when Lonely appears that the writing comes to life with the character's humorous and colourful turn of phrase.

Similarly very little background is on display in the short stories apart from a poignant detail we get from Lonely's childhood experience as an evacuee. Callan himself remains a blunt instrument in the short tales; sure he's the narrative engine, but for the most part the plots remain focused on the jobs at hand.

It in the other content that we see more of Callan's background and psychology; Get Callan, a collection of biographical from his Section file fill in a few details and occasionally Mitchell brings the text to life voices of the characters 'writing' the reports comes through, such as the cautious and clinical comments from the psychologist Snell, and a more colourful character sketch from the Armourer.

The two scripts presented here are the key documents in the collection and to the overall career of Callan, highlighting the tragedy that the original productions would appear to have been lost to viewers due to either poor archive management or the financial necessity of re-using video tape back in the late 60s and early 70s. This loss is mostly structural in the case of Goodness Burns Too Bright with the plot helping explain the transition between the end of the pilot episode Magnum for Schneider, which saw Callan seemingly burning his bridges with the section and ending up in a red file, and the surviving episodes of series one where Callan appears as a full member of the section. This episode sports a bolder villain than most in the series with Bauer driven to revenge and losing sight of the mission in stark contrast to the more contained Callan.

The second episode here, Blackmailers should be Discouraged from series two, is a more full blooded episode shoot through with the moral decay of the Section with a cast of flawed characters immersed in betrayal, greed, and self deception. Their suffering at the hands of the righteous has a strong emotional impact, and the script is a prime example of Mitchell's interest in espionage as a pressure cooker for character studies, not just an arena for spycraft and violence.

This anthology is a cracking good read for those looking for short and sharp tales of espionage, and as with Volume 1 it is an essential volume for any fan of the series who wants all the Callan that can be had. Fingers crossed for a Volume 3....

Pages: 190
ISBN:978-1-909619-23-4
Size: 216 X 140
Price: £ 10.99
eBook edition ISBN: 978-1-909619-23-4
Hardback edition ISBN: 978-1-909619-24-1