The Radio Times has reported that ITV might be resurrecting Leslie Charteris’ the Saint for a new series in 2016.
‘There is a post-Breaking Bad appetite for morally grey characters,’ says writer Ed Whitmore, who has previously worked on Waking the Dead, CSI, Sea of Souls, Silent Witness and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, as well as Arthur and George, the forthcoming Arthur Conan Doyle drama. ‘Simon Templar is a kind of Robin Hood figure, he’s timeless.’
Whitmore’s co-writer Chris Lunt spoke about the new series last year, saying it will ‘have a very British feel’ and will be ‘shot half in the UK and Europe and half globally’.
In 2013, Adam Rayner played the Saint for a pilot (see clip here) but it was shelved. In the same interview, Lunt said: ‘It’s the same company that made it last year, but it was a bit of a flop, it was a bit too Americanised so they’re starting again from scratch.’
I never managed to warm to the Saint books, but the series might be good fun.
There is an interesting interview with the Edgar Award-winning Ed Whitmore at the BBC Writer’s Room, which talks about The Day of the Jackal effect, suggesting to me that he might focus on the Saint’s tricks of the trade…
And yet it’s one of the most riveting thrillers ever written because Forsyth shines a light on such a compelling, exotic, closed-off world – the working life of an international assassin. There are whole pages on how one acquires a passport in a false name etc. that hold the reader because we sense the writer has done his research and we want to see and learn how it’s done.