The film Callan came long after the television series. They have in common Edward Woodward’s excellent acting, and Russell Hunter’s memorable turn as Lonely. And they both have Callan’s dull cardigans and mufflers and his Hush Puppies, a silent comment on the lifestyle of a spy.
So yes, the film-makers tried to measure up; but they fell at the first hurdle, with the opening credits running over a touristy shot of London in colour and a jaunty musical theme. What were they thinking? Where is the lightbulb and the unmistakable, unforgettable signature tune? I expect the original credit sequence belonged to Thames TV, but the film producers should have paid any money for the right to use it. It’s a seal of authenticity. And more: it’s the lightbulb which transports you into the dark and complex moral labyrinth inhabited by Callan and the Section.