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Jason King: Wanna Buy a Television Series

When Jason King sets out to sell a series of Mark Caine novels for television, he finds adventure isn't a saleable commodity.

Episode Info
Episode number: 1x1
Airdate: Wednesday September 15th, 1971

Guest Stars
Andre MaranneAndre Maranne
As Inspector Rosseau
Anna PalkAnna Palk
As Michele Andre
Anne AstonAnne Aston
As Nurse
David BauerDavid Bauer
As Harry Carmel
Derek FrancisDerek Francis
As Umberto Bellini
George InnesGeorge Innes
As Gerard
James Donnelly (1)James Donnelly (1)
As Frank Calder
James WarwickJames Warwick
As Litchfield
Nicholas CourtneyNicholas Courtney
As Dr. Straymam
Ronald CheneryRonald Chenery
As Kyriacou


Author Jason King (PETER WYNGARDE) decides that it is time his character Mark Caine reached a wider audience. It is time for Mark to venture on to the screens of the world's TV screens. The trouble is, trying to get Caine "on the box" is far harder affair than any of the adventures that Jason has ever dreamed up in his own private world of fiction.
The chief bugbear seems to be to get network controller Harry Carmel (DAVID BAUER) to listen to the story that's to introduce Caine without any interruption. Carmel wants the Mark Caine series to be just like all the others - but Mark Caine is far, far from being a carbon copy adventurer. Trying to interest Carmel in the series, King tells one story that shows the kind of intrigue that usually faces Caine ... The story starts with the release from prison of Frank Calder (JAMES DONNELLY), who promptly flies to Switzerland to team up with Litchfield (JAMES WARWICK), who has arranged that a strange operation should be performed in his mountain clinic. The arrival of Calder sees the completion of the operation, and the two men anxiously watch as doctors unwrap bandages from around an unknown girl's face. At last it is revealed that the operation has been a success.
The girl is an exact replica of Michele Andre, who died two years before in a mysterious fire. King's story to the television magnate continues. Michele (ANNA PALK) is taken to the South of France, where Calder and Lichfield arrange for her accidentally to meet Umberto Bellini (DEREK FRANCIS), known as a receiver of stolen property. They tell Bellini that Michele (or the girl who now plays the part) was the victim of an accident that nearly killed her. Now, she suffers from amnesia, and the last two years of her life are a mystery. Bellini, as expected, tells them that he had known Michele years before, but says that she had walked out on him. He had tried to find here, but she had disappeared from his life. King explains that all this time, Mark Caine is just an interested onlooker to the proceedings.
But there is something about the beautiful Michele that intrigues him. When an attempt is made on the girl's life - gas crystals are substituted for her bath salts - he determines to find out what is going on. He tricks Bellini into leaving France to make certain his 'business' is still alright, and follows. Calder and Lichfield, in turn, follow on.
The scene, as described by King, switches to Salamis, a small village near Athens, where things begin to reach a head. Bellini, it appears, resells most of the stolen property he buys, but there are certain items he keeps for his own private collection. They are worth millions. The riches are kept in an ancient Greek mausoleum, and it is there that everyone meets up. Needless to say, King arranges his story so that Mark Caine ends on top.
The villains are, as usual, defeated. While he has been telling the story, King has been getting more and more frustrated. Carmel has continually interrupted to insert small pieces of dialogue and action that will make the story exactly the same as any other on TV. Now that his hero has won the day, King determines to do the same. He stands, and pointedly tells Carmel that when the Mark Caine series does reach television, his audience ratings will drop. Caine, says Jason King, will be on another channel.

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