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DAVID CALLAN

Callan1 callan5 callan_bk_u Callan4 callan_mv2 callan_mv1 Callan3 Callan2 callan7
 
Full Name: David Callan
Nationality: British
Organization: The Section
Occupation Agent

Creator: James Mitchell
Time Span: 1967 - 2015

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Callan is an assassin working for British Intelligence.
       The actual agency for which he works is a small one in the Intel community known only as the Section. It is run by a man known as Hunter, more of a title for the head of the Section than an actual name. The Section's job is to remove those posing a threat to Britain's security, be it through extortion, arrest, or death. Callan's job is the killing part and he has been the best they've had.
       As the series opens, Callan has been away for many months, sacked by Hunter for being too interested in the why of someone's death than the how or when. Working as a bookkeeper for a man who doesn't like him has had its toll on Callan so when Hunter calls him back, he is ready to answer. Not eager, perhaps, as he still dislikes his profession, but ready.
       Callan is described by Hunter as a cold-blooded killer and in many regards that is the truth but Callan may dispatch quickly and cleanly when the time comes, he definitely does not like it, hence his annoying (to Hunter) habit of making sure that the target deserves being removed. This reticence means an assignment often takes longer than his boss would like but once Callan knows the killing is justified, it happens.
       Like many in his profession, Callan is a loner. He has no steady love interest and very few friends, if any. He has very little contact with his fellows at the Section. Since he is also not a heavy drinker nor a gambler nor a womanizer, it is very hard for his distractors to find anything wrong with him but his perceived cold personality. This, though, is despite the fact that Callan can see the humor in far more than his workmates, albeit with a good deal more cynisism.
       The one steady companion that Callan has, if that is the proper word, is Lonely, a mousey incredibly skittish member of the underworld who is never brave enough to make anything of himself, even illegally, but who is as ubiquitous as can be. Hence Lonely knows far more than most people would imagine and is an excellent source of information for Callan, as well as being able to come up with the odd gun or bug or whatever the operative is needing.
       It would be obvious to any paying close enough attention that Callan has some strange affection for Lonely, despite the fact that the meek little man perpetually has a foul odor about him. Lonely likewise probably would admit liking Callan if he was not so totally in fear of the man. This fear is perpetrated by Callan to force Lonely in doing whatever Callan needed.
       Callan knows enough about himself to admit he is not a very nice man but with his own set of morals, he also knows that despite his killing people for a living, he is still basically a good man.

BOOKS

Number of Books:7
First Appearance:1969
Last Appearance:2015

       After a quite successful run with his creation Callan, first as a teleplay and then as a weekly series, James Mitchell was obviously not finished with the character. This was understandable because Callan was an intriguing and interesting man, especially well played on the small screen by Edward Woodward. The author looked around for other ways to make use of the unhappy assassin and luckily for us readers, he found it.
       Taking the teleplay he had written for what amounted to the pilot for the tv series, A Magnum for Schneider, he would expand on the character and fill him out considerably without changing the man from the operative that had been so popular. He created the first book which came out as the second season was drawing to a close.
       The show would go on for two more seasons, one fairly short and the second a good length but it eventually concluded in 1972. The next year, Mitchell kept the character going with the second of his eventual four books. The third and the last came out in successive years.
       While Callan would come back a few years later for one final adventure, this time in another movie, there were no more printed novels.

1 Red File For Callan Red File For Callan
aka A Magnum For Schneider and Callan
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1969

David Callan is pulled back into the Section to take care of an arms dealer named Schneider. He is also being set up to take the fall for the murder but people forget how good Callan really is.
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2 Russian Roulette Russian Roulette
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1973

To get back a top agent held by the KGB, Hunter has made a deal - no gun for David Callan. This meant that he was fair game to any who wanted him dead and 3 KGB top guns were headed to London.
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3 Death And Bright Water Death And Bright Water
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1974

A woman wants her daughter kidnapped from the man she was with in Crete. David Callan, out of the Section now and needing works, doesn't want the job but his old boss, Hunter, insists.
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4 Smear Job Smear Job
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1975

Hunter asked David Callan to come back to do two simple jobs. The first was to break into a library and steal a book. Unfortunately, it was in Sicily. The other was to make sure a gambler lost a fortune at cards. Since Callan didn't play cards that much, it was more of a challenge.
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5 Bonfire Night Bonfire Night
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 2002

Callan learns that someone is out to kill him. While he does not yet know who ordered the hit, he knows the hitman, an East German named Voss who was his torturer during a time before the Wall fell.
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6 Callan Uncovered Callan Uncovered
Written by James Mitchell, Mike Ripley
Copyright: 2014

Edited by Mike Ripley. Collection of many of the Callan short stories written over the years:
Merry Christmas from the Section
File on a Deadly Deadshot
File on an Angry Artist
File on a Reckless Rider
File on a Weeping Widow
File on an Angry Actor
File on a Lucky Lady
File on a Dancing Decoy
File on a Deadly Diary
File on a Classy Club
File on a Fearsome Farm
File on a Careful Cowboy
File on a Doomed Defector
File on a Pining Poet
File on a Powerful Picador
File on a Difficult Don
File on a Darling Daughter
File on an Awesome Amateur
File on a Joyous Juliet
File on a Mourning Mother
File on an Angry American
File on a Deadly Don
File on a Tired Traitor
File on a Harassed Hunter
File on a Beautyful Boxer
Also contains a screenplay for an episode never produced, Goodbye Mary Lee, and the Outline treatment for another episode, A Funeral Has Been Arranged and Will Shortly Take Place.
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7 Callan Uncovered 2 Callan Uncovered 2
Written by James Mitchell, Mike Ripley
Copyright: 2015

Edited by Mike Ripley. Collection of many more Callan short stories written over the years, including the first ones published:
File on the Happy Hippy
File on a Faithful Husband
File on a Loving Sister
File on a Painless Dentist
File on a Fancy Lawyer
File on a Chinese Hostess
File on a Willing Victim
File on a Kindly Colonel
File on a Chelsea Swinger
File on a Missing Poet
File on a Friendly Lady
File on a Jolly Miller
File on a Deadly Doctor
File on a Man Called Callan
File on a Gallic Charmer
Also included are scripts from two early episodes of the television show for which no recordings are available:
Goodness Burns Too Bright
Blackmailers Should Be Discouraged
And a "secret" file for the TV Times giving fascinating data on Callan.
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:40
First Appearance:1967
Last Appearance:1976

       The numerous short stories that Callan creator James Mitchell produced came in several spurts.
       In 1967, the British television directory magazine TV Times put out an extra Christmas special for which Mitchell was asked to come up with a story, which considering Callan was a government assassin might seem incongruous with the season.
       Three years later, the British newspaper Sunday Express published stories during five consecutive weekends in September/October of 1970.
       It would repeat this pattern of sets of weekly stories over the next few years with five in the summer of '71, five in the spring of '72, 4 in the spring of '73, 3 in the early summer of '74 and 3 more in the fall of that year, 5 in the summer of '75, 5 in the winter of '76, and finally 4 in the summer of '76.
       I first learned of some of these by finding the Michael J Bird website where he made available for download pdf scans. I enjoyed them a great deal.
       A couple of years later, Mike Ripley of Ostara Publishing (a man I proudly call my friend), along with James Mitchell's son, Peter, compiled these and a few more they had found into the collection Callan Uncovered. Subsequently, they learned of even more stories and were kind enough to release a second collection titled Callan Uncovered 2.

1 Merry Christmas from the Section Merry Christmas from the Section
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1967

Originally published in the TV Times - Henderson was a Section man until he went over to the Russians and after giving them several names of men who were then killed. Hunter had him tracked down and Callan had one night to take him out before he disappeared behind the Iron Curtain. Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

2 File on the Happy Hippy File on the Happy Hippy
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1970

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 09/20/1970 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

3 File on a Faithful Husband File on a Faithful Husband
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1970

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 09/27/1970 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

4 File on a Loving Sister File on a Loving Sister
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1970

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 10/04/1970 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

5 File on a Painless Dentist File on a Painless Dentist
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1970

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 10/11/1970 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

6 File on a Fancy Lawyer File on a Fancy Lawyer
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1970

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 10/18/1970 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

7 File on a Chinese Hostess File on a Chinese Hostess
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1971

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/08/1971 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

8 File on a Willing Victim File on a Willing Victim
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1971

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/15/1971 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

9 File on a Kindly Colonel File on a Kindly Colonel
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1971

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/22/1971 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

10 File on a Chelsea Swinger File on a Chelsea Swinger
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1971

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/29/1971 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

11 File on a Missing Poet File on a Missing Poet
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1971

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 09/05/1971 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

12 File on a Friendly Lady File on a Friendly Lady
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1972

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 04/23/1972 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

13 File on a Jolly Miller File on a Jolly Miller
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1972

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 04/30/1972 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

14 File on a Deadly Doctor File on a Deadly Doctor
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1972

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 05/07/1972 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

15 File on a Man Called Callan File on a Man Called Callan
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1972

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 05/14/1972 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

16 File on a Gallic Charmer File on a Gallic Charmer
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1972

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 05/21/1972 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered 2.

17 File On A Deadly Deadshot File On A Deadly Deadshot
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1973

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 03/11/1973 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

18 File On An Angry Artist File On An Angry Artist
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1973

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 03/18/1973 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

19 File On A Reckless Rider File On A Reckless Rider
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1973

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 03/25/1973 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

20 File On A Weeping Widow File On A Weeping Widow
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1973

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 04/01/1973 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

21 File On An Angry Actor File On An Angry Actor
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1974

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 05/26/1974 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

22 File On A Lucky Lady File On A Lucky Lady
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1974

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 06/02/1974 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

23 File On A Dancing Decoy File On A Dancing Decoy
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1974

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 06/09/1974 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

24 File On A Deadly Diary File On A Deadly Diary
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1974

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 10/06/1974 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

25 File On A Classy Club File On A Classy Club
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1974

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 10/13/1974 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

26 File On A Fearsome Farm File On A Fearsome Farm
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1974

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 10/20/1974 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

27 File On A Careful Cowboy File On A Careful Cowboy
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1975

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 07/27/1975 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

28 File On A Doomed Defector File On A Doomed Defector
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1975

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/03/1975 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

29 File On A Difficult Don File On A Difficult Don
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1975

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/24/1975 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

30 File On A Pining Poet File On A Pining Poet
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1975

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/10/1975 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

31 File On A Powerful Picador File On A Powerful Picador
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1975

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/17/1975 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

32 File On A Darling Daughter File On A Darling Daughter
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 02/01/1976 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

33 File On An Awesome Amateur File On An Awesome Amateur
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 02/08/1976 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

34 File On A Joyous Juliet File On A Joyous Juliet
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 02/15/1976 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

35 File On A Mourning Mother File On A Mourning Mother
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 02/22/1976 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

36 File On An Angry American File On An Angry American
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 02/29/1976 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

37 File On A Deadly Don File On A Deadly Don
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/15/1976 - Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

38 File On A Tired Traitor File On A Tired Traitor
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/22/1976 - A man who betrayed Britain more than two decades before has been located in southern Spain and Callan is sent to bring him back or eliminate him. Before he even leaves, though, someone tries to stop him in the most definite of methods. Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

39 File On A Harassed Hunter File On A Harassed Hunter
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 08/29/1976 - It is normal for Hunter to tell Callan to find and eliminate so-and-so and then sit back and wait for the word it is done. This time he travels to northern England on a hit to make sure he sees the body in person. Callan knew it meant trouble, especially when he learns the target had killed Hunter's daughter. Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

40 File On A Beautiful Boxer File On A Beautiful Boxer
short story
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 1976

Originally published in the Sunday Express, 09/05/1976 - Callan is used to being given a file and told to eliminate someone. This time the order is to keep the Israelis from killing him. It is only a two or three day assignments but determined assassins can try a lot in that period. Contained in the collection Callan Uncovered

MOVIES

Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1974
Last Appearance:1981

       Two years after the show left the small screen, the creator and writer of the series, James Mitchell, decided a remake of the original show, done in color and expanded to better tell the story, was in order. The original episode had been A Magnum for Schneider and a few listings of the movie used the same name but for the most part, the movie was just named Callan.

       Another seven years would pass before James Mitchell would again knock on actor Edward Woodward's door to invite him to take up the Callan role for yet another adventure, this time a one-off taking place several years after the character Callan had retired. Callan learns from the newest Hunter that retirement is not an actual thing but just a thought and there is one more little job that needs doing.

1 Callan, The Movie Callan, The Movie
Also known as A Magnum for Schneider
Released: 1974

Callan is called back to work to take care of a gun runner who has been smuggling in Magnums and selling them to terrorists. Reluctantly Callan accepts the assignment and decides using such a weapon on the target was appropriate so he seeks his pal Lonely to get one.

2 Wet Job Wet Job
Released: 1981

Living a very quiet life as the owner and operator of a military memorabilia shop, Callan is surprised when the latest Hunter comes to call telling him he is needed for one more job. This one is close to home for the target is a man writing a tell-all book about the Department, naming Callan as a killer.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:44
First Appearance:1967
Last Appearance:1972
Network:ITV (UK)

REGULAR CAST
Edward WoodwardCallan [ 1-4 ]
Russell HunterLonely [ 1-4 ]
Ronald RaddHunter [ 1 ]
Michael GoodliffeHunter [ 2a ]
Derek BondHunter [ 2b ]
William SquireHunter [ 3-4 ]
Anthony ValentineTobey Meres [ 1-2,4 ]
Patrick MowerJames Cross [ 3 ]

       In February of 1967 a television show called Armchair Theatre provided Britain with weekly tv plays, each one unconnect to the other much like the movie-of-the-week concept in the States. One such episode was A Magnum for Schneider written by experienced screenwriter and producer, James Mitchell. It was not intended necessarily to be a pilot and at the end it looked like the main character was set to be eliminated by his own department. Public reaction was quite favorable, however, and the production company was asked for an additional set of six episodes.
       Still popular, Callan was extended for another set of 15 episodes though it would be nearly 18 months from the airing of the last set to the first of this new group. These, too, were well received but at the end of this lot, it was still undecided whether to continue and there were even two different endings to the season finale, one in which the character would die, ending the show literally with a bang.
       Callan would not, however, go meekly and a year later he came back with 9 adventures followed by another 13 episodes a year and a half later. This time when the season came to a close, the show ended for good albeit without the drama of killing off the main character.
       While Edward Woodward would continue throughout the series run as the main character and Russell Hunter would play his skittish, off-smelling underworld contact, Lonely, the role of the head of the Department, a man named Hunter, would be played by different people at different times. This was explained by letting the viewers know that the name 'Hunter' was not really a name but a title given to the head of the branch. As one died or retired or moved on, the next man in the position would assume the name along with the desk, making the changing of name plate unneccesary.
       Two other characters of note are Tobey Meres and James Cross, fellow agents to Callan, often friendly and often antagonistic and almost always competitive. Callan both likes and tolerates them but would seldom go out for drinks with either.

       Fans can watch the episodes of Callan by purchasing two DVD sets. The first is called The Monochrome Years and, according to Amazon, has all 21 episodes from the first two seasons (this despite the fact that several have been reported as lost forever AND user comments on the selling page indicate that they are not present). Seasons 3 and 4 are collected in The Colour Years.

GAMES

Number of Games:1
First Appearance:1969
Last Appearance:1969

1 QUIZMASTER - How Much Do You Know About Secret Agents? QUIZMASTER - How Much Do You Know About Secret Agents?
Quiz
Thorpe & Porter
Copyright: 1969

From the pages of Super DC No. 5 printing in the UK. Name who the agents mentioned get there order from.

REFERENCE BOOKS

Number of Books:1
First Appearance:2016
Last Appearance:2016

1 The Callan File: The Definitive Guide The Callan File: The Definitive Guide
Written by James Mitchell
Copyright: 2016

-

MY COMMENTS

       Mr. Mitchell gave the spy-fi community two excellent agents; Callan and Craig (written as James Munro). I thank the man sincerely for both. There are obvious similarities in both men as they are both killers for British Intelligence, but there are far away enough differences to make them both uniquely interesting.
       I recommend both. Craig might be a bit more interesting, albeit less consistent in his life. Callan, however, is a great example of a man who is very good at doing something he very much would rather not.
       The television show from which the books eventually came was every bit as gray and dismal in atmosphere as the novels but they sure were fun and Edward Woodward can make anything better.

GRADE

My Grade: A+

Your Average Grade:   A+

YOUR OPINIONS

David A+ 4/19/2014 7:20:06 PM

I was a bigger fan of Mitchell's John Craig series under the Munro by-line, but enjoyed these and certainly the tough minded Callan and the bleak world his adventures were set in. All in all one of the few tough series that felt genuinely that way and not merely a pose.


Alan47 A+ 3/14/2016 11:59:07 AM

I adored the TV series. The only book I remember from that time was "Red File for Callan". I have now read all except the last two (which I have on order. Great books and for those who lived in the 70's, great nostalgia.


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