Scott_Spider2 Scott_Spider6 Scott_Spider3 Scott_Spider1 Scott_Spider5 Scott_Spider4 Scott_Spider8 Scott_Spider7
Full Name: William 'Spider' Scott
Series Name: The XYY Man
Nationality: British
Organization: MI5
Occupation Agent

Creator: Kenneth Royce
Time Span: 1970 - 1986


Spider Scott is an agent with MI-5.

Together with his younger brother, Spider Scott was on his own from a fairly early age. It was at this young period in his life that he is 'nicked' and sent away for the first of three different stretches behind bars. As a juvenile, however, he wasn't in for long.

Reaching maturity, though, did not stop the propensity for thievery and Spider became quite an accomplished second-story man. Nevertheless, he did not pick his associates as well as his targets and he soon did another short stretch. It was during this period behind bars that the doctors realized the presence of the extra chromosome and Spider found himself having to deal with snoopy doctors intent on studying him in addition to the normal unpleasant jailers.

Upon his release, Spider resumed his chosen profession. He was good at it. He liked it. It seemed the thing to do. For a few years, it certainly did well for him but once again he did not pick those with whom he dealt too carefully and this time it cost him five years behind the bars of the toughest prison in Britain.

Finally, getting out of this much-despised establishment, Spider Scott vowed he would never go back. Even if it meant finally going straight!

While Scott got into trouble from the beginning with the law, he did so with a very strict set of rules that made him popular with both the cops and the robbers.

First and foremost, Spider did not 'grass'. No matter the provocation or how it might benefit him to spill what he knew, the idea of snitching was anathema. This would cause him trouble during the chronicled adventures when there would be several times speaking up would have saved a lot of anguish but he almost always held to the belief that grassing was wrong.

Secondly, he abhorred violence and would have leave a site alone than risk the chance of an altercation. As the time dealing with MI-5 (then called DI-5) passed, his need to defend himself increased but his hatred of it never wavered.

After the first five books were published, in 1976, the series was turned into a television three-part series on Britain's Granada TV. Stephen Yardley played Scott. It did well enough to get another ten episodes the following year.

This series has the unique distinction of having created a spin-off greater in popularity, at least on television, than the original. One of the characters in both the book and the TV show was an offensive police detective named Bulman. While important to the flow of the book, he was by no means the main part of the story. Still, he proved interesting to producers and viewers and two years later returned to the screen as one of the main characters in the series Strangers, a show in which Bulman and others are transferred to a police squad in northern England where they would be strangers to the opposition. The character was made considerably softer, easier to deal with, and a whole lot quirkier. This show lasted 32 episodes over 5 years, averaging 6 shows per season. The last show was aired in October of 1982. After another hiatus, Bulman returned to television as a man who has left the police department to become a clockmaker and part-time private detective. The man is even nicer than before, truly mellowing with age, and the show has a slower pace than the others. It lasted 20 episodes from 1985-1987. Interestingly, the activities of Bulman in the books #6 and #7, written during the hiatus between Strangers and Bulman, seem to have acted like a bridge in timing and in character development.

At the same time the series with Bulman the private eye was starting, the author brought the original character, Scott, back in two new adventures.


Number of Books:8
First Appearance:1970
Last Appearance:1986

1 The XYY Man The XYY Man
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1970

Spider Scott is pressured into pulling job for MI-5. All he had to do was steal one small box from one easy safe. But it was inside the Chinese Legation and Spider was being set up by his own government.

2 The Concrete Boot The Concrete Boot
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1971

Spider Scott is on edge when a crime lord forces him into breaking into an empty house and the house turns out to be the hiding place for the former Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Prime Minister, now wanted for selling secrets to the Soviets. MI-5 is also curious.

3 The Miniatures Frame The Miniatures Frame
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1972

Getting a reputation for his last two escapades, Spider Scott's legitimacy is put to the test when he is invited by the government to take part in a Royal Commission on the state of prisons, something Spider knows a lot about. Unfortunately, the head of the Commission is determined to get Scott either fired or killed.

4 The Masterpiece Affair The Masterpiece Affair
aka Spider Underground
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1973

The framing of his brother was the only reason that makes Spider Scott agree to help in the heist of artwork from the prestigious, and extremely secure, Tate Gallery. He is faced with having to help the bad guys while not getting nicked himself.

5 Trap Spider Trap Spider
aka The Trap
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1974

Having given up his life of crime for good, Spider Scott is approached by a wealthy man who wants him to find the man's son and talk him out of hanging with the bad crowd he has been with. Thinking it a simple little job, Spider takes it and is soon in the middle of a large gang war.

6 The Crypto Man The Crypto Man
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1984

Bulman makes a return in this adventure in which Spider is asked by the former head of MI-5 to help investigate the 'suicide' of a prison inmate and ends up with a 40-year old mystery that threatens his life and the safety of the country. When his fiancé, Maggie, disappears, things shift into high gear.

7 The Mosley Receipt The Mosley Receipt
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1985

The death of an old friend of both Spider Scott and Bulman brings the two men back together to find the truth. This involves Scott agreeing to go undercover as an inmate in prison only to discover that those behind the death, people high up in the Foreign Office, have managed to keep him there long enough to be killed.

8 No Way Back No Way Back
aka Hashimi's Revenge
Written by Kenneth Royce
Copyright: 1986

Hashimi Ross is a highly trained and capable terrorist. He is also the grieving man who wants revenge for his girlfriend's murder and is a man who will stop at nothing to get it. The Security Services order Spider Scott to aid in catching him but Spider owes Ross his life and is caught in the middle.


Number of Episodes:13
First Appearance:1976
Last Appearance:1977

Stephen YardleySpider Scott [ 1-2 ]
Don HendersonDet. Sgt. Bulman [ 1-2 ]
Dennis BlanchDe. Con. Willis [ 1-2 ]
Paul FreemanRay Lynch [ 1-2 ]


The idea of a criminal being enticed or coerced into working for an Intelligence agency is by no means unique. Alexander Mundy of "It Takes A Thief" did it before millions on television several years before.

The uniqueness of the Spider Scott series comes in the high quality of the writing, plot development, and the characterizations. The author, Mr. Royce, is certainly no stranger to spy-fi and has accounted for many excellent adventures. But no where, in my opinion, better than in the Spider series where the pacing and the mystery competes wonderfully with the characters.

I strongly recommend this fun, exciting series.


My Grade: A-


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