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.