Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: Jason King

The series was a spin off of the television series Department S (1969) and featured Jason King. In Department S, King was a dilettante dandy and author working as part of a team of investigators. In Jason King he had left that service and was concentrating on writing adventure novels following the adventures of the fictional Mark Caine, [which the Jason King character was also writing about in Department S] who closely resembled Jason King in looks, manner, style, and personality. None of the other regular characters from Department S appeared in this series.

In the course of visiting international locations as part of his research, or through being summoned by people needing assistance, King would be frequently embroiled in adventure stories featuring glamorous women, exotic locations, menacing villains, political turmoil, or espionage intrigue.

The show was broadcast between 1971 and 1972 which was produced by ITC Entertainment Each episode was one hour in duration (including commercial breaks), and the series had a single season of 26 episodes.

The first episode depicted King’s retelling of a Mark Caine novel to a television executive, alternating between King’s interpretation of events, and the television executive’s version. King’s version showed style and class, while the executive’s version featured added suspense, more cliches, and had the women in more revealing costumes. In the footage representing both men’s vision of the novel adapted for the screen, Mark Caine was portrayed by Wyngarde.

Subsequent episodes featured Wyngarde playing King trying to write his novels and being hassled by his publisher Nicola Harvester about deadlines. King, however, was usually distracted by beautiful women and his real-life adventures and was sometimes tricked by Ryland of the British Government into assisting the Government in international political matters: all of which later found their way into the adventures of the fictional Mark Caine.

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