The good news keeps coming for fans of classic Australian television drama, because the complete series of Ryan is now available in the UK on DVD.
The complete series of Ryan starring Pamela Stephenson, Luigi Villani (centre) and Rod Mullinar is now on DVD
All 39 thrilling episodes are included, and you are also treated to episode 408 of Homicide in which Ryan makes a special guest appearance.
Ryan (Rod Mullinar) is a tough ex-cop with a touch of class who now operates as a private detective, he has a mind which can be as cold and calculating as his foes, and if the case looks impossible to solve then he’s the man for the job. Ryan is ably assisted by the street wise cab driver Tony Angelini (Luigi Villani), and by the bright and resourceful Julie King (Pamela Stephenson).
Although Australian television was still in black and white when production began in 1972, the series was shot on colour film to maximise overseas sales, and Ryan soon found a loyal audience on ITV here in the UK.
Ryan (Rod Mullinar) has another rotten crim in his sights
There are plenty of thrilling adventures to enjoy including a case where a woman hires Ryan to trace her estranged husband so that she can divorce him, it turns out that the fellow is living in a remote hippy commune, and that Ryan’s presence will bring the man into mortal danger. A young girl is kidnapped and held to ransom by an extremely violent man who is suffering from advanced psychosis, and when an ageing truckie picks up a female hitchhiker he finds himself being distracted by the dollybird whilst two hijackers relieve his moving semi-trailer of its precious cargo of cigarettes.
Trouble flares up at a steel foundry where the family who own it are caught up in a web of hatred which flows back to the Greek Civil War. Ryan begins to think that the communist associates of Miklos Staphopoulos (Alfred Sandor) are behind an attempt to blow him up and things go from bad to worse when another member of the family is almost killed when a lump of steel falls off a crane. The mystery deepens when a faked kidnapping goes horribly wrong and Miklos goes on the rampage armed with hand grenades and an arsenal of guns.
When a young woman is found murdered on a beach a sexual deviant who has previously been convicted of indecently assaulting a male person is in the frame but Ryan isn’t convinced that this man is the murderer. Ryan ends up being bashed when he’s hired by an ambitious politician who wants to blow the lid on a racket which is defrauding New Australian’s, and a desperate woman calls on Ryan for help saying that she has murdered her lover by stabbing him in the back but that she has no recollection of what actually happened.
Ryan star Pamela Stephenson later married Billy Connolly and appeared in the British TV series Not the Nine O’clock News.
When an army major learns that his junkie daughter has died from a heroin overdose he hires an ex-special operations officer to seek out and kill the pushers who got her hooked. Unfortunately, the assassin decides to take a slice of the lucrative drugs market for himself, and the major turns to Ryan to try and sort the mess out.
Meanwhile, Ryan suspects that an old friend from the police force has murdered an informant after learning that his son has been mainlining on heroin, and in another part of town a con man has infiltrated a charitable mission for destitute old men so that he can line his own pockets. The brutal skipper of a trawler has vanished overboard – Ryan needs to ascertain if this was an accident, if it was murder, or if the fellow has faked his own death as part of an elaborate insurance fraud.
The baffling cases continue to flood in when a ten-year-old girl hires Ryan when she learns that her father, a Russian immigrant, is being hounded by heavies who are trying to extort stolen money from him. Regrettably, her father rejects the offer of help and things spiral out of control for him, the poor man ends up topping himself, and the girl finds herself at the mercy of the extortionists.
The late Luigi Villani plays Ryan’s offsider Tony, and also starred in The Box
A politician’s wife is being blackmailed over photographs which appear to show her having an orgy with a group of vile Nazi bikies, a Satanist sect is carrying out human sacrifices, and Ryan becomes embroiled in the cutthroat world of industrial espionage.
Unfortunately, Ryan has made plenty of enemies over the years and when an attempt is made on his life outside of a Chinese takeaway a woman and her son are gunned down and killed in error, Ryan sets out on a personal vendetta to apprehend the assassin.
The intriguing missions mount up when Ryan is called upon to protect a foreign politician whose life is threatened by fanatical communists who want to stop him from implementing social reform in his country, innocent bystanders will be put at risk including a young girl who is injured by a letter bomb.
The wife of a racing car driver hires Ryan to uncover the truth about how her husband ended up as a vegetable following a major crash, and we begin to wonder if he’s a vegetable at all. Meanwhile, Ryan and Julie go undercover to investigate the sinister goings-on at a company which is marketing a new wonder drug which can apparently help with arthritis and other bone diseases. Are executives at this company covering up the deadly side effects of the drug in order to make a fast buck, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake?
Karen Petersen who starred in The Young Doctors and Number 96 plays one of the residents of a hippie commune in Ryan
Ms. Terry Davis (Arna Maria Winchester) is a powerful figure in the American women’s lib movement, and when she lands in Australia she hire’s Ryan to find out who killed her boyfriend and to recover the money that she gave him to establish a branch of her organisation Down Under. Ryan finds that the case begins to escalate out of control when several attempts are made on Terry’s life.
On another dicey assignment, Ryan finds himself caught up in gang warfare when attempts are made on the life of a big-time crime boss and his daughter is abducted. Meanwhile, Julie becomes romantically involved with a visiting English pop star who appears to be drunk on stage, but Ryan wonders if he’s been deliberately drugged by two of the shady types that he associates with.
A host of well-known guest stars appear in Ryan including Lyn James, Alfred Sandor, Brian Moll, Karen Petersen, Cornelia Frances, Vince Martin and Judy Lynne from The Young Doctors; Brian Wenzel from A Country Practice; Tom Richards, Syd Conabere and Rowena Wallace from Sons & Daughters; Ian Smith and Anne Charleston from Neighbours; Bruce Barry, Maurie Fields and Terry Gill from The Flying Doctors; and Shane Porteous from A Country Practice.
Alfred Sandor played Dr Raymond Shaw in The Young Doctors, but he guest stars in Ryan as two very violent men
Also appearing are Sheila Florance, Elspeth Ballantyne, Gerard Maguire, Gerda Nicholson and Maggie Millar from Prisoner: Cell Block H; Gerry Duggan and Norman Yemm from The Sullivans; and Terry Norris from Cop Shop.
You might also like to keep your eyes peeled for Bill Hunter, John Krummel, Jack Thompson, Don Crosby, Helen Morse, Sally Conabere, Nick Tate, Kris McQuade, Joe James, John Waters, Robyn Nevin, John Ewart, Walter Pym, Peter Gwynne, and a cavalcade of other familiar faces.
Those of you who are based in the UK can order Ryan and a wealth of other Australian television classics exclusively from Eaton Films http://shop.eatonfilms.co.uk/. Viewers who are located in Australasia can place their orders with Crawford DVD https://crawfordsdvd.com.au/. Fans who live in any other part of the world should email Eaton Films for shipping details firstname.lastname@example.org.