Back in 1967 Australian television viewers were glued to their screens when the action packed counter espionage series Hunter hit the air.

Reds are under the bed in Hunter Volume 1.

Across 65 thrilling episodes secret agent John Hunter (Tony Ward), a veteran of the Korean War, battled the communist threat to democracy during the height of the Cold War.

Hunter is part commando, part detective and part spy working for the Australian government’s top secret Special Clandestine Unit 3 (SCU3) which is part of C.O.S.M.I.C (the Commonwealth Offices for Security and Military Intelligence Co-ordination). The unit operates under the front of a company called Independent Surveys headed up by former army intelligence officer Charles Blake (Nigel Lovell) with the assistance of Eve Halliday (Fernande Glyn).

Now, for the first time ever, Hunter is available on a special collector’s edition DVD box set. In this release you’ll find episodes 1-4 and 6-14, unfortunately episode five is missing from the archives but a synopsis is provided to help you follow the plot. No expense was spared with the location budget and you’ll be transported to Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Queensland, Singapore, and we take a trip to the Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia.

Inset: Nigel Lovell starred in radio serials such as Big Sister, Crossroads of Life, The Lawsons and Blue Hills. He plays Charles Blake in Hunter. Main Picture: Eve Halliday (Fernande Glyn) helps Hunter to battle the enemy from within as fifth columnists try to overthrow democracy.

Hunter and his colleagues have access to a plethora of fancy gadgets such as a cigarette case which is actually a miniature tape recording device, but they have their work cut out because the sinister Council for the Unification of the Communist World (CUCW) have managed to infiltrate the corridors of power. The Australian branch of this shady group is headed up by the mysterious Mr Smith (Ronald Morse) and his chief agent is a cold blooded killer called Kragg (Gerard Kennedy).

Hunter senses foul play when a brilliant young scientist, who was working on a top secret anti-missile project, apparently commits suicide. It transpires that this scientist was involved with a showgirl called Rosie Glow (Carmen Duncan); she might hold vital information and Hunter will need to battle a man eating shark to keep her alive. The commos intend to blow up the new Prometheus anti-missile weapon using a nuclear device, and they join forces with a radical student sect to kidnap a visiting American astronaut so that they can sabotage a planned four man space mission. When the kidnapping goes wrong a bearded folk singer called The Big K (played by George Mallaby from Cop Shop) finds himself on the wrong side of Kragg.

It transpires that the CUCW are running a drug smuggling racket keeping junkies across the nation supplied, and they brainwash a young student into becoming an assassin using mind bending chemicals. Meanwhile Hunter poses as a Navy commander and heads to Singapore where the CUCW plan to wreck a disarmament conference between Russia and the West. These rogue Australian communists intend to murder a senior Russian official before pinning it on the British, so that they can prevent any thawing of the Cold War. The CUCW are determined to keep Russia allied to red China, but in truth the CUCW are nothing but a constant embarrassment to the Russian authorities.

Main Picture: Actor and current affairs reporter Tony Ward plays the title role in Hunter, he later appeared in Sons and Daughters. Inset: Ronald Morse plays a hard core communist called Mr Smith in Hunter.

In the continuing war against subversion and espionage there can be no rest, not for Hunter, and its action all the way with an out of control kombi van, a junk exploding all over Singapore harbour, and there’s a fight aboard a taxiing aircraft. Familiar faces caught up in the drama include Maurie Fields and Terry Gill from The Flying Doctors; Vic Gordon from Matlock Police; Gerda Nicholson from Prisoner: Cell Block H; and Gordon Glenwright from Class of 74. Other well-known cast members in Hunter Volume 1 include Jill Forster, Earl Francis, Peter Aanensen, Alexander Archdale, Stella Lamond, Alexandra Hynes, and Agnes Dobson.

Hunter and a wealth of other Australian television classics can be purchased in the UK exclusively from Eaton Films.  Those of you in Australasia can place your orders with Crawford DVD. Fans who are located anywhere else in the world should email Eaton Films for shipping details.

Inset: Gerard Kennedy from Division 4 and Neighbours, stars as a brutal killer called Kragg in Hunter. Main Picture: Silent movie actress and playwright Agnes Dobson plays a brothel owner, drug pusher and communist spy called Auntie in Hunter. Agnes was the principal of the Crawford School of Broadcasting and also appeared in The Magic Boomerang, Homicide, Ryan, Division 4, and Matlock Police.

All photographs copyright Crawford Productions/Eaton Films/WIN Corporation.
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