TV tie-ins, Television books, Dad's Army, The Bill, Century 21, Adam Adamant, collecting books and magazines
and Books on the History of Television
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ADAM ADAMANT by Steve Holland | TV CENTURY 21 by Steve Holland
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This page has been online since August 15, 1997.

TV tie-in books have been around for the past half-century. They developed from comic and movie tie-in books and annuals, once so popular in Britain and the old Empire. See CHILDREN'S ANNUALS. In the United States, Whitman, the company which published the Little Big and Big Little books, brought out a lengthy series of laminated hardback novels based on popular TV series of the 1950s and later. It was they who had become famous for their similarly published versions of Donna Parker and Trixie Beldren novels. Earlier, Whitman had produced a number of novel-sized laminated hardbacks using the Adprint imprint, mostly on cowboy stars such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. These books differed in appearance: the Adprint editions had curved spines while the Whitman authorised TV tie-in editions had flat spines and were both thicker and wider.

Many of the 1950s Whitman editions came with high-quality photographic-style cover illustrations. These were mostly TV Western series tie-ins, some of the better ones being CIRCUS BOY, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, MAVERICK, THE REBEL, THE RESTLESS GUN and THE RIFLEMAN. Perhaps the best of all was SEA HUNT, starring everyone's favourite, Mr "Bubble and Squeak", as my father called 'Mike Nelson', played by Lloyd Bridges, long before Lloyd became famous as a comedian in FLYING HIGH (aka AIRPLANE in the US).

< Australian tie-in comic of the fondly remembered 'Mickey Mouse Club' serial of the 1950s.

[Note: For those of you interested, Lloyd Bridges co-wrote a combined autobiography and history of skin diving with Bill Barada called MASK AND FLIPPERS. It was published by W H Allen, London, in 1961.]

The Whitmans tie-ins of the later 1960s suffered a drop in quality although the covers were still laminated. Some of the better ones were THE MONKEES and GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. The photographic art was replaced by the slap-dash illustrative style of the period. The two books based on THE MUNSTERS were nicely done but around this time the lamination was dropped, with the result that the covers picked up dirt very easily. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE featured on two books, both of which were nicely drawn, but the matt finish damaged very easily. Perhaps the worst cover of all was that to be found on the STAR TREK book 'Mission to Horatius', not that this fact has stopped this book being one of the most popular titles.

According to Australian Whitmans researcher Paul Kennedy, the stories were not based on TV scripts. They were original stories; in fact they may be seen in the light of day as the first fan fiction. Paul found (back in the mid-1980s) a total of 124 Whitmans TV tie-ins featuring 73 TV series and personalities. His breakdown revealed 9 devoted to LASSIE, 8 on GENE AUTRY, 8 on ROY ROGERS and 5 on ANNETTE FUNICELLO. Paul was reasonably sure that no other novelised versions of either GILLIGAN'S ISLAND or F TROOP appeared. The rarest title of all is thought to be that on Gerry Anderson's sf series, UFO. Does any reader have a copy?

While Whitmans supplied the US and Australian markets with TV tie-in NOVELS, it was the British publishing industry which supplied TV tie-in ANNUALS. So far as is known, these were not sold on the US market due to copyright restrictions. Any readers who can supply us with information on this topic is invited to contact John. Perhaps the first and finest annuals to appear were those on the famous ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, starring Richard Greene. The first two editions contained beautifully reproduced b/w and colour photographs on high grade glossy paper. Just as nice and less well-known is the IVANHOE annual. Unfortunately, the mostly western annuals which followed reverted to the cardboard-type pages so infamous in children's annuals of the 1940-50 period. Crude line drawings replaced photographs, thus avoiding (this is a guess) royalty payments to the actors.

It wasn't until around 1970 when printing techniques had improved (and publishers had mostly moved off-shore) that photographs began to re-appear in these annuals. In the meantime, publishers had also resorted to an old staple - they put the characters into comic strips. Some of the better titles of this period were ones featuring Gerry Anderson series: UFO, CAPTAIN SCARLET, JOE-90 and the like.

TV tie-in annuals have mostly disappeared due to the high costs involved in printing. Perhaps the best to appear as the 1980s came to a close was that on THE BILL. This annual was published by Grandreams in 1989 and is believed to have sold out in less than a month.

Article by Steve Holland

One of the more bizarre thrillers on British TV, Adam Adamant Lives! was created after Sydney Newman (the imagination behind earlier hits Dr Who and The Avengers) failed to obtain the rights for a series based on the popular detective Sexton Blake. Adamant was part Blake, part Scarlet Pimpernel, part Jon Pertwee's Dr Who, and the series was intended to draw humour from contrasting the character's Victorian gentlemanly values with those of swinging sixties London. The original pilot for the show, now lost, was never broadcast, and the storyline reworked into the (now) opening episode: in 1902, Edwardian adventurer Adam Llewellyn de Vere Adamant, portrayed by RADA-trained Gerald Harper, was tricked by his arch nemesis The Face (in collusion with Adamant's beloved, Louise) and trapped in a state of suspended animation until workmen revive him in 1966 by which time his name has passed into legend. Escaping from the hospital where he was revived from his icy sleep, he meets Georgina, an ardent fan of Adamant's exploits (he was a friend of her grandfather) but whose liberated sixties self-confidence Adamant finds baffling; her confidence is misplaced as, inevitably, Adamant needs to rescue her every episode and thwart the villains, usually dispatching them with his sword stick. The second episode added William E. Simms, a former music hall artiste with a proclivity for rhyming couplets who becomes Adamant's valet; originally portrayed by John Dawson, he had to be replaced due to an injury and the role was taken over by Jack May.

Despite tight production schedules and some frankly shaky action, the show proved successful enough to warrant a second season, in which The Face was revived by a now dodderingly ancient Louise and the plots became even more offbeat. Newman, however, was unhappy with the series - he was not keen on the actors, the production or the quality of scripts - and decided to call it a day on the show after only 29 episodes.

TV Century 21
Article by Steve Holland

When it started, TV Century 21 was solidly based on the shows produced by Gerry Anderson. The comic had launched in 1965 (dated 2065) the capitalise on the success of Stingray and the front cover was designed like a future newspaper, helping to tie together the various worlds Gerry Anderson was creating. Those early issues also offered a sneak preview of a new show Anderson was in the process of making, and Lady Penelope became a regular in the comic long before she was ever seen on the small screen in Thunderbirds.

The comic was a lavish production, with plenty of colour which showed off the strips to their best vantage, especially Ron Embleton's Stingray, Mike Noble's Zero X, and -- a little way into the future -- Frank Bellamy's Thunderbirds and Ron Turner's The Daleks.

The Annual was a good reflection of the comic but slightly dulled by the not-so-good paper and cheaper production (you couldn't do a photogravure annual) so the colour was never as good, and there was a concentration on the humour strips which were printed in black & white anyway. But under City Magazines it was still an excellent production.

Fast forward a few years to when the paper fell into the hands of IPC. Now the only TV strip is Star Trek and most of the remaining contents are reprints from hither and yon (Sir Percy Vere, for instance, used to appear in the Eagle). No wonder it didn't last long. The final insult was that the paper was absorbed into Valiant in 1970, shortly before a national printers strike knocked the paper off the shelves for months (destroying Saturday mornings as far as this youngster was concerned). Star Trek was the only strip to survive printed (horribly) via four-colour lithography which I hated in American comics and didn't particularly want to see in my favourite title. These issues were printed by Fleetway's own print works just south of the Thames called Southernprint, and they always had nasty holes in the side of the page where they had been pulled through the printing machine. It made the comic look cheap and nasty and things only improved -- and then only briefly -- when they switched to a web-offset printer for a while during, I believe, another period of industrial action. Anyone in the UK will remember the union troubles of the early 1970s which, along with decimalisation and rampant inflation pushed the price of comics through the roof until they were no longer cheap entertainment.

Sad days for us comic fans.


A 'must have' for collectors of British TV tie-ins are the DAD'S ARMY annuals and related books. At least six annuals were published 1973-1978. The other books are as follows:
DAD'S ARMY by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, published by Elm Tree Books, London 1975. This book contains the scripts of five episodes plus articles on the main characters and corresponding actors. Many b/w illustrations, an article on the Home Guard and 120 pages. An excellent book.
*DAD'S ARMY;The Defence of an English Village, edited by Arthur Wilson MA. Written by Paul Ableman and published by the BBC, London 1989. Many b/w illustrations, 127 pages. An amusing book supposedly written by Sergeant Wilson, compiled from his personal diary.
*DAD'S ARMY: THE MAKING OF A TELEVISION LEGEND by Bill Pertwee, published by David & Charles, London 1989. Bill played 'ARP Warden Hodges' in the series and has put together a brilliant in-depth tribute to the show, its creators and actors. Includes a selection of colour photos as well as a fine selection of well-reproduced b/w stills. A full episode listing is included, together with articles on the stage play, movie and radio series. 144 pages and highly recommended.
*ARTHUR LOWE, A LIFE by Stephen Lowe, published by Nick Hern Books ISBN 1 85459 279 3, in large print Isis ISBN 0-7531-5026-3 and in paperback ARTHUR LOWE, DAD'S MEMORY, published by Virgin ISBN 0 7535 0170 8   If you would like a signed copy with a message or dedication you can contact me by email or write to me Stephen Lowe, PO Box 1029, Timaru, New Zealand. Another - more modern - way to obtain a copy is from the online bookstore.

Please contact the page editor if you find non-working links..

Dad's Army on this page
The FANDOM DIRECTORY - Direct link to people with YOUR interests.Your on-line link to Fandom around the world! Science Fiction, Star Trek, Comics, Trading Cards, Gaming and More! Point and click access to thousands of fan, collector, dealer, store, publisher, club and convention email addresses and web sites. Listings are FREE!
INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE (IMDb) Use this site for queries on  TV series, stars, characters or production information. You can also join up and email comments.
The Bill on this page
The Bill - Sun Hill Southern Specials Includes SPW and early promotional information.
TV SCHOOL SERIES You'll find CLASS of 74, Grange Hill and other TV school series here.

BOOKS, TV HISTORY and TV-RELATED, recommended by the CB&M editor.
Author / title / publisher / date / ISBN

Daniel Blum: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF TELEVISION, Bonanza, 1959 isbn na
Mary Donaldson: BOTH SIDES OF THE CAMERA, Weldenfeld and Nicolson, 1960, isbn na
Luck, Peter:
50 YEARS OF AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION Sub-titled "an insider's view 1956-2006", this well-illustrated volume is a "must read" for any fan of Aussie television, with its many anecdotes, behind the scenes stories and great photos. Entertaining, humorous, expertly written and edited, highly recommended! (JT 9.11) New Holland, Sydney, 2005, isbn1 7410 367 3
Arthur Shulman and Roger Youman: HOW SWEET IT WAS, Shorecrest, 1966 isbn na
Santoli, Lorraine: THE OFFICIAL MICKEY MOUSE CLUB BOOK, Hyperion, NY 1995 isbn 0 7868 8042 2
Jay S Harris: TV GUIDE - THE FIRST 25 YEARS, Simon and Schuster, 1978 isbn 0671230654

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