Hannay (TV series)

Last updated

Genre Drama
Created by Ken Hannam
Starring Robert Powell
Christopher Scoular
Jill Meager
Gavin Richards
Diane Bull
Composer Denis King
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes13
Running time652 minutes
(average 50 minutes each, 60 minutes with commercials)
Production company Thames Television
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Mono
Original release6 January 1988 (1988-01-06) 
14 March 1989 (1989-03-14)

Hannay was a 1988 ITV television series, a prequel spin-off from the 1978 film version of John Buchan's 1915 novel The Thirty-Nine Steps . The film and series starred Robert Powell as Richard Hannay in the post Second Boer War years. [1] [2]



In the series, Powell reprised the role of Hannay, an Edwardian mining engineer from Rhodesia of Scottish origin. [3] It features his adventures in pre-World War I Britain. These stories had little in common with John Buchan's novels about the character, although some character names are taken from his other novels.

Principal Cast


Series One

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"The Fellowship of the Black Stone"6 January 1988 (1988-01-06)
After nearly thirty years in southern Africa, Richard Hannay has achieved recognition as an officer in military intelligence, a mining engineer and a successful prospector. Now he is returning to Britain to seek a bride, a home and a quiet life. But Europe is a cauldron of political intrigue and, amongst the old Empires, a new power is rapidly making its way—a power that resents Britain's mastery of the waves: Imperial Germany.
Represented in London by the cunning and ruthless Count Von Schwabing, Germany is intent on causing trouble however and wherever she can—and Richard Hannay attracts trouble as a magnet attracts iron filings!
22"A Point of Honour"13 January 1988 (1988-01-13)
A chance encounter with a young lady on a train leads Hannay into a strange weekend of mistaken identity and danger. (This episode is based on the short story 'A Point of Honour' by Dornford Yates from his book The Brother of Daphne).
33"Voyage into Fear"20 January 1988 (1988-01-20)
The Governments of Great Britain and Imperial Germany are in a race to arm themselves with modern battleships, but Hannay's arch-enemy, von Schwabing, has a plan to ensure that his country is the winner.
44"Death With Due Notice"27 January 1988 (1988-01-27)
A quiet break in the country turns into a weekend of murder when Richard Hannay and Reggie Armitage discover they are targets for a demented killer.
55"Act of Riot"3 February 1988 (1988-02-03)
Hannay returns to Scotland to visit the village where he was born, but his arrival quickly brings him into dangerous conflict with the local inhabitants.
66"The Hazard of the Die"10 February 1988 (1988-02-10)
When Hannay saves the life of a desperate young lady, he little realises how quickly this act of bravery will bring him face-to-face with his arch-enemy, von Schwabing.

Series Two

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
71"Coup de Grace"31 January 1989 (1989-01-31)
When Richard Hannay meets the beautiful Sybil Verney at a race meeting, he cannot foresee the web of lies and tragedy in which he will quickly become ensnared.
82"The Terrors of the Earth"7 February 1989 (1989-02-07)
As tension mounts in Europe, the British Government prepares antidotes to possible germ warfare, and Richard Hannay finds himself at the centre of a demonic plot to steal them.
93"Double Jeopardy"14 February 1989 (1989-02-14)
When Hannay is entrusted with the safe-keeping of a dozen diamonds, he little knows the danger and distress they will bring.
104"The Good Samaritan"21 February 1989 (1989-02-21)
The pleasures of travelling on the Trans-European Express from Venice are relished by celebrities, diplomats and holiday-makers alike, but for Richard Hannay the journey proves to be a nightmare.
115"That Rough Music"28 February 1989 (1989-02-28)
On the death of his friend, Pelham Swinburne, Hannay inherits a walking-stick, field glasses and the lighthouse on a Fenland marsh .... but what is he to make of them all?
126"The Confidence Man"7 March 1989 (1989-03-07)
When an East-End gang demand protection money for Sal Alford's music-hall, she turns to Richard Hannay for help.
137"The Bells of Shoreditch"14 March 1989 (1989-03-14)
When his goddaughter is jilted on her wedding day, Hannay finds himself searching for not just a missing bridegroom but also a shipment of gold.


There were two series, the first with six episodes, the second with seven. Though a mixture of studio and location filming, the entire production (with the exception of the opening and closing title footage) was shot on videotape rather than the more expensive (yet typical) practice of shooting TV drama location exteriors on 16mm film. This maintained a more consistent atmosphere and look to the episodes.

Home media availability

Hannay was released in a four-disc Region 2 DVD set by Delta Visual Entertainment in February 2006.

Hannay was later released in a four-disc Region 2 DVD set by Network in September 2016. [4]

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  1. "Hannay (1989)". BFI.
  2. "Hannay | TV Guide". TVGuide.com.
  3. "Hannay - S1 - Episode 1: The Fellowship of the Black Stone". Radio Times.
  4. "Hannay DVD review". 24 September 2016.