The Cheaters: The Complete Series

In DVD/Blu-ray by Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Take a dash of swinging ‘60s London, a sprinkle of some of the era’s brightest and most talented stars, mix vigorously with scripts from the ever-inventive mind of Brian Clemens (The Avengers) and the result is a smorgasbord of tasty tales from the golden age of TV.

The Cheaters features Oscar-nominated actor John Ireland as a laid back, dryly-humorous insurance investigator faced with a London populated by murderous pensioners, devious spouses, double-crossing crooks and opportunistic thieves. Co-starring Robert Ayres as his straight-laced boss, this is a classic television series from The Danziger Brothers—the American-born siblings who went onto found Elstree Studios.

Featuring a swinging soundtrack by Bill LeSage, and smart and witty scripts, the show managed to name-check practically every British actor of note of the era, with guest appearances from Valentine Dyall, Barrie Ingham, Peter Butterworth, Ann Lynn, Francis Matthews, John Carson, Jennifer Jayne, Lisa Gastoni, Jill Ireland, Glyn Houston, Angela Douglas, Margaretta Scott and Paul Eddington, alongside many, many more.

Network’s new release contains all 39 black and white episodes transferred into High Definition from original film elements in their broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Some basic image restoration work has been carried but don’t expect modern-day picture quality. This show is 60-years-old and was likely never intended to be kept for posterity. 

While the pacing can be slow—and Ireland’s performance frustratingly low-key at times—The Cheaters is a fun and easy watch, which will delight collectors and vintage TV fans alike.