Sad news reaches us of the passing of Edward Woodward, who died today aged 79.

Sad news reaches us of the passing of Edward Woodward, who died today aged 79.

It’s rare for any actor to find a starring role during their career that leaves its mark – but Woodward successfully managed it three times. First, there was Callan, the British TV show that ran from 1967 – 1972, with Woodward as the world-weary secret service agent working for “the Section”. If Callan was, to some degree, a response to the success of the James Bond movies, then Callan himself was very much an anti-Bond. If the Bond movies were all about gadgets, guns, girls and glamorous locations, then Callan was an entirely different proposition: a lonely, cynical man, working in a grubby and distinctly unglamorous profession.


In 1973, Woodward starred in The Wicker Man, as a Christian policeman, Sgt Howie, investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a remote Scottish island run by a pagan community. Although it’s perhaps best remembered for Britt Ekland’s naked dancing, and the burning giant wicker man at the film’s climax, there’s plenty to commend Woodward’s performance as a man whose faith is tested to its very limits. It’s a far cry, too, from the cold ruthlessness of Callan.


Woodward sort-of seemed to revisit the Callan character in the 80s, for an American TV series, The Equalizer. There, Woodward played a former secret service agent turned troubleshooter working out of New York. The show was a huge hit in America – and, to some extent, brought Woodward greater recognition than Callan had.