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The script held in the Crawford Collection has neither character notes nor synopsis.
This entry has been compiled from archival research in the Crawford Collection (AFI Research Collection), undertaken by Dr Catriona Mills under the auspices of the 2012 AFI Research Collection (AFIRC) Research Fellowship: see The Writer in Australian Television History.
Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of
Script cover page (Crawford Collection at the AFI Research Collection)
The script is printed on pink paper and labelled 'Episode E7' on the cover page. '59' has been written next to this in black ink. A notation in blue ink in the top right-hand corner of the cover page indicates that this is script no. 7, and a notation directly below that (also in blue ink) indicates that this copy is designated for (script editor) Monte Miller.
The cover page has been signed 'Phil Barnett' in blue ink next to the copyright information. Crawford Productions tribute website (crawfordproductions.tv) lists Philip Barnett as among Crawfords' staff, but makes no note of his occupation or tenure.
The script is annotated in black ink. The annotations include alterations to the dialogue (see, for example, page 16, where 'No, I don't know what it means' has been changed to 'She must have talked to someone'). On page 38, the feminine form of a Russian surname ('Kiselava') given to the heroine has been altered to the masculine form ('Kiselov'). On page 45, an additional speech has been added, followed by stage directions. On page 47, additional dialogue has been added.
The script is also annotated in black felt pen: on page 39, a section of dialogue has been altered and a stage direction added.
The script does not include character notes, but the last page includes a list of crew credits:
Written by David Boutland.
Edited by Monte Miller.
Typed by Pam Petersen, Christine Rook, Margaret Younger.
Checked by Margaret Younger, Pam Petersen, Christine Rook.
Roneod by Doreen Arnold.
The space after this for 'Producer's Remarks' has been left blank.
Australia's first spy show, made at a time when overseas television networks were investing heavily in counter-espionage programs.
The titular character was John Hunter, a secret agent with SCU3 (Special Clandestine Unit 3), a division of COSMIC (Commonwealth Offices for Security and Military Intelligence Co-ordination). Operating under the front of Independent Surveys, COSMIC was headed by Charles Blake. Hunter was assisted by female agent Eve Halliday.
The enemy organisation, CUCW (Council for Unification of the Communist World) was headed in Australia by Mr Smith, whose chief agent was the complicated idealist Kragg. Kragg ultimately defected to the West (and to COSMIC) after a period of disillusionment with CUCW.
Late in the show's run, John Hunter met an untimely death in front of a firing squad in an Iron Curtain country. He was replaced by a new agent, Gil Martin, but the show only continued for another eight episodes, as Ian Jones preferred to concentrate on his new vehicle for Gerard Kennedy, Division 4.
According to Moran, in his Guide to Australian TV Series, 'Coming as it did towards the end of the Cold War and indeed the whole breakdown of the hegemony of Australian society, Hunter was an uneasy combination of boys'-own spy adventures, owing something to the popularity of James Bond novels, and the more cynical and seedy variation of the genre associated with writers such as Len Deighton and John Le Carre'. Don Storey, however, writes on Classic Australian Television that it was 'a bold, sophisticated and ambitious venture into slick, professional local drama', the sophistication no doubt aided by the per-episode budget of $20,000 (compared to Homicide's per-episode budget of $7000).