The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. 1966 - 1967
After moving to America in 1965, Noel Harrison quickly landed one of the starring roles in the TV series, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
The show gave him an immediate shot of fame in the US, but unfortunately, the programme failed to live up to expectations.
Plans for the show began in 1965, when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decided the time was right to make a spin-off of the popular Man from U.N.C.L.E. television show.
Although The Girl from U.N.C.L.E would eventually star Noel Harrison and Stefanie Powers in the title roles, former Miss America, Mary Ann Mobley, was given the role of inexperienced young agent April Dancer in the pilot and Three’s Company star, Norman Fell, appeared as fellow agent Mark Slate.
The pilot episode, The Moonglow Affair, was shown in America on February 25, 1966 as part of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. and did well in the ratings.
However, Harrison was chosen to replace Fell after he was spotted by the producer’s wife singing on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
The casting change was never explained, but Harrison’s inclusion gave the show a younger feel as, at the time, he was 32-while Norman Fell was 42.
Promotional work for the show started before production had even begun, with Powers and Harrison both sent out to
do photo shoots and interviews across America.
In their interviews, both stars admitted the show was slightly more 'silly' and camp than the Man From U.N.C.L.E.
At the time, Harrison said: "The only way it will work is if our show is different, rather than the same. More towards laughs, I mean."
Describing the show, Powers added: "Silly, isn’t it? Absolutely campy. Noel and I are having a field day. We curse the script and make changes all the time. The writers haven’t found our style yet."
The show premiered in September 1966 and to help establish his character, Harrison featured as Mark Slate in an episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. called The Galatea Affair (see video below).
But despite good ratings early on, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E was almost universally panned by critics.
The New York World Journal Tribune called it "violently sadistic and altogether repellent", while The Chicago Sun-Times referred to it as simply "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in high heels."
After one series, the show was cancelled by NBC in February 1967.
Even though it only aired for 29 episodes, a range of Girl from U.N.C.L.E. products were marketed, including several novels, a comic book series, a soundtrack album, magazines and toys.
A complete box set of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. was released in 2008 and The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. was released on DVD in 2011. The show's soundtrack was also released on CD in 2008.
Powers and Harrison would work together again in 1981, when Harrison was the guest star in an episode of Hart to Hart, which Powers starred in alongside Robert Wagner from 1979 to 1984.
For more on the Girl From U.N.C.L.E go to either TV Obscurities.com or Man From UNCLE.org