Sunday, March 26, 2023

The Saint: The Miracle Tea Party ( 1964 )

Terence Canote, over at A Shroud of Thoughts is hosting The 9th Annual Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon and our contribution to the event is an episode from the classic British action series The Saint, starring Roger Moore. It is hard enough to pick a favorite television show, let alone a favorite episode for this event, but whenever I think of favorite shows The Saint always comes to mind....and The Miracle Tea Party happens to be one of my favorite episodes ( of many ). 

The Saint was a one-hour series produced by ITV that first aired in 1962. Roger Moore played the suave Simon Templar, a former cat burglar who now works as a sort of private detective. Instead of working for pay, he simply likes to help people in distress ( "people" generally being pretty young women ). Since there is always a villain trying to gain something dishonestly, Simon usually thinks up a clever scheme to help his client, foil the villain, and collect a tidy reward for himself at the villain's expense. 

The Miracle Tea Party features Nanette Newman as the heroine in distress. She plays a nurse who witnesses a man being snuffed out in a phone booth at Waterloo Station. Templar happens to be making a phone call in the next booth and rushes to her aid. Alas, it is too late and the man is already dead. He works at the same naval base that Nurse MacLeod does and she was just talking to him prior to his death. To help calm the nerves of the lovely nurse, Simon offers to take her out to dinner. It is then, that they notice they are being followed. Later, at Simon's apartment, Ms. MacLeod finds a box of Miracle Tea in her purse and wonders where it came from. Simon thinks the dead man must have slipped it into her purse before he was murdered and that's why she is being followed. They open the package and find £500 rolled up inside. The package has a notice that states that if you listen to the Miracle Tea radio program you have a chance to win a prize, so they tune in and hear a series of numbers being read off. 

Simon and Ms. MacLeod then endeavor to discover what the numbers mean and what the £500 payoff money was doing in the Miracle Tea box....and what all of this has to do with the murdered man and the Portland naval base. 

The Miracle Tea Party was the premiere episode of the third season of The Saint, a season of some really good Saint episodes. Nurse MacLeod is an innocent victim who not only has the bad fortune of witnessing a murder but also having an item placed in her purse that the villains want. This is one of my favorite scenarios in a mystery thriller, one that Alfred Hitchcock also adored and used frequently in his films. 

The screenplay, by Paddy Manning O'Brine, was based on a 1938 novella by Leslie Charteris, the creator of
The Saint. Unlike some other Saint episodes, there really is no mystery for you to solve here, it is just a matter of watching Simon track down the culprit. But this in itself is enjoyable, especially when Simon befriends and recruits Aunt Hattie ( Fabia Drake ), a burly elderly woman who loves yachting and photography. She is a spunky grandmotherly type of woman who has the gruff manner of an old sea salt, which is probably why Simon takes to her from the onset. Fabia Drake was Roger Moore's former teacher at RADA and he invited her to appear in this episode of The Saint ( which he also directed ). She later returned in the fourth season in a similar role, that of Aunt Prudence in The Smart Detective

Another feature I enjoy about this episode is the sets, especially Aunt Hattie's house, which has a timber-framed cottage exterior while inside it resembles an old tavern with well-worn wooden beams, comfy sofas scattered about, and sailing ship models on display. This set reminds me of the interior of the seaside inn in The Old Treasure Story, another favorite episode of The Saint.

Most viewers will recognize some familiar British character actors such as Conrad Phillips ( Murder, She Said ), Basil Dingham, Charles Houston and Robert Brown, who is probably best known for taking over the role of M from Bernard Lee in the James Bond film series starring Roger Moore. 

If you enjoy this episode, then be sure to check out The Frightened Inn-keeper, also from season three of The Saint

Head on over to A Shroud of Thoughts to read more reviews of favorite TV show episodes from other bloggers. 


  1. I have never seen an episode of The Saint, but I remember the opening credit sequence -- it was just so cool! I will have to check them out! Also, I love the idea of Roger Moore having his former teacher on the show.

  2. I have always loved The Saint and "The Miracle Tea Party" is one of my favourites. I always liked the character of Aunt Hattie. It was one of the great things about The Saint that you always had these interesting characters show up in the episodes. Anyway, great post and thanks for taking part in the blogathon!

  3. Wonder if this is connected to the radio show of the same name. It looks very interesting.

  4. Oh man, I used to love The Saint! I haven't seen it in decades, but you make me want to start collecting the series on DVD. Thanks!!

  5. Actually its on most regular tv stations no real need for dvds