I could see someone like Hammer stalwart John Richardson in the role of Partman, Milton Reid as the Eunoch with dear old John Le Mesurier as Blaser.
I've only read the first one but Blaser struck me as quite a sinister, ruthless character - I imagined him very much as William Squire in Callan.
Le Mesurier could do ruthless. Played a villain or two over the course of his long career, including in The Avengers if memory serves. There was a lot more to his repertoire than "Do you think that's wise sir?"
I agree, Richard. I haven't read these books (I find myself wondering what Sangster was like as a novelist--I think of his Hammer scripts as "workmanlike"), but John Le Mesurier could exude coldly sinister menace. He played villainous roles in both Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg's series on The Avengers, and I think he was a villain in an Adam Adamant story as well. I'm always excited when I see his name in a cast list but he often played very minor parts. He was onscreen in the 1967 film of Casino Royale for about five seconds, as M's chauffeur if I recall aright.
This was such an interesting thread! Katy Touchfeather sounds a lot like the Monica Vitti version of Modesty Blaise in that Joseph Losey film. I re-watched the movie recently (it is currently on y.t.) having re-read all the Modesty comic strips from the legendary Jim Holdaway era. And I kept asking myself why any government, organization or individual would hire "Modesty" to do anything beyond strolling down a catwalk. Even that might have been a dicey proposition--Terence Stamp commented in an interview how clumsy Vitti was. Wisely, Losey only gave Vitti a couple of fight scenes. They were beyond ridiculous, especially when compared with the fights in the comics.
Would love to hear one of the BBC radio dramatizations of the Modesty stories someday. One of my Modesty reprint comics has a review of the radio adaptation of Last Day in Limbo, which featured Barbara Kellerman in the role of Modesty. I haven't read about the BBC doing commercial releases of any of these.
In the 80s "Virna Lindt" (real name unknown to me--there's probably a Wikipaedia entry) did concept albums as a mid Sixties agent of international espionage. Sample track:
And then there's April Dancer... talking of the world of UNCLE.
I think the 1960s Modesty Blaise comic strips were the best of them all. Modesty was completely independent, had her own exacting code of ethics (which did not always mesh with the spook world), had a great working partner in Willie Garvin, had a coolly appraising intellect, looked fabulous and did her work based on her own near-supernatural agility and command of martial arts discipline...
Now you've gone and done it Steve. Put me well and truly in a fab and groovy 60s vibe with a sudden hankering for some female secret agent capers. The best incentive to finally crack open that second Katy Touchfeather volume I reckon. And to track down the other Anna Zordan books of James Eastwood (only having SEDUCE AND DESTROY at present).
Holdaway was a genius, wasn't he. I was just looking over the "Bad Suki" strip. Love the sequence where Modesty and Willie go undercover at the Cloud Nine Club sporting their fab "swinging gear".