Charlie Muffin

Back in the late 1970s Brian Freemantle wrote the first of what has become a number of novels whose central character is one Charlie Muffin. Charlie is a rather scruffy member of the British Intelligence Service (MI6), and the first of the books in the series was turned into a made-for-TV film by Euston Films in 1979.

During some research I am doing into the life of Eric Knowles, I discovered that Eric had supplied the company with wargames figures and models. These were used in several scenes that featured Charlie’s main opponent in the world of espionage, General Valery Kalenin. In the book Kalenin was a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, and his hobby was recreating battles that he had taken part in. IT was one such battle that was featured in the film.

The following are some stills taken from the film.

The actor playing General Kalenin is the wonderfully-named Pinkas Braun, and the battle is unusual as it seems to feature German, Russian, and British troops on the same battlefield.

16 Comments on “Charlie Muffin”

  1. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    I remember Bill was allowed to help Eric and so got a couple of days off school for this. I never saw the film though so will have to look it out.

    All the best,


  2. That looks like a Phoenix 54mm Zhukov in the last pic.

  3. Rather an exciting looking set up…

  4. David Crook,

    The film is available ion YouTube or as part of a five DVD set of made-for-TV films made Euston Films. The set also includes REAGAN, the pilot for THE SWEENEY.

    All the best,


  5. Benjamin of Wight,

    It may well have been a Phoenix figure. I certainly bought figures from that manufacturer from Eric's shop.

    All the best,


  6. Archduke Piccolo,

    I can certainly imagine using it had the opportunity arisen.

    All the best,


  7. Ross Mac,

    We used to … but nowadays I'm not so sure we do.

    All the best,


  8. In the third photo, is that an American flag in front of the high backed chair?

  9. William Stewart,

    You are right! I missed that!

    All the best,


  10. Ken H says:

    Brilliant research Bob, I too will be checking out YouTube! I thought that only “Callan” had displayed wargames in the 70's on TV – this is a new one on me! The actor makes wArgamers look cool…another first! Great stuff, you do offer some eclectic posts!

  11. Maybe it was Allies against the Germans on a large scale?

  12. William Stewart,

    That sounds feasible … and it would fit in with the fact that this is a spy/espionage film.that involves Russia vs. The U.K., the USA, and Germany.

    All the best,


  13. Ken H,

    I had read the book that this film is based on, and knew that the Russian general was a wargamer … but not that this had been included in the film.

    I do try to cover topics that I hope will be of general interest to my regular blog readers.

    All the best,


  14. Unknown,

    Thanks for the link. I ordered the DVD last week, but have yet to watch it.

    All the best,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.