ITV's The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Saint, Return Of The Saint

BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
edited August 2017 in Off Topic Chat
There are quite a few connections between cinematic James Bond and
ITV's iconic tv show universes of The Avengers and The Saint.

So I find it fitting to have those shows open for discussion and celebrating them.

I will start by saying that I have regularly watched all four of them since I was a young teenager. In case of The Saint even in my single-digit age range. I am very passionate about what I love most and therefore I will post short or longer reviews regularly of single episodes. As a side effect it will be fun to see if and which links there are to James Bond.

As I have some reviews ready I'll start immediately.

The Town Of No Return (2nd October 1965) Series 4, Episode 1
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James Bond Connection: Robert Brown appearing in this episode.

This is the first episode with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. The famous tune also appears for the first time, composed by Laurie Johnson, one of the truly greats.

It was also the first episode to use true motion picture film instead of the unsatisfying video tape-transfer to film which was used up to now for the series. The show went outdoors so to speak, with various location shootings.

The Avengers 1965 onwards looked and felt more realistic than ever therefore.

I have always loved this episode, maybe because it introduced me to the series, maybe because it's the first one with Emma Peel.

But even besides those facts, objectively I find this one to be Top 10 worthy of the 26 series four episodes.

The story takes place in a mysterious coastal town. Several agents have disappeared and the locals seem to be a bit on the strange side.

The opening immediately grabs you with a bizarre scene. Highly memorable and setting the tone for the many bizarre things that would arrive in series 4 and 5.

Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee have the perfect screen chemistry. One would think they had already worked together for years.

Absolutely love the little things to discover like the boiling tea kettle that Steed provides from a bag that's just sitting on the seat in the train Steed and Peel are travelling to the village of Little Bazeley. Props like this make The Avengers going into Sci-Fi territory and of course later "Sci-Fi" episodes will be a fact.

I also find this episode quite Noir-ish.
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It is a personal favourite of mine, that I can re-watch as often as I like. Little Bazeley may be a town of no return, but I will return to there, regularly.

Enter: Emma Peel, her very first scene:
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The Avengers: Series Four on breathtakingly restored HD on Blu-ray:
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Dalton Rulez™
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Comments

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    The ultimate DVD Box of Return Of The Saint with an amount of Special Features that is quite grotesque:
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    And here the first review of Ian Ogilvy's The Saint:

    The Judas Game (10th September 1978) Series 1, Episode 1
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    The Judas Game was the first episode of The Return Of The Saint, and in many ways signified the direction the series was going to take. This Saint lives in a complicated, political world, and while in many ways he is still a knight in shining armour, he is also a hardened professional – almost like a mercenary. In this episode Templar is coerced by MI6 into undertaking a dangerous mission. The white knight element is still there, because Templar has had a relationship with the girl (Judy Geeson) he is sent to rescue, but also it is suggested that Templar is the best man for the job, which in fact suggests his skills are better than all of the agents on the MI6 payroll.

    The Judas Game starts on a cliff-face and Simon Templar is doing some mountaineering with his climbing partner, Algernon.

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    It quite interesting how similar this scenario seems to the PTS in The Living Daylights that was filmed 9 years later.

    This pilot episode truly is amazing and I am tempted to put it as my No 1 even of all the 24 episodes. Duel In Venice, or The Arrangement may challenge that once I get to re-watch them.

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    Judy Geeson is a cult favourite actress of mine. There is a, I think, little known cult show called "Star Maidens", a German/British co-production. It's a Sci-Fi show and Geeson has the female lead in it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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    The Judas Game is solid entertainment, with some nice location footage filmed in Monte Argentario in Italy. The action sequences too, are expertly handled, with some Bondian fireworks, where Templar opens the gate to the inpenetratable fortress with a bazooka. Score high marks for adventure and fun. What more can a fan ask for.
    Dalton Rulez™
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I loved these along with The persuaders and
    Dept S, Jason King, The Champions etc :)
    All with great theme tunes.
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,628MI6 Agent
    edited August 2017
    thanks 006 for starting this thread
    cant believe we never had an Avengers thread before, but I know we didn't cuz I've looked

    theres a currently available boxset of both Riggs seasons on 16 dvd's, quite reasonably priced for sheer quantity of entertainment, I recommend all get a copy
    I'm currently near the end of Riggs second season, the colour one
    the show gets increasingly stylised by this point, and the two characters seem completely aware they are characters in a teevee show ... beautiful visuals and very funny repartee, but I preferred the slightly more serious b&w season

    006 you will want to know both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing appear in the colour season, I believe Lee's character is even named Frank N. Stone or something similar

    the Honour Blackman episodes are harder to find (though I know they are also on dvd) and much more expensive


    we all know Blackman, Rigg, and MacNee each appeared in a Bond movie
    but I recently figured out one more connection: Ralph Fiennes played Steed in the dreadful 1990s movie, opposite Uma Thurman as Peel and Sean Connery(!) as the megalomaniacal supervillain
    (thereforwe also need to see Uma Thurman in an official Bond film)

    ...I mean, I got the irony of Connery as Bondstyle villain when I saw the film twenty years ago, but I never guessed this new Steed would one day be the new M and had forgotten all about his part in the silly movie when he finally did appear in in Skyfall
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,628MI6 Agent
    so I watched another episode of The Avengers last night.
    One of the science fictional episodes you speak of: "Who's Who"
    in which two foreign agents with coarse manners swap brains with Steed and Peel
    something we've seen in a lot of episodes of Star Trek, and as in Star Trek it gives the actors a chance to stretch their acting chops (Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner were particularly good at this sort of episode)
    unfortunately I don't think either MacNee nor Rigg conveyed a difference in character no matter how much the dialog told us they were now different people
    the trick relied a lot on introducing the foreign agents with a lot of visual tics, such as playing with dice or chewing gum
    Rigg does get to waggle her groove thang to a rocknroll record though, something Mrs Peel would never do

    but better yet the two actors get to kiss several times, and its implied they have spent the night together at Steed's flat
    ie the dastardly foreign agents have misused our heroes' bodies to fulfill what we now call fanfic fantasies

    but.... to prove to each other they are the real Steed and Peel while in the villains' bodies, they test each other on details of previous overnight trips spent in country inns with plenty of wine, meaning the real Steed and Peel may indeed be getting it on during the commercials regardless of what is acknowledged onscreen
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    The Murder Market (12th November 1965) Series 4, Episode 7
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    James Bond Connection: Peter Bayliss appearing in this episode, plays Benz in From Russia With Love, Russian security agent who is on the train with Kerim Bey before they get killed by Grant.

    This is quite a remarkable episode. First of all it was the second episode filmed and for those first two episodes it was Elizabeth Shepherd that played Mrs. Peel! Only during the filming of The Murder Market it became clear that it wouldn't work out with Shepherd and she was replaced with Diana Rigg. How's that for a twist of television fate!

    It was aired seventh episode and you could almost never tell it was the first one for Diana Rigg.

    Steed and Peel investigate a murder-for-hire organisation fronting as a matchmaking bureau.

    There are some hilarious moments in this one. Steed has very funny dialogue as he poses as a rich bachelor that wants to get a partner. "Togetherness" an agency for finding a partner is a nice variation of Strangers On A Train.

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    Some truly memorable scenes in Murder Market, like Steed killing Mrs. Peel! or Emma lying in a coffin and later dancing around it.

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    With as many great episodes that series four has to offer it's rather difficult to pick favourites.
    Still, this is another Top 10 worthy outing of the 26 series four episodes.

    Personally I love it for the hilarious impersonation as a wealthy, spoiled rotten bachelor by John Steed. Patrick Macnee is just priceless and has a great comedic talent.

    When Mr. Lovejoy (who runs Togetherness) asks Steed what he works, Steed replies:
    "Work?....Tried it once, it didn't work out. Too much like work."

    FUN FACT
    In Germany this episode was never aired until 2003.
    The reason for leaving it out in the late 60s was this: The TV station ZDF that showed The Avengers told German newspaper "Der Spiegel" that it was unsuitable to show this episode because Mrs. Peel is lying in a coffin then leaving it to dance besides it. What if someone who has lost a loved one recently is seeing this?
    Dalton Rulez™
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    THE NEW AVENGERS

    The Eagle's Nest (19th October 1976) Series 1, Episode 1
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    Peter Cushing who is playing Von Claus in this episode already has been on The Avengers in Return Of The Cybernauts in 1967.

    Steed investigates the death of a colleague while Gambit witnesses the kidnapping of Professor Von Claus. Purdey scuba dives to the remote island of St. Dorca, where a monastery hides a secret and Germany's greatest treasure.

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    A quite bizarre and grotesque episode that leaves me puzzled.

    In all seriousness Nazi Monks are hiding Adolf Hitler's frozen body in a monastery on a remote island.
    Nonetheless, Peter Cushing screen presence is great as Professor Von Claus, an authority on suspended animation, who has to revive "Der Führer".

    There are some hilarious moments like when Steed realises that he is staring at Adolf lying in that casket. Luckily the viewer never gets to see the Führer's face, a wise decision, the whole set up is disturbing enough.

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    I have to say that Joanna Lumley as Purdey is quite a sight for sore eyes, especially in that green jumpsuit she is wearing at the monastery where she kicks the asses of several Nazi monks in uniform.

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    Yes, Mr. Steed, that is Adolf, you better believe it!
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    When the New Avengers are exiting the monastery after rounding up all the Nazi's they whistle the Colonel Bogey March. Yes really!

    I had only seen The New Avengers after it came out on the great A+E DVDs. I remember after seeing that first episode it took me like 10 minutes until I was able to get up from the sofa and bang my head on the coffee table to make sure I was not dreaming :lol:

    What a truly bizarre way to start a new series!!!

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    Dalton Rulez™
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    Another classic episode. Love how after a rousing nazi chant, Steed quietly
    answers " Rule Britianna ? " :D
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,370MI6 Agent
    Off topic, but for UK viewers, Roger Moore's The Man Who Haunted Himself is on London Live tonight, I think it's 10pm.

    I say it's off topic, but it's very much of that era and same sort of genre, it's kind of Hammer-style film that his Saint successor Ian Ogilvy made a decent career from appearing in.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    The Master Minds (6th November 1965) Series 4, Episode 6
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    This was the second episode filmed with Diana Rigg and aired as sixth one on TV.

    Government minister Sir Clive Todd is wounded as he and other ministers try to steal top secret documents. He has no idea why he did it and hypnosis is suggested. All concerned belonged to a club for people with high I.Q.s called RANSACK, who are about to meet at a school. Steed and Peel join the club in order to expose the mastermind behind the next heist - the theft of a plane from an R.A.F. base

    Steed goes to the school and finds Holly Trent (Patricia Haines), the school games mistress, conducting archery lessons.
    I loved the character of Holly Trent in her archery outfit! I remember having a crush on her and only learned decades later that she was married to Michael Caine! Sadly Haines died at 45 because of lung cancer.

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    No matter if Emma Peel poses as a nurse or an archery expert she simply looks fabulous in any dress.

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    Mass hypnosis is used on the club members which only Steed seems to be unaffected of. It's revealed pretty early why, but it's still a nice mystery.

    Want to see Peel on a trampoline? Look no further, here you go!

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    Another great episode with lots of fun moments. Maybe not Top 10, but personally I love this one as well.

    Some hilariously bizarre typical moments like one of the Professors at the school always standing on his head or hanging upside down a rope.

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    The end fight between Emma Peel and the Mastermind takes place behind a movie screen. You see the silhouettes fighting and on the screen you see the war plane film that is shown to the club members repeatedly. At one point the film moves backwards and it creates quite a bizarre scenery.
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    Dalton Rulez™
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,628MI6 Agent
    ok what is Steed's job and who exactly does he work for?
    he's personal friends with a lot of government bigwigs, that's clear, but it seems like dozens of episodes go by without any interaction with a supervisor or fellow coworkers, and I'm still don't get who exactly they are
    is it Scotland Yard? most adventures take place within England
    Peel we know is a "talented amateur" Steed chooses to work with. Every so often, when we do see one of his colleagues, they are often confused and intimidated when they met Mrs Peel, and Steed just chuckles ... whatever his job, he is allowed a lot of personal initiative
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    There's a fantastic episode ( series 2, I think with Steed and Cathy Gale ) , The jist of the story was
    A couple of old experienced barristers would help plan a murder for you. Getting you to do certain
    things, so that when the case would come to trial. They would have set up so many loopholes and
    evidence that couldn't be used due to previous trials etc. So you would be found innocent and .....
    .... get away with murder. -{
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • IanFryerIanFryer Posts: 327MI6 Agent
    ok what is Steed's job and who exactly does he work for?
    he's personal friends with a lot of government bigwigs, that's clear, but it seems like dozens of episodes go by without any interaction with a supervisor or fellow coworkers, and I'm still don't get who exactly they are
    is it Scotland Yard? most adventures take place within England
    Peel we know is a "talented amateur" Steed chooses to work with. Every so often, when we do see one of his colleagues, they are often confused and intimidated when they met Mrs Peel, and Steed just chuckles ... whatever his job, he is allowed a lot of personal initiative

    Depends on which season you're watching. The format of Steed's superiors and the department he works for being largely unmentioned is particular to two Emma Peel years. In the Ian Hendry/Honor Blackman years Steed had an on-screen boss in many episodes, code-named one-ten. In the later episodes with Tara King Steed's boss, codenamed Mother, became a regular character, and we saw more of the mechanics of the security department he worked for.

    This became even more pronounced when the show returned as The New Avengers, taking a slightly more realistic route with several plots about moles in British Intelligence. It wasn't exactly John Le Carre, but they tried!
  • IanFryerIanFryer Posts: 327MI6 Agent
    The Master Minds (6th November 1965) Series 4, Episode 6
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    This was the second episode filmed with Diana Rigg and aired as sixth one on TV.

    Government minister Sir Clive Todd is wounded as he and other ministers try to steal top secret documents. He has no idea why he did it and hypnosis is suggested. All concerned belonged to a club for people with high I.Q.s called RANSACK, who are about to meet at a school. Steed and Peel join the club in order to expose the mastermind behind the next heist - the theft of a plane from an R.A.F. base

    Steed goes to the school and finds Holly Trent (Patricia Haines), the school games mistress, conducting archery lessons.
    I loved the character of Holly Trent in her archery outfit! I remember having a crush on her and only learned decades later that she was married to Michael Caine! Sadly Haines died at 45 because of lung cancer.

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    No matter if Emma Peel poses as a nurse or an archery expert she simply looks fabulous in any dress.

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    Mass hypnosis is used on the club members which only Steed seems to be unaffected of. It's revealed pretty early why, but it's still a nice mystery.

    Want to see Peel on a trampoline? Look no further, here you go!

    full.jpg

    Another great episode with lots of fun moments. Maybe not Top 10, but personally I love this one as well.

    Some hilariously bizarre typical moments like one of the Professors at the school always standing on his head or hanging upside down a rope.

    full.jpg

    The end fight between Emma Peel and the Mastermind takes place behind a movie screen. You see the silhouettes fighting and on the screen you see the war plane film that is shown to the club members repeatedly. At one point the film moves backwards and it creates quite a bizarre scenery.
    full.jpg

    One of my favourite episodes. I went to visit the main filming location for the episode a few months back.
  • IanFryerIanFryer Posts: 327MI6 Agent
    Watched the first episode of Roger Moore's 1958 tv series Ivanhoe, in which Robert Brown was a regular, as was Anthony Dawson.

    I then happened upon this hilarious 1962 interview with Rog, publicising his then-new series The Saint.
    https://youtu.be/8Xd6ZrhY-cM
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    " What attracted you to a long running series ?"
    " The Money " :))
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • IanFryerIanFryer Posts: 327MI6 Agent
    "How did you get cast as The Saint?"
    "Sean Connery wasn't available".
    :))
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    :)) Sir Roger on brilliant form -{
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    Dial A Deadly Number (4th December 1965) Series 4, Episode 10
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    When put-options put you six feet under!

    Company chairmen across the city are dropping dead, apparently through natural causes. Can Steed and Mrs Peel discover who is making a killing?

    With the help of an answering service, CEOs across London are killed by remote to make their companies go down in value.

    The dinner party and the wine cellar sequences: Those are certainly amongst the finest moments in all of the series. And it elevates this otherwise rather unspectacular episode somewhat.

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    Jan Holden once again, an actress with class, playing a supporting role, quite a villainess or is she?

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    When Steed goes wine expert it is oh so fabulous. At a wine-tasting he engages in an old-fashioned duel. The weapon of choice: A glass of vintage wine.
    Beautifully done scene with expertly written dialogue. Belongs to the greatest moments in the series.

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    Quite naturally such an exclusive wine cellar has its perils.

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    Want to see Peel in colour? Look no further, here you go!

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    "agreeable, well-rounded, a little on the flinty side"
    It makes you almost wish those episodes had been shot in colour! What a nice purple velvet dress!

    I wouldn't exactly call this episode a must-see, although it could be argued ALL of the series four episodes have to be seen.

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    Personally I like Dial A Deadly Number quite a bit! And by the way, at the beginning of the dinner party you get to hear a nice different version of The Avengers theme playing in the background.

    "venerable, devious, a little ambivalent" referring to the villains not the wine...
    Steed in a dinner jacket also is quite a sight! And Peel, unsurprisingly, is once again wearing one of her marvelous leather outfits.

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    Dalton Rulez™
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,628MI6 Agent
    "agreeable, well-rounded, a little on the flinty side"
    "venerable, devious, a little ambivalent"
    ...referring to the villains not the wine...
    were these pseudo-wine reviews describing the villains?
    I took it as Steed and Peel each describing the other ... flinty apparently means unyielding, and Peel is that, and ever since watching this episode I always think "that dude is venerable and devious" while watching Steed work his charm
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    Death At Bargain Prices (23th October 1965) Series 4, Episode 4
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    When a colleague is found dead in a large London department store Steed and Mrs Peel go undercover as staff members, exposing a dastardly plot by the wheelchair-bound Horatio Kane to devastate the capital with a huge bomb housed within the store.

    A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION

    The moment has arrived where we visit one of the most remarkable of all Avengers episodes.
    Almost the whole episode takes place in a department store, that's quite unusual for The Avengers to be in one place only. Furthermore this may be the best written episode ever concerning dialogue.
    There is a firework of repartee between Steed and Peel. So many outright funny and witty moments, too many to mention all of them.

    The diabolical mastermind It is always a good sign if there is one of those in an episode.

    If you look closely enough you'll find Daleks in that department store! What a nice homage to Dr. Who!

    Charles Crichton directed this episode and he has done some of the very best in the series when it comes to Peel/Steed interaction.

    There is one great scene after the other in that episode. Quite splendid!

    One quote if I may:
    (Mrs Peel is working undercover in a department store)
    John Steed to Mrs Peel: "I asked the chief predator where to find you and he said, "Our Mrs. Peel is in ladies' underwear." I rattled up the stairs three at a time!"
    Emma Peel: "Merry quips department on the fifth floor, sir."

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    The shop owner: Horatio Kane
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    In the end, naturally, Emma Peel has to wear a leather jumpsuit. Lucky for us!
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    Emma to Steed (at her flat): "Would you like a drink?"
    Steed (having caught a black eye before): "Intravenously!"
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    The Tag:
    With series four the "tag" at the end started. The last scene when Steed and Peel always drive on/in a vehicle to wave goodbye. What a cool idea and there are quite a few very memorable scenes amongst them.

    This time on bicycles. A sight not to be missed!

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    You sure can tell, this is one of my Top favourites.

    It's hard to rank the series four episodes when really almost all of them are simply irresistibly good.

    Still, Death At Bargain Prices receives the SILVER MEDAL. It's that good.
    Dalton Rulez™
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,370MI6 Agent
    I was wondering why I'd never seen an Honor Blackman episode over the decades, then they started showing them on True Entertainment. The sound isn't quite right so you have to strain to hear the dialogue, also the opening theme is different, quite downbeat and depressing so you just don't want to watch it. Steed seems more a sinister figure, generally ungallant and landing Cathy Gale in it, a bit like Cary Grant with Ingrid Bergman in Notorious. It's all a bit grim and I rarely manage to get through one, though you can see the building blocks of the better, later series is there. It must have been good at times, as it was a big hit in its day.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • IanFryerIanFryer Posts: 327MI6 Agent
    I was wondering why I'd never seen an Honor Blackman episode over the decades, then they started showing them on True Entertainment. The sound isn't quite right so you have to strain to hear the dialogue, also the opening theme is different, quite downbeat and depressing so you just don't want to watch it. Steed seems more a sinister figure, generally ungallant and landing Cathy Gale in it, a bit like Cary Grant with Ingrid Bergman in Notorious. It's all a bit grim and I rarely manage to get through one, though you can see the building blocks of the better, later series is there. It must have been good at times, as it was a big hit in its day.

    By the end of Blackman's second series you can see the way the series is going, though. I kind of like those stories - it's pretty clear that Steed *really* fancies Cathy Gale.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,628MI6 Agent
    tonight I watched Return of the Cybernauts

    this is the one with Peter Cushing
    he is in the midst of successfully seducing Mrs Peel, contradicting the hints we saw in the previous episode that our heroes get it on during the commercial breaks. But Steed is jealous.
    This episode is played almost completely straight, unlike most of the rest of this season, where most of them are comedic and self-aware. This is especially appreciated in this case as the story is good and Cushing gives a good performance: charming, sinister, and a little bit twitchy. I think they even skip the usual "Mrs Peel we're needed" bit this time.

    it begs comparison with the Christopher Lee episode a few shows previous, which I thought was much too silly and a waste of a Christopher Lee appearance

    also features The Lovely Aimee McDonald (At Last the 1948 Show) in a brief cameo. She gets the only funny bits in the episode "I've got the most lovely bikini, its ever so revealing, did you know I almost got arrested twice for wearing it?". Basically the same routine she did in ...1948.... Its almost like in choosing to play the episode so straight, they then give us the now expected comedy content in a short concentrated dose with a cameo from an almost-Python. I know Aimee is also in one of the later Saint episodes: Vendetta for the Saint

    so did British audiences in the 1960s get confused with Cybernauts on one channel and Cybermen on the other?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    The Cybernauts (16th October 1965) Series 4, Episode 3
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    The day television was changed forever.

    The Avengers investigate a series of murders of Corporate men, who have all been bidding on a new circuit element. Each one of them seems to have been killed by a powerful Karate blow, so Mrs Peel visits a Karate Dojo, Steed's inquiries lead him to United Automation, where ex-Ministry scientist Dr. Armstrong is working on an electronic brain, not to mention cybernetic men.


    I think it's fair to say this is THE episode of all Avengers episodes. First episode broadcast in the US, on March 28, 1966, on ABC network. It was also the first episode to be shown on network ZDF in Germany.
    It is the third episode of series four and was also shown as such in the UK.

    James Bond connection: Burt Kwouk obviously most famous in his role of Cato in the Pink Panther series, he did appear in two James Bond films, GOLDFINGER as Mr. Ling, and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE as Spectre No 3. He also appeared in Casino Royale as the Chinese General.

    Actor John Hollis plays the karate sensai, he would later make an uncredited appearance in the PTS of FOR YOUR EYES ONLY as Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

    Bernard Horsfall who played Campbell in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE is Jephcott in this episode.

    Being the most famous, the most acclaimed and best remembered Avengers episode it is hard not to like it. Also it contains so many elements that made The Avengers what it is: killing business leaders, a diabolical mastermind that wants to take over the country, sci-fi technology, some good action and that touch of horror.
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    Besides the famous Cybernauts, there is the quite fabulous karate dojo sequence where Mrs Peel shows her capabilities!
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    Steed and Peel are taken into the fantastic realm of Science Fiction. In earlier Cathy Gale episodes like The White Dwarf for instance, it had been at best only borderline sci-fi.
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    Michael Gough most famous for his role as Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler in the 1989 to 1997 Batman film series plays the wheelchair bound recluse, Dr. Clement Armstrong.
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    For its importance alone this is an absolute must-see. But it's actually also a very good episode.
    Personally I love it and it's definitely yet another Top 10 outing.

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    This episode spawned two sequels. Return Of The Cybernauts in 1967 and Last Of The Cybernauts in 1976 as an The New Avengers episode.
    Dalton Rulez™
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 SwitzerlandPosts: 870MI6 Agent
    Too Many Christmas Trees (25th December 1965) Series 4, Episode 13
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    A very creepy, gritty Dickens Christmas!

    Steed has been having disturbing nightmares involving Christmas trees and a man dressed as Santa Claus while Steed is trudging through the snow in his pyjamas. At a party given by publisher and Dickens fan Brandon Storey, two telepathic spies attempt to read Steed's mind and make sense of the dream.


    A classic and fan-favourite. No wonder, it is bloody brilliant!
    It belongs in any Top 10 and certainly is in mine. Very tempted to give another medal, but only Gold and Bronze is left, and I just can't. Because, sorry for repeating myself, series four is filled with marvelous, wonderful gems.

    Too Many Christmas Trees is special and unique. Because where usually all seemingly supernatural stuff gets explained away by Steed and Peel, so we realise it's all a ploy by the nasty villain, here the supernatural does really take place.

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    It is also the only Christmas episodes in all of the series, so maybe this one time exception can be forgiven. And it should, as an Avengers episode has seldom been that frightening, creepy and gritty!
    full.jpgSome of the scenes could be right out of an old horror film.
    Wonderful atmospheric black and white cinematography plus eerie incidental music guarantee genuinely unsettling and suitably dark and menacing moments.
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    Furthermore this is Dickens Heaven! Almost impossible to spot all the Dickensiana in the episode.
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    full.jpg

    And then there is this:
    Steed is browsing through his Christmas mail. Emma hands him a card from Cathy Gale. "Best wishes for the future - Cathy" she reads to Steed.
    Steed looks at the card. "Mrs. Gale! Ah, how nice of her to remember me. What can she be doing in Fort Knox?"

    full.jpg

    After this episode you won't play cards again.
    full.jpg

    Yet another fantastic episode, unsurprisingly really. It's my No 4 I say.
    Dalton Rulez™
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,526MI6 Agent
    BondJasonBond006,
    A good thread.
    I have been watching the repeats of The Avengers on True Entertainment. They stand up remarkably well and I have been toying with a review series to match a stretch I did on CBN about The Persuaders.
    The series you focus on here are all ITC productions.
    Do you have any interest in the other ITC products: The Baron, The Persuaders, The Champions, Jason King, Department S, The Protectors, Danger Man, The Prisoner, all the Gerry Anderson marionette stuff or some of those varied sixties shows like Vendetta, Man in a Suitcase, UNCLE, etc.?
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,628MI6 Agent
    being from the colonies, I don't really understand ITV and Lew Grade and all that, but I thought the Avengers was produced by somebody else called ABC (not the mid70s American purveyors of JiggleTV, but a British ABC). I believe Brian Clemens is the common creative mind behind both Danger Man and The Avengers, and many of those other shows.
    Anyway, for us foreigners, was there just one private competitor to the BBC, being ITV, or were there others?
    was ABC its own network, or a production company that supplied ITV?
    is ITC part of ITV or something different?

    me, I just watched Death's Door
    another serious one except its so damn weird. Lots of dream sequences, reminiscent of Dali and Magritte. The logical explanation at the end is so over-elaborate it could be a Prisoner plot.
    if the bad guys can kidnap the diplomat from his bedroom, and transport him (several times presumably) to a warehouse where they drug him and program his "dreams", then return him to his bed in time for the conference, why not just kill him and be done with it?
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,526MI6 Agent
    I refer you to wiki. Its complicated.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITC_Entertainment
  • IanFryerIanFryer Posts: 327MI6 Agent
    being from the colonies, I don't really understand ITV and Lew Grade and all that, but I thought the Avengers was produced by somebody else called ABC (not the mid70s American purveyors of JiggleTV, but a British ABC). I believe Brian Clemens is the common creative mind behind both Danger Man and The Avengers, and many of those other shows.
    Anyway, for us foreigners, was there just one private competitor to the BBC, being ITV, or were there others?
    was ABC its own network, or a production company that supplied ITV?
    is ITC part of ITV or something different?

    me, I just watched Death's Door
    another serious one except its so damn weird. Lots of dream sequences, reminiscent of Dali and Magritte. The logical explanation at the end is so over-elaborate it could be a Prisoner plot.
    if the bad guys can kidnap the diplomat from his bedroom, and transport him (several times presumably) to a warehouse where they drug him and program his "dreams", then return him to his bed in time for the conference, why not just kill him and be done with it?

    Clemens wasn't involved with Danger Man beyond writing a few episodes. The Avengers and the New Avengers were his main contributions to British filmed television, apart from a few one-off writing gigs, some under his pen-name Tony O'Grady.

    The show's status as the main British filmed adventure series of the 1960s not to be produced by Lew Grade's ITC company lay in its origins before the show became a filmed production.

    The Avengers began as a videotaped series for its first three seasons, made by ABC Television, one of the British regional companies that were part of the ITV network. The series then moved to film, still produced by ABC, but with a different production staff. Brian Clemens was hired as he had written episodes of The Avengers, and was familiar with writing for film production as he had been one of the main writers for the prolific British b-movie producers the Danziger Brothers.

    The economics of the filmed series meant that an American sale was vital, and the American ABC network bought the series - the very last black and white series to be bought by an American network.

    The Avengers was, in fact, virtually the only filmed series ABC made - there is a really entertaining science fiction pilot show the company made called The Solarnauts, made in colour around 1967. It never got commissioned to a full series but can be found on YouTube.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,628MI6 Agent
    IanFryer, thanks for the relatively clear explanation
    and chrisno1 you're right, it looks complicated
    I was looking at wiki's page on the history of ITV: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ITV
    and what I'm getting is: ITV is not a network in the sense of monolithic tv networks in North America (or the BBC), but more like a formal grouping of regional franchises which different companies can bid to be part of? (and it looks like theres weekday and weekend franchise holders for the same region?!!?)
    then there are content providers , who in some cases are also franchise holders?
    so an ITV station in Cornwall might be completely different than another ITV station in Yorkshire, but probably shares the same prime time programming?

    it doesn't matter of course, and is all off topic, but I'd always assumed the Avengers was made by the same people who made Danger Man and The Saint, but now I'm confused
    I suppose the talent behind the scenes (producers, writers, etc) are more important than what corporate entity owned the show
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