The Avengers Series 2

John Steed and Cathy Gale

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 1 – Mr Teddy Bear

  Ian Hendry has left, Patrick Macnee has been bumped up to star and Honor Blackman has been drafted in as a sidekick who’s not just a pretty face. But there’s more than just those cosmetic differences – if they are just that – going on. In the opener for series two, it’s clear things have … Read more

Gale and Steed

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 2 – Propellant 23

  Set mostly in the airport at Marseille (a studio just to the north of London, apparently), this tight and fast episode gets underway with a passenger on a plane arriving from Tripoli getting very distraught and claiming he’s about to die. Without giving too much away, he does die, gratifyingly for the foreign spies … Read more

Venus Smith sings

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 3 – The Decapod

  Just when you thought it was Steed and Gale, Macnee and Blackman, along pops Julie Stevens (later in the decade a regular on the children’s TV show Playaway) as a sidekick in the third episode of series two. What’s afoot? Clearly there were worries behind the scenes before the series got underway and, having … Read more

Steed and Gale

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 4 – Bullseye

  Like one of those arcane “tontine plots”, the fourth episode of series two offers us a scenario where a string of people die so somebody in the same eco-system can ultimately benefit. Julie Stevens womanfully did sidekick duty in the last episode, but Honor Blackman’s Cathy Gale returns this time round to help Steed … Read more

John Steed and Dr King

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 5 – Mission to Montreal

  Mixing it up yet again, episode five of series two – Mission to Montreal – introduces yet another sidekick in a story set on board a cruise liner heading for Canada. Jon Rollason plays Dr Martin King and brings the number of Steed’s accomplices in this series to three (Honor Blackman and Julie Stevens … Read more

Edina Ronay and Douglas Muir

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 6 – The Removal Men

  Heady Europeanism, alcohol, jazz music and sexual licence are the watchwords of The Removal Men, number six in the second series. And Julie Stevens, appropriately, returns as Steed’s helpmeet in an episode set on the French Riviera, where a Bardot-like sexy French actress (played to the hilt by Edina Ronay, who went on to … Read more

John Steed in the dentist's chair

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 7 – The Mauritius Penny

  An episode about a missing postage stamp? Thou shittest. Indeed not. That is exactly what The Avengers are up to in the seventh episode of series two, a bizarre story that starts off in the genteel world of philately and ends up at a meeting of neo-Nazis, by way of a gun-running operation. But … Read more

The butler and Steed discuss bowler hats

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 8 – Death of a Great Dane

We’re now eight episodes into the second series of The Avengers and change is afoot. Even before Death of a Great Dane gets underway, something clearly sets this episode apart from the ones that came before. John Dankworth’s theme music has been perked up a bit – that 1950s-influenced jazz-inflected drone was sitting increasingly at … Read more

Patrick Macnee and Frank Gatliff

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 9 – The Sell-Out

  Just as the keel of the series had started to lift, floating at last in its own water, episode nine of series two plonks it back on the sea floor. The Sell-Out is a throwback to series one, which itself harks even further back – to the film noir genre which originally originally inspired … Read more

Cathy Gale and John Steed

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 10 – Death on the Rocks

  The tone is light and bantery, a set of the features that would become permanent eventually, but in other respects this tenth episode of series two is one of the weaker entrants so far in the Avengers canon. Nothing wrong with any individual bit of it – a plot about Steed and Mrs Gales setting … Read more

Richard Leech and Honor Blackman

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 11 – Traitor in Zebra

  In its heyday – Emma Peel era, shot on film, in colour, with the Laurie Johnson theme music – The Avengers became famous, notorious even, for its plots taking place in a nearly depopulated world. All very necessary, the better to maintain the suspension of disbelief – the outrageous storylines and arch characters simply wouldn’t stand … Read more

Tony Booth plays cards

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 12 – The Big Thinker

    Things go technological in the 12th episode of series two – The Big Thinker – a tale of a big brain computer called Plato and the scientists who minister to it like Delphic virgins in white lab coats. Hanging on like grim death to the notion that Britain was still at the forefront of … Read more

Steed and One-Ten

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 13 – Death Dispatch

  John Steed and Cathy Gale’s party trick, a duet working variations on the theme of the invincibility of the British upper class, really comes into its own in Death Dispatch, the 13th broadcast episode of series two. We’re off in the sort of colonial landscape described by Graham Greene – of swarthy thugs, Freudian … Read more

Dr King and John Steed

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 14 – Dead on Course

  The Avengers might just as easily have been called The Amateurs, since that was the original premise of the show – a bunch of freelance helpmeets called in to assist gangmaster John Steed in the solving of various cases too tricky to be handled by the usual agencies. No, it makes no real sense, but … Read more

Mrs Gale and the Intercrime gang

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 15 – Intercrime

  Twelve high level robberies in the last few weeks “and not one of them the work of an Englishman,” Steed says in the opening minutes of Intercrime, both the title of this episode and the name of a criminal outfit, a dark flipside of Interpol organising nefarious goings-on “all over Europe”. This case for … Read more

Steed is briefed by One-Ten in a steam room

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 16 – Immortal Clay

  By a gigantic stroke of luck, it seems, while Mrs Gale is being given a guided tour of a ceramics atelier, she stumbles across a dead body in the room where the raw clay is kept. Doubly handily, it seems that the company is engaged on cutting edge research to produce an indestructible tile … Read more

Smith and Steed examine a box

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 17 – Box of Tricks

  A thin, confusingly plotted and frankly rather dull episode is only emphasised by the terrible picture and sound quality (on the old box set I’m watching this series on, anyway). And it’s a Venus Smith episode, which means a song from the chanteuse, but not until after the opening credits. Before they roll, we … Read more

Peter Arne as Cosmo Gallion

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 18 – Warlock

Woo hoo, the suggestion of nudity and all sorts of pagan goings-on are all over the screen in the opening sequence of Warlock, as groovy hipsters gyrate themselves into a frenzy around a photo of… a middle aged man. All is soon explained as we join John Steed, arriving at the home of scientist Peter … Read more

Steed, Gale and Dr Ashe

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 19 – The Golden Eggs

  Because The Avengers were not broadcast in production order*, you do get the odd anomaly. The getting-to-know-you dialogue between Steed and Mrs Gale in Warlock, the 18th (broadcast order) episode of series 2, makes more sense when you know this episode was designed as the Series 2 opener, introducing Steed’s new sidekick. There’s another … Read more

Venus Smith and John Steed

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 20 – School for Traitors

    Mrs Gale takes a rest and Venus Smith gets another outing in an episode set at an elite Oxbridge-style university and kicking off with a death (again) before the credits (again). Steed is sent in to find out what happened to the man he was meant to have been keeping an eye on, … Read more

Mrs Gale reads a children's science book

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 21 – The White Dwarf

A top astronomer dies before the opening credits in The White Dwarf, the 21st episode broadcast in series 2 of The Avengers. Turns out that a large astral body might be heading towards Earth and if it does in fact arrive, we’re all toast. And Professor Richter was the only man who knew absolutely for … Read more

Venus photographs a dead man

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 22 – The Man in the Mirror

  At this stage in the game – we’re at episode 22 now – we more or less expect someone to be dead before the opening credits have rolled. But Man in the Mirror rings the changes a touch – there’s a dead body in the opening shot. The plot is slight and utterly fanciful … Read more

Steed throttles a clown

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 23 – Conspiracy of Silence

  Tight direction is the saving of Conspiracy of Silence, episode 23 of the second series of The Avengers, a mix of the confusing and the humdrum. Why, for example, is Steed being targeted by a killer while he’s out walking his dog? The imdb brief description tells us it’s because he interrupted a drug-trafficking … Read more

Shima, Stevens, Pohlmann and Macnee

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 24 – A Chorus of Frogs

  A mix of the familiar and the exotic in A Chorus of Frogs, the 24th episode in the broadcast run of series two of The Avengers, and another chance for Julie Stevens’s Venus Smith to do her wide-eyed naive thing. It’s a useful character trait, since there is plenty of explicatory work to be … Read more

Gale and Steed

The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 25 – Six Hands across a Table

  As I write, the UK is drunkenly stumbling towards its exit from the European Union. Rewind 55 years and Six Hands across the Table, the penultimate episode of the second series of The Avengers, is having a discussion similar to the one the country is having right now, a “whither us” debate about Britain … Read more