The Avengers Series 6

Patrick Macnee and Lind Thorson

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 1 – The Forget-Me-Knot

  Exit Diana Rigg, enter Linda Thorson. Out with the old, in with the new in The Forget-Me-Knot, a handover episode that saw Diana Rigg leave The Avengers and Linda Thorson join it. Much has been said about Thorson – a good overview can be found here at Avengers Forever – and I’m not going … Read more

Steed caught in a giant game

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 2 – Game

After new opening titles – a mix of the medieval (Steed’s swordplay with his brolly) and the modern (Tara King in sophisticated black evening dress and then action-girl attire) – we’re off into Game, the first proper Tara King era episode of The Avengers. The excellent Robert Fuest (director of The Abominable Dr Phibes) is … Read more

Window cleaners in white bowler hats and overalls

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 3 – Super Secret Cypher Snatch

  As mentioned briefly in the previous post (and explained much more fully on the Avengers Forever website), there was a brief interregnum in the final series of The Avengers, when John Bryce took over as producer, only for Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell to return to save the day after Bryce got hopelessly bogged … Read more

Steed and King in fetching hats

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 4 – You’ll Catch Your Death

  Boring but prescient is how you’d describe You’ll Catch Your Death, fourth episode of the final series of The Avengers. Prescient because it’s all about biological warfare, people dying due to exposure to some deadly toxin, Steed and King investigating the demises of the dead men (naturally) who all happened to be ear, nose … Read more

Tara King about to undergo a mind-blend procedure

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 5 – Split!

  Split! is the title, as in personality, a mind-control episode co-written by Brian Clemens and the similarly fecund Dennis Spooner. After John Bryce’s trio of episodes, The Invasion of the Earthmen, The Curious Case of the Countless Clues and The Forget-Me-Knot (only the last of which had been seen when this first aired), Split! … Read more

A meeting on the top deck of a bus

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 7 – False Witness

  An episode of The Avengers with the name of director Charles Crichton on it is usually a good sign. A claim borne out by False Witness, a permutation on a favourite of showrunner Brian Clemens – mind control – scripted by Jeremy Burnham in such a way as to keep us guessing what’s going … Read more

Tara King near a cliff edge

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 8 – All Done with Mirrors

  A strange episode in many respects, All Done with Mirrors leaves John Steed almost entirely out of the picture, instead focusing on Tara King’s attempts to find out who is leaking secrets from a communications facility when Steed is arrested as a suspect mole. It’s all a ruse, of course, Steed will in fact … Read more

Ronald Lacey and Stratford Johns

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 9 – Legacy of Death

  “A bit crap,” is what I wrote in my notes towards the end of watching The Avengers episode Legacy of Death. Perhaps I was being too harsh. My memory of it now is of being a pleasingly entertaining episode, and that’s largely down to the work of Stratford Johns and Ronald Lacey, who do … Read more

Ray Brooks and TP McKenna play cowboys

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 10 – Noon-Doomsday

High Noon, the 1952 movie starring Gary Cooper, is the inspiration behind this Terry Nation-scripted episode of The Avengers. Nation had done something similarly pastiche-y the previous week with Legacy of Death, an episode that leaned on 1940s noir. Quick thumbnail of High Noon – Gary Cooper is the good guy finding everyone in the … Read more

John Steed with automatic weapon

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 12 – Have Guns – Will Haggle

    Intended as a 90-minute episode designed to introduce Tara King and originally called Invitation to a Killing, what became the 12th episode of the final series of The Avengers instead ran the usual 50-ish minutes, wound up being called Have Guns – Will Haggle and features not one but two iterations of King. … Read more

Norman Jones and Ray McAnally

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 13 – They Keep Killing Steed

  Improbable and fluffy, They Keep Killing Steed is a prime screenplay by showrunner and writer Brian Clemens, and a clear sign that the series is entirely back on track with a plot pivoting on the ideas of doubles – a classic Clemens trope. The fluidly cinematic Robert Fuest does directorial duty in a plot … Read more

Christopher Lee, Linda Thorson and Cecil Cheng

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 14 – The Interrogators

  Charles Crichton directs and Christopher Lee guest-stars in The Interrogators, so we’re expecting good things of this episode of The Avengers, right? The plot is a good one – writer Richard Harris fleshing out an idea by Brian Clemens – and hinges on army chaps being tested to destruction by an interrogation outfit run … Read more

Tara King holds a lock but the door's disappeared!

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 15 – The Rotters

  What do you get if you draft in a comedy writer to pen an episode of The Avengers? The answer is The Rotters, by Dave Freeman, a prolific writer for TV comedy from the likes of Benny Hill, Terry Scott, Roy Hudd and Tommy Cooper. The shape of the episode however – opening shocker, call … Read more

Tara surrounded by people all dressed the same

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 16 – Invasion of the Earthmen

  Here we are, Invasion of the Earthmen, the first Tara King episode shot by returning showrunner John Bryce, one of three he managed to get in the can before Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell again resumed control of The Avengers. This is not Bryce’s vision of the episode. Clemens has had a hack at … Read more

Tara King and John Steed examine a clue

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 17 – Killer

  Were showrunner Brian Clemens, fellow producer Albert Fennell and the rest of the production team trying to get rid of Linda Thorson? She had been introduced during his brief interregnum by producer John Bryce and when Clemens and Fennell returned, they were stuck with her. Killer is an episode bursting with agents – who … Read more

Peter Barkworth, Brian Blessed and Patrick Macnee

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 18 – The Morning After

  Peter Barkworth, Joss Ackland and Brian Blessed fortify The Morning After, a decent “abandoned town” caper with an egregious USP – Tara King isn’t in it. It’s insult added to injury, given that the previous week Linda Thorson had been substituted by obvious try-out replacement Jennifer Croxton. This week Clemens has two stand-ins, Peter … Read more

Tara looks through the hole in a T shirt

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 20 – Wish You Were Here

  After a couple of Tara-lite outings, a Steed-lite one for fans of Linda Thorson, who rises to the occasion in a fairly jokey episode, Wish You Were Here, which sees The Avengers doffing its hat to The Prisoner, whose 13 episodes had blazed across 1967 and 1968 (and continue to be talked about all … Read more

Sir Rodney and Martha

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 21 – Love All

  The phrase “pale, stale and male” was still waiting to be coined when this episode was first broadcast on a dark February night in 1969. And you didn’t hear the term “misogyny” on TV much either, particularly not on a Saturday evening entertainment show. But that’s where we are in The Avengers‘ episode Love … Read more

Steed meets Father

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 22 – Stay Tuned

  Mind control as a plot driver became The Avengers go-to narrative, and it gets another outing in Stay Tuned, a fine example of the show’s ongoing attempts to recapture old glory. It takes flight quickly – Steed with a ridiculous amount of baggage heading off on holiday. And then Steed some time later, also … Read more

John Steed and Tara King blowing wind instruments

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 23 – Take Me to Your Leader

  Coined as a film-making term by Alfred Hitchcock collaborator Angus McPhail, the Macguffin (spell it anyway you like) is a simple plot device which doesn’t do much on its own, but acts as a string on which a number of scenes can be strung, lending an illusion of wholeness to something which, without it, … Read more

Nigel Green

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 24 – Fog

  London was still notorious for its fog in 1969 when The Avengers episode Fog aired, even though the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968 had largely consigned all-enveloping, life-shortening meteorological damp blankets to history. No matter, fog is what’s called for and so fog is what we get, a thick pea-souper so dense … Read more

Gerald Harper with the Crown Jewels

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 26 – Homicide and Old Lace

  An episode written by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks, and then rewritten by Brian Clemens when he returned to the series. It was Clemens who inserted the framework narrative device – Mother visiting a pair of aged aunts and spinning them yarns about legendary feats of Avengers derring-do. The Great Great Britain Crime was … Read more

John Steed in a pair of welder's goggles

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 27 – Thingumajig

  Thingumajig, a can’t-be-bothered title for an average episode that starts well – a woman carrying a skull into a small church is horrified when the organ starts playing on its own and the lights start to strobe. Meanwhile, underground, her fellow archaeologist is so wrapped up in excavating something that he doesn’t hear her … Read more

Philip Madoc and Peter Vaughan

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 28 – My Wildest Dream

  Though broadcast towards the end of the Tara King era, My Wildest Dream was made towards the beginning. It marks the point where Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell had fully taken back control of the series from John Bryce and were able to start banging out episodes that were theirs through and through, rather … Read more

Angela Douglas as Miranda

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 29 – Requiem

  Requiem sounds like it should be the title for the last-ever episode of The Avengers, now only weeks away. That it’s not is a typical piece of perversity by showrunner Brian Clemens. Another is Clemens’s ongoing attempt to sideline Linda Thorson, which he’s still engaged in even this late in the day. Perhaps a … Read more

Steed arrives laden with gifts

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 30 – Take-Over

  Take-Over it was called in 1969 when it first aired. In the intervening decades the word takeover has lost its hyphen but this episode of The Avengers remains fresh and watchable precisely because of its antique quality. But first a bit of a prelim – man being escorted to prison makes a run for … Read more

Tara King in front of a portrait of Pandora

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 31 – Pandora

  The benign king deceived by his courtiers – a wicked grand vizier, a scheming cardinal, a treacherous brother – is a comforting story told and retold down the ages. The Avengers episode Pandora is Brian Clemens’s version of it: a man grieving for a lost love being fooled by his family into believing she … Read more

Steed pours vodka on his bowler

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 32 – Get-A-Way!

  The penultimate Avengers episode actually goes right back to the early days of this series’ production run. There was over a year between the completion of Get-A-Way! in February 1968 and its transmission in May 1969. It’s one of the ones produced (or started, at any rate) by John Bryce, whose short-lived attempt to … Read more

Steed and Tara in a Saturn V rocket

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 33 – Bizarre

  So we come to the end of The Avengers journey with Bizarre, 33rd episode of the final season. The show started in January 1961 and was literally about an Avenger, Ian Hendry playing David Keel, a doctor going on a restorative-justice rampage after his wife was killed by drug smugglers. And it ends here … Read more