The Avengers: Series 5, Episode 4 – The See-Through Man

Steed and Pell with chemistry apparatus

  After time travel in the previous week’s episode, Escape in Time, The Avengers’ augmented interest in sci-fi gets another workout in The See-Through Man, a plot all about invisibility and its dastardly uses.   Comedy is the overarching tone and self-parody the effect as first one person then another is killed by an invisible man (he is referred to throughout as “he”, even before it’s been established that he is a he). Indeed, before the opening credits have even rolled a factotum at the Ministry of Defence has been dispatched by an unseeable assailant, all very nicely done by director Robert Asher.   Two bits of minor but annoying Avengers furniture are … Read more

The Avengers: Series 5, Episode 3 – Escape in Time

Emma Peel and John Steed cower in a doorway

  Escape in Time is a good chance to see what the great documentary maker John Krish can do when handed an episode of The Avengers to direct.   The results are a mixed bag: visually interesting but dramatically a little flat, though the premise – a time-travelling bolthole into another era to aid escaping master criminals – is a fascinating one if you’re on board with the whole time-travel idea.   And it gives the production team at The Avengers a chance to get the fancy-dress box out – a sure sign of a series that’s jumping the shark. On the upside, Peter Bowles is in it, and we meet him very … Read more

The Avengers: Series 5, Episode 2 – The Fear Merchants

Annette Carell, Patrick Cargill and Garfield Morgan

“Steed puts out a light; Emma takes fright” runs the subhead to The Fear Merchants, second episode of the fifth series of The Avengers, and its belly-flop rhythm makes it apparent that this novelty is already not a good idea. But on with the episode, which starts well with a man who stands alone inside an empty football stadium, frightened to the point of insanity though there is nothing there to terrify him. He’s not the first, either, apparently. In fact he’s the latest in a line of top British ceramics experts driven to the edge of reason by nothing in particular – a mouse in the case of Fox (Bernard Horsfall), who gives Steed … Read more

The Avengers: Series 5, Episode 1 – From Venus with Love

Jeremy Lloyd

    For a lot of people, series five of The Avengers IS The Avengers. It’s in colour, for starters, and takes full advantage of the extended tonal pallet by really laying on the visuals – in From Venus with Love, the first episode to air (the fourth of the series to be made) – colour is laid on with abandon, almost at random, it sometimes seems, by an exuberant production team who splash it on walls, floors and wherever they can. Reds and blues, in the main, because they register best.   It also fine-tunes the Steed/Peel relationship, moves Diana Rigg permanently out of leather (a hangover from the Honor Blackman era) … Read more