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

Steed pours vodka on his bowler

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 take The Avengers back to some version of realism never really had enough time to gain traction before the old team of Clemens and Fennell were reinstated. Invisibility (realism?) is what Get-A-Way! is all about. Invisibility at a high-security prison for enemy agents, run as if it were a monastery – the warders wear habits (again, realism?) – where … 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 early on after … Read more

The Avengers: Series 4, Episode 10 – Dial a Deadly Number

Clifford Evans, Peter Bowles, Patrick Macnee

Set in the world of the well-to-do, the very satisfying Dial a Deadly Number first aired in the UK in the early days of December 1965 and returns to two regular Avengers fascinations – businessmen and undertakers. In what sounds like the setup to a joke, there are these three business magnates sitting in a bar, bemoaning movements on the stock market. One of them gets bleeped, by an early manifestation of a pager, and heads back to the office. There is no funny payoff, though, because en route to the boardroom, the bleeped man’s pager gets switched and he is soon dead of a sudden “heart attack” after being struck by some … Read more

The Avengers: Series 3, Episode 8 – Second Sight

Villain prepares for operation

We finally arrive in upstream waters in Second Sight, first broadcast on Saturday 16 November 1963. As far as The Avengers is concerned, “upstream” means rarefied settings, no civilians or members of the public on view, posh accents, plots full of techy marvels and lots of improbable bullshit – ideal spawning territory for Avengers episodes to come.   Corneal grafts are what it’s all about. Which weren’t that techy in 1963, since the first one had been carried out in 1905, but still rarefied enough, especially if you add to the plot a mysterious Swiss clinic, a living donor (living people usually want to hang onto their eye) and a donee who has … Read more