The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 21 – Love All

Sir Rodney and Martha

  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 All – no, no tennis is involved. It’s a classically formatted 50 minutes – the setup, the briefing, the visits to various eccentrics and the dénouement, with a couple of bizarre murders thrown in along the way just to keep things moving. The setup plonks us down in a briefing room full of white, ageing gents, all being … Read more

The Avengers: Series 5, Episode 9 – The Correct Way to Kill

Olga reveals an arsenal under her coat

  So we arrive at The Correct Way to Kill, a rewrite of the series 3 episode The Charmers, and a frank admission that The Avengers has pretty much run out of ideas.   Or, since we’re being generous, that it’s taking a prize episode out for a well deserved second airing – The Charmers was excellent, though in no small part because it featured Fenella Fielding.   She’s not visible here but the bare bones of the plot remain the same – someone is killing enemy agents on British soil, putting Steed in the frame. Enemy agent Ivan (Philip Madoc) has been sent to dispatch Steed but, after listening to Steed’s protestations of … Read more

The Avengers: Series 4, Episode 1 – The Town of No Return

Emma Peel in fencing gear

  And so, drum roll, The Town of No Return and the beginning of series 4. And with it the arrival of Diana Rigg as Mrs Emma Peel, the story going that the new partner for Steed would have to have “man appeal” or M-appeal for short. Hence the name.   She’s not the only new arrival – more money has clearly turned up, allowing the series to be shot on film and on location much more often. So no more studio-bound “as live” episodes rehearsed one day and shot the next. John Dankworth’s theme music has also been retired. Its jazzy plangency was fine for a 1950s style noirish detective series featuring … Read more