Production: GB, 1961-69, 1976-77
Cast: Patrick McNee, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson, Honor Blackman, Ian Hendry, Gareth Hunt, Joanna Lumley.

One of the most playful shows of ever, which was also lately recalled by a big screen movie (not much seen and not well understood).

The beginning was a serie made in 1960 by british producer ABC, titled “Police surgeon”, showing an english doctor, Geoffrey Bent (Ian Hendry), who was also a detective in his spare time, and solved crime affairs. The following year, Hendry starred in a similar programme, clearly inspired by the previous one and created by Doctor Who’s producer Sidney Newman: the title was “The Avengers”, and the principal character, dr. David Keel, begun his fight against crime after his fiancèe’s murder. Helping him there was a man from british secret service, very elegant as a dandy with bowl hat and umbrella, named John Steed (Patrick McNee).
The first season lasted for 26 episodes, but things changed when hendry decided to stop with television, wishing different acting experiences.

At first he was replaced by another similar character, dr. Martin King (Jon Rollason), but then it was decided to have a woman as Steed’s assistant.
Steed’s first pal was Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman (who later became Pussy Galore in “007 – Goldfinger”). Cathy was tall, blond-haired, always dressed in tight leather, was skilled with arms and martial arts.
It was a sort of revolution seeing a woman fighting to save the world, but there were also several spicy and fetish situations, in which Cathy was tied or wore very provocative clothes.
This new season, filmed in 1963, was a good success, and another one was produced in 1965, both of 26 episodes. But unfortunately also Honor Blackman wanted to try with cinema, and producers had to cast a new companion for Steed.

The character name was obtained by the words “man” and “appeal”, which became M + appeal = Emma Peel.
To play the new character was cast actress Elizabeth Sheperd, but things didn’t go well: after two episodes, she left the production.
Producers had to re-cast immediately, and was choosen a young theatre actress, Diana Rigg.
Attractive and witty at the same time (quite unusual for a woman), Diana Rigg became soon very popular, and appeared in two seasons, the last one in colour. This was surely the serie’s best moment, and also the recent movie was inspired by those two seasons.
Stories had often elements of science fiction, sometimes shown as a spoof  (futurible inventions revealed as a complete mock-up) and sometimes as a

real menace (robots, crazy computers, mad scientists and similar).
But finally also Diana Rigg decided to work in the movies (she starred in George Lazemby's 007), and another replacement was needed.
After a new casting was found a very young actress named Linda Thorson, who played Steed’s new pal, Tara King.
The show was becoming dated and grotesque, and McNee had aged and become unfit for an action role. Ratings were getting worse, especially in the USA, and so after 33 episodes the last season ended in the most absurd way, showing Steed and Tara’s lift off in a rocketship to unknown destination…
In 1975 the show’s popularity was still alive, so came out a french producer who picked up again the idea to make a new serie titled “The new avengers”.
Patrick McNee was 54, but agreed to be John Steed again, and his assistants were Joanna Lumley (later seen as Sapphire in “Sapphire and

who played Purdey, and Gareth Hunt playing Mike Gambit. Steed had become a sort of  chief who acted in the shadow, while the other two had a more action role. But all the show’s original features were lost: no more humour, no more gags, no more science fiction, and the show ended after only a 26 episodes season.
More than 20 years after that, a big screen movie has been made with a very important cast: Ralph Fiennes as Steed, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel, and an unusual Sean Connery as the villain sir August De Wynter.
The plot was very simple: sir August De Wynter was a mad scientist who wanted to alter the Earth’s weather and blackmail the world. Special agent John Steed was sent to investigate, and dr. Emma Peel, a botanist, was asked to help him.

Things were complicated by a second Emma Peel, double of the real one, who left several dead bodies behind her, waiting for the right moment to get rid of Steed…
The movie was absolutely unsiccessful. But Uma Thurman was the only possible heir of Diana Rigg, and also Ralph Fiennes was fit in the role. Humour and gags did not lack. So, what happened? It has to be said that not always what works on TV can do the same on the big screen, maybe a large part of the viewers did not know the original and did not understand, and anyway there’s always people who need to make comparisons and regrets.
To be noticed Patrick McNee’s cameo, playing an invisible officer… His voice was recognizable, and for a while he was enlighted by a projector and his typical shape could be seen…

161 episodes, 104 b/w, 57 colour, 60'

First season

1) Hot Snow
2) Brought to Book
3) Square Root of Evil
4) Nightmare
5) Crescent Moon
6) Girl on the Trapeze
7) Diamond Cut Diamond

8) The Radioactive Man
9) Ashes of Roses
10) Hunt the Man Down
11) Please Don't Feed the Animals
12) Dance with Death
13) One for the Mortuary
14) The Springers
15) The Frighteners
16) The Yellow Needle
17) Death on the Slipway
18) Double Danger
19) Toy Trap
20) Tunnel of Fear
21) The Far-Distant Dead (Il morto lontano)
22) Kill the King (Uccidete il re)
23) Dead of Winter (Morte d’inverno)
24) The Deadly Air (Aria mortale)
25) A Change of Bait (Un’esca diversa)
26) Dragonsfield (La terra del drago)

Second season

27) Dead On Course
28) Mission to Montreal
29) The Sell-Out
30) Death Dispatch
31) Warlock
32) Propellant 23
33) Mr Teddy Bear
34) The Decapod
35) Bullseye
36) The Removal Men
37) The Mauritius Penny
38) Death of a Great Dane
39) Death on the Rocks
40) Traitor in Zebra
41) The Big Thinker
42) Intercrime
43) Immortal Clay
44) Box of Tricks
45) The Golden Eggs
46) School for Traitors
47) The White Dwarf
48) Man in the Mirror
49) Conspiracy of Silence
50) A Chorus of Frogs
51) Six Hands Across A Table
52) Killer Whale

Third season

53) Concerto
54) Brief for Murder
55) The Nutshell
56) The Golden Fleece
57) Death à la Carte
58) Man With Two Shadows
59) Don't Look Behind You
60) The Grandeur That Was Rome
61) The Undertakers

62) Death of a Batman
63) Build a Better Mousetrap
64) November Five
65) Second Sight
66) The Secrets Broker
67) The Gilded Cage
68) The Medicine Men
69) The White Elephant
70) Dressed to Kill
71) The Wringer
72) The Little Wonders
73) Mandrake
74) Trojan Horse
75) The Outside-In Man
76) The Charmers
77) Esprit de Corps
78) Lobster Quadrille

Fourth season

79) The Town of No Return
80) The Gravediggers
81) The Cybernauts
82) Death at Bargain Prices

83) Castle De'ath
84) The Master Minds
85) The Murder Market
86) A Surfeit of H2O
87) The Hour that Never Was
88) Dial a Deadly Number
89) Man-Eater of Surrey Green
90) Two's a Crowd
91) Too Many Christmas Trees
92) Silent Dust
93) Room Without a View
94) Small Game For Big Hunters

95) The Girl From Auntie
96) The Thirteenth Hole
97) Quick-Quick Slow Death
98) The Danger Makers
99) A Touch of Brimstone
100) What the Butler Saw
101) The House That Jack Built
102) A Sense of History
103) How to Succeed... at Murder
104) Honey For the Prince

Fifth season

105) From Venus With Love
106) The Fear Merchants
107) Escape in Time
108) The See-Through Man
109) The Bird Who Knew Too Much
110) The Winged Avenger
111) The Living Dead
112) The Hidden Tiger
113) The Correct Way to Kill
114) Never, Never Say Die
115) Epic

116) The Superlative Seven
117) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station
118) Something Nasty in the Nursery
119) The Joker
120) Who's Who???
121) Return of the Cybernauts
122) Death's Door
123) The 50,000 Pound Breakfast
124) Dead Man's Treasure
125) You Have Just Been Murdered
126) The Positive Negative Man
127) Murdersville
128) Mission... Highly Improbable

Sixth season

129) The Forget-Me-Knot
130) Game
131) Super Secret Cypher Snatch
132) You'll Catch Your Death
133) Split!
134) Whoever Shot Poor George Oblique Stroke XR40
135) False Witness

136) All Done With Mirrors
137) Legacy of Death
138) Noon Doomsday
139) Look- (stop me if you've heard this one) But There Were These Two Fellers...
140) Have Guns- Will Haggle
141) They Keep Killing Steed
142) The Interrogators
143) The Rotters
144) Invasion of the Earthmen
145) Killer
146) The Morning After
147) The Curious Case of the Countless Clues
148) Wish You Were Here
149) Stay Tuned
150) Take Me To Your Leader
151) Fog
152) Homicide and Old Lace
153) Love All
155) Thingumajig
156) Pandora
157) Requiem
158) Take-Over
159) Who Was That Man I Saw You With?
160) My Wildest Dream
161) Bizarre

The New Avengers, first season

1) The eagle’s nest
2) The Mida’s touch
3) House of cards
4) The last of the cybernauts...?
5) To catch a rat
6) Cat amongst the pigeons
7) Target!
8) Faces
9) Tale of the big Y
10) The three handed game
11) Sleeper
12) Gnaws
13) Dirtier by the dozen

The New Avengers, second season

14) Hostage
15) Trap
16) Dead men are dangerous
17) Medium rare
18) Angels of death
19) Obsession
20) The lion and the unicorn
21) K is for kill – part 1: The tiger awakes
22) K is for kill – part 2: Tiger by the tail
23) Complex
24) The gladiators
25) Forward base
26) Emily


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