return of a lost episode from a classic TV series is surely
cause for celebration, and when the show in question is The
Avengers there's even more reason to pop open the champagne,
reports Anthony Clark...
series one episode that was recently unearthed in the vaults
of an American university (of all places) was supposedly never
recorded - it went out live (11 February 1961). And stranger
still, Steed is absent for the entire 50 minutes - the action
is handled by Steed's then sidekick Dr Keel (Ian Hendry).
very odd, but "odd" and the Avengers go hand-in-hand.
Avengers ran in the UK for 161 episodes from January 1961
through September 1969. The show also sold to 120 countries
around the world making it one of the most popular British
TV series of all time. But why? Think style, glamour, action,
humour, wit. in fact, The Avengers was the living embodiment
of stereotypical British eccentricity and class. It also possessed
ingredient X - the indefinable magic that enables films and
TVs show to transcend their age.
show started out as a fairly simple cops and robbers-style
production, slowly evolving into the slightly obtuse gem of
its heyday pairing of John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Emma
Peel (Diana Rigg). Steed, the one constant of The Avengers,
changed with the show, his hard edges from the early episodes
being slowly polished off so by the time Mrs Peel replaced
Gathy Gale as his tough-woman partner he had been transformed
into the ultimate cool spy.
what really makes the programme's Golden Age so endearing
is the chemistry between Steed and Emma. Interestingly, some
of their sharply observed banter was actually written by Macnee
show is now owned by French company Canal+ which has just
started to release the series on DVD here in the UK.
welcome addition to anyone's collection, The Avengers is still
winning over new fans and finding new audiences. Not bad for
a programme that is 40 years old. but then real style is timeless.