• title card: white all caps text reading ‘THE EAGLE’S NEST BY BRIAN CLEMENS’ superimposed on a freeze frame of Stannard leaping off the cliff, arms and legs outstretched
  • Ralph in close-up, pointing his Luger pistol at us
  • Purdey backs against a tree as Main and Barker pass through the trees beyond her
  • Gerda and Gambit get up close and personal
  • Trasker, now in full Gestapo uniform, aims his submachinegun
  • The Neww Avengers whistle the Colonel Bogey March as they leave the monastery

The New Avengers, Series 1 — Episode 1
The Eagle’s Nest

by Brian Clemens
Directed by Desmond Davis

TV Times summary

The return of John Steed in another series of swashbuckling adventures, with new assistants Gambit and the gorgeous Purdey. The trail of a kidnapped scientist takes the trio to a sinister island where men deal out death with hook and line.

Plot summary

Doctor von Claus, a world authority on suspended animation, is abducted and taken to the monastery on the remote island of St Dorca. The New Avengers are hot on the trail after one of the monks is captured and found to be wearing a wig to hide his tonsure. Purdey finds a crashed Nazi plane on the island and Gambit discovers it was supposedly carrying “German’s greatest treaure” when it went missing. Von Claus is disocvering to his horror that the treasure is the Führer - the monks are escaped Nazis who have adbucted him to resurrect Adolf Hitler, who has been frozen since the plane crashed into the sea in 1945. Father Trasker intends to start the Fourth Reich but ends up accidentally killing Hitler himself when the Avengers burst in to stop him.

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Ministry agent George Stannard (Brian Anthony) is pursued across a windswept island by the fishermen Main (Neil Phillips) and Ralph (Charles Bolton); he seeks sanctuary at a nearby monastery, but Father Trasker (Derek Farr) turns him over to them. The fishermen are actually monks and they interrogate him along with Brother Karl (Frank Gatliff). Stannard manages to escape a while later, but is struck by Main’s poison-tipped fishing hook as he dives into a fishing boat.

John Steed (Patrick Macnee) interrupts Ralph ransacking of Stannard’s apartment and sees him drive off in a distinctive Mercedes. Steed and Purdey (Joanna Lumley) then visit his fisherman friend Barker (Jerold Wells) and witness Stannard’s inert body come into harbour in a fishing boat.
Meanwhile, Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) is delegated to stand in for the dead agent at a lecture on suspended animation given by the world’s foremost authority, Doctor von Claus (Peter Cushing). He notices the Mercedes outside and asks the convener, Brown-Fitch (Trevor Baxter) whose it is. Brown-Fitch derides him for not knowing his own men’s vehicles, and tells him it’s Stannard’s! Ralph has masqueraded as Stannard, and abducts Von Claus before Gambit can get to him. Gambit gives chase, stealing a Citroën from its owner. Main drops Ralph off to kill Gambit, but Gambit overpowers him. He takes a suicide capsule rather than revealing anything and Gambit is left with one clue - the wig that concealed Ralph’s tonsure.

Von Claus is taken to St. Dorca, the remote island inhabited by the monks; here he is asked by Father Trasker to assist in reviving an injured member of their order who had been cryogenically frozen. He restores him to life but as soon as von Claus leaves the surgery, Karl turns off the life support.
Following the trail, Steed arrives at the island pretending to be on holiday, encumbered with a myriad of sporting equipment (sound familiar?), while Purdey sneaks ashore in scuba gear. Purdey meets a deranged old man, Hara (Sydney Bromley), who shows her a crashed Nazi plane. Meanwhile, Steed’s landlord Jud (Ronald Forfar), already suspicious of Steed, is more concerned when a fisherman finds Purdey’s flippers. Gambit pumps the attractive Gerda (Trudi van Dorne) - for information about the crashed plane - and discovers it was reputed to be carrying “Germany’s greatest treasure” across the Atlantic - past St. Dorca - and so he sets off for the island.

Steed infiltrates the monastery, and discovers that the monks are actually a troop of Nazis but is recognised as an impostor and he and Purdey are captured. Meanwhile, Claus has been recalled to revive the man a second time, but notices immediately it’s a different man - he pulls away the sheet and is horrified to see the frozen body of Adolf Hitler! Threatened with the murder of his entire family, he is forced to revive the Führer, as part of Trasker’s plans for a Fourth Reich.

Steed and Purdey, now joined by Gambit, overpower the Nazis and burst in to stop the operation. Trasker tries to kill then with a machine pistol but is shot by Gambit and his wayward bullets kill his beloved Führer.

The New Avengers round up the Nazis and exit the monastery whistling the Colonel Bogey March.

This episode has a video Q&A and commentary with Renée Glynne and Philip Hawkins on the Lives in the Pictures YouTube channel.

Production details

Produced:April, 1976
First broadcast:
  • London: 19/10/1976
  • Midlands: 17/10/1976
  • Sydney (ABN-2): 9/02/1977
  • Melbourne (ABV-2): 9/02/1977
  • USA (CBS): 5/09/1978
  • France (TF1): 2/01/1977

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