• title card: white all caps text reading ‘The Last of the Cybernauts…?? BY BRIAN CLEMENS’ superimposed on Kane in his car, shielding his head from the inevitable crash with his hands
  • Kane is displeased, so he puts on a sad mask
  • Goff holds a torch and he stands in front of a dusty, cobweb-covered cybernaut in the basement of the ruins of Armstrong’s secret lab
  • Steed in profile on the right in his bowler hat, Gambit and Purdey face us — and him as they discuss Mason’s kidnapping
  • Gambit fights the cybernaut on the staircase
  • Mason and Malov strap Kane into his cybernautic suit
  • Steed looks at his can of aerosol plastic skin before Kane’s frozen face, Purdey looks on over Kane’s right shoulder

The New Avengers, Series 1 — Episode 3
The Last of the Cybernauts…??

by Brian Clemens
Directed by Sidney Hayers

TV Times summary

John Steed has met the Cybernauts before — 10 years before, when Emma Peel was his assistant. Steed has almost forgotten the robot missiles which nearly killed them, and he has almost forgotten too, the double agent who, only a few months ago, was horribly burned in a car crash, trying to escape Steed, Purdey and Gambit.
Now the Cybernauts reappear, led by a half-man/half-machine, seeking vengeance on the Avengers … and Emma Peel’s ghost.

Plot summary

Whilst being pursued by the Avengers, Felix Kane nearly dies when his car crashes into a petrol tanker whish burst into flames. Bent on revenge, he enlists the help of Frank Goff, engineer to Dr. Armstrong and just released from prison, to re-activate the Cybernauts. Still horribly disfigured and disabled by severe burns, Kane kills Goff when he admits he can’t improve on the original cybernaut design. Kane then kidnaps Professor Mason, a cybernetics expert, and forces him to restore his mobility and give him superhuman strength with the aid of cybernetic limbs. So armed, Kane sets off to kill Purdey. Luckily, Steed and Gambit arrive just in time with cans of spray-on plastic skin for which the invent a thousand and second use: immobilising cybernetics.

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show plot summary

It’s Steed’s birthday and the New Avengers and John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and his girlfriend Tricia (Davina Taylor) are gathered around the piano when a rel="i" target="cast" href="large/terry.jpg">Terry (Eric Carte) stumbles in, badly injured, saying he’s identified a double agent — Felix Kane, and gives a rendezvous before dying. Next day, the New Avengers spring the trap and the villains try to escape; Kane’s contract is knock cold after crashing into a parked car, while Kane (Robert Lang) suffers a more horrible fate, being engulfed in the explosion from a fuel tanker he collides with.

It’s Steed’s birthday, and a crowd is gathered around the piano… Steed is pensive, thinking of the previous year but his current belle, Laura (Sally Bazely) consoles him better than Purdey (Joanna Lumley) & Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) can and leads him back to the party. Meanwhile, Frank Goff (Robert Gillespie) is released from prison where he’s been serving time for developing the original cybernauts for Professor Armstrong. He’s intercepted by Malov (Oscar Quitak) and brought at gunpoint to Kane’s op-art hideout. Kane is consumed with hatred for the New Avengers, and seeks Goff’s assistance in destroying them with cybernaut technology (sound familiar?). He wants Goff to help him find Armstrong’s secret storehouse of cybernauts.

Mrs. Weir (Pearl Hackney) cleans Steed’s house after the party, demonstrates a viruosity on a miniature synthesiser and is warned not enter the guest bedroom, if she’s a woman of high morals, until tomorrow. Tom Fitzroy (David Horovitch) calls, warning Steed of Goff’s release. Meanwhile, Goff, Kane and Malov investigate a derelict mansion and find the storehouse; Goff indicates he knows how to programme and control the cybernauts, as he built them for Armstrong in the first place. Fitzroy sneaks in when Steed’s practicing snooker and is clobbered for it, he then tells Steed that Goff has vanished without trace. Goff has meanwhile completed Kane’s wheelchair-mounted cybercontrol and Kane tests it — killing Goff with the cybernaut (Rocky Taylor) when he admits being unable to extend the capabilities of the cybernauts.

It’s Laura’s birthday and Steed gives her a stallion then turns around and hits Fitzroy again, he was sneaking through the hedges this time; Goff has been found, neck broken as if hit with an iron bar. Malov and the cybernaut are sent to kidnap the heavily guarded Professor Mason. The first guard (Ray Armstrong) fires his shotgun into the cybernaut with no effect, and is killed. Inside, the second guard (Martin Fisk) and Professor Mason (Basil Hopkins) are arguing about the need for armed guards when the guard is knocked out by the cybernaut smashing the door in and Mason is taken. The New Avengers arrive to investigate, but the guard remembers nothing, and Steed goes in search of bureaucrats…

Mason wakes in Kane’s lair and is ordered to work for Kane, he refuses but is finally coerced, after the threat of torture and bribes have failed, by threats against his daughter’s life. Kane reveals his destroyed face as his motivation and Mason says he’ll need equipment from Turner Laboratories. At the laboratories, Steed learns Mason was working on cybernetics from Doctor Marlow (Gwen Taylor); she flirts with him and he suggests the cupboard, shocking her as, unlike him, she hasn’t heard the approaching cybernaut. He’s knocked out, and awakes to learn Mason’s ‘seducer’ — a particularly incisive computer — has been stolen. Kane tells Malov they must eliminate all traces, and sends the cybernaut to take care of a prison warden named Foster, despite the link to them being tenuous.

Not too tenuous, however, as Purdey takes Gambit to the flat of J.B. Foster — a prison warden with a gambling problem who was one of only three people to know Goff’s exact release date. They arrive too late to save him but Gambit dents the cybernaut with his fist, and they combine to destroy it. Fitzroy finds Kane’s fingerprints on the cybernaut. Two weeks later, Gambit’s bandages come off but they’ve had no sign of Kane, Steed tells Gambit to guard Purdey. Meanwhile Mason declares he’s fulfilled the bargain, and starts suiting Kane up in a cyber body which will make him superhuman, but Kane will not release Mason until he has tested it in the field.

Kane leaves to attack Purdey and Mason attempts to escape Malov by using a cybernaut, but is shot. Gambit, on guard duty outside, is crushed between two cars by Kane. Mason comes to and warns Steed that Purdey is in danger, and Kane is half cybernaut. Kane arrives and Purdey defends herself well, but ineffectually (at least she manages to have some of her hideous furnishings destroyed). Steed arrives and revives Gambit, then they burst into Purdey’s apartment with cans of plastic skin which they spray on Kane, seizing up his limbs and causing his cybernetics to short circuit.

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:May, 1976
First broadcast:
  • London: 2/11/1976
  • Midlands: 28/11/1976
  • Sydney (ABN-2): 6/04/1977
  • Melbourne (ABV-2): 6/04/1977
  • USA (CBS): 9/03/1979
  • France (TF1): 21/12/1976

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