• title card: white all caps text reading ‘THE MIDAS TOUCH BY BRIAN CLEMENS’ superimposed on a man in beige fatigues and a black woollen hat kicking in a door in a disused factory
  • Turner sits on his red and gold throne, a gold curtain behind him; he wears a gold shirt and tie, and wristwatch
  • Gambit’s red Jaguat XJS smashes through the crates of oranges at the markets under the flyover as he pursues Turner’s henchman
  • Close-up of a party guest wearing a pseudo African costume - leopardskin hat and jacket with feathers, face paint. The room is lit only with red and blue lights
  • A close-up of Midas, standing in Turner’s golden office and requesting Purdey as his prize
  • Turner lies against the red wall of the museum, slumped against a golden pedestal, the lesions from his contamination by Midas already blackening his face

The New Avengers, Series 1 — Episode 4
The Midas Touch

by Brian Clemens
Directed by Robert Fuest

TV Times summary

Meet a man who bleeds gold, a man whose merest touch spells death—and it’s Purdey he’s grabbing for. And Gambit fights a Chinese monster, while Steed saves a Princess from assassination.

Plot summary

Professor Turner has created the perfect weapon - “Midas”, a man who carries every known disease but is immune to all of them. A touch from him will kill you. When a Chinese agent is intercepted by the New Avengers and deported, Turners focuses on Vann, Prime Minster of Boltania, wants to gain complete control by killing the Princess Royal. Turner however was seen by a down-and-out ex Ministry agent while mopping up an early test, and was notorious at Pilton Down for his inordinate love of gold, which the Chinese agent was carrying. They race to a gold exhibition at the museum and save the Princess, Purdey kicking Midas so hard he collides with Turner, who develops a pox and dies in seconds.

show full synopsis

show plot summary

A British agent, Rostock (Kenneth Gilbert) desperately taps out a morse message, but is killed by a ski-mask wearing assailant. Meanwhile, down and out ex-agent Freddy (John Carson) meets John Steed (Patrick Macnee) leaving a club with his girlfriend Sara (Tania Mallett), but the next morning is startled when armed men storm the ruined building he’s dossed down in.
The men are in fact looking for a rat, but when Tayman (Lionel Guyett) is bitten by it, his boss, Professor Turner (David Swift), orders him killed and they leave Freddy unmolested and unnoticed.

Morgan (Peter Winter) relates the radio message to the New Avengers, warning them of ‘Midas’ and a contact arriving that afternoon from China. They intercept the flight and Steed recognises Hong Kong Harry(Ronald Lacey), except he’s put on weight. Harry’s contact, Boz (Tim Condren), disguised as a pilot, shoots Harry to stop him revealing anything, and Harry bleeds gold! Boz is pursued by Purdey (Joanna Lumley) and Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) and dies when Purdey kicks him off a building.
Turner meets Harry’s rival bidder, Vann(Ed Devereaux), prime minister of the obscure country of Boltania who wants to rid himself of the princess royal and gain complete control. Turner offers to show him a demonstration of Midas he’d arranged for Harry - Harry’s invitation to the event is found when Steed is unstrapping the bags of gold from his chest.

Midas (Gilles Millinaire) arrives at a house party in the countryside and kills everyone by putting his hands into a bowl of punch. by the time Gambit arrives everyone is dead but he manages to disable an incendiary device that was meant to destroy the evidence.
The Chinese attaché Sing (Pik-Sen Lim) arrives to take charge of Harry and they depart with his stash of gold. Freddy meanwhile has broken into Turner’s labs and phones Steed, telling him he knows about Midas and has recognised a face from Pilton Down - a chemical weapon laboratory. He fights Midas to escape and when Purdey and Steed arrive to talk to him, they see him, disease-riddled, kill himself by driving off a cliff.
Gambit learns from the doctor (Chris Tranchell) called to the party that the guests died of “everything - typhus, typhoid, malaria…” and is promptly inoculated.

Vann meets with General Garvin (Ray Edwards) at a museum to discuss the security arrangements at a gold exhibit from his country, saying that the princess in universally loved but privately gloats over his chance to kill her with no repercussions.
Purdey visits an SAS Lieutenant (Jeremy Child) who’d been chief of security at Pilton Down and when he mentions Turner’s obsession with gold she knows she’s on the right track - she visits the museum, calling Steed when she arrives and sees Turner interrupt Vann’s discussion with the curator (Robert Mill). Turner’s henchman Simpson (Geoffrey Bateman) sees her holding Turner’s photo and holds her at gunpoint.

Back at Turner’s lair, Midas demands to have Purdey sexually and Turner agrees - once the princess is dead. Steed and Gambit find Purdey has vanished, but Gambit discovers Turner’s whereabouts from Sing after defeating her champion wrestler, Choy (Bruno Elrington) - he and Steed hurry to save her, and her lecherous but naïf guard Froggart (Bruce Bould) is easily dispatched. They now all race to the museum to save the princess - Purdey had seen them practicing hand kissing and they’ve deduced the plot. Meanwhile, the Princess of Boltania (Pola Churchill) arrives and it’s only due to the excessively prolix curator that the New Avengers arrive in time to save her, Purdey kicks Midas away from her and he collides with Turner as he’s flung into a sarcophagus - Turner instantly develops a nasty pox which kills him.
Steed cheekily tells the princess that she’d better hand out three medals.

Production details

Produced:April, 1976
First broadcast:
  • London: 9/11/1976
  • Midlands: 24/10/1976
  • Sydney (ABN-2): 16/02/1977
  • Melbourne (ABV-2): 16/02/1977
  • USA (CBS): 1/12/1978
  • France (TF1): 28/12/1976

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