The New Avengers, Series 2 — Episode 2
Angels of Death
by Terence Feely and Brian Clemens
irected by Ernest Day
A plot to eliminate key government and security personnel is discovered but the dpeartment seems powerless to stop it. Reresby and Coldstream are the ringleaders, who are using the Briantern Health Farm to condition the patients to respond to stimuli. With forty-seven deaths of natural causes in two years, the Avengers investigate. Gambit examines those considered above suspicion while Purdey crunches the numbers and they both arrive at Briantern. Purdey is captured and put in a traction machine while Steed arrives, pretending to be the next victim and is subjected to a mind-destroying maze. Gambit luckily arrives just in time to defeat the villains and stop the walls which were closing in to crush Steed and Purdey.
Purdey (Joanna Lumley) buys a silhouette outside Sacre Couer, a Russian agent tailing her, and inside are the details of a rendezvous. John Steed (Patrick Macnee) calls HQ and gives details of Martin’s return over the border, then he and Purdey slip their tail by ecclesiastic disguises and a dummy dressed as Steed. Martin (Christopher Driscoll) crashes a juggernaut through a small border post, but as he leaps from the cab to meet the Avengers, he’s shot by a well-dressed man, who seemed to be expecting them...
Charles Pelbright (Richard Gale), meanwhile, is dancing with pretty girls at a disco. The next day he checks out of Briantern Health Farm and tells his wife (Jennie Goossens) he’s done nothing but rest all week. Next day, he chairs a meeting with the New Avengers and Manderson (Terence Alexander) - Martin died without disclosing all the details of a plot to eliminate key personnel in vital areas of government and security. Reading from Martin’s report, Pelbright becomes delirious when he see a maze diagram, reads the phrase “the angels of death - the killer within” then falls to the floor, dead. In answer to a call for a doctor, Coldstream (Dinsdale Landen) - the man who shot Martin - enters and informs Manderson he’s in charge now.
Reresby (Michael Latimer) meets with Coldstream and tells him a combination of physical and psychological stress killed Pelbright, and they’re conditioning Colonel Tomson the same way. Tomson (Hedger Wallace), sure enough, is dancing himself to exhaustion in a disco... next we see him struggling to get through a man-sized rat maze with a diagram much like the one that pushed Pelbright over the edge. Steed announces that Pelbright died of natural causes and Manderson complains he’s stressed about taking over already. Coldstream enters and recommends Reresby as a relaxation therapist, saying it worked for him.
Steed tells Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) and Purdey that Pelbright is the latest of 47 deaths - all in key positions, all in the last two years, all suddenly, of natural causes. Steed charges Purdey with finding another common factor, and Gambit with finding the sleeper who’s running it. Colonel Tomson leaves the health farm while Purdey and Gambit query the ministry’s mainframe computers - Gambit requests all those considered above suspicion, while Purdey investigates the 47n6 possible permutations. Steed visits Tomson and, while skeet shooting, warns him someone may try to kill him, and he must to have a full medical check-up. Tomson says he’s never felt fitter and has just returned from a health farm - but then he opens a box of cartridges and sees the maze diagram inside and collapses, nearly killing Steed with a shot as he does so.
Gambit meanwhile has his list - Manderson, Coldstream, Metcalfe, Steed and himself - but not Purdey - and starts with Manderson... who’s being massaged by Reresby, and is told to check into a health farm to clear out his system. Gambit tells Steed he’s investigating Manderson first and they go to interview him, but Manderson’s wife Sally (Melissa Stribling) tells them he’s away on official business - he hadn’t wanted to admit to going to a health farm to her, but the excuse makes Steed suspicious. At the farm, Tammy (Caroline Munro) and Reresby drug Manderson then put him in the disco, serving him salty drinks to accentuate his thirst - Wendy (Pamela Stephenson) helps Tammy and Reresby drag him, thirsty beyond endurance, into the first room of the maze and he’s given a diagram showing where water is hidden. Reresby and Tammy watch from the control room, occasionally changing the way the doors between the rooms work to disorientate and disturb him.
Manderson checks out the next morning, feeling relaxed but after he leaves Coldstream appears, saying he wants him dead that day. When Manderson leaves the office, Steed and Tammy are both waiting for him - Steed gets into his car and orders him to drive. He’s just about to learn of the health farm when Tammy overtakes and flips up the rear shelf of her Mini to show the maze diagram, and the stress causes Manderson to die at the wheel - Steed, however, notes the Mini driving away, and the diagram.
Purdey tells Steed that stress and health farms as two minor correlations. Returning to the Ministry, Steed bumps into Simon Carter (Anthony Bailey), and notices the business card of the health farm Carter’s just been given by Coldstream. Steed cryptically tells him “you’re not going, and yet you are” - Steed checks in under Carter’s name. Purdey meanwhile has found that Briantern is a common factor and tells Coldstream to let Gambit and Steed know - he immediately warns Reresby instead. Coldstream conceals this from his secretary Jane (Lindsay Duncan) and neither of them notice Gambit’s shadow at the window...
Wendy, Pam (Annette Lynton) and Cindy (Moira Foot) sedate Steed and Jane catches Gambit in Coldstream’s office - she tells him Coldstream runs a health farm - he’s found his man. Purdey meanwhile is caught and put in a traction machine, and Steed is thrown into the maze. Reresby and Coldstream arrive but Gambit has freed Purdey already; Steed prevents the conditioning, Harry Palmer style, by bashing his hands against the maze walls. Purdey and Gambit take care of Tammy, Cindy and Pam, then split up in search of Steed. Steed covers a security camera with his jacket and gives Wendy the slip - Reresby and Coldstream realise it’s Steed, not Carter, in there and Reresby enters to kill him.
Steed is waiting at the entrance and jumps him, and Reresby is killed when Coldstream tries to shoot Steed through the door. Purdey climbs into the maze via a duct and Steed recites Tennyson to help her find him - and trap them both. Coldstream springs the trap - locking all the doors and making the walls close in...
Gambit arrives in the nick of time, knocking out Coldstream and forcing Wendy to turn the machine off.
Production detailsProduced:April, 1977
- London: 15/09/77
- Midlands: 16/09/77
- Sydney (ABN-2): 20/02/78
- Melbourne (ABV-2): 20/02/78
- USA (CBS): 29/09/78
- France (TF1): 20/07/79