• title card: white all caps text reading ‘OBSESSION BY BRIAN CLEMENS’ superimposed on a dusty shot of Doomer tie to a stake at the end of a whitewahsed courtyard, having just been shot by a firing squad
  • Gambit and Steed worry about Purdey when she’s saddened by memories brought back by their assignment
  • A view through the trees of a Harrier Jumpjet preparing for take-off
  • The unexploded missile lies buried in the sand dune
  • Wolach’s dead body lies dumped in the corner of the makeshift missile silo
  • Gambit and Steed stand near us, looking at Steed’s destroyed Range Rover, Larry lies near them, dead on the grass and Purdey walks sadly away from all of them

The New Avengers, Series 2 — Episode 5

by Brian Clemens
Directed by Ernest Day

Toledo Blade summary

A former lover of Purdey’s seeking revenge plots to kill the Arabian VIP she is assigned to protect

Plot summary

Seven years ago, Purdey had been in a relationship with Larry Doomer, who went off the deep end when his father was shot for spying on an Arabic country. She meets him again to find he’s a Squadron Leader in charge of an armed missile demonstration. Afterwards, he claims one of his missiles misfired in the demonstration and detonated in mid-air — but he had in fact fired it into a sand bank. His co-conspirators collect the missile and prepare to fire it at the House of Parliament when the emissary of the Arabic country will be there. Purdey realises Larry has the missile where they were going to build their dream home. She drives there, tears streaming down her face, and the ex-lovers confront each other. They exchange shots, but Larry is killed by Gambit after he tricks Purdey into dropping her gun and aims to kill her. Purdey runs sobbing to Larry’s body, then Steed drives in and parks over the missile and dives for cover, the missile vaporising his Range Rover.

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show plot summary

1970: Purdey (Joanna Lumley) is in the chorus of The Royal Ballet and planning a dream home with her lover, Larry Doomer (Martin Shaw). Unbeknownst to them, Larry’s father is fleeing the Middle Eastern country he’s been accused of spying on, but is caught and executed by firing squad. Purdey wakes to find Larry gone, a discarded telegram announcing his father’s death and a newspaper announcing the departure of the country’s emissary left in his wake. She stops Larry from shooting him at an airfield and he smacks her face…

1977: Purdey is put on security detail for the same emissary on his return to Britain, but she turns down the plum job. Larry is now the Squadron Leader in charge of an armed demonstration; he tells his men that nothing must go wrong with the flight, but while he’s talking he watches Kilner (Lewis Collins) and Morgan (Anthony Heaton) clobber several sentries and set fire to a warehouse. While everyone’s busy with the fire, Larry enters a munitions shed full of rockets…

Next day, Flight Lieutenant Wolach (Tommy Boyle) fills John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Purdey in on the fire, and they investigate the opposite end of the airbase — accommodation, canteen, armoury! — they pass Larry who recognises Purdey, but she seethes at seeing him again. They learn the shed is where the rockets are stored and are concerned about the upcoming display. All the rockets are accounted for, however, except Larry’s which he tells the controller (Roy Purcell) malfunctioned and detonated in mid air behind a cloud bank… but in fact, being defused, has been fired directly into a sand bank. Steed, none the wiser, suspects a failed sabotage attempt and invites Larry to a party to make Purdey face her past.

Larry and Kilner retrieve the rocket and take it to the site of the dream home, where Morgan is digging a bunker. At Steed’s party, Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) and Purdey are schmoozing General Canvey (Mark Kingston) when Larry arrives, and he has a tense stand off with Purdey from which Steed rescues her. Larry tells Purdey he’s nearly over his father’s death — a few more hours and he’ll be free — but she slaps him when he tells her he still loves her. Wolach’s looking for the rocket with an advanced metal detector, and stumbles on the bunker but is promptly killed by Morgan. Back at the party, Larry is startled to hear the General say a satellite photographed every inch of Buckinghamshire the previous day.

Larry pretends to have engine trouble and kidnaps the General to stop the release of the satellite images. Canvey’s liaison officer, Commander East (Terence Longdon), arrives at Steed’s, after finding the General’s car down the road — Purdey says she’ll check if Larry saw anything… Larry meanwhile is interrogating the General so he can intercept the satellite photos. Purdey arrives, but leaves without discovering anything, and Morgan is sent to intercept the dispatch rider.

Steed and Gambit learn the hijacked film was of Britain, not Eastern Europe — and that Wolach has disappeared, so Gambit investigates the area. Purdey returns and realises Larry is behind it all and they set off to stop him. Larry hypocritically tells Kilner not to kill the General as he doesn’t want ‘unnecessary killing’, despite planning to level Whitehall! The General is rescued and indicates his ‘ring-side seat’ — a television showing the crowds in Whitehall, and Steed finds a map of Buckinghamshire, which sparks Purdey’s memory of the planned house. Purdey’s shoots one of Steed’s tyres so she’ll get to Larry first. The rocket is set to automatically launch and Kilner and Morgan leave. Gambit meanwhile has found Wolach’s body, and forces Kilner and Morgan off the road when they try to run him down. He captures them then sets off after Purdey, who races past him, tears streaming down her face. The ex-lovers confront each other, exchanging shots, but Larry is killed by Gambit after he tricks Purdey into standing down and tries to kill her. Purdey runs sobbing to Larry’s body. Steed arrives in his Range Rover and parks it over the rocket then dives for cover as it explodes into the vehicle’s underbelly.

A distraught Purdey walks off sadly into the woods…

Production details

Produced:May, 1977
First broadcast:
  • London: 16/11/1976
  • Midlands: 1/11/1976
  • Sydney (ABN-2): 6/02/1978
  • Melbourne (ABV-2): 6/02/1978
  • USA (CBS): 10/11/1978
  • France (TF1): 13/07/1979

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