The Avengers

Series 1, 1961

Episode Guide

Legend for this table

Episode Audio Video Photo Plot Lead Produced ABC Ang ATV Sth TT TWW UTV WTV STV BTV GTV
1 Hot Snow vol. 1 V* R § full - 30/12/60 07/01/61
10.00pm
- 18/03/61
10.00pm
18/03/61
10.00pm
18/03/61
10.00pm
18/03/61
10.00pm
18/03/61
10.00pm
- - - -
2 Brought to Book vol. 1 - full - 12/01/61 14/01/61
10.00pm
- 01/04/61
8.35pm
01/04/61
8.35pm
01/04/61
8.35pm
- - - - - -
3 Square Root of Evil vol. 1 - full Steed 21/01/61
(Live TX)
21/01/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - - -
4 Nightmare vol. 5 - short Keel 28/01/61
(Live TX)
28/01/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - - -
5 Crescent Moon vol. 5 - short Steed 04/02/61
(Live TX)
04/02/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - - -
6 Girl on the Trapeze vol. 5 V § full Keel 11/02/61
(Live TX)
11/02/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - - -
7 Diamond Cut Diamond vol. 5 - short Steed 18/02/61
(Live TX)
18/02/61
10.00pm
18/02/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - -
8 The Radioactive Man vol. 2 - full Keel 25/02/61
(Live TX)
25/02/61
10.00pm
25/02/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - -
9 Ashes of Roses vol. 2 - full Carol 04/03/61
(Live TX)
04/03/61
10.00pm
04/03/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - -
10 Hunt the Man Down vol. 4 - short - 12/03/61 18/03/61
10.00pm
18/03/61
10.00pm
- - - - - - - - -
11 Please Don't Feed the Animals vol. 2 - full - 30/03/61 01/04/61
8.35pm
01/04/61
8.35pm
- - - - - - - - -
12 Dance with Death vol. 2 - full - 12/04/61 15/04/61
10.00pm
15/04/61
10.00pm
15/04/61
10.00pm
15/04/61
10.00pm
15/04/61
10.00pm
15/04/61
10.00pm
15/04/61
10.00pm
- - - -
13 One for the Mortuary vol. 1 R τ full - 26/04/61 29/04/61
10.00pm
29/04/61
10.00pm
29/04/61
10.00pm
29/04/61
10.00pm
29/04/61
10.00pm
29/04/61
10.00pm
29/04/61
10.00pm
29/04/61
10.00pm
- - -
14 The Springers vol. 3 R τ full - 11/05/61 13/05/61
10.00pm
13/05/61
10.00pm
13/05/61
10.00pm
13/05/61
10.00pm
13/05/61
10.00pm
13/05/61
10.00pm
13/05/61
10.00pm
13/05/61
10.00pm
- - -
15 The Frighteners vol. 6 V § τ full - 25/05/61 27/05/61
10.00pm
27/05/61
10.00pm
27/05/61
10.00pm
27/05/61
10.00pm
27/05/61
10.00pm
27/05/61
10.00pm
27/05/61
10.00pm
27/05/61
10.00pm
- - -
16 The Yellow Needle vol. 3 R τ full - 08/06/61 10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
10/06/61
10.00pm
- -
17 Death on the Slipway vol. 6 R τ precis (Steed) 22/06/61 24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
24/06/61
8.50pm
- -
18 Double Danger vol. 3 R τ precis* - 06/07/61 08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
08/07/61
8.50pm
- -
19 Toy Trap vol. 3 R τ precis* - 20/07/61 22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
22/07/61
8.50pm
- -
20 Tunnel of Fear vol. 6 V R § τ full - 03/08/61 05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
05/08/61
8.50pm
- -
21 The Far Distant Dead vol. 7 R τ precis Keel 14/08/61 19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
19/08/61
8.50pm
- -
22 Kill the King vol. 4 R τ precis* (Steed) 30/08/61 02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
02/09/61
8.50pm
-
Break in production to allow "Deadline Midnight" conclude with a weekly schedule. Series then reduced from 39 to 26 episodes by the 1961 Equity strike.
23 Dead of Winter vol. 4 R τ precis* - 18/10/61 09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
- 09/12/61
10.00pm
09/12/61
10.00pm
24 The Deadly Air vol. 7 R τ precis - 07/09/61 16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
- 16/12/61
10.00pm
16/12/61
10.00pm
25 A Change of Bait vol. 4 R τ precis* - 20/09/61 23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
- 23/12/61
10.00pm
23/12/61
10.00pm
26 Dragonsfield vol. 7 R τ precis Steed 27/09/61 30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm
- 30/12/61
10.00pm
30/12/61
10.00pm

Episodes are in transmission order which is identical to production order except for the last four episodes.

Media and archive status
  • The Audio column lists the volume number that has the episode as an audio adaptation released by Big Finish, these volume numbers are linked to the volume information on the Big Finish website.
  • For the Video column:
    • V : indicates the episode is available as video to the general public, either as DVD or digital download.
      * Only Act 1 of Hot Snow has been recovered.
    • R : indicates that the episode has a video Reconstruction using still images and narration on the StudioCanal sets.
  • For the Photo column:
    • : indicates the episode has no known photographs still in existence.
    • : indicates the episode has a title card recreated by Richard McGinlay based on the original episode paperwork.
    • : indicates the episode has a small number of production stills in existence (these have been supplied by private collectors or Canal+ Image and Optimum Releasing and are on the DVD sets).
    • : indicates the episode has a large number of production stills in existence (these have been supplied by private collectors or Canal+ Image and Optimum Releasing and are on the DVD sets).
    • § : indicates the episode has screen shots from existing video footage.
    • τ : indicates the episode has Tele-Snaps made available by producer Leonard White (these have been supplied by Canal+ Image and Optimum Releasing and are on the DVD sets).
  • For the Plot column:
    • full : indicates the episode has a full synopsis based on (depending what's available) video footage, original scripts, previously published synopses including TV Times listings, production or publicity stills, Tele-Snaps, newspaper articles and the research of other authors.
    • short : indicates the episode has a short synopsis based on previously published synopses including TV Times listings, newspaper articles and the research of other authors; as there are no scripts or footage available.
    • precis : indicates the episode is currently only described by a short paragraph. An asterisk indicates a script is available from which to write a full synopsis.
Leads

During the live to air era, the producers decided on an alternating story focus, so each of the lead actors could have a down week where they did not have as many lines. Accordingly, there were "Steed stories" and "Keel stories" - and one "Carol story", these are marked above in the Lead column. This ended when the series changed to a fortnightly schedule in March 1961 as it was broadcast across the ITV network and alternated with the ATV serial Deadline Midnight except for several later episodes to allow Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee to take holidays. Patrick Macnee was the only principal cast member to appear in "Dragonsfield".

Photographs

Leonard White, the producer for this series, hired John Cura to make his "Tele-Snaps" for the show starting with episode 13, "One for the Mortuary". Tele-snaps are off-screen photographs of television broadcasts taken on a half frame of 35mm film at a 1/25th of a second exposure and they provide imagery of many television shows which are now otherwise lost. Later episodes which are no longer available are illustrated with Tele-Snaps or production stills where available.

Cast lists for the missing episodes have the guest actors' portraits in sepia or marked with the symbol ® to indicate those illustrated from other productions. As I work through the 60th anniversary revisions I am replacing the sepia images with black and whites marked with the symbol ® and listing their sources in the cast sections. Actors portrayed from publicity material or screenshots from the episodes themselves are not marked with any symbol, they are easily recognised by the higher resolution of the image.

Production and broadcast

Broadcast of The Avengers was initially limited to the "ABC Network" area of ABC Midlands and ABC North with Anglia being the first other ITV region to start showing the series.At this point the closing ident was changed to no longer refer to the "ABC Network". In March 1961, five more regions joined in but they showed episodes 1 and 2, then skipped nine episodes in order to synchronise broadcast across the UK. Ulster Television an Television Wales & West failed to show episode 2.

Episodes 3-9 were broadcast live to air and recorded off transmission. Many commentators had previously believed these episodes to have been wholly live and not recorded at all, but the paperwork disproves this. Other paperwork suggests both overseas sales and a catch-up London run for the episodes that were skipped in the original run (including the seven live episodes and the four pre-recorded episodes that bookended them). The repeat season does not seem to have occurred and nor do any overseas sales. The rumours of a cache of them held at ABC Sydney's Gore Hill studios seem to not be true. Still, one lives in hope that the lost episodes may one day be found.

Westward Television started showing the series from their first weekend of broadcast, as did Border. Scottish Television picked it up with episode 16 but did not broadcast the last four, perhaps because Grampian had started broadcasting and both Border and Grampian were showing the series; perhaps audiences in Scotland just didn't like it.

Production dates have been updated based on Alan Hayes' recent discovery of a shooting script for "A Change of Bait" which was shot a week earlier than previously believed, and also numbers the episode as number 24. With these new discoveries, the production order of the last four episodes is completely reordered from what was previously the consensus opinion.

The Actors' Equity strike of 1961

The 1961 Actors' Equity strike against ITV channels started in November and continued for five months. Production was suspended completely and the television stations, after an almost complete shutdown, started broadcasting previously recorded material and feature films from the United States and the BBC.

The last four episodes of the first series of The Avengers had been held back following an agreement between ATV and ABC to allow each of their drama series to return to weekly schedules. Deadline Midnight, a series about the publishing industry, ran until 2 December 1961 after which The Avengers was to resume. The original plan was to extend to a 39 episode series but with the Equity Strike continuing these plans were shelved and the last four episodes were screened, the last of them being filmed two weeks before the strike started.

The press announced on 29 December 1961 that the series would end early due to the strike, the producers finally conceding that the early return they had hoping for wasn't going to happen. They didn't know it then but the strike would continue for another four months.

The memo mentioned above about a repeat run for ITV stations that missed the early episodes was sent to Brian TEsler on 30 March 1962, several weeks before the end of the strike, so London may have been going to see those episodes if the strike continued any longer than it did.

By the time the strike lifted in April 1962, Ian Hendry had decided to leave the show and pursue a feature film career. The general consensus about the unmade thirteen episodes is some were rewritten to fit the new characters in Series 2 - you can certainly detect Keel-like dialogue with Martin King and Cathy Gale - while others were scrapped. The Jon Rollason episodes were a simple lift and shift: Gale Force was reworked as Mission to Montreal, The Plane Wreckers became Dead on Course, and The Sell-Out had character and text changes.


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