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  • title card : HOT SNOW superimposed on a view up a quiet, rain-swept street in Chelsea
  • Peggy hugs Dr Keel around the neck and shoulders in the parlour
  • Spicer stares in shock at the 'phone as it rings
  • Spicer chomps a sandwich while Johnson looks nervous and Charlie is peevish
  • Peggy slumps against Dr Keel in the street
  • Publicity still: Steed seeks Dr Keel's help with the case

Series 1 - Episode 1
Hot Snow

by Ray Rigby, based upon a story by Patrick Brawn

Production completed: 30 December 1960. First transmission: 7 January 1961

Part 1

A car pulls up in a rain-soaked street, the shady-looking driving, Spicer (Godfrey Quigley), getting out and scanning the houses until he sees the surgeries of Dr Tredding and Dr Keel; he goes around the corner and climbs over the side gate. Inside, Dr Tredding (Philip Stone) calls for his receptionist, Peggy (Catherine Woodville) who is busy kissing the other GP, Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry). She tells Keel she has to go and he relents, telling her he wants her to himself tomorrow; she goes to Tredding's office just as Spicer slips in the back door. Spooked by the sound of their voices, he hides in the waiting room and hears her return to Keel's room. She chides him that he's forgotten something but he can't work out what it is - bedroom, builders, paint, curtains, church, he'll tell "old Dick Tredding" about it so they have a best man to hold the ring... the ring!

Tredding meanwhile closes his books, lights his pipe and departs the office for the day, turning the light out. Spicer takes the opportunity to enter Tredding's surgery and starts opening the dispensary with a knife. He's startled when Tredding pops his head back in for a second, then goes looking for Dr Keel. David grabs Peggy as he enters and kisses her; Tredding stares at then then asks if he is correct in thinking Keel wants him to cover for him for a fortnight. Keels confirms it, saying he's getting married. "So am I", laughs Peggy, and Tredding swears he's seen it coming for months. They explain that Peggy's parents will not return from America for a year and asks him if he'd like to be best man, or give the bride away, and he says he'd be only too pleased to do both.

Spicer is startled when Tredding's 'phone suddenly rings and he hides behind the door when Peggy comes to answer it. She picks up the appointment book - revealing a plain brown paper parcel - and records the patient's name. She leaves and Spicer is about to grab the parcel when the 'phone rings again. Peggy returns and discovers it's an annoying patient called Mrs Simpson who only wants to talk to Dr Keel, so Peggy calls him over. He talks to her, slapping Peggy to stop her kissing him while he's on the phone, and toys with the parcel as he organises a time to see the patient. Keel takes the parcel with him, much to Spicer's disgust; spicer hears them arrange to meet outside Vinson's at 5:15. Peggy then gives the parcel to Tredding, mistaking it for a sample, and he says he'll look at it after he's finishes the paper - she'd better run along or she'll be late, and she's not to forget Mrs Hudson's prescription. Spicer gives up and vaults back over the gate then drives off.

Across town, Johnson (Charles Wade) and Charlie (Murray Melvin) are discussing the cock-up, Charlie saying that the receptionist got a good look at Johnson when he delivered the parcel - he must have been coked up when he did it. Johnson swears blind he was sober and went to the address after looking it up - Dr Tredding - and delivered a parcel addressed to him. Charlie accuses him of still being high, saying he'll have to explain to the big man how he lost £4,000 worth of snow if they open it and discover the contents.
Johnson is shocked to discover the 'big man' already knows. Spicer returns and says the package is still unopened, but he couldn't retrieve it; the girl definitely saw Johnson though. Johnson hopes they can go back tonight and Charlie laughs nastily, "Maybe we could send you", then phones his boss who tells him it's the girl or Johnson. Charlie says Johnson wouldn't be too hard but his boss says he knows the contacts, so it's the girl who will have to go. He asks for Spicer, who nominates 5:15 in the street that day as the time for the hit, delighting his boss who hangs up. Spicer asks the spivvy Charlie if he knows where Vinson's jewellers is, muttering "Yeah, you would" when he says he does, and orders him to drive them all there. Johnson nervously asks where they're going and is told they're "going to look at some engagement rings".

They park in the street as pedestrians rush through the rain, and Spicer readies his sniper rifle in the back seat. He trains the sight on Dr Keel, who is waiting outside the shop already. Peggy pushes her way through the crowd and kisses him but when they turn to enter the shop Spicer pull the trigger and she slumps against him, dead. Dr Keel hugs her to him and when he discovers the blood seeping through her coat, he stares around at the street in shock and distress while an onlooker calls a taxi to take her to hospital...

And there we leave it.
Sadly, the other two reels of the episode are yet to be found and may no longer exist. The rest of the episode we know only from the extracts of the script in Patrick Macnee's book, the Avengers and Me, and Dave Rogers' research of the original script and paperwork, which I adroitly combine below.

Keel is determined to bring Peggy's killer to justice but is dismayed when he finds the police have insufficient evidence to proceed. He resolves to find them himself and follows the trail to the consulting rooms of Dr Treading, a dubious GP who was the intended recipient of the package of heroin.

When he arrives at Treading's surgery, a stranger opens the door and tells him to come in, then departs hurr iedly. Inside, all is quiet and Keel discovers Treading's body in the bedroom, beside some suitcases.
Keel goes to the police to report the killing and then returns to his flat where he finds the stranger - it is Steed, but he doesn't disclose his name - sitting in an armchair in his lounge. Keel orders him out and threatens to call the police but Steed persuades him his only chance of vengeance will come through his assistance - Steed wants Peggy's killer as much as Keel does. Steed persuades him to pose as a cash-strapped GP who has decided he's had enough and seeks the easy riches of a life pushing heroin; he will have a visit the following afternoon from the courier, Johnson, after which they'll be in business. [end of part two]

They prepare a fake package of heroin as bait and Keel contacts the gang but tells them he'll only deal directly with their boss. Vance, the gang leader, is suspicious and tells Spicer to kill Keel and they lay a trap for him. They're about to execute him when Steed arrives and the doctor is rescued, they fight the gang but Vance escapes just as the police arrive and arrest the rest of the gang.
[continued in Brought to Book]

Cast

* mug shots in sepia denote images sourced from other productions.

Dr Richard J. Tredding Philip Stone regular007Carry On..Indiana JonesThe SaintJason King
Peggy Stephens Catherine Woodville regularDangermanThe Saint
Dr David Keel Ian Hendry regularNew AvengersDangermanPolice SurgeonThe SaintThe Sweeney
Spicer Godfrey Quigley regularThe ChampionsDoctor WhoThe Saint
Charlie Murray Melvin
Johnson Charles Wade Doctor Who
(actors below were not seen in Act One)
Det-Supt Wilson Alister Williamson regularThe SaintDad's ArmyAdam AdamantPolice Surgeon
Stella Moira Redmond regularDangermanPink PantherThe SaintThe Sweeney
Sgt Rogers Astor Sklair
John Steed Patrick Macnee regularNew Avengers007
Mrs Simpson June Monkhouse
Ronnie Vance Robert James regularDoctor WhoThe ProfessionalsBlake's 7
Not billed in TV Times magazine
Dr Treading (corpse) unknown

Crew

Teleplay by Ray Rigby
based upon a story by Patrick Brawn regular
"The Avengers"Theme composed and played by Johnny Dankworth regular
Designed by Alpho O'Reilly regularPolice Surgeon
Producer Leonard White regularCallanPolice Surgeon
Directed by Don Leaver regularCallanPolice Surgeon
Production Assistant Barbara Forster regular
Floor Manager Patrick Kennedy regular
Stage Manager Nansi Davies regular
Call Boy unknown
Lighting Director Bob Simmons regular
Operational Supervisor unknown
Senior Cameraman Tom Clegg regular007Carry On..Adam AdamantThe SaintThe ProfessionalsThe SweeneySpace 1999
Sound Supervisor John Tasker regular
Vision Mixer Del Randall regular

Minutiæ

  1. The plates outside the surgery read Dr D.H. Keel and Dr R.J. Tredding
  2. 3:48 - there's a spot on the camera lens in the top right corner.
  3. 6:43 - Tredding's 'phone number is SLOane 0181, which ties in with the external shots filmed around Chelsea and Sloane Square. SLOane 0181 was a special telephone number reserved for telvision use, it turns up in other ITV productions of the time.
  4. Spicer and the gang drive a Humber Hawk Mk. IV 1959 saloon, licence plate GBD 222, we later see a decidedly ancient Austin taxi, licence plate OGP 912.
  5. 12:06 - loss of focus as Charlie dials Vance's number.
  6. 14:01 - slight zoom in and blur as vision switches to Keel outside Vinson's.
  7. 14:40 - there's no sound when Spicer fires his sniper rifle, which may be intentional: the draft script mentions a silenced rifle but the prop rifle does not appear to have a suppressor attached..

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