• title card: NIGHTMARE superimposed on a scientific laboratory scene (recreated by Richard McGinlay)
  • Publicity still: Steed and Dr Keel pause in a Soho street, unsure where the fake MI5 agent they have been pursuing has gone (from a promotional shoot but similar to this episode’s chase sequence).
  • Publicity still: Dr Keel and Steed scale a wall in the back streets of the West End as they continue to pursue Commander Reece (image may be from a promotional shoot).

Series 1 — Episode 4
Nightmare

by Terence Feely

Production completed: 28 January 1961. First transmission: 28 January 1961

TV Times summary

An eerie telephone call from a beautiful woman gives Dr Keel a dangerous secret and takes him to a large hospital where, hidden behind a benevolent staff, is a group of dangerous men

The following episode summary is written from the published synopses and other previously published material as this episode is now lost. The final filmed production may have been different.

Plot summary

When Professor Braintree disappears, his wife calls Dr Keel for advice. While giving Faith some counseling, an attempt is made to kidnap Keel - somebody thinks he is the Professor! Steed’s plan to use Keel as bait brings the Doctor close to death on an operating-table, before the killer is unmasked and the Professor, unaware of all the fuss, returns home after suffering from temporary amnesia.

show full synopsis

show plot summary

Professor Braintree’s assistant, Williams (Gordon Boyd), finds the Professor’s laboratory empty with an experiment half-finished. A short time later, Carol Wilson (Ingrid Hafner) takes a call from >Faith Braintree (Helen Lindsay), the professor’s wife, wanting to know if he’s at the doctor’s surgery. She is concerned to learn he is not there.

She arrives later to discuss her concerns with Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry), who prescribes her a sedative to calm her nerves.1 As he is doing so, Commander Reece (Michael Logan) arrives, claiming to be from MI5, and mistakes Dr Keel for the missing professor.

Reece wants to take him into protective custody. When Keel tries to explain he’s not the professor, Reece tries to force Keel into his car but John Steed (Patrick Macnee) arrives and Reece beats a hasty retreat. They give chase but Reece eludes them after a chase through the seedy back streets of Chelsea and Pimlico, jumping over walls, ducking down alleyways and climbing over rooftops.2

Steed realises Dr Keel has been injured, falling from a wall during the pursuit, and takes him to a hospital for treatment by Dr Brown (Robert Bruce). While they wait, Steed convinces David to pretend to be the professor so they can apprehend the kidnappers.

Dr Keel reluctantly agrees and goes back to the laboratory where, sure enough, another attempt is made by Reece and another man. Unfortunately, Williams gives away that Dr Keel is not the professor by calling him by his real name, making the kidnappers panic. As they make good their escape, they fire their pistols and Dr Keel is shot.

Dr Keel is rushed to hospital again, requiring surgery for the gunshot wound. The anaesthetist, Dr Jones (Redmond Bailey), is the other man who tried to abduct him and plans to kill him while he’s being operated on. Carol realises the anaesthetist is up to no good and works out that he must be the other kidnapper.

Unfortunately, she is tied up by Commander Reece before she can warn Steed. Steed manages to intervene when he notices that something is going wrong with Keel’s oxygen levels during the operation. Dr Jones then grabs a scalpel from Dr Miller (Robert Sansom), intending to finish the job, but is thwarted in the attempt and Commander Reece is also rounded up. The villains dealt with, Steed goes to Carol’s rescue and she is freed.

Dr Keel is back at his surgery, recounting the nightmare of a mission when the Braintrees arrive, the professor recovered from the bout of amnesia he had been suffering, brought on from overwork. They share a drink in celebration of a good outcome for all involved.


  1. I’m surprised he didn’t give her a cigarette!
  2. Blind in One Ear (Harrap 1988 reprint hardback, p. 209) - Patrick Macnee relates an anecdote that seems to be about this episode. See the details section for more information.

Support this site via Paypal Join us on Facebook Become a Patreon! Fan forum