• 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.

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 (Helen Lindsay), the professor's wife, wanting to know if he's at the doctor's surgery. She arrive later to discuss her concerns with Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry), who prescribes her a sedative to calm her nerves (I'm surprised he didn't give her a cigarette!). As he is doing so, Commander Reece (Michael Logan) arrives, claiming to be from MI5 and mistakes Dr Keel for the missing professor, wanting 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.

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.

Cast

Legend:CreditedCredited but not listed in TV TimesUncredited
Williams ® Gordon Boyd
Dr David Keel Ian Hendry regularDangermanPolice SurgeonThe SaintThe Sweeney
Carol Wilson Ingrid Hafner regularPolice Surgeon
Faith Braintree ® Helen Lindsay regularPolice Surgeon
Commander Reece ® Michael Logan The Sweeney
John Steed Patrick Macnee regular007
Dr Brown ® Robert Bruce The Saint
Dr Jones ® Redmond Bailey regular
Dr Miller ® Robert Sansom The Saint
Professor Braintree unknown

Images from other sources: Gordon Boyd from a 1957 publicity photo, Helen Lindsay from "The Edgar Wallace Mysteries": "The Partner", Michael Logan from "Scotland Yard": "The Grand Junction Case", Robert Bruce from "Bank Raiders", Red Bailey from "Crooks Anonymous", Robert Sansom from "The Saint": "The Well Meaning Mayor".

Crew

Legend:CreditedCredited but not listed in TV TimesUncredited
Teleplay by Terence Feely regularThe SaintThe PrisonerSpace 1999UFO
"The Avengers" Theme composed and played by Johnny Dankworth regular
Designed by Robert Fuest regular
Producer Leonard White regularCallanPolice Surgeon
Directed by Peter Hammond regular
Story Editor John Bryce regular
the AVENGERS NEXT WEEK CRESCENT MOON
An ABC Network Production

Production and transmission details

Studio details: Teddington Two
Production No. 3368
Tape No. VTR/ABC/1098 (recorded off TX.)
Transmission: 28th January 1961, 10.00-11.00 p.m.

Schedule

Camera rehearsal would have taken place on 27th January and 28th January, 1961 in a schedule similar to the other episodes of this time.

TV Times listing

TV times listing for January 28 1961, showing The Avengers in the 10pm timeslot (January 20 1961 Northern edition)

10.0 THE AVENGERS
starring
IAN HENDRY
in
NIGHTMARE
Teleplay by Terence Feely
Also starring
PATRICK MACNEE

Cast in order of appearance:

Williams Gordon Boyd
David Keel Ian Hendry
Carol Wilson Ingrid Hafner
Faith Braintree Helen Lindsay
Commander Reece Michael Logan
John Steed Patrick Macnee
Dr Brown Robert Bruce
Dr Jones Redmond Bailey
Dr Miller Robert Sansom

“The Avengers” theme composed and
played by Johnny Dankworth
Designed by Robert Fuest
Produced by LEONARD WHITE
Directed by PETER HAMMOND

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

Regional broadcasts

ITV BroadcasterDateTime
ABC Midlands28/01/196110.00pm
ABC North28/01/196110.00pm
Anglia Television--
ATV--
Southern Television--
Tyne Tees Television--
Television Wales & West--
Ulster Television--
Westward Television--
Scottish Television--
Border Television--
Grampian Television--

Episode availability

  • Video - none
  • Audio - reconstruction in The Lost Episodes vol. 5, by Big Finish
  • Script - none
  • Publicity Stills - none*
  • Tele-Snaps - none

Minutiæ

  1. This episode is entirely lost - no scripts, no publicity stills*, and no film. The scant information we have is taken from newspaper articles and the TV Times listings of the day, and from Dave Rogers' researches in the 1980s and 1990s, which seem to have been based on original paperwork from the show which is now missing.

    * Although we may in fact have some photos after all, see below.
  2. In Blind in One Ear (Harrap 1988 reprint hardback, p. 209), Patrick Macnee gives an anecdote which must be about this episode: "Much of our early location work was done around the sleazier parts of London's West End. In those early days our wardrobe seemed to consist of one dirty mac apiece. As Ian and I jumped over the walls and hid in the alleyways of Soho, we surely resembled a couple of dirty old men on the run from police officers who'd just raided a strip joint. In fact, we were the ones chasing criminals. I remember my barrister friend's words while tearing through such a back to front, upside down and inside out situation.
    That day we were after some crooks disguised as MI5 men. In other episodes the suspects included seedy Spanish retainers and a Communist madman called Zibbo the Clown."
    These last two are references to Crescent Moon and Girl on the Trapeze so he is nicely bracketing three consecutive episodes together in this reminiscence. The anecdote suggests that the chase sequence in this episode is similar to that seen in some promotional stills, often attributed to Dance with Death and The Springers, as well as a promotional shoot on 5 December 1960 that was partly used to create the opening and closing credits imagery. It's possible that Macnee was conflating these but I have chosen a couple to illustrate this episode.
  3. As the script is lost it can't be confirmed whether Professor Braintree was a non-speaking walk-on part or if the character never appeared on screen at all.
  4. A memo dated 30 March 1962 proposed a replay season for the nine episodes not broadcast by ATV and Anglia and also the first two episodes, which had been seen on ATV but not Anglia. This proves that all live episodes had been recorded any may yet be out there somewhere.
    This episode was proposed to be run last of these, despite originally being in the top category of viewer ratings, so the producers must not have liked it very much.

Support this site via Paypal Join us on Facebook Become a Patron!