• title card: ASHES OF ROSES superimposed on a fire engine rushing by (recreated by Richard McGinlay)
  • Publicity still: Denise does Carol's hair, unaware that Carol is subtly questioning her

Series 1 - Episode 9
Ashes Of Roses

by Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward

Production completed: 4 March 1961. First transmission: 4 March 1961

This episode summary is written from the original scripts as this episode is now lost. There may have been changes made during filming.

Act I

A bitter, cold, wet night at a secluded timber yard; the night watchman returns to his hut and pours himself a welcome cup of coffee. Hearing a noise he stiffens then goes to investigate. Joe, a thug in a raincoat, slips behind the door when he's gone and coshes him upon his return. Another thug enters and scatters wood shavings around the watchman's body then Joe pours kerosene on them and sets them on fire. A short time later, fire engines rush to extinguish the blaze...

Roffey (Edward Dentith) receives a visit from Steed who is posing as an insurance assessor. Roffey runs the company that owns the timber yard and Steed has heard that the company was on shaky financial ground before it trebled its fire insurance right before the blaze. Roffey is annoyed but provides the details Steed asks for. He is somewhat taken aback when Steed casually mentions Mrs Pritchard, the watchman's widow, and blusters that maybe the man caused the fire by dropping a cigarette. A phone call rescues him somewhat from Steed's questions but he is furtive and he answers and jots down a number. Seeing him immediately pocket what he wrote, Steed borrows the notepad and, taking a pen, asks him to confirm his movements before the fire. Once back at his flat, Steed shakes pencil shavings on the note and rubs it to reveal the number Roffey wrote down, WEL 9291, and calls it to discover who's on the other end. Steed is somewhat taken aback to hear the voice of Linda (Barbara Evans) on the other end, announcing he's reached Jacques Beronne's Hairdressing and Beauty Salon. He hangs up and Linda chats to Jean (Maureen Beck), one of the junior assistants, about how the studio has gone downhill over the last few years. Jean mentions that the hair dryer in number seven wasn't working properly so Linda lets her use number five instead - but warns her not to go out with Jaques. Jean protests but Linda tells her it's a bit obvious, and Denise is after him as well, despite Mrs Beronne being ruthless. Jean is crestfallen that he likes Denise as well but Linda tells her nobody likes Denise, they just flock around her. Olive Beronne, pretty much on cue, stalks in and growls at Jean for standing around gossiping when she could be cleaning out the washbasin in number three, and Jean retreats sullenly. Olive reminds Linda to take the appointment book to Jacques, who is talking to Johnny (Peter Zander). Jacques is a bit dismayed at the lack of appointments but positively worried when Linda mentions Steed's call as he'd mentioned Roffey's name. Linda is upset when they both demand to know all about the call.

Steed drops in at Keel's surgery with a very large dog, where the doctor is about to make his rounds - but it's Carol he's come to see this time. Keel is suspicious, he doesn't want Carol getting into any trouble but Steed insists he just wants to treat her to lunch and a "slap-up hair-do at one of the most exclusive salons in London" .... and she might pick up some information for him while she does so. Keel relents and tells Carol not to let him talk you into anything stupid. Steed tells Carol about the £100,000 fire at the timber yard and reveals the watchman was an insurance agent, so there's no way he caused it. Roffey has a cast iron alibi but a lead has led to Jaques Beronne so he wants her to get a shampoo and set. Carol is shock and excited, Beronne's is so expensive she would never go there herself. Steed asks her to find out who might have called Roffey by dropping his name in conversation and to watch the reactions.

Carol arrives at the salon and hurriedly improvises the pseudonym "Stone" after seeing the word TONE on a poster. She pleads for a shampoo and set despite not having an appointment - she wants to impress a feller that night before he emigrates to New Zealand, and this is her last chance. Linda smiles and summons Denise (Heidi Erich) who was going to be doing Jean's hair - Jean can wait so Carol can take her place in number five, waiting for Denise to finish a perm. Carol thanks her effusively and says Mrs Roffey said they'd look after her, which makes Linda look at her sharply. Carol enters the cubicle and tries to eavesdrop on the other customers but Avril (Nina Marriott) catches her trying to open the ventilator between cubicles just before Denise returns. Linda, worried after the reaction to the phone call that morning, had told Jacques about her dropping the name and Jacques decides to give Denise five minutes before he goes to have a word with Carol himself. He enters when Denise is setting her perm and introduces himself, then casually mentions he doesn't remember the customer who recommended her to them. Carol smiles and says she only got married last year, maybe they knew her by her unmarried name. He departs and Denise turns on the noisy dryer, shouting at her to switch it to medium when it gets too hot. After a few moments flicking through a magazine, Carol reaches for the switch but when she presses it there's a violent crack and a flash. Carol slumps in the chair unconscious.

Act II

Carol lies on the sofa in Steed's flat, being fed hot, sweet tea by an administering angel in the shape of Steed who insists it's "the answer for cases of shock". She apologises for being so blunt with her attempt to mention Roffey but Steed dismisses it; he is more interested in the dryer. They couldn't have known she was coming as she had no appointment so if it were fixed, it was for someone else. Carol recalls she had taken the place of Jean in the cubicle so Steed plans to investigate Jean and Denise. Carol smiles and says, "You're going to enjoy that. Denise is quite a dish!"

Steed arrives at the salon at closing time, claiming to be looking for an old flame called Beryl. Denise, who is the last one there and locking up, is impressed with his expensive car and flash suit and happily accepts a lift, quickly ending up back at Steed's flat. Steed suddenly drops the innuendo-dripping charm and demands some answers, questioning her about Roffey and, more pointedly, about fixing the dryer to kill Jean. Denise denies it and says Madame had the motive - she doesn't like Jean because Jacques "does, quite a lot. And she's daft enough to let him do what he likes." Having learnt what he needed, Steed takes her back in his arms; she looks into his eyes and smiles triumphantly.

Next morning, Steed drops by the surgery to make sure Carol is alright and he tells her about Jean's affair with Jacques. The salon is going downhill and is losing money fast, which it has in common with Roffey's timber yard, so maybe Beronne is the one who contacted Roffey. Carol muses about talking to Jean but Steed refuses, saying she's done her bit. As soon as he goes, she calls the salon to make a booking...

Steed arrives at the salon, asking Linda if he can see Mr Beronne on business. Linda says he's busy but will go and see, interrupting Beronne who is with Johnny. Linda says there's a gentleman to see him but Steed has already entered the door; he looks at the two men and says it won't take a moment but Beronne refuses to see him. Realising he's put Linda in an awkward position, Steed bows out. Returning to Linda's desk, he is alarmed to see Carol waiting for her four o'clock appointment and leaves the salon angrily. Jacques is delighted that "Miss Stone" has returned and offers her massage at no charge.

Steed calls his boss, One-Ten (Douglas Muir), and tells him Beronne was in a business meeting with and "old friend of theirs", Johnny Mendelssohn ans asks that he be checked up on.

Jean is expertly giving Carol a massage and they chat about the accident the day before. Carol tells her that the dryer had been tampered with to kill Jean rather than herself, which shocks the girl. Carol asks her if she knows something about the salon that she shouldn't. Jean is worried and writes her address on a card, asking Carol to come round at half past eight, it'll be safer to talk there. When she whisks aside the curtain to go and retrieve Carol's thing, Olive Beronne is standing there, scowling. Jean gasps and Olive simply says she was trying to find an empty cubicle before turning and walking away.

Act III

Steed and Carol drive to Jean's flat where loud music is blaring from the windows but Jean doesn't answer the doorbell. Steed picks the lock but when they enter they find Jean lying on the bed, strangled. Carol gasps in shock but recovers when Steed orders her to ring the police while he checks the flat. He's hoping to find a diary but they turn up nothing. Grabbing the phone, he tells the desk sergeant the address and what they've found, saying he'll explain it all later. He then has an idea about establishing where Jacques is and rings his number, but is astonished to learn from the maid that the Beronnes are making a getaway, heading to Paris on the Night Ferry, having left for Victoria Station ten minutes ago. He goes to head them off, leaving Carol in charge of the flat until the police arrive, warning her not to let anyone in except a copper in uniform.

Shortly after he leaves, the doorbell rings but when she asks who's there there's no reply. Cautiously edging up the steps she hears the coal cellar door slam and she runs back, finding Denise in the flat. Denise initially thinks Carol has killed Jean, then tells her she came to see Jean because she thought Jacques would be there as he's broken a date with Denise a few days earlier. Carol tells Denise that the Beronnes are escaping to France that night, and it occurs to Carol that Jacques is giving himself an alibi. She asks if the salon has a night watchman...

On the train, Olive takes charge, telling the worried Jacques to stop thinking of Jean and dispose of the large case in left luggage. Finding him unable to even do that, she goes to do it herself, barking at a sleeping car attendant (Gordon Rollings), as Jacques heads for the Pullman car for a stiff drink. Carol meanwhile has resolved to go and check the salon to see if the Beronnes set a timed fuse to set fire to the salon and she leaves poor Denise in charge of the flat.

Steed arrives at the station, obliviously passing Olive on the concourse before tipping the attendant to let him into the Beronne's compartment. He's searching their luggage when Jacques returns, who threatens to call the police. Steed smiles and says he will call the police when he's ready, and asks if Jacques knows that Jean is dead - strangled for not keeping her mouth shut. Jacques claims he has no idea what he's talking about so Steed says, "Perhaps Johnny Mendelssohn knows". Steed explains he met Johnny in '49 when he was a forger - then a dope peddler - and now an arsonist. Mendelssohn made the mistake of calling Roffey from Beronne's office.

There's a knock at the door and the attendant announces that the lady gave him a letter - but it's for Steed! Inside is a left luggage ticket and a crestfallen Beronne confesses it contains cash and their most expensive salon equipment. Olive killed Jean because she was jealous of her. Steed's eyes blaze in anger as he realises Beronne had known all along and was an accessory to the poor girl's murder, and hits him in the jaw, knocking him our cold. He opens the door and tells the attendant to tidy the compartment up, "the police will be very glad to take him off your hands". He departs, leaving the attendant staring at Beronne lying on the ground.

Carol creeps into the salon where she is promptly caught by Joe and Johnny. She claims to work there and returned because she left her purse behind. Olive arrives, telling Johnny the job is off but is startled to see Carol. She demands to know who sent her. Carol retorts that Olive killed Jean, which surprises Johnny, and he's taken aback when she orders him to tie her up and set a fire to get rid of Carol. Olive says it the only chance they have left but before they can finish the task Steed appears and threatens them with a gun. Johnny sneers he won't use it as the whole place will go up. Steed is attacked from behind by Joe, who has returned with an extra can of petrol*, but Steed gets a shot off as they trade punches and the fire takes hold.

Keel admonishes Steed: ‘"No danger at all", you said. "Nothing at all will happen to her - I give you my word." "Fresh air will do her good" you said.’ Carol comes to Steed's defence, saying he was very brave and saved everyone from the fire - Olive is in hospital and will face a murder charge when she gets out and the others are all behind bars.
Keel sighs, giving up on his first early night in weeks, and asks if there's anything else Steed wants before he drive Carol home. Steed winces and says, "Well, not for me old boy." He looks at his dog and adds, "There is one little thing. She usually has er ... goes for a walk about this time, you know." Carol smiles and says she'll wait as Keel leads the dog outside.


* Well, I think so... the camera script just says "(PUNCH UP)" but doesn't really explain why.

Cast

John Steed Patrick Macnee regular007
Olive Beronne ® Olga Lowe Carry On..Randall and HopkirkThe Saint
Jacques Beronne ® Mark Eden regularThe ProfessionalsDoctor WhoThe PrisonerThe Saint
Johnny Mendelssohn ® Peter Zander
Dr David Keel Ian Hendry regularDangermanPolice SurgeonThe SaintThe Sweeney
Carol Wilson Ingrid Hafner regularPolice Surgeon
Denise Heidi Erich
Not billed in TV Times magazine
Maurice Roffey ® Edward Dentith Doctor WhoThe Professionals
Linda Chapman ® Barbara Evans regularCarry On..
Jean Lewis ® Maureen Beck
Avril ® Nina Marriott regular
Sleeping Car Attendant ® Gordon Rollings regularCarry On..Pink Panther
Not billed in the script
One-Ten (voice only) Douglas Muir regularThe Saint
Night Watchman (Pritchard) unknown
Joe unknown
Daily Woman (Mrs Brewer) unknown
Fleur (Salon Assistant) unknown
Salon Customer unknown
Puppy Juno regular (listed in the script extras list as "1 dog")

The script notes that there are to be "2 Male Extras; 3 female extras; 1 dog". These are listed above with the characters mentioned; the dog was Puppy who was one of Steed's regular canine companions.

Images from other sources: Olga Lowe, Mark Eden, Barbara Evans and Maureen Beck from publicity photos, Peter Zander from "Dateline Diamonds", Edward Dentith from "Mail Van Murder", Nina Marriott from "Toy Trap", Gordon Rollings from a cigarette advertisement.

Crew

Teleplay by Peter Ling regularDoctor WhoDangerman
and Sheilah Ward regular
"The Avengers" Theme composed and played by Johnny Dankworth regular
Designed by Patrick Downing regular
Producer Leonard White regularCallanPolice Surgeon
Directed by Don Leaver regularCallanPolice Surgeon
Story Editor John Bryce regular
Production Assistant Verity Lambert Doctor WhoAdam Adamant
Floor Manager Geoff Smith regular
Stage Manager Nansi Davies regular
Call Boy unknown
Lighting Director Bob Simmons regular
Operational Supervisor Peter Wayne regular
Senior Cameraman Michael Baldock regular
Sound Supervisor Peter Cazaly regular
Vision Mixer Esther Frost regular

Production and transmission details

Studio details: Teddington Two
Production No. 3373
Tape No. VTR/ABC/1170 (To be recorded of [sic] TX.)
Transmission: 4th March 1961, 10.00-11.00 p.m.

Schedule

Friday, 3rd March 1961
Camera Rehearsal14.30 - 18.00
Supper Break18.00 - 19.00
Camera Rehearsal19.00 - 21.00
Saturday, 4th March 1961
Camera Rehearsal10.00 - 12.30
Lunch Break12.30 - 13.30
Camera Rehearsal13.30 - 18.15
Supper Break18.15 - 19.15
Line-up, Normal Scan, Make-up19.15 - 19.55
Promotion Ampex19.55 - 20.00
Dress rehearsal20.00 - 21.30
Line-up21.30 - 22.00
TRANSMISSION22.00 - 23.00

Equipment

Cameras: 4 Pedestals
Sound: 3 booms
Telecine: A.B.C. Symbol, Slides, 35mm mute inserts.

Total running time: 57.10 = Play portion: 52.30 + 2 commercial breaks: 2.05 and 2.35

TV Times listing

TV times listing for March 4 1961, showing The Avengers in the 10pm timeslot (February 24 1961 Northern edition)

The girls of a hairdressing salon are oddly involved when The Avengers are on the trail of an arson gang.

Regional broadcasts

ITV BroadcasterDateTime
ABC Midlands4/03/196110.00pm
ABC North4/03/196110.00pm
Anglia Television4/03/196110.00pm
ATV--
Southern Television--
Tyne Tees Television--
Television Wales & West--
Ulster Television--
Westward Television--
Scottish Television--
Border Television--
Grampian Television--

Minutiæ

  1. This episode is unique in series 1 for giving the lead role in the investigation to Carol, paving the way for Venus Smith Cand Cathy Gale in the next season, and Emma Peel, Tara King and Purdey is the more distant future. Leonard White has earlier issued a memo suggesting that as they had done Steed and Keel episodes, they should do several Carol episodes.
  2. This episode was originally going to be a Carol and Keel episode but was rewritten, possibly due to actors' workloads and availability as it changed order in the schedule, to become a Carol episode with Steed. Dr Keel does not appear for most of the episode.
  3. The production assistant for this episode was Verity Lambert who went on to great success and fame at the BBC with Doctor Who, among other productions including the BBC's "answer" to The Avengers, Adam Adamant Lives!.
  4. Steed refers to his dog having to go out to go to the toilet, maybe that's why he's gone off them by the time of The £50,000 Breakfast!
  5. 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 eighth so must not have been liked by the producers despite being in the top category of viewer ratings when first broadcast. Perhaps this was due to Leonard White wanting to no longer have Carol at the forefront.

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