Series 1 — Episode 11
Please Don’t Feed The Animals
by Dennis Spooner
Production completed: 30 March 1961. First transmission: 1 April 1961
TV Times summary
The reptile pit at a zoo and a striptease club are linked by an unusual death which Keel and Steed investigate
The following episode summary is written from the original scripts as this episode is now lost. There may have been changes made during filming.
Compromised government officials are leaking secrets to appease a sinister blackmailer, dropping the goods, wrapped in Christmas paper, into the crocodile pit at a private zoo. After Felgate is targeted, Steed and Dr Keel step in to save him and Steed becomes the next intended victim. Dr Keel follows the package, discovering a trained monkey is retrieving them from the pit and delivering them to the zoo owner, who is revealed to be the ringleader of the espionage ring.
Nighttime at Brinkley House Private Zoo - a man moves stealthily past the cages, unaware that he is being followed. He stops at the wall that surrounds the crocodile pit and leans over, searching for something. His follower’s hands reach towards him and push him and he tumbles into the crocodiles...
A month later, John Steed (Patrick Macnee) is in Whitehall, having coffee with a civil servant called Felgate (Tenniel Evans). Steed excuses himself to make a phone call and rings Dr Keel’s surgery. He’s dismayed when Carol Wilson (Ingrid Hafner) tells him the doctor is running late as he had an emergency call.1 Steed returns to the table where Felgate says he must be going, but he consents to answer some questions from Steed first. Steed has just started in Felgate’s office that handles codes and ciphers for the government. Felgate says it’s just like any other clerk work but it has advantages. Steed latches onto this and says the extra money is welcome, hinting that he has money troubles. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry) arrive and buy a packet of cigarettes so he lets Felgate go and Dr Keel trails him at a distance.
Felgate enters the Bromango Strip Club in Soho and asks the barman (Mark Baker) to let him see the manager, Mr Kollakis. Dr Keel enters after the barman departs and quips, “Self service here?” as he joins Felgate at the bar and ingratiates himself with him. The barman won’t serve Keel even though he signs up as a member so Felgate signs him in as a guest. Felgate then goes in to see Kollakis (Harry Ross) and tells him he can’t afford any more of the blackmail money but Kollakis just tells him to deliver whatever he has “in the usual manner”, refusing to take the money directly. After Felgate leaves, Kollakis picks up the phone.
KOLLAKIS: Hello Renton-Stephens? Kollakis. I’ve just had Felgate here - I think he’s ready. Yes he has no money left. Yes - next time we’ll get what we really want from him.
Steed is outside the club in a cheap “runabout” car2 and Keel gets in; they watch Felgate who has walked to a bus stop. Steed fills the doctor in - he’s infiltrated a cipher department as Felgate has become deeply in debt recently, and another cipher clerk was found dead at the zoo the previous month, also after withdrawing a lot of money. Steed has set himself up in a similar situation, complete with fake wife and suburban background, to be the next target. They tail Felgate to the zoo where Keel watches Felgate throw a package wrapped in bright Christmas paper into the crocodile pit. The zoo is closing for the night so Keel distracts the kiosk attendant, Sarah (Genevieve Lyons), allowing Steed to hide and Steed stakes out the pit. Sarah declines to accompany Dr Keel to the gate as the owner, Major Renton-Stephens, lets the staff live on the grounds. At that moment Evans, the zoo keeper, (Richard Nellor) passes by and asks Sarah if she’s all locked up and they depart together. Keel goes off towards the gate whispering, “More like boy scouts!” as he passes Steed’s hiding place. Steed watches the packet in the pit but a moment later it has disappeared without trace and Steed rushes up to the edge of the pit, but can see nothing. Suddenly, Evans appears from behind him and tackles him to the ground.
Evans and Steed are in the study of Brinkley House with Major Renton-Stephens (Alastair Hunter) where Evans is apologising to the Major for grabbing Steed. He didn’t want a repeat of “that nasty accident”. Steed assures him it’s all right and Evans departs, noting on his way out that Jimmy is not in his cage. The Major’s daughter, Christine Renton-Stephens (Carole Boyer) tells him that’s okay, Jimmy will probably come to the house.
Steed introduces himself as “Mr. Archibald” and says he must have missed the closing bell as he was so interested in the zoo. The Major tells him he had served in India and only returned because his wife didn’t like the climate - and Christine was enrolled in an English school. The doorbell rings and the Major goes to answer it, leaving Christine to make small talk with Steed. She asks him where he works and when he indiscreetly reveals he’s a cipher clark she seems uninterested, but is quite interested when he suggests catching up some time when she’s in town.
The Major interrupts their flirting, returning with a monkey perched on his shoulder - the missing Jimmy, who promptly bites Steed.
RENTON-STEPHENS: He’s one of the most intelligent creatures I’ve ever come across. Can do any number of tricks.
CHRISTINE: All the children make a fuss of him. He adores it.
RENTON-STEPHENS: Jimmy really belongs to Christine but everyone n the zoo plays with him.
CHRISTINE: But Daddy really trained him. He’s the only one he’ll do any tricks for.
The Major invites “Archibald” to be shown around the zoo some time as Steed takes his leave. The next day, Steed is a bit late to the office, arriving just before Felgate receives a call from Kollakis, summoning him to the strip club that night. Steed watches Felgate carefully as he takes the call. Steed visits Dr Keel a bit later and tells him about the packet vanishing from the crocodile pit the previous night. They’re watching Felgate like a hawk and says “the next move is the Strip Club” as Carol is serving coffee. “Huh?” she asks and Steed replies, “Business, Carol, just business!” which leads her to retort, “You always say how much you enjoy your work.”
Steed tells Dr Keel they read Felgate’s mail and listen to his phone calls so they know he’s going to the club that night, and his chief has organises a membership card for Steed. Keel will be there as well, but pretend not to know Steed.
That night, Felgate is shocked to find Steed at the bar of the Bromango and quite dismayed when Steed makes a big show of being Felgate’s friend and buying him a drink. Steed needles Felgate about his phone call earlier, suggesting he was cautious when he took it and he suspected a girl friend in tow. Kollakis interrupts then, leading Felgate to his office and asking him questions about Steed. He is is very interested to discover they work in the same office.
Kollakis offers Felgate a change to get back the incriminating tape recording of him by stealing the Admiralty file codenamed “Salamander”. Felgate refuses, so Kollakis gives him a moment to think about it. Kollakis goes to the door and nods at one of the hostesses then tilts his head in Steed’s direction. Yvonne (Catherine Ellison) approaches Steed and asks for a drink, then suggests they go to her dressing room which Steed accepts eagerly. When they get there, Steed says they ought to have a bottle and tells her to get whatever she wants. As soon as she goes, he quickly searches the room and finds a microphone so when she returns he spins a tale he knows the spies will leap at.
Back in Kollakis’ office, Felgate has resolved to come up with the money and refuses to steal the ciphers. Kollakis tells the thick-set Harrigan (Charles Bird) that Felgate isn’t going to help them. Felgate is terrified and asks what they’re going to do. Turning to him, Kollakis smiles thinly and says they’re going to do nothing, Harrigan will escort him home as long as he promises not to go to the police - but they’ll keep the tape. When Felgate says that’s not necessary, Harrigan says, “Shut up. Walk to the door - and don’t make a sound”.
When Dr Keel sees the terrified Felgate being marched out through the bar he intervenes and offers to buy Felgate a drink. Felgate leaps at the opportunity and Keel pretends to be drunk when Harrigan tells him to beat it and when Harrigan says, “Get out of the way you fool!”, Keel takes a swing at him and a fight erupts. Steed hears the commotion and excuses himself from Yvonne’s clutches, emerging in time to have Dr Keel collapse into his arms.
At Dr Keel’s surgery the next day, Steed and Keel are much the worse for wear and Carol makes a couple of jokes at their expense. Steed tells the doctor that Felgate has made a full confession but they have to wait for the club to contact Steed now. Sure enough, shortly after he arrives at work Kollakis calls and orders him to come to the club in his lunch break.
Later, Harrigan shows Steed into Kollakis’ office and they threaten him with exposure, playing a tape of him with Yvonne when he claims he has friends who will say he was elsewhere. Steed reluctantly agrees to steal the file and is ordered to throw it into the crocodile pit that evening, and Kollakis gives him some Christmas paper to wrap it in. Steed rings Dr Keel, who is dealing with a difficult little girl at his surgery, and arranges to meet at the zoo.
Dr Keel arrives at the zoo and chats to Sarah again. She’s looking after Jimmy, who is on a leash as the zoo is still open. Christine appears and asks Evans to take Jimmy up to the house, as her father wants him. The doctor wanders over to the crocodile pit where Steed is picking daffodils. He tells Steed there’s nothing in the pit to explain the disappearance of the package. Steed tells him he’s planning to coat the package in powdered dye, whoever touches it will end up with green hands. He’s heading up to the Renton-Stephens’ house, determined to be on hand in case any of them are involved. He then holds up the daffodils and announces they are for Miss Renton-Stephens.
Steed arrives at the house, where the Major sarcastically says it was nice of him to bring daffodils for Christine - “she loves daffodils. We’ve got masses of them in the grounds”. Christine appears and is genuinely delighted in the daffodils but excuses herself to look for the monkey when Steed enquires where he is. Steed chats to the Major about the animals in the zoo, in particular the crocodiles, and the Major warns him to stay away from their pit. Meanwhile, back at the pit, Keel has just observed that the package has suddenly vanished.
Back at the house, Steed is asking about Jimmy and wonders is he can recognise certain colours or patterns, having twigged to how the exchange is made. The Major says he has never taken the trouble to find out when Evan enters with Jimmy and Christine is alarmed by the green paint on his paws. Back at the pit, Keel is holding the package and musing...
KEEL: Clever little monkey.
KOLLAKIS: (EMERGING FROM BUSHES) Excuse me, sir, this is my property.
KEEL: ... Police might be interested...
KOLLAKIS: Give that to me.
Kollakis is unprepared when the doctor instead launches himself at him and the wrestle on the ground. Steed is chatting to Major Renton-Stephens about his time in India when there is a ring at the door and Keel frog-marches Kollakis into the study. Kollakis exclaims, “Steed!” when he sees who’s there. Renton-Stephens is confused that “Mr Archibald” is Steed but pulls a gun on Steed and orders him to drop his own, then tells Kollakis to pick it up. Dr Keel pushes Kollakis from behind, making him collide with the Major. Steed quickly reclaims his gun, ordering the Major not to move. He tells Christine to go the main gate, the police will be arriving there any moment. She’s confused at what’s happening but her father, conceding defeat, tells her to go.
Steed asks Keel where he found the packet but doesn’t wait for an answer. He holds up the book the Major gave him and tells Dr Keel it has “All sorts of snippets of information. Do you know how porcupines make love?” Dr Keel regards him coldly and says, “No” then groans when Steed replies, “Very, very carefully.”
- An almost identical thing happens in The Sell-Out when Steed calls to check if Dr King is going to make their rendezvous and is alarmed to hear that he’s been called out to a car accident.
- The script doesn’t name the marque and model of the car but Steed drives a Triumph Herald in The Sell-out. In series 1 he is often described in the scripts as driving a Rolls-Royce.