• title card: Please don't feed the animals superimposed on an open-mouthed crocodile (recreated by Richard McGinlay)
  • Publicity still from TV Times - Dr Keel and Steed discuss the case in Keel's surgery

Series 1 - Episode 11
Please Don't Feed The Animals

by Dennis Spooner

Production completed: 30 March 1961. First transmission: 1 April 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

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, Steed is in Whitehall, having coffee with a civil servant called Felgate (Tenniel Evans). Steed excuses himself to make a phone call and rings Carol at Dr Keel's surgery. He's dismayed when Carol tells him the doctor is running late as he had an emergency call. 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 Keel 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 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 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 calls someone called Renton-Stephens and says, "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" car1 and Keel get in and 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 as 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.

Act II

Evans and Steed are in the study of Brinkley House with Major Renton-Stephens where Evans is apologising to the major for grabbing Steed but 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 (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. The major says Jimmy belongs to Christine and is one of the most intelligent creatures he's ever come across. Christine chimes in, saying, "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 departs.

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!" whicxh 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. A thick-set man called Harrigan and is told 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, they'll just take him home as long as he promises not to go to the police - but they'll keep the tape -and Harrigan will escort him home. 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.

Act III

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 elighted 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 muses, "Clever little monkey". Kollakis emerges from the gloom and says the package is his property, demanind he hand it over and is unprepared when the doctor instead launches himself at him.
Steed is chatting to the major about his time in India when there is a ring at the door and Keel then 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, then tells Kollakis to pick it up. Dr Keel pushes Kollakis from behind and Steed reclaims his gun, ordering the major not to move. He tells Christine to go the main gate, the police will be arrive there any moment. She's confused 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."


1. 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.

Cast

John Steed Patrick Macnee regular007
Felgate ® Tenniel Evans regularDoctor WhoThe SaintRandall and Hopkirk
Carol Wilson Ingrid Hafner regularPolice Surgeon
Dr David Keel Ian Hendry regularDangermanPolice SurgeonThe SaintThe Sweeney
Christine Renton-Stephens ® Carole Boyer
Kollakis ® Harry Ross
Major Renton-Stephens ® Alastair Hunter
Yvonne ® Catherine Ellison
Sarah ® Genevieve Lyons
Barman ® Mark Baker
Not billed in TV Times magazine
Evans ® Richard Nellor regular (Listed in the camera script as Richard Neller)
Harrigan ® Charles Bird regular
Not billed in the script
Waitress unknown
Man at zoo unknown
Cipher department manager (voice) unknown
Little girl unknown
Woman at zoo unknown

Strippers, Strip Club Customers

Images from other sources: Tenniel Evans from a publicity photo, Carole Boyer from here RADA profile, Harry Ross from "Ghost Squad": "The Last Jump", Alastair Hunter from "Behemoth the Sea Monster", Catherine Ellison from a publicity photo, Genevieve Lyons from a photo by Arthur Heyward of Cork, now in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, Mark Baker from "Interpol Calling": "Game for Three Hands", Charles Bird from "The Invisible Man": "The Mink Coat", Richard Nellor from "Fiend Without a Face".

Crew

Teleplay by Dennis Spooner regularThe ChampionsDoctor WhoThe ProfessionalsJason KingDepartment SRandall and HopkirkUFO
"The Avengers" Theme composed and played by Johnny Dankworth regular
Designed by Patrick Downing regular
Producer Leonard White regularCallanPolice Surgeon
Directed by Dennis Vance
Story Editor Patrick Brawn regular
Production Assistant Sylvia Langdon-Down regular
Floor Manager Peter Bailey regular
Stage Manager Barbara Sykes regular
Call Boy unknown
Lighting Supervisor Peter Kew regular
Operational Supervisor Peter Wayne regular
Senior Cameraman Tom Clegg regular007Carry On..Adam AdamantThe SaintThe ProfessionalsThe SweeneySpace 1999
Sound Supervisor Peter Cazaly regular
Vision Mixer unknown

Production and transmission details

Studio details: Teddington Two
Production No. 3375
Tape No. VTR/ABC/1217
VTR Recording: March 30th 1961, 18.00 - 19.00
Transmission: 1st April 1961, 8.35 p.m.

The time slot was brought forward from the originally planned 10pm slot, to an 8.35pm starting time. This may have been due to some agreements with the ATV network although the show is back to 10pm the following week.

Schedule

Wednesday, 29th March 1961
Camera Rehearsal10.30 - 12.30
Lunch Break12.30 - 13.30
Camera Rehearsal13.30 - 18.00
Supper Break18.00 - 19.00
Camera Rehearsal19.00 - 21.00
Thursday, 30th March 1961
Camera Rehearsal10.00 - 12.30
Lunch Break12.30 - 13.30
Camera Rehearsal13.30 - 15.30
Pre Dress (pencilled in)2.30
Line up, Normal Scan, & Make up15.30 - 16.15
Dress rehearsal16.15 - 17.30
Line up17.30 - 18.00
VTR RECORDING18.00 - 19.00

Camera crew lead-in schedule

17.58.002 MINS
17.59.001 MIN. CLOCK ON.
17.59.3030" stand by
17.59.3525" Q Peter

The final entry in the pencilled-in crew schedule I assume is telling them to cue the sound supervisor, Peter Cazaly, when it's 25 seconds before they start the episode as the lights and cameras would already be in place.

Equipment

Cameras: 4 Pedestals
Sound: 3 booms, Grams, Tape, 1 stand mic., 5 Prac. telephones, 1 prac. intercom.
Telecine: ABC Symbol, Slides, 3 specially shot 35mm sequences, 1 stock clip.

Total running time: 57.40 = Play portion: 52.30 + 2 commercial breaks of 2.35 each

The actual running time is pencilled on Sylvia Langdon-Down's camera script, and shows that they underran the time slot, using 49'45" instead of the expected 52'30". This was faster than the dress run, which took 50'35".

TV Times listing

TV times listing for April 1 1961, showing The Avengers in the 8.35pm timeslot (24 March 1961 Granada edition), alongside is a photo of Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee from this episode

The reptile pit at a zoo and a striptease club are linked by an unusual death which Keel and Steed investigate.

The TV Times listing was accompanied by the photograph of Macnee and Hendry at the top of this page, with the caption "Ian Hendry (left) as Dr. Keel and Patrick Macnee as John Steed in The Avengers at 8.35".

Regional broadcasts

ITV BroadcasterDateTime
ABC Midlands1/04/19618.35pm
ABC North1/04/19618.35pm
Anglia Television1/04/19618.35pm
ATV--
Southern Television--
Tyne Tees Television--
Television Wales & West--
Ulster Television--
Westward Television--
Scottish Television--
Border Television--
Grampian Television--

Minutiæ

  1. There's an attempt to mislead the audience in the script, as the "Renton-Stephens" that Kollakis telephones could be either the Major or his daughter Christine. The TV Times listings of this era were normally done in order of appearance and Christine is listed before Kollakis so she might have appeared in the cafe scenes or club scenes as part of this deception. However, the barman is listed right at the end and ought to have been before Kollakis, so it seems the listing was not in the standard order.
  2. Carole Boyer appears on the RADA website as Carole Bowyer, but everywhere else as Carole Boyer. It appears that she took the altered spelling as a stage name early in her career. Perennial extra Richard Nellor, however, is misspelled as Richard Neller in the script.
  3. This episode was not broadcast live, but recorded "as live" the day before the actual broadcast transmission.
  4. The timeslot for the episode was changed late in production ,as evidenced by the original 10.03.00 - 11.00.40 (pm) times being crossed out and 8.35 p.m. being pencilled in on the camera script. As the series returned to the 10pm slot for the next episode it's not clear why this one was brought forward.
  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 seventh so wasn't liked by the producers, it had certainly been less popular with viewers, being in the third category of viewer ratings when first broadcast. Having read the script, I can see why - there's potential there but it's a bit run of the mill.
  6. The camera script originally belonging to Sylvia Langdon-Down has many pencilled-in alterations, one of which is the correction of the name of the actor playing Kollakis; Barry Ross is corrected to Harry Ross. One hopes "Barry" didn't end up in the broadcast credits! Carole Bowyer's name is misspelled "Boyer" and Richard Nellor's name is misspelled "Neller"; neither are corrected (but as Carole is frequently credited as Boyer, she may have elected to use that spelling already by 1961).
  7. In Dave Rogers' book The Ultimate Avengers (page 21, Boxtree 1995 first impression) there is an anecdote from Patrick Downing about this episode :
    ‘Designer Patrick Downing tells me that the script for Please Don't Feed the Animals called for a swimming pool. "It took two weeks to build, in Teddington Number One studio - and I overspent the budget enormously!". To get the money from the producers, Patrick and director Don Leaver staged a mock fight which ended with Leaver throwing Downing (who had borrowed a spare set of clothes from Wardrobe) into the water. They got the extra money.
    There are some film inserts which use the pit so we must assume it was these scenes that used that, and there was a smaller set with the kiosk in studio 2 where this episode was mostly filmed when they did the "as live" take.
  8. There are a lot of references in the camera script to "MODEL PIT" so we must assume that there was a scale model also built, populated with young crocodiles (and hopefully more convincing that that terrible sequence in Thunderbirds!) Growing up in Australia, we can tell a juvenile croc from an adult!
  9. The major refers to the crocodiles as magers in the script, which is a type of swamp crocodile from southern India. We can assume though that his crocodiles are not necessarily this species as he refers to a drink as a chotapeg, an Indian term for a half-measure of spirits.
  10. The director of this episode, Dennis Vance, interrupted the rehearsals of Dance with Death when he attacked Janice Willet, who was also a director for Iris Productions. They had broken up in February 1961 after she called the police following a violent altercation at her flat. On 29th March 1961, he threatened her with a knife in the street then later entered her office and stabbed her several times. Police and ambulance were called and Vance surrendered quietly to the police while Janice went to hospital accompanied by Norman Kay, Iris Productions' music producer, who was now her boyfriend. Accordingly, the press was full of reports of the incident rather than covering Dance with Death.
  11. Brought to Book was first broadcast to the ATV London, Southern, and Tyne Tees regions on 1st April 1961, the same night as ABC Midlands, ABC North and Anglia were showing this episode. Accordingly, to make network schedules stay in line, this episode was deliberately given the same target running time as Brought to Book. During rehearsals it under-ran the planned duration and the script was amended to extend the duration, although a few lines about Keel meeting Steed in a country lane were cut, presumably to save on the cost of location filming or an extra set.

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