• title card: Dance with Death superimposed on some jars of medical supplies (recreated by Richard McGinlay)

Series 1 — Episode 12
Dance with Death

by Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward

Production No 3376, VTR/ABC/1241
Production completed: April 13 1961. First transmission: April 15 1961.

Production details

Studio details: Teddington Two
Production No. 3376
Tape No. VTR/ABC/1241
VTR Recording: April 13th 1961, 18.00 — 19.00
Transmission: 15th April 1961, 10.00 p.m.


Wednesday, 12th April 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, 13th April 1961
Camera Rehearsal10.00 — 12.30
Lunch Break12.30 — 13.30
Camera Rehearsal13.30 — 15.30
Tea Break, Line Up, Normal Scan, & Make-up15.30 — 16.15
Dress rehearsal16.15 — 17.30
Line Up17.30 — 18.00
VTR RECORDING18.00 — 19.00


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 of 2.05 & 2.35

The actual running time is written in biro on Barbara Forster’s camera script, noting that they exactly matched expecting running time:
Act 1: 19.59
[break] 2.05
Act 2: 14.09
[break] 2.35
Act 3: 18.22


The Northern edition neglected to credit Johnny Dankworth in bold text.

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for April 15 1961, 10pm (Northern edition)
TV Times listing for April 15 1961, 10pm (Midlands edition)
TV Times listing for April 15 1961, 10pm (London edition)

Teleplay by
Peter Ling and Sheilagh Ward
Also starring

Cast in order of appearance:

Dr. David Keel Ian Hendry
Carol Wilson Ingrid Hafner
Elaine Bateman Caroline Blakiston
Trevor Price David Sutton
Beth Wilkinson Angela Douglas
Major Caswell Ewan Roberts
Valerie Marne Pauline Shepherd
Mrs. Marne Diana King
Philip Anthony Geoffrey Palmer
John Steed Patrick Macnee
Porter Norman Chappell

“The Avengers” theme composed and played
by Johnny Dankworth

Designed by James Goddard
Directed by DON LEAVER

A corpse in a bath—and Keel and Steed go
ballroom dancing in an attempt to save the
next victim

An ABC Television Network Production

Regional broadcasts

ITV BroadcasterDateTime
ABC Midlands15/04/196110.00pm
ABC North15/04/196110.00pm
Anglia Television15/04/196110.00pm
Southern Television15/04/196110.00pm
Tyne Tees Television15/04/196110.00pm
Television Wales & West15/04/196110.00pm
Ulster Television15/04/196110.00pm
Westward Television--
Scottish Television--
Border Television--
Grampian Television--

Episode availability

Continuity and trivia

  1. The cameramen for the episode were allocated cameras as follows:
    1. John; 2. Mike (Baldock); 3. Dickie (Jackman); 4. Roy
  2. Classic misdirection in this episode with Beth suggesting that Major Carswell may be the murder suspect but he turns out, after a momentary suspense at the end of Act 2, to have been unwittingly helping Steed is the case.
  3. Stee’d claim that “I’ve got no influence with the police” does not seem to be in line with the plots of other episode throughout series 1; maybe he’s just annoyed with Keel’s whiny complaining. Indeed, in Brought to Book he’s secretly working with Inspector Wilson and by the time of The Yellow Needle he can commandeer RAF aeroplanes and has Inspector Anthony completely defer to him when he returns to London.
  4. Norman Chappell delivers some much-needed comic relief into the hotel scenes as the porter (is that a Shakespeare reference?). He raises his eyebrows at “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” who have arrived at the hotel with no luggage when Steed says he didn’t intend to make a long stay. Then, when he catches Steed boring a hole in the bathroom door, gasping in shock when Steed says he won’t come and talk to the manager about it as there’s a girl in the bathroom!
    Luggage scene, Steed and Beth are there, posing as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”
    [Pick them up. TIGHTEN on Steed & Porter]
    PORTER: Excuse me, sir, your boot, is it locked?
    STEED: My boot.
    PORTER: Of your car, sir.
    STEED: Oh, yes, I think it is. Why?
    PORTER: I’ll get your luggage out sir.
    STEED: Oh, we didn’t bring any luggage.
    PORTER: No luggage. (You can imagine the deadpan voice and raised eyebrows!)
    [1 A/B]
    STEED: No, you see we don’t contemplate a long stay. (No doubt his eyebrows hit the roof)
    PORTER: No, sir.
    Bathroom door scene, Steed has been drilling a hole in the door to keep an eye on Philip
    [3 MS Doorway. Pick up Porter. CRAB L DIAGONALLY into 2-s. with Steed.]
    PORTER: Hul-lo! Boring holes, eh?
    STEED: Yes.
    PORTER: I see. I think you’d better come down and talk to the Manager
    STEED: Sorry old boy, I haven’t time.
    PORTER: Well, the manager’s not going to like it. Come along sir.
    STEED: I can’t help that. There’s a girl in that bathroom!
    PORTER: Yes sir. Come along!
  5. The show producer, Leonard White, was so taken by Angela Douglas’ performance and comic timing that he considered her for a permanent rôle in the show.
  6. This was the first episode broadcast over the wider ITV network - eight regions in all, in the same timeslot - and used the fortnightly schedule starting the episode before it as it would be alternating the Saturday night slot with ATV’s own drama serial, Deadline Midnight. The regions that showed the episode were ATV London, ABC Midlands, ABC North (Granada), Anglia, Southern, Tyne Tees, Television Wales & West, and Ulster Television. These regions show every episode from this point on except Ulster, which did not show any episodes from Series 2 or Series 3, returning to the fold for Series 4.
  7. Leonard White sent a memo instructing that Hunt the Man Down and this episode make reference to the surgery having been redecorated as they built a new set when sales talks with ATV were finalised. The repetition is so that the new regions knew they’d redecorated a set that they had never seen... which seems a waste of time to me.
  8. This episode was somewhat overshadowed - and disrupted - when Dennis Vance, who has directed Please Don’t Feed the Animals, 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 the first day of camera rehearsals for this episode 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 the episode that was going out that week.
  9. The camera script lists the last slide as being “AN A.B.C. NETWORK PRODUCTION” but, as this is after Diamond Cut Diamond when the last slide was changed uniformly, it was almost certainly actually broadcast as “An ABC Production”.

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