Series 2 — Episode 1
Mr Teddy Bear
Teleplay by Martin Woodhouse
Directed by Richmond Harding
Production No 3506, VTR/ABC/1907
Production completed: August 4 1962. First transmission: September 29 1962.
TV Times summary
The greatest assassin in the world is a worthy opponent for Steed, but he and Cathy find that ‘Mr. Teddy Bear’ knows many tricks, all of them deadly
If you can pay enough, anyone can hire Mr Teddy Bear to kill somebody. After the public murder of the double agent Colonel Wayne-Gilley, Mrs Gale hires the hidden killer to assassinate Steed. However, the trap misfires and Mr Teddy Bear lures Cathy into his clutches instead. Faced with certain capture, the professional assassin chooses suicide.
A TV host (Tim Brinton) introduces an episode of “The Man and the Place”, this week covering Colonel Vernon Wayne-Gilley (Kenneth Keeling), a noted travel writer. The colonel sits stiffly as he’s introduced, then keels over, suddenly dead, when asked to nominate a favourite country.
John Steed (Patrick Macnee) visits the morgue, telling Dr Gilmore (John Horsley) the viewers got good value last night, it’s not often someone dies in front of a television camera.
DR GILMORE: Better value than you think, he was murdered
STEED: You made my day!
The coroner, Dr Gilmore (John Horsley) tells him the colonel had enough cyanide in him to kill a horse – “a couple of horses” 1. Steed is baffled as cyanide acts immediately and yet the colonel had been on camera for quite a while. The coroner shows him something found in the stomach – a gelatin pill capsule which contained a metal spring-loaded watch mechanism, which opened to dispense the cyanide precisely when he was on air.
Steed takes the colonel’s pill bottle to One-Ten (Douglas Muir), showing him that every capsule was doctored – any would have killed him at 8:30 last night. One-Ten puzzles at the sheer cost of such a murder but Steed counters that it “wouldn’t be much to him”. “Him?”, One-Ten queries, and asks if Steed is running to clairvoyance. Steed smiles and says no more than he, pointing out that One-Ten has the suspect’s file on his desk already: “Mr Teddy Bear”, a Resistance assassin with the real name of Olaf Pomeroy. He disappeared after the war, emerging later as a hired killer. One-Ten says he is supposedly still in the country – unreliable sources claiming he has another job to do before leaving.
Steed asks Catherine Gale (Honor Blackman) to announce she’s in the market to have someone killed – Steed! They go to HQ where One-Ten’s assistant George (Michael Collins) shows Cathy slides of her supposed colleagues and she memorises her cover story. Steed warns her to tell the truth where sensible, including that she’s met him recently, and not to hide a gun in her stocking tops. Cathy wonders if they shouldn’t try to grab him immediately and Steed tells her to just do what he tells her.
At her flat a few days later, Cathy receives a letter and rings an answering service to tell Bridges that she’s going to an appointment at Mantel’s Holt, near Barton, that evening. Steed rings One-Ten with the information, informing him the Holt is a large house in the middle of a marsh, 40 minute’s drive from Barton. Cathy notices a motorcyclist following her on the way and stops to ask directions from a café girl (Sarah Maxwell). Cathy takes the opportunity to immobilise her pursuer’s bike by ripping off the HT lead when he comes in to get a cup of tea.
She arrives at the house and finds it deserted and dusty; the drawing room is full of dolls and a teddy bear sits on a large desk. The bear’s head turns as she passes and it orders her to sit down. Mr Teddy Bear excuses his sense of humour, and points out a camera on the wall. He offers her a cigarette from a case on the desk that opens automatically. Cathy says she has no personal motive for Steed’s death but has been negotiating with him over the last few months but, being unable to reach an agreement, they want him eliminated. She asks the fee and Mr Teddy Bear replies £200,000, higher than normal because it is Mr Steed, in diamonds. He asks for a down payment immediately, nominating her pendant. She leaves it on the desk and purloins the cigarette case, and is told she’ll see him again in five days for full payment, on proof of completion.
Steed and George go over her debriefing, trying to match the voice she heard. Cathy is peeved when Steed asks, “Is that the best you can do?” Steed says he has Henry, the motorcyclist who followed her, at his flat. The phone rings and Steed answers it; he learns that the lab has confirmed there were prints on the case – those of an adult chimpanzee!
Steed interrogates Henry Farrow (Michael Robbins), mentioning the ignition lead Cathy removed, but lets him go after scaring him by mentioning teddy bears.
Some time later, Steed & Cathy are rolling about on the floor – practising judo as they listen to a tape recording of One-Ten’s report: a fictitious company rented the house recently. Steed tries to sneak a kiss and is flattened. The debrief goes on to say a large amount of electricity had been used in the last five days. Steed reveals Henry said nothing much but will be back. Cathy can’t resist and asks,“Is that the best you can do?”
Steed says he had to let Henry go, they had no grounds to hold him – Henry’s scared and seems to be working for someone who’s trying to make money out of finding out who Mr Teddy Bear is. Steed says Mr Teddy Bear’s weakness is vanity. They need to make a personal challenge he won’t be able to resist. He shows Cathy a personal column advertisement:
Big Bear I hear you are looking for me. S.
The next day, Steed receives an invitation to meet Mr Teddy Bear at Sorenso Imports Ltd. at midnight. He enters cautiously and covers a camera with his hat; when Mr Teddy Bear speaks he removes the death’s head mask from the clown figure that appears to be speaking, revealing Henry’s corpse. He searches the body and finds Cathy’s pendant, which Mr Teddy Bear describes as worthless – to him at least. Steed pulls the camera’s cables out, but Mr Teddy Bear says his “eyes are elsewhere”. While Steed searches the room, Mr Teddy Bear tells him he has the distinction to be the first man he’s been hired to kill twice – once by Cathy, and then by Henry.
STEED:I didn’t realise I was so popular.
Steed removes his clothes to have forensics check them and One-Ten tells him they found a lot of expensive television equipment and little else, despite getting there ten minutes after he called. They’ve checked his car and found nothing, and George finds nothing in his clothes, but they’ll send them to radiography to be sure. Steed is pleased that Mr Teddy Bear is beginning to show himself but One-Ten is unimpressed, complaining that Mr Teddy Bear has revealed little but has had a good look at Steed & Cathy.
Steed outlines Mr Teddy Bear’s ‘death by gadgetry’ method – if you fail you just try again with little risk. “I know how he feels. He’s been in the game as long as you and I, hasn’t he?”, Steed says and adds that it’s a straight fight – him or me. One-Ten orders him off the case, saying his judgement is impaired; he’s to go home as they’ve checked his flat for bombs already.
Steed arrives home just as a technician is leaving – actually Mr Teddy Bear (Bernard Goldman) in disguise. The technician waves at the dog (Freckles) as he goes and when Steed enters, she’s so spooked she runs into the kitchen, leaving Steed to ask if the man wasn’t nice to her. Mr Teddy Bear telephones moments later, wishing Steed a good night. Steed notices the receiver is slightly sticky, sniffs his hand then hurriedly uses a lamp cable to make a tourniquet. He rushes upstairs and reappears a moment later, jabbing himself with a needle, then slumps to the floor...
Cathy is having breakfast when a large envelope arrives in the post. The phone rings as she opens it, extracting a photograph of the prone form of Steed while Mr Teddy Bear asks for the balance of £198,000. “Not before this evening, and no later than tomorrow night, in industrial diamonds” – he’ll send a representative to collect.
Distraught, Cathy rings her cover story boss, ‘Bridges’, but is shocked when Steed stops her from making the call.
CATHY: Why aren’t you dead?
He makes light of the photo and she angrily asks him for the diamonds; he hands her a box, saying “Anything you say, be a good little girl and put it in your safe”. He tells her to skip any appointments. She has one that evening with Dr Howell, an Upper Nile expert, but as she knows him well will keep the appointment. Steed visits One-Ten who is annoyed with him and orders him to stay out of the way.
Cathy’s African tribal heads are examined by Dr Howell (John Ruddock) who says he has something for her, and hands over an envelope. He admires another head and says, “Oh yes, I believe you have something for me”, then looks shocked at the effect the letter has had. He checks the note and seems to think it straightforward – he’d been given the note by Teddy Bruin, one of his regular Bridge partners.
Cathy is suspicious, especially as Howell is insistent about the package and says she’ll accompany him to the Voyagers’ Club to meet Bruin, hoping to be able to have him arrested. The phone rings and Steed’s voice tells her to bring the package to Sorenso Imports instead – but it’s an edited recording, played by Mr Teddy Bear.
When she arrives, Mr Teddy Bear greets her, apologises for the late hour, and asks for the diamonds. He reveals that he knows Cathy & Steed work together. He’s curious about the organisation and wonders why she thinks Steed is still alive. She is the closest an opponent had ever got to him, her and Steed. He confesses that this is the first time he’s been faced with the need to kill a woman, then asks for her gun and announces he’s going to retire, taking the diamonds with him, and her too.
He says he doesn’t want to kill her, she can travel to the Mediterranean with him, and he’ll drop her off in the Aegean. He proposes she take a strong sleeping pill, so as not to be tempted to try to escape. She cautiously agrees, and he opens the package to verify its contents. When a jack-in-the-box pops out, Steed’s voice announces “I am the demon king!” and Cathy grabs the assassin’s gun.
Steed, over the intercom, says he hadn’t expected nerve gas and a blistering agent, and Mr Teddy Bear replies by casually announcing the door is locked, the room steel-clad and they’re not going anywhere. Steed wants him alive so Cathy orders him to take one of his sleeping pills. Cornered, the frightened assassin fumbles to take one then immediately suggests they go, he will open the door with her permission. Cathy is cautious but Mr Teddy Bear says even if he disarmed her now he wouldn’t be able to go very far, only an animal fights to the death.
With Steed & Cathy holding guns on him, Mr Teddy Bear apologises for having lied to a lady, staggers down the hall and collapses, dead from the poison pill.
Steed drops by Cathy’s flat to go over ‘his homework’ Cathy won’t let Freckles sit on her sofa, so Steed reads out the end of the report: “subject committed suicide while in my custody by means of poison”. She hands him an envelope she found in Mr Teddy Bear’s pocket, addressed to Steed, which contains a strongbox key. “When you do find it, be careful how you open it”, she laughs.
- This line was originally “a couple of horses, you can still smell it”. ⭮