• title card: white text reading ‘Propellant 23’ superimposed on a close-up of Meyer sitting nervously in his aeroplane seat
  • Roland, holding Meyer’s briefcase in the foreground right, is suspicious of Steed when Curly, stading behind him, says Steed had asked to take charge of the briefcase
  • Cathy and Steed rendezvous at the lingerie shop
  • Jeanette, on foreground left, becomes suspicious of Manning, behind and to her left
  • Tissot and the baker conspire... to get drunk
  • Roland and Pierre are astonished to discover Curly is now completely bald

Series 2 — Episode 2
Propellant 23

Teleplay by Jon Manchip White
Directed by Jonathan Alwyn

Production completed: 21 July 1962. First transmission: 6 October 1962

Production details

Episode 32
Production Number : 3505
VTR/ABC/1871 & 1871A-D
Teddington Studio 2 & Scene Dock

Schedule

Friday 20th July 1962

Camera rehearsal 09.00-12.30
Lunch break 12.30-13.30
Camera rehearsal 13.30-18.00
Supper break 18.00-19.00
Camera rehearsal & PRE-VTR (Scene Dock)
(4 inserts - VTR/ABC/1871A-D)
19.00-21.00

VTR Inserts:

  • 1871A - Scene 3, (4:55 - 6:52)
    Cathy & Steed in Cathy’s car - Steed briefs a reluctant Cathy
  • 1871B - Scene 8, (9:45 - 10:56, some picture distortion at 9:55)
    Cathy & Steed in Cathy’s car - Steed gives Cathy a gun and departs to meet Meyer
  • 1871C - Scene 12, (19:45 - 20:59)
    Cathy & Steed in Cathy’s car - Steeed returns and tell Cathy that Meyer is dead
  • 1871D - Scenes 15 & 17, (22:13 - 22:30 / 23:23 - 23:39)
    Cathy & Steed in Cathy’s car - Steed waits for the lights to go out in the customs office / Steed sets off to break in

Saturday 21st July 1962

Camera rehearsal 10.00-12.30
Lunch break 12.30-13.30
Camera rehearsal 13.30-14.30
Tea break, Line-up,
Normal scan, Make-up
14.30-15.15
Dress rehearsal 15.15-16.30
Line-up 16.30-17.00
VTR 17.00-18.00

Equipment

VTR PRE-VTR
Cameras: 4 Pedestals 3 Pedestals
Sound: 3 booms, 1 slung mic., other mics. as reqd. 4 pract. telephones (1 upright), distort, grams & tape. 1 boom, grams.
Telecine: ABC symbol, slides, 4 pre-VTR inserts. -

Running time

Expected: 51'25" + 2 commercial breaks 2.30
Actual running time with bumpers: 52'49"

The bumpers between the acts are generally 10 seconds from fade in to the “End of Act” bumper to the end of audio before the commercial, a 10 second still without audio, then cut to the next act bumper. This would play with the theme for around 10 seconds. Accordingly, with the episodes being in 3 acts, the running time of the action is approximately a minute less than listed above, minus the opening and closing credits (normally 0'16", with a 2" fade, and anywhere from 0'41" to 1'20", hard cut or 1" fade or mix, respectively).

TV Times listing

Sydney Morning Herald listing for October 28 1963, showing The Avengers in the 7.30pm timeslot
The Age listing for May 21 1964, showing The Avengers in the 7.30pm timeslot

I don’t have a copy of this episode’s original TV Times listing. Here instead are the Australian listings.

Regional broadcasts

BroadcasterDateTime
ATV London6/10/196210.30pm
ABC Midlands6/10/196210.05pm
ABC North6/10/196210.05pm
Anglia Television6/10/196210.30pm
Border Television--
Channel Television6/10/196210.30pm
Grampian Television6/10/196210.30pm
Southern Television6/10/196210.30pm
Scottish Television30/05/196310.45pm
Tyne Tees Television6/10/196210.05pm
Ulster Television6/10/196210.05pm
Westward Television6/10/196210.30pm
Television Wales & West6/10/196210.05pm
Teledu Cymru (WWN)6/10/196210.05pm
ABN2 Sydney28/10/19637.30pm
ABV2 Melbourne21/05/19647.30pm

Episode availability

Murders

Victim Killer Method
Jules Meyer Paul Manning poison
Click a name to see the face

Transport

Marque/type Plate
Cathy’s MGA Mk I RVB 115

Minutiæ

  1. 0:38 - Steed’s telegram to Meyer reads:

    Unable meet you Marseilles. Join you Paris. Love S.

    The prop is clearly hand-drawn, if you look closely, with the fine print in the letterhead just being lines across the paper.

  2. 3:40 - the camera shakes as it zooms in for the MCU of Meyer begging with Legros to stay in the cabin
  3. Catherine Woodville had appeared as Dr Keel’s doomed fiancée, Peggy, in the very first episode, Hot Snow, back in 1961 and was briefly married to Patrick Macnee.
  4. 13:07 - a thread appears on screen in the bottom righthand corner, it remains there until the end of the episode.
  5. 19:50 - Steed recognises that Meyer had been poisoned, telling Cathy that the police think it’s heart attack but the dilation of the pupils and blue lips (cyanosis) suggest a hexobarbitone.
  6. 20:30 - When Cathy quips “How did the French get left out?” Steed laughs and says they gave him his only sticky moment, except that the ‘dim-witted official’ (Leclerc) didn’t realise the significance of his telegram. When Cathy says she isn’t surprised when it said he couldn’t meet him and there he is, large as life, Steed defensively says it was in code. “I should get yourself a new code book”, she replies.
  7. 25:17 - Cathy’s clearly had training, when she describes searching Meyer’s case she mentions no false compartments, checking between the pages of books, and even squeezing out the toothpaste tube, checking the fountain pen and emptying all the containers.
  8. 25:18 - the profile CU of Cathy starts completely out of focus.
  9. 27:02 - That’s some code book! Shanghai is code for the new Chinese rocket being tested in the Gobi desert, and ‘fruit juice’ is its fuel.
  10. 36:20 & 38:17 - The Hôtel Excelsior is at 23 rue Gallieni. Laure tells Jeanette, “It’s by Ste Honoré. It’s not very attractive.”
  11. 39:14 - Pierre breaks the “fourth wall” and addresses an aside direct to the camera. “I thought I’d be doing somebody a good turn.”
  12. 45:43 - we see Jeanette’s dead body under Jacques’ bed.
  13. 49:55 - the cameraman loses focus as Meyer returns to Manning’s side.
  14. There’s picture distortion at 2:27 and 13:44, and most of the VTR inserts (see above) end with a fade to live recording; there’s often visual interference in the picture during the fade (6:50, 10:56, 20:58, 22:28, 23:38).
Times are from the re-mastered 2009 Optimum Releasing DVD set, any times in brackets are from the previously released DVD sets which had frames with interference or banding deleted, resulting in shorter running times.

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