• title card: white all caps text reading ‘SCHOOL FOR TRAITORS’ superimposed on Davis slumped on the floor in a tweed jacket
  • Steed holds Venus tight as he listens in on her telephone conversation
  • Claire tickles one of her pet alligators
  • The students surround Venus, who sings ‘Yellow Bird’ as East plays the guitar and whistles
  • Higby holds Roberts at gunpoint
  • Steed asks Venus, ‘Coming, nmy dear?’

Series 2 — Episode 20
School For Traitors

Teleplay by James Mitchell
Directed by Jonathan Alwyn

Production completed: 9 February 1963. First transmission: 9 February 1963

Production details

Episode 46
Production Number : 3519
Teddington Studio 2


Friday 8th February 1963

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 19.00-21.00

Saturday 9th February 1963

Camera rehearsal 10.00-12.30
Lunch break 12.30-13.30
Camera rehearsal 13.30-15.30
Tea break, Line-up,
Normal scan, Make-up
Dress rehearsal 16.15-17.30
Notes 17.30-18.00
Line-up 18.00-18.30
VTR 18.30-19.30


Cameras: 4 Pedestals, prism lens (Cam.3)
Sound: 3 booms, stick mic. + stand for Julie, 2 pract. telephones (Venus’s Hotel Room/Pub Bar), slung mic. (Quad), baby eckerette, echo, deaf aid for Kenny Powell, trio in vision (piano, bass drums), guitarist (actor) in vision and on the move.
Telecine: ABC symbol, 1 slid, caption scanner.

Running time

Expected: 51'25" + 2 commercial breaks 2.05
Actual running time with bumpers: 51'47"

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

TV times listing for February 10 1963, showing The Avengers in the 10.00pm timeslot (February 3 1963 London edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for January 27 1964, showing The Avengers in the 7.30pm timeslot
The Age listing for September 24 1964, showing The Avengers in the 7.30pm timeslot

10.35 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee

School for Traitors
Teleplay by James Mitchell

Also starring
Julie Stevens


East John Standing
Venus Smith Julie Stevens
Claire Summers Melissa Stribling
Robert Richard Thorp
Higby Reginald Marsh
John Steed Patrick Macnee
One-Seven Frederick Farley
Dr. Shanklin Anthony Nicholls
Professor Aubyn Frank Shelley
Green Terence Woodfield
Proctor Ronald Mayer
Barmaid Janet Butlin

The Avengers theme composed and
played by Johnny Dankworth
Settings by Maurice Pelling
Directed by Jonathan Alwyn
Producer John Bryce

Steed and Venus go to a university and find there are degrees of treachery

ABC Television Network Production

Regional broadcasts

ATV London10/02/196310.35pm
ABC Midlands9/02/196310.05pm
ABC North9/02/196310.05pm
Anglia Television9/02/196310.05pm
Border Television--
Channel Television9/02/196310.35pm
Grampian Television10/02/196310.35pm
Southern Television9/02/196310.05pm
Scottish Television--
Tyne Tees Television9/02/196310.05pm
Ulster Television10/02/196310.35pm
Westward Television10/02/196310.35pm
Television Wales & West10/02/196310.35pm
Teledu Cymru (WWN)8/02/196310.45pm
ABN2 Sydney27/01/19647.30pm
ABV2 Melbourne24/09/19647.30pm

Episode availability


Victim Killer Method
Davis Higby? revolver
Green Higby pushed off roof
Roberts Higby overdose of barbiturates
Click a name to see the face


Marque/type Plate


  1. 8:06 - a thread get caught in the transfer plate and stays at the bottom of the screen until 9:48.
  2. 8:22 and 47:23 - severe visual distortion
  3. we see the occassional shadow of the boom microphone throughout the episode, especially in the scenes in the pub, Venus’ room, and Shanklin’s office.
  4. 10:47 - Claire tell Roberts that Lynch made out a cheque to £220 but wrote “two hundred and twenty guineas” so no bank would accept it. She fluffed her line, because 200 guineas is £210 - whereas 220 guineas is, of course, £231 : £220 s.220 = £231. The original script confirms this, the line is “two hundred guineas”.
  5. Later on (40:24 /39:00) she gets it right and tells East the cheque is for 200 guineas, which is £210, not £220 as written on the cheque (£200 s.200 d.- = £210).
  6. Claire spends most of the episode working on a painting that is clearly tipped up on its side without seeming to notice.
  7. Is it just me, or is Claire seriously mutton dressed as lamb?
  8. Claire orders Venus to leave the letter from Davis behind the noticeboard at the foot of staircase no. 2 of St. Luke’s college at 11pm.
  9. 23:50 - Melissa stumbles over another line: “She’s got to be sho-taught a lesson”.
  10. Claire’s face cream contained trichloroacetic acid.
  11. 28:56 (28:18) - Julie stumbles over her lines and introduces Steed to Roberts with the words: "This is a friend of mine, John Steed.
    [looks at Roberts] John Steed, Jack -
    [looks at Steed] John Steed, this is Jack Roberts."
    The other actors are grinning their heads off and Macnee wickedly says, “Jack Steed this is Jack? Anyway, marvellous.” Richard Thorp replies “How do you do? and Macnee adds, “Call me Bert, thank you. how do you do?” - which makes Julie Smith grin like mad.
  12. 37:40 - The police tells Shanklin that Roberts died of an overdose of phenobarbital.
  13. 46:18 - Just before Higby appears in the hall outside Claire’s door, something or someone scoots past at high speed at the bottom of the screen.
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.

The Songs

Venus sings several songs with the Kenny Powell trio.

Kenny Powell was a mainstream Jazz pianist who worked with the Jack Parnell Orchestra at Ronnie Scott’s in London. He was a member of the resident rhythm section at The Hopbine - a pub in Wembley run by the tenorist Tommy Whittle and vocalist Barbara Jay through the 1960s - alongside drummer Dick Brennan and the virtuoso bassist Ron Matthewson. Tubby Hayes used the Hopbine trio when recording an album in 1966. Powell emigrated to Australia in 1972 and was later musical director for Kamahl and arranger for Bob Barnard. He replaced Dave Lee and appeared alongside Dave’s rhythm section of Art Morgan and Spike Heatley in this episode after Dave left ‘The Avengers’ to do other work; Spike and Art followed Dave, and Kenny is supported by Lew Grade’s in-house ATV orchestra leader, Jack Parnell, and his regular bassist, Lennie Bush - with whom he played at Ronnie Scott’s - for Man in the Mirror and A Chorus of Frogs.

Lyrics in blue italic are not sung by Julie
Lyrics in green italic are inaudible.
Lyrics in red italic have been adapted or ad libbed.
Varsity Drag
Buddy De Sylva, Lew Brown
/ Ray Henderson, 1927

We’ve always thought
Knowledge is naught,
We should be taught to dance,
Right here at Tate
we’re up to date,
We teach a great new dance,
don’t think that I brag,
I speak of the drag.
Why should a sheikh
learn how to speak
Latin and Greek badly?
Give him a neat
Motto complete
Say it with feet gladly!
First lesson right now,
You’ll love it and how you’ll love it:
Here is the drag, see how it goes,
Down on the heels, up on the toes,
That’s the way to do the Varsity Drag,
Hotter than hot, newer than new,
Meaner than mean, bluer than blue,

Gets as much applause as waving the flag!
You can pass many a class,
Whether you’re dumb or wise,
If you’ll all answer the call
when your professor cries:
"Everybody down on the heels, up on the toes,
Stay after school and learn how it goes,
Everybody do the varsity drag!
From the musical “Good News”
Yellow Bird
Alan Bergman, Marilyn Keith Bergman
/ Norman Luboff, 1957

Yellow bird, way up in banana tree.
Yellow bird, you sit all alone like me.
Did your lady friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, makes me feel so bad.
You must fly away, in the sky away.
You’re more lucky than me.
I also had a pretty girl, she’s not with me today.
They’re all the same those pretty girls.
Take tenderness, then they fly away.
Yellow Bird, yellow bird.
Did your lady friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, makes me feel so bad.
You must fly away, in the sky away.
You’re more lucky than me.
Wish that I were a yellow bird, I’d fly away with you.
But I am not a yellow bird, So here I sit.
Nothing I can do.
Yellow bird, yellow bird.
Put On A Happy Face
Lee Adams & Charles Strouse, 1960
adapted Kenny Powell/Julie Stevens, 1962

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It’s not your style;
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad
Ya’ decided to smile!
Pick out a pleasant outlook,
Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that “full of doubt” look,
Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place,
Just put on a happy, happy, HAPPY!, Put on a happy face!
Put on a happy face
Put on a happy face
And if you’re feeling cross and bitterish
Don’t sit and whine
Think of banana split and licorice
And you’ll feel fine
I knew a girl so glooming
She’d never laugh or sing
She wouldn’t listen to me
Now she’s a mean old thing
So spread sunshine all over the place
Just put on a happy face
So, put on a happy face

From the musical ‘Bye, Bye Birdie’

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