• title card: white all caps text reading ‘THE NUTSHELL’ superimposed on a security camera fixed to a wall, turned nearly towards us
  • Close two-up of Steed speaking to Elin, who is nearest us, dramatically lit from below
  • Venner, on the left, and Anderson capture Jason at the airfield
  • Two-up close shot of Cathy, on the left, asking Disco a question. Disco is in extreme close-up and partially out of shot on the right
  • Venner, standing at the back, questions Steed, sitting in a chair in the foreground, in the electrified steel interrogation chamber
  • The monitor shows the content of the microfilm - a holiday snap of Steed at the beach

Series 3 — Episode 3
The Nutshell

by Philip Chambers
Designed by Philip Harrison
Directed by Raymond Menmuir

Plot summary

Who stole the file, codenamed Big Ben, from The Nutshell? It seems that Steed is the mastermind when he is caught after apparently handing over secrets, but it is all a ploy to encourage the traitor Venner to reveal himself and take the microfilm from Steed. Having convinced Cathy and his superior - Disco - that he is innocent, Steed regains his freedom.

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A young woman in diving gear breaks into the top-secret defence installation, "The Nutshell", and photographs the uber-secret file "Big Ben".

John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Catherine Gale (Honor Blackman) are called in to investigate and, after passing the security desk manned by Bill (Edwin Brown) are led by Laura (Patricia Haines) to meet the shadowy DISCO (John Cater).

Cathy is assigned to work with Security Officer Venner (Charles Tingwell) and his assistant Susan (Christine Shaw) to search the archives for any trace of the intruder, whose face was clearly photographed, while Steed is sent to Special Branch.
Instead, Steed goes to the woman’s apartment and, being on good terms with her, asks for the microfilm in return for a large bundle of pound notes. Back at his apartment, Cathy is stunned to hear him call Disco and tell him he’s just leaving Special Branch and has identified the woman as Elin Strindberg (Edina Ronay), a Swedish cabaret performer. She’s more amazed when he pulls out a secret short-wave radio and contacts a double-agent called Jason (Jan Conrad), and arranges to meet him at a nearby airfield.

Back at The Nutshell, Susan rings a man called Alex (Ray Browne) and tells him to ‘see her friend’ at the same address as Steed had supplied.
Disco is suspicious of Steed, and orders Venner to talk to him - Cathy tells Venner of the rendezvous and he and Anderson (Ian Clark) race to intercept it. Steed holds them at gunpoint until Jason escapes, then turns himself in.

He’s taken back to The Nutshell and interrogated and electrocuted, but reveals nothing. There’s a temporary outage, and Venner tips his hand, offering Steed £30,000 for the microfilm. Steed demands £50,000 and they agree on an escape plan. Meanwhile, Cathy interrupts Alex searching Steed’s flat, and she rounds up him and Susan. She forces Alex to tell Disco the ringleader’s name - Venner. Disco then orders the guards re-apprehending Steed to capture Venner instead.

The criminals rounded up, Steed reveals that Jason told him of someone hiring Elin to break in, so he paid her a bit more to double-cross them. Furthermore, there was never a threat to national security, Elin had used a camera with pre-exposed film - shots of Steed and Cathy on holiday!

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