• title card: white all caps text reading ‘MANDRAKE’ superimposed on a close-up of the skull of a doctor’s anatomical skeleton
  • Cathy meets the Rev Wyper while photographing the churchyard; the sexton lurks in the background, keeping a suspicious eye on Cathy
  • Mrs Turner, sitting, signs the cheque while Dr Macombie and Hopkins flank her, left to right
  • The Rev Wyper draws a pistol... a water pistol
  • Steed roughs up Benson, pinning him against the mirror of his cabin with his umbrella
  • Steed and Cathy are all smiles as they confront the veiled Mrs Tyurner, Hopkins and Dr Maccombie in the churchyard

Series 3 — Episode 21

by Roger Marshall
Designed by David Marshall
Directed by Bill Bain

Production completed: 16 January 1964. First transmission: 25 January 1964

Production Schedule

Episode 73
Production Number : 3620
Teddington Studio 1

Wednesday, 15th January, 1964

Camera rehearsal 10.00-12.30
Lunch break 12.30-13.30
Camera rehearsal 13.30-18.00
Supper break 18.00-19.00
Line Up 19.00-19.30
Camera rehearsal & 3 VTR Inserts 19.30-21.00

Thursday, 16th January, 1964

Camera rehearsal 10.00-13.00
Lunch break 13.00-14.00
Camera rehearsal 14.00-15.30
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

Running time

Expected: 51'25" - 2 commercial breaks
Actual running time with bumpers: 52'21"

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).


Sound: 3 BOOMS.
RAIN LOOP - 16m/m.
Special Requirements: Smoke Gun or Dry Ice.
Lightning Sticks.
Practical Rain for VTR Insert of Teaser.
Practical Slide Projector in Cathy’s Flat.
  • A: OPENING FILM & TEASER. - 1'40" (SHOTS 1-9 - 0:51-2:28)
  • B: FIGHT SCENE - END OF ACT TW0. - 3' (SHOTS 187-199 - 34:24-36:41)
  • C: SHOT OF GRAVE, LAST SCENE. - 20" (SHOT 283 - 49:28-49:44)


ATV London25/01/196410.05pm
ABC Midlands25/01/19649.10pm
ABC North25/01/19649.10pm
Anglia Television25/01/19649.10pm
Border Television25/01/19649.10pm
Channel Television25/01/19649.10pm
Grampian Television25/01/19649.10pm
Southern Television25/01/196410.05pm
Scottish Television25/01/19649.10pm
Tyne Tees Television25/01/19649.10pm
Ulster Television25/01/19649.10pm
Westward Television25/01/19649.10pm
Television Wales & West25/01/19649.10pm
Teledu Cymru (WWN)25/01/19649.10pm
ABN2 Sydney9/03/19658.00pm
ABV2 Melbourne--

This episode was already scheduled to be broadcast, a week later, while it was being produced.

This episode was not shown in Melbourne as, finding themselves a year behind Sydney, they dropped a lot of episodes to catch up for series 4.

TV Times listing

TV times listing for 25 January 1964, showing The Avengers in the 10.05pm timeslot (January 17 1964 London edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for 9 March 1965, showing The Avengers in the 8pm timeslot

10.5 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee
Honor Blackman


By Roger Marshall


Rev. Whyper George Benson
Roy Hopkins Philip Locke
Benson Robert Morris
John Steed Patrick Macnee
Dr. Macombie John Le Mesurier
Catherine Gale Honor Blackman
Sexton Jackie Pallo
Mrs. Turner Madge Ryan
Judy Annette Andre

Story Editor Richard Bates
Directed by
Bill Bain
Produced by
John Bryce

In which Steed pulls crackers to help Cathy unearth a grisly racket

ABC Television Network Production


Victim Killer Method
John Benson Benson Arsenic poisoning
Arthur Turner Eve Turner Arsenic poisoning

(As many as ten other men may have been murdered prior to the events of the episode, although only seven had been ‘treated’ by Macombie).

Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. The picture is not quite 4:3 so there’s a bar of grey down the right side of the picture.
  2. 0:51-2:28 - The “practical rain” isn’t considered strong enough, so VTR insert A is filtered with a moving monochrome “rain loop” of slanted lines to represent torrential rain.
  3. 2:28 - The opening credits feature a cross-fade under the titles, from the coffin in the grave to the skeleton in Macombie’s consulting room.
    alternate title card: white all caps text reading ‘MANDRAKE’ superimposed on a low-angle view from inside the grave, showing the side of the coffin and flowers on top, with a hint of the sky above
  4. 5:25 - There’s a small diagonal smudge dead centre of camera 5’s lens.
  5. 5:25-6:00 - Mr and Mrs Arthur George William Turner lived at The Groves, Hemel Hempstead. Arthur is 48, his “aspiring widow” is 43 “but looks younger”. (The original script has the husband’s age as 58 and goes on to read: “Wife desires change of mate”. The audio is faded out at “Wife” so we miss this last sentence. I don’t know about you, but Madge Ryan does NOT look like a “young 43” to me, she seems terribly miscast.
  6. 7:37 - there are two dark spots in the top left quadrant of the lens of camera 2 in Steed’s CU. They reappear at 8:50 and presumably elsewhere.
  7. 8:37-8:53, 16:22-16:31, 17:03, 18:59, 21:32, 23:55-24:40, 26:00, 28:00, 35:33 - interference patterns on screen.
  8. 10:00 - Steed tells Cathy Benson hated his wife and was always booking her flights on dicey airlines. “He would permutate the next air disaster; if there was fog in the air, Mrs Benson was in the air!” Cathy replies, “Happy family!”
  9. 10:30 - Cathy refers to Benson’s father as being Steed’s old boss.
  10. 12:40 - Slide insert of Benson’s headstone: John Alan Benson - born February 10 1899, died December 29 1963, Entered into rest.
  11. 13:00 - the tune that plays when the vicar appears on his bicycle is called “Village Postman” - you hear it a lot in Seasons 2 and 3.
  12. 18:55 - Phillip Locke fluffs his line: “ring me if it - if anything happens”
  13. 21:15 - What is Phillip Locke doing? He keeps staring off stage, at camera 6, as Mrs Turner prepares to sign the cheque.
  14. 23:13 - A reshowing of the slide at 12:40, this time as a slide in Cathy’s presentation to Steed. It’s accompanies with three more, but we only see two of the others. In all, she showed 11, Steed says 9 were in “Who’s Who?”. Later, we learn seven had been treated by Macombie.
  15. 24:10 - Blackman skips a line of dialogue - she was supposed to say “But why whip them off to Tinbey?” but instead says, “Can you find out who were their doctors?” Macnee isn’t listening and give the response to the previous line, “Wihs I knew.” Honor then has to say “Who was young Benson’s doctor?” to get them back on track - Macnee realises it’s gone wrong and is about to prompt her when she does so.
  16. 25:22 - Unexpected hilarity in the scene where Steed arrives at the cracker factory - Annette André (Judy) is incapable of putting the boxes on the shelf, and just keeps dropping them on him. (The script reads: GENERAL CONFUSION etc. but they go over and above the call of duty.
  17. 27:21 - Another appearance put in by the regular prope, the steel sprial staircase.
  18. 29:47 - You wouldn’t see it these days - Dr Macombie is smoking at his desk in his consulting room.
  19. 32:50 - Macombie dials the very unlikely number 1111 to call Hopkins.
  20. 33:52 - The backdoor into Macombie’s that Cathy unbolted sticks and the wall bends precariously as Steed tries to open it; a bit of the jamb falls off when he finally kicks it open.
  21. 34:08 - Steed tips his hat to the skeleton, but only says, “Good evening” instead of the line in the script, “How’s the wife?”
  22. 34:30 - During rehearsal for the graveyard fight scene, Honor Blackman accidentally knocked out professional wrestler Jackie Pallo for four minutes (she forgot to feint first, then kick, and simply kicked him in the head, knocking him onto the concrete floor of the studio). Blackman was it tears when it happened and sat by him until he recovered.
  23. 35:27 - A hair gets stuck to the transfer plate at the bottom of the screen. It remains there until the end of Act Two (36:57).
  24. 36:30 - Second episode in a row with gun-toting vicars, except this time it’s a plastic water-pistol confiscated at choir practice - but we don’t know that until after the commercial break between acts two and three.
  25. 37:40 - Hopkins plies Mrs Turner with Veuve Cliquot but she’s wise to him and dismisses him as “a tradesman she has done trade with” in a later scene.
  26. 41:37 - Whyper’s organ funeral march plays on into the next scene at Macombie’s consulting room for a few seconds.
  27. 44:26 - The cameraman loses focus for a second when Steed pushes Benson against the mirror.
  28. 51:05 - The cameraman loses focus for a second when vision switches to the 2/s of the Sexton and Cathy.
  29. 51:10 - Steed tells Cathy off for bribing the sexton too much. She offered him £100 and Queen’s Evidence when she could have got away with just £50.

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