• title card: white all caps text reading ‘THE CHARMERS’ superimposed on a close-up of Vinkel lying dead on the floor in his fencing whites
  • Cathy turns toward camera, unsure what has happened when she finds Martin no longer in the waiting room
  • Betty wears a bizarre mask to train the student to treat all women equally, regardless of beauty
  • Kim is tied up with Old School tie, in a crate of bowler hats
  • The students realise their enemy, Steed, is in their midst
  • Keller is struck by Kim’s sword

Series 3 — Episode 23
The Charmers

by Brian Clemens
Designed by Richard Harrison
Directed by Bill Bain

Production No 3623, VTR/ABC/3400
Production completed: February 27 1964. First transmission: February 29 1964.

Production Schedule

Episode 76
Production Number : 3623
Teddington Studio 1

Wednesday, 26th February, 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
Rehearse and Record VTR Inserts 19.30–21.00

VTR Inserts:

  • 3400/A — Charm school office, shots 328–349 — Keller gloats at Steed over his plan; when he realises Cathy is there and goes in search of her, Steed overpowers Edgar. (47:48–49:34 — From Edgar entering to say, “All attended to, sir” until Steed remarks, “Supposed to be unlucky”).
  • 3400/B — Charm school, shots 350–356 — Cathy fences with Sam, Steed and Kim enter and she joins in. (49:35–49:45 — until Kim throws the sword towards the camera).
  • 3400/C — Charm school, shots 357–361 — Keller is killed and Kim joins our heroes after Sam is defeated (49:46–50:12 — from Keller impaled until credits roll).

Thursday, 27th February, 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″ — the episode was scheduled for a 55' slot, from 22.05 until 23.00.
Actual running time with bumpers: 51′11″

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 credits (normally 0′16″ with a 2″ fade) and closing credits (anywhere from 0′41″ to 1′20″, hard cut or 1″ fade or mix).


Cameras: 5 Pedestals.
Sound: 3 booms; 1 Fixed Mic.
Telecine: A.B.C. Symbol and “The Avengers” Opening Titles, Caption Scanner, A.B.C. Slide


ATV London29/02/196410.05pm
ABC Midlands29/02/19649.10pm
ABC North29/02/19649.10pm
Anglia Television29/02/19649.10pm
Border Television29/02/19649.10pm
Channel Television29/02/19649.10pm
Grampian Television29/02/19649.10pm
Southern Television29/02/196410.05pm
Scottish Television29/02/19649.10pm
Tyne Tees Television29/02/19649.10pm
Ulster Television29/02/19649.10pm
Westward Television29/02/19649.10pm
Television Wales & West29/02/19649.10pm
Teledu Cymru (WWN)29/02/19649.10pm
ABN2 Sydney19/01/19658.00pm
ABV2 Melbourne7/02/19668.00pm

This episode was already scheduled for broadcast, two days after filming, while it was being produced.

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for February 29 1964, 9.10pm (Midlands edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for Jaunary 19 1965, 8pm
The Age listing for February 7 1966, 8pm

9.10 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee
Honor Blackman


The Charmers
By Brian Clemens

John Steed Patrick Macnee
Catherine Gale Honor Blackman
Martin John Barcroft
Keller Warren Mitchell
Kim Lawrence Fenella Fielding
Betty Smythe Vivian Pickles
Sam John Greenwood
Harrap Frank Mills
Horace Cleeves Malcolm Russell
Mr. Edgar Brian Oulton

Story Editor Richard Bates
Producer John Bryce
Directed by Bill Bain

In which Steed goes to charm school and Cathy fences with the opposition

ABC Weekend Network Production


Victim Killer Method
Mathers unknown unknown
Vinkel Sam fencing foil
Harrap Sam anesthetic gas
Martin Sam pistol? (off camera)
Keller Kim Lawrence thrown sword
Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. 1:48 (1:30) — The Fly strikes back! Just as the opening titles appear so too does a fly, buzzing around StudioCanal’s mastering desk. (In the Contender set, it returns at 18:08 as Martin is captured, I finally spotted it at 18:23 in the remaster).
  2. 1:50 — He might have just been stabbed with a fencing foil, but Vinkel’s body is clearly breathing under the opening titles.
  3. 2:41 — Steed has a warning light in his flat to warn of break-ins.
  4. 4:12 — Another opposition agent, Mathers, was killed a few weeks before the episode started.
  5. 5:30 — Keller has an alarm like Steed’s, but the eyes of one of the mannequins flash and she has a closed-circuit television hidden in her stomach. (+10:22)
  6. 8:24 — The board of most wanted agents in Keller’s office, consists of ABC Managing Director Howard Thomas, episode write Brian Clemens, producer John Bryce and story editor Richard Bates, along with publicity photos of the actors Charlotte Mitchell. Later on a photo of the actor Kenneth Warren is used in Mr. Edgar's enemy identification class, along with a photo of John Barcroft as well as Patrick Macnee. With Barcroft and Macnee being there, it's possible that Warren is supposed to be Mathers.

    Most wanted agents

    Brian Clemens
    Patrick Macnee
    Richard Bates
    Howard Thomas
    Charlotte Mitchell
    John Bryce

    Enemt identification board

    Kenneth Warren
    John Barcroft
    Patrick Macnee
  7. 15:30 — Steed asks, “Will you have a drink?” and Kim replies, “Not before sundown. — Of course, you could draw a curtain.”
  8. 16:03 — You can see the shadow of Vivian Pickles behind the door, waiting for her entrance.
  9. 16:55 — An obvious James Bond reference. Martin tells Cathy that he had her removed from their wanted list, she was “Second from top, right behind JB”.
  10. 18:23 (18:08) — another pesky fly buzzes around the transfer table, appearing on screen as the door opens, surprising Martin.
  11. 19:30 — Steed asks Cleeves for a tie for “The Old Irascibles Fencing & Tottering club”.
  12. 21:42 — Steed describes Vinkel to Cleeves as being a “Thick-set, cheery fellow.” — it’s in the script, but it’s nothing like Peter Porteous, who played the character.
  13. 22:51 — Steed closes the door after they break into Cleeves’ shop, but it doesn’t stay shut.
  14. 24:22 — Steed is startled to find a Roedean tie in the box of bowlers, and more startled when he discovers it’s attached to Martin’s body. (Roedean is an exclusive girls’ school, the female Eton, if you will).
  15. 25:00 — much of this scene with Cathy and Keller seems to be out of focus.
  16. 32:45 — there a small spot bottom right of the camera.
  17. 41:16 — Steed’s victim (Paul Mead) is dragged by the neck behind the row of ties and then you can just see him through the ties, standing patiently to one side.
  18. 43:32 — Steed realises Kim has been tied up with the tie of his old regiment — it looks like a Guards regimental tie to me.
  19. 45:19 — The photo of Steed is a publicity still from Brief for Murder.
  20. 47:03 — Cathy has different hair and a different figure to Betty, yet Sam doesn’t notice at all and starts fencing with her.
  21. 49:04 — Keller is thrown out the door and crashes against the opposite wall, which wobbles alarmingly. His foot catches on one of the doors, which falls off and crashes to the ground.
  22. 49:45 — Kim throws the foil into Keller’s back — or does she? The angle is all wrong when we see Keller in the foreground.
  23. This episode was remade, almost word for word, as The Correct Way to Kill with Diana Rigg in the female lead. The only major differences between the two are:
    • Kim is an actress whereas Olga is a real agent, if a somewhat raw one
    • Martin’s body is hidden in the crate of bowlers whereas Ivan’s body is hidden in a crate of umbrellas
    • a dentist installing radios in hats rather than a chiropodist installing them in umbrellas
    • the charm school is in Pimlico rather than Chelsea
    • the excitable Keller becomes the sardonic Nutski

    The remake is more wry and certainly jauntier, but the plot holds up better in the original — the dentist is more likely to have fine electronic tools and the skills required, and Steed’s concern about Kim makes more sense.

  24. Honor Blackman nearly wasn’t in this episode at all as she had to have a foot operation after gruelling months of judo and standing around on hard concrete floors during rehearsals and filming. She missed two days of rehearsals and rejoined the crew in time for filming and some fencing lessons.
  25. Brian Tesler was pleased with the outcome of using Fenella Fielding and thought she would make a good permanent member of the cast.

fan forum Donate Become a Patron!