• title card: white all caps text reading ‘DEATH AT BARGAIN PRICES’ outlined in black superimposed on an inflatable Yogi Bear
  • Steed grins as he puts one of the bowler hats on sale in the store on Mrs Peel’s head
  • Kane, in his wheelchair, looks around at the old items in his Department of Discontinued Lines, marvelling at the craftsmanship that early machines had
  • Mrs Peel ponders the wisdom of giving her phone number to the house dick
  • Steed and Emma exchange information as she pretends to demonstrate a marionette theatre
  • Mrs Peel backs against a pillar as the villains approach her with their guns pointed at her
  • Mrs Peel approaches Massey who points a gun at her. Undaunted, she holds out her left hand to take his pistol
  • Steed and Emma ride towards us down a country lane, side by side on bicycles

Series 4 — Episode 4
Death at Bargain Prices

by Brian Clemens
Directed by Charles Crichton

Episode Rating

Subject 0-5
3½ stars
Music 3 stars
Humour 3 stars
3½ stars
Villains 4 stars
3½ stars
Emma 4 stars
Sets/Props 3 stars
7 stars

Second week in a row we have a villain in a wheelchair, and this one pales in comparison. Excellent set-up but not the best execution.

The Fashions

Emma’s Fashions Steed’s Fashions
  1. single breasted thick black jacket with large black buttons, furred collar, briefly with a bowler hat
  2. soft crepe blouse with low cleavage, soft pleats of crepe around the neck, long puffed sleeves with tight cuffs, worn with a black skirt (length to just below the knee), thin black belt with a double silver buckle, black bra
  3. white blouse with high ruffled/scalloped neck, diagonal seams on breast, long sleeves with cuffs like the neck, worn with a brown waistcoat (including fob chains) and black trousers
  4. (3) with thick black textured double-breasted jacket with six silver buttons on front
  5. leather catsuit with high strap collar, held with buckle, zips on front raglan seams, zip-up pockets on either buttock, and front hip, belt and buckle at waist, worn with silver gauntlets, silver knee-high boots and a thick silver sash with large round discs. Briefly worn without the sash and gloves, then with them again, then without the gloves
  6. straw boater held on with head scarf, with ruffled and pleated Victorianesque blouse, fours sets of three buttons spaced evenly apart down breast, worn with black trousers, long woolen scarf around the neck and black closed-toe shoes
  1. navy serge suit with black bowler and umbrella, white shirt and navy tie with white dots, briefly with a Russian fur hat.
  2. navy chalk stripe three-piece suit with three buttons on jacket, long skirt with single vent, no visible pockets, white shirt, dark silk tie with diamond tiepin, black bowler and umbrella
  3. three-piece suit - single vent, white shirt, dark tie
  4. grey single breasted three-piece suit, two vents, flap pockets, lapels on the waistcoat. Worn with a dark bowler hat, white shirt and a pale knitted tie.
  5. tan overcoat over dark suit, white shirt and dark tie, black bowler, chelsea boots

The Cars

Marque/Model/Type Number Plate
Penny Farthing bicycle -
Oldsmobile curved-dash AR 244
wheelchair -
bicycles -

Who’s Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Moran Wentworth V* shot
Jarvis Wentworth? V* sickle in back
Wentworth? V* Mrs Peel shot
Kane? V* Wentworth V* pushed down stairs
Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. 3:43 - Wentworth uses a revolver with a silencer, but silencers don’t work on most revolvers due to the gap between the barrel and the cylinder.. He kills Moran by firing all six bullets (which Emma later states to have been ostentatious).
  2. 5:38 - the receipt is dated 7th Feb 1965; Pinter’s Stores was at 114 New Oxford St London W1
  3. 5:55 - Steed remarks, “It may help us find out what Moran was buying”, but the receipt clearly states “1 pram with canopy - £12/5/0”.
  4. 6:38 - “That’s funny, this isn’t Old Bates at all; it’s Royal Crichton”. Mrs Peel remarks that the dresser for the china department can’t distinguish between “Old Bates and Royal Crichton” - a reference to John Bates (Diana Rigg’s costumier) and Charles Crichton, who directed this episode.
  5. 8:07 - Steed sidles up to Emma and purrs, “I asked the chief predator where to find you and he said, ‘Our Mrs Peel is in ladies underwear’. I rattled up the stairs three at a time”. “Merry quips department on the fifth floor, sir”, Emma replies.
  6. 38:12 - the regular iron spiral staircase returns, they have to run down it three times.
  7. 43:13 - Steed reuses his steel-topped bowler
  8. 46:15 - the old soldier Wentworth turns tail and runs after being hit in the shoulder.
  9. This and the previous episode sit strangely together, as they both have a wheelchair-bound diabolical masterminds, although their motives are diagonally opposed.
  10. The lift in the Pinewood studio only went down one level, so when they filmed the shots from inside the lift, they had to stop over and over again to redress the shop set to look like a different department, much like the tunnels in The Town of No Return.
  11. Running time 49:33
A note on the timecodes
Where I have listed two sets of timecodes, the first is from the 2009-11 Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal DVD sets, any other timecodes are from the A&E and Contender DVD sets from a decade beforehand.
The new releases have been remastered and their frame rate has been changed, resulting in a shorter running time. However, the picture quality has increased markedly. I assume this is because they used a simple 2:2 pulldown (24 @ 25) when converting from the original film masters (film runs at 24 frames per second, while PAL runs at 25fps, the new DVDs are in PAL format).
This pulldown was also the cause of audio errors on many episodes, especially for Series 5, as the audio sped up to match the new rate (4% faster), rather than being properly pitch-shifted. Checking the dialogue sheets, which list the feet and frames of the reels, it looks like the speed change is around 5.04%, so there may be some cuts as well - probably from around the commercial breaks and ends of reels, as they amount to about 25 seconds. All my assumptions are based on the episodes having been filmed on standard 35mm film, which has 16 frames per foot and runs at 24 frames per second, so a minute of footage uses 90 feet of film (1,440 frames).
These audio errors have been corrected in the currently available DVDs, but the 2:2 pulldown remains. There is also the addition of a Studio Canal lead-in, converted to black and white to match the episode for Series Four, but colour for Series Five, adding an extra 18 or 19 seconds to the runnning time and making it harder to match timecodes with previous releases. It's annoying that it has been slapped on every single episode, Series 1-3 didn't suffer this indignity.
The previous Contender and A&E DVD releases didn't seem to suffer from these problems, so I assume they either used soft telecine and preserved the original 24fps rate of the film (my preferred option in DVDs) or they used 24 @ 25 pulldown (2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:3 Euro pull-down).
Thankfully, the new blu ray releases for series 4-6 appear to use native 24fps with soft telecine so the running times and pitch all seem to be correct again along with a much grreatly improved picture quality, most notably in the Tara King episodes which are finally back to their original glory.

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