• title card: white all caps text reading 'THE MASTER MINDS' outlined in black and superimposed on the scene in the vault of the guardsmen looting the safe
  • Mrs Peel is installed as Sir Clive's nurse, his doctor looks on approvingly at her uniform
  • Davina reveals that she has really just returned from the South of France - still wearing nothing but a bikini under her fur coat
  • The Professor hangs upside down from the ceiling, relishing the bloodflow to his brain
  • Steed narrowly avoids being skewered when he walk in front of an archery target
  • Emma lies on the trampoline in a black leotard as she discusses events with Steed
  • Emma takes aim at Steed with her bow
  • Mrs Peel smiles through the torn film screen after defeating Holly Trent

Series 4 - Episode 6
The Master Minds

7 stars

by Robert Banks Stewart
Directed by Peter Graham Scott

Episode Rating

Subject 0-5
3½ stars
Music 3 stars
Humour 4 stars
Intros/tags 3 stars
3½ stars
Plot 4 stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
7 stars

An original storyline and great performances by the bit parts as well as the leads.

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. black and white spatter pattern fur(?) coat,knee length, over green sequined catsuit, brocaded button holes (3) on torso, thin ribbon belt tied in loose bow at waist, with silver shoes
  2. (1) without coat
  3. traditional nurse's uniform (black belt, white apron and hat, dark blue skirt)
  4. black rollneck pullover and knee-length tartan skirt, gold medallion, black knee-high socks and black flat shoes
  5. leather trousers and vest with black long-sleeved rollneck skivvy, leather cap, sucker-soled black athletics shoes
  6. (4)
  7. (5) with black fleecy-lined overcoat and black scarf
  8. black leotard
  9. (4)
  10. (5)
  11. coat of (1) over black skivvy, rest of outfit hidden
  1. tan overcoat and brown serge suit, single-breasted and double vented. Black umbrella with whangee handle, black Chelsea boots and brown bowler hat. A beige shirt and deep crimson tie with blue and orange flower pattern
  2. (1) without overcoat and bowler
  3. navy suit - hard buttons, two on torso - with a dark tie with a pin and black bowler
  4. brown overcoat over Prince of Wales check suit with dark waistcoat with metal buttons, patterned dark tie, white shirt (city collar, double cuffs, metal BSA links), with brown bowler and umbrella
  5. black polo shirt with dark trousers
  6. unbelievably ugly fur-fronted casual jacket with black skivvy, light trousers, brown chelsea boots
  7. (5)
  8. Grey single breasted three-piece suit, two vents, flap pockets, with a dark tie and bowler, and white shirt
  9. brown overcoat, white shirt, light silk tie, dark suit
  10. dark skivvy, sleeves rolled up, light trousers, later with the ugly jacket
  11. (1)

The Cars

Marque/Model/Type Number Plate
Bentley UW 4887
Austin Mini ..3 BUF
Ford Thames 800 738 CXE

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Sir Clive Todd V* Dr Fergus Campbell (while hypnotised) V* lethal injection
Allan St. Johnson MP V* himself (while hypnotised)? V* pistol
Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. The raiders wear the uniforms of The Blues and Royals Regiment of the Household Cavalry, which Steed wryly observes to be a very good disguise in Whitehall.
  2. 4:54 - Sir Clive's eyes are open for a second.
  3. 5:08 - Emma stoops to look at Todd, but in the mid 2-shot of her and Plessey, she's standing upright.
  4. 6:41 - "A diabolical mastermind", something of a catchcry for "The Avengers", originates with this episode.
  5. 9:27 - Grundig product placement?
  6. 12:21 - A brief unscheduled appearance of Paddy Ryan as Davinia Todd when Steed jumps her through the curtain - Patrick Macnee still gets to grapple with Georgina Ward's thighs a few moments later, much to his delight.
  7. 13:15 - After tackling Davinia, she asks if he played Scrum Half and Steed replies, "Wing Three-quarter".
  8. The "cute egghead" was played by Liz Reber, an Australian model and actress who posed for Helmut Newton when he was still in Australia, moving to Europe in the Sixties. She is probably best remembered to television audiences as a regular on "Candid Camera", and worked in the Italian theatre for some years after leaving television.
    After leaving the stage and screen, she worked as a designer - everything from children's clothes to magazine covers and handbags. She turned more towards fine arts and has made a name for herself as a painter, exhibiting in Paris and London, and creating murals and trompe l'oeil for hotels, restaurants, private houses and festivals across Britain and Europe. Nowadays, she works and lives in Paris.

    Her lines in the script? She only has two, spoken as Steed enters the school for the first time and passes through the babble of high-brow conversation. Later on, she's seen smiling and winking at Steed as he sits the first exam paper (as in the picture shown here).
    Here her lines here (MP3 39KB), they are transcribed below:
    George Bernard Shaw miscalculated phonetically; he didn't allow for the Liverpool sounds.
    [the man listening to her laughs]
    So you see..."

  9. 19:13 - Sir Clive's word association responses: paper - pencil / clock - time / night - sleep / gun - "kill him"
  10. 28:29 - The test answers, written on Steed's cuff:
      1. Dubne, Polaris, Alioth, Schedar
      2. Achernar, Acrex, Canopus, Peacock, Rigel, Kent
    1. 1 day less 10 min therefore 1° per day 30° or 1/12 of () per month thus 3000/300 x 2 or 20 hours. ... A LEMMA 'V' 52°...
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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