• title card: white all caps text reading 'THE MURDER MARKET' outlined in black and superimposed on the fish tank which has three bullet holes in the glass out of which water is bursting
  • Lovejoy, on the left, smiles at Mrs Peel's photo as Barabara tells him Mrs Peel was at Henshaw's apartment. Dinsford, standing between them, looks worried
  • Mrs Peel lounges on Steed's sofa, playing his tuba
  • Lovejoy, Steed and Dinsford taste the wedding cake as Lovejoy expands on the plot to kill Steed's cousin
  • Steed cold-bloodedly takes aim with a silenced pistol
  • Emma lies in her casket, covered in a quilted cloth
  • Emma dances around her casket, drinking champagne
  • Emma chauffeurs the hearse while Steed gets dressed in the back

Series 4 - Episode 7
The Murder Market

7½ stars

by Tony Williamson
Directed by Peter Graham Scott

Episode Rating

Subject 0-5
3½ stars
Music 4 stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
Villains 4 stars
4½ stars
Emma 4 stars
3½ stars
7½ stars

Cargill's Lovejoy is fantastic, and Macnee and Rigg ad lib fluidly. Great stuff!

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. knee-length brown fur coat and grey marle woollen dress, silver shoes, crocodile handbag
  2. (1) with black gloves
  3. grey marle knee-length dress with black neck and hem, zipped up back, black gloves and patent leather handbag
  4. black shoestring strap evening dress with feathered hem, knee length, with mink stole, black high heels, black gloves, small black purse
  5. funerary dress - fur neck and cuffs on cotton ankle-length nightie, white slippers
  6. black open-neck blouse with leather vest (laced up front, flared hem) with leather trousers
  7. above (maybe?) with leather cap and light head scarf
  1. dark waistcoat (metal buttons) with white shirt (city collar, double cuffs) and dark patterned tie, Prince of Wales check suit (2 vents, flapped pockets), initially without the jacket.
  2. (1) with black bowler
  3. ugly jacket with light trousers and brown boots, black skivvy
  4. navy suit, white shirt, dark patterned silk tie, white carnation, black bowler and umbrella, chelsea boots
  5. black gloves and tan overcoat with (4)
  6. light rollneck skivvy with dark pea jacket (metal buttons) and dark trousers
  7. Grey single breasted three-piece suit, two vents, flaps on the pockets, white shirt, dark tie with gem pin, red carnation
  8. brown suede cardigan, jodhpurs, pale open neck shirt and dark diamond-pattern cravat
  9. (3)
  10. (7) without the buttonhole, solid dark tie, later with patterned tie
  11. navy chalk stripe three-piece suit, white shirt, dark paisley tie with gem pin
  12. (4) with black bowler and umbrella, later with black overcoat
  13. (4) without hat and umbrella, briefly with a pigeon-grey top hat
  14. white shirt and dark tie, rectangular cuff links, probably of outfit above

The Cars

Marque/Model/Type Number Plate
Rolls Royce Phantom III Hearse BLX 20

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Jonathan Stone Barbara Wakefield V* shot
J.G. Henshaw Barbara Wakefield V* drowned/electrocuted? in bath
Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. This episode was the first filmed with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel and is notable for what seems to be an early producers' directive that didn't last - to have Diana use a husky whispering voice instead of her usual strident clarion. By around 16:00 she's stop whispering her lines. she whispers again for the interview scene 23:50-26:00 but is back to normal at Steed's flat.
  2. 3:20 -
    The photo of Jonathan Stone that Steed shows to Mrs Peel is obviously one of Edward Underdown's portfolio shots - exactly the same photograph turns up in the Dangerman episode, "The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove".
  3. 10:20 - Steed claims he was a major in THE Guards and expelled from three public schools for having too many "extracurricular activities".
  4. 10:38/10:45 - When asked what he does for a living, Steed replies, "Work? Tried working once, it didn't work out. Too much like work. Footled around at the Foreign Office for a while, found it all quite baffling."
  5. 11:08 - Steed's desired partner: So long as she has a good seat... on a horse... plays a fair game of bridge, mixed a dry martini, can whip up a passable soufflé - you might say a good all rounder.
  6. 14:08 - Mrs Peel's name is already on the board, although she hasn't visited the agency yet.
  7. 16:04 - not the must subtle use of lighting when Mrs Peel picks up the candelabra.
  8. 16:40 - shakey camera work during the pan and zoom on Henshaw in the bathtub.
  9. 17:30 - Mrs Peel quips the bureau would have had trouble finding a match for Steed. He replies, "Oh, I don't know - educated, charming, cultured" and she interjects, "ruthless, devious, scheming. Have to be quire a girl. A mixture of Lucretia Borgia and Joan of Arc". (A similar exchange happens at the wine tasting in Dial a Deadly Number).
  10. 20:08/20:17 - the close-ups of Emma & Lovejoy are in Lovejoy's office (Emma is obviously sitting down, with her hand on her chin, wearing gloves!), whereas the mid shots are in the reception room and she's not wearing gloves. They're obviously taken from the footage filmed for the interview scene around 24:00 - the first seems to be a flipped copy of the Emma CU from 24:08, his is the CU from 24:25.
  11. 21:20 - Steed says almost exactly the same likes as Jonathan Stone did in the teaser, Barabara reaches for her purse, then simply closes the clasp instead of pulling out a gun.
  12. 21:40 - An in-joke? When Steed meets Barbara Wakefield he comments she's from Toronto, based on her accent - Suzanne Lloyd was indeed from Toronto, and Macnee had worked there for many years with Canadian television.
  13. 22:50 - Steed keeps a couple of polo ponies at the Riding Club.
  14. 23:58 - Mrs Peel's prospective partner: "He would have to be mature, a man of culture, and intelligence. With stamina!
  15. 29:48 (30:45) - During the cake tasting, Dinsford liberally plies Steed with champagne - all over his arm, in fact!
  16. 26:00 - Emma plays the wedding march on Steed's tuba while he practices golf. She later (27:30) plays The Ride of the Valkeries until Steed chips the golf ball into the tuba.
  17. 27:02 - when Steed hits his golf ball, the small box he's using as a tee flies off and lands on Mrs Peel.
  18. 30:12 - Macnee fluffs a line: "Conventient accident, piece of cake - err, cake of soap at the top of the stairs".
  19. 33:00 - Dinsford has put an arrow against Mrs Peel's name, but now Henshaw has a heart. Does this mean all the names on the board are supposed to have been killed?
  20. 42:36 - fluff on camera lens or smudge on wall?
  21. 46:55 - it's very obviously Billy Westley Jr who falls from the shelf instead of Diana Rigg.
  22. 48:50 - Mrs Peel is driving and Steed is in the back, bare-headed, putting on his tie. When we switch to the exterior shot behind the car, they're side by side, Steed in the driver's seat, wearing a top hat.
  23. The plot's a bit like "Strangers on a Train" - the agency facilitates the murder of inconvenient relatives for its members, while providing alibis for them by making sure they're seen elsewhere at the time of death, the attractive Barbara Wakefield being their chief assassin.
  24. An episode of Adam Adamant entitled Death by Appointment Only, also written by Tony Williamson, provoked an angry letter from The Avengers producer Julian Wintle to the BBC, claiming that it had the same plot.
    Williamson contended that it was different, thus:
    1. the episode centred around an escort agency rather than a match-maker's
    2. the agency wasn't a "Murder Inc.", but was instead killing victims for their own ends.
    Otherwise, Wintle was right and the plots were very similar...
    Strangely, Colin Vancao appeared in both episodes as an extra in identical rôles (and it is through Adam Adamant that I have managed to identify him as he was uncredited in The Assassination Bureau and Series 3's Esprit De Corps).
  25. Running time: 49:49
  26. This episode was originally filmed second, after The Hour that Never Was under thie direction of Wolf Rilla, with Elizabteh Shepard as Emma Peel. It was later refilmed presumably in its entirety with Diana Rigg by Peter Graqham Scott.
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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