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  • title card: white all caps text reading 'MAN-EATER OF SURREY GREEN' outlined in black and superimposed on a close-up of Carter, focusing on his hearing aid
  • Steed and Emma unclover the skeleton in the space capsule
  • Wing Commader Davies, Steed and Emma examine the dead alient plant
  • Mrs Peel says 'Cheers' as she raises a pint
  • Lennox comes out of the woods and takes aim at Pearson with his shotgun, we can just see Pearson's left shoulder on the right of the screen
  • A close up of cells from the plant through Dr Sheldon's microscope
  • Mrs Peel, possessed by the alien plant, fights Steed in the greenhouse
  • Mrs Peel sits atop the hay cart wearing Steed's bowler hat with a dandelion in the band

Series 4 - Episode 11
Man-eater of Surrey Green

6½ stars

by Philip Levene
Directed by Sidney Hayers

Episode Rating

Subject 0-5
Direction
3½ stars
Music
3½ stars
Humour
3½ stars
Intros/tags 3 stars
Villains 2 stars
Plot 4 stars
Emma 3 stars
Sets/Props
2½ stars
Overall
(0-10)
6½ stars

More science fiction, but it doesn't gel as well as other forays into the genre. A great bit of ad libbing by the principals and a decent script, but not great. Remind you of Doctor Who as well? The story was treated better there.

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. vertically ribbed white t-shirt with corduroy jacket with patch pockets, brown knee length skirt, light shoes later with black driving gloves
  2. (1) without the jacket, with a leopard print lace scarf
  3. (1) with black tom o'shanter and brown driving gloves
  4. (3) without the hat
  5. (4) with a b/w plaid collared blouse and brown handbag
  6. one piece leather overall, open fronted, zipped up back, with black high-neck long-sleeved shirt and black knee-high leather boots
  7. (6) with leather jacket, two short vents
  8. (6)
  9. white rollneck skivvy, briefly with Steed's bowler with a daisy in the band
  1. black pullover and dark trousers
  2. brown three-piece suit (cloth button at waist and cuffs, six on waistcoat, two vents, sueded collar) with white shirt, dark tie with circle/coin motif, brown bowler, initially with a tan overcoat, the collar turned up and without the bowler
  3. brown hunting jacket (three buttons, double vent) with white rollneck shirt, tan trousers and brown chelsea boots
  4. (3) with brown stovepipe hat and b/w plaid cravat, black umbrella
  5. unbelievably ugly fur-fronted brown casual jacket with dark rollneck skivvy
  6. Prince of Wales check jacket with dark tie, light shirt, black waistcoat with metal buttons, with dark bowler and brown overcoat (dark collar), black umbrella, chelsea boots, white socks
  7. (6) without the bowler, then without the overcoat
  8. (2)

The Cars

Marque/Model/Type Number Plate
Rolls Royce Silver Wraith LWB, with 'Teviot' Touring Saloon coachwork by Hooper & Co Ltd KXQ 777
Bentley -
Lotus Elan S2 HNK 999C
Triumph military motorcycle -
Triumph military motorcycle -
Land Rover -
Bedford 40cwt military truck -
Triumph military motorcycle D 512 752
Jaguar Mk II -
Ford Thames truck 2705 VX
Ford Zephyr 1952-1956 convertible 637 CMU
Bedford flattop truck -

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Bob Pearson Lennox V* shotgun
Alan Carter - electrocuted by electric fence
Labourer plant V* eaten
Labourer plant V* eaten
Labourer plant V* eaten
Labourer plant V* eaten
Labourer plant V* eaten
Labourer plant V* eaten
Labourer plant V* eaten
John the Publican plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Villager plant V* eaten
Laura Burford plant V* eaten
Dr Connelly plant V* eaten
Professor Taylor plant V* eaten
Professor Knight plant V* eaten
Lennox V* plant V* eaten
Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. 1:22 - Laura declares, "Reared from seed, Hermisis chloris, the first in captivity!" I'm not sure what plant she could be talking about... the closest I can find is Hermesias grandiceps (aka Brownea grandiceps Jacq.) However, this could be supposed to be a rarer taxa of Browneae. Another possibility is they've invented a name (or mispronounced it) for a rare orchid, which would fit the script. Cattleya chloris and Trevoria chloris are both South American orchids first described in the 1890s. All three of these plants are South American, so they may have just jammed the two together to invent a new species. The script transcriber had trouble as well, it reads "Amnisus gloriosa (?)".
  2. 6:16 - Sir Lyle's house is later resued as the location for the museum in The Danger Makers.
  3. 6:19-28, 13:22-39 - There's a thread caught in the lower edge of the camera lens in the MS of Steed getting out of the car. It reappears when he returns to the car seven minutes later.
  4. 9:55 - the venus fly traps are very fake and clearly mechanically controlled.
  5. 15:43 - The barn is reused as a location in Silent Dust (now Deeves Hall Cottage, near Ridge).
  6. 20:06 (20:30) - Errant nonsense; Mrs Peel, speaking of Mars and the Moon, tells Steed, "recent photographs show whole areas of vegetation". Did they really believe that in 1965?
  7. 21:47/22:25 - Petersen's number is Surrey Green 114.
  8. 22:00 - The outside is The Three Horseshoes and village green, Letchmore Heath, but the pub interior set is the same one as in Silent Dust.
  9. 26:55 - the cameraman loses focus when Carter walks behind the lamp and down stage.
  10. 27:52/28:42 - He's listed in the credits as Sir Lyle Peterson but the sign outside his property reads "Petersen Estate".
  11. 30:44 - Miss Sheldon declares that the plant needs cytochrome oxidase to grow - an enzyme only found in humans. However, this is not true, there are cytochrome c oxidases for a wide range of creature, notably bovine CcO, and the enzyme is used for the resiptatory system, converting oxygen into energy.
  12. 32:46/33:40 - For some completely unapparent reason, there's a slow close shot showing Mrs Peel's outfit, panning up her body and when we see her face, Diana Rigg yawns and turns away from the camera, whereupon Steed enters. Are we supposed to be seeing the plant's influence? Is Diana Rigg bored by science fiction? Answers, as always, on a postcard.

  13. 34:29 - the temperature gauge is suddenly back to 160 again, although we saw it rise to about 185 earlier.
  14. 34:36 - Mrs Sheldon says about the herbicide, "Nothing more effective than propryonic acid. A teaspoonful of this would kill a large oak tree." But propryonic acid is not a herbicide, it's a fatty acid which can inhibit the growth of mould and bacteria, so is most commonly used as a preservative for food and stock feed, it's also used on video and audio tape to inhibit mould growth.
  15. 35:32 - Sir Lyle's window is suddenly closed again.
  16. 37:16 - the cameraman loses focus on Emma and Steed as they approach Joby's stall in the pub, the camera focusing on the wooden backboard.
  17. 39:40 - Looks like Hal Galili doing the stunts for John G Heller.
  18. 39:59 - Miss Sheldon declares, "Oh, Yucca gloriosa! You should see it in the summer." Except it's not, it's an Agave, probably some ssp. of Agave americana or Agave diformis, but I'm no expert. There's a Yucca next to it, which she ignores.
  19. 41:40 - Diana Rigg does her own stunts here, but is replaced later on.
  20. 44:20 - stunt double for Diana (overshoulder throw and the mid and long shots of the fight) - it's probably Billy Westley Jr but he looks too bulky to me.
  21. 44:44 - stunt double for Patrick - looks like Cliff Diggins
  22. There's a bit of debate about the scene where Steed kills the giant plant with the weed killer. Some believe him to be dousing Mrs Peel with the stuff, so when she's dragged into the gaping maw of the horrific beast the beast will die, but I think that's not the case, and here's my reasoning.

    • 45:50 - Steed and Emma clash heads, knocking Emma out.
    • 46:00 - Steed orders Sheldon to fetch the herbicide while he heads off to stage left.
    • 46:12 - Peterson, who has gone to guard the door says, "For heaven's sake, hurry", - there's a strange cut in the scene which suggests a minor passage of time - Steed is suddenly elsewhere, things have moved, and then Steed starts pouring herbicide, apparently on Mrs Peel's unconscious body...
    • 46:32 - but! we only see top half of the 'body' as it's doused and then dragged away by a tendril.
    • 46:38 - we see, on stage left (the direction Steed headed earlier), a mannequin which was previously whole, with its top half missing.
    • 46:47 - Miss Sheldon, cowering behind Steed in the doorway asks, "Do you think it'll work?"
    • 48:02 - Steed turns around as the plant starts to convulse and die and goes into the room behind, where Emma is lying on the ground, face up and not wearing her jacket, recovering from the head-butt received in the fight - too quickly for her to have returned from the plant's grasp.
  23. 48:55 - in the location shot of the tractor towing our heroes away on the hay cart, there's a hair caught in the top right corner of the camera lens.
  24. Running time: 49'50"
  25. Brian Tesler, Production Controller for ABC Television, considered this script to be too 'science fiction' and sternly warned Julian Wintle that it ought to be broadcast late is the schedule.
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). Let's hope the much-rumoured bluray release will revert to native 24fps with soft telecine so we won't have these problems again.

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