• title card: white all caps text reading ‘THE THIRTEENTH HOLE’ outlined in black and superimposed on a view of the top of a golfhole flag, made of metal and bearing the number 13 in a circle; there are two crossed clubs on the top of the pole
  • Emma fights Collins on the edge of the bunker at the thirteenth hole
  • Reed looks impressed as Jackson aims his golfball gun inside the pro’s shed
  • Steed uses a wind gauge as he prepares to tee off
  • Emma plays Steed’s fairy godmother, predicting he will win the game (as she’s helping his ball along)
  • Reed covers Emma’s mouth with his hand as he points a revolver at her face
  • The explosion of the bomb can be seen above the grass at to top of a small hill with trees in the background
  • Steed and Emma celebrate with a bottle of champagne while driving off in a golf cart

Series 4 — Episode 18
The Thirteenth Hole

by Tony Williamson
Directed by Roy Baker

Production No E.64.10.16
Production completed: September 22 1965. First transmission: January 25 1966.


Production dates: 6–22/09/1965

This Tony Williamson script was accepted immediately by Brian Tesler, who simply described it as "a good one". Roy Baker again directing a Williamson script meant we were in for a good episode indeed and Roy delivered in spades.

There’s a brief visit to Dyrham Golf Club for the gateway sequence, also seen at the beginning of The Girl from Auntie which was filmed a month later, but all the other location footage was shot at Mill Hill Golf Club; the bridge that Colonel Watson run across trying to escape Steed at the end of the episode is across the lake (Stoney Wood Lake) between hole 1 and hole 2.

They only just got in to film this in time — shortly after filming wrapped the A1 swept through the course, separating the club house from the majority of the course and requiring some of the holes to be redesigned as the land had been lost to the motorway. Happily, holes 1 and 2 are more or less unchanged and still look the same as in the episode.

Regional broadcasts

Rediffusion London28/01/19668:00pm
ABC Midlands29/01/19669:05pm
ABC North29/01/19669:05pm
Anglia Television27/01/19668:00pm
Border Television30/01/19669:35pm
Channel Television29/01/19669:05pm
Grampian Television28/01/19668:00pm
Southern Television29/01/19668:25pm
Scottish Television25/01/19668:00pm
Tyne Tees Television28/01/19668:00pm
Ulster Television28/01/19668:00pm
Westward Television29/01/19669:05pm
Television Wales & West29/01/19669:05pm

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for January 29 1966, 9.05pm (Midlands edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for June 7 1966, 8pm
The Age listing for May 31 1966, 7.30pm

9.5 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee

as John Steed
Diana Rigg
as Emma Peel
The 13th Hole
by Tony Williamson

In which Steed finds a bogey — and Emma gets the birdie …

Cast also includes

Reed Patrick Allen
Colonel Watson Hugh Manning
Dr. Adams Peter Jones
Jackson Victor Maddern
Collins Francis Matthews
Waversham Donald Hewlett
Professor Minley Norman Wynne
Man on TV screen Richard Marner

Diana Rigg’s Wardrobe designed by John Bates

Music by Laurie Johnson
Directed by Roy Baker
Produced by Julian Wintle

ABC Weekend Network Production

International broadcasts

ABN2 Sydney, Australia7/06/19668:00pm
ABV2 Melbourne, Australia31/05/19667:30pm
ABC New York, USA18/08/196610:00pm
ORTF2 France4/07/19678:05pm
Suisse Romande, Switzerland18/03/19679:10pm
French titleLe jeu s’arrête au 13
ZDF Germany7/03/19679:15pm
German titleDas dreizehnte Loch
KRO Netherlands13/12/19668:50pm
Dutch titleEen Partijtje Golf / ’n Partijtje golf
Italian titleLa tredicesima buca
Spanish titleEl hoyo 13
Spain: ABC Madrid listing for June 25 1967, 4pm
France: L’Imparital listing for July 4 1967, 8.05pm
Switzerland: Journal de Genève listing for March 18 1967, 9.10pm
Italy: Radiocorriere listing for October 24 1969, 10pm
Italy: Radiocorriere episode summary
Germany: Hamburg Abendblatt listing for March 7 1967, 9.15pm
USA: New York Times listing for August 18 1966, 10pm
Netherlands: Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant listing for December 13 1966, 8.50pm

Episode Rating

Subject 0–5
3½ stars
Music 3 stars
Humour 3 stars
Intros/tags 3 stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
6 stars

A satellite receiving station under a bunker? I ask you. Still, there’s lots of red herrings and action aplenty to keep the episode ticking along.

The Fashions

Emma’s Fashions Steed’s Fashions
  1. waistcoat-fronted leather overall, zip up back, with white long-sleeved rollneck blouse and b/w boots
  2. "Chemin" black and white fur coat, diagonally stripes down away from the buttonholes, over a
    white safari-style shirt of thick cotton, black buttons (2 at the cuff) with a checked scarf at the neck, cream hipster pants with matching webbing belt, black and white driving gloves and black and white boots
  3. (2) without the coat and gloves
  4. (2) without the coat
  5. (1)
  6. (2)
  1. stovepipe hat with thick tweed overcoat, double-breasted with six leather buttons, hip pockets slanted with a thin black trim to match the thick black collar and black-piped hemlines
  2. casual windcheater jacket over a thick woollen rollneck jumper, brown trousers and chelsea boots
  3. Dark pullover and homburg hat, plaid plus fours and pale socks with dark golf shoes
  4. brown overcoat with suede collar and bone buttons, black bowler, white shirt and dark tie

The Cars

Marque/Model/Type Number Plate
Ford Zephyr -
Singer Vogue -
Mini Countryman -
Vauxhall Cresta PB -
Vauxhall Victor 101 -
Hillman Husky Series II XYY 929
AC Aceca PKA 999
Vauxhall 30/98 1924 XT 2275
golf cart -
Ford Squire estate 1956 -
Vauxhall Cresta PB 1963–5 124 GOR

Who’s Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Ted Murphy Frank Reed V* .303 rifle
Jerry Collins Jackson V* golf ball gun
Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. 3:30–4:00 — Despite the fact that he ambushes Emma in Ted Murphy’s flat and that she calls out" “Steed?” twice as she enters, Jackson apparently doesn’t recognize her on the golf course and neither does the name Steed ring a bell for him. Perhaps it because the stuntman Art Thomas replaces him at 3:35!
  2. 3:47 — Emma’s stunt double when ‘she’ jumps over the desk in pursuit of Jackson during the fight in Ted Murphy’s flat is very obviously a man in a wig, which slips off. It’s her regiular stunt double Billy Westley Jr.
  3. 4:34 — Still in Ted Murphy’s flat, while opening the desk drawer, Steed’s voice says “I had hoped we might find a lead here”, but it’s been overdubbed — his lips seem to only mouth “Something odd”.
  4. 4:58 — Still in the flat, Emma points out Murphy’s new clubs, only a few days old, and Steed comments that “poor Ted” never got a chance to swing his steel-shafted handle-to-head balanced niblick. So, what clubs was Murphy using when he was shot? And if these were the clubs he was using when killed, how did they get back to his flat? [Ed: Ted seems to be only carrying a sand wedge when shot, but his bag must have been around somewhere. ]
  5. 5:26 — Recognise that gate? The same location is used at the beginning of The Girl From Auntie as the Town Hall, Pendley (the venue for this year’s MFU Charity Fancy Dress Ball) and in The Thirteenth Hole as Craigleigh Golf Club. It’s actually Dyrham Park Golf Club Gateway, Trotter’s Bottom.
  6. 5:36–6:07 — As Steed parks his Vauxhall at the Craigleigh Golf Club, there are two cars parked directly behind them, one of which is a black (or maybe red) AC Aceca . A moment later, as Steed and Emma get out, there’s only one car parked behind them, the sports car having vanished. Looks like Brian Clemens went home early!
  7. 6:54 and throughout — the actors stand too close to the backdrops and you can see their shadows on it, and the gleam off the finish. There’s a bit of echo to the audio as well. During this tee-off scene, shadows are cast from two different light sources. The same two-way shadow effect occurs during Emma’s (night-time!) fight with Collins (23:00). Later, Reed and Steed have the same backdrop issues during their game (31:49, 34:15 etc.).
  8. 7:13–7:20 — While Steed is first teeing off, Emma is standing about a foot to his left. However, when Reed steps in and stops Steed’s swing in mid-air, she’s a few more feet away! The perils of mixing studio and location shoots for the same scene…
  9. 9:48 — When Collins and Watson enter the pro shop, Collins ‘notices’ Steed and addresses him, looking straight ahead, although Steed is to his left in the practice net. Watson, meanwhile, looks obliquely to the left (i.e. the correct direction). As they walk forward, Collins suddenly looks sharply to the left, where Steed actually is and speaks to him again. It’s as though Collins suddenly realizes Steed isn’t standing where he thought he was going to be!
  10. To Steed
    To Collins
    Reverse angle

    ©1961–9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd
    10:19 — In the pro shop, when Col. Watson is getting a lesson from Collins, Steed and Collins are in front of Watson, with Collins on the right (directly ahead of Watson) and Steed to the left, as seen from Watson’s perspective. However, when talking to Steed, Watson looks straight ahead, where Collins should be, and then, as he frowns at Collins, he turns to the left, where Steed should be!
  11. 11:06 — During Reed’s and Adams’ first round of golf, Reed sends a drive up the fairway, with Adams ball a few feet in front of him, Mrs. Peel closing in one them; we cut back to the players, Adams still leaning on his club, Reed starting to walk up the fairway, and Adams’ ball has vanished!
  12. 11:18 — As she trails Reed and Adams, Emma fails to see the lurking Jackson as she walks past him, even though he’s only three or four feet away from her, wearing a black sweater and black pants, and camouflaged by only a few leaf-covered tree branches! Added to that, he drives off in a noisy caddy car.
  13. 11:54 — As Reed and Adams approach the 13th hole, Reed places a nice chip shot which stops about a foot short of the hole. Adams’ ball is already there, about three feet short of the hole. Cut to Emma, then the approaching players. We can’t see Reed’s ball near the hole anymore (12:08), and it’s not until a wider shot establishes the setting (12:16) that we see it’s now about 8 feet beyond the hole!
  14. 13:14 — When the golf cart is driven at Mrs. Peel, it comes to rest completely on its side and the seat falls out, but when Mrs. Peel goes to investigate it, it’s only tilted a bit and its seat is back in place.
  15. 15:55 — Later on in the pro shop when Reed and Jackson leave, the door slams before the receding footsteps stop! Then, Steed looks in Reed’s golf bag and finds the .303 and the bullets for it, hidden in a tee holder. After briefly examining the bullets, he puts the holder back (16:38), without taking any bullets with him. Moments later Collins arrives, and Steed leaves shortly afterwards. He goes to the clubhouse, sits with Emma (17:50), and shows her one of the bullets!
  16. 17:35 — Just before leaving the pro shop, Steed comments on the ‘professional touch’ needed to fire a golf ball hard enough to dent the middle of the hole marker, but when the ball crashes through the window (16:45) we clearly see it just barely clip the edge of the marker and bounce off the back wall. It’s not until after Steed picks up the ball at 16:52 that the flag is dented at all.
  17. 18:13-26 — there must be a change of reel her as the picture is suddenly marred with vertical black scratches on the film which continue for about 13 seconds.
  18. 20:16 — Reed bribes Collins with a small roll of £1 notes, maybe £10 in all. For legal reasons, the prop is deliberately wrong and the serial numbers are upside down or in the wrong place
  19. 22:50 — That’s Ray Austin doing Francis Matthews’ stunts
  20. 23:45 — Sand is dislodged from the back of the bunker when Collins is thrown against it by Mrs. Peel, but neither of them notice or investigate the wooden door to the underground control room that has been revealed.
  21. 25:42 — After Collins is killed and Steed is looking at signs of the struggle in the bunker, Mrs. Peel calls him from a distance… but the shadows of the points of her shoes can be seen on the sand, only a foot away from Steed!
  22. 33:30 — During his match with Steed, Reed chips a modest shot down a fairway with no visible obstructions except one small, short bluff, yet in broad daylight from a fairly short distance he fails to notice Emma — dressed in a black leather sleeveless jumpsuit with a white shirt and shoes — as she jumps out from the border hedges, runs ten feet, stops and grinds his golf ball into the turf, then runs back!
  23. 40:35 — Diana Rigg rather unfortunately has a couple of pimples for much of this episode and the one near her mouth is especially obvious here when she’s talking to Professor Minley.
  24. 45:45 onwards — As Adams waits for Steed to set off the mine, he ducks down in his small, shallow bunker. After the mine explodes, he’s now inside an enormous, deep bunker!
  25. 45:11 (45:43) — when Steed approaches the hole and sees the mine, his ball which had stopped near the lip of the cup (44:11) is nowhere to be seen. It’s back in place at 45:32 (46:05) when he plays his billiards cannon shot.
  26. 46:30 — Colonel Watson has a PYE Mark III 405 line monochrome camera as part of his set-up.
  27. 47:03 — Steed’s ball is not visible in the top-down shot of the hole with the mine in it.
  28. 48:16 onwards — Lots of stunt double regulars in the bunker — Billy Westley Jr (Mrs. Peel), Rocky Taylor (Steed), Billy Dean (Reed) — Peter Jones and Victor Maddern do most of their own stunts, surprisingly enough, although Art Thomas stands in for Victor when he first runs into the bunker and gets clobbered with a chair.
  29. 50:08 — the flare guard comes into shot as the camera tilts upward to follows Steed’s swing. It then remains in shot (50:18 onwards) for the whole scene where Steed asks, “How about finishing the game? What’s your handicap?”
  30. 50:30 — Patrick Macnee has some splashes on his coat, which would suggest they had to retake the tag scene after he got too much champagne on himself.
  31. 50:45 — Product placement for Charles Heidsieck champagne.
  32. Running time: 51′51″

A note on the timecodes

Timecodes for episodes are problematic as each release has its own quirks so the 2009–11 Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal DVD sets have different run times compared to the A&E and Contender DVD sets from a decade beforehand. The newer Studio Canal & Via Vision blu rays seems to be back in line with the earlier releases, except they often have StudioCanal idents lasting 20 to 22 seconds added to the beginning.

The Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal DVD releases were 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).

The 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 running 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 greatly improved picture quality, most notably in the Tara King episodes which are finally (mostly) back to their original glory.

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