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  • title card: white all caps text reading 'THE DANGER MAKERS' outlined in black and superimposed on a close-up of the general's chest, showing his uniform and ribbons; the hand holding the black rose is obscured by the titles
  • Major Robertson stops his hands shaking by playing russian Roulette, pointing his service revolver at his right temple
  • The delirious Lamble climbs onto a high window ledge to calm his jangling nerves
  • Steed takes cover in the shadows of the library, atop a ladder when robertson enters and signals the Last Post on his bugle
  • Mrs Peel takes cover behind the chimney as Steed cautiously opens the box of chocolates
  • Mrs Peel, in a stretch catsuit, is midway through her initiation test, risking her life on an electrified obstable course
  • Steed grabs at a sword to fence with one of the officers, only to find he's picked up a horsehair switch
  • Steed and Emma drive away from Manton House in go-karts

Series 4 - Episode 20
The Danger Makers

7½ stars

by Roger Marshall
Directed by Charles Crichton

Episode Rating

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

A great storyline and telling performances by principals and guests. Still, there's something not quite right, and the episode falls short of the high status it would otherwise deserve.

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. black and white cruciform trim jacket (two black bands at cuffs, no contrast square at waist/buttonhole intersection, two black diamonds extending from waistband either side of the buttonhole line instead), with rollneck blouse with turned back cuffs, white pants with two bands of black at the cuff, black leather belt and white beret with black/white concentric circle pattern, plus Edward Rayne's black and white boots and matching driving gloves
  2. (1) without the jacket
  3. White sheet or towel
  4. Black and white v-neck singlet top (zip up back) with black pants with large white cuffs, b/w boots
  5. snakeskin print vinyl jacket with metal buckles, epaulettes, high collar with two black buttons, worn with b/w gloves and black leather pants, white leather belt, rollneck blouse with turned-back cuffs (zipped up the back) b/w boots
  6. (5) without jacket
  7. stretch jersey and vinyl catsuit with b/w boots
  8. (7) with snakeskin jacket and b/w gloves
  9. (7)
  10. wide collared white blouse with triangular layers of bodice, long-sleeved, with leather trousers
  1. brown three-piece suit with bowler and whangee cane handled umbrella, cloth-covered buttons on waistcoat, white shirt, dark tie with circle motif, chelsea boots
  2. tan overcoat over above, later swapping the bowler for a British Army helmet
  3. (1) without bowler or umbrella
  4. brown overcoat with black collarback over dark suit, tie and white shirt, with black bowler and black whangee cane handled umbrella, brown suede gloves
  5. (3) - note two covered pockets on right side of jacket
  6. (2)
  7. grey three-piece suit, suede collar back, hard buttons on waistcoat and jacket, white shirt, dark solid colour silk tie
  8. grey three-piece suit, black rose in buttonhole single button at waist of jacket, with bowler, cloth-covered buttons on waistcoat, white shirt, dark tie with circle motif, chelsea boots
  9. (1) without umbrella

The Cars

Marque/Model/Type Number Plate
Commer van 9552 MY
Triumph motorbike 452 YMF
Ford Thames truck with canvas canopy 2705 VX
Bentley UW 4887
Bren carrier T 54422
Bren carrier T 54110
Supermarine Swift VV 119
Vespa Motor scooter -
R.A.F. truck -
Sunbeam Alpine Series V
(Series IV for studio shots)
FHP 330C
Ford Thames truck without canopy 2705 VX
Mini karts (2) -

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
General Groves V* himself V* hit by truck in chicken run
Gordon Lamble V* Major Robertson V* suffocated
Wing Commander Watson V* himself V* aeroplane crash
Stanhope Major Robertson V* machine gun
Peters V* Dr. Long V* shot
Dr. Long V* Mrs Peel catapulted onto electrified rails
Click a name to see the face

Continuity and trivia

  1. 1:30 - The motorbike, 452 YMF, must belong to the stuntman, he previously rode it in Dial a Deadly Number and rides it again about two years later in Mission... Highly Improbable.
  2. 2:03 - The truck, 2705 VX, which hits the General's motorbike also appeared in Man-eater of Surrey Green; it appears later on in this episode when it encounters Robertson's Sunbeam (32:20-32:30).
  3. 2:18 - The truck driver's mate was previously one of the victims of the alien plant in Man-eater of Surrey Green.
  4. 3:03 - That's almost certainly not Macnee and Rigg in the Bentley.
  5. 11:20 - The timing is right for the grenade fuses, but only one seems to go off - Robertson's flew off to the right and there's no explosion from that direction.
  6. 13:11 - The CU of the four white feathers doesn't match the mid shot at all.
  7. 15:15-15:29 - The medal box has the plaque "To Woody from Wing Commander Watson RAF Hamelin"
  8. 15:30-16:47 - Wing Commander Watson's plane glides smoothly from being a Supermarine Swift to being a De Havilland Chipmunk just before it crashes behind the copse.
  9. 15:50 - There are two extra airmen in the background of the long shot, but they're nowhere to be see in the mid shot until 16:34.
  10. 20:55 - Robertson appears to call "Apollo" on 25512.
  11. 22:00 - Dr Long's responses to Steed's questions are so glib they should have given him away immediately.
  12. 23:04 - Stanhope's regimental patch in the close-up reads " "MID WESEX" - the patch looks like a doctored "MIDDLESEX" patch (especially as Wessex hasn't existed for centuries, and is spelt with a double-S). In fact, in the first grenade trench scene (8:38-11:37, esp. 9:00 & 9:50) and elsewhere in the episode (e.g. 22:00, 22:59), Stanhope and Robertson's shoulder patches DO still read "MIDDLESEX". They must have altered the patch for the close-up to avoid any potential legal issue.
  13. 26:00 - Steed's Bentley has no numberplate at the front and (26:16) it's clearly a stuntman driving the Bentley.
  14. 26:25 - Colonel Adams OBE's museum is a celebration of her family:
    • Colonel Jollyon Adams - died at the Battle of Saratoga, 1777, born at Manton House (24:00-24:08)
    • (unknown relative) - Crimean War - Battle of Inkerman (The Soldiers' Battle), 1854 [26:25 - "9,000 British had kept 40,000 Russians at bay"]
    • General Forsyth Adams - 1841-1909 - Spion Kop, 1900
    • General Sir Archibald Adams, killed on the Somme, 1917
    • Colonel Soames Adams, Waterloo

    Her visitors' book contains famous names - none revealed directly, but two are:

    • US President Dwight D. Eisenhower
    • Field Marshall Montgomery
  15. 29:27 - Watson's Danger Makers name was "Pegasus". When pressed for his, Steed says "Bacchus" (30:16), much to Colonel Peters' surprise.
  16. 31:03 - Emma already standing on the ladder when Robertson says, "You seemed to agree with me", but then we have a CU of her standing up!
  17. 31:55-33:00 - Major Robertson's Sunbeam Alpine has a bit of a double life - it's a Series V for all the external action shots and a Series IV for the closeups filmed in the studio.
  18. 32:25-32:30 - Mrs Peel puts her hand over her eyes as they dangerously approach the truck, lowering it after they pass safely, but the stuntwoman in the car doesn't have her hand up in the long shot. It's also the same truck as the General ran into at 2:03.
  19. 35:20 - Emma sums up the Danger Makers: "a bunch of schizoid, paranoid psychopaths".
  20. 43:13 - Robertson puts a silencer on his revolver. Silencers don't work on most revolvers due to the gap between the barrel and the cylinder.
  21. Billy Westley once again performs stunts for Diana Rigg, notably at 45:29/47:07 when he leaps the length of the table in the Black Rose Room fight.
  22. Running time: 49'42"
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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