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  • title card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading 'FROM VENUS WITH LOVE' superimposed on a close-up of Cosgrove lying dead on the floor with his hair turned grey. The O in LOVE is a heart with an arrow through it
  • subtitle card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading 'STEED IS SHOT FULL OF HOLES
					EMMA SEES STARS!' superimposed on a close-up of Cosgrove lying dead on the floor with his hair turned grey
  • Video of Steed interrupting Mrs Peel's fencing practice: Emma wears a navy catsuit while practicing her fencing, turning towards us with the rapier held vertically, almost touching the tip of her nose. Behind her, a red baby grand piano fits neatly into a red-painted alcove. When she turns back to attack the target hanging from her front door, Steed parries with his umbrella on which is impaled his signature calling card reading 'Mrs Peel, WE'RE NEEDED!'
  • Upper class chimney sweep Bert Smith smiles inanely at Mrs Peel, whose back is to us. His face, top hat and morning suit are covered in soot and grime
  • Steed peers to look at some of the spectacles on a shelf, his eye distorted and enlarged as we see them through the lenses
  • Primble wheels in his eccentric eye test - a white board with different hats arranged on it
  • Primble, on the right, gloats at Mrs Peel who has been strapped to an examining chair by leather belts
  • Mrs Peel is impressed with Steed's bleached white bowler hat
  • Video of Steed playing the piano while Emma prepares to 'have dinner on Venus', she tells him his Claret doesn't travel well

Series 5 - Episode 1
From Venus With Love

7½ stars

by Philip Levene
Directed by Robert Day

Steed is shot full of holes
Emma sees stars!

Episode Rating

Subject 0-5
Direction 4 stars
Music
3½ stars
Humour 4 stars
Intro/tag
2½ stars
Mastermind
3½ stars
Plot 3 stars
Emma 4 stars
Set Design
3½ stars
Overall
(0-10)
7½ stars

This episode has much promise and mostly delivers, but there's something missing. Wonderfully silly sci-fi sets the tone for the season - there's better episodes to come.

Mrs Peel is called away from her fencing practice by Steed's arrival.
They have to investigate when astronomers start turning white while observing Venus. Have the Venusians invaded earth, as Primble suggests to Steed? Are aliens killing the rich patrons of the British Venusian Society?
Steed is unconvinced and when they discover a tape recording of the aliens is in fact a laser warming up it's clear that Primble is behind it all. A deadly fight ensues and Emma is strapped in for corrective eye surgery.
The Avengers are invited to "have dinner on Venus", after dispatching Primble with his own laser, but Steed worries about his Claret not travelling well.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180
International Harvester Crawler Tractor dark orange -
Landrover SWB soft-top (canvas tarpaulin) dark green -
Ford GT40 Mk II silver -

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Ernest Cosgrove Primble or Martin V* Laser beam
Sir Fredrick Hadley Primble or Martin V* Laser beam
Bertram Fortescue Winthrop Smith Martin V* Laser beam
Lord Mansford Martin V* Laser beam
Brigadier Whitehead Primble or Martin V* Laser beam
Dr Henry Primble V* Steed & himself V* Deflected laser beam
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. blue catsuit with orange trim. zippered, ring at neck
  2. lavender dress, mini length, straight hem and cleavage, blue trim, with matching cardigan
  3. orange a-line dress
  4. blue coat with lavender skivvy
  5. tan skirt & jacket with high collar, scooped waist
  6. orange & white catsuit with wide belt, ring at high neck, zippered.
  7. (1)
  8. towel or sheet (?)
  9. chinese red silk pyjamas
  1. charcoal chalk striped single-breasted suit, white shirt, burgundy tie, brown bowler, black umbrella
  2. black/midnight blue tuxedo with silk facings and piping on trousers, pale blue ruffled shirt, blue velvet bow tie, black dress shoes
  3. burgundy silk tuxedo
  4. brown and green hunting blazer with matching waistcoat, hunting cut, pale green shirt, dark green silk tie, black & white houndstooth trousers, brown chelsea boots
  5. the above with a brown bowler and black umbrella
  6. grey herringbone single-breasted suit, wasitcoat, pale blue shirt, blue tie black bowler and umbrella
  7. the above with a black bowler and umbrella
  8. venus-grey-herringbone with the bowler turned white
  9. black/midnight blue tuxedo with silk facings and piping on trousers, pale blue ruffled shirt, blue velvet bow tie, black dress shoes

Continuity and trivia

  1. 2:18 - Cosgrove is some astronomer! He doesn't bother to write down the co-ordinates or declanation and then casually swings his telescope into position and starts taking pictures.
  2. 2:38 - The glass of beer is suddenly 3/4 full but at 2:21 it was half full (or is that half empty?), at 2:44 when it starts to bubble, it's half full again.
  3. 2:45QQ - The scene of the remote camera shutter swinging and Cosgrove lying dead on the floor was slate 67, it took four takes to get it right and was filmed on 2 November, 1966.
  4. QQ - The scene of Frederick Hadley spinning around in the chair to reveal he's been bleached white was slate 68 and was filmed on 2 November, 1966.
  5. 9:35 - Recognise those doors? They turn up in Thyssen's house in Escape in Time.
  6. 10:30 et passim. - Emma's Lotus is an S3 1966. The S2 had a chrome label saying Elan S2 where this one just has Elan in chrome on the upper body. The rear lights are the elongated ovoid shape of the S3.
    The logo on the lower body (bottom right) is probably either the World Champions or Indianapolis Champions logo.
  7. 12:00 etc. - Steed's arrive at the BVS was slate 69 and was filmed on 2 November, 1966.
  8. 12:30-12:55 - Another messed-up close-up, Barbara Shelley keeps the pose of clenched hands in prayer position, despite the long shots mostly having them held over her stomach.
  9. 14:44 - Diana Rigg runs part of the way accross the field but then Cyd Child stands-in for the fast bit.
  10. 15:07 - Outside the barn is the same wagon as was used in Epic.
  11. 19:45-20:15 - There's a hair caught at the bottom centre of the screen - it's probably on the camera lens, it reappears at 21:26 whenever there's a shot of Primble and Steed, but not when the other camera is used.
  12. 20:27-20:47 - A muffed close-up - the clock on the safe says 8 seconds before 2:45, but 20 seconds later, when Jennings taps the clock in the long shot we've lost 12 seconds, as it's 4 seconds past 2:45.
  13. 20:48 et passim. - The painting that Mansford is appreciating just before he leaves this mortal coil turns up again backstage in Epic. Not only that, but both copies of it - with and without the silhouette - turn up in two episodes of The Saint ("A Portrait of Brenda" and "The Power Artist"). The non-silhouette version reappears in an episode of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

    Venus

    Epic
  14. 21:21 - Speaking of hats... Steed's eye test require him to identify these hats:

    trilby
    homburg bowler
    cap jockey porkpie
    topper boater busby fez
  15. 22:48 - Jennings' watch says 2:54:53 but the clock on the safe says it's 2:57:35.
  16. 23:49 - The hair on the camera appears to have migrated to the bottom righthand corner.
  17. 24:21 - The clock strikes 3, 52 seconds early, but it can be excused by the changes of scene.
  18. 26:20 - Brigadier Whitehead turns off a gramophone on his left which he hadn't turned on.
  19. The Brigadier has a lot of medals: Order of the British Empire, Companion of the Order of the Bath, a ribbon obscured by his collar, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Military Cross, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, India General Service Medal (1936), 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Croix de Guerre 1914-16. If he had served with Monty he ought to also have the Italy Star and France and Germany Star, as well as the War Medal 1939-45 and General Service Medal.
  20. 28:50 - Venus departs out a door and walks down the driveway but Steed, who passes her upon arrival, heads up a jumble of stone steps to reach a door.
  21. 29:37 - Elsewhere, you'll find claims that Whitehead wasn't holding a record when shot by the laser, but is holding one when found by Steed. This is wrong, as this picture shows - he picks it up off the table just out off shot, after setting another disk going (it's lying in from of the gramophone at 29:31). When Steed finds him, the record is no longer in front of the gramophone, and is white in his hands.
  22. 31:39 - The close-up of the reel to reel player is misplaced, with Steed's arm on the wrong side, and the player rotated about 50°.
  23. 30:48, 31:39 and 32:24 - Everytime the recording of the sound of the laser in played, it's a different reel of tape.
  24. 33:54 - Cyd Child had to battle her way through the flames onto the balcony, a stunt she hated having to perform.
  25. 34:10, 40:06 - The Set dresser misspelled 'ophthalmic' on Primble's surgery lamp.
  26. 36:00 etc. - The shots of Steed crouched by the filing cabinet were slate 63. It was filmed in one take, including his reading the book, staring incredulously at the foaming beer and reacting to the flash of light. It was filmed on 2 November, 1966.
  27. 36:20-36:25 - Another messed-up close-up, this time due to edits. The dummy's head has already collapsed in the long shot of Steed approaching it, but the next close-up shows it in the act of collapsing.
  28. Passim but especially 37:47-40:05 - There's a curved overscan crop in the top left and bottom left corners of the screen, it had appeared earlier in the episode and returns around 42:00. It varies in size.
  29. 40:10-40:30 - That's Cyd Child arriving in the Lotus and approaching the surgery.
  30. 41:17 onwards - The 'alien' vehicle is a Ford GT-40.
  31. 42:10 - The door of the car closed but didn't fully shut at 41:45, but from this point until Mrs Peel gets out at 42:22 it's completely shut.
  32. 42:40-42:44 - Mrs Peel leans over the side of the car to examine the laser which has emerged but when Martin grabs her, she's facing the front of the car from directly in front.
  33. 44:10 - One of Steed's headlights isn't working, and it's probably Rocky Taylor driving, it's definitely not Patrick Macnee. The second unit would film scnes like these after the stars had moved onto filming the next episode.
  34. 46:54 - Did they cut a shot of the bowler being shot? One second it's in Steed's hand, the next he's just holding the mirror, so how did the hat become white?
  35. 47:38 onwards - The bird sculpture from Art Incorporated is one of Mrs Peel's decorations.
  36. Running time: 49'16"

Cast notes

  1. Jeremy Lloyd went on to great heights of fame, not that he wasn't already a household name in Britain in the Sixties. He had a cameo appearance in "The Assassination Bureau", was one of the company of "Laugh-In" that sealed "The Avengers" fate in the US, and ended up writing comedy - "Are You Being Served?" and "'Allo 'Allo" being his most successful productions.
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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