• title card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading ‘THE FEAR MERCHANTS’ superimposed on a close-up of Meadows lying face-down on the turf in fear
  • subtitle card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading ‘STEED PUTS OUT A LIGHT
			EMMA TAKES FRIGHT’ superimposed on a close-up of Meadows lying face-down on the turf in fear
  • Youtube video showing Emma entering her flat wearing a pale lavender sun dress. She sees a box of chocolates has been left inside the cavity of her sculpture but opening it reveals nothing but Steed’s signature summons card which reads ‘Mrs. Peel WE’RE NEEDED!’
  • Mrs. Peel, in a purple catsuit, lies on top of a concrete block sculpture she is working on and chips away at it with a chisel and hammer, somewhat disconcerting Steed who is standing next to it, talking to her
  • White is on the floor, cowering behind a tipped-over bird cage as he’s terrorised by his avian assailant
  • The austere BEB boardroom - all black and white. Pemberton sits at the end of the glossy black table, flanked by Dr. Voss and Gilbert, who stand either side of him; all three wear sunglasses
  • Steed dives at Gilbert from behind, having evaded his trap in the gravel pit, while the bulldozer looms ominously over them
  • Dr. Voss pulls on a surgical glove as she prepares to subject Mrs. Peel to the base fear - pain
  • Youtube video showing Mrs. Peel discovering another box of chocolates, this time full and she discovers Steed’s greatest fear - a lack of champagne!

Series 5 — Episode 2
The Fear Merchants

by Philip Levene
Directed by Gordon Flemyng

Steed puts out a light
Emma takes fright

Production No E.66.6.1
Production completed: October 1 1966. First transmission: January 16 1967.

Regional broadcasts

Rediffusion London20/01/19678:00pm
ABC Midlands21/01/19679:10pm
ABC North21/01/19679:10pm
Anglia Television20/01/19678:00pm
Border Television22/01/19678:10pm
Channel Television20/01/19678:00pm
Grampian Television6/12/19678:00pm
Southern Television16/01/19678:00pm
Scottish Television21/01/19679:10pm
Tyne Tees Television21/01/19679:10pm
Ulster Television7/12/19677:30pm
Westward Television20/01/19678:00pm
Television Wales & West18/01/19678:00pm

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for January 20 1967, 8pm (London edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for May 9 1967, 8pm
The Age listing for May 8 1967, 8pm

8.0 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee

as John Steed
Diana Rigg
as Emma Peel
The Fear Merchants
By Philip Levene

In which Steed puts out a light — and Emma takes fright …

Cast also includes

Pemberton Patrick Cargill
Raven Brian Wilde
Dr. Voss Annette Carell
Gilbert Garfield Morgan
Crawley Andrew Kier
Gordon White Jeremy Burnham
Meadows Edward Burnham
Fox Bernard Horsfall
Dr. Hill Ruth Trouncer
Saunders Declan Mulholland
Hospital attendant Philip Ross

Designed by Wilfrid Shingleton
Music by Laurie Johnson
Directed by Gordon Flemyng
Produced by Albert Fennell
and Brian Clemens
Executive Producer
Julian Wintle

ABC Television Network Production

The Age cartoon of Emma Peel
The Age article about Diana Rigg

International broadcasts

ABN2 Sydney, Australia9/05/19678:00pm
ABV2 Melbourne, Australia8/05/19678:00pm
ABC New York, USA27/01/196710:00pm
ORTF2 France9/07/19689:15pm
Suisse Romande, Switzerland4/03/19689:25pm
French titleLes marchandes de peur
ZDF Germany19/12/19679:15pm
German titleSchock frei Haus
KRO Netherlands9/08/19699:35pm
Dutch titleHandel in angst
Svizzera Italiana23/11/19739:45pm
Italian titlei mercanti di paura
Spanish titleLos comerciantes del miedo

There is an episode listed for broadcast on 12th December 1967 in the Netherlands under the title “De vreesaanjagers” which could conceivably be The Danger Makers - but is more likely an early Dutch translation of the title for this episode, later shown (9/8/1969) as “Handel in Angst”. Most listings for 12th December 1967 have “De autorally” (Dead Man’s Treasure) instead so even if it had been The Danger Makers, it may not have been broadcast in Holland anyway.

Netherlands: Nieuwsblad van het Noorden listing for December 12 1967, showing “De vreesaanjagers” at 9.15pm (see above)
Netherlands: Zierkzeesche Nieuwsbode listing for August 9 1969, “Handel in Angst” at 9.35pm (see above)
Spain: ABC Madrid listing for October 2 1967, 4.10pm
Germany: Hamburg Abendblatt listing for December 19 1967, 9.15pm
France: Journal de Genève listing for July 9 1968, 9.15pm
USA: New York Times listing for January 27 1967, 10pm
USA: Chicago Tribune listing for January 27 1967, 9pm
TV Svizzera Italiana: Radiocorriere listing for November 23 1973, 9.45pm
USA: Chicago Tribune skyscraper advertisement for this episode
Switzerland: L’Impartial listing, photo and summary for March 4 1968, 9.25pm

Episode Rating

Subject 0–5
3½ stars
Music 4 stars
Humour 2 stars
3½ stars
4½ stars
Plot 4 stars
Emma 4 stars
Set Design
3½ stars
7½ stars

Psychological thrillers are right up my alley, so I give this episode the thumbs up. I don’t know if you could exactly call it a likeable episode, but one may appreciate its darkness. Great acting and a strong plot make this a most memorable episode.

A man awakes in the middle of Wembley stadium and goes mad, but he’s not the only one.
Emma receives a box of chocolates - but it’s empty except for a card from Steed declaring they’re needed.
All of Jeremy Raven’s business rivals are going mad or dying, through one fear or another. The Business Efficiency Bureau have a motto: “our merchandise is fear” - they discover people’s fears and frighten them to death. Steed, determined to get to the bottom of their plot, enrols as a client and Mrs Peel becomes his business rival. The Avengers close down the B.E.B. by discovering the evildoers are afraid of the dark.
Mrs. Peel discovers that Steed is afraid she may have run out of champagne.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III standard steel saloon (external shots)
Rolls-Royce Phantom V 7-passenger limousine (H J Mulliner Park-Ward coachwork)
porcelain white CKP 500C
Morris Mini green & white 843 XKK
Ford Thames 800 Estate Car red & white -
Bentley 1928 British racing green YK 6871
NSU Prinz IV red -
Humber Super Snipe Series V (1965) blue/grey, red upholstery DLA 714C
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Humber Super Snipe Series V (1965) blue/grey FUB 363C
Fowler Bulldozer yellow LYV 100

Who’s Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Williams?? Gilbert V* ?
Gordon White Gilbert V* Scared out a window
Gilbert V* Steed & himself V* Crushed by bulldozer during fight
Richard Meadows Gilbert V* Left in the middle of Wembley Stadium in his pyjamas
John Tyler Gilbert? V* Left on a mountain top in his pyjamas
David Wallace Gilbert? V* Left on raft in English Channel in a dinner suit and cummerbund
Fox Gilbert? V* Mouse put into his shirt
Crawley Gilbert V* Passenger of speeding car
Jeremy Raven V* Gilbert V* Large spider
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma’s Fashions Steed’s Fashions
  1. lilac sundress with wide shoulder straps
  2. khaki coat with white trim over ivory dress and khaki scarf
  3. above without the coat
  4. mid blue catsuit, pale blue trim, with jacket and fob watch & blue boots
  5. above without jacket, showing high collar - like a rollneck -, circles cut on hips
  6. (3)
  7. (4)
  8. (3)
  9. ivory sundress with khaki scarf at middle of breast
  10. (2)
  11. dark green suede catsuit with large holes on sides of waist, long sleeves & matching gloves and boots
  1. grey herringbone single-breasted suit, waistcoat, pale blue shirt, blue silk tie, black bowler hat & umbrella
  2. dark grey pinstriped overcoat, pale pink shirt, purple tie
  3. charcoal chalk striped single-breasted suit, white shirt, pale grey knitted tie, black bowler & umbrella
  4. black/midnight blue tuxedo with silk facings and piping on trousers, pale blue ruffled shirt, blue velvet bow tie, black dress shoes
  5. light grey single-breasted suit with a felt collar, two short vents, white shirt, purple tie, grey chelsea boots
  6. fawn overcoat and bowler, beige trousers, dark brown tie, cream shirt
  7. brown jacket and wct, white shirt, mustard/gold tie, beige trousers, light brown bowler hat, black umbrella
  8. fawn overcoat over charcoal suit, pink shirt and purple tie
  9. navy single-breasted 3-piece suit with covered buttons, white shirt, black bowler and umbrella, navy knitted silk tie
  10. mid brown single-breasted 3-piece suit with felt collar, 1 button at waist, matching bowler black umbrella, white shirt, dark brown tie
  11. above with patterned dark purple tie
  12. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with 4 buttons, slanted flap pockets and 2 very long vents, white shirt, electric blue tie, black bowler hat & umbrella, matching handkerchief

Continuity and trivia

  1. Gordon Flemyng was not considered an Avengers director by the producers and may have been replaced during filming. Robert Day directed the tag scene with Alan Hume directing photography in place of Wilkie Cooper. It’s possible they did other scenes as well. Additionally, the call sheet for 18th October 1966 lists the supervising editor Peter Tanner as director for that day’s filming, most of which was exteriors.

  2. 6:00 — White and Crawley is (or was) a respectable firm of picture framers, picture restorers and museum providores - they’ve framed much of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II’s collection of renaissance drawings.
  3. 6:00 — Did anyone else notice that Gordon White has the same lamp in his office as Steed has in his apartment in other episodes?
  4. 7:54 — the close shot of Steed checking the unconscious chauffeur, Williams, shows him at the end of a long red brick porch, completely at odds with the previous shot where he’s in a small blonde brick garage.
  5. When Crawley’s chauffeur (the real Williams) is first seen lying unconscious or dead in the garage, he’s lying on his stomach with his arms at his side. However, in the close up when Steed examines him, he’s lying on his side and his arms are up!
  6. 8:07 — When Steed takes off in pursuit of Crawley’s Rolls, the Bentley is in a completely different location to the previous shot - even on a different street! - chain fence on one side, building site on the other, whereas previously it had been in a car park of an office building, opposite the yellow brick garage where Williams was lying unconscious.
  7. 15:30 — The close-ups of Steed are out of focus.
  8. 18:13 — The door of Raven’s automated potter pops back open when he tries to close it.
  9. In the office... ...at the home Anywhere!
    ©1961–9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
    22:00–22:07 — The feather Emma picks up in the office after Gordon White is murdered is significantly different from that which she shows to Steed back at her apartment, and which he proceeds to tickles her feet with.
  10. 26:58 — The chart which Dr. Voss holds bears no relation to those taken while Raven was in the seat - the peaks are much larger.
  11. 27:45 — Steed has an answering machine/dictation device (it’s an Ansafone), new technology in 1967! Not to be left out, Emma has one in The Bird Who Knew Too Much.
  12. 34:33 — That was quite a long meeting Steed has with the BEB! - an 11am start, and he leaves at 3:35pm?
  13. 38:55 and throughout - the long shots of Steed in the quarry don’t look like Macnee. It’s fairly clear in the MS at 40:07 that it’s Rocky Taylor.
  14. 40:14 — Gilbert backs the bulldozer away from the edge of the pit and puts the brake on, but at 40:27 it’s perched right on the edge of the precipice, ready to plunge in and crush all beneath it.
  15. 40:33 — Steed is still buyoing his bowlers from Herbert Johnson & Son, as shown by the milliner’s mark inside the crown of the bowler.
  16. 41:25 — Rocky stands in for Garfield Morgan in the bulldozer crushing sequence as well.
  17. 44:47 — When Dr. Voss takes Mrs. Peel’s results from the computer, the INDEX BEYOND CAPACITY notice is in a different place to where it is when Pemberton reads it.
  18. 46:40–47:13 — In the finale, Steed turns off the light, Pemberton yells for emergency lighting, the lights come on, Emma kicks away Pemberton’s gun, and Steed throws his umbrella at the lights, smashing one of them (you can see the glass break!) and knocking them both out of commission. Then, after the fight, Steed clicks the light switch and turns them back on!
  19. 47:09 — Dr. Voss fires a shot at Steed before Emma collides with her, but it still misses ... of course, she could just be a lousy shot.
  20. 47:18 — At the very end, Steed asks Emma if she was afraid he wouldn’t arrive in time, and she replies that the thought never entered her head. The lie detector, which is activated when the arm rests are pressed down, shows she’s lying. He then asks her “Never, Mrs. Peel?” Emma then sits up, taking her arms off the activator arm rests, and replies, “Never, Mr. Steed”... and the lie detector keeps working, registering the lie!
  21. 48:03 — The bird sculpture from The Girl From Auntie is decorating Mrs. Peel’s flat.
  22. Running time: 49′35″

Cast notes

  1. Annette Carell appeared (misbilled as Annette Carrell) as ‘B’ in episode “A, B and C” of The Prisoner.
  2. Several actors get no credit in the cast list, can anyone identify them? Their mugshots are shown here. ADDENDUM - Alan Hayes has suggested that Patrick Macnee has a cameo appearance as John Tyler, disguised by a beard and a strategically placed chair.

    John Tyler

    David Wallace

  3. The comedy weight lifter is Declan Mulholland, but why he gets a credit when he doesn’t speak and is on screen for maybe two or three seconds is beyond me.

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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