Series 5 — Episode 3
Escape In Time
by Philip Levene
Directed by John Krish and Roy Rossotti
Steed visits the barber
Emma has a close shave!
Production No E.66.6.2
Production completed: October 10 1966. First transmission: January 23 1967.
TV Times summary
In which Steed visits the barber … and Emma has a close shave!
Mrs Peel’s Grand Hunt Ball invitation turns out to be a summons from Steed, and they set out to discover what’s become of the world’s most wanted criminals.
They’re on the trail of Josino and follow him as he acquires a stuffed toy and a shaving cut. Steed takes the same path and ends up going back through time to 1790! Emma follows, much to the gang’s surprise and confusion, and finds herself in the Tudor era after the mastermind cottons onto her. A leap across time saves Emma from the stocks and exposes Thyssen’s fraud.
Exit the Avengers in a veteran taxi - Emma in the driver’s seat and Steed with a face full of soot.
Ministry agent Clyde Paxton (Clifford Earl) investigates the study of a well-appointed country house, in the middle of the rooms is a pedestal with five death masks of generations of the family - all strangely similar. He enters a small alcove and someone pulls the lever of a slot machine, causing the corridor to swirl around him, and Paxton loses consciousness. He comes to some time later, finding the room furnished in an Elizabethan style, the pedestal now holding a solitary head. He turns and is shot by the house’s Elizabethan scion, Bruno Thyssen (Peter Bowles)...
Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) dresses for a hunt ball, but John Steed (Patrick Macnee) has altered her invitation with a summons
and she goes with him to the morgue instead. There, Clapham (Geoffrey Bayldon) shows them
Paxton’s body, fished recently from the Thames and shot with, as Mrs Peel accurately
identifies, an Elizabethan sporting piece. Clapham tells them Paxton was onto a escape
route for the world’s leading criminals, who are disappearing without trace one by one.
Back at Steed’s apartment, they go through the case files of the missing criminals and Mrs Peel mistakes agent ‘Tubby’ Vincent (Roger Booth) as one of the wrong-doers. Tubby meanwhile is investigating the same country house and suffers a similar fate to Paxton, stabbed by the Jacobean ancestor, Edwin Thyssen (Peter Bowles) but he fights back and escapes with a note - ‘Josino arriving from South America. Make contact 12:30pm Mackidockie Court’ and the drawing of a black crocodile - which is the only clue left after he dies on Steed’s carpet.
The Avengers are on hand when Colonel Josino (Richard Montez) arrives with a toy crocodile
under his arm, and they have to pretend to be amorously kissing in a doorway to avoid detection.
Josino is given a giraffe in exchange for his crocodile by Vesta (Judy Parfitt), who is followed by
Mrs Peel. He takes the new toy to a stall run by Parker (Nicholas Smith), who gives him a
kangaroo with a note in its pouch. He eats the note and visits a barber, humorously named
T. Sweeney (Edward Caddick).
Mrs Peel meanwhile trails Vesta into the countryside. Josino has now got a plaster on his cheek and a toy elephant, which he takes to an Indian art gallery. When he leaves, Steed is delayed by a cluster of nuns and when he catches up he discovers he’s following a double and the Colonel has vanished. So too has Vesta, who sends Mitchell (Rocky Taylor) to take care of Mrs Peel but she evades his attempt to run her down with his motorbike, and it crashes and explodes.
Steed finds Mrs Peel sewing plush toys in her flat and she hands him a giraffe to use on the trail. She follows him about Mackidockie Court and Sweeney directs him to the art gallery where he hands the elephant to Anjali (Imogen Hassall) who imperiously orders him where to go, and not to ask questions. She tells him he’s now under the protection of Ganesha, the Elephant God and ‘Remover of Obstacles’. Mrs Peel is also obstructed by some nuns, and she catches up to Steed, only to find it’s Mitchell in disguise and she kills him when they fight. Steed meanwhile is driven off, blindfolded, by Vesta and Parker to the country house, where he meets Waldo Thyssen (Peter Bowles) - who is concerned that he hasn’t heard of his exploits. He shows him a film of the Epsom Derby of 1904, and Josino is in the crowd! Steed is given a trial run - back to 1790, where he finds the house appointed in blue Wedgewood and Dutch masters. Mrs Peel is meanwhile trying the escape route herself, much to the consternation of the gang members - in fact, seconds after becoming Mrs Peel’s double, Vesta realises she’s disguised as the woman who was following her before, but Parker and Sweeney have already taken her to Thyssen.
Steed calls at Mrs Peel’ flat and, finding her sewing gear out, sets off with Clapham to try to
find Thyssen’s house - a turkey farm being their best clue. Mrs Peel is being introduced to the idea
of escaping to the Georgian era but Vesta arrives, declaring her a spy and Waldo decides to send her
to meet his cruel Tudor ancestor, Matthew, instead. She wakes in a stark stone room, with apparently only
one head on the pedestal - and Josino’s body in an oaken trunk. The pedestal head opens its eyes,
revealing it to be the sadistic Matthew Thyssen (Peter Bowles) and she tries to escape, but an executioner (Terry Plummer)
bars her way. Clapham and Steed meanwhile pull up oustide the house, which Clapham dismisses as not being
15th century, but the statue of Ganesha outside decides the point. Mrs Peel is locked in some stocks and
interrogated, while Steed makes short work of Sweeney, Vesta, a redcoat (Joe Dunne), Parker, dressed as
a Cavalier and finally bursts in on Thyssen and the executioner, much to Mrs Peel’s relief.
He frees her and they overcome the villains, Thyssen anachronistically pulling a pistol on them and revealing, of course, that all the Thyssens were him. He’s overcome and they return through the centuries, and the ‘time machine’ - lights, mirrors and sleeping gas - to the modern study, where Mrs Peel spots the handcuffed Vesta and queries, “Didn’t we get the vote?”
Later, at Mrs Peel’s flat, Steed offers her an escape route - to a party, he has a taxi waiting. The taxi is an ancient Edwardian Unic taxi, Mrs Peel suggesting it’d be safer to go by horse. Sure enough, Steed gets a faceful of soot as they try to start the taxi.
|Transmission dates:||Foreign title||
champagne (rosé [?])
yellowy-green cocktail [?]
whisky cocktail with a slice of lemon
|Germany||26/09/1967||(Fahrkarten in die Vergangenheit)|
|France||23/07/1968||(Remontons le temps)|
|Italy||5/07/1974||(fuga nel tempo)|
|Spain||---||(Escape en el tiempo)|
|The Netherlands||28/05/1968||(Vlucht in het verleden)|