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  • title card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading 'THE SEE-THROUGH MAN' superimposed on a view from between the shelves of the records office towards the frosted glass door. Painted on the glass and seen reverse is the writing 'MINISTRY OF DEFENCE RECORDS OFFICE INVENTIONS (External Submissions)'
  • subtitle card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading 'STEED MAKES A BOMB -
					EMMA IS PUT TO SLEEP!' superimposed on the view between the shelves in the record office
  • Youtube video - Mrs Peel is examining some specimen slides and is astonished to find that one of them has been altered so that Steed's signature summons - 'Mrs. PEEL - WE'RE NEEDED' is visible through the microscope
  • Steed smiles thoughtfully as he listens to the ravings of Quilby, who is wearing a lab coat in his dusty basement lab. A robot with a plastic dome head is just visible on the right
  • Emma teases Steed as she flips through Quilby's article in the Alchemists magazine, her chemistry equipment on the bench before her in the middle of her flat
  • A near collision as a huge lorry passes between Vazin's Jaguar and Mrs Peel's Lotus, preventing Vazin from running her off the road
  • A headless man wearing a tuxedo attacks Steed with Quilby's pestle
  • Mrs Peel refuses to co-operate despite Brodny trying to coerce her with a pistol as they stand in the marble hallway of the embassy
  • Youtube video - Steed and Emma depart in an elegant vintage Rolls Royce that refuses to start. They get out to push it then have to chase after it when it kicks into life

Series 5 - Episode 4
The See-Through Man

5½ stars

by Philip Levene
Directed by Robert Asher and Roy Rossotti

Steed makes a bomb -
Emma is put to sleep!

Episode Rating

Subject 0-5
Direction 3 stars
2½ stars
2½ stars
3½ stars
Mastermind 2 stars
Plot 2 stars
Emma 3 stars
Set Design
2½ stars
5½ stars

Well, they really did miss the mark on this one, didn't they? Nothing really engaging - I would think not one viewer would buy the invisible man story for more than a minute. Not as funny as it should have been (or they thought it was??) and not villainous enough either.

Mrs Peel is surprised to find a message on one of her microscope slides, saying she's needed to investigate an apparently invisible man.
Ambassador Brodny is convinced that Major Vazin, a top agent recently arrived in England, has acquired the secret of invisibility. A front for their government, The Eastern Drug Corporation, recently purchased the formula from Quilby - a mad professor expertly played by Roy Kinnear. It is all a plot to fool the British government into diverting much needed resources into pointless research but the Avengers see through the scheme.
They dispatch the villains, and flummox Brodny, before going out for something to eat, if they can catch up to the old Rolls that has a will of its own!

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
Mini red 735 CMD
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180
Austin Taxi (late 40s/early 50s) fawn, purple curtains PXL 748
Jaguar Mk II 3.8 bronze/brown 711 TPC
DAF 44 dark green KLW 363D
Bedford tiptruck beige -
Austin A110 Westminster grey -
Rolls Royce 40/50 Siver Ghost, 1909
Owned by Lord Montagu and on display at Beaulieu - National Motor Museum. This particular car was originally a limousine supplied to Colonel Fergusson of Dundee. It was found in the mid-1950s as a breakdown truck at Berwick-on-Tweed. The reproduction bodywork was constructed by Leslie Willis in the style of a Barker Roi des Belges.
white/silver R 1909

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Lord Daviot [big] Alexandre Vazin V* Shotgun
Ackroyd Alexandre Vazin V* Strangled?
Professor Quilby Alexandre Vazin V* ?
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. pink sleeveless sundress (see also above)
  2. white jacket, high collar, flaps on breasts & black skivvy, trousers, gloves & ankle boots
  3. orange print dress
  4. (2)
  5. striped sundress & pale pink stockings
  6. purple catsuit with blue trim
  7. mid blue catsuit, pale blue trim, with jacket and fob watch & blue boots
  1. blue shirt, copper tie, grey 3 piece single-breasted suit
  2. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with triangular flap pockets, light brown shirt, gold tie, black bowler hat & umbrella, boots
  3. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with triangular flap pockets, pale brown shirt, pale gold tie
  4. pale grey double-breasted suit, felt collar, flap pockets, 2 very long vents, wide skirt, grey chelsea boots, umbrella and bowler, pale grey shirt, dark grey tie with white spot, pale grey bowler hat & umbrella, boots
  5. charcoal pinstripe overcoat on top of above, later with dove grey gloves
  6. black/midnight blue tuxedo with silk facings and piping on trousers, pale blue ruffled shirt, blue velvet bow tie, black dress shoes
  7. mid brown single-breasted 3-piece suit with felt collar, 1 button at waist, matching bowler black umbrella, white shirt, gold tie

Continuity and trivia

  1. 7:43 et passim. - The robot in Quilby's lab was originally made for the film, "Mother Riley Meets the Vampire" (1952). It's had the glass dome replaced with a more bulbous version and the dials on the stomach panel seem to have changed.
  2. 12:33 - Brodny's entry into the Vazin's quarters was filmed as slate 25.
  3. 13:35 - The scene where he accompanies Elena back in and queries the expenses the Vazins are incurring was filmed as slate 28.
  4. 15:17 - His later tiptoe through the suite was filmed as slate 26, it took two takes.
  5. 21:45-23:20 - Reference is made to Brodny's appearance in Two's a Crowd in more ways than one - even the props department played a hand, putting a bottle of Creme des Violettes on his desk, next to the bottle of Smirnoff. Unfortunately, they weren't so attentive to the characters - Brodny says (23:10) his first names are Vladimir Jaroslav but in Two's a Crowd he claimed his mother called him Sergei.
  6. 21:52 - Smirnoff product placement.
  7. 23:43, 26:05 and 27:19 - back projection colour shift of Elena and Emma - there was colour shift earlier in another driving scene but it was much less apparent.
  8. 25:27 - same reel-to-reel tape player as in From Venus With Love.
  9. 27:54 - the studio shot of Mrs Peel getting out of her car is in the exact same spot as when she was supposed to be pulled up at the roadside, watching Elena and Ackroyd at 26:10.
  10. 29:55-30:00 - When Steed shows Quilbey Elena's photograph, the long shots of the photo are different to the closeup, which is the same photo which they pull from Elena's dossier.
  11. 33:00 - the turnstile in the park is rather obviously a studio set.
  12. 34:57 - Mrs Peel says, "Yeuch!" looking at the blue chemicals, then promptly drops some of it on her hand!
  13. 36:50 - Mrs Peel is chloroformed by Vazin.
  14. 46:55 - Brodny, trying not to get sent back behind the Iron Curtain, declares "I have tickets for the next Beatles concert". However, this was filmed in November 1966 and broadcast in 1967; the Beatles had stopped touring by then - their last English concert (not counting the impromptu gig on top of Apple Corp in 1969) was at Empire Pool, Wembley (now Wembley Arena) on 1st May, 1966. Their last ever commercial concert was at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on 29th August 1966. Of course, the scriptwriter and producers couldn't have known that at the time.
  15. Running time: 49'10"
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.

Cast notes

  1. Three actors are uncredited, anyone know who they are? I suspect Daviot was just played by a member of the crew (or the unstoppable Peter J. Elliott), he just lies face down in the duck pond for a couple of seconds. Vazin is played by a costume specialist, he was last seen (if that's the word) as the bloke masquerading as a murderous old woman in The Girl From Auntie. I think he is Art Thomas from A Touch of Brimstone.
    Have a look at these pictures:

    Lord Daviot

    Major Alexandr Vazin

    Embassy Guard

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