Series 5 — Episode 6
The Winged Avenger
by Richard Harris
Directed by Gordon Flemyng and Peter Duffell
Steed goes bird watching
Emma does a comic strip..
Production No E.66.6.6
Production completed: December 12 1966. First transmission: February 15 1967.
TV Times summary
In which Steed goes bird watching — and Emma does a comic strip …
Mrs Peel is busy painting when she’s distracted by discovering Steed has just signed her masterpiece.
Ruthless businessmen are being killed by a comic-strip character come to life. Good on him, I say.
The illustrator, Arnie, has turned fiction into fact using special climbing boots invented by Professor Poole - with them, you can walk up the side of a house. A battle ensues on the ceiling before Steed uses Batman tactics to bring the Winged Avenger down to earth. POW! WHACK! BLAM!
Back at Mrs Peel’s apartment Steed draws dinner, then serves it with a ping! of tureen lids.
A cloaked figure scales the outside of the tower block after scratching out ‘Simon Roberts’ from the office sign. Inside, the ruthless publisher Simon Roberts (William Fox) is instructing his son, Peter Roberts (Donald Pickering), how to dismiss a senior staff member instead of making him a board member. Dawson (A.J. Brown) is summarily dismissed and Peter leaves his father to his work. The figure swoops down on him from the ceiling - a bird face and massive talons - and slashes Roberts senior to pieces.
Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) is busy painting when she’s distracted by discovering
John Steed (Patrick Macnee) has just signed her masterpiece. She’s taken to the
publishers’ office where they find no way up or down from the
window, and Peter tells them the doors was locked. Examining a
guide to British birds at his flat, Steed tells Emma this is the
fourth identical killing of ruthless penthouse-living businessmen
in the past month.
That night, Peter Roberts is composing letters - one to take immediate legal action against a debtor rather than offer three weeks’ grace, another to withhold publishing rights from Sir Lexius Cray, the author of one of their recent best sellers. He too falls victim to the mysterious figure, a comic-strip character come to life, who now scratches ‘Son’ out of the 'Simon Roberts & Son’ sign.
Next day, Steed and Emma visit the office and find the window smashed and the dictaphone still running. They play back the dictaphone tape. Emma visits Sir Lexius Cray (Nigel Green), posing as a journalist from a magazine run by the Roberts. She quizzes him about their deaths while his sherpa butler, Tay Ling (John Garrie), smiles as he reads about the recent deaths in the paper. She leaves, more suspicious than before due to Cray’s hatred of Roberts and Son, and Cray tells Tay Ling she’s inquisitive, but nothing they can’t handle - Emma sees him summon his hawk with a whistle. Later, Tay Ling rings someone, telling them he knows they’re behind the ‘recent exploits’ in the papers and how they did them, his employer having received a letter from Professor Poole, and arranges a meeting...
Steed plans to use the scientific approach - a shoe box model of the Roberts building - while Emma revisits Cray under cover of darkness, dressed for action in a catsuit. She hears the assassin in the garden but is too late to prevent Tay Ling’s death, and she and Cray initially accuse each other of the murder. Cray finds nothing missing but hid letters from Poole - a man who claims to have invented boots with which you can walk up the side of a house. Back at Steed’s flat, he’s come up with two solutions: the murderer inflates a small balloon and rises up the side of the building, he fires a rocket line across to the window, drop a small trampoline and bounces off it into the window - OR he bribes the doorman! Emma tells him about Poole’s boots and they visit the professor, who is try out a flying cape on his country house’s lawn. Professor Poole (Jack MacGowran) is a mad ornithologist who wishes to free man of his earthly shackles - by wing or by boot, but denies the boots’ existence.
The Avengers decide to examine the victims - all ruthless
businessmen who care nothing for humanity - and spot the ideal
next victim, Edward J. Dumayn, an industrialist whose automation
drive has put thousands out of work. Dumayn (Hillary Wontner) is
out hunting and berates his gamekeeper, Fothers (John Crocker)
for flushing pigeons instead of game; he demands “something big
this time” and seconds later is mauled by the birdman.
Emma sifts through items found at the scene and finds a comic book “The Winged Avenger”, the illustrations for which eerily echo recent events, including Dumayn’s death. Steed visits Winged Avenger Enterprises, entering to behold the birdman attacking a beautiful woman - it is the studio models, Julian (Roy Patrick) and Gerda (Ann Sydney). The artist, Arnie Packer (Neil Hallett), feels the model isn’t getting into the part - he demands a rewrite from the author, Stanton (Colin Jeavons) and they bicker about respective talents and Packer derides Stanton’s mental state. They stop when they spot Steed who asks for back issues for a nephew.
Emma visits Poole and finds the books in the study upside down, and the professor sitting at his desk - on the ceiling! He reveals the boots use magnetic fields, and has sold them exclusively to an unknown party representing Winged Avenger Enterprises. She visits the studio and finds Packer and Stanton fighting again, and Julian absentmindedly leaving while still in costume ("sometimes it feels part of me"). She mentions her magazine has been offered wall-walking boots and Packer laughs his head off while Stanton looks worried...
That night, Julian is killed at the studio by the Winged
Avenger while trying on his costume again. Steed finds the
body when he returns to the studio, and disarms Stanton, who has
arrived after him. Stanton examines the storyboards and realises
Arnie is writing his own material - including a character called
Elma Peem. They hurry to Poole’s house, looking through the roughs
which reflect the events at the manor. Emma takes the Professor’s
boots after being chased into the study by the Winged Avenger and
confronts Packer, clearly deranged and thinking himself an
omnipotent righter of wrongs: judge, jury and executioner.
They fight, upside-down, on the ceiling.
Steed and Stanton arrive and burst into the study, gaping up in amazement. Steed uses the storyboards - ‘POW!’ ‘SPLAT!’ ‘BAM!’ to knock Packer out the window to his death.
At Emma’s flat, Steed draws a picture of a three course meal while Emma opens some champagne, then produces the real thing to a ‘PING!’ of tureen lids - the benevolent avenger strikes again!
|Transmission dates:||Foreign title||
tea (with milk)
champagne (Moët et Chandon)
|Germany||10/06/93?||(Der geflügelte Rächer)|
|France||28/09/1973||(Le vengeur volant)|
|Italy||10/05/1974||(il vendicatore alato)|
|Spain||---||(el vengador alado)|
|The Netherlands||?||(De gevleugelde wreker)|