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  • title card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading 'THE LIVING DEAD' superimposed on the gloomy chapel with a knight's tomb on the left, three pews down the middle and a golden eagle lectern on the right, the sally for the bell hangs in the centre, before the altar
  • subtitle card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading 'STEED FINDS A MINE OF INFORMATION
					EMMA GOES UNDERGROUND' superimposed on the gloomy chapel interior
  • Youtube video - Mrs Peel is stopped at some traffic lights. When they turn amber, the light has 'MRS. PEEL' taped on it and the go light reveals 'WE'RE NEEDED'. She turns to find Steed in his Bentley behind her, doffing his hat
  • Spencer inspects the cobweb-festooned tomb of the armoured 6th Duke, searching for the source of a noise
  • Masgard and Tom gaze melevolently at Steed in the shadows of the foggy graveyard
  • A view of the underground city
  • Down in the mine, Mandy, on the right, pulls a pistol on Steed, who is wearing a miner's lamp on his bowler hat
  • Steed gives Mrs Peel a light peck on the cheek for saving his life, the dead firing squad she has just mown down with a submachinegun lie on the ground of the underground city behind them
  • Youtube video - Steed's mechanic tells him he has a ghost in the engine - then ends up beinbg revealed as Mrs Peel and they share a glass of champagne

Series 5 - Episode 7
The Living Dead

6 stars

by Brian Clemens
Directed by John Krish
based upon a story by Anthony Marriott

Steed finds a mine of information
Emma goes underground

Episode Rating

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

A great deal of promise becomes mired in a flawed plot and a lacklustre script. Maybe it's just Mandy that annoys me.

Steed's been tampering with the traffic lights in order to tell Mrs Peel she's needed.
The ghost of Rupert, 15th Duke of Benedict, has arisen from his coffin and haunts the local church. Kermit the Hermit swears he didn't see anything by the time they arrive, but he's been got at by Masgard, the gamekeeper of the new Duke, who doesn't seem to know any old English customs. It transpires the old Duke had escaped from a vast underground city that has been built below a local mine shaft. A foreign army is gathering there, awaiting a nuclear holocaust of Britain. Emma rescues Steed from the execution squad, and the Avengers escape with Rupert and his remaining companions, leaving the villains trapped below.
Mechanic Emma, in a scene from a Modern Pygmalion, tells Steed he has "ghosts in the engine" of his Bentley.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180
Landrover SWB soft-top dark green, no tarp. JWR 87
bicycles black -
Lansing Bagnell electric trolley orange -
Willy's Jeeps red, black trim -

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Spencer Masgard? V* Sword
Kermit the Hermit Masgard? V* Rifle
Unknown miner Olliphant and his firing squad V* Rifles
Olliphant V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Firing Squad V* Emma Machine-gun
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. white skivvy & blue cardigan
  2. green a-line coat & trousers, yellow skivvy
  3. red quilted jacket, or maybe a kind of tweed??, pink sleeveless sundress
  4. blue catsuit with orange trim
  5. white overalls
  1. charcoal chalk striped single-breasted suit, pale grey shirt, red tie, midgrey bowler
  2. grey herringbone single-breasted suit, wasitcoat, grey shirt, red tie with small black spot, black bowler hat & umbrella
  3. brown and green hunting blazer, pale brown shirt, green tie, houndstooth trousers
  4. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with triangular flap pockets, white shirt, pale gold tie
  5. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with 4 buttons, slanted flap pockets and 2 very long vents, as above but with slanted parallelgram pocket flaps inst of triangles ERROR!!
  6. white lab coat and gas mask over above
  7. fawn overcoat matching bowler, black umbrella, red tie with tie pin, white shirt, charc suit?

Continuity and trivia

  1. 2:45 - It's the same graveyard set as From Venus with Love - there's even the headless angel.
  2. 5:45 - Steed tells Emma the ghost was considered to be that of Montague Staplow, 6th Duke of Benedict, who died in 1698.
  3. 5:54 - Rupert Staplow's gravestone does not mark a grave, it's a memorial to the men trapped in the Benedict Mine Disaster.
  4. 6:53/25:33/32:59/47:09 - Stock footage of a coal mine is used for a lot of establishing shots.
  5. 8:38/15:19/19:14 - Mandy Mackay has raided Mrs Peel's wardrobe (or visited the op shop near Highpoint 2) - she's seen (8:38 and 19:14) wearing her black leather jacket (as seen in The Cybernauts) and (15:19) her "Chemin" black and white fur coat (as seen in The Thirteenth Hole) from Series 4.
  6. 10:45 - When asked if he's seen the sign reading "Keep out" Steed replies, "Yes! Very bright, clear lettering, easy to read. I'd have preferred a 4 point Doric myself but otherwise an excellent sign". 4 point is very small type, that you might find used for legal disclaimers.
  7. 11:00-14:00 - While investigating the house, Steed's suit keeps changing - the giveaway is the shape of the wait pockets.
  8. 13:34 - The sun tan lotion used by the troglodytes is manufactured by the unlikely sounding McC.T.Ltd. There's not that much sunlight in Scotland, as Little Britain likes to remind us.
  9. 22:19 - It's broad daylight as Mandy runs from the chapel, isn't it supposed to be the evening?
  10. 23:22 - Mandy spills some brandy on herself.
  11. 29:44 et passim. - The guards' costumes (at least, the helmets) are left overs from "Fahrenheit 451".
  12. 34:50 - Julian Glover wrongly calls the publican 'Hopper' when he confronts him at the minehead.
  13. 43:07 - Cyd Child does the stunt where she overpowers the guard and spins him around on her shoulders.
  14. 43:54 - the spot lighting John Cater's face sneaks into shot at the bottom righthand corner. John stares at it briefly at 43:56, he knows it's in shot.
  15. 45:52 - Steed clearly failed Classics at Eton; he claims 'exit' is from the Greek 'exodus' when any schoolboy (except Brian Clemens, I presume) knows it's the third person present indicative of 'exire' in Latin (i.e. he/she/it goes out).
  16. The underground city looks like a leftover from "The Shape of Things to Come" - the use of backdrops is subtly done and it looks absolutely enormous.
  17. Running time: 49'19"
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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