Series 5 - Episode 89½ stars
The Hidden Tiger
by Philip Levene
Directed by Sidney Hayers
Steed hunts a big cat
Emma is badly scratched
|Set Design||3½ stars|
My absolute favourite Avengers episode. Elegant, ludicrous, eccentric and just plain joyous. Great clothes, inspired guest performances and an attention to detail make this the episode par excellence.
Redecorations are interrupted by Steed's message, hidden under
The Avengers have to track down a vicious cat on the rampage, killing people and animals near an experimental farm. Ronnie Barker plays Cheshire, the innocent proprietor of PURRR, excellently - patting his own head and lapping milk in my favourite scene. One by one, the members of the board of PURRR are being killed by cats - the killers are ordinary cats that are being driven wild by brain-wave modulators implanted in their collars. Steed signs up Emma as his beautiful bronze tabby, and Mrs Peel responds by joining her missing Little John, who's very grumpy before his first glass of champagne in the morning.
Dr Manx and Angora, from PURRR, plan to unleash every domestic cat on England, using radio waves to make them primeval beasts. Steed is tied to a chair, surrounded by cats, but Emma arrives in time to free him and disable the transmitter. Seeing a now placid cat in his van, Manx panics and dies in a car accident.
Mission accomplished, Mrs Peel can return to her redecorating - but Steed puts his foot in it.
|Landrover SWB soft-top (covered, spare on bonnet)||dark green||OPC 104D|
|Mini Moke milk truck||blue||LYP 794D|
|Mini Moke milk truck||blue||LYP 792D|
|Mini Moke milk truck||blue||LLU 253D|
|Mini Moke milk truck||blue||AJD 12C|
|Bentley Speed Six 1926||British racing green||RX 6180|
|Austin Princess Vanden Plas Hearse||black||-|
|Lotus Elan S3||glacier blue||SJH 499D|
|Commer 30cwt van||royal blue, PURRR written in white on the side||396 EUW|
|Sir David Harper||Harper's cat||cat|
|Samuel Jones||Jones' cat||cat|
|Dr Manx V*||himself V*||crashes van into a tree|
|An unusual episode in which no-one is murdered directly; all the deaths (bar the last) being caused by cute, fluffy, enraged moggies.|
Continuity and trivia
- 5:19 - "We'll check around the grounds" Really? It's two stand-ins who do the walking around. The woman's stockings are a completely different colour to Diana's.
- 7:37/7:42 - The footage of the attacking lion (7:17) is taken from the Patrick McGoohan film "Nor the Moon by Night".
- 8:08 (7:45) - While at Nesbitt's, Steed crosses the room followed by Nesbitt, and the shadow of the boom microphone dances across his forehead.
- 9:12 - As the camera pans across, following Peters, you can see a glimpse of the studio ceiling and lighting gantry in the top left corner. It would have been considered to be outside the scan area for Sixties television sets but even so there's a clear corner in the "sky" above the shed in the corner.
- 10:00 - When Emma is speaking to Erskine in the milk room, you can briefly see the shadow of the boom microphone at the top right corner.
- 13:35 (13:13) - When Erskine is attacked outside the barn, we get a superb low angle shot - to represent the cat's POV - unfortunately, you can also see the studio ceiling.
- 14:49 - They've used the American spelling of "pasteurized" on the milk can.
- 17:02 - Product placement for Moët et Chandon.
- 23:00-23:25 - Going through the gates of PURRR are a lot of mokes - actually, it's four, which go through the gate three times, giving the impression that 10 mokes had entered. (all 4; then 2 in front of Steed and 2 behind as he stops at the gate; then we cut to Steed, with all four queued up behind him again).
- 23:28 - The first cat-shaped sign is followed by a red and then a yellow one in the long shot, but we never see them again after the close-up.
- 25:10 - Cheshire is mourning the passing of "Prince Courtney of Chippenham" when Steed arrives.
- 25:27 - Cheshire bids adieu to Prince Courtney by saying, "Farewell, faithful, fair and fulsome feline friend!"
Fulsome? The word used to be a positive adjective but these days it suggests "overweight" or "overfed" or, worse, "offensive" or "excessive". Perhaps Prince Courtney was a fat cat.
- 26:00-26:20 - Distinct innuendo from Cheshire. He asks Steed, "The name of your beloved pussy?" Steed looks blank then replies, "Oh, err, Emma".
A moment later Cheshire observes, "And what a joy for you it must be when she's curled up in your lap." to which Steed replies, "Well, I've never thought of it like that."
- 26:28 - Cheshire offers Steed a drink - of milk! : "Homogenised, pasteurised, full cream, dairy special or perhaps you prefer a short?"
- 26:43 - When Cheshire has a drink of milk, the cat he's holding tries to drink it so Angora quickly takes the cat off him.
- 30:44-31:20 - Contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, there is no continuity error when Cheshire's playing with the Identi-Cat system - true, he replaces the chin, which is the top sheet, with another. However, when Mrs Peel says the eyes are wrong, he places another sheet over the top (31:14) - on top of the chin and smaller eyes below [see enlargement].
- 31:41 - Emma tells Cheshire her "Little John" is "very grumpy before his first glass of champagne".
- 32:30 - When Emma and Cheshire firs enter the yellow hallway, there's the briefest glimpse of the top of the set and the lighting gantry
- 32:50 - Diana Rigg must be allergic to cats, her eyes are all puffed up as they walk down the hallway.
- 33:50 - Angora is wearing Mrs Peel's pink and black woolen suit from The Cybernauts
- 35:14 - Left:Peters is talking to Angora and goes to pour himself a glass of milk, only to find it almost full already, so he just tops it up and drinks. Must have required a couple of takes for that one. (34:52)
- 41:17 - Rocky Taylor stands in for Macnee again, he runs for the wall and leaps over it.
- 41:42 - Right:The view from the peephole that we see from Steed's point of view is impossible - he's in a side room and yet he can see straight down the middle of the hallway. (41:16)
- 42:21 - there's a black spot on the film almost dead centre as Cheshire attacks Steed.
- 44:30-44:45 - Diane West does a lot of the running around in the dark, standing in for Diana Rigg.
- 44:55 - The cat Cheshire gave Mrs Peel and which escapes from her car (44:55) to the van clearly walks across the middle of the hallway (45:40) when the cats are released by the villains, but reappears in the van (46:24) in the next scene, scaring Dr Manx into crashing the vehicle.
In Emma's arms
...in the hall
...in the van
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- 45:51 - When Emma arrives to saves Steed she purrs, "Pussies Galore!" after running down the hallway full of cats.
- 46:51/47:16 - stand-ins do most of the running around in the dark to reach and then leave the crashed van.
- 47:00 - When Dr Manx falls out of the cab you can just see the head of a crew member at the bottom of the screen, waiting to catch him.
- Running time: 49'06"
- Gabrielle Drake (Angora) went on to star as Lt. Gay Ellis in the TV series UFO. She is also the sister of the tragic musician Nick Drake.
- Several actors are uncredited - the undertaker and pallbearers who leave PURRR with a cat-sized coffin when Steed arrives. Anyone know them?
- There are also the hearse driver and four milk float drivers, but they're too indistinct to be recognisable.