Series 5 - Episode 127½ stars
The Superlative Seven
by Brian Clemens
Directed by Sidney Hayers
Steed flies to nowhere
Emma does her party piece
|Set Design||2 stars|
A good earthy Agatha Christie story as a vehicle for Steed. Not what you'd normally expect from The Avengers, but it works nonetheless.
Mrs Peel summons Steed with a rubber duck; he is needed to
attend a fancy dress party - somewhere above the south of
Stranded on an unknown island, Steed and the other guests are told that one of their number is a killer. The scenario has been staged by Jessel to convince Kanwitch that his agent is unbeatable. Charlotte Rampling shines in the rôle of Hana Wild, despite unfortunately knocking out Steed, whom she suspects to be the killer. Mrs Peel drops in to expose that the agent is actually a pair of identical twins and Jessel loses a shoot-out with Mrs Wild.
Steed drops in on a Mrs Peel's duck shoot, just as she bags a brace of teddy bears - but she missed the bottle of Bollinger!
|Lotus Elan S3||glacier blue||SJH 499D|
|Handley-Page Herald||blue and white||-|
|Toy Sung V*||Stewardess V*||Sword|
|Freddy Richards||Wade V*||Broken back|
|Joe Smith||Wade V*||Pitchfork|
|Max Hardy||Wade V*||Sword|
|Mark Dayton||Wade V*||Garotte|
|Jason Wade V*||Steed||Spear|
|Wade's twin V*||Emma||Thrown off balcony|
|Kanwitch V*||Jessel V*||Pistol|
|* Wade is in fact two characters, Jason Wade and his unnamed twin. Working out which is which is left as an exercise to the reader.|
Continuity and trivia
- 4:28 & 47:28 - What sort of hunters are Steed and Emma anyway? At the beginning (4:28/4:15) Steed shoots at wood pigeons a nd at the end Emma shoots at the same (47:28), both of them expecting to bring down ducks.
- 4:55 - Steed has been invited to a party by Sir George Robertson DSO CBE KCB.
- 5:51 - The back of the invitation reads:
Clements Airport 18.30 hrs ..TINUM QUINTUM IDUS MARTIASi.e. 6:30pm on 11th March (ante diem quintum idus Martias).
- 7:17 - Freddy Richards looks at Steed's costume and quips, "Kitchener's Valet?" - "I was Kitchener's Valet" was an exceedingly fashionable shop on Carnaby St, frequented by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, which sold old military uniforms among other things.
- 8:54 - Hana quotes the nursery rhyme, "here comes the chopper to chop off our heads"
- 10:23 (10:10) - There's a Continuity error when the plane's taking off (10:10) - Steed and Mrs Wild fasten themselves into their seats, then they're peering out the portholes, then they're back in their seats again, all in the twinkling of an eye!
©1961-9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
- 11:03 - The footage of the aeroplane passing overhead - call sign G-ASBP - has been flipped horizontally.
- 11:47 - We had already heard that Steed was invited by Sir George Robertson DSO CBE KCB and we now learn the supposed hosts of the other guests: Hana Wilde had been invited by Mark Salter (or Walters?), Joe Smith by Jack Peters, Max Hardy by Lance Quilley, Freddy Richards by Charlie Reed, Jason Wade by Alfred Williams (although we learn he was actually there at Jessel's behest), and Mark Dayton was invited by "a man called Godfrey".
- 13:37 - sea shot - stock?
- 14:52 - The aeroplane seems to change a lot. On the ground, it's a Handley-Page Herald, but it has new livery (and is a different model) in one shot in the air; and in another it's become a low-winged craft!
On the ground...
but what is this?
a new paint job!
©1961-9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
Consensus is that the aeroplane used in the episode was a twin engined Handley-Page Herald, probably about to be sold by BEA to Global Air, as all the livery has been painted out.
Opinion is divided as to whether the scenes were shot at Radlett, where Handley-Page were based, or Luton, as there are Bristol Brittanias on the field, and both Monarch and Britannia were based at Luton.
- The cockpit used in some scenes was taken from a Trident 1, probably also BEA. 14:55 et passim - G-APMG serial on controls in cockpit.
- 17:57 - The shot from the air shows the same islands as were used in an episode of "The Prisoner".
- 20:43/21:13 et passim. - The house is dilapidated, has no out-size playing cards, but is otherwise more or less identical to the house in The Joker.
- 36:33 - Steed is completely out of focus when he enters the main hall.
- 39:00 - Steed says to Wade, revealed as the killer, "You were with me when Smith was killed". - but he wasn't! Everyone bar the dead Freddy and Smith were in the house, it's true, but when Smith is actually killed, Steed is search the woods, alone. (On the other hand, he was with him when Hardy was killed, so perhaps it was a late script change or an error by Macnee).
- 39:35 - stunt doubles for fight
- 40:20 - The wall nearly collapses when Wade tumbles over it.
- 43:28 - scratch on film right down middle of negative.
- 46:07 - There's a small hole in the film negative, almost dead centre.
- 47:56 - Moët et Chandon product placement
- Running time: 49'07"
- Rocky Taylor and the stuntman called in to replace him both suffered cuts tpo the wrist dutring filming.
- This episode is famous because of the calibre of its guest cast - Donald Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, Brian Blessed are the most famous today and Brian Clemens reflect they wouldn't be able to afford them now.
James Maxwell, Hugh Manning, Leon Greene and Gary Hope were much sought-after in their time as well; so too John Hollis and Terry Plummer in their way.