• title card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading ‘SOMETHING NASTY IN THE NURSERY’ superimposed on a close-up of Dodson slumped over a red leather armchair, dead and sucking his thumb
  • subtitle card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading ‘STEED ACQUIRES A NANNY
			EMMA SHOPS FOR TOYS’ superimposed on a close-up of Dodson slumped over a red leather armchair, dead and sucking his thumb
  • Youtube video - Mrs Peel wakes from a nap to find a toy carousel on her table. One of the knights bears a flag that reads ‘MRS PEEL’. Steed appears and says, ‘We’re needed!’
  • Steed inspects a shelf in Martin’s toy store which holds the ‘TOYS FOR THE OFFSPRING OF NOBILITY’
  • A row of nannies menacingly pull objects from their prams
  • Mrs Peel leaps onto a car to avoid being struck down by Gordon, then turns to try to wrestle him from his vehicle
  • Close-up of the old lady in the wheelchair brandishing a tommy gun - her face is not in frame so you can’t tell who she is
  • Goat, disguised as Nanny Roberts, hands General Wilmot a pistol to kill Steed after he’s shown the location of the missile bases on a map; Miss Lister sits between them
  • Youtube video - Emma and Steed gaze into a crystal ball, she sees a sign that says ‘Tune in again next week’ while he sees something more salacious

Series 5 — Episode 14
Something Nasty In The Nursery

by Philip Levene
Directed by James Hill

Steed acquires a nanny
Emma shops for toys

Production No E.66.6.14
Production completed: April 3 1967. First transmission: April 19 1967.

Regional broadcasts

Rediffusion London21/04/19678:00pm
ABC Midlands22/04/19679:10pm
ABC North22/04/19679:10pm
Anglia Television21/04/19678:00pm
Border Television18/02/19687:25pm
Channel Television10/07/19688:00pm
Grampian Television21/02/19688:00pm
Southern Television21/04/19678:00pm
Scottish Television22/12/19678:00pm
Tyne Tees Television19/04/19678:00pm
Ulster Television29/02/19687:30pm
Westward Television10/07/19688:00pm
Harlech Television2/06/19687:25pm

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for April 21 1967, 8pm (London edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for June 27 1967, 8pm
The Age listing for June 26 1967, 8pm

8.0 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee
as John Steed
Diana Rigg
as Emma Peel
Something Nasty in the

By Philip Levene

In which Steed acquires a Nanny — and Emma shops for toys!

Cast also includes

Mr. Goat Dudley Foster
Miss Lister Yootha Joyce
Beaumont Paul Eddington
Webster Paul Hardwick
Sir George Collins Patrick Newell
Gen. Wilmot Geoffrey Sumner
Gordon Trevor Bannister
Martin Clive Dunn
James George Merritt
Nanny Roberts Enid Lorimer
Nanny Smith Louie Ramsay
Nanny Brown Penelope Keith
Dobson Dennis Chinnery

Designed by Robert Jones
Music by Laurie Johnson
Directed by James Hill
Produced by Albert Fennell
and Brian Clemens
Executive Producer
Julian Wintle

ABC Television Network Production

TV Times listing for April 21 1967, 8pm (Anglia edition) with a photo from “The Cybernauts”

International broadcasts

ABN2 Sydney, Australia27/06/19678:00pm
ABV2 Melbourne, Australia26/06/19678:00pm
ABC New York, USA5/05/196710:00pm
ORTF2 France27/08/19688:30pm
Suisse Romande, Switzerland8/04/19689:15pm
French titleRien ne va plus dans la nursery
ZDF Germany13/02/19689:15pm
German titleEins, zwei, drei - Wer hat den Ball?
KRO Netherlands4/11/19699:45pm
Dutch titleOn rust in de kinderkamer
Svizzera Italiana31/05/19749:00pm
Italian titleritorno all’infanzia*
Spanish titleAlgo desagradable en la guardería

* Italian listings showed this as 10pm, as Italy observed Summer Time and Switzerland did not.

USA: Chicago Tribune listing for May 5 1967, 9pm
USA: New York Times listing for May 5 1967, 10pm
Spain: ABC Madrid listing for November 13 1967, 4.10pm
France: Journal de Genève episode summary
France: Journal de Genève listing for August 27 1968, 8.30pm
Netherlands: Leidse Courant episode summary for November 4 1969, 9.45pm
Netherlands: Zierkzeesche Nieuwsbode highlights for November 4 1969
TV Svizzera Italiana: Stampa Sera listing for May 31 1974, 10pm Italian time
TV Svizzera Italiana: Radiocorriere listing for May 31 1974, 10pm Italian time
Switzerland: L’Impartial listing for April 8 1968, 9.15pm
Germany: Hamburg Abendblatt listing for February 13 1968, 9.15pm

Episode Rating

Subject 0–5
Direction 4 stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
2½ stars
Mastermind 3 stars
Plot 3 stars
3½ stars
Set Design
3½ stars
7½ stars

A fun episode, all hallucinogenic drugs, espionage and mayhem; and damned close to being in my top ten. It falls short due to the spotty direction and annoying trimming for transmission. We needed a more careful editor on this one.

Mrs Peel is roused by a toy merry-go-round - another of Steed’s quirky summonses.
Military bigwigs are returning to the nursery and divulging sensitive secrets in their childlike state. The Avengers are led to the Guild of Noble Nannies, formerly run by the official’s old Nanny, now under the guidance of Goat who, disguised as Nanny Roberts, has been visiting her old charges and using a drugged bouncing ball to make them spill the beans. Steed’s on the spot at the last attack, but the villains don’t notice his gloves and think him back in the nursery also. In the ensuing fight, Goat loses his hair and Wilmot shoots the fraud.
The Avengers retire to gaze into a crystal ball, revealing that viewers should tune in the same time next week. Steed’s visions are too much for Mrs Peel, who demurely covers the ball.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III white CKP 500C
Jaguar 420G blue OGX 923E
wheelchair, motorised black and chrome -
Morris Mini van grey blue 994 JOD
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180
(various Austins, Minis, Morrises etc. Also a Rover 110 and Brian Clemens’ black E-type Jaguar, 140 MPH)

Who’s Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Dobson Mr Goat V* Pistol
James Mr Goat V* ?
Martin Mr Goat V* Booby-trapped Jack-in-the-box
Nanny Roberts ?? Gordon V* ? lethal injection
Mr Goat V* Wilmot Pistol
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma’s Fashions Steed’s Fashions
  1. Yellow woollen skivvy, lilac jacket & trousers, yellow/orange boots
  2. black/navy a-line coat & trousers, black boots
  3. yellow collared dress
  4. blue catsuit with white laces, white boots, circular metal buckle on belt
  5. striped sundress
  1. brown and green hunting blazer, white pinstriped shirt, dark brown/green tie
  2. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with 4 buttons, slanted flap pockets and 2 very long vents, waistcoat with lapels, cream shirt, blue tie & handkerchief [continuity error]
  3. brown and green hunting blazer, white pinstriped shirt, dark brown/green tie
  4. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with 4 buttons, slanted flap pockets and 2 very long vents, waistcoat with lapels, cream shirt, blue tie & handkerchief
  5. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with 4 buttons, slanted flap pockets and 2 very long vents as above but waistcoat has no lapels
  6. charcoal chalk striped single-breasted suit, white shirt, red cravat, black tie pin, taupe bowler, black umbrella boots
  7. brown and green hunting blazer with matching waistcoat, cream shirt, burg/brown paisley cravat gold pin, brown bowler hat & umbrella, houndstooth trousers
  8. charcoal chalk striped single-breasted suit as above, later with grey bowler
  9. light grey chalk stripe single-breasted 3-piece suit, pale blue shirt, dark blue tie
  10. ...grey gloves revealed at denouément
  11. brown and green hunting blazer with matching waistcoat, white pinstriped shirt, green/bronze tie

Continuity and trivia

  1. 2:10 — The red leather armchair from the opening titles is in the room of Wilmot’s house that Dodson breaks into.
  2. 4:20 — There’s hair and dust on the caption scanner, especially in the top left quadrant of the screen.
  3. 5:14 — Crime show cliché - Steed describes Dodson as being “one of our best agents”.
  4. 5:30 — Sir George Collins is revealed to be the son of the Attorney-General, Viscout Frederick Webster, DSO and bar, and Lord William Beaumont is second cousin to an unnamed prince.
  5. 8:00 — Upon arriving at Lord Beaumont’s, Steed is in the car wearing his brown sports jacket and cravat, but once inside is wearing the grey suit with yellow shirt and blue tie again. He changes back into the brown suit again (21:30) when he visits the Guild of Noble Nannies.
    grey suit brown suit grey suit



    ©1961–9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
  6. 9:40 — Cyd Child is standing-in for Diana Rigg in the garden shots (when shot from behind).
  7. 6:30–10:00 — Beaumont is wearing an Eton tie, Sir George is wearing what looks to be a Jesus College tie.
  8. 11:06–11:30 — When Webster comes out the door, Mrs Peel appears to head for her car but after Webster drives off you see the stand-in run across the lawn towards the car.
  9. 11:40 — When Mrs Peel drives away, it’s clearly sped-up footage.
  10. 19:33 — The carousel toy from the opening tag scene is in Martin’s Toy Shop.
  11. 25:25 — How did Mrs Peel end up at the Guild of Noble Nannies? Did Webster tell her about it?
  12. 32:20 — Moët et Chandon product placement.
  13. 33:00 — Steed puts the bomb in the tuba and blows the blast out the window... or does he? The picture to the left clearly shows the bomb falling out of the tuba seconds before it goes off. The glories of the one-take world of Sixties television. (Also, at 33:32 the tuba has been stretched out straight by the blast, but that didn’t happen at all in the previous shot).
  14. Goat
    34:25 — How come Martin doesn’t realise Goat is not a woman? He’s not wearing a veil.
  15. 36:10 — Why does Miss Lister think Steed “knows about Wilmot”?
  16. 36:38–37:37 — It looks like Paul Weston standing-in for Patrick Macnee for the action and long shots.
  17. 39:20 — That’s not Diana Rigg in the over-the-shoulder shots but it doesn’t look like Cyd Child either.
  18. 42:06–42:23 & 45:16 — Steed avoids being drugged by wearing gloves, but at the beginning of the scene you can see that he’s not wearing any gloves. At least, you can if you’re watching it on a modern television - older televisions and monitors chopped the picture off with the screen curvature so audiences of previous years - and possibly even the production staff - might never have seen the Continuity error.
    In a way, there’s no error - we don’t see Steed’s hands at any time after the ball bounces through the window until we see the loves at 45:16, and he’s already explained his suspicions of the balls to Wilmot. He may have bent down, then put his gloves on and not touched the ball at all, but he should have removed the gloves when behind the books.

    ©1961–9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved

    ©1961–9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
  19. 43:48 (45:16) - Goat marks the map with rough squares around the model missiles (Airfix Bristol Bloodhound kits, by the way) (), but just before Steed tears up the map, they’re marked with circles. (44:41/46:08) Also, the residents of Norwich will be happy that the missile has moved from the centre of town, down towards Eccles.
    square circle
    ©1961–9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
  20. 45:55–46:02 — Goat is lying in from of armchair, on the carpet, after being thrown over it by Steed in their fight but when he gets up and grabs the Miss Lister’s gun, he’s down the other end of the room.
  21. 46:43 — How did Mrs Peel know Wilmot’s nursery name ‘Cuddles’, when she wasn’t present when Steed learned it?
  22. 48:00 — Breaking the fourth wall - Emma sees a prediction in her crystal ball that ends with the words “Watch next week”.
  23. Running time: 49′18″
  24. Steed’s Bentley was damaging during filming when a generator being swung on a pulley chain clipped the bonnet.
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).
Thankfully, the new blu ray releases for series 4–6 appear to use native 24fps with soft telecine so the running times and pitch all seem to be correct again along with a much grreatly improved picture quality, most notably in the Tara King episodes which are finally back to their original glory.

Cast notes

  1. What happened to Penelope Keith?
    Given what Ms Keith looked like in The Murder Market (left), I think all her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.
    She appears in a black & white promotional still, Steed looks like he’s about to talk to her... (right)

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