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  • 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

7½ stars

by Philip Levene
Directed by James Hill

Steed acquires a nanny
Emma shops for toys

Episode Rating

Subject 0-5
Direction 4 stars
Music
3½ stars
Humour
3½ stars
Intro/tag
2½ stars
Mastermind 3 stars
Plot 3 stars
Emma
3½ stars
Set Design
3½ stars
Overall
(0-10)
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

    (6:26/6:20)

    (8:00/7:54)

    (8:30/8:24)
    ©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). Let's hope the much-rumoured bluray release will revert to native 24fps with soft telecine so we won't have these problems again.

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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