Series 5 — Episode 17
Return Of The Cybernauts
by Philip Levene
Directed by Robert Day
Steed pulls some strings
Emma becomes a puppet
Production No E.66.6.18
Production completed: June 27 1967. First transmission: September 27 1967.
TV Times summary
Emma and Steed set off on the trail of a missing scientist
Paul Beresford, while becoming friendly with Steed and Mrs Peel, resurrects his brother’s most dangerous invention - the Cybernaut. Using the robot to kidnap important scientists he gives them a task: Kill The Avengers! Professor Chadwick creates a watch that contain circuitry to control the mind through the salt on the victim’s skin. Steed leaves his at home and isn’t affected when Mrs Peel suddenly drives off, her gaze completely blank. Steed gives chase, but is captured.
While trying to put a new watch on Steed, Beresford is overpowered and Steed slips it on the Cybernaut, causing it to go awry. After killing Beresford, the Cybernaut shorts out, and Mrs Peel tips it over with a single finger.
Steed shows less electronic skill later when, trying to repair Mrs Peel’s electric toaster, he put two toast-shaped holes in her ceiling.
A hand sorts through some computerised id cards, including those of Steed and Mrs Peel, and finally selects one with a photo of a middle-aged man on it. Outside, the night is stormy and the man on the card - Dr Russell (Roger Hammond) - is shocked when a figure bursts into his house and attacks him. He’s knocked out and hoisted onto the shoulder of... a cybernaut (Terry Richards)!
Paul Beresford (Peter Cushing) is entertaining John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), flirting with her outrageously, and they are discussing the
disappearance of Professor Chadwick, a government scientist,
when the phone rings and Steed is told of Russell’s abduction.
They leave to investigate, Beresford trying to get Emma to stay -
"Surely Steed can handle this without you." “He could,” says Emma,
"but I mustn’t let him find out". After she’s gone, an alarm
beeps and Beresford opens a sliding door to let the cybernaut in.
Steed is puzzled by the lack of common factor between the two scientists’ work - as Beresford explains to his assistant, Benson (Frederick Jaeger), Chadwick is a physiologist, the foremost expert on anatomy, whereas Russell is an engineer; Beresford needs an electronics expert to ‘complete the set’ and Benson selects Dr Neville from the stack of cards - cardiographs which act like fingerprints, allowing the cybernaut to track down his target in the midst of a multitude. The cybernaut departs and surprises Dr Neville (Charles Tingwell) when he’s leaving his office. He tries to escape in his car, but the cybernaut stops the car with its hand and smashes the roof in, hoisting the unconscious Neville out the hole.
Benson, on the lookout for the returning cybernaut is alarmed when the Avengers return - Emma had misplaced her purse the night before - he breathes a sigh of relief when Beresford spots it and they depart, seconds before the cybernaut appears. Steed and Emma are alerted to Neville’s abduction and investigate, immediately recognising the handiwork of a cybernaut but are even more puzzled than before about the connection.
Beresford meanwhile meets his scientists, placing them at a table
laid with three piles of £100,000. He shows them a film
of Dr Clement Armstrong (Michael Gough), inventor of the
cybernauts and, he reveals, his brother. He wants the scientists
to help him avenge his brother’s death, and devise an evil method
of killing Steed and Emma. Russell refuses, even with the offer
of an additional £100,000 if they succeed, and is struck
down and killed by the cybernaut when he tries to leave. Dr Chadwick (Fulton Mackay)
and Dr Neville, faced with the combination of riches and threats,
Steed examines Russell’s body, which has been dumped back at his house, and confirms he was killed by a cybernaut, pondering who will be abducted to replace him. Across town, Dr Garnett’s dolly bird secretary, Rosie (Aimi Macdonald), is chatting to a friend on the phone when a cybernaut enters and knocks her aside before breaking through Garnett’s office door. Steed interviews her afterwards and after being initially upset there won’t be any photographers ("I’ve a super bikini, it’s ever so revealing, I’ve nearly been arrested twice wearing it!") she admits she never the attacker’s face after initially describing him as dreamy and misty eyed.
Beresford welcome Dr Garnett (Anthony Dutton), whom Chadwick and Neville convince to co-operate. They’re shown to a two-way mirror and see Emma arrive. She deliberately drops a photo of Armstrong from a dossier, about whom Beresford rhapsodises, while Emma derides him. Beresford bites his lip and Steed arrives - “I met him once”, says Garnett; “So did I”, Benson intones, rubbing his head. Steed says he’s hoping to discovers Armstrong’s next of kin from his lawyer and when the phone rings Benson listens in to hear Steed’s boss, Conroy, give him the lawyer’s address. Beresford tries to delay Steed with a bottle of Léoville but he sets off regardless. Unfortunately, Benson and the cybernaut arrive first and the lawyer, John Hunt (Redmond Phillips), is killed before he can get there. He stoops to inspect the body and the cybernaut attacks him...
Emma makes her excuses and leaves Beresford’s while in the
lab Garnett requests some expensive equipment. She nurses Steed’s
sore head ("Never tangle with a cybernaut!") and he wants the ice
in a glass with a large whisky wrapped around it. Once recovered,
he revisits the Ministry while Emma tackles Armstrong’s file.
He returns to Garnett’s office, stopping to tell Rosie she’s in danger of being arrested again, and meets Conroy (Noel Coleman), who’s searching Garnett’s office. Conroy reveals that Chadwick, Neville and Garnett all shared a common brief - weapons research - although in different fields, and all their cardiograms are missing, he elaborates that Garnett is an explosives expert.
Sure enough, Garnett builds a small incendiary and uses it to escape from Beresford and goes to Steed’s flat where he collapses, warning Emma that they’re in danger. She gets a cloth to tend his brow when the cybernaut bursts in and she’s sent reeling as it leaves with the unconscious scientist.
Neville and Chadwick collaborate on a design which Chadwick tells Beresford is ‘the ultimate’ in revenge; Beresford agrees, ‘a perpetual torment and they’d wish they were dead’ and is disconcerted by Neville saying there may be difficulties. Chadwick dismisses them, saying they just need to know the target’s skin conductivity and epidermal resistance - measurable from them touching a metal object, and Paul unveils a bronze bust of Mrs Peel.
Steed tends to Emma’s sore head and explains the new cybernauts are Directed by heartbeat patterns, in return she conveys Garnett’s warning then Beresford rings, saying he has information about Armstrong. It’s a ruse, and the scientists dutifully record their measurements and take photos when Steed and Emma touch the bust, Beresford saying the information turn out to be untrue.
Chadwick completes a replica of Steed’s watch and produces a
controller for it - an advance on the pacemaker that circumvents
the brain, creating “human puppets”; Beresford demands they test
it, using Garnett as the guinea pig and he’s delighted when it
works perfectly, then deliberately kills Garnett by pressing all
the buttons at once, ‘short circuiting’ his brain, much to
Beresford presents Emma with a diamond-encrusted watch, asking only that she wear it to lunch tomorrow, while Benson breaks into Steed’s apartment and exchanges the watches. Next day, Steed sorts through the mess left by Benson when Emma shows off her new watch ‘he practically thrust it upon me’. “You could have stepped aside, or thrust it back”, Steed comments, and she says she just might do that. Beresford, impatient for his revenge, turns on the controls, making Mrs Peel suddenly leave Steed’s apartment and race off in her car, pursued by Steed, whose watch is left behind on his desk. He follows her to Beresford Estate where Beresford is furious that Emma has arrived alone, but he relents when she enters, trancelike, and he maliciously uses the controller to direct her movements.
Benson spots Steed in the bushes while Beresford is telling Emma about his plan for eternal retribution and she’s sent out to take care of him. She knocks Steed out and he comes to to find Beresford patting a bust or Armstrong and learns Paul is his brother ("Nice time to tell me!"). Beresford explains how the watch works and evilly caresses Emma’s cheek while he talks about her obeying his every whim. Beresford orders a new watch be put on Steed, Neville declaring they had no choice but Chadwick pushes him out of the way, eager to serve Beresford. Steed lunges suddenly and the watch is put on the cybernaut’s arm instead, sending the machine haywire. He leaps up and removes Emma’s watch and they turn on their captors while Beresford tries to control the cybernaut. Emma grabs the controller and smashes it but too late, as the cybernaut has crushed Beresford to death. Steed pushes over the inert cybernaut ("My turn!").
Steed shows less electronic skill later when he repairs Mrs Peel’s electric toaster, putting a hole in her ceiling ("That’s the first thing Great Britain’s ever got into orbit!") and leaving two smoking slices of burnt toast behind - "Should I butter them, or preserve them for posterity?" asks Mrs Peel.
|Transmission dates:||Foreign title||
Léoville ’28 (claret)
whisky on the rocks
|Germany||16/01/1968||(Und noch einmal Roboter)|
|France||15/07/1973||(Le retour des Cybernautes)|
|Italy||19/07/1974||(il ritorno del cibernauta)|
|Spain||---||(el regreso de los cibernautas)|
|The Netherlands||22/02/1969||(De terugkeer van de robots)|