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  • title card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the top left reading 'DEATH'S DOOR' superimposed on a closed, ornate oak door inside an ornate marble jamb with 'CONFERENCE ROOM' painted in gold
  • Steed's Bentley hurtles down Spout Hill toward an oncoming van, the brakes having failed
  • Inside the blue warehouse, Melford panics as he faces an outsized calendar showing FRIDAY 13
  • Becker takes aim with a rifle, has just asked him to replace
  • The villainous chauffeur Jepson is easily defeated by Mrs Peel's karate skills
  • Emma stands in the blue warehouse wearing a green catsuit with lace-up sleeves, her arms are crossed and she holds a pistol in her right hand, pointed over over her left shoulder at a sign that reads SPOUT HILL. A stocking is over her head and she tops her outfit with a black bowler at a jaunty angle
  • video - Steed wakes from a dream to find that Mrs Peel mysteriously knows the exact theatre tickets he's booked them

Series 5 - Episode 18
Death's Door

8½ stars

by Philip Levene
Directed by Sidney Hayers

Steed relives a nightmare
Emma sees daylight

A crowd of foreign diplomats arrive for a peace conference but the French attaché, Pavret (Michael Faure) comments to his english counterpart, Stapley (William Lucas), that the English delegate is not among them. Stapley replies that a united Europe is Sir Andrew's idea and he must be granted the vanity of a star entrance. Sir Andrew Boyd (Clifford Evans) appears, flanked by lackeys and his aide, Lord Melford (Allan Cuthbertson) but balks at going through the door and runs in horror.

Steed and Emma arrive and Melford tells them Sir Andrew's being attended to by his doctor, and that Stapley's story about a migraine was a cover-up. Stapley tells them his breed specialise in half truths, and presents Melford with a follow-up press release. Steed promises Melford he'll deliver Sir Andrew to the conference at 6 o'clock and greets Sir Andrew and his doctor, Dr Evans (Paul Dawkins). Dr Evans says Sir Andrew will be fine after a rest and fetches him some tablets, so Steed arranges to return at 5:30. Evans returns to find Sir Andrew standing at the window, rubbing an insect bite. He takes the pills and the doctor leaves, also rubbing a bite.
Steed is about to leave when Sir Andrew, waking from a nightmare, rings to warn Steed to "take it easy down Spout Hill". Sure enough, the brakes fail and Steed guides the careening Bentley safely to rest in a copse at the foot of the hill. He goes to collect Sir Andrew while Emma gets the car checked, and Sir Andrew tells him he had a premonition Spout Hill, then dismisses the idea, saying he had a crash there himself once. He is, however, startled by an ashtray being out of place and manically checks his butler, Dalby (William Lyon Brown), for missing buttons - even more startled when Steed points out a missing button on his coat tail. The chauffeur, Saunders (Peter Thomas), drives them to the conference while Sir Andrew rustles through the paper, looking for a story about an escaped lion. Steed perplexedly tells him he hasn't heard of one and is stunned when Sir Andrew announces it'll be the final sign - the last thing he'll see before he dies is a lion. At the conference hall entrance, he refuses to enter, saying he'll be killed - he turns and runs, only to be run down and killed by a passing limousine driven by Jepson (Terry Maidment), and Steed notices the marble lions at the entrance...

Steed disbelieves the premonitions, despite Mrs Peel recounting her horoscope for the day they met ("you'll meet a tall, dark stranger"). Meanwhile, Melford takes Sir Andrew's place and Stapley arranges accommodation at a nearby hotel which Steed and Emma check for security. Melford retires, rubbing his neck, and has strange nightmares about his impending death. The next morning, he is horrified when his dream starts coming true - a wakeup call, Stapley's face cut by a razor, the lift broken and other events, culminating in him running scared from the conference hall when a moustached man from his dream (Marne Maitland) offers to open the door for him.
Steed has the doctor tend and sedate him and Melford relates the dream. Steed suspects the events were rigged, "But how do you rig a dream?" cries Melford, still fearing death. That night, Steed guards Melford's room while Emma stays outside in the car, but she rubs her neck...
Next morning, Melford wakes from another nightmare and when a few of the event happen, refuses to go to the conference. Steed and Emma decide to follow his expected route in the official car and most of the events happen - Steed has a brainwave and has the driver go around the block so they turn up at the correct hour, and the last of the nightmare events happens on cue, a white Jaguar splashing them with mud. Saunders watches menacingly as they discuss investigating the 'nightmares' more closely.

Melford is given photos of conference attendees to view and remembers that it was Alfred Becker, an Eastern Bloc observer, who had opened the door in his dream. Steed visits him, finding the white Jaguar parked outside and Becker practicing on a rifle range. Steed questions him obliquely, and when he says he's discovered a plot to derail the conference Becker asks him to replace the spent targets. Just as he does so, he hears Becker cock the rifle and dives for cover. He manages to kill Becker by firing a bullet he'd picked out of Becker's ammo box, using a steel peg and a rock to explode the charge and finds a key to a storehouse on Becker's body.
Emma meanwhile has checked the hotel and found a slip of paper disabling the lift, she's spotted and Jepson intercepts her at Steed's apartment, but she attacks him first and he's killed in the fight. She finds another key and reaches the warehouse first. When Steed arrives, she demonstrates the props used to fabricate the dreams and the sedative dart airgun used to knock out the victims.
Melford doesn't believe them so Steed shoots him with the gun and they take him to the warehouse where, being strongly conditioned, he launches into a 'nightmare' without prompting. Melford finally recalls another nightmare element they'd overlooked - Stapley's shaving accident - and the Avengers return to the conference hall. they confront Stapley and are about to apprehend him when another aide, Haynes (Terry Yorke), pulls a gun on them. So too does Stapley, but Emma kicks out and knocks the guns flying and she launches herself on Haynes while Steed and Stapley fight. Stapley's gun damages the chandelier cable and he's killed when it crashes down on him.

Steed wakes from a dream - bound by silk cords in a hareem, being beaten with a bunch of grapes - to find Mrs Peel in evening wear, predicting a visit to the theatre, and correctly naming the show and seat numbers. Steed reaches in his pocket for the tickets, but she's already holding them.

Production

Production dates: 7-Jun-67 Drinks
Transmission dates: Foreign title coffee
orange juice
UK 7-Oct-67
Sydney 24-Oct-67
Melbourne 23-Oct-67
USA 31-Jan-68
Germany 4-Jun-93? (Der wahrgewordene Alptraum)
France 30-Sep-87 (La porte de la mort)
Italy 7-Dec-73 (la porta della morte)
Spain --- (a las puertas de la muerte)
Holland 9-Jan-68 (De deur des doods)

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