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  • title card: white all caps text with thing black outline reading 'The £50,000 Breakfast' superimposed on a stomach x-ray showing the white spots of diamonds
  • Steed and Mrs Peel visit the yard where Dusty's car is being examined - Steed hold Dusty's ventriloquist's dummy while Emma stands to his left in a fetching green ensemble
  • One of Miss Peagram's assistant, disguised as a doctor, prepares a lethal dose in a syringe
  • Mrs Rhodes looks worriedly into the gloom of her puppet shop, her hand on the shoulder of a ventriloquist's dummy
  • Russ Henderson and his Trinidad Steel Band entertain the guests in the smokey atmosphere of the cigar tasting party
  • Steed and Emma are handcuffed to the bedpost, Steed tries to pick the cuffs with a gold tie pin
  • video - Emma teases Steed about taking in the two borzois and he tells her he doesn't like dogs in his demesne - or on his necktie!

Series 5 - Episode 19
The £50,000 Breakfast

7½ stars

by Roger Marshall
Directed by Robert Day
based upon a story by Roger Marshall and Jeremy Scott

Steed dabbles in tycoonery
Emma in chicanery

Episode Rating

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

Great moments, and fine performances by a strong cast, but it's not an entirely satisfactory package. It doesn't really fit the otherworldliness of the rest of the season.

A puppeteer is injured in a car accident, and his x-rays show a stomach full of diamonds - "High on carat, low in protein.", as one of the doctors says.
The Avengers are called in to examine, but before they can question the puppeteer, Dusty Rhodes, he is killed in his hospital bed by a man masquerading as a doctor. Steed does, however, stumble onto a slick smuggling operation. Alex Litoff died some weeks earlier, but his staff have hidden the truth to give them time to liquidate the millionaire's assets. Litoff's body was buried in place of one of his Borzois at the Happy Valley Resting Place for pets, the dog - supposed to have been killed - now residing with the widow of Rhodes. She tries to blackmail the smugglers and is killed for her trouble. The authorities exhume Litoff's body just as the villains plan to leave and Miss Pegram decides to kill the Avengers to stop them catching up with them. After a short fight, the crooks come quietly.
Steed is left with two Borzois and a bright yellow tie with a dalmatian on it but being an Englishman means he likes dogs and ties, but not dogs on his ties.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
Austin Cambridge A60 Countryman pale blue 257 BLM
Landrover dark green body,tan tarp. -
Austin LDO ambulance white TLD 261
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180
Queen Elizabeth's coronation coach - -
Queen Mary liner - -
Jaguar Mk II 3.8 black AHC 876B
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I long-wheelbase saloon with division two-tone dark grey/silver UXF 695
(lots of junked cars)

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Dusty Rhodes V* First Assistant V* Lethal injection
Mrs Rhodes First Assistant & unnamed thug V* ?
First Assistant V* Emma Karate
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. green wool coat, dark green sleeveless sundress, pale tan stockings, tan shoes
  2. (1) without coat
  3. white sleeveless dress with thin blue and yellow plaid
  4. tan belted jacket, short length, with above
  5. black catsuit with white /silver trim, silver boots
  6. pink sleeveless dress & pink coat with large belt
  7. jodhpurs, tweed flat cap, grey jacket, pale grey t-shirt, black riding boots
  8. orange long-sleeved t-shirt sundress
  1. navy single-breasted 3-piece suit with covered buttons, pale blue shirt, navy tie, black bowler hat & umbrella
  2. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with double flap/sgl flap, white shirt, silver silk tie, grey bowler hat & umbrella, black shoes
  3. light grey single-breasted suit with a felt collar, pale gey bowler, white shirt, blue tie, grey umbrella & shoes
  4. dark green polo shirt, black trousers
  5. (3)
  6. black/midnight blue tuxedo with velvet bow tie, pale blue ruffled shirt, black boots
  7. brown and green hunting blazer, yellow shirt, brown diamond motif tie

Continuity and trivia

  1. 2:31 - There's a hair caught at top left of the camera lens as the farmers get Rhodes out of the crashed car.
  2. 3:31 - The statue used in promo stills for Room Without a View is in the middle of the Litoff Organisation office.
  3. 10:38 - A stand-in drives the Bentley in this shot, and again later in the episode (23:01) when Steed returns to the Litoff Organisation.
  4. 10:49 - The clocks on the wall read: London - 11:15, New York - 7:15, Sydney - 7:45 (should be 7:15!) , Calcutta - (unreadable), Tokyo - (unreadable), Paris - (unreadable, but presumably 11:15). Keep an eye on those clocks, they seem to have a life of their own.
  5. 10:53 et passim. - The Litoff office has the same curtains that Tara King had in her flat in Series 6.
  6. 10:53 et passim. - The 'view' outside the window of the office is clearly a somewhat faded photograph of London - the angle would suggest the Litoff office in where the Millenium Eye is now, rather than W1 as the rest of the shots suggest [ Borough of St. Mary Lebone]. At one point (12:55), Steed looks at it and quips, "I could swear I saw Big Ben move! ... Must have been the worchester sauce and tomato juice..."
  7. 11:54 - Glover asks Steed if his bowler is from Benson's and Steed confirms that it is, but when Glover ushers him through you can clearly see the Herbert Johnson & Sons logo inside the crown.
  8. 12:45 - When Steed first visits the Litoff Organisation, the sliding door shuts behind him with a hiss, Star Trek-style and he turns to it and says, "Fascinating" in a Mr Spock tone of voice. (Many thanks, Jens, for spotting that one!)
  9. 14:50 - The clocks on the wall now read: London - 9:30, New York - 6:30, Sydney - 7:30, Calcutta - 2:00, Tokyo - 5:30, Paris - 9:30
  10. 22:45 - A man was just coming in the door as Emma and Judy walk towards it but when we cut to the reverse close-up of Judy, the man is suddenly browsing the racks behind her.
  11. 23:15 - The clocks on the wall read: London - 11:15, New York - 7:15, Sydney - 7:45, Calcutta - 4:45, Tokyo - 7:15, Paris - 11:15 (I assume this was filmed in the same sequence as the scene at 10:50).
  12. 23:41 - Momemts later, the clocks on the wall now read: London - 12:00, New York - 8:00, Sydney - 9:00, Calcutta - 4:30, Tokyo - 8:00, Paris - 12:00
  13. 24:48 - There are scratches on the film.
  14. 23:41 - The clocks on the wall read: London - 1:10, New York - 9:10, Sydney - 10:10, Calcutta - 5:40, Tokyo - 9:10, Paris - 1:10. A bit late for Mrs Rhodes to call, surely?
  15. 32:29 onwards - The Calypso band are Russ Henderson and His Trinidad Steel Band - Sterling Betancourt in the spectacles, Russ in the middle and Max Cherrie wavering on the edge of shot, but we never get a good look at him (we don't see Ralph Cherrie at all, he doesn't seem to be present - I'm sure Mervyn had left the band by 1968 so it can't be him). Now this is really a completist guide! ... I'll see if I can identify the tune they're playing.

    Sterling was the first steel pan player to arrive in Britain, along with the rest of the Trinidad All Stars Percussion Orchestra in 1951, he stayed in Britain after the rest of the troupe returned to Jamaica, teaching music and touring with different bands. He and Russell were instrumental (..ha, ha..) in establishing the Notting Hill Festival and Sterling was awarded an MBE in 2002 for his services to the arts.
    From the Nostalgia Steelband website:
    The band that played at the first Notting Hill carnival (1965), was The Russell Henderson Steel Band, later to be renamed Nostalgia Steel band. Philmore 'Boots' Davidson (a pioneer of the steel band) suggested the name, Nostalgia, and Sterling Betancourt became the leader of Nostalgia Steel Band, with Russell Henderson as its president.
  16. 32:48 - Also, I swear that's Susan Hampshire puffing on a cigar - now that's a cameo!
  17. 32:57 onwards esp 33:15 - The woman conducting tastings at the cigar emporium is credited as 'Jerezina', although Sir James introduces her to Steed as 'Juanita Jerez'; the hostess standing next to her has been identified as Janice Hoy by regulars on the Britmovies Forum.
  18. 35:28 - Diana Rigg had to perform this fight herself after Cyd Child was injured in rehearsals.
  19. 37:47 - There's a Continuity error when Steed is trying to break into Litoff's apartment. We see him approach a window in the high rise building and look out over the city at night (37:40). The scene cuts to an external, just outside the window, and Steed starts to climb out. A moment later there's a close-up (37:46) of his feet inching sideways along the ledge; then we cut back (37:48) to the him climbing out of the winbdow onto the ledge.
  20. 38:49 - The clocks on the wall now read: London - 2:40am, New York - 10:40pm etc.
  21. 42:22 - Those are very clearly plaster feet in the grave.
  22. 42:33 - The clocks on the wall now read: London - 5:10, New York - 1:10, Sydney - 2:10 etc.
  23. 43:41 - Moments later, The clocks on the wall read: London - 11:15, New York - 7:15, Sydney - 7:45, Calcutta - 4:45, Tokyo - 7:15, Paris - 11:15 (Again, same as the scene at 10:50).
  24. 45:27 - The London clocks now reads 3:55. I assume this is meant to be mid-afternoon because the telex comes in stating Litoff was identified at "12:15" - media didn't run as fast back in the Sixties as it does now.
  25. 46:26-50 - Oh dear, the London clocks now reads 10:40 again.
  26. Running time: 49'17"

Cast notes

  1. He's credited here as Eric Woofe, but the actor's name is actually Eric Woolfe.
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.

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