• title card: white all caps text reading ‘DEAD MAN’S TREASURE’ superimposed on a close-up of a red chest with bronze reinforcement
  • Steed drives the Lotus Brands Hatch simulator
  • Sir George points to the bowser, apologising that ‘they’ve put the super in the standard’
  • A clue, written on the pub sign for ‘The Vaults’, it reads: ‘SWINGINGDALE GET A MOVE ON’
  • Emma struggles with the Lotus simulator, trying to keep it on the track so as not to be electrocuted as Mike points a gun at her head
  • Alex and Carl lie in the wreckage of their crashed E-type Jaguar which has slammed into a tree
  • video - Emma is startled to discover that putting Steed’s electric razor into reverse has given her a bushy moustache

Series 5 — Episode 20
Dead Man’s Treasure

by Michael Winder
Directed by Sidney Hayers

Steed rallies around
Emma drives for her life

Production No E.66.6.19
Production completed: August 2 1967. First transmission: October 18 1967.

Regional broadcasts

Rediffusion London19/10/19678:00pm
ABC Midlands21/10/19679:10pm*
ABC North21/10/19679:10pm
Anglia Television21/10/19679:10pm
Border Television22/10/196710:05pm
Channel Television19/01/19687:30pm
Grampian Television18/10/19678:00pm
Southern Television20/10/19678:00pm
Scottish Television21/10/19679:10pm
Tyne Tees Television21/10/19679:10pm
Ulster Television26/10/19677:30pm
Westward Television19/01/19687:30pm
Television Wales & West22/10/19677:25pm

The Midlands edition of the TV Times incorrectly advertised the episode as being at 9.05pm (see below).

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for October 21 1967, 9.05pm (Midlands edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for November 7 1967, 8pm
The Age listing for November 6 1967, 8pm
The Canberra Times listing for October 25 1968, 8pm

9.5 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee

as John Steed
Diana Rigg

as Emma Peel
Dead Man’s Treasure
By Michael Winder

In which Steed rallies around — and Emma drives for her life …

Cast also includes

Mike Norman Bowler
Penny Valerie Van Ost
Alex Edwin Richfield
Carl Neil McCarthy
Benstead Arthur Lowe
Bates Ivor Dean
Danvers Rio Fanning
Miss Peabody Penny Bird
First guest Gerry Crampton
Second guest Peter J. Elliott

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

ABC Weekend Network Production

International broadcasts

ABN2 Sydney, Australia7/11/19678:10pm
ABV2 Melbourne, Australia6/11/19678:10pm
ABC New York, USA13/03/19687:30pm
ORTF2 France3/09/19688:30pm
Suisse Romande, Switzerland5/02/19689:30pm
French titleLa chasse au trésor
ZDF Germany23/04/19689:00pm
German titleMit 160 aus dem Stand
KRO Netherlands12/12/19679:10pm
Dutch titleDe autorally
Svizzera Italiana26/10/19739:00pm
Italian titleil tesoro del morto
Spanish titleEl tesoro del muerto

TV Svizzera Italiana made Dead Man’s Treasure the first episode in their broadcast of series 5 episodes. According to Radiocorriere 18, 1973 (p. 81) it was originally scheduled for 8.40pm on 2nd May 1973, followed by Ritratti: John Kenneth Galbraith but these two shows were replaced by Modern Medicine and an episode of L’Uomo e la Citta (Journal de Genève, 2/5/1973, p.14 & Gazette de Lausanne, 2/5/1973, p.4). This episode was then rescheduled, still as the first episode for the run, nearly six months later on 26th October 1973 at 9pm.

In the Netherlands, this episode replaced “De vreesaanjagers” which could conceivably be The Danger Makers - but is more likely an early Dutch translation of the title for The Fear Merchants.

Netherlands: Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant listing for December 12 1967, 9.10pm
Netherlands: Zierkzeesche Nieuwsbode highlights for December 12 1967
Spain: ABC Madrid listing for January 7 1968, 4.10pm
USA: New York Times listing for March 13 1968, 10pm
USA: Chicago Tribune listing for March 13 1968, 9pm
Germany: Hamburg Abendblatt listing for April 23 1968, 9pm
France: L’Impartial listing for September 3 1968, 8.30pm
TV Svizzera Italiana: Radiocorriere listing for October 26 1973, 9pm
TV Svizzera Italiana: Stampa Sera listing for October 26 1973, 9pm
Netherlands: Dagblad de Stem listing for December 12 1967, 9.10pm
Switzerland: L’Impartial listing for February 5 1968, 9.30pm

Episode Rating

Subject 0–5
Direction 4 stars
3½ stars
4½ stars
3½ stars
Mastermind 3 stars
Plot 2 stars
3½ stars
Set Design
4½ stars
8 stars

I’m more a plot and character fan, but this episode really works despite being light on both of these. The sheer joy of rampaging around the home counties in classic cars is overwhelming, and you just have to go along for the ride. Well worth watching again and again.

Danvers, badly wounded by enemy agents, hides his dispatch box inside a treasure chest that is the prize in a forthcoming car rally, and sends Steed an invitation to enter the rally.
Steed and Emma do so in order to retrieve the box, but Danvers’ killers pursue them. Stranger things are afoot, however, when the host of the rally is unexpectedly murdered, and contestants are shot at. Emma is surprised by her navigator, Mike, who also wants the box and straps her into a racing simulator that gives lethal shocks to the driver if they make mistakes - the same way he had killed Sir George.
Steed arrives to deliver her from peril. The Avengers recover the box, and the champagne, but Penelope Plain makes off with the prize money.
Mrs. Peel is alarmed to discover that the ‘reverse’ setting on Steed’s new razor gives her a bushy moustache.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
MGB Roadster with hard plastic canopy white 974 MHK
Jaguar E-type red 648 CYV
Bentley 4.5 litre 1926 British racing green UW 4887
Lotus Racing Car Simulator red, white number 2 (2)
Rolls-Royce Phantom I with coachwork by Brewster, in the “Regent Convertible Coupé” body style (American built) pale lemon, black running boards and wheel arches -
MGB blue 5020 PJ
Jaguar E-type Coupé
This car was owned by Brian Clemens
white 140 MPH
Triumph TR4A white AXV 177
Triumph TR3A white LZ 6753
Mercedes 250 SE Automatic W111 cabriolet 1966 burgundy LUC 507D
Triumph Spitfire blue HUU 772C
Land-Rover blue 704 CUT
Sunbeam Alpine Series IV 1964 pale blue BYH 719B
Daimler Majestic Major Limousine cotswold blue -
Austin A110 Westminster grey -
MGA 1600 Roadster Mk I 1959 red 8163 AZ
Austin-Healey Sprite red YVH 33
Austin 3-Ton removals van 1955 dark grey, white writing UYL 60
Land-Rover red -
Triumph Spitfire dark grey, black hood -

Who’s Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Bobby Danvers Alex & Carl V* Gunshot wounds
Sir George Benstead Mike V* Electrocuted
Carl V* Alex V* & Penelope Plain Alex shoots him accidentally when Penelope is hitting Carl with Steed’s umbrella, causing the car to lurch.
Alex V* Carl & himself V* Carl crashes the car into a tree
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma’s Fashions Steed’s Fashions
  1. white & silver dress (concentric circles pattern)
  2. green scarf with fawn coat & pants, white skivvy, large brown leather watch, white boots
  3. yellow with brown print dress
  1. purple silk dressing gown with black spot, white shirt, red tie
  2. charcoal pinstriped single-breasted 3-piece suit, white shirt, red silk tie
  3. charcoal chalk striped single-breasted suit, pale grey shirt, pale grey knitted tie, grey bowler hat & umbrella, black shoes
  4. charcoal pinstriped single-breasted 3-piece suit, white shirt, red silk tie

Continuity and trivia

  1. 1:42 — Rio Fanning, appearing here as Bobby Danvers, went on to be a scriptwriter for the highly successful Irish production, Ballykissangel.
  2. 1:49 — There’s a lot of doubling-back as Danvers tries to lose Alex and Carl - he passes the main gates of Benstead’s house at 1:49 then enters a side gate further down the road. If he’d turned left when he left after hiding the papers, he would have evaded them completely.
  3. 2:22, 23:18 and throughout - Carl & Alex pass the barn while looking for Danvers. Later on, the competitors all pass that barn which turns up in Escape in Time and A Touch of Brimstone.
  4. 2:23 and throughout - there’s terrible colour shift in the back projection close-ups.
  5. 3:18 — Benstead’s house is given the same address as Hunt’s house in Return of the Cybernauts: High Pines, Edgington. But it’s a different house! Beresford’s house is Woolmers Park, Essendon Road, Letty Green, Herts., while Benstead’s is Shenley Hall, Rectory Lane, Shenley, Herts. WD7 9AN.
  6. 5:16 — The sound effect of the champagne cork popping is played a bit late.
  7. 6:13 & 6:52 — Breaking the rules : there’s blood on Danvers’ hand and on his shirtand later a bloody hand-print on the pillar. Blood was supposedly never to be shown in this era of “The Avengers”.
  8. 9:00 and throughout - Fabulously unrealistic screeching tyres FX, which we hear repeatedly throughout the episode.
  9. 9:19, 21:50 and throughout - The daytime back projection close-ups also have colour shift, but it’s not so pronounced as the earlier night-time shots.
  10. 9:43 — Benstead is ‘driving’ a Lotus racing simulator.
  11. 12:24 — Sir George has the same vintage car prints on the wall as Professor Rushton has in Mission... Highly Improbable.
  12. 12:38 — Cyd Child doubles for Diana Rigg in the study fight scene.
  13. When we head outside for the race, only three extras are the same as they were inside - and ‘Margaret Brady’ is no longer paired with ‘George Townsend’, who isn’t there at all.
  14. throughout - Most of the competitors, but Steed and Penelope Plain in particular, drive through the same intersection over and over again. Of course, it’s possible the locations of clues are so arranged.
  15. 24:28–25:25 — Outside the pub in Mithering is parked a Daimler, which has mysteriously turned into an Austin Cambridge and moved out of the way by the time (25:15) Mike wants to drive the Mercedes right through where it was.
  16. 27:00–27:30 and throughout - The drivers and passengers of the Bentley, Mercedes and Jaguar are clearly not the actors.
  17. 29:20 —
  18. Swingingdale is the same village as Little Storping in-the-Swuff in Murdersville - it’s actually the village of Aldbury.
  19. 30:18 — Steed and Penny are looking out the wrong side of the car in the close-up to read the clue.
  20. 32:35 — Rocky Taylor is doing stunts for Patrick Macnee.
  21. 39:14–39:20 — When Cyd Child stops the Mercedes outside Benstead’s house, she goes straight past the front door, but when Diana Rigg gets out of the car, she’s parked right in front.
  22. 39:20 — How did Mike get in the boot of the car?
  23. 40:29 — If Penny put sugar in Alex and Carl’s tank (33:24), they’d be unlikely to be able to get moving again so quickly.
  24. 41:38–41:45 — Penny exclaims, “They’re gaining!”, but there’s clear road in front of the Jaguar after it rounds the bend - the Bentley has disappeared completely, which suggests Alex and Carl have in fact lost ground.
  25. 44:55 — More stunt doubles for the fight scene in the living room.
  26. Do you think Bobby Danvers is related to the similarly ill-fated Percy Danvers from The Bird Who Knew Too Much?
  27. Paul Denyer’s great Mercedes in the Movies site has a short clip of the 250 SE, along with the E-type and Bentley.
  28. Running time: 49′21″
  29. Valerie van Ost later became a respected agent for other actors.
  30. The Jaguar E-type Coupé was Brian Clemens’ personal car (and was not damaged in the ‘crash’ - that was all paint and paper).
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.

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