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  • title card: white all caps text with thin black dropshadow to the right reading 'YOU HAVE JUST BEEN MURDERED' superimposed on the business card bearing the same text lying on the leather-topped desk
  • Skelton smiles grimly as he points his revolver, held in his gloved hand, just to the left of the camera, the muzzle blurs slightly
  • Close-up of the bottom of a pewter tankard revealing a black skull and cross bones and the work POISON in red, made to look like dripping blood
  • Emma backs against the bricks of a bridge over a lake, she wears a shiny black leather catsuit with silver trim and two chains across the chest
  • Needle appears on his exclusive television station to explain how the money should be delivered
  • Mrs Peel fights Morgan in the lake, Morgan raises his right hand in which he holds a knife while Mrs Peel grabs his wrist with her left hand as she hits him on the neck with her right
  • Video: Steed and Emma are shocked to discover that Steed is one short of a million - ha'pennies!

Series 5 - Episode 21
You Have Just Been Murdered

8½ stars

by Philip Levene
Directed by Robert Asher

Steed chases a million
Emma runs off with it

Episode Rating

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

I like characters and suspension of disbelief, so this episode appeals to me on many levels. A well structured and excellently performed piece with a strong, consistent plot. Nice use of televisions.

Millionaires are being intimidated by blackmailers staging mock murder-attempts - each time receiving a card that reads "You have just been murdered"
One is actually killed, then Unwin pretends to agree terms and sends a bomb instead, not knowing that Steed and Emma are on the case - and Mrs Peel has now gained possession of the suitcase. She is kidnapped by Needle and his gang, whose hideout is, naturally enough, in a hay stack. Emma is rescued from destruction by the timely arrival of Steed, but Needle escapes with the briefcase, only to end up at the top of a tree.
Steed is distraught to discover he is one short of a million, saying no-one has ever heard of a nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine-thousand-nine-hundred-and-ninety- niner-aire, but Mrs Peel offers to supply the missing money, making him a millionaire - in halfpennies!

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
AC Greyhound (1930s) burgundy/black TE 7855
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Jaguar Mk II 3.8 silver 933 HYL
Reliant Scimitar SE4a coupé white ARF 956D
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180
Gypsy Caravan green and brown -
Landrover blue/white 695 EAC

Who's Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Gilbert Jarvis Skelton V* Pistol
Nicholls V* Emma Impaled on a sickle
Needle?? V* (Unwin) Bomb in suitcase
Unwin?? Skelton V* ?
Skelton?? V* Steed ?
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma's Fashions Steed's Fashions
  1. white feathered crepe jacket, mid thigh length, belted
  2. ... over white crocheted (or embroidered?) dress, mini a-line, shoulder shoe straps, silver shoes
  3. yellow belted dress with pale lemon patches on shoulders & cuffs.
  4. PVC catsuit with 2 silver chains across breast & stomach, pale silvery blue trim at collar, cuff & waist (belt), silver boots
  5. white low-cut waistcoat and matching skirt with a bright blue blouse
  6. blue catsuit with pink trim (collar, belt sleeve inlay), zippered, ring at collar, blue boots
  7. blue catsuit with white trim, zippered, ring at neck, white boots
  1. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with double flap/sgl flap, white shirt, grey with white spot tie, grey bowler hat & umbrella, black shoes
  2. light grey chalk stripe single-breasted 3-piece suit, white shirt, metallic grey silk tie
  3. ... above with grey bowler & umbrella, ... white handkerchief in breast
  4. brown and green hunting blazer, houndstooth trousers, white pinstriped shirt, dark brown tie
  5. navy single-breasted 3-piece suit with a peaked collar, white shirt, navy patterned tie, black bowler hat & umbrella, black shoes
  6. brown and green hunting blazer, houndstooth trousers, white pinstriped shirt, dark brown tie

Continuity and trivia

  1. 2:47 - Jarvis is completely out of focus in the close-up.
  2. 4:43 - Steed has an enormous Ansaphone to record his telephone calls.
  3. 10:45 - Breaking the rules: there's a bloodspot on Jarvis' shirt, despite the bible of this era stipulating blood was not to be shown.
  4. 11:57 - Cyd Child runs to the car and drives off.
  5. 13:02 - Cyd gets to climb the wall and jump to the tree as well.
  6. 13:42 - The lion that was "the last thing [Sir Andrew] saw before [he] died" from Death's Door is outside Rathbone's front door.
  7. 19:01 - There's nothing written on the glass bottom of the tankard in the midshot, but at 19:04 in the close-up, there it is.
  8. 21:45 - A stand-in drives Rathbone's car in the long shots.
  9. 22:52 et passim. - The location for "Bridge Farm" is Tyke's Water Lake and bridge.
  10. 24-25 - There's some excellent intercutting of Diana mid- to close- shots with Cyd's action work in the fight scene with Frank Maher.
  11. 30:57 - Unwin's 'phone number is 7913, but I'm not sure which exchange he was on.
  12. 32:51 - Needle starts his broadcast with "Welcome to Channel B".
  13. 36:44 - Steed has a CB radio in the Bentley today, it must be pretty crowded under the dashboard.
  14. 37:32 - Is it Rocky Taylor or Paul Weston driving the Bentley? It's hard to tell, but it's not Patrick Macnee.
  15. 39:45-4:05 During the fight scene in the river, Mrs Peel's hair goes from dry to very wet, then dry, then wet again.

    Dry...

    wet...

    wetter...

    dry!...

    ©1961-9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
  16. 41:10-42:30 - After the fight, her hair dries a bit too quickly on the way to the hay stack, and at one point is wetter again. By the end, it's been restyled and lacquered!

    wettest...

    wet...

    drier...

    too dry...

    ©1961-9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
  17. 41:26-41:31 - Along the way to the haystack, the dolly of the camera is in view for a few seconds (it's much more obvious on a computer than on a television - you see almost all the wheel, and see the chalk distance marker go round a few times).
  18. 43:00 - the television camera is labelled "Needle TV" - must have been a regional ATV station...
  19. 46:00 - How did they not hear Steed climb on the roof?
  20. 48:20 - Emma hands over a 1947 ha'penny to make the million - ha'pennies, that is; which is still a tidy £2,083 6s. 8d.
  21. Running time: 49'17"
  22. Both the lead actors fell ill during filming, Macnee twice being absent. This led to him having to do back-to-back filming in the evenings. At one point, he was filming scenes for three different episodes.
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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