• 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

by Philip Levene
Directed by Robert Asher

Steed chases a million
Emma runs off with it

Production No E.66.6.21
Production completed: August 22 1967. First transmission: October 25 1967.

TV Times summary

In which Steed chases a million and Emma walks off with it

Plot summary

Millionaires are being intimidated by blackmailers staging mock murder-attempts — each time receiving a card that reads You have just been murdered
After one of them is killed, Unwin pretends to agree terms and sends a bomb instead, not knowing that Steed and Emma are investigating — and Mrs. Peel has gained possession of the bomb-carrying 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-naire, but Mrs. Peel offers to supply the missing money, making him a millionaire — in halfpennies!

show full synopsis

show plot summary

Millionaire magnate Gilbert Jarvis (Geoffrey Chater) enters his office and pours himself a drink, but stops dead when he notices a cigarette smouldering in an ashtray and hears someone lock the door. He goes for his gun, but the desk drawer is empty and a suave young man — Skelton (Simon Oates) — appears and levels it at him. Jarvis’ demands to know what he wants are ignored stonily and Jarvis offers him a bribe to leave, but Skelton moves in for the kill and pulls the trigger — but the gun is empty and just clicks. He leaves the gun and key on a table and departs, throwing a business card on the desk that reads: You have just been murdered

Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) inspects Steed’s invitation to a well-heeled gathering at George Unwin’s mansion and John Steed (Patrick Macnee) says it’ll be very boring - millionaires only ever talk about money — but Lord Maxted, Steed’s banker and the chairman of British Banking, has asked him to attend. Jarvis calls Steed as they’re leaving, also asking to talk to him at the party, as he’s “just been murdered”. Skelton reappears and ‘kills’ him again, this time with a stage dagger, leaving another card: You have just been murdered — again! Jarvis calls Steed but hears the line is tapped and hurriedly ends the call — a bearded man is seen listening to the call, and grins maliciously as he hears Jarvis hang up.

Millionaires abound at Unwin’s party, served by hostesses in top hats and not much else. Chatting to Steed, Emma notices Lord Rathbone (Leslie French) filling his pockets with cigarettes. Lord Maxted (Robert Flemyng) approaches Steed just as George Unwin (Barrie Ingham) intercepts “the delicious Mrs. Peel”, offering to fly the entire party to the Riviera if she wants him to. He tells Steed Jarvis hasn’t arrived and Steed goes to phone him, leaving Mrs. Peel to keep him company. Jarvis answers Steed’s call but sees “YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE MURDERED” scrawled across a mirror and drops the phone. Steed hears him plead for mercy from Skelton, and the fatal shot, and rushes off to check, telling Maxted to tell Mrs. Peel “she’s a very sympathetic listener and very trustworthy”. Maxted tells her that three millionaires have withdrawn £1,000,000 in cash then fled the country, and they surmise blackmail, and he tells her Jarvis has just made the same request.
Steed meanwhile finds Jarvis’ body and the mirror. He calls Emma at the party and when she announces to Maxted that Jarvis won’t be collecting the cash, as “he’s just been murdered”, Rathbone nervously drops his cocktail, smashing the glass on the floor, and hurries out. Unwin and Maxted demand more details but she shrugs them off and chases after Rathbone, discovering his house well defended by guards and dogs, and the gamekeeper Chalmers (Clifford Cox) refuses to let her in. She scales the wall and is promptly caught and taken to see Rathbone, who peers at her nervously through a thick door before agreeing to see her after recognising her from the party. He assures he’s not afraid and can do whatever he wants with her money, but panics when she tries to open a window and orders her to leave.

Unwin meanwhile has a visit from Skelton, who menaces him with a revolver before flinging a ‘You Have Just Been Murdered’ card at him when the gun doesn’t fire. Rathbone’s estate is now filled with gamekeepers with dogs and Chalmers and his stoic butler, Hallam (John Baker), are stunned when he orders them to “shoot to kill”. Rathbone locks his door and sits down to have a pint but is horrified to find the text "POISON" and a skull painted on the bottom of the tankard. The phone rings and the bearded man, introducing himself as Nathaniel Needle (George Murcell), tells him he’s been killed for the fourth time. "Four times is the limit and the next time will be for real".
Emma is telling Steed about Rathbone’s fortress mentality when Maxted arrives to tell them that Rathbone has ordered the cashing in of his government stock for £1,000,000 in cash. The next day, Steed supervises the transfer while Emma waits outside and she trails Rathbone to Bridge Farm. At the farm, Nicholls (Frank Maher) watches Rathbone drop the case of money off the bridge into the river, then sees Emma approach after Rathbone has left. Needle tells him to take care of her and he attacks her with a sickle but she proves too wily an opponent and he dies, impaled on the blade.

Leaving his office, Unwin is trapped against a wall by Skelton’s Jaguar, and has another card thrown at him. He takes off at high speed, passing Steed in the driveway, and drives home where Skelton is waiting to ‘kill’ him again. Needle orders Skelton to step up the treatment immediately. Unwin rushes inside and locks his lounge door, but when he goes to close the window he finds Skelton standing in the casement, wielding a samurai sword. They struggle and Steed, arriving outside, sees the struggle, and impalement of Unwin, in silhouette on the closed curtains. The blade has retracted into the handle and Skelton leaves another card, hurrying out before Steed bursts in the window. Unwin, warned to keep silent, tells Steed he was imagining what he saw and tells him he can look after himself. Steed leaves and when Unwin goes to close the iron bars that secure his French windows, an arrow hits him in the chest, it’s sucker leaving a circular imprint and the familiar message on his shirt. Needle calls, telling Unwin to switch on Channel B at 10 pm, while Steed and Emma work out it’s a high class protection racket and it’ll only be a matter of time before Unwin asks for £1,000,000 in cash.
Unwin turns in to Channel B and is treated to a special broadcast from Needle, the phone ringing so they can communicate, Needle alternating between words and images on the screen, and shows him the briefcase they’ll supply.

Maxted tips Steed off when Unwin collects the money and Steed enters the house while Emma goes to the bridge. Unwin bluffs about a ‘private transaction’ and he reiterates that he can look after himself when Steed tells him he knows what’s really happening. Steed grudgingly leaves, promising to keep out of the business but hides outside and fires a tracking device at the side of the briefcase when Unwin goes to his car and follows at a safe distance. Unwin drives to Bridge Farm and drops the case off the bridge and is startled when it doesn’t splash - Emma has caught it below. He leaves and Emma fights Morgan (Les Crawford) who emerges from the lake, looking for the case. She defeats him and orders him to ‘lead her to his taker’, taking the briefcase with her. Returning to his car, Unwin is surprised to find Steed in it and reveals he’s put a bomb in the case, set to explode in fifteen minutes.

They return to the bridge, finding a snorkel, and use Steed’s tracking device to follow the trail while Mrs. Peel passes the gang’s hideout (naturally enough, a hay stack) and is overpowered by Skelton. Needle searches her, learning her identity but she refuses to answer any questions. Skelton spots Unwin and Steed approaching so Needle orders Williams (Peter J Elliott) to load the cash in his Land-Rover. Checking a nearby gypsy caravan, Unwin is knocked out by Skelton and hidden inside the stack. Steed works out the hiding place and knocks out Skelton when he emerges to take care of him. Steed knocks on the door and attacks Williams when the haystack opens, Emma leaping up to attack Morgan. Needle escapes in the confusion but the bomb goes off, flinging him into a treetop as the folding type money flutters to earth.

Steed counts his fortune — 920,000, 940,000 , 960,000, 980,000, 990,000, but 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. Mrs. Peel offers the missing money, produces a ha’penny and says, "You are now a self-made, fully fledged, halfpenny millionaire".


Production dates: 2/08/1967 Drinks
Transmission dates: Foreign title brandy
champagne (no bottle seen)
UK 28/10/1967
Sydney 21/11/1967
Melbourne 20/11/1967
USA 24/01/1968
Germany 26/03/1968 (Sie wurden soeben ermordet)
France 22/09/1968 (Meurtres à épisodes)
Italy 9/11/1973 (sei appena stato assassinato)
Spain --- (Usted ha sido asesinado)
The Netherlands --- ?

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