Series 5 - Episode 239 stars
by Brian Clemens
Directed by Robert Asher
Emma marries Steed
Steed becomes a father
In the sleepy hamlet of Little Storping In-The-Swuff, two yokels, Hubert and Mickle (John Ronane and Colin Blakely) are playing dominoes outside the pub and prattling on about the weather. Suddenly, Martin (Peter Clay) stumbles out of the pub, pursued by Wilson (unknown extra) who shoots him with a revolver - and the yokels continue their game obliviously while the killer goes back inside to finish his pint.
Emma arrives at Steed's flat with Paul Croft (Eric Flynn),
a childhood friend who has just returned from the
Subcontinent. Steed pours some celebratory champagne for
the defender of far-flung corners of the Empire and
Paul announces he's resigned his commission and bought a
house in the country, sight unseen, and sent his batman,
Forbes on ahead, commenting that the 'beer-soaked rascal'
has probably stopped at the local pub - sure enough, Forbes
(Norman Chappell) is talking to Hubert and Mickle, and the
publican, Prewitt (John Sharp). Prewitt's daughter, Jenny
(Sheila Fearn) nervously reminds them there's to be 'an
event' at 12 o'clock and the men detain Forbes with another
beer while a customer wearing sunglasses (Gareth Thomas)
is handed a shotgun and goes outside. Forbes is startled by
the report of the gun which is dismissed by his companions as
a car backfiring, and the assassin comes back in and slips
the gun to Prewitt. Forbes disconcerts them all by
announcing that he and Major Croft are moving into the old
house on the hill.
Emma meanwhile insists on driving Paul to Little Storping - they have a lot of catching up to do. Forbes starts unpacking the car and is overjoyed when Hubert and Mickle show up, expecting them to help him, but is less pleased a moment later when they start smashing the artworks and crockery. On the way to Little Storping, Emma and Paul pass a stately saloon driven by Samuel Morgan (John Chandos) and then, in the village, pass Frederick Williams (Andrew Laurence). Emma recognises both men and remarks on the co-incidence of passing two mortal enemies - Williams had been ruined by Morgan - in such an isolated pocket of the country. Paul is startled when they find the carnage outside the house and leaps to the conclusion that Forbes must have been rolling drunk. He rushes off to find him but at the pub the locals all deny having seen anyone all week. Paul tries the library and turns up just in time to see Williams shoot Morgan, Miss Avril, the librarian (Marika Mann), having sternly pointed out the SILENCE sign, making him use a silencer. He's apprehended by Hubert and Mickle and hauled off.
Mrs Peel meanwhile finds a bloody sickle and finds
Forbes's lying against a log in the bushes, but is knocked
unconscious from behind. She comes to in the pub where the
local doctor, Haymes (Ronald Hines), tells her she's lucky
she wasn't more seriously injured, and Jenny and her father
lamely tell her she crashed her car outside. Hubert and
Mickle are lounging around her strategically-placed car.
Confused, she tells them about Forbes' body and says they
must have seen Paul but Prewitt and Haymes simply suggest
her concussion is worse than they thought. Haymes offers
to drive her back to the house the see the body but when
they get there they find an indolent gardener, Higgins
(Joseph Grieg) who tells them he's 'looking after the
property until it's sold' and doesn't know anyone called
Croft. They return to the village, Haymes offering Emma
some pills for her 'delusions' which she turns down.
Back at her car, she notices that Mickle is wearing Paul's watch and asks the doctor for the pills, just so she can get to a 'phone and call for the police. She brushes off Haymes' attempt to give her a sedative and contacts the village operator, Maggie (Irene Bradshaw), who is startled when she asks for the police but minutes later a black Wolesley is tearing through the village, it's tinny alarm bleating loudly. Sergeant Banks (Roger Cawdron) takes down Mrs Peel's allegation in a notebook and leaves, telling her to stay with Haymes while he investigates the house. She realises she forgot to mention the watch and rushes out to tell him but stops when she notices that Banks isn't wearing regulation socks. Back inside, she conveys her suspicions to Haymes who calls the hospital to have her committed and she backs away into a side room, where she finds the bodies of Paul and Sgt. Forbes. Reemerging, she finds Haymes has pulled a revolver on her and is telling Maggie to call an emergency meeting. Emma attacks him and knocks him out, forcing herself to not dash his brains out with the phone. she sobs quietly for a moment over Paul then drives back to the village green, but finds it deserted.
All the villagers are in the library, awaiting Haymes for the meeting and while he recovers from the blow and drives to the library, Mrs Peel is trying to use the 'phone in the pub. Haymes tells the villagers that she's escaped and they come looking for her just as she leaves the pub. She fights the men off and runs away cross country but is finally captured by Hubert and Mickle flying a helicopter.
Later, she reawakes to find herself locked in a chastity
belt in the local museum where she meets some villagers who
have also been locked up there - the vicar, Jeremy Purser
(Geoffrey Colville); the police sergeant, George Miller
(Tony Caunter); local magistrate, Mr Chapman (Langton Jones);
and the 'phone operator, Hilary (Hilary Dwyer). They explain
that some years before, a stranger killed a man in cold blood
in the village in front of the whole village, and offered
them £1,000,000 for their silence - those locked up
in the museum were the only people opposed to the offer.
After their first taste of money, the villagers became greedy
and offered the village's complicity to others willing to
pay a fat fee - "they're not mad, they're in business".
Sure enough, Emma sees a couple of killings take place in
the streets outside. She starts trying to free herself then
the villagers burst in and Haymes tells her she was never
in Little Storping, but they'll need to find out who'll miss
She's tied to the dunking stool over the village pond and repeatedly submerged until she splutters, "Alright, I'll tell you". Fortified with a brandy at the pub, she says the only person who'll miss her is 'her husband, John' and they make her call him. She calls him 'Johnsie-wonsie' and asks him to take the children out to museum, after he's been to the pub. Haymes cuts her off and she's locked back in the belt, Haymes, brushing aside Hubert and Mickle's sexual threats against her, tells her she'll be taken for a ride in the helicopter and dropped out over the ocean.
That evening, Jenny is startled when Steed arrives and orders a pint; she becomes suspicious when he asks about the museum. Prewitt enters and says the museum's closed while the curator is away so Steed goads them further by saying, "Mrs Emma Peel". Jenny drops a pint glass in shock and Steed knocks out Prewitt when he goes for his gun. Steed heads off to the museum where he frees Mrs Peel while she tells him what the villagers have been doing. They hear some of the locals enter and go out to attack, Emma donning a helmet on the way. She spears Haymes with a halberd when he points his shotgun at them, a furious mélee ensues, the Avengers using the cakes from a nearby display table to thwart the rustics and they apprehend Jenny and Maggie are captured at pie-point when they burst in.
Steed and Mrs Peel are due at an ambassadorial ball but Emma's choice of millinery would cause a diplomatic incident - she's still stuck inside the helmet she picked up in the museum. He finally manages to prise it off her and then traps himself in it while demonstrating the correct way to secure it.
|Transmission dates:||Foreign title||
champagne (Moët et Chandon)
pint of bitter
champagne (Bollinger Maison Speçial Cuvée Brut)
|Germany||7-Jun-93?||(Willkommen im Dorf des Todes)|
|France||6-Oct-68||(Le village de la mort)|
|Italy||4-Jan-74||(benvenuti a little storping)|
|Spain||---||(el pueblo de la muerte)|