Series 5 — Episode 23
by Brian Clemens
Directed by Robert Asher
Emma marries Steed
Steed becomes a father
Production No E.66.6.23
Production completed: August 25 1967. First transmission: November 8 1967.
TV Times summary
In which Emma marries Steed — and Steed becomes a father! …
The sleepy hamlet of Little Storping In-The-Swuff has its calm disrupted by a man coming out of the pub and gunning another man down. The villagers, however, carry on regardless.
Mrs Peel goes to the village with Croft, an old school friend who has quit the Army and retired to the country. His butler has disappeared, leaving all his objets d’art smashed around his house. Croft disappears, and Emma finds his butler’s body, and is then knocked out by an unseen assailant.
When she recovers, she is told she had a car accident, but she notices Paul’s watch on the wrist of one of the men in her car. She discovers she has stumbled upon a village of murderers when she finds bodies at the doctor’s house, but is captured. After a dunking Emma is forced to ring her ’husband’, John, and manages to pass on a message to Steed unbeknownst to the villagers. He turns up in time to rescue her from the local museum and Mrs Peel craftily pelts the villagers into submission.
Mrs Peel has found her knight in shining armour when Steed becomes trapped in the helmet she has just escaped from.
In the sleepy hamlet of Little Storping In-The-Swuff, two yokels, Hubert (John Ronane) and Mickle (Colin Blakely) are playing dominoes outside the pub and prattling on about the weather. Suddenly, Martin (Art Thomas) stumbles out of the pub, pursued by Wilson (Maxwell Craig) who shoots him with a revolver - and the yokels continue their game obliviously while the killer goes back inside to finish his pint.
Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) arrives at Steed’s flat with Major Paul Croft (Eric Flynn), a childhood friend who has just returned from the Subcontinent. John Steed (Patrick Macnee) 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. Before he can intervene, he’s apprehended by Hubert and Mickle and hauled off.
Mrs Peel meanwhile finds a bloody sickle and finds Forbes’ body lying against a log in the bushes, but is knocked unconscious from behind before she can investigate further. She comes to in the pub where the local doctor, Dr 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 to see the body but when they get there an indolent gardener called Higgins (Joseph Grieg) is lying where Forbes had been. Higgins 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 is wearing brightly patterned 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 telephone 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 her first.
She’s tied to the dunking stool over the village pond and repeatedly submerged until she splutters, “All right, 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 Steed. 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||7/06/93?||(Willkommen im Dorf des Todes)|
|France||6/10/1968||(Le village de la mort)|
|Italy||4/01/1974||(benvenuti a little storping)|
|Spain||---||(el pueblo de la muerte)|