The Diabolical Masterminds of Series 4 (1965–6)

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The Town of No Return

A quiet seaside village in Norfolk has been overrun with enemy agents, slowly infiltrating the country in a long drawn-out overthrow attempt. All the original inhabitants have mysteriously vanished, along with four ministry agents. No real mastermind at work, unless you count the Bogey pulling the strings from over the waters. A bit of a cross between “The Riddle of the Sands” and The Living Dead, although the villains are less overtly Eastern European.

The Gravediggers

Another threat to National security. The disenchanted Dr. Marlow is offered a large sum of money to continue to develop his research into radar jamming, giving him the funds denied him by the government. His work will go towards destroying England’s early-warning defence system against enemy missiles, leaving the entire country vulnerable to nuclear attack.
The despicable Dr. Johnson and his cohorts take control of a hospital for railwaymen, and convince the easily duped Sir Horace to allow them free reign." />

The Cybernauts

Dr. Clement Armstrong had a plan to unite the industries of Britain into one fully automated factory, increasing production, maximising profits and improving efficiency, but none of the industry leaders he approached bought the idea — they prefer a human work force, not dodgy-looking robots wearing flat caps. You really can’t blame them, but he did.

One by one, they were rubbed out, bludgeoned to death by mechanised killers, directed by radio transmitters hidden in pens given to the victims. Aided by the similarly evil Benson — a Time Bandits reference? — he plans not only to take over all the industry of Britain, but all of Britain itself!

Yet again, the Avengers step in and thwart his plans, the two working Cybernauts destroying each other, and their maker, when one of the fatal pens is clipped onto the advanced model.

Death at Bargain Prices

The second ruthless businessman in as many episodes, and both of them in wheelchairs. Makes you think about the script writers’ neuroses…

Horatio Kane, King Kane of the retail world, has a much simpler plan than Dr. Armstrong; a discounting war to end all wars! ..sorry.. holding the nation to ransom with nuclear weapons, the first being built into the basement of his central London store and detonated by the first person who wants a new washing machine on Monday morning.

He hires Major Wentworth to run the store with an iron fist, and he installs his henchmen in managerial positions, while forcing the unfortunate Professor Popple to develop the bomb.

They’re only stopped by the Avengers when Mrs. Peel joins the lingerie department and Steed stops by to buy some cheese.

Castle De’Ath

Something of a lacklustre villain in this episode, despite the fine performances. I mean, stealing fish is not very diabolical really, is it?

Angus De’Ath loves money, lots of money. He’ll do anything to get it, and kill anyone who gets in his way. In the caverns below his brother’s castle in the Highlands, he constructs underground submarine pens (does that make them subterranean submarines?), and an egress from the loch to the open sea. His plan? To steal the fish right from under the noses of the trawlers and make a killing on the market once he’s cornered supply.

Subverting all the laird’s gillies and factotum to work for him, they have the run of the castle and only come undone when they throw the body of a diver back into the sea after stretching him on the rack.

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