The Diabolical Masterminds of Series 4 (1965-6)
The Honorable John Cleverly Cartney and his band of no-goods (oh sorry, that's Noodle Romanoff).
(Ahem..) The Honorable John Cleverly Cartney and his gang of aristocratic anarchists; Roger Winthrop (Lord Ragsland), Willy Frant, (Lord Castigan) and Tubby Bunn (Lord Lakeham) have recreated the Seventeenth Century libertine association known as The Hellfire Club, a society dedicated to debauchery and, like their historical antecedents, the overthrow of the elected government. they plan to go about it in a very Seventeenth Century fashion as well, explosives under the Houses of Parliament. Their plans are confounded by the arrival of the Avengers, they should have done it in November. Horace, Lord Darcy's butler, is another conspirator, along with several of the minions of the Hellfire Club (although surely not all of the are trusted with this secret).
The explosives are defused and Cartney meets a watery end in the cellars, but not from a butt of Malmsey, sadly enough.
A returned soldier unable to readjust to non-combative life. (Sound familiar?) Sergeant Moran, not content with pulling beers in the Officers' Mess or delivering crates of expensive champagne to his commanding officer, starts stealing military secrets. He infiltrates a butling school and enlists the help of Benson, one of the tutors. They employ the butlers of the various commanding officers of the area - or kill and replace those who remain loyal, then sew small tape recorders into the epaulettes of the COs' uniforms and recording top-level discussions.
It all comes a bit unstuck when Steed realises the butler did it and joins the school, exhibiting a slightly shady past in order to attract the attention of the perpetrators. they take the bait and he's soon spilling champagne on the Captain's uniform, then following the laundry back to the school and uncovering the villains, although timely appearance of a retired Brigadier saves the Avengers from what looks like certain death.
A diabolical mastermind indeed, this Professor Keller. Many years ago, he was the automation expert employed by Mrs Peel's company, Knight Industries. He was summarily sacked by her when he proposed laying off the entire work force and replacing them with machines. Ever since, he's planned his revenge; a house totally automated for one purpose - to kill Mrs Peel. The house is a whirling maze of twisting passages, all alike and a central console reminiscent of the TARDIS control room. Mrs Peel is to be steadily driven insane by he inability to navigate the hallways or to escape the clutches of the house, but Keller has overlooked two significant potentialities - Mrs Peel's intelligence and resolve, and the possibility of someone else entering the house. When the convict Burton breaks in and is demented by the house's machines his plans go awry, and Mrs Peel thwarts them utterly when she constructs a makeshift bomb to destroy the central computer, the Professor long dead and unable to stop her.
Dr Grindley and his little band of fascists want to change Europe, but not for the better. They seek out the author of a revolutionary economic plan that will free Europe of the tyrannies of repressive government and free trade associations and kill him before his plan can be presented to the EC parliament.
Undaunted, the author's collaborator and colleague, under the protection of Steed and Mrs Peel, proposes to finalise the plan, and track down their opponents. The villains misappropriate the Robin Hood legend, and intend to steal from the poor to feed their own riches.
Some years ago, Mrs Throgbotham was an up and coming businesswoman, until reality and creditors caught up with her company. Unable to cope with the financial ruin and besmirching of her name, she took her own life, leaving her husband Henry a broken, vengeful man. Developing a skill for ventriloquism and an athletic academy for young businesswomen, he set the stage for his wonderfully enacted revenge - a band of smart, efficient women take control of their employers' companies by making themselves indispensable - devising arcane and complex filing systems while another member of the school kills off the boss.
Too much of a good thing, however, when they cross swords with the Avengers. The women dismayed to discover Henry is the power behind the throne, Henry losing control of his minions and falling to Steed's pistol.
The villainous Arkadi wishes to depose his country's benevolent ruler and install his own government in his place, and hires London goons to do his dirty work. His henchmen dispose of a couple of Steed's colleagues who stumble upon the plot, and then set about disposing of everyone else who get in their way. They didn't count on the Avengers, however, and Bernie and Vincent are dispatched by Mrs Peel, leaving the mastermind fleeing by way of Hopkirk's fantasy bureau, but his plans go up in smoke when Mrs Peel rubs Steed's lamp.