The Diabolical Masterminds of Series 5 (1967–8)

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Who’s Who???

Basil and Lola are agents from an unspecified Eastern Bloc country. With the genius of their evil Dr. V. Krelmar, they are able to swap bodies with the dashing duo of Steed and Mrs. Peel. Krelmar has developed a machine which will transfer the mind of the person in the lefthand seat into the body of the person in the right hand seat, and vice versa.

They plan to become the ultimate double agents - undetectable, above suspicion, knowing the right people, going to the right places, wearing the right clothes

"You should see her wardrobe!"

Bodies swapped, Basil and Lola cut a swathe through the Ministry’s FLORAL network. Having killed Rose (Hooper) before the swap, they are now in a position to do away with the unfortunate Daffodil, Poppy, Pansy, Carnation, Cornflower, Marigold (the ever present Peter J. Elliott) and Bluebell before our heros, in their bodies, are able to stop them - Basil’s migraine proving to be their undoing.

His bottle of headache pills from Krelmar lead Steed and Mrs. Peel (...or Basil and Lola as they sort of are) to the villain’s lair, and when Basil and Lola (... or Steed and Emma) come to stop them they are thwarted.

Return of the Cybernauts

Paul Beresford has a single purpose - to avenge the death of his maniacal brother Dr. Clement Armstrong, the inventor of the Cybernaut. This villain had been killed by his own creations when Steed and Mrs. Peel had intervened to thwart his plans of world domination.

Nothing so lofty for Beresford! He only wants revenge, cruel and personal.

To this end, he kidnaps leading scientists and coerces them with a combination of money and intimidation to find a brilliant solution for his position. (It never would have worked if governments gave enough money to research).

Chadwick and Neville devise a manner in making a person into a puppet, using the same principles as are used in the cybernaut. Beresford’s nostrils flare - Steed and Mrs. Peel will be his puppets! His eyes light up at the idea of the evil depravity he can enforce upon an unresisting Mrs. Peel, and the slow lingering deaths he can plan for them both.

His right hand man Benson, who had also assisted his brother, is sadly inept and the plans goes awry when Steed fails to wear the watch that is the means to control him. Steed is captured by a marionette Emma, then breaks free by slipping the controlling watch onto the arm of the cybernaut, who promptly short-circuits and kills his master.

Death’s Door

Alfred Becker, an Eastern Bloc observer at a European conference has evil plans to stall proceedings and prevent a united Europe, leaving smaller countries at the mercy of their larger neighbours. Such a political climate is to the liking of his political masters.

He engages the services of the double agent Stapley, an advisor for Britain at the talks, who ensures that the ministerial representatives he advises never make it through the conference room door.

With the assistance of his death-dealing cronies Saunders (a chauffeur who’s defected) and Haynes (another attaché), and a crew of underlings, he drugs the representatives and leads them to a warehouse full of props foretelling a manufactured future, which they then make come true. The end of these manufactured dreams is always the death of the person being drugged, so they manage to scupper the conference. Steed and Mrs. Peel uncover the plot, but not before the end of the conference. Oh well, there’s always another one.

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The £50,000 Breakfast

In the cut and thrust world of high finance, there’s no room for a woman. Not in the Sixties, anyway. I wonder how much has really changed...

Miss Pegram, head assistant to aged financier Alex Litoff, and real power behind the throne, knows it too. So when he dies, she coerces all in his employ, including his butler and doctor, to keep the death a secret, and bury the body in a pet cemetery, in place of one of Litoff’s borzois, who is shipped off to the country to be put down. The man responsible, a smuggler called Dusty Rhodes, is a dog lover and finds himself unable to kill the dog, and from this one slip the mighty plans of Miss Pegram crash to the ground.

Maybe not the most evil of villains, Miss Pegram proved herself a heartless capitalist when she offered Sir James and Glover extra money if they’d assist her in killing Steed and Mrs. Peel.

Dead Man’s Treasure

This one is tricky. There’s not one, but three diabolical fiends at play, but they’re not even on the same team.

Alex and Carl are foreign agents, trying to recover documents intercepted by the late Bobby Danvers. Danvers secreted them in the treasure chest that’s the prize of Sir George Benstead’s annual car rally, and passed the key on to Steed. I should clarify that - Alex is a foreign agent and Carl is his English conspirator, judging by their accents. They pursue Steed and Mrs. Peel and endanger a great many lives trying to recover the treasure chest first.

Mike Colbourne - if that really is his name, he did knock someone out to get an invitation - is a wild card. He spotted Steed and Emma entering the rally, closely pursued by Carl and Alex, and decided to intercept the documents himself and sell them to the highest bidder. There’s no motivation more compelling, more violent, than money. Mike is a much nastier character than either Alex or Carl, and would rather kill Mrs. Peel than leave without the chest.

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