The Diabolical Masterminds of Series 5 (1967–8)
The megalomaniacal Needle intended to become the richest and most powerful man in the world by terrorising millionaires with staged executions until they handed over the money. Secreted in a hollow haystack behind Bridge Farm, he directs his gang of handsome brutes to terrorise the rich and retrieve their booty.
Most notable is Skelton, who eagerly plunges fake daggers and swords into people’s chests, shoots at them with rubber-tipped arrows and fake guns, and all other manner of heart-stopping intimidations. He also happily kills the unfortunate Gilbert Jarvis for not handing the money over quickly enough. The others seem to just be there as a show of force - including the ever-present Peter J. Elliott as Williams.
Dr. Creswell presided over the now disbanded Project 90, a government research project into the potential of broadcast power. Contrary to his scientists’ wishes, he canned the project, claiming it unfeasible. He forced them to demonstrate the technology to the Ministry before they were ready in order to close down the unit. Not because he thought it worthless, but because he recognised what a powerful weapon it could be!
Yes, Dr. Creswell is another megalomaniac who wishes to take over the country. Ably assisted by the amoral Peter Haworth, they proceed to destroy all records of the unit’s work, and to eliminate all the men who worked on the project.
Underestimating the resource of Steed and Mrs. Peel, they come to a sticky end.
An entire village of criminal masterminds! Maybe mastermind is too strong a term for some of them.
Sometime in the late Sixties, the village of Little Storping-in-the-Swuff was made an offer it couldn’t refuse. A million pounds was offered to the village as a whole provided it kept a murder committed in broad daylight outside the pub secret. Only four villagers - the telephonist, vicar, policeman and magistrate - dissented, and they were incarcerated in the town museum for their troubles.
The villagers realised a grander scheme - sell their village as a safe place to commit crimes. Anyone who can pay the exorbitant fee required can lure their victims to the village and kill them unhindered. Money is indeed the root of all evil.
Matthew Chivers, assistant to Professor L.T. Rushton, goes to the enemy with a proposal - the theft of the new Saracen FV603 armoured car. Shaffer laughs, but agrees to accept it, and is amazed when Chivers delivers it, miniaturised by a machine invented by the professor. Shaffer quickly realises that the machine is worth more than the FV603, and they proceed to steal that. With it, they can smuggle entire armies into Britain, restore them to full size and take over the country.
Shaffer is however, as he himself admits, “surrounded by idiots”. His henchmen Henrick and Karl are big lumbering oafs with half a brain between them, and Josef can’t distinguish between Rushton’s daughter and Mrs. Peel, which proves their undoing.
There’s a traitor in the Ministry, and that man is George Burton.
Sean Mortimer has stumbled upon his treachery and that of his accomplices Karl and Brad. They’re developing an amnesia drug with which they’re intending to take over the network and paralyse Britain’s intelligence agencies by flooding them with false information, prior to a foreign invasion.
Steed manages to quash their schemes with the assistance of Tara King, and a bit of help from the resourceful Mrs. Peel.