Sunday, 26 November 2017

Early Avengers - the Second Season

So, here we are with surviving episodes of the second season of the Avengers - and Dr Keel and his nurse Carol have been replaced by Dr King and his nurse Judy. According to Wikipedia, strikes curtailed the filming of the first season, and Ian Hendry took that opportunity to leave the series to pursue a film career.
The first two episodes on the second disc involve a film star taking a luxury liner to Montreal, with Dr King acting as her personal physician and Steed disguised as a steward. They're looking for a film detailing secret bases around the Arctic Circle - this was the heyday of the Cold War, after all. It's quite fun to see the stock footage of the luxury liner added into the action on sets.
And they must have had access to a few Canadian actors that year, because the next episode on the disc involves an airline flying from Canada to Ireland - and planes have been mysteriously crashing. There were a fair few Irish actors in that, too, as well as an evil nun - or at least, she was disguised as a nun. There was a good, genuine, nun, too. This time the doctor was there to examine the crash victims, who had been taken to the local convent, and Steed gets to fly a passenger jet. He mentions having been in the RAF.
And the third episode heads for John Le Carre territory, with a double agent among Steed's associates. He also meets his boss in the British Museum, and they did actually film outside the British Museum. He also, unusually, uses a gun - usually he carried an umbrella, because he said he had seen enough violence during the Second World War, when he served in the Navy.
The scripts are rather good - they certainly held my interest for the plot, rather than just historical interest. The series had a lot of good writers, some of whom also wrote for Doctor Who.
The music, though, is awful - though it was composed and performed by Johnny Dankworth and his orchestra. This is obviously before the familiar Avengers theme was written.

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