Saturday, 30 June 2018

Cathy Gale in the Bahamas

I was quite surprised to see Honor Blackman appearing in an episode of The Saint. The setting was a country house in Nassau, the episode The Arrow of God. There were two black maids with speaking parts, and several black policemen, but the "Indian mystic" was played by an actor with the very un-Indian name of John Carson.
And there was Honor Blackman, playing the Other Woman that one of the other characters wanted to leave his wife for.
And it reminded me that, in the last episode of The Avengers where she played Cathy Gale, Cathy said she was going to the Bahamas for a holiday, well away from Steed. I suppose the script writers knew that she had got the job on the Saint coming up.

It's a pity she didn't agree to do another season of The Avengers, but then she wouldn't have been able to do Goldfinger, and there wouldn't have been that lovely in-joke where Steed gets a postcard from Mrs. Gale and asks "What on earth is she doing at Fort Knox?"

Honor Blackman had a harder job in the Avengers than Diana Rigg - at the beginning, they performed the episodes live in the studio - so everything had to be right first time, and if anyone fluffed a line they just had to carry on. The Saint was done on film right from the start, and you can really see the difference.
Even so, Patrick McNee and Honor Blackman obviously worked well together - you can see how relaxed they are in their scenes together. I also hadn't realised until I watched the season through just how reckless Steed can be of his partners' safety, and just how much he relies on Cathy's expertise while he's muddling through and relying on his wits to get him out of trouble. Way back in the Venus Smith episodes, he deliberately puts her into potentially dangerous situations without telling her what she's getting into. Cathy Gale has a few choice words to say to him about that, in several episodes, leading up to her deciding to make a clean break of it and head to the Bahamas.

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