“Extraordinary crimes against the people and the state have to be avenged by agents extraordinary. Two such people are John Steed—top professional, and his partner, Emma Peel—talented amateur. Otherwise known as—The Avengers!”
I was a very young teenager when I began watching The Avengers with Emma Peel. As true for many male teenagers of my day, having a crush on the mysterious and beautiful Emma Peel was normal. We would talk about it at school and daydream of being a secret agent.
The 60s were a grand time for classic spy and dagger television shows with their extraordinary plots, music and locales. The Avengers from Britain was a novel television show with a stately English gentleman in three-piece suit, a bowler hat and English umbrella which contained a hidden sword. The young woman wore colorful outfits, especially the cat suit, and could hold her own against any bad guy as well as being very intelligent.
I never saw the previous versions of The Avengers with Ian Hendry as Doctor David Keel, Julie Stevens as singer Vensus Smith, and Honor Blackman as Doctor Cathy Gale, an anthropologist. It would be the Emma Peel era which caught the viewers’ undivided attention.
The stories were well written. However, it was the chemistry between Steed and Peel which made the series what it was, not to mention the nifty automobiles.
Unfortunately, all good things came to an end when Diana Rigg decided to leave the series for a number of reasons. The final scene where Emma leaves is a classic moment which the great author O. Henry could not top. It was priceless as Steed watched Emma drive off with a man with a black bowler and umbrella who was Peter Peel, Emma’s long-lost husband.
Steed’s new partner was Tara King played by the lovely Linda Thorson who was just twenty, but was a trained British agent. However, the die was cast and the series was cancelled by ABC in 1969.
The 1960s was a great era for innovative TV series with a touch of the fantastic. In my opinion, The Avengers was one of those great series which still hold up today.
G. D. Williams © 2012
Opening Sequence The Chess Board
Opening Sequence The Champagne Bottle
Garry Entropy: Emma Peel