Never mind Doctor Who, there’s another good British series that needs more consideration. From 1961 to 1969, a pair of British agents saved the England–and the world–from a series of increasingly goofy threats in The Avengers. The suave, stylish Mr. Steel (Patrick Macnee) was paired with various women, all capable with both karate chop and quip, as they unraveled mysteries and overcame evil. The best-remembered of Steed’s partners was Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), who was on the show when it aired in the United States. Her predecessor, Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), was more than competent and deserves greater attention. Tara King (Linda Thorson), had the least screen time of the three, unfortunately, though even she has thirty-three episodes.
Now Emma and Mr. Steel are returning as Julian Wadham and Olivia Poulet bring them to the Big Finish Audio Drama, in a The Avengers Steed and Mrs. Peel a series of adaptations based on The Avengers comic strips. The voices are not, alas, quite the same–how could they be? But hopefully the adventures will retain the same straight-faced goofiness of the old show. They certainly have familiar off-beat descriptions.
Listen to the example below. What do you think?
The first boxed collection contains:
1. Return to Castle De’ath by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris
Steed is left hanging, Emma pays the piper.
Steed and Peel return to the scene of an earlier adventure to find it much changed. Now a ski-resort, Castle De’ath is playing host to many new visitors – including a wealthy Prince targeted by assassins.
Assigned as bodyguards, the Avengers have to keep the Prince alive and discover which of the Castle’s guests are behind the murderous plot – before they succumb to it themselves.
2. The Miser by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris
Steed has a nasty scare, Emma has a pressing engagement.
When the phrase ‘sleeper train’ takes on a very literal meaning, Steed and Peel witness the first action of The Miser, a terrifying extortionist.
The race is on to stop his ambitious scheme – but in this case, appearances can be deceptive.
3. The Golden Dresses by Paul Magrs
Emma hits the heights of fashion, Steed plumbs the very depths.
The ladies of society can’t get enough of Madame Zingara’s Golden Dresses. Especially now their husbands have gone missing.
Steed and Peel look into the world of haute couture to discover the dark secret of this latest craze. Can they pull it off with style?
4. The Norse Code by John Dorney
Steed has the horns of a dilemma, Emma milks her moment.
An agent has gone missing whilst holidaying in the Norfolk Broads. With an American nuclear bomb being stored in the region, Steed and Peel can’t take any risks.
But the last thing they expect to find on their boating trip is a Norse longboat. What are Vikings doing in East Anglia?
Featuring Julian Wadham, Olivia Poulet, Shelia Reid, Simon Greenall and Jacqueline Pearce, The Avengers – Steed and Mrs Peel: The Comic Strip Adaptations Volume 1 is available from Big Finish today.