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A Brief Introduction To The How's, When's and Why's of The Avengers
An archetype of all British TV productions, The Avengers was created by Sydney Newmana creative director at the British ABCas a replacement for the cop show Police Surgeon, which starred Ian Hendry. Hendry himself was retained and recast as Dr. David Keel, who would team up with John Steed, played by Patrick Macnee. The pilot episode, "Hot Snow," co-authored by Brian Clemens, was eventually transmitted in January 1961.
The show's title was conceived by Newman, based upon the plot of the opening episode: Dr Keel's fiancée was murdered accidentally, so revenge for her death would become the pivot of all further investigations. However, there are many who claim that Newman came up with the title before the first story was even penned, and he's often quoted as saying "I don't know what it means, but it's a great title." From the Diana Rigg season, the series was sold abroad, and the title was unfortunately re-christened as The Avengers began to be seen in countries speaking languages other than English. In Italy, the series is known as Agent Speciale (Special Agent); in Germany as Mit Schirm, Charme Und Melone (With Umbrella, Charm and Bowler Hat), and in France as Chapeau Melon et Bottes De Cuir (Bowler Hat and Leather Boots). Luckily, both, in Spain and Argentina, the title was translated literally as Los Vengadores (what a relief!). So it was in Portugal and Brazil, where the series is called Os Vingadores.
The Avengers was transmitted in Britain between January 1961 and March 1969. During those nine years, the series was evolving thematically and aesthetically as well, from a realistic, standard, monochrome thriller videotaped at Teddington Studios, to a colorful, eccentric series with storylines that focused on espionage. Between "Hot Snow" and "Bizarre"the first and last episodes of the series respectively, a total of 161 shows were produced, of which 137 are available. With the exception of "The Frighteners" and the recently found "Girl On The Trapeze," all first season material is lost.
At the beginning of the fourth season (Emma Peel, black and white) the production team decided to invest more money in the show. As a result, they shifted from videotape to film, and began to shoot on location much more frequently. This revamping reached the storylines too, as realism was progressively making way to situations characterized by the absurd or the unusual. Such a move, coupled with the arrival of Diana Rigg in the role of Emma Peel, the transformation of the character of John Steed, and the charm created around the rapport between the pair, catapulted the series to international success, reaching 120 countries around the entire world, including Argentina.
In this section you'll find general information on the series, split up into two main sub-sections. Go ahead and take a look.
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