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.