The Avengers: The Gravediggers
1. This Avengers episode is the famous one with Mrs Peel strapped to the railway line. I start with this because I had forgotten it was this one. My main criticism of this episode is that what with the radar thing, the hospital, the undertakers and the railway, it is perhaps somewhat too packed with different images.
2. Apart from that scene the episode contains about every ingredient of an Avengers episode you could ever wish for: English eccentrics, wonderful visuals, deadly enemies... You name it.
3. The episode effectively 'Avengersifies' the espionage preoccupation of this era, and unites it with the attitude towards technology so prevalent in the TV of this era, where Progress is so often a great hope and yet fear.
4. The Dissolute website makes the point, which I hadn't even thought of, that this Avengers is very like an Ealing film, and in fact it is.
5. I simply refuse to believe that Steed would just help himself to a carnation for his buttonhole!
6. Anyone fancy being nursed by Mrs Peel? This may be the episode where she has the most conventional female roles - of nurse then damsel in distress. She pretends to be a nurse in The Master Minds but the role feels quite different.
7. The bondage scene pushed the bounds of the show's sexiness.
8. Sir Horace's hatred of railway closures in favour of road traffic, takes place against the real history of a drastic reduction of Britain's loss-making railways, which peaked in the 1960s and slowed down after 1970. These closures were associated with the name of Lord Breeching. Ironically the wealthy Sir Horace represents an uneconomical past of anachronistic technology, shown against the future technology of radar etc, so technically the future wins out in the episode.
9.The Footplate men's Friendly is also the sort of trade union (for a vanished trade) which has also vanished. There is a real sense in which this is a cosy Avengers, taking place in an unreal world which is reminiscent of a vanished Britain.
As I said above, my only criticism of this episode is that I think it tries to squeeze too much in. Otherwise it is a classic Avengers episode.