The Avengers: What the Butler Saw

 I love this episode, it is like an encapsulation of everything Avengers in one hour! Eccentrics, romance, dastardly plots, and parody of our glorious nation. Actually I was reminded of it when watching Clue (one of my favourite films, along with Murder by Death), when Tim Curry told one of the guests that a butler 'butles'.

There is an irony - Steed understands 'service' so well because of having been brought up on the other side of the counter. He fits in by actually being an obvious fraud and therefore a shifty character - I love that the nobles in his forged references are the names of pubs!

Normally I don't take to familiar faces but like that John le Mesurier turns out to be the baddie here. I love his quote to the effect that his roles were usually of a decent man at sea in a chaos of his own making - which presumably means this isn't a usual role for him. He did actually see himself as a jobbing actor of the sort I'm usually irritated by and has a huge list of roles on IMDB. I was surprised to find not only that he was married to the wonderful Hattie Jacques, but that he also lived in a menage à trois with her younger lover.

Nor is this episode limited to Avengerland but references the spy craze then at its height and the accompanying media. Bond in the use of 00 numbers, The Man from UNCLE in gadgets, and Get Smart in the soundproof bubble thingy.

My absolutely favourite element is Emma in seductive mode.

If you want criticism of this episode - you're not watching it in the right spirit!

That said it is apparent that it can be understood differently by different people - despite not being the sexy heights she shows elsewhere in reading around for this I have found a clip of the fight scene on a fetish site about women fighting men lol.

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  1. Chicago Calling (a little bit late):

    I finally got around to seeing this Avengers episode from my Old DVD Wall a few nights back.
    This one aired in the US in the summer of 1966 - part of the first batch of B/W shows that ABC(US) ran as a kind of throwaway (because who the heck watches TV in the summer?).
    I believe I mentioned in a past comment that the stateside success of The Avengers took the TV biz on both sides of the Atlantic by surprise - leading ABC(GB) to fast-track color production ASAP.
    As to the episode itself, it seemed to me that it might have been even more impressive in color (with special reference to Diana Rigg's wardrobe) - but hey, that's me ...
    As to the Old Familiar Faces in the cast, I took some pride in recognizing not only John LeMesurier, but also Thorley Walters (the Hammer thrillers were always popular here in Chicago).
    But I did do a slight double-take when I finally placed Denis Quilley: all those extra pounds he packed on by the time he made those Agatha Christie features in the '70s did hit me a bit hard.

    Today I took delivery on Jimmy Sangster's memoir, Do You Want It Good Or Tuesday?
    It's an American edition; I can't find out if it was ever published in GB.
    If you have come across it, by any chance, you'd know, but Sangster tells wonderful behind-the-scenes stuff about British movies and American TV - it's an education for all of us.
    Sangster wrote the book in 1997, at the point of his retirement from the business.
    From what I've read so far, he apparently had a ball, on two continents.
    Very much worth checking out, by all who read this.

    1. I'm now going to have to look it up of course!
      I always thought the black and white Avengers weren't shown at all in the US the first time so thanks for clarifying that.


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