Randall and Hopkirk Deceased: Two Can Play at that Game

This will be an unusually image-based post for this blog, simply because I'm obsessed with the surreal and deadly department store in this episode.

The episode is heavily influenced by several episodes of The Avengers. Death at Bargain Prices suggests the store. 

Oh look, there's Steed! Over Death at Bargain Prices the resentment here is much more personal so I think The House That Jack Built is another influence.

There are also overtones of Don't Look Behind You/The Joker in being trapped inside a killing machine where you're doomed to fail.

I particularly like the trompe l'oeil corridor. Incidentally I love the art deco store used as a location, but try as I might I haven't been able to identify the location. It's obviously an original art deco building which is either listed or in the hands of an owner who appreciates the style. Alternatively this may be where someone comments that it was burned down by arsonists the week after filming ended.

There are all sorts of traps and dangers.

Such as robots spraying perfume which is acid and a staircase which disappears.

The traditional department store and the recurring problem with social standing makes it feel rather like Are You Being Served.

The dangerous man with a grudge here, is the son of the owner, who went to school with Randall and got bullied for being fat.

I think probably trying to break through a fire escape (which bursts into flames) with a cricket bat, may be the most English way to attempt escape in history.

The store starts off looking normal.

But soon becomes surreal.

Possible reference to The Prisoner in the beds.

Of course there is something nasty in the nursery!

As in Game, the episode culminates in a game where Randall and Jeannie play for their lives.

However I haven't yet identified an inspiration for the surreal nature of the store, and for that I would suggest that other icon of sixties style, Biba, particularly Big Biba opened in 1973. The style of that store was genuinely surreal.

Oversized working record player anyone?

There is a strange irony if Biba is the inspiration for the store, because Biba only sold clothes in one size (size 8) and Barbara Hulanicki is quoted as saying they were for underfed women. Strange that this exclusion of people who aren't underfed might inspire the setting where a man who has been bullied for being fat tries to kill his school friend who also calls him fat!

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