I just recently found out this show is airing on Cozi TV. I watched "The New Avengers" in the late '70s, so I was somewhat familiar with the Steed character. I find it a fun show and by the way, Diana Rigg had to be one of the sexiest ladies on tv in the 60s.
The Avengers was no ordinary British import, it was a very popular TV adventure series that ran on ABC from 1966-69.
Patrick Macnee played the dapper agent John Steed who is a symbol of sartorial splendor with his gentlemanly English suit, bowler hat & ever-handy brolly.
The first 2 seasons that first appeared on American TV featured Steed's partner Mrs. Emma Peel, played by Diana Rigg who not only was a sexy girl but also capable of using her martial arts skills in defeating her adversaries. Both Steed & Peel reported to their wheelchair-bound boss "Mother" who sent them in such adventures that the show soon gained cult status.
The 3rd season gave Steed a new partner named Tara King played by Linda Thorson, who didn't quite have the sex appeal of Mrs. Peel and soon the novelty wore off for the series.
The Avengers was such a cultural icon of the 60's & i was lucky to have seen the series on TV when they were shown late nights on CBS back in the 1980's.
The Avengers was truly a classic- it defined British television, and set the trend for future relationships between main characters. For example, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully of The X Files were based on Emma Peel and John Steed of The Avengers. For me, you can't get better than the Emma Peel era. I can look at Diana Rigg as a straight woman and I can see how ridiculously sexy she is.
Emma Peel and John Steed had undeniable chemistry- they could heat up the screen with just a sideways glance and a smouldering sigh.
For me, when she left, nothing was ever the same again- John Steed just didn't seem himself any more!
The Emma Peel episodes are the ones I watch- I live for the unbeatable chemistry between Rigg and Macnee.
For me, The Avengers is definitely under appreciated- It set the precedent for other shows, and truly was the ultimate.
From the very first time I saw this series I was hooked. It was creative, original, and fun to watch. Those who enjoy comedy and British spy shows will love the Avengers.
John Steed is the consummate gentleman who always treats the ladies with dignity and respect. And Emma Peel (my personal favorite "side kick") adds a unique chemistry to the series. Between the two of them, you have a true crime fighting "dynamic duo." The villains they face range from the down-right sinister to the side-splitting hilarious. Though their techniques are often unorthodox, in the end, they always "get their man." Don't miss this series (especially seasons 4 and 5), and watch out for Steed's hat; it could prove lethal.
This stylish British TV show was the first U.K. show to be broadcast by one of the Big Three Networks(ABC)in the states.The only other was 'The Prisoner'-a summer replacement series in 1968 on CBS.Normally U.K. shows were only seen on local PBS channels.
John Steed was oh so British,with his suit,bowler hat,umbrella and driving an old Bentley convertible. Diana Rigg was like no woman we'd ever seen on TV before.One of the first shows where the man and the woman were on equal terms.The viewers were teased by their flirty but platonic relationship.This was one of many great '60's TV takeoffs of the James Bond movies.Others include :'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.','The Prisoner','The Wild Wild West','It Takes a Thief','Mission Impossible',etc.All were great shows,but this show was written and acted by Brits. One of its many great writers was Brian Clemens who would go on to write many scary TV movies for ABC during the '70's.'The Avengers' was a show that possessed quick,witty,sexy dialoque between its 2 heroes.Shows like'Remington Steele','Mcmillan and Wife','Moonlighting' and 'X-Files'tried to capture the'will they or won't they' mood created by 'The Avengers'.The plots ran the gamut between crime drama and supernatural.Most plots were brilliant.Others a bit silly.But even when the plot was thin,the style and wit of the two leads still carried the show.
The avengers are a trio of the brittish secret service.John steed is the main character and his assistants like emma peel.They work for a man called Mother who lives in a double decker bus.John and his assistants usually get into sticky situations.
i only started watching this show a few weeks ago and i already think it's fantastic.It is quite ahead of it's time and probably gave inspiration to alot of tv shows and films that have spies in them.As i have said there have been more than one assistant for john steed but i have only seen emma peel.There have been about four assistants so not as many as doctor who.Sometimes it's quite silly and sometimes it's dramatic.This is a really brilliant show for it's time but it still has a little bit of old in it which is good.So if you like spies and classic butt-kicking the avengers is definaltely for you!
I came to this show a bit late...about 30 years late. When I first watched this in the 90s as a pre-teen it made a huge impresson on me, especially Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. This time round, it's no different. Except it now makes me laugh a lot. The situations are fantastic and many of the characters utterly wonderful. The scripts, while being quaint and amusing in their own right, are given an extra layer of brilliance by the sheer imagination of the writers and the way they are delivered. It would be impossible to remake it now without losing a lot of things which made it unique. Plus you'd never be able to get away with it now! Just count how many times the characters drink large amounts of brandy and then drive off in their Lotuses. The actors are fabulous, not to mention how they portray their characters. These are the Avengers, not a bunch of prissy MI5 agents. About to be horribly tortured or killed? They never bat an eyelid but continue to crack jokes, safe in the knowledge that the obligatory fight scene will have them safe and sound before tea time. Plus there's always that underlying urge for Emma and Steed to just run off into the sunset together. :P Never watched it? I suggest you watch Who's Who? for starters - I haven't forgotten that episode in ten years. Oh, needless to say; I love it.
The final series of The Avengers (1968-69), had not only the highest ever ratings in the UK but also in Europe (especially France). The whole image and upbeat, catchy signature tune (the Thorson theme)are very different. The introduction sees a far more feminine Tara (pearls and chiffon) and a gentler Steed (picking a rose). Romance, youth and visceral eroticism are promised as Tara runs along the bridge to be greeted by an immaculate man in a bowler hat, Steed...the adventures begin...
Linda Thorson stepped into fill some very big shoes and people forget she was only a mere 20-year-old, and a Canadian! Tara King is a huge departure from both Mrs Gale (not so well-known in the USA) and the iconic, inimitable Mrs Peel. Tara brings us youth, amazing beauty and guile in a less 'acid Chelsea humour, sloan-ranger' way. Her diction is nonetheless impeccable and she is more than a match for the dastardly masterminds with her karate skills.
Linda Thorson did an amazing job, when you consider the problems that were faced after Diana Rigg's departure: scripting, producing, directing etc. The character is not 'helpless' just warmer and softer. The chemistry Tara has with Steed is very visible... these episodes are vastly entertaining, highly exciting, amazingly comedic and are bursting with 1960's British quintessential 'character'.
Linda, thank you for making such a huge contribution to what is one of the best series ever made in the history of British TV!
The Avengers began with a medical doctor named David Keel (Ian Hendry) investigating the murder of Peggy, his office receptionist and wife-to-be, by a drug ring. A mysterious stranger named John Steed (Patrick Macnee), who was investigating the ring, appeared on the scene and together they set out to avenge her death in the show's first two episodes. Afterwards, Steed asked Keel to continue partnering him on an as-needed basis to solve crimes. And so began a series that would influence British, and probably International, television series for the future.
The first episode of the second season introduced Steed's third partner, and the one who would change the show into the format it is most remembered for. Honor Blackman played Dr Cathy Gale, a self-assured, good at judo, quick-witted anthropologist who had been widowed during the Mau Mau years in Kenya; she was the "talented amateur" who saw her support to Steed's cases as a service to her nation.
Gale was unlike any female character seen before on British TV and became a household name. Reportedly part of her charm came from the fact her earliest appearances were episodes in which dialogue written for David Keel was simply transferred to Cathy. By the third season, she became Steed's only regular partner. The series established a level of sexual tension between the characters, although as part of the evolving format of the series – and despite it being the Swinging 60s - writers were still bound by censorship rules and were not allowed to let the characters go beyond flirting and innuendo. Despite this, the relationship between Steed and Gale was progressive for 1962-63. In the episode "The Golden Eggs", it is revealed that Gale is living in Steed\'s flat; her rent according to Steed is to keep the refrigerator well-stocked and to cook for him:
"Good morning Cathy, what's for breakfast?" "Cook it and see!"
… showing the high-tempered Cathy would always have "battle of the sexes" arguments with Steed, hit him with outrageous answers and punch lines.
It is also stated, however, that this is a temporary arrangement while Gale (for reasons not stated) looks for a new home, and that Steed is actually sleeping at a hotel.
One should also not forget that Cathy's leather catsuits launched an entire fashion in England! Another change during the Gale era was the transformation of Steed from a rather rough-and-tumble trenchcoat-wearing agent into the stereotypical English gentleman, complete with Savile Row suit and bowler hat and umbrella, both of which turn out to be full of tricks, most notably a sword hidden within the umbrella handle and a steel plate concealed in the hat. Blackman became a TV superstar in Britain with her leather boots (nicknamed "kinky boots") and her high-kicking fighting style.
A new female partner appeared in October 1965: Mrs. Emma Peel (Diana Rigg). The name of the character derived from the phrase "M Appeal" or "Man Appeal". The character, whose husband went missing while on a South American exploration, retained the self-assuredness of Cathy Gale, combined with superior fighting skills, intelligence, and fashion sense. Rigg added to the subtle humour always in evidence throughout the series: as in when Emma is describing the perfect match for Steed: "A mixture of Lucretia Borgia and Joan of Arc." Steed: "Sounds like every girl I ever knew."
However, notwithstanding classic television, the honeymoon of the Steed/Peel relationship did not last because, I read somewhere that Rigg was never happy with the way she was treated on the show (she discovered at one point that she was being paid less than the cameraman) and she left in 1967 to pursue other projects (including a Bond film, like Blackman; Rigg was to be the only albeit quickly departed Mrs Bond!). No farewell episode had been shot, and despite now being out of contract, Rigg agreed to return to film an episode that explains Emma's departure. At its end, the news breaks that Emma's husband, Peter Peel, has been found alive and rescued, and she ends her role with Steed in order to be with Peter. (From Steed's viewpoint looking out the window to the driveway below, Peter resembles Steed exactly.)
Emma's successor was a supposedly inexperienced agent named Tara King, played by Canadian actress Linda Thorson. Thorson played the role with more innocence in mind and at heart; and unlike the previous partnerships with Cathy and Emma, the writers allowed subtle hints of romance to blossom between Steed and Tara. Tara also differed from Steed's previous partners in that she was a fully fledged agent working for Steed's officialdom; his previous partners had all been (as mentioned in the prologue used for American broadcasts of the first Rigg season) “talented amateurs”.
Another change returned the series to its roots by having Steed once again take orders from a British government official, this time the wheelchair-bound "Mother" (played by Patrick Newell). Mother's headquarters would move from place to place, including one episode in which his complete office was on the top level of a double-decker bus. The Avengers was such a trendsetter of its time that several James Bond films of the 1970s would make use of a similar gimmick for Bond's briefings.
This new team proved very successful both in Europe and the US until, the American network showed it at the same time as the then number one hit show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In; obviously it didn’t stand a chance and the show was cancelled. However, true to form - the final scene of the final episode ("Bizarre") has Steed and Tara, champagne glasses in hand, accidentally launching themselves into orbit aboard a rocket, as Mother breaks the fourth wall and says to the audience, "They'll be back!" before adding in shock, "They're un-chaperoned up there!"
I don't know how it was where you grew up but when I was in the sixth grade, which was then (1962-63) part of elementary school, some of the girls wore makeup. They were 12 already: almost teenagers (fast becoming a pejorative term). I was only 11, but even so... makeup?
The Avengers was already on the air in Britain but would not hit the waves on my side of the pond until 1966, in which year I was, myself, a teenager (14 and a half). I don't remember the Honor Blackman episodes; surely had I seen them, I would've, as her name was Gale (mine is Gail). I'm sure she was fabulous, but for me The Avengers will always mean the inimitable (though we did try!) Mrs. Peel, in the person of Diana Rigg.
Sure, Mrs. Peel wore makeup, which by that time was already a political issue for me, but she also wore clothing that let her move about freely enough to whomp the bad guys when necessary (and it was frequently necessary), rescueg Steed (less often necessary but quite gratifying when it happened) and show that she meant business. To that extent, she walked like a man... acted like a man, if "man" means "human being," as suggested by Simone de Beauvoir, and "woman" means something less. I wanted to dress like Mrs. Peel, act like Mrs. Peel, be free like Mrs. Peel. She was incredibly sexy, much sexier than the simpering sixties sexpots. Self-sufficiency IS sexy!
(Not that there was anything wrong with Steed. Macnee's wry smile alone was an important asset... and of course, there was that bowler hat....)
The show itself was fabulously exciting: funny (witty, even), lively and unique in its portrayal of the relationship between a man and a woman who obviously held each other in high regard, were fond of one another as well, and, most importantly, functioned as equals. Unheard of -- and not so often heard of in the next couple/few decades. Still, I can't be the only little girl whose dreams of being SOMEBODY were given credence and hope by the very existence of such a wonderfully independent person as Mrs. Peel of The Avengers.
The Avengers TV show was well ahead of its time.The premise of having a male and female detective team working together back in that era was a phenomenal step.It proved that a man and a woman could work side by side with each other and get the job done!!!
Because of The Avengers TV show,it changed the way for future TV shows and Movies today.It not only showed a woman can be pretty and have fashion style,but was smart and could handle herself in any dangerous situation.Her male partner also relied on her and knew she had his back when he needed her.Even though there was no personal relationship between them,the respect and admiration they had for each other seemed promiscuous but they knew their bounds.Emma Peel and John Steed were and are the BEST agents that ever solved outrageous cases & to this day they are still remembered.
"The Avengers" was actually a longer running show than most people realize, before Mrs. Peel came Catherine Gale, and before her, came a male doctor who partnered with Steed.
What I like best about this show is it didn't stick to the same story format. Oh, it was always about espionage, but different formulas were added.
One episode: comedy Next: drama After that: horror. It never got stale, because the producers were smart enough to quit while the show was still on a high note.
Watch this show, then some of the shows on the air today, and you can see a clear influence from "The Avengers" in many of them.
The best mix of British dry humor and secret service fantasy! Mrs. Peel and John Steed go though a series of light hearted mysteries where subtle humor and intrigue make for total entertainment. There have been attempts to copy the series but none came close to its brilliant plots and dialogs.
In contrast, the Hollywood version was a total dud !
John Steed must have felt like Gulliver in the three worlds of Kathy Gale, Mrs. Emma Peel and Tara King.
The Avengers was a popular 1960's British fantasy-adventure series that focused on the exploits of a male-female duo in the service of the British government. The series underwent several changes of its female lead but its one constant male lead was John Steed always portrayed by the debonair Patrick Macnee (Originally the John Steed had two male partners but that format eventually changed).
Kathy Gale portrayed by Honor Blackman became Steed's first female partner. However, when Honor Blackman departed the series and Diana Rigg entered as Mrs. Emma Peel, the show became an international sensation. Rigg brought sophistication, wit, charm and beauty, which hid her lethal and highly visual judo and karate abilities. Macnee and Rigg complemented each other beautifully with their carefree witty and charming exchange of dialogue.
The show distinguished itself with bizarre and futuristic villains and fantastic plots. Popular at the height of the James Bond craze, the show was able to distinguish itself with its simply over-the-top visual style.
'The Avengers' hooked 1960s audiences with a supremely stylish blend of espionage, tongue-in-cheek humour and surreal sci-fi. Ingenious masterminds and hand-to-hand action scenes (with women more than holding their own against men) were combined with bizarre plots, a knowing sense of the absurd, and topped off by immaculate dress sense and witty banter. The casting was just as inspired. You can have fun spotting future stars such as Charlotte Rampling, Donald Sutherland or Christopher Lee (as robot scientist Dr. Frank N. Stone) in head roles, or the likes of Ronnie Barker, Clive Dunn, Arthur Lowe, Arnold Ridley or John Laurie (the latter four actors all from 'Dad's Army') in wonderfully eccentric supporting parts. Patrick Macnee really did make the role of dapper John Steed his own. The show was slated to replace 'Police Surgeon' and Macnee, as sidekick to Ian Hendry's Dr. David Keel, was left to his own devices. The actor created a cultured, droll agent who relied on wits more than weapons. Producer Sydney Newman, inspired by a news story from Kenya about a woman whose family was attacked by terrorists, made Steed's partner female. In the early 1960s, leatherclad Honor Blackman using martial arts to defeat her male opponents was revolutionary stuff - Cathy Gale was the first truly liberated female character on television.
Blackman's replacement - Diana Rigg - played Emma Peel. The name was derived from 'man-appeal', which she had buckets of, along with a relaxed charm and teasing wit - one arch of her eyebrows conveyed far more than any scripted joke. With some (literally) fantastic storylines and the chemistry between Steed and Mrs. Peel, 'The Avengers' hit its creative and commercial peak, being sold to 120 countries. Things were never as good after Rigg left in 1967. Her successor Linda Thorson played Tara King as a ditzier, more conventionally feminine character but lacked Rigg's gift for humour and the show petered out after two more seasons.
Wry, sophisticated and quirky, “The Avengers” was one of the classiest shows on television. The show is very 60s and yet superbly modern. Odd and eccentric villains, strange events and seemingly unexplainable occurrences make “The Avengers” a forerunner of “The X Files”.
British agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee) had various partners - nearly all of them female. For me, the most memorable was Emma Peele (Diana Rigg). Mrs. Peele (as she was almost always called) was anything but a female stereotype. She was clever, confident, self-reliant and able to hold her own in a physical fight. She came to Steed's rescue as often (if not more) than he came to hers. The comradery and mutual respect between these two characters is still rare in television and movies.
Keep an eye out for “Monty Python's” John Cleese in the episode “Look - (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers...”. It's an appearance not to be forgotten.
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