The Avengers

Season 4 Episode 7

The Murder Market

Aired Unknown Nov 13, 1965 on ITV
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Murder Market
What could an outbreak of motiveless murders have to do with the activities of a marriage bureau called Togetherness Inc.? Well, think of Hitchcock's 'Strangers On A Train' and you'll be close. Steed and Emma seek their ideal partners....

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  • Love, honour and bump off...Steed contemplates matrimony and Emma tries out a coffin for size.

    The scripting of this early Emma Peel episode gets a little sloppy towards the end - the explanation of how Emma escaped from the coffin is unconvincing. Also, a few moments hint that it may have been scripted with Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale in mind - the sharpness of the interchanges between Steed and Emma isn't entirely typical of the Diana Rigg shows. The casting of Naomi Chance - an actress often cast in Honor Blackman-type roles in 1950s films - reinforces this notion. It's good fun, though, and we see what John Forgeham (whose character died spectacularly in the first-ever "Prime Suspect" segment, thus giving Jane Tennison her chance) looked like when young.moreless
  • Apparently the first Peel story.

    This has some strange elements which may be explained by the fact that it was apparently the first episode ever produced with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. (It had been started with another female lead, but abandoned halfway through in 1964.)

    Mrs Peel does some strange things, like getting visibly angry at Steed. Only in the tuba scene does she appear to be the Emma Peel we know and love. Another character gets a great Peel scene: there is some typical Steed-Peel banter between Steed and Barbara Wakefield (Suzanne Lloyd) in a stable. It made me wonder whether Miss Lloyd hadn't been in the running for the role of Emma Peel as well, with this guest appearance as a consolation prize.

    Some plot holes surprised me. When Mrs Peel hires the marriage bureau she makes a point of stating that she is 'Mrs' Peel. We never get an explanation for the lack of a husband (deceased?). This may be the producers toying with the viewers, making Emma Peel more intriguing. But what troubled me (and here's a big spoiler!) was the way in which Emma's escape from the coffin was handled. It's never explained how she got out. And was Steed aware of he escape? If not, why didn't he react at the funeral?moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Emma: That must have set them a problem, finding a match for you.
      Steed: Oh, I don't know. I'm educated, charming, cultured, ...
      Emma: Ruthless, devious, scheming. It would have to be quite a girl. A mixture of Lucretia Borgia and Joan of Arc.
      Steed: Sounds like every girl I ever knew.

    • Steed: Tried working once, it didn't work out – too much like work.

    • (Steed gives champagne to Mrs Peel who is pretending to be dead)
      Steed: Don't get tipsy, we can't have you hiccuping in the coffin!

    • (in order to gain admission to the Togetherness Marriage Bureau, Steed re-evaluates his attitude towards marriage)
      Steed: A marvellous institution, my dear. I am seriously contemplating it. I'll put myself on the market today. Every bid considered. (looking Mrs Peel in the eye) Of course, I'm very choosy.

    • (Steed is busy at work drawing a graph)
      Mrs. Peel: Planning?
      Steed: Plotting.
      Mrs. Peel: For your accountant? A museum of modern art? Or could it be, (Indicating a sharp downward trend on the graph with her finger) your popularity poll?

  • NOTES (1)

    • John Forgeham, later to become a very well-known character actor on British TV in such shows as Prime Suspect and Footballers' Wives, makes an early appearance here as the photographer, but his surname is mis-spelled in the credits. In this episode he is credited as John Forgham.


    • Mrs. Peel tells Steed that his ideal wife would have to be a mixture of Lucrezia Borgia and Joan of Ark. Borgia was the 15th Century Duchess whose 3rd husband was murdered by her brother, with whom she allegedly committed incest. Joan of Ark was the 15th Century military leader who convinced Charles the 7th that she had a divine mission. She was burned for heresy and canonised in 1920.