The Avengers

Season 5 Episode 12

The Superlative Seven

Aired Unknown Apr 08, 1967 on ITV
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Steed is invited to a party, and finds himself trapped in a remote-controlled aircraft, with six fancy-dressed specialists in various combat styles, en route to a distant island. There, they are pitted against each other in a deadly test.

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  • John Steed is one of seven people stranded on an isolated island - and someone's trying to kill them all.

    This outrageous, ingenious, very entertaining blending of "And Then There Were None" and "The Magnificent Seven" is amongst the very best "Avengers" episodes. It's also of some significance in the show's history - Diana Rigg had announced her intention to quit, and the producers were clearly using this segment to try out a possible replacement. Charlotte Rampling plays a certain "Mrs. Hana Wilde" - another widow! - who remains cool at all times, is a crack shot and can handle herself in a fight (and in repartee with Steed). Emma Peel appears only at the beginning and end of the episode. Mrs. Wilde didn't become a series character, but she re-appeared a few years later in the unsuccessful attempt to adapt "The Avengers" for the stage.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Teaser: Steed, out shooting, brings down a plastic duck on which is printed "Steed'. Hearing a noise behind him, he turns as Mrs. Peel shoves aside the greenery to add 'You're needed'!

      Tag: This time Emma is the one duck hunting. Pointing skywards, she fires - and brings down two toy teddy bears - one of which contains a bottle of bubbly secreted in its tummy. But where are the glasses? Shoving Steed aside, Emma fires again and two champagne glasses fall into their hands!

    • Near the end of this episode as Jessel (Donald Sutherland) picks up each gun from the table Wilde (Charlotte Rampling as "Annie Oakley") shoots them out of his hand. The camera angle used clearly shows that Steed and Mrs. Peel are in the background and in the direct line of fire.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Mrs Peel: (reading) "Your presence is requested by Sir George Robertson, DSO, CBE, KGB." Who's he?
      Steed: The famous explorer. Outer Mongolia, darkest Africa, over the Andes. He's always going up the Amazon and getting lost. He's a very intrepid fellow.
      Mrs Peel: Bad sense of direction.

    • Mrs Peel: There's a small matter of the dead athletes, six within the last week murdered.
      Steed: Seven.
      Mrs Peel: A couple of weight lifters and several assorted wrestlers.
      Steed: A brace of boxers. Very odd.
      Mrs Peel: Very unsporting.

    • Hana: How do you do? I'm Wilde.
      Steed: Are you? Every minute of the day?

    • Dayton: What about you? What sets you out from the crowd?
      (Steed begins unbending a bent metal bar)
      Steed: Oh, maybe the way I hold my umbrella.

  • NOTES (0)


    • The title is an obvious reference to both the classic Japanese film The Seven Samurai, and, more directly, to its 1960 Hollywood remake, The Magnificent Seven, which transposed the first film's plot to the Mexico of the 1870s, making it a western. Both films feature seven expert warriors (samurai in one, gunmen in the other), just as the seven characters in this Avengers story are all experts in various martial arts.

    • The main plot - people invited to a 'party', in fancy dress, then finding themselves stranded on a remote island, with the knowledge that one amongst them is a killer, is taken directly from Agatha Christie's classic tale, And Then There Were None, the biggest seller of her illustrious career. It has been converted to stage plays, TV productions, and brought to the big screen four times. The 1945 (and most critically successful) version starred Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, and June Duprez. The 1965 version featured Hugh O'Brian, Shirley Eaton, and Wilfred Hyde-White, and in 1975 it was cast with Oliver Reed, Elke Sommer, and Richard Attenborough. There was also a little-known 1989 remake entitled Ten Little Indians, which took place in a jungle(?), and dozens of foreign language adaptations.
      In addition, the row of coffins and the fake javelin theme has been parodied countless times in mystery spoofs, (Clue), and slasher films, (April Fool's Day, Saw).

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