Production Code: BFPAVENGE001

PLOTLINE

Once again, Dr David Keel finds himself crossing paths with the mysterious John Steed. Arranging a surprise meeting in a tea house cum club bar called the House of the Rising Sun, Steed makes the doctor a proposition that he finds impossible to turn away from. Steed has new information concerning the drug racketeers and offers Keel the opportunity to finally bring Spicer – the man who murdered his fiancée Peggy – to justice.

Spicer now works for Nick Mason, a protection racketeer who preys on the profits of bookmakers. Steed has already infiltrated Mason's organisation, and now Keel must ingratiate his way into a rival gang, led by Ronnie Vance. Vance and his brother Pretty Boy are to be Spicer's next victims, so that Mason can move in and take over their territory.

Pretty Boy has been razor-slashed by Mason and is in urgent need of a doctor – ideally a corrupt doctor who will not ask awkward questions or be on to the police at the earliest opportunity. In order to convince Ronnie Vance that Keel is suitably crooked, Steed arranges for a police raid while the doctor is in possession of heroin. Can Keel and Steed remain under cover long enough to incriminate Spicer and ultimately bring all the gang members to book...?

Click here to read about the original television episode

PRODUCTION
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 1, Episode 2
Recording Dates:
23-25 July 2013
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 46 minutes 22 seconds

RELEASE

Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 1
ISBN:
978-1-78178-264-4
Release Date:
Wed 8 Jan 2014
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
Dr Richard Tredding
Bart
Spicer
Vance
Detective Supt Wilson
Mason
Prentice
Pretty Boy
Jackie
Lila
Commentator
Policeman
Policeman
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Colin Baker
Colin Baker
Adrian Lukis
Adrian Lukis
Tim Bentinck
Alan Cox
Blake Ritson
George Rainsford
Camilla Power
Sophie Aldred
Phil Mulryne
Kieran Bew
Richard Franklin
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

At the present time, no original soundtrack has been released by Big Finish.

BONUS FEATURES

Interviews with adaptor John Dorney, producer David Richardson, and actors Anthony Howell, Julian Wadham and Colin Baker;
Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)

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Purchase from Big Finish

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer – Brian Clemens
Adapted for audio by -
John Dorney
Recording, Sound Design, Music and CD Mastering –
Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Series Theme -
Johnny Dankworth, rearranged by Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Interviews edited by -
Jamie Griffiths
BFP Administration -
Miles Haigh-Ellery, Charlotte Baker and Alison Taylor
Producers' Assistants - Hannah Peel, Paul Spragg and Frances Welsh
Cover Illustration -
Anthony Lamb
Booklet Design -
Mark Plastow
Booklet Notes -
Richard McGinlay
Web Services -
Hughes Media
Marketing Consultant -
Kris Griffin
Producer –
David Richardson
Executive Producers -
Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
Director –
Ken Bentley

Thanks to Massimo Moretti, Brian Clemens, Sam Clemens, Marcus Hearn, Richard McGinlay and Toby Hrycek-Robinson

A Big Finish Production

BROUGHT TO BOOK • DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode Brought to Book, originally broadcast second in the series' run on Saturday 14th January 1961 at 10.00pm in the ABC Midlands and North ITV regions. It was later shown in the ATV London, Southern and Tyne Tees regions on Saturday 1st April 1961 at 8.35pm.

  • The television version of this episode does not survive today. However, two scripts (rehearsal and camera) have been located, along with a modest number of production photographs. In order to remain as close as possible to the transmitted version, the audio adaptation of Brought to Book follows the camera script rather than the rehearsal script.

  • Sophie Aldred, well known to genre audiences as the Seventh Doctor's feisty, headstrong companion Ace in Doctor Who, was one of the first Avengers guest artistes to be announced by Big Finish in July 2013. While her major role in the first recording sessions would be as Lisa in the subsequent play, Square Root of Evil, she features here as Lila, a hostess working at the House of the Rising Sun bar. The casting of a Caucasian actress in an Asian role may seem strange nowadays, but it was a common practice in British television from its birth in 1936 until well into the 1970s, during which time non-white actors were more of a rarity. Though the television production of Brought to Book did use ethnic actresses, Joyce Wong Chong as Lila and Anna Shan-Khoo as the 2nd Chinese Girl, a later Series 1 episode, Kill the King, saw the casting of Caucasian performers Lisa Peake and Unity Bevis as South-east Asian characters, supplementing a cast of largely Asian performers.

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded over a three day period between Tuesday 23rd and Thursday 25th July 2013 at Moat Studios. Four episodes were recorded during these sessions: Hot Snow, Brought to Book, Square Root of Evil and The Radioactive Man. The latter would be held back for the second volume.


  • Brought to Audiobook... There are a number of differences between the rehearsal script and the camera script of Brought to Book that was used as the source for John Dorney's adaptation. The most notable of these variations is the restructuring of an early scene with Keel, Carol and Tredding. In the rehearsal script, Keel and Tredding discuss the events of Hot Snow (in order to remind the viewer), and how Keel is feeling about the loss of his fiancée Peggy and his lack of closure. In the camera script, the essence of this discussion is transferred to Tredding and Carol: after Keel has departed, Tredding tells Carol about the events of Hot Snow, and they talk about how Keel must be feeling. The benefit of this restructuring is that we no longer have characters conveying information that they both surely already know.

  • The television version of this episode opened with a narrated recap of the events of Hot Snow, delivered by actor Philip Stone, who also portrayed Dr Tredding. According to the camera script, this narration played over a shot of Dr Keel looking at a photograph (presumably of Peggy), followed by a shot of Steed at a horse-racing track with a pretty girl on either side. This sequence is omitted from the audio adaptation, perhaps because it would have been less obvious in sound only that this was a narrator speaking, rather than one of the characters. Besides, this episode has been issued in the same box set as Hot Snow, so the listener hardly needs such a reminder.

  • In the transition to audio, a few characters were dropped from certain early scenes in order to make the drama more comprehensible. On television, the sequence with the bookmaker Prentice also involved staff members called Lale and Johns, while Pretty Boy was accompanied by Bart. In addition to Lila, a second, unnamed Chinese Girl worked at the House of the Rising Sun. These were all minor characters, with few lines or none at all. Since you cannot really have non-speaking extras in an audio play, Prentice (Blake Ritson) now works alone, as does Lila (Sophie Aldred). Prentice delivers Bart's line, "Pretty boy... You need a doctor bad," while Lila takes on the 2nd Chinese Girl's few lines of dialogue. In a later scene, Bart (Colin Baker) explains that he was waiting outside the bookie's, "guarding the joint".

  • When Pretty Boy (George Rainsford) recalls reading the name plate outside Prentice's premises – "B. Prentice, Turf Accountant" – the listener might think that this was a new bit of descriptive dialogue, inserted by John Dorney in order to replace something visual. In fact, the line is present in the original camera script!


  • Trivia... This episode of The Avengers is unique in the history of the original series, in that it deals with plot strands that were introduced in the previous week's episode. However, it is still essentially a standalone story, and is not to all intents and purposes Hot Snow Part 2.

  • Though both the Big Man and Spicer escaped justice at the end of Hot Snow, only Spicer is brought to book here. Some synopses for Hot Snow and Brought to Book indicate that Vance and the Big Man are one and the same character, but it is evident from the surviving scripts that this is not the case. To add to the confusion, both the Big Man in Hot Snow (who is heard, but not seen) and Ronnie Vance in Brought to Book were played on screen by the same actor, Robert James. The Big Man is never heard from again, though intriguingly the counterfeiter Hooper receives orders from a similarly unseen and unnamed boss, who Steed refers to as "No. 1", in the next episode, Square Root of Evil. It is tempting to speculate that the Big Man may have been intended to become a recurring arch nemesis, rather like 007's Blofeld, for Keel and Steed to bring down in a later episode. From a modern perspective, the link to Blofeld is visually strengthened in surviving first act of Hot Snow, in which we see the Big Man's hand stroking a pet on his lap – but of course, The Avengers predates the feature film depiction of Blofeld by more than two years. However, if there were any such plans to make the Big Man a recurring villain, they never made it to the screen. As Dorney has suggested, in the interviews accompanying Hot Snow, he could have tidied up loose ends such as the fate of the Big Man, but the intention of these audio productions is to provide an accurate reflection of the stories as they were originally transmitted.

  • The extras that accompany Brought to Book afforded listeners a sneak peek of the recording of a scene from The Radioactive Man, an episode that was originally to have been included in the first box set but which was subsequently deferred to Volume 2.


  • Stop Press... An interview feature written by Paul Spragg entitled Trusty Steed appeared in Vortex Issue 59 in January 2014. Actor Julian Wadham was the interview subject, and the feature concentrated on his first impressions of playing John Steed. Asked what his reaction was to being cast as John Steed, Julian replied, "Oh, really excited. For two reasons: firstly, The Avengers is exactly the era in which I was growing up. I was born in 1958 so I sat there and watched these original programmes, and I can still remember the thrill and the style of those programmes. And of course John Steed deservedly became an iconic figure and I remember very clearly the jaunty angle of his hat and the sense of humour and the smile and the seductive eyes - although, of course, at that age I would have realised that's what they were! The other reason I remember it with great affection is because my father, who was a wonderful man, worked in the city. He would leave every day wearing a bowler hat so the whole thing is very evocative to me of my childhood."

    Read the rest of the interview by downloading Vortex Issue 59 from Big Finish

 


  • And Finally... Although the character of Dr Tredding was mentioned in subsequent television episodes, normally in explanation of how Keel was able to be away from his GP practice on a regular basis (Tredding covers his surgeries), the character never appeared on screen after featuring in Hot Snow and Brought to Book. Whether this will be the case with the Big Finish adaptations remains to be seen. Guest star Colin Baker made a welcome contribution to these episodes on audio, so who knows... maybe a spin-off series is in order?

Plotline by Richard McGinlay • Declassified by Richard McGinlay and Alan Hayes
Images
© Big Finish Productions – Reproduced with permission

With thanks to David Richardson, John Dorney, Mark Plastow
and Big Finish Productions for their kind assistance

 

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