Production Code: BFPAVENGE002

PLOTLINE

While attempting to enjoy an evening out at the cinema, Dr Keel is called to the local dance academy, where Elaine Bateman, one of the school's owners, has been overcome by gas. When Keel revives her, she insists that someone is trying to kill her, though she does not know who or why. This is not the first such claim she has made, and the police and other doctors seem to think that she has been faking suicide attempts just to draw attention to herself. Keel, however, is more sympathetic.

He investigates the academy, where he meets Elaine's incompetent business partner Major Caswell, the Major's associate Mrs Marne, who is keen to become a partner herself, Mrs Marne's daughter Valerie, and the school's pianist, Philip Anthony – all of whom mistakenly believe that Elaine is dead, until Keel sets them straight. Elaine returns to work, but Keel is forced to intervene when there is an altercation involving the woman's jealous boyfriend, Trevor Price. During the struggle, Keel accidentally leaves his scarf behind. That evening, Elaine is strangled – using Keel's scarf.

Keel is a suspect in the murder, but Steed agrees to do what he can to clear the doctor's name. Enrolling at the academy as 'Mr Rogers', Steed spots a familiar face – a man who, seven years earlier, was accused but acquitted of murdering his wife in the bath. His real name is Clifford Gardiner, and Steed fears that he may be about to kill again...

Click here to read about the original television episode

PRODUCTION
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 2, Episode 4
Recording Dates:
30 September and
1,3,4 October 2013
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 55 minutes 18 seconds

RELEASE

Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 2
ISBN:
978-1-78178-265-1
Release Date:
Wed 9 Jul 2014
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
Mrs Marne
Philip Anthony
Trevor Price
Major Caswell
 Porter
Elaine Bateman
Beth Wilkinson
Valerie Marne
Police Sergeant
Man
Clerk
Announcer
Woman
Barman
Boy
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Jacqueline King
Dan Starkey
Dan Starkey
Cameron Stewart
Cameron Stewart
Anjella Mackintosh
Anjella Mackintosh
Gemma Whelan
Derek Carlyle
Derek Carlyle
Martin Hutson
Francesca Hunt
Penelope Rawlins
Terry Molloy
Michael Hrycek-Robinson
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

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

BONUS FEATURES

Interviews with actors Anthony Howell, Julian Wadham and Lucy Briggs-Owen;
Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)

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Purchase from Big Finish

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer – Dennis Spooner
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, Cheryl Bly 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

MINISTRY VERDICT

And so the box set ends as it began, with a script from Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward, set in a service outlet frequented by glamorous young ladies. In Ashes of Roses it was a hair and beauty salon. Here it is a dance academy – a similar setting to that of the Series 4 episode Quick-Quick Slow Death. The writers offer us plenty of suspects to choose from during the first couple of acts, including Elaine's obsessive boyfriend Trevor, and business associates Major Caswell and Mrs Marne, who are clearly keen to take over the running of the company. Mrs Marne's selfishness is by turns amusing and appalling – when Valerie disappears, Mrs Marne seems more concerned about her precious diamonds than she does about her daughter. Once again, Ling and Ward partner Steed with a female sidekick, in this case Beth Wilkinson, though actress Anjella Mackintosh doesn't draw as much humour out of the role as one feels she could have done (certainly less than Angela Douglas seems to have done in 1961 – producer Leonard White recalled that she had "a very good sense of comedy"). On the other hand, the production adds to the humour and sex appeal already present in the script when we hear a gasp from Valerie Marne (Gemma Whelan) as Steed gets an eyeful of her in the bath! Of particular note, there's a temporal jump cut in Act 3 (from Steed saying "So she knew him before" to Beth, to Steed saying the same thing to Keel) which is brilliantly executed on audio, thanks to the addition of a musical bridge by Toby Hrycek-Robinson. Play it again, Toby!

DANCE WITH DEATH • DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode Dance with Death, originally broadcast on Saturday 15th April 1961 at 10.00pm in the ABC Midlands, ABC North, Anglia, ATV London, Southern, Television Wales & West, Tyne Tees and Ulster ITV regions.

  • The television version of this episode does not survive today. However, a camera script has been located. No production photographs from this episode are known to exist. A set of five images commonly attributed to Dance with Death, showing Keel and Steed scaling a high wall, do not in fact represent scenes from this episode.

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded over four days in studio between Monday 30th September and Friday 4th October 2013 (with Wednesday 2nd October being a rest day) at Moat Studios. Four episodes were recorded during these sessions: Ashes of Roses, Please Don't Feed the Animals, Dance with Death and One for the Mortuary. The latter would ultimately be brought forward and included on the first volume in place of The Radioactive Man which was placed on this second set due to its atypicality.

  • Four actors play more than one role in this episode: Dan Starkey plays Philip Anthony and Trevor Price; Cameron Stewart voices Major Caswell and the hotel porter; Anjella Mackintosh features as both Elaine Bateman and Beth Wilkinson; and Derek Carlyle figures in the production in two unnamed guises as Police Sergeant and the plain-clothes police officer who talks to Keel in the cocktail bar (for which he is credited as Man).


  • Brought to Audiobook... As is often the case, the opening scene of Dance with Death was originally without any scripted dialogue. Directions written in pencil on the camera script reveal only the bare bones of the action: "MCU [medium close-up of] Girl through taps... CS [close shot of] Fire and hand... CU [close-up of] Girl". Subsequent dialogue makes sense of these sketchy details: the woman is in the bath, and dies when an electric fire is dropped into the water. Adaptor John Dorney gives the woman a few lines to convey the action, but without giving away the identity of the killer...

  • The cinema announcer who asks for Dr Keel replaces a silent caption slide, which appeared on the cinema screen in the television version of this episode.

  • In the original episode, the police sergeant was accompanied by a constable, who had a single line of dialogue, noting that the door to Elaine's office has been forced. In the Big Finish adaptation, this line is delivered by the sergeant instead.

  • The scene in which Steed recognises a face from his department's records could have been written for audio, but it is in fact as originally scripted for television. Steed and Keel look at and discuss a photograph in the dance academy prospectus, though the television viewers must not have been able to tell to whom they were referring. From this point on, Steed and Keel know the identity of the killer, but the audience does not...


  • Trivia... When Keel visits the cinema near the beginning of the episode, the film he goes to see is The Rebel, a title specified in the camera script. This 1961 comedy film was written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, and starred Tony Hancock, names which were (and still are) very familiar from the successful radio and television sitcom Hancock's Half Hour. In common with The Avengers, lost episodes from that series have also recently been remade on audio: five missing radio episodes of Hancock's Half Hour were re-recorded in April 2014, with Kevin McNally playing 'the lad himself'.

  • This episode reveals something of the domestic arrangements at Dr Keel's surgery. Towards the end of Act 1, Keel asks Carol whether lunch is ready. Carol replies by saying that a Mrs Biggs has been issuing ultimatums. It would seem that Mrs Biggs is Keel's housekeeper or landlady.

  • The character of Steed does not appear during the entire first act of this episode.

  • At the start of Act 2, Steed claims that he has no influence with the police. This is in stark contrast to earlier episodes, such as Brought to Book, in which Steed and his department work closely with police officers, even mobilising an extensive force in Square Root of Evil. Steed may simply mean that he personally has no influence over police operations. Alternatively, this could indicate a change in the department's relationship with official authorities, with less overt co-operation from this point on.

  • When Steed remarks upon the new dιcor of Keel's living room, it is because, at the time of production of the television version of this episode, the surgery set had recently been redesigned. The new set had made its debut two episodes earlier, in Hunt the Man Down, but producer Leonard White gave instructions that the change also should be addressed in Dance with Death, since this would be the first time that "London and the rest" (i.e. viewers in the ATV London, Southern, TWW, Tyne Tees and Ulster ITV regions) would see it.

  • It is unclear what kind of tool Steed uses to bore a hole in the bathroom door near the end of the episode. A likely possibility is the corkscrew of a Swiss Army Knife. He is unlikely to be carrying a drill!


  • Bloopers... It's not very clear what the ticking sound is when Philip is asked to resume his piano playing after being interviewed by Keel. In the camera script it's a metronome, but this may well not be evident to listeners who don't have the benefit of the script to refer to. Piano sounds would have been easier to grasp while also being true to the script.

  • When Trevor Price (Dan Starkey) asks "Have you seen Mrs Bateman?" he gets her marital status wrong. As originally scripted, she was Miss Bateman.

  • Elaine Bateman's young student was, in the original television production, a teenage boy, but here he seems to be much younger boy, played by Michael Hrycek-Robinson. This casting choice makes Trevor's jealous rage seem unfounded, and in this respect affects the credibility of the scene and is not authentic.


  • Stop Press... An interview feature entitled An Even Keel appeared in Vortex Issue 65 in July 2014 to coincide with the release of the second volume of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes. Actor Anthony Howell (Dr David Keel) was the interview subject. During the interview, he mentioned the response to the release of Volume 1: "It's been lovely, actually - I joined Twitter a while ago and I follow Big Finish's updates - and when the news was released when we were recording the first four [plays], the response was fantastic. There were lovely comments about Julian and myself, and the other actors... The response has been great."

    Read the rest of the interview by downloading Vortex Issue 65 from Big Finish

 


  • And Finally... And so the box set ends as it began, with a script from Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward, set in a service outlet frequented by glamorous young ladies. In Ashes of Roses it was a hair and beauty salon. Here it is a dance academy – a similar setting to that of the Series 4 episode Quick-Quick Slow Death

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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