Production Code: BFPAVENGE003

PLOTLINE

Steed and Keel go undercover in order to trace an escape route for inmates at a prison in the South of England. The route appears to go via the canals to the coastal town of Belport, ending up in Norway, where several old lags have been apprehended. Steed poses as a warder at one prison, to keep the real Fenton under surveillance, while Keel takes Fenton's place as an inmate at the compromised prison.

Steed finds out from One-Ten that a man who visited Fenton in prison has recently cashed a cheque from a Mr Groves, Principal of Belport College for Young Ladies. At One-Ten's suggestion, Steed pays the college a visit, in the guise of a Commander Kenilworthy. A young agent accompanies him, posing as his daughter Melanie. They meet Groves, who is eager to place Melanie at his school, which is on summer recess. They get the guided tour and meet the matron, Lisa and a parent, a man called Neame.

Later, Keel is sprung from the prison and is picked up by Lisa, who drives him to the canal, where they hide out at a lock keeper's cottage.

Events snowball when Steed returns alone to the college and is caught in the act of planting a recording device by Neame. He is confined in a trunk store and Neame orders Lisa to bring Fenton in. Can Steed escape before Keel's cover is blown and can Melanie extricate Steed from a sticky situation?

Click here to read about the original television episode

PRODUCTION
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 3, Episode 1
Recording Dates:
2, 3, 9, 10 April 2014
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 52 minutes 26 seconds

RELEASE

Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 3
ISBN:
978-178178-266-8
Release Date:
Fri 9 Jan 2015
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
John Steed
One-Ten
Straker
Melanie
Neame
Pheeney
Groves
Arthur
Guard
Lisa
Caroline
Haslam
Elton
Prison Governor
Fenton
Skewer
Jessup
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Dan Starkey
Dan Starkey
Miranda Raison
Peter Barrett
Peter Barrett
Derek Hutchinson
Derek Hutchinson
Derek Hutchinson
Emily Joyce
Sarah Lark
Mark Goldthorp
Geoffrey Breton
Philip Pope
Nicholas Briggs
Nick Hendrix
Angus Wright
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

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

BONUS FEATURES

Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)

BUY NOW!

Purchase from Big Finish

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer John Whitney and Geoffrey Bellman
Adapted for audio by -
John Dorney
Recording and Music
Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Sound Design and CD Mastering
Richard Fox and Lauren Yason
Series Theme -
Johnny Dankworth, rearranged by Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Interviews edited by -
(not credited)
BFP Administration -
Miles Haigh-Ellery, Cheryl Bly and Alison Taylor
Producers' Assistants - Ian Atkins, Sue Cowley, Hannah Peel, Joseph Smith, 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,
Jaz Wiseman and Toby Hrycek-Robinson

A Big Finish Production

THE SPRINGERS DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode The Springers, originally broadcast on Saturday 13th May 1961 at 10.00pm in the ABC Midlands, ABC North, Anglia, ATV London, Southern, Television Wales and West, Tyne Tees, Ulster and Westward ITV regions.

  • The television version of this episode does not survive today. However, a camera script has been located, along with series of 81 off-screen Tele-Snaps.

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded over four days in studio on two consecutive Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th April 2014, at Moat Studios. Four episodes were recorded during these sessions: The Springers, The Yellow Needle, Double Danger and Toy Trap.

  • The running time of this episode (52 minutes 26 seconds) is just a few seconds shy of the target duration of the television version (52 minutes 30 seconds without commercials). Conversely, the original production exceeded that target to the tune of 1 minute 36 seconds, as noted on the front of the camera script. Programme overruns were frowned upon by the ITV network, and an overrun as substantial as this would have been highly unusual, not to mentioning embarrassing for the production company.


  • Brought to Audiobook... Despite the existence of the camera script and Tele-Snaps, sometimes it is still necessary to guess what might have happened on screen when those sources are found to be lacking. Adapter John Dorney related a problem pertaining to his adaptation of The Springers in the January 2015 issue of Vortex magazine: "[All four episodes I adapted for this set] were represented by Tele-Snaps, still images photographed off the screen at time of transmission, which were incredibly useful at filling in the gaps of film sequences absent from the camera script. Sometimes they weren't much help at all a key sequence in The Springers, for example, appears to go one way in dialogue and another in the images, so I had to find a way of satisfying both versions of the story."

  • Dorney may well be referring to the opening of the episode, which underwent a number of revisions at the camera script stage. The original typed directions specified film footage of Keel arriving at the prison, after which the episode title caption was to be superimposed. These directions are scribbled out in pencil on the surviving copy of the camera script, and the film sequence moved to before the opening titles. This correction is written on in ball-point pen, as is a new position for the episode title caption, over a wide shot as Keel is shown into his cell. Tele-Snaps reveal that the action changed yet again when the episode finally went before the cameras. There is no sign of the film sequence among these off-screen stills, either before or after the opening titles. Instead, the dramatic hook for the audience is the identity of a particular prison warder: an undercover John Steed. The audio adaptation follows the Tele-Snapped version of events. Dorney has invented a line of dialogue each for another warder and Steed, inspired by revelations made later on in the script, to reveal the latter's presence to the listener.

  • Keel's escape route from prison over the wall, into the waiting Lisa's car (as shown in a couple of Tele-Snaps) and then to a canal barge (as noted in the camera script) - is conveyed via additional dialogue from the prison officer Haslam just prior to the event and from Keel, Lisa and Skewer during the escape itself.

  • The beginning of the first scene in the lock-keeper's cottage originally lacked dialogue. The camera script indicates shots of Keel eating food, Lisa holding a cigarette, Lisa looking at Jessup and Jessup looking back at Lisa, all without a word being spoken. Suitably edgy dialogue has been added to cover this action.

  • A number of lines in the camera script have been omitted from the audio adaptation. The first of these is from the very end of Keel's first scene in his cell, at which point Haslam was inexplicably scripted to appear and say, "Come on! Jump to it, Fenton!" The second omission, which may be accidental, is Keel telling Steed, "I do have a practice, you know," when expressing his concern about the welfare of his patients. At the end of the first scene of Act 2, upon hearing that a clue leads to Belport College for Young Ladies, Steed's scripted response was, "What a pleasant thought." The agent was obviously keen to visit the place as quickly as possible, as One-Ten's next line was, "Good day, Mr Steed." The removal of these lines makes for a clearer transition to the next scene, which takes place in the college itself. When Groves tells Steed that it's a pity he couldn't have visited during term time when all the other young ladies were present, the agent, masquerading as Commander Kenilworthy, originally gave a characteristic response: "Full complement, eh? Yes, I would have liked that." Despite these omissions, this is probably no greater variation than one tends to find between camera scripts and recorded episodes from around this period, due to last-minute changes or actors not recalling their lines verbatim during 'as live' recordings.


  • Trivia... The plot element in The Springers which sees Keel assume the guise of a criminal so that he may infiltrate an organisation who know of the man by reputation and not sight may seem familiar to fans of The Avengers. The earlier Series 1 episode, Square Root of Evil, features a similar narrative device, with Steed going undercover as Timothy James Riordan. Later, Keel again goes undercover as Dr Fischer, a minor member of the Phoenix organisation, in Dead of Winter. As in Square Root of Evil, our hero is challenged by questions (here asked by Straker) about his supposed time in prison and the people he encountered there.


  • Stop Press... An interview feature entitled Warm Reception appeared in Vortex Issue 71 in January 2015 to coincide with the release of the third volume of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes. Actress Lucy Briggs-Owen, returning to the studio for her third set of recordings as Carol Wilson was the interview subject. During the interview, she commented on how delighted she was to be working on the series: "I'm a little young to remember The Avengers from the first time around, but I do remember seeing repeats of episodes in the background when I was a child. When I heard from my agent that they wanted me to come in, I was thrilled to be involved in the whole project. It's very entertaining."

    Read the rest of the interview by downloading Vortex Issue 71 from Big Finish

 


  • And Finally... Sometimes having a set of Tele-Snaps for an episode doesn't give you the full picture. Despite 84 of these off-screen stills surviving, not one features the characters of either Skewer or Jessup!

Plotline by Alan Hayes Declassified by 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

 

Back to Top