Production Code: BFPAVENGE003

PLOTLINE

Working on behalf of an insurance company, Steed arranges for the convict Ted Mace to be sprung from prison. He hopes that Mace will lead him to the place where he has hidden two hundred thousand pounds worth of uncut diamonds, stolen from a Hatton Garden jewellers. However, word of the operation has got out on the criminal grapevine and nothing goes to plan. Mace is not only snatched from under the noses of Steed's men, but he also gets himself shot in the process.

Later, Keel is tricked into tending to the seriously injured Mace on a houseboat on the river. Mace's kidnappers, led by Al Brady, are also interested in the whereabouts of the diamonds. Keel manages to remove the bullet, but Mace's condition continues to worsen. With his last breath, he whispers a clue to Keel, "it's John Bartholomew's plot" and dies.

Steed follows a lead from Carol and arrives at the houseboat, where he fools the villains and saves Keel. Steed soon links Keel's captors to the co-owner of the robbed jewellers', Leonard Bruton, and the pair of them follow up the clue Mace gave in his dying words. Their investigations lead them into the countryside, where an elderly man unwittingly holds the key to the mystery and a fortune in uncut diamonds...

Click here to read about the original television episode

PRODUCTION
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 3, Episode 3
Recording Dates:
2, 3, 9, 10 April 2014
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 49 minutes 08 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
Carol Wilson
One-Ten Bartholomew
Brady
Taxi Driver
Mills
Lola
Bruton
Dew
Superintendent
Crawford
Mace
Maid
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Dan Starkey
Dan Starkey
Angus Wright
Angus Wright
Nick Hendrix
Jessica Martin
Nicholas Briggs
Peter Barrett
Peter Barrett
Derek Hutchinson
Robert Duncan
Jacqueline Boatswain
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 Gerald Verner, adapted for television by John Lucarotti
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

DOUBLE DANGER DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode Double Danger, originally broadcast on Saturday 8th July 1961 at 8.50pm in the ABC Midlands, ABC North, Anglia, ATV London, Scottish, Southern, Television Wales and West, Tyne Tees, Ulster and Westward ITV regions.

  • The television version of this episode does not survive today. However, rehearsal and camera scripts have been located, along with series of 78 off-screen Tele-Snaps and 53 production photographs taken during rehearsals.

  • 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.


  • Brought to Audiobook... Compared to the situation with some Series 1 episodes, John Dorney had an embarrassment of riches when coming to adapt Double Danger for audio: two scripts, photographs and off-screen stills. However, the adaptation adheres to the camera script for the most part, to present a true picture of the finished television episode.

  • Dorney even resists turning to the rehearsal script when he needs bits of additional dialogue. For example, in order to make it clear who is shooting whom in the audio adaptation, Brady says "Yes, that's fair", in reference to Bruton's offer of a seventy-five per cent cut, before opening fire. A line from Gerald Verner's rehearsal script might have served better: "One hundred per cent, Bruton. That's my share."

  • When Carol and Mills discuss Keel's list of requirements, a line of text is missing from the camera script after Carol says "Then why does the doctor want" - there is blank space on the page at this point. Dorney adds the word "clamps" to complete the sentence. In the rehearsal script, the text at this point had read "an anaesthetic for a spinal injection". From fragments of text still visible on the camera script, it appears that the same words had been carried over from the previous draft but then erased. It is unclear whether the erasure was accidental (during photocopying) or deliberate (with a view to revising the line). Lucy Briggs-Owen for one would probably be glad that Carol ended up with the less cumbersome version of the line!

  • The opening scene, which was shot as an exterior location sequence for the television version of Double Danger, is described in typically minimalist terms in the camera script: "T/C [telecine] 35mm Prison escape". Fortunately, the rehearsal script describes the action fully. Though there were many alterations to the story between the two versions of the script, Tele-Snaps provide valuable evidence that this scene remained largely unchanged, aside from the fact that it was shot during daylight hours, rather than taking place at night as originally envisaged. The scene as scripted for television contained no dialogue in either version of the script.

  • Two other predominantly visual or action-based scenes required additional dialogue for audio: Bruton approaching the kidnapped Carol in the garage, and Keel and Steed's subsequent escape from the same place. In the screen version of the scene with Carol, the nurse had been asleep, and woke up as a shadowy figure (only later revealed to be Bruton) walked towards her.

  • Crawford and Dew had originally been present during Steed's interrogation of Lola, speaking one line apiece in the camera script. In the audio version, Crawford's line "Quite the largest rats I've ever seen" is transferred to Keel, while Dew's statement of agreement "Absolutely" becomes Steed's. In the rehearsal script, the situation had been quite the reverse: Crawford (then named Sleater) was present, but Keel was not.

  • Following his struggle with Mills, the taxi driver explains (in new dialogue by Dorney) that he is an amateur wrestler at weekends, which is how he is able to see off the villain.


  • Trivia... This episode, written by and credited on screen to Gerald Verner, was heavily rewritten prior to broadcast by writer John Lucarotti, who was engaged on a freelance basis to adapt the script on the strength of one he had recently submitted himself, The Far Distant Dead. Verner was greatly incensed by Lucarotti's tampering, which he claimed left his story in tatters. In Verner's script, for example, Steed's men were East End ruffians called Lew Sleater and Harry Dew, whereas in Lucarotti's version they became public-school types and Sleater was renamed Mark Crawford. The character of Lola became softer and more compassionate, less of a villain and more of a "blonde hanger-on", as a reviewer in The Stage and Television Today (published 13th July 1961) put it. The bungalow that had been the villains' base of operations in the rehearsal script became a houseboat. Whereas Verner originally had Steed gaining access to the dwelling and comically picking off the gang members using his umbrella (a tactic that would not have seemed out of place in later eras of The Avengers), in the camera script he calls out to a non-existent police force, fooling the villains into believing that he has the place surrounded.

  • Verner's own script bears testament to his anger at the rewrite. He has scribbled over his name, and handwritten in biro in its place, "John Lucarotti put on now under Gerald Verner", meaning the episode as broadcast carried his name but he no longer considered it representative of the work he had put in.

  • While the camera script of this episode suggests that Double Danger opened with a filmed teaser showing Ted Mace's escape from prison, the surviving Tele-Snaps for this story reveal that the episode as transmitted began with the title sequence as normal. Only one episode of the series, Square Root of Evil, appears to have opened with a pre-titles teaser. The Springers was scripted to feature one too, but again, surviving Tele-Snaps have proved this idea was dismissed before recording. 

  • Aspects of the plot to Double Danger bear comparison to Hunt the Man Down. In both episodes the villains are searching for hidden loot, which Dr Keel's injured patient, the former prison inmate who originally stole it, knows the location of. Suspecting that the patient has passed information to Keel, the villains comprising two men and the robber's estranged wife kidnap Carol in order to make the doctor talk. The main difference is that this time Keel does know something. It is possible that some of John Lucarotti's rewrites, such as the houseboat setting and the softening of Lola's character, were intended to reduce the similarities to Hunt the Man Down.


  • Bloopers... Keel's phoney Latin message to Carol is initially given as "Fonum Equus". However, in a subsequent scene with Steed and Carol, it is referred to as "Fonus Equus". It's debatable whether this counts as an error or an example of Big Finish diligently reflecting the source material, since the very same inconsistency appears within the camera script.

  • Richard McGinlay's CD liner notes refer to a lovely bit of dialogue spoken by Steed: "It's almost as complicated as politics!" The only trouble is, this line is from the rehearsal script, rather than the camera script that was used as the basis for the audio production, so it is never actually heard in the play. Honestly, where does Big Finish get these hack liner note writers from...?


  • 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, Carol Wilson in the audio series, was the interview subject. During the interview, she commented on how impressed she is with the final versions of the plays: "They sound very, very authentic, don't they? I've listened back to some of them, although not all of them yet, as I dip in and out. It's very helpful to hear how the whole piece comes together, because so much is done afterwards in post-production, since we don't have the sound effects as we're doing them. And it can only help your own performance if you know how you're sounding."

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

 


  • And Finally... The diamond robbery in Double Danger became unexpectedly topical in April 2015, when a gang of thieves bored through a thick concrete wall to break into the vault of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company over the Easter weekend. Nine men aged between 42 and 76 have since been charged in connection with the theft of millions of pounds' worth of jewels, cash and other valuables. Truly a "job in the classic mould", as Steed would say!

Plotline by Alan Hayes 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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