Production Code: BFPAVENGE003

PLOTLINE

Bill Seton, a country doctor and former colleague of David Keel, has asked the Chelsea GP to keep a watchful eye on his nineteen year-old daughter, Bunty Seton, while she is working in London. The girl is employed by a central London department store, Bussell's but it quickly becomes clear to Keel that Bunty is in danger of being drawn into a life of vice.

May Murton, one of Bunty's fellow sales girls, is leading a double life working at Bussell's by day, entertaining paying gentlemen by night. However, May wants out, and she has received a beating for her troubles. Suddenly, May disappears and Bunty and her friend Alice are concerned about what may have happened to her.

Keel calls in Steed and explains the situation. It transpires that Steed's department are working to bring down a particularly nasty Soho vice ring and Steed decides that he wants to make this his business too... He is confident that the Police can deal with the day-to-day problems of Soho leaving Steed free to gun for the big fish behind the organisation.

Steed realises that he must infiltrate the vice ring somehow and decides that using young Bunty is the most expedient route. Keel is horrified and admonishes his friend. Steed decides that he will have to keep Keel out of the loop and approaches Bunty alone. He suspects Bussell's and its associated hostel are being used as a cover for prostitution by unscrupulous employees in the toy department.

Bunty agrees to help. She is to announce that she is fed up with working in the store and that she wants to earn big money, fast! Steed's plan sets in motion a series of events that will expose Bunty to great danger and lead Steed to a bitter confrontation with her protector, David Keel.

Click here to read about the original television episode

PRODUCTION
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 3, Episode 4
Recording Dates:
2, 3, 9, 10 April 2014
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 55 minutes 16 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
Bunty Seton
May Murton
Madam
Ann
Alice
Henry Burge
McCabe
Meyer
Johnny
Client
Freddie
Customer
Lennie Taylor
Chrissie
Tobacconist
Tannoy
Girl
May's Caller
Photographer
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Fiona Sheehan
Sarah Lark
Sarah Lark
Harriet Hare
Harriet Hare
Philip Pope
Jacqueline Boatswain
Jacqueline Boatswain
Geoffrey Breton
Geoffrey Breton
Mark Goldthorp
Mark Goldthorp
Derek Hutchinson
Maggie Service
Derek Ezenagu
Emily Joyce
Miranda Raison
Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

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

BONUS FEATURES

Production Notes Booklet (with CD only) Behind the Scenes features

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Purchase from Big Finish

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer Bill Strutton
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

TOY TRAP DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode Toy Trap, originally broadcast on Saturday 22nd 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, a camera scripts has been located, along with series of 81 off-screen Tele-Snaps and 138 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... The tobacconist and the man who telephones May at the beginning of the episode are additional speaking roles. In the television version, there was no dialogue until May answered the phone.

  • On screen, the first act concluded with Chrissie lying on the floor, already dead. However, corpses are notoriously uncommunicative on audio, so instead we hear her being throttled and then falling to the floor. According to the camera script, Chrissie had a pet Siamese cat which meowed during this scene, but the animal is absent from the Big Finish adaptation.

  • Steed's conversation with Keel outside the Brixton flat of Lennie Taylor is new material. The sequence is described in the camera script only as "KEEL/STEED FILM" and "BRIXTON SPEC. [specially] SHOT FILM" and lasted for 58 seconds. Given the length of the scene and the fact that it is not noted as being mute (silent), it is likely that some dialogue was recorded on location, though it is not known what was said.

  • The ditching of Lennie Taylor's body is another sequence that was originally shot on film, though on this occasion it comprised stock film and was mute. It is possible that the same footage had been used for the dumping of Tobert's body at the start of Square Root of Evil, since the two sequences do seem similar from what we can discern about them. In common with the audio adaptation of Square Root of Evil, dialogue is added to the scene, in this instance spoken by Freddie, in order to explain the action.

  • In the television version of Toy Trap, it was one of Steed's men who brought down the villainous Meyer, disarraying her disguise Steed said, "Robertson, what have you done?" On audio, it is Keel who handles the action and who is then addressed by Steed. On screen, Meyer's disguise was a blonde wig and dark glasses. Here it is a mask, which is more straightforward to convey on audio.

  • The closing discussion about Bunty taking a toy puppy from the store as a souvenir is an addition by John Dorney. There is a direction in the camera script to the effect that she is holding a puppy. For some reason this has been decisively scribbled out, though it is clear that there is still some object that holds Bunty's attention, as her line reads, "Look at this." In order to make sense of this, Dorney makes the animal a lifelike toy. However, a production photograph from Toy Trap shows Sally Smith (who played Bunty on screen) holding what appears to be a real puppy. Bird cages can also be seen in the background of the image, implying that Bussell's contains a pet department, too...


  • Trivia... Toy Trap's use of a department store invites comparison with the film-era episode Death at Bargain Prices, though the tone could hardly be more different. Bill Strutton's script starkly contrasts the apparently innocent environment of a children's toy department with the seedy streets of London's Soho and a call girl racket. By choosing this setting over some other workplace, such as an office, Strutton accentuates the shop girls' loss of innocence as they find themselves involved in prostitution.

  • The depiction of Steed is decidedly dark in places, his methods sometimes seeming not that far removed from those of the villains he is seeking to apprehend. Quite apart from his own flirtations with attractive young women (Keel has to tell him to watch it when Bunty turns his head, and he admits that he never got the name of his most recent conquest), he exploits Bunty for very different reasons, incurring Keel's wrath as a result.

  • A key recurring theme of The Avengers' first year was the occasionally uneasy alliance that existed between its two leads, and this episode provides us with the most vivid demonstration of it. As a doctor and a humanitarian, Keel wants to do what is morally right, whereas Steed is more likely to take a pragmatic approach if he believes that the end justifies the means. This difference of opinion comes to a head in dramatic fashion in Toy Trap.

  • This episode was Australian-born writer Bill Strutton's sole contribution to The Avengers. He wrote for many other British television series, including the early Sixties ABC spy series starring William Franklyn, Top Secret, as well as ITC's The Saint and Rediffusion's No Hiding Place. In 1968, he was engaged as script editor and writer for ITC high-point series, Strange Report. He also wrote a script in 1965 for the BBC's legendary children's series, Doctor Who, entitled The Web Planet. This story is unique in the history of the series in that the only humanoids in its six episodes are the four members of the regular cast. Bill Strutton passed away in Spain in 2003 and for all his successes is best remembered for writing about giant ants... There's something a little sad about that.

  • Bunty's father, Bill Seton, is referred to regularly during this episode. The character seems not to have appeared on screen at all and no actor is credited with the role, but he can just about be heard as a faint voice on the phone when he telephones Keel in the Big Finish production.

  • When Keel takes Bill's call, he gives his telephone number incorrectly in the camera script as SLOane 1081. Fortunately, John Dorney has corrected the number to the usual 0181.

  • A small section of dialogue was dropped prior to recording the television version of this episode - it is struck through in pencil on the camera script. While telling Keel, Steed and Bunty about her time as a call girl, May Murton was to have added, "They've got doctors too, plenty of them. I get examined by one every week. They looked after us very well." The reason for the deletion may have been in order to avoid any suggestion of a prostitution ring being presented in a favourable light.

  • This episode is set over three days and nights between Thursday 6th July and Saturday 8th July 1961.


  • Bloopers... Actor Mark Goldthorp is erroneously credited as 'Mark Goldthorpe' in the cast list for this episode on the CD inlay sheet.


  • 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 her approach to the role: "Before I started, I did a bit of research to see how it was played. I really like Carol she's great to play. It's interesting trying to find the period voice a lot of it is in the writing, and the "received pronunciation" that Carol has is perhaps a little more clipped than, say, how the BBC would do it now, but that's in the writing and that does so much for you. The vocabulary and choice of phrase are what really help you find the period. It's fun to do because it's very different, and the way they speak is so different from how we talk now. So much has changed in that time the relationship between the men and the women is fascinating, and what's interesting is seeing how Carol has the strength of character to keep up with the boys. I think the listener gets to appreciate just how much she actually sees going on perhaps the chaps don't realise just how much she manages to see."

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

 


  • And Finally... Had the television show's original transmission order been worked out differently, this episode would have worked very well as the parting of the ways for Keel and Steed. As it is, this is not the end, but Toy Trap is well placed as the final episode in Big Finish's third volume of lost stories the disagreement between our heroes providing ample reason for the six months of stony silence before the release of Volume 4!

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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