Production Code: BFPAVENGE004

PLOTLINE

King Tenuphon, the ruler of an unstable Far Eastern country called Shanpore, is visiting London to sign an oil treaty with the British Government. However, this will not be a formality, as the Tukshan, an opposing dissident force in Shanpore, is opposed to the treaty. The Tukshan have staged five failed assassination attempts on the King's life in the previous three years and plan to complete the job while the King is in London. Steed is tasked with preventing the King's death and ensuring that the treaty is signed.

It transpires that there are two threats to the King's continued good health. The first comes from U Meng, a Shanpore bookseller based in London, who plots the King's death with his associates, Suchong and Ta Pai. The second is even closer to home – the mercenary Major Harrington tricks his way into the flat of Mrs Zoe Carter, which is directly opposite the King's London suite. Zoe's estranged husband, Tony, went missing a year ago in Shanpore and is presumed dead. Harrington reveals Tony is alive – held hostage by Tukshan rebels. If Mrs Carter will play host to him while he completes his mission, Harrington can have Tony released. Zoe has little choice but to play along.

Steed and his colleague, the somewhat ineffective Crichton-Bull, must keep the King and his entourage safe and deal with two deadly enemies. They are not helped by the King's cavalier attitude to his safety. Can Steed keep the King alive until the treaty is signed and the King is safely aboard his return flight?

Click here to read about the original television episode

PRODUCTION
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 4, Episode 1
Recording Dates:
19, 20, 22, 23 January 2015
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 51 minutes 14 seconds

RELEASE

Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 4
ISBN:
978-1-78178-553-9
Release Date:
Tue 30 Jun 2015
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
One-Ten
King Tenuphon
Ta Pai
General Tuke
Prince Serrakit
U-Meng
Suchong
Mei-Li
Zoe Carter
Major Harrington
Ingrid Storm
Crichton-Bull
Detective / Steward
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Dan Starkey
Lobo Chan
Lobo Chan
Richard Cordery
Ozzie Yue
Ozzie Yue
Ozzie Yue
Lourdes Faberes
Karina Fernandez
Adrian Lukis
Elizabeth Morton
Matthew Cottle
Matthew Cottle
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 – James Mitchell
Adapted for audio by -
John Dorney
Recording and Music –
Toby Hrycek-Robinson at Moat Studios
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, Alan Hayes and Toby Hrycek-Robinson

A Big Finish Production

KILL THE KING • DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode Kill the King, which was originally broadcast on Saturday 2nd September 1961 at 8.50pm in the ABC Midlands, ABC North, Anglia, ATV London, Border, Grampian, Scottish, Southern, Television Wales and West, Tyne Tees, Ulster and Westward ITV regions.

  • The television version of this episode was the last instalment of The Avengers prior to a three-month break in transmission of the series. This cessation was due to an agreement with ATV that allowed their programme Deadline Midnight (previously alternating with The Avengers on a fortnightly basis) to be aired weekly from 9th September. The Avengers returned with Dead of Winter on 9th December 1961.

  • The television version of Kill the King does not survive today. However, a camera script exists, along with 303 production photographs, studio plans and 70 of John Cura's off-screen Tele-Snaps.

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded at Moat Studios on 19th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd January 2015. Four episodes were recorded during these sessions: Kill the King, A Change of Bait, Hunt the Man Down and Dead of Winter.


  • Brought to Audiobook... Generally very few changes were needed in order to adapt James Mitchell's script for audio. John Dorney has added a few lines here and there to explain actions that would have been silent on screen, such as Major Harrington hiding his rifle and Crichton-Bull using binoculars. The end of Keel's telephone conversation with Carol is also new, as it might have come across strangely to listeners if they could only hear Carol speaking at this point, as originally scripted.

  • However, Steed's conspicuously descriptive line, "Notice the beautifully carved musical instruments on the fireplace" is not an embellishment by the adapter. Those words are present in the original camera script!

  • What are not present in the surviving camera script are pages 36 (about halfway through the play) and 78 (the penultimate page). Therefore, Dorney has had to put on his thinking cap and guess what might have transpired on those missing pages.

  • The first gap in the script jumps from Steed asking Ingrid Storm about her dancing – "So you're a dancer, Miss Storm?" – to Steed thanking her for something. In the audio adaptation, Dorney has Steed complimenting Ingrid on her dancer's physique, which in turn leads Ingrid to tell Steed that he's a charmer. "Thank you," replies Steed.

  • The second gap occurs after Steed has informed General Tuke that "There's nothing much I can do. You have your diplomatic immunity." The camera script resumes during the next (and final) scene, in the midst of a conversation between Keel and Steed on the balcony. In Dorney's additional material, Steed tells Tenuphon and Tuke that he doesn't care to work for them any longer. The next scene begins with Keel finding Steed on the balcony, gazing up at the night sky. This is suggested by the lighting of the scene (lit for night) and the actors' positions (looking up) in surviving Tele-Snaps of this sequence from the television episode. As Keel joins his friend in his stargazing, the camera script resumes with the conversation turning towards the doctor's late fiancιe, whose murder had brought the two Avengers together in the first place: "...Peggy and I used to..."


  • Trivia... This is an episode that will be of interest not only to Avengers devotees but also to Callan fans. Kill the King is one of the earliest surviving scripts by James Mitchell, who would go on to create the popularly world-weary agent David Callan (immortalised on screen by Edward Woodward). Mitchell's tale is full of self-interested people, deception and misdirection, with a number of characters proving to be the unwitting pawns of others. The relationship between the light-hearted Steed and his helpful boss One-Ten is a far cry from Hunter's ruthless manipulation of Callan, though there are clear indications that the agent is under pressure – if the visiting dignitary King Tenuphon is killed on his watch, Steed says he could lose his job. This is very much Steed's story, with Keel appearing in just a couple of scenes. Sadly, the writer never really got the chance to tackle Keel's character, since the doctor's appearance in Mitchell's other Series 1 episode, Death on the Slipway, is similarly brief.

  • Steed faces an uphill struggle during this case, with little in the way of effective support from Foreign Office man Crichton-Bull, who is all too ready to assume that "chaps like Harrington" – a military officer who is in fact an assassin – "are absolutely trustworthy."

  • James Mitchell appears to have conjured up the name of the fictional state of Shanpore by combining the words Shanghai and Singapore.

  • General Tuke has a somewhat chequered military history. He spent five years in the Commandos before joining the French Foreign Legion. After eighteen months, he deserted and was taken on by King Tenuphon who instantly promoted him to General. This role afforded him diplomatic immunity, meaning the French could not prosecute him. He is also married to Mei Li, Prince Serrakit's granddaughter.

  • King Tenuphon was a graduate of the English University system. Considering his reputation with the ladies and his predilection for London nightspots, Steed is perplexed that his educational achievements were so distinguished!

  • There are numerous similarities between Kill the King and the earlier Series 1 episode The Yellow Needle:

    • In the opening scene, a visiting foreign leader (King Tenuphon and Sir Wilberforce respectively) survives an assassination attempt;

    • The foreign leader is in London to sign an important treaty (for an oil concession and national independence respectively);

    • The foreign leader has some rather ineffectual official protection (Crichton-Bull and Inspector Anthony respectively);

    • The foreign leader gets some rather more effectual protection from Steed (who cares about the dignitaries' wellbeing only for very selfish reasons – his own career prospects if he fails);

    However, the personalities of the callous and pleasure-seeking King Tenuphon and the humble and honourable Sir Wilberforce could hardly be more different.

  • The plot of Kill the King also bears comparison to an episode of Callan entitled The Running Dog, though the latter was written by William Emms rather than James Mitchell himself. Both Kill the King and The Running Dog (which is similarly missing from the archives, though its script survives) concern the fate of a visiting Asian VIP, who is threatened with assassination. However, the callous dignitary turns the situation to his own advantage, much to the disgust of our heroic British agent.


  • Bloopers... The name of Prince Sadek, an enemy of King Tenuphon, is misspelled Sader in the camera script during Steed's final scene with the King. Unfortunately, this error has made its way into the Big Finish production, and the name is pronounced "Sader" by actor Julian Wadham.


  • Stop Press... An interview feature entitled Bowlered Over appeared in Vortex Issue 77 in July 2015 to coincide with the release of the fourth volume of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes. Actor Julian Wadham reflected on having now played John Steed in sixteen plays: "I took a decision, very early on, that other than the first couple of episodes where I had a very powerful mental image of the original productions, I thought, 'I'm going to be playing this part and nobody else – I must forget the past and make it my own'. With the initial episodes, I was very aware of Patrick Macnee, with his charming smile, his humour and the elegant image of the bowler and the brolly. Something of that is useful in the very early episodes, but once we got going, I've increasingly tried to make it my own."

    Read the rest of the interview by downloading Vortex Issue 77 from Big Finish

 


  • And Finally... Volume 4 of The Lost Episodes debuted just five days after the sad death of Patrick Macnee, the star of the television Avengers. In tribute to the great man, Big Finish dedicated Vortex 77 to his memory, and editor Kenny Smith revealed how he discovered The Avengers: "Back in the summer of 1992, in the good old days of the VHS, it seemed that very few people had Avengers episodes recorded off-air from the repeats of 1982. By chance, when channel hopping one afternoon on Sky, I found a German TV channel Premiere was showing The Avengers (or Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone)... I didn't speak much German, but very quickly, the show's visual appeal and obvious humour had me hooked... When Bravo began repeating the show's early years, including The Frighteners (the only Ian Hendry era episode then known to exist) I enjoyed these just as much as the Diana Rigg episodes I had been introduced to. Julian Wadham has done a tremendous job of taking on the role of John Steed, but it's thanks to the strength of Patrick Macnee's performance that the series has endured. Patrick Macnee, I salute you one last time."

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, Kenny Smith
and Big Finish Productions for their kind assistance

 

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