Production Number: 3500 • Tape Number: VTR/ABC/1747
Working Title: 'Gale Force'

PLOTLINE

After filming a scene for her latest movie, an overwrought actress, Carla Berotti, asks her stand-in, Peggy, to fetch her a pill from her dressing room. When Peggy arrives there, a man with an eye patch, Brand, is waiting. He grabs Peggy and demands to know the whereabouts of something called the DEW Line film. When he realises that he has mistaken Peggy for Carla, Brand utters an apology – then promptly knifes the girl to death...

Some time later, on board the M.V. Calpurnia, a steamship due to depart for Montreal, Carla holds a press conference. She explains that she is going to Montreal because she lives there, and dismisses rumours of trouble on the set of her unfinished movie.

Once the ship is under way, Sheila Dowson, Carla's "public relations expert", summons the actress's doctor to attend to her. The man who arrives is not Miss Berotti's usual doctor, who has apparently been taken ill. The replacement physician is Dr Martin King, who has been planted here by Steed. King is unmoved by the actress's mood swings, and refuses to rise to the bait when she drinks an unhealthy amount of liquor in front of him. He gives her a sedative, which she downs with champagne. The doctor finally reacts when Carla has a fit of hysteria. He slaps her – and receives two slaps in return!

Once Carla has settled down, King brings in his nurse, Judy, to keep an eye on her. However, when Carla receives a private phone call, she sends Judy into the next room, then slips out for a clandestine rendezvous on deck. She meets and embraces Second Engineer Alec Nicholson – who is in reality her husband. He wants to know why she didn't hand over the microfilm in London as planned. She explains that she was unwell. He tells her to meet him tomorrow night, and to bring the film with her. This meeting is observed by Dr King.

The ship makes a stop at Le Havre, where Steed steps aboard, in the guise of a steward. He takes a drink to King's cabin – and promptly consumes it himself! King mentions the meeting he witnessed, but unfortunately he could not make out who Carla met or what was said. Steed explains that sensitive information about the DEW Line of early warning stations extending from Canada to Alaska has been stolen. A member of an enemy spy network captured in Montreal had a list of the Calpurnia's sailings and Carla's name. Further suspicion has fallen on Miss Berotti because she usually travels by air – except when she can get a berth on the Calpurnia.

Steed suspects that a whole group of enemy agents are at work on the ship... and their ranks are swelled when the murderous Brand boards the vessel.

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 1
Production Completed:
Sat 12 May 1962
Recording Format: 405 Line B/W Video
Archive Holding: 16mm B/W Film Recording

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

ABC Midlands: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
ABC North: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
Anglia:
Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
ATV London: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
Border:
Not transmitted
Channel: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.00pm
Grampian: Not transmitted
Scottish: Not transmitted
Southern: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
Teledu Cymru: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
TWW: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
Tyne Tees:
Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
Ulster: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
Westward: Sat 27 Oct 1962, 10.05pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
ARGENTINA: Tue 21 Mar 2000
AUSTRALIA:
Mon 18 Nov 1963
CANADA:
Mon 12 Oct 1964
FRANCE:
Thu 22 Jan 1998
GERMANY:
Tue 14 Dec 2010
MALAYSIA: Sat 23 May 1970
UNITED KINGDOM: Sat 27 Oct 1962
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed
Dr Martin King
Carla Berotti
Sheila Dowson
Alec Nicholson
Judy
A.G. Brand
Guido Aloysius Marson
Budge Jackson
Pearson
Peggy
Passenger
Receptionist
1st Reporter
2nd Reporter
3rd Reporter
Photographer
Film Director
1st Steward
2nd Steward
Barman
Reporter & Passenger
Reporter
Passenger
Passenger
Actor & Mountie
3rd Steward & Mountie
4th Steward & Mountie
Assistant Director (Joe) & Passenger
Cameraman (Boyd) &
Passenger
Focus Puller &
Passenger
1st Electrician &
Passenger
2nd Electrician &
Passenger
Photographer & Passenger
Patrick Macnee
Jon Rollason
Patricia English
Iris Russell
Mark Eden
Gillian Muir
Alan Curtis
John Bennett
Gerald Sim
Eric McCaine
Pamela Ann Davy
John Frawley
Angela Thorne
Malcolm Taylor
Terence Woodfield
Leslie Pitt
William Buck
Harold Berens
Peter MacKriel
William Swan
Allan Casley
Margot Lane
Barbara Straight
Dorothy Watson
Joan Smith
Richard Pescud
Bill Richards
Perry Leigh (*)
 
Howard Kingsley
 
Paul Blomley
 
Robin Kildare
 
David Low
 
Alan Crouch
 
Melvyn Mordant
(*) possibly Terry Leigh
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Not released.

DVD EXTRAS

StudioCanal, UK: Camera Script PDF •
Music Cue Sheet PDF • Stills Gallery

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer – Lester Powell
Series Theme & Music –
Johnny Dankworth
Designer –
Terry Green
Story Editor –
John Bryce
Producer –
Leonard White
Director –
Don Leaver

Production Assistant – Sylvia Langdon-Down
Production Assistant (Timing) – Uncredited
Floor Manager – Peter Bailey
Stage Manager – Nansi Davies
Call Boy – John Cooper
Wardrobe Supervisor - Lee Halls
Make-up Supervisor - Audrey Riddle

Technical Supervisor – Peter Cazaly
Lighting Supervisor –
H.W. Richards
Senior Cameraman – Tom Clegg
Sound Supervisor – John Tasker
Grams Operator - Uncredited
Racks Supervisor - Uncredited
Vision Mixer - Uncredited

Studio – Teddington 2
An ABC Network Production

MINISTRY VERDICT

Poor old Jon Rollason. Even though all three of his Avengers episodes survive, which is more than can be said for Ian Hendry, his character is often omitted from lists of Steed's partners, and doesn't even get a billing in the opening credits. He has the thankless task of filling in for the absent Hendry, here performing the first of three scripts whose only apparent concession to the changeover of actor is a couple of name changes, with Dr Keel becoming Dr King and Carol becoming Judy (Gillian Muir). Under the circumstances, Rollason acquits himself fairly well, though he lacks Hendry's unique charisma, and his bedside manner leaves a bit to be desired. Whether deliberate or not, King's relative lack of obvious empathy sets him apart from Keel. The episode's opening scene leads the audience to expect a quite different kind of story, with a heightened performance and supernatural qualities that would not be out of place in a later era of the show, but this is in fact a clever sleight of hand by the writer, Lester Powell, who then leads us into a straighter story of murder and subterfuge. He still keeps us guessing, though – about when Steed and his partner will enter the scene, and where the loyalties of several key characters lie. The standout performance is that of Patricia English as the volatile Carla Berotti, wavering from fragility to drunkenness to defensive rage. Patrick Macnee gets plenty of comedy mileage out of Steed's undercover role as a steward, wangling a sneaky drink and a cigarette under the pretence of delivering them to King, and missing out on a dance with Carla owing to his menial position. He appears greatly relieved to abandon the role at the conclusion of the case! Mission to Montreal is an intriguing and proficient opening to the production of Series 2, though it is not as remarkable as many of the episodes that would follow it. 

MISSION TO MONTREAL • DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This episode was in development before a strike by the actors' union Equity halted the production of The Avengers at the end of October 1961. On Friday 27th October 1961, director Don Leaver wrote to Mr P.A. Hankin of the Public Relations Department of Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd, with a view to depicting the shipping line in the episode. Leaver thanked Hankin for "the extremely helpful and instructive discussion" the pair had had the previous Tuesday, 24th October, and also for the photographs and film he had received for reference (presumably for design purposes). The director suggested that Hankin visit the Teddington studios on Wednesday 15th November, for lunch and to look in on the camera rehearsals, an invitation which Hankin gladly accepted in a reply sent on Monday 30th October. Leaver warned, however, that "if the Equity strike does materialise, the play will have to be postponed of course until things are settled." The strike did indeed materialise, and was not resolved until Tuesday 3rd April 1962, after which Leaver re-established contact with Hankin. On Wednesday 25 April 1962, the director sent Hankin a copy of the rehearsal script for Mission to Montreal, and proposed a visit to the studios during camera rehearsals on Friday 11th May 1962. Hankin's response is not recorded.

  • By Thursday 1st February 1962, Ian Hendry (Dr David Keel) had decided to leave the series to pursue a film career, and producer Leonard White had drawn up plans for a new format for The Avengers, in which John Steed would have two new partners against crime: Cathy Gale and Venus Smith (the latter of whom had in fact been conceived while Hendry was still attached to the show). White initially drew up a thirteen-episode roster for alternating the two new partners, which was revised to cover nine episodes on Wednesday 14th March 1962. The character of Dr Martin King, Steed's partner in Mission to Montreal, does not appear anywhere within these proposals, though White's memo of 1st February does note that his plan is dependent upon there being enough scripts in the new format ready in time to enter production.

  • In a memo issued on Thursday 8th February 1962, White refers to a "change-over in script-editing" leading to the new scripts being "somewhat longer in coming to fruition." John Bryce had become the show's solo story editor when Reed de Rouen left The Avengers in late October 1961. Bryce may have been given some assistance by Doreen Montgomery during the interim, as White's memo of 8th February 1962 refers to her having also left the series. Five days later, on a memo from White to all directors about taking the opportunity to find stock film for their episodes while the Equity strike is ongoing, a rather terse pencilled query from ABC's Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, asks, "Have we got any episodes 'in hand'!?" All in all, it seems likely that a shortage of scripts suitable for the characters of Cathy Gale and Venus Smith meant that three leftover Dr Keel scripts – Mission to Montreal, Dead on Course and The Sell-Out – had to go into production first, with minimal adjustments being made to accommodate Dr King and his nurse / receptionist Judy.

  • For a while, Mission to Montreal had the working title of Gale Force, a coincidental naming that is entirely unconnected with the character of Cathy Gale! It is, however, quite possible that the decision to change the title was arrived at as a consequence of the production team having chosen that name for their new regular character.

  • In a memo to ABC's Programme Administrator George Brightwell dated Tuesday 27th March 1962, Anthony John (who had responsibility for overseeing and vetting scripts for ABC series) commented on the unusually large cast of characters involved in Gale Force, as it was then known. He conceded that all the major characters were essential, but that perhaps some money could be saved in the casting of smaller parts: "A scene takes place on board a liner in which at least four newspaper reporters and photographers appear. This scene has little bearing on the play other than setting the mood of a movie-star's departure from these shores. The scene could be cut, thereby eliminating all the newsmen, but if this script has already been timed something else will have to be substituted. However, without knowledge of the producer's and director's intentions, these characters – and others – may be required to play unscripted parts as passengers on an ocean-going liner." Indeed, there was a considerable amount of 'doubling up' in the final production, with ten extras playing different roles in film set and press conference scenes than they do elsewhere in the episode.

  • The camera script for Mission to Montreal bills the extras as: "Margot Lane, Barbara Straight, Dorothy Watson, Joan Smith and Messrs. Pescud, Richards, Leigh, Kingsley, Blomley, Kildare, Low, Crouch, Mordant". The roles played by these performers, and the first names of (Richard) Pescud, (Bill) Richards, (Perry) Leigh, (Howard) Kingsley, (Paul) Blomley, (Robin) Kildare, (David) Low, (Alan) Crouch and (Melvyn) Mordant, are listed on the wardrobe and make-up requirements sheet for this episode, which survives to this day. It is possible that "Perry Leigh" is a typo of Terry Leigh, an actor who played small roles in a number of television series, including Sherlock Holmes (1965), Theatre 625 (1966) and Dixon of Dock Green (1966). This document also provides us with the names of the wardrobe supervisor (Lee Halls) and make-up supervisor (Audrey Riddle) of Mission to Montreal.

  • Costume fittings took place on Monday 30th April 1962 for Patrick Macnee, Mark Eden, Eric McCaine, Peter MacKriel and Allan Casley; on Tuesday 1st May for Patricia English, Iris Russell and Gerald Sim; and on Wednesday 2nd May for Iris Russell (again), Angela Thorne and John Frawley. It is not known when Jon Rollason's fitting was carried out – his name has a question mark next to it on the paperwork.

  • Rollason was contracted for his appearance in Mission to Montreal on Tuesday 1st May 1962. The fact that the surviving contract covers only one episode suggests that the actor was hired on an episode-by-episode basis. Intriguingly, the contract indicates that he was hired to play a character called Keel! However, it seems unlikely that the production team were seriously considering simply recasting the role of Keel, having gone to all the trouble of devising Cathy Gale and Venus Smith. It is perhaps more likely that they were still deciding what to call Steed's new doctor friend. Ian Hendry's character had gone through a similar identity crisis during the development of his first Avengers episode, Hot Snow, with the protagonist's surname changing from Brent to Dent to Keel.

  • Patrick Macnee was officially engaged for the first 13 episodes of Series 2 on Thursday 10th May 1962, just two days before Mission to Montreal was recorded. This was almost certainly a mere formality, however, as rehearsals had been under way since 1st May. The agreement committed Macnee to a fortnightly recording schedule from 12th May to 4th August and from 3rd September to 17th November 1962, with the actor being paid a weekly retaining fee of £50 for the four-week period 6th August to 3rd September 1962, during which no episodes would be made. The schedule also included an option for a further 13 episodes to be recorded within the period 29th November 1962 to 14th March 1963. The signing of this deal would have came as a relief to Macnee, who, in common with many actors, suffered financial hardship during the Equity Strike, as he recalls in his 1988 autobiography Blind in One Ear and the 1997 book The Avengers and Me.

  • The first reading by the cast of the script for Mission to Montreal took place in the Conference Room at Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1 on Monday 30th April 1962, between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Rehearsals commenced the next day, Tuesday 1st May, at York House, Twickenham, and continued there daily (apart from the afternoon of Saturday 5th May) until Monday 7th May 1962. Rehearsals then moved to Rehearsal Room 2A, ABC TV Studios, Broom Road, Teddington, Middlesex, from Tuesday 8th May to Thursday 10th May 1962.

  • Camera rehearsals for this episode commenced at 10.00am in Studio 2 at Teddington on Friday 11th May 1962, almost immediately turning to the pre-recording of the opening couple of minutes of Act 1 (up to the point where Peggy walks through the exit door), which took place between 10.35 and 10.50am. This scene, coded VTR/ABC/1747A, would be edited into the main recording of the episode on the following evening. Camera rehearsals then resumed at 11.05am and continued until 9.00pm. The actors and crew reconvened at 10.00am the next day, Saturday 12th May 1962, working towards a dress rehearsal between 4.15 and 5.30pm, and the final recording between 6.00 and 7.00pm. The episode was transmitted from videotape on Saturday 27th October 1962 at 10.05pm, except in one ITV region, Channel Television, which commenced its transmission five minutes earlier.


  • On Location... There was no specially filmed location work for Mission to Montreal, though several short sections of 16mm mute stock footage were played in throughout the production to establish the M.V. Calpurnia in dock and at sea, travelling from Liverpool to Montreal, via Le Havre in France. It is possible that some of this film was among that loaned to director Don Leaver by the Public Relations Department of Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd.


  • Trivia... Jon Rollason does not appear in the opening credits of any of the three Dr King episodes, which only billed Patrick Macnee as John Steed. It is possible that the production team had intended these to be generic titles for the whole of Series 2, though by the time Death Dispatch came to be recorded, the device of depicting Macnee's co-star of the week in a caption slide had been decided upon.

  • Whether by accident or design, the framing of Carla Berotti (Patricia English) in the opening scene, with only her head and one bare shoulder in shot, gives the initial impression that she is nude, the first of several instances of implied nudity in Series 2. Producer Leonard White was keen to sex up the show at around this time, later noting in response to a query from Sydney Newman in August 1962 that the "trouble with [the] series this year so far, is that it hasn't enough sex!"

  • The murderous Brand (Alan Curtis) is notably similar to the character of Benson in One for the Mortuary. Both men are smartly dressed one-eyed assassins, who are on the trail of top-secret microfilm. Benson's bad eye is hidden behind a darkened lens in his spectacles, as shown in surviving Tele-Snaps, whereas in the original rehearsal script for One for the Mortuary he is described as wearing an eye patch, as Brand does in Mission to Montreal.

  • On screen, the killer gives his name as A.G. Brand, though in the camera script his initials are T.A.

  • The DEW Line referred to in this episode was more fully known as the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations located in the far northern Arctic region of Canada, with additional stations along the North Coast and Aleutian Islands of Alaska, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland. Activated in 1957, the DEW Line was set up to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War, and to provide early warning of any sea-and-land invasion. It was the northernmost and most capable of three radar lines in Canada and Alaska. Farther south were the Mid-Canada Line (also known as the McGill Fence) and the Pinetree Line, which ran from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island.

  • John Bennett makes the most of a relatively minor role as Carla's bodyguard, Guido Aloysius Marson. He puts in a memorable performance, drawing out the character's quiet menace and sardonic humour, particularly during his scenes with Rollason. Bennett went on to play numerous parts in television and on film, including Philip Bosinney in the BBC's prestigious adaptation of The Forsyte Saga (1967) and the lead role in Market in Honey Lane (1967), a series which is often referred to as the forerunner to BBC soap opera EastEnders. He returned to The Avengers to play Sykes in False Witness (1968). His lean, somewhat emaciated appearance meant that he was often cast as villainous characters and in diverse ethnic guises, often under heavy make-up. Today he is probably best remembered as the Chinese magician Li H'sen Chang in the Doctor Who serial The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977).

  • During the press conference scene in Act 1 of Mission to Montreal, the First Reporter (Malcolm Taylor) is scripted to make a salacious comment about Carla's physical attributes. After Carla gives the swept-back look for the Photographer (William Buck), the camera script has the First Reporter remarking, "The twins that launched a million tickets!" This line is not present in the finished programme. Following the stock footage shot of a ship's funnel, a Tannoy voice is scripted to announce, "Your attention please. All visitors ashore," which prompts the Third Reporter (Leslie Pitt) to complain, "Just when it was getting warmed up."

  • Although it was the first Series 2 episode to be made and the first Dr King episode to be shown, Mission to Montreal is perhaps best watched second, after Dead on Course. The story is written as though the audience already knows who the character is – because of course it had been written for Dr Keel. There would have been some dramatic potential when Carla's physician enters the scene, almost six minutes into the episode, if it had been the familiar Keel. King's association with Steed is not made explicit until the pair share a scene more than a third of the way into the episode, which makes for a peculiar opening act. Such dramatic flourishes work more effectively when the character is already known to the viewer.

  • Gillian Muir, who plays Judy in both this episode and The Sell-Out, is the daughter of Douglas Muir, who appeared in several videotaped episodes of The Avengers as One-Ten.

  • Judy mentions sending a postcard to a Dr Michael. This seems to be the name of Dr King's partner at his medical practice, as Dr Tredding was to Dr Keel.

  • Steed does not enter the fray until almost 20 minutes into the episode, when he boards the ship in the guise of a steward.

  • In Act 2, the restless Carla demands that King gives her a shot of morphine. Instead the doctor administers a derivative of dimenhydrinate, a drug used to prevent nausea and motion sickness.

  • In Act 3, King notices Carla's teddy bear in her cabin. Such a toy would of course play a pivotal role in the first broadcast episode of Series 2, Mr Teddy Bear!

  • In the camera script, when Nicholson attempts to kill Carla by throwing her overboard, he says to her, "Don't be afraid. It's for the best. We'll be together." This would seem to indicate that he does not expect to live much longer himself. Either he has guessed that Brand will come after him next, or he intends to take his own life.

  • The relationship between King and Carla, which ends on a poignant note, suggests that the production team may have been planning to open out the romantic potential of Dr Keel, who had had little in the way of love interest during Series 1.

  • The production company appears not to have been very proud of the first few episodes of The Avengers made during 1962, compared with the direction the rest of Series 2 was taking. On Tuesday 23rd October 1962, four days before Mission to Montreal was transmitted, ABC controller of programmes Brian Tesler congratulated Leonard White on how "splendidly" he thought the new series was going: "You've weathered the absence of Hendry, and are turning out at least as exciting a series as the last with this new format. Macnee and Honor Blackman are excellent, and Julie Stevens is a gamble which has paid off." So far, the episodes Mr Teddy Bear, Propellant 23, The Decapod and Bullseye had been seen by the viewing public. However, Tesler hoped that "some of this year's earlier recordings" could be hidden "as well and as deeply in the series as possible!" He appears to be referring to the Dr King episodes (which respectively aired as the fifth, fourteenth and ninth episodes of Series 2) and possibly also the Cathy Gale episodes Death Dispatch (which was the fourth episode to be produced but the thirteenth to air) and Warlock (which was the fifth to be produced but the eighteenth to air, with some scenes reshot).


  • Bloopers... At 1 minute and 48 seconds into the episode, the camera bumps into something, causing the picture to wobble momentarily.

  • At 2 minutes and 6 seconds, the cut between the end of the pre-recorded insert and the first shot of the main recording session is all too apparent, with picture break-up and instability.

  • At 2 minutes and 22 seconds, as Peggy enters Carla's dressing room, a member of the crew can be seen standing in the shadows.

  • At 5 minutes and 10 seconds, the camera has another little bump, less serious this time.

  • Immediately after this, Iris Russell (Sheila Dowson) stumbles slightly over her dialogue. She almost omits the word "really", delivering the line as "Don't you think you'd better see the doctor before you s– really start diving into that?"

  • At 5 minutes and 22 seconds, Russell has some difficulty replacing the telephone receiver.

  • At 7 minutes and 49 seconds, a peculiar squeak can be heard. It happens again eight seconds later.

  • At 13 minutes and 6 seconds, while Marson converses with Dr King, someone on set is heard to cough.

  • As the scene changes at 13 minutes and 29 seconds, there is the sound of something heavy being dropped on the floor.

  • At 20 minutes and 12 seconds, Iris Russell has trouble with her props again, taking a moment to fit her character's spectacles into their case.

  • At 21 minutes and 54 seconds, Patrick Macnee garbles Steed's explanation of the DEW Line, describing it as "new" and offering "the prospect of early warning stations across Canada and Alaska." In fact, the DEW Line was declared operational in 1957, so it was hardly new in 1962. The scripted exposition is more accurate: "that's the system of early warning stations against missile attack. It stretches all the way across Canada to Alaska."

  • At 25 minutes and 28 seconds, as the camera zooms out and pans up to reveal Nicholson approaching Carla, the boom microphone appears at the top of the screen for about a second before being whisked out of shot.

  • At 35 minutes and 16 seconds, Jon Rollason's stumbled line, "This I wouldn't inflict on my... This I wouldn't inflict on any of my enemies," could be a blooper or possibly a naturalistic ad-lib.

  • At 39 minutes and 2 seconds, a boom microphone dips briefly into the top left of frame.

  • At 49 minutes and 3 seconds, a railing wobbles when Patrick Macnee leans against it in passing. They don't build those steamships like they used to!


  • Stop Press... The 21st September 1962 edition of TV Weekly (a periodical covering the TWW region of the ITV network) marked the return of The Avengers in Mr Teddy Bear with what is, in retrospect, a rather surprising statement. While acknowledging the departure of Ian Hendry as a regular member of the cast, the piece indicated that Dr Keel would be putting in semi-regular return appearances: "Hendry fans need not despair, however, for he is to make appearances in the new episodes from time to time." It is possible that the reporter misinterpreted or was given inaccurate information about the occasional appearances that would be made by Jon Rollason as Dr King. Alternatively, perhaps this indicates that the Dr King scripts had initially been set aside by the production team in the hope of Hendry returning to the role, even though these episodes had been recorded with Rollason months before this article was published.

  • The Stage and Television Today had heralded Rollason's arrival somewhat more accurately on 23rd August 1962, though the publication managed to spell the actor's first name wrong. Announcing the imminent arrival of several ABC series, including the seventh series of Armchair Theatre, the second series of The Avengers and a new children's science-fiction serial, City Beneath the Sea, the article indicated that: "The line-up for The Avengers will be Patrick Macnee as the new star, with Honor Blackman, John [sic] Rollason, plus a girl singer who, ABC report, has yet to be cast." The latter role would be filled a week or so later, with Julie Stevens joining the programme as Venus Smith.

  • To coincide with the broadcast of Mission to Montreal on 27th October 1962, the Manchester Evening News gave some coverage to Rollason as part of Max North's Tele-review on page 5 of the paper. Entitled From Play to Pottery, the piece focused on the performer's talents outside of acting: "Playwright and author Jon Rollason has been adding another skill to his list. After three years of study and false starts he has learned to throw a pot like an expert. 'I mean I've become pretty useful at making pottery,' Jon explained. 'Just now I'm making a coffee set for a friend.' It seems a peaceful hobby for someone who has just become a member of the team which tries to dish up blood-and-thunder adventures in a polished way in ITV's The Avengers. 'I find it wonderfully relaxing to sit at a potter's wheel,' he told me. 'Primitive, but creative and rewarding.'"


  • And Finally... It is evidently not good for one's health to be called Peggy in an Avengers series opener. Hot Snow, the very first episode of The Avengers, ended its first act with the brutal slaying of Keel's fiancιe Peggy (Catherine Woodville), the first character to be killed in the show. Just a few minutes into Mission to Montreal, another Peggy, this time Carla's stand-in, played by Pamela Ann Davy, becomes the first character to bite the dust during the production of Series 2.

Plotline by Richard McGinlay • UK Transmissions by Simon Coward, Alan Hayes and John Tomlinson
International Premieres by Denis Kirsanov • Ministry Verdict by Richard McGinlay

Declassified by Richard McGinlay and Alan Hayes

With thanks to Dave Matthews, Dave Rogers, Piers Johnson, Jaz Wiseman
and StudioCanal for their kind assistance

 

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