Production Number: 3423 • Tape Number: VTR/ABC/1469
Working Title: 'The Un-Dead'

PLOTLINE

When the frozen body of Neo-Nazi war criminal Hans Gerhardt Schneider is found at the London Docks aboard the San Parma, a refrigerator ship from the Argentine, Steed and Keel find themselves drawn into a dangerous game. The body disappears from the public mortuary to be replaced by that of a murdered police surgeon.

Steed learns from an Argentine contact, Inez, that Schneider had been watched but had disappeared a month ago in Buenos Aires. He had been involved in setting up an organisation called Phoenix, which plans to return the Nazis to power, with Schneider as leader. They have enlisted the help of Kreuzer, a brilliant doctor with Nazi sympathies. His plan is to freeze Phoenix members while they sit out a World War that they will incite, being revived once the conflict is over, to a world free of opposition.

 

Steed has Keel infiltrate the organisation, but his friend's cover is soon blown and the future looks very bleak for the good doctor. He is to be a guinea pig in one of Kreuzer's experiments – and Steed does not know where Kreuzer is holding Keel. He faces a race against time to save Keel from a very long, very cold journey, on which he will be subjected to every known radiation hazard.

 

Read the full story in Two Against the Underworld

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The Avengers: Series 1, Episode 26
Production Completed:
Wed 18 Oct 1961
Recording Format: 405 Line B/W Video
Archive Holding: DOES NOT EXIST
John Cura Tele-Snaps: Photographed
Reconstruction: Made 2010
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
UNITED KINGDOM: Sat 9 Dec 1961
Never transmitted outside the UK

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

ABC Midlands: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
ABC North: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
Anglia:
Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
ATV London: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
Border:
Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
Grampian: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
Scottish: Not transmitted
Southern: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
TWW: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
Tyne Tees:
Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
Ulster: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
Westward: Sat 9 Dec 1961, 10.00pm
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
Hans Gerhardt Schneider
Dr Kreuzer
Weber
Willi
Margarita
Inez
Dr Brennan
Harry
Syd
Ted
Cold Store Manager
Ian Hendry
Patrick Macnee
Ingrid Hafner
 
Carl Duering
Arnold Marle
Neil Hallett
Michael Sarne
Zorenah Osborne
Sheila Robins
David Hart
John Woodvine
Blaise Wyndham
Norman Chappell
Uncredited
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Not released.

DVD EXTRAS

StudioCanal, UK: Reconstruction by Alan and Alys Hayes, narrated by David G. Hamilton, based on original script combined with off-screen Tele-Snaps and on-set photographs • Stills Gallery

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer – Eric Paice
Series Theme & Music –
Johnny Dankworth
Designer –
Robert Fuest
Story Editor –
John Bryce
Producer –
Leonard White
Director –
Don Leaver

Production Assistant – Sylvia Langdon-Down
Floor Manager –Robert Reed
Stage Manager – John Wayne

Other credits not available

Studio – Teddington 2
An ABC Network Production

DEAD OF WINTER • DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... In pre-production, this episode was referred to as The Un-Dead and it is this title that appears on the surviving rehearsal script. For some reason, there has been some confusion over the years and this working title has been erroneously assigned to Dragonsfield in several reference works. The confusion with regards titling of Dead of Winter and Dragonsfield may possibly be due to the change in transmission order, with the former being the 26th to be recorded, and the latter becoming the 26th episode on transmission. Furthermore, the working title for a Series 2 episode – The Case of the Happy Camper – has sometimes been assigned in error to Dead of Winter (and also to Dragonsfield).

  • The cast convened for a first reading of the Dead of Winter rehearsal script at 10.00am on Monday 9th October 1961 at the Tower, RCA Building, Brook Green Road, Hammersmith, London. Directly after this, rehearsals commenced at the same venue and continued for several days. Camera rehearsals and recording took place over two days, Tuesday 17th (11.00am until 9.00pm) and Wednesday 18th October 1961 (10.00am until 7.00pm) in Studio 2 at ABC Studios, Broom Road, Teddington Lock, Middlesex. The episode was transmitted from videotape on Saturday 9th December 1961, with a scheduled start and end time of 10.00pm to 11.00pm.

  • On 13th October 1961, Michael Chapman contacted Avengers directors Don Leaver, Jonathan Alwyn and Peter Hammond regarding music requirements for The Avengers, stressing the importance of it being made clear as early as possible to interested parties. With reference to Dead of Winter, Chapman commented that, "for example, I am advised that in respect of Episode 26, the music requirements will not be known until the Monday of the week of recording, which is too late. Clearly last minute changes can be and must be dealt with, but the earlier the basic information is given to the Music Department, the more efficiently they will be able to accommodate such changes.

  • In the lead-in to the recording of this episode, a storm had been brewing which would affect production of all ITV programming requiring the participation of members of Equity, the actors' union. In 1958, Equity had come to an agreement which saw the minimum payment for an actor appearing in a television production raised from the 1955 level of 7 guineas to 10 guineas. As the industry enjoyed a surge of popularity and greatly increased audience figures by 1961, Equity sought to significantly improve the deal for its members. To this end, the union demanded a minimum actor's appearance fee of 36 guineas, representing an increase of 260%. Additionally, they demanded that any actor given more than ten words to speak must be paid a minimum of 44 guineas (a 340% rise). Understandably, the television companies baulked at these figures and the two sides were headed for many months of deadlock. On 28th June 1961, Equity had issued an instruction to its 10,000 members not to accept work for ITV companies after the end of October. While Equity clearly wished to resolve the dispute before their deadline arrived, ITV companies were left with a logistical problem of how to fill their schedules if agreement could not be reached. Contracts covering the period beyond October that had been signed before the instruction of 28th June would be honoured, and ITV hoped that regular shows could be kept running as a result. The Avengers was one such series that could have continued, in theory, as Macnee, Hendry and Hafner had all signed contracts committing them to recording thirteen new episodes from 23rd June 1961, the first of these being Double Danger. After Dead of Winter (the ninth episode of the thirteen), four further episodes of The Avengers could be recorded, but the Equity boycott meant that it was impossible to engage supporting players. If The Avengers was to continue beyond 31st October 1961 with the strike unresolved, it could only feature the lead actors. As this was clearly unworkable, when the Equity strike became a reality on 1st November 1961, the series entered a hiatus period until such time as the dispute was resolved and Equity once again permitted its members to accept work for the ITV companies.

  • This was the last Series 1 episode to be produced, but was moved up the order of transmission. However, the rehearsal script of this episode, dated 28th September 1961, noted the eventual transmission date as "T.B.A." (to be announced). This suggests that, despite the series having already been announced as returning on 9th December, the actual episode to be shown on that day had not been decided upon. With four episodes 'in the can' to choose from, the network eventually elected to broadcast Dead of Winter as the twenty-third of the twenty-six episode series, opening the four week run when the transmission resumed. The series had last been on the air on Saturday 2nd September 1961, when Kill the King was transmitted, more than three months prior to this broadcast. Although this and the other three December 1961 episodes were shown in a separate four-week block, they are not generally considered a series in their own right, though some TV listings magazines did promote Dead of Winter as the start of a new series.

  • Dead of Winter was the first Avengers episode not to be shown in production order, setting a trend that would be followed for the remainder of the show's run. The transmission order of subsequent series would often bear little resemblance to that in which the episodes had been recorded.

  • Grampian Television commenced broadcasting on Saturday 30th September 1961, and therefore were only on board for the final four episodes of Series 1, commencing with this episode.

  • At the time of recording, Dead of Winter was not considered likely to be the last episode of The Avengers that would be made with Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel. Two weeks after recording, Leonard White issued a set of guidelines which clearly stated the characters and ingredients of the series. The characters of Keel and Carol Wilson are described in this document as continuing characters. Time and the looming Equity strike decided otherwise.


  • On Location... This episode was entirely studio bound. There were, however, establishing 35mm mute film inserts of general dock scenes played into the recording.


  • Trivia... Curiously, the opening sequence (in which Schneider's frozen body is discovered) is not present in the rehearsal script, though it is referred to in subsequent dialogue and directions within the script. These clues, together with surviving images, have allowed the content of the scene to be surmised for the episode's reconstruction on DVD and its detailed story breakdown in Two Against the Underworld.

  • Keel and the ill-fated Dr Brennan studied together and played in the same rugby fifteen, but haven't seen each other for many years.

  • Keel practices his golf swing in his consulting rooms, nearly knocking Carol's block off!

  • The plot element in Dead of Winter 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 episodes, Square Root of Evil and The Springers, both feature a similar narrative device, with Steed going undercover as the Irish forger Timothy Riordan in the former and Keel masquerading as Dr Fenton in the latter.

  • When Keel poses as Herr Doktor Fischer, he initially speaks in German. Weber suggests that they speak to each other in English, as he is having a hard time understanding Keel's "Hamburg accent" with his Bavarian ear.

  • Following the murder of his fiancιe Peggy in Hot Snow, it is highly unusual for Keel to show any romantic interest. One notable exception is his interaction with Jacquetta Brown in The Yellow Needle, but even that is instigated by Steed with a view to gathering information. However, in Dead of Winter, Keel demonstrates a basic sexual attraction for Steed's Argentine contact, Inez. Keel – who has previously voiced objections to Steed using the surgery as though it were his own interview room, office or even canteen – does not seem to mind Inez's presence one little bit. On the contrary, when she departs, Keel says to Steed, "You must bring your contacts here more often." There is something satisfying in the possibility that the good doctor might finally be moving on from the death of his fiancιe in this, Keel's final recorded episode.

  • With this episode, director Don Leaver notched up his tenth episode of Series 1, having commenced his association with the very first episode, Hot Snow. This achievement would prove to be a record for The Avengers, with no other director ever being responsible for as many episodes in a single series. His Series 1 colleague, Peter Hammond, was just one episode behind, having directed nine. Leaver was also distinguished in having been one of only two directors who were carried over from the videotape to the film era of The Avengers, the other being Bill Bain.

  • Michael Sarne, the actor who played Willi, has had a long and distinguished acting career and has directed several movies including the critically panned Myra Breckinridge (1970). He is also known as a film critic and for his comedic duet with actress Wendy Richard on the single, Come Outside (1962), produced by legendary record producer, Joe Meek.

  • The reconstruction of this episode was generally straightforward, with the exception of the lack of photographic material for a couple of sequences, including the climactic confrontation in the cold store at the docks. Images had to be composited for these scenes, as the alternative would have been a black screen with the legend, "no photographic reference"!

  • Three months after the recording of Dead of Winter, Ian Hendry made a guest appearance on This Is Your Life (then produced by BBC Television). The edition, transmitted live on Monday 15th January 1962, between 7.30 and 8.00pm, was devoted to his mentor, Nicolai Poliakoff, better known as Coco the Clown. The pair had met in the 1950s, while Coco was working at Olympia, near Hendry's digs. They quickly recognised each other as kindred spirits, and soon Ian was working as the star's personal assistant. During their association, Coco taught Hendry many of his famous tricks and routines, and it was not uncommon for Hendry to perform them in social situations in later years. The great friendship between the two men endured until Poliakoff's death in 1974. When Hendry himself became the subject of a This Is Your Life programme, on Wednesday 15th March 1978, Poliakoff's widow, Valentina, returned her friend's favour and appeared on the programme as his guest. The 1962 programme no longer exists in television archives, but Hendry's appearance was preserved in photographic form by John Cura who shot six Tele-Snaps of the sequence for Avengers producer Leonard White. The 1978 programme is preserved in the Fremantle library on broadcast standard videotape.


  • Stop Press... The 3rd-9th December 1961 edition of Television Weekly (a TV guide covering the TWW region of the ITV network) marked the return of The Avengers following its three-month break in transmission by making Dead of Winter its front cover feature. The magazine's photo-montage cover incorporated a photograph of Keel and Steed discussing matters in the surgery, with another shot showing Keel being menaced by Dr Kreuzer (Arnold Marle).

  • The return of The Avengers was also marked by TV Times magazine in the issue dated 1st December 1961. A full-page Charles Bayne interview with actress Ingrid Hafner, put her on the spot with regard to working with her co-stars, Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee, and was titled in reply as Avengers? They're the Sweetest Men I Know. The feature offers some insights into how in real life, Hendry and Macnee's roles were somewhat reversed: "Take Ian first. He is intelligent and hard-working, and easily upset when things go wrong. But on the surface, he's a great clown, not a bit like Keel. He loves practical jokes – which is not surprising. You see he started in show business in a circus – as private secretary to Coco the Clown. I don't think he has ever forgotten Coco's advice to take up clowning. Practical jokers, men especially, can be a bit wearing. But you really have to laugh with this character. He's a harmless soul, bless him. Patrick is a more mature person than Ian in many ways. Unlike Steed, Pat has a quiet personality. He is controlled, modest and easy going. He adopts an amusing fatherly attitude towards his co-star. In the middle of some crazy interlude, he'll say, 'Now come along Hendry, that's enough for one day. Get your script like a good boy and let's get a move on, I'm getting hungry. Pat is a bit of a dreamer. He'll tell you that himself. I think he secretly wished he was a character like Steed. He's a romantic at heart. At rehearsals if he's not busy poring over his script or holding incredibly intense conversations with the director, he will be tucked away in a remote corner reading masses of magazines. You get to know people pretty well, working with them every day, don't you? My leading men are not without faults. But, to be honest, they're two of the sweetest men I know."


  • And Finally... The next episode due into the television studio after Dead of Winter was Mission to Montreal, which then had the working title of Gale Force. However, as the result of strike action against ITV by the actors' union Equity, production ground to a halt. It would not resume until spring 1962, by which time Ian Hendry had left the series to pursue other opportunities. The Avengers would eventually return, but with Patrick Macnee promoted to first lead alongside a variety of new sidekicks. Gale force indeed...

Plotline by Alan Hayes • UK Transmissions by Simon Coward, Alan Hayes and John Tomlinson
Declassified by Alan Hayes with Richard McGinlay

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

 

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