Steed changes partners...
Emma joins the enemy

Production Number: E.66.6.9

PLOTLINE

Nutski, the foreign spy master in London is concerned that his agents are being eliminated. First, Boris Groski is found shot dead in a cobbled alleyway and then Stanislaw Arkadi is killed in an elevator. Fearing an offensive by the British, Nutski sends an agent, Ivan Peppitoperoff, on a mission to kill John Steed.

Ivan's attempt on Steed's life is unsuccessful as his intended victim outwits him. It transpires that the British agent is also aware of the killings and professes that a third party is obviously trying to drive a wedge between the superpowers, as he has "not killed anyone all week". Ivan is convinced and takes Steed to meet Nutski. A truce is agreed. Both sides will work together until such time as the situation is resolved. In order to ensure smooth co-operation, Steed will be partnered by the unsubtle foreign agent, Olga Volowski, and Ivan by Emma Peel.

Emma and Ivan visit the surgery of Dr. Hubert Merryweather, a chiropodist. Ivan reveals that Groski had consulted the medic shortly before his death. Emma is ushered in, leaving Ivan waiting outside. Percy, a charming, well-dressed gentleman approaches and pulls a gun on the agent. Emma explains Ivan's disappearance to Nutski at his antiques shop, but is locked up by the moustachioed agent as he leaves to investigate.

Olga and Steed later follow up a lead to the gentlemen's outfitter, J. Nathan Winters. At the shop, Steed discovers Ivan's dead body in a crate full of umbrellas. Meanwhile, Olga finds another crate marked for delivery to an organisation called S.N.O.B. Six bowler-hatted men arrive and, in the style of pallbearers, remove one of the coffin-shaped boxes.

At S.N.O.B., Steed and Olga find a finishing school for English gentlemen, run by Tarquin Ponsonby-Frythe. Clearly there is more to the operation than meets the eye, as Sociability Nobility Omnipotence Breeding Inc. goes by the less-than-friendly motto: "Seek-Hate-Kill." The prospective gentlemen are being trained as cold-blooded killers – and John Steed and Emma Peel are among their targets!

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The Avengers: Series 5, Episode 9
Production Completed:
Jan 1967
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

ABC Midlands: Sat 11 Mar 1967, 9.10pm
ABC North: Sat 11 Mar 1967, 9.10pm
Anglia: Fri 10 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
Border: Sun 12 Mar 1967, 8.10pm
Channel: Fri 10 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
Grampian: Wed 17 Jan 1968, 8.00pm
Rediffusion London: Fri 10 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
Scottish: Sat 11 Mar 1967, 9.10pm
Southern: Wed 8 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
Teledu Cymru: Fri 10 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
TWW: Fri 10 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Wed 8 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
Ulster: Thu 25 Jan 1968, 9.00pm
Westward: Fri 10 Mar 1967, 8.00pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
ARGENTINA: 1968
AUSTRALIA: Mon 29 May 1967
AUSTRIA: Mon 1 Apr 1968
BELGIUM: Transmission unconfirmed
CANADA: Tue 21 Mar 1967
FRANCE: Tue 30 Jul 1968
GERMANY: Tue 10 Oct 1967
ITALY: Fri 14 Dec 1973
IRELAND: Transmission unconfirmed
JAPAN: Tue 25 May 1971
MALAYSIA: 1970
MALTA: Sat 23 Dec 1967
MEXICO: Transmission unconfirmed
NETHERLANDS:
Tue 7 Oct 1969
NEW ZEALAND: Tue 2 May 1967
PORTUGAL: 1967 or 1968
SINGAPORE: Sun 18 Feb 1968
SPAIN: Mon 6 Nov 1967
SWITZERLAND: Mon 1 Jul 1968
TURKEY: 1975 or 1976
UNITED KINGDOM: Wed 8 Mar 1967
USA: Fri 24 Mar 1967
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed
Emma Peel
Olga Savonovitch Negretiskinka Volowski
Nutski
Ivan Peppitoperoff
Tarquin Ponsonby-Frythe
Percy Dee
Algernon Winch
Hubert Merryweather
Hilda
J. Nathan Winters
Boris Groski
Stanislaw Arkadi
Karate Opponent 1
Karate Opponent 2
Karate Opponent 3
Patrick Macnee
Diana Rigg
 
Anna Quayle
Michael Gough
Philip Madoc
 
Terence Alexander
Peter Barkworth
Graham Armitage
Timothy Bateson
Joanna Jones
Edwin Apps
John G. Heller
Romo Gorrara
Alf Joint
Peter Brace
Terry Plummer
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

None.

DVD EXTRAS

StudioCanal, UK: Filmed introduction by writer Brian Clemens • Shooting Script PDF (2 versions) • Granada Plus Points • Image Gallery.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer – Brian Clemens
Series Theme & Music –
Laurie Johnson
Production Designer –
Robert Jones
Director of Photography –
Alan Hume
Production Controller –
Jack Greenwood
Producers – Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens
Executive Producer –
Julian Wintle
Director –
Charles Crichton

Music Editor – Karen Heward
Supervising Editor –
Peter Tanner
Editor – Lionel Selwyn
Recording Director – A.W. Lumkin
Sound Recordist – Simon Kaye
Dubbing Mixer – Len Abbott
Sound Editor – Rydal Love
Casting Director – G.B. Walker
Production Manager – Geoffrey Haine
Unit Managers – Richard Dalton, Laurie Greenwood
Construction Manager – Charles Hammerton
Supervisory Electrician – Walter 'Wally' Thompson

Mr Macnee's Costume Design – Pierre Cardin
Miss Rigg's Costume Design – Alun Hughes
Stunt Arranger – Ray Austin
Assistant Director – Ted Lewis
Camera Operator –
Tony White
Art Director – Kenneth Tait
Continuity – Gladys Goldsmith
Hairdressing – Hilda Fox

Make-up – Jim Hydes
Wardrobe – Jean Fairlie

Made at Associated British Elstree Studios and on location

An ABC Television Films Ltd Production

MINISTRY VERDICT

This episode saw one of the finest Cathy Gale episodes – The Charmers – reinvented for the colour era and, while it makes for an enjoyable if undemanding fifty minutes' viewing, there is little doubt that of the two, it is very much the poor relation. The Correct Way To Kill leans heavily on comedy and pastiche at the expense of the dramatic thread running through the original and shoehorns the 1964 script uncomfortably into the 1967 formula. The whole affair feels watered down compared to the original and no one element represents an improvement over it, bar the cinematography. The overplayed humour raises the occasional chuckle and little more. The best line is undoubtedly Nutski's about the infiltration of the horseguards, but there is little genuine invention or wit on display here. A great cast is wasted in one of Brian Clemens' least effective scripts for The Avengers. Anna Quayle's Olga is a plus point, although the character as written is a completely one-dimensional creation and despite her best efforts, the novelty quickly wears very thin. All in all, a weak and unnecessary reversioning of a classic Avengers episode.

THE CORRECT WAY TO KILL • DECLASSIFIED

  • Teaser... Emma picks up a newspaper from a news stand and leans against a lamp post to read it. Steed appears from within the shop behind her. She glances at the newspaper and then to him, before holding up the broadsheet page. The top half of the page is blank aside from the headline 'Mrs Peel – We're Needed'.

  • Tag... Emma visits Steed's flat to find him wearing a Russian astrakhan hat. He has been playing host to Olga. Over toast and coffee, Steed extols the virtues of the Motherland before admitting to Emma that his date with Olga lacked something – "a certain bourgeois, capitalistic, decadent touch?" suggests Emma.


  • Production Brief... The Correct Way to Kill was the first of four episodes in Series 5 which used videotaped era scripts as their source (this one being based on The Charmers). The reason has often been cited as being due to a lack of script ideas being readily available. However, it must be noted that with the hectic turnaround on the series and with the British and American transmissions looming near, high quality scripts that were practically camera-ready would have been a great boon to the producers. Brian Clemens would later suggest a further reason: "Not having taken the Blackmans, the Americans hadn't had the chance to see these and they were so good we thought we'd do them again". The other episodes which were based on earlier episodes were The Superlative Seven (based on Dressed to Kill), The Joker (Don't Look Behind You) and The £50,000 Breakfast (Death of a Great Dane).

  • Whilst many of the lines remain the same between the scripts for The Charmers and The Correct Way to Kill, alterations include replacing actress Kim Lawrence with East European agent, Olga, and the substitution of a sinister dentist with a sinister chiropodist – a sure indicator of the shift in tone between the videotaped and colour filmed series!

  • The part of Olga was written specifically with actress Anna Quayle in mind and the characterisation and dialogue would have been familiar to anyone who had seen the stage musical, Stop the World – I Want To Get Off. Quayle had portrayed Anya, a stereotypical, larger than life Soviet cultural attachι (who was also a footballer, for good measure) and many of the lines and catchphrases were as close to her stage character's as copyright would permit. Her performances in the London and Broadway productions can be heard on the original cast recordings of these productions.

  • This episode is believed to have been adapted for South African radio, as its script was reputedly amongst those sent by EMI to Sonovision in Johannesburg.


  • On Location... Very much an 'indoors' episode, at least in terms of it being mostly studio bound. The exceptions are a brief trot out onto the Elstree backlot for the scene where Groski's body is taken away from Winters' shop and to Woodchurch Road, London NW6, which is visited by Groski and Mrs Peel. They find the offices of H. Merryweather, Chiopodist, there.


  • Quite, Quite Eccentric... Umbrella maker and tester, J. Nathan Winters; Nutski, the foreign power's chief spy in London, operating under the cover of an antiques shop, who wishes to establish 'Nutskiville' as a world power; Tarquin Ponsonby-Frythe, founder of S.N.O.B., who trains young men to be perfect English gentlemen.


  • Acronyms... SNOB – Sociability Nobility Ominpotence Breeding, Inc.


  • Trivia... Actor Michael Gough had previously featured in The Avengers, playing the wheelchair-bound robot creator, Dr. Armstrong in what was arguably Series 4's most successful episode, The Cybernauts.

  • The episode was screened in the ABC and Scottish regions against the series which the BBC had invented as 'their own Avengers', namely Adam Adamant Lives! starring Gerald Harper and Juliet Harmer.

  • This episode and the other Avengers transmissions in March 1967 rated well, with the series chalking up an average audience of 7.3 million, placing the series as the 6th most watched television drama of the month.

  • The 'Mrs Peel We're Needed' teaser was filmed on the same standing village set that had previously been used for Escape in Time.

  • When Emma Peel checks through Nutski's files, she finds first a photograph of Steed, which has been marked on the reverse, "DANGEROUS – HANDLE WITH CARE", and then a photograph of herself. She smiles when she reads the warning on the back of this one – "VERY DANGEROUS – DO NOT HANDLE AT ALL".


  • Bloopers... At 13 minutes and 40 seconds into the programme, Steed introduces Ivan to Mrs Peel, "You haven't met Mrs. Peel", he says, despite their meeting in an earlier scene where they conversed with Steed and each other. It has been suggested that the later scene is a "formal introduction" as expected in British custom, but this seems perhaps unlikely.

  • At 36 minutes and 25 seconds, Jones, one of the gentleman killers, seems to be encountering some difficulty in returning his sword to the shaft of his umbrella.


  • And Finally... One of The Correct Way To Kill's featured eccentrics, the umbrella maker J. Nathan Winters, was played by actor Edwin Apps. At the time of recording, Apps was enjoying a second career as a television writer and co-created the BBC comedy series, All Gas and Gaiters (1966-1971). This ecclesiastical farce was a great success and resulted in its star, Derek Nimmo, becoming a household name. To delineate his acting and writing, Edwin Apps wrote under the pen-name John Wraith.

Plotline by Alan Hayes • UK Transmissions by Simon Coward, Alan Hayes and John Tomlinson
International Premieres by Denis Kirsanov • Ministry Verdict by Alan Hayes
Declassified by Gareth Humphreys and Alan Hayes

 

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