Steed flies after a bird. Emma is saying nothing.
7 x 15-minute episodes
based on the television episode
The Interrogators (1969),
written by Richard Harris and Brian Clemens
Donald Monat as John Steed
Diane Appleby as Emma Peel
Colin Fish as Mother
Hugh Rouse as The Narrator
Adapted and directed by Dennis Folbigge
Produced by David Gooden
Transmission on Springbok Radio (7.15-7.30pm):
Episode 1 – Friday
Episode 2 – Monday
Episode 3 – Tuesday
Episode 4 – Wednesday
Episode 5 – Thursday
Episode 6 – Friday
Episode 7 – Monday
Colonel Mannering wanted to
know all the answers, too.
Two men are sitting outside a
room where interrogations are going on. One of them goes in and a
man named Colonel Mannering violently demands to know the names of
his contacts, but he gives nothing but his name (Caspar), rank and
serial number. Mother is worried because this Caspar, one of his
important intelligence men, is missing – so Mrs Peel and a
forensic team examines his apartment. When one of Caspar's
contacts is killed, Mother reluctantly discloses the identity of
Caspar's other contact to Steed, but he gets to him too late.
The second contact had managed
to tell Steed where he was going to meet Caspar. Steed collects
Mrs Peel, return to Mother and then, after some speculation, they
go to the meeting place. There they find Caspar and take him back
to Mother. Steed then sends Mrs Peel to check on another
intelligence man, Minnow, who is just being visited by Mannering.
Minnow is taken away by
Mannering out of a back door. At Mother's, after the body of
Caspar's second contact is shown to him, Caspar is persuaded to go
away and think about how he could be responsible for the deaths of
his two contacts. Steed follows and sees him releasing a homing
pigeon! Meanwhile, Mrs Peel enters Minnow's apartment. He too gets
interrogated by Mannering about his contacts. During the session,
the pigeon arrives and Mannering recognises it as having come from
Caspar. He decides that Caspar must now be eliminated.
Steed hears Caspar being shot
dead as Mrs Peel examines Minnow's flat. Mother and Steed now
decide they had better try and warn Minnow's contacts. Mrs Peel is
sent to the first one but can only witness him being shot and
informs Mother, who is now understandably very worried about the
second one. Minnow is now almost being tortured about this second
contact, but strangely appears to think it's all just a test –
part of some training course. Mrs Peel finds the second contact
and helps him get his attacker's gun and shoots him.
The second contact disappears
and no-one at Mother's HQ knows who his would-be assassin is until
Minnow unexpectedly walks in and seems to recognise him. Thinking
they are in on the test, he says, "I want to contact Mannering".
Now they may get somewhere. Mannering is, however, calling on a
very tired, off-duty Mrs Peel and convinces her that she must also
come for training. Minnow doesn't know where it was, but remembers
the name of the course and Mother phones intelligence to check it.
Mrs Peel is taken into the
building where the 'courses' are still very much going on. One
man, Mallard, seems to know her and Mannering talks to another RAF
man. At Mother's HQ, he tells Minnow that he phoned the
authorities and the course does not exist. Minnow still insists he
didn't talk. As Mallard is being grilled for a name by Mannering
he suddenly stops, says "You've passed," and takes him to the bar.
Mallard is then tricked into giving the name. At the same time,
Minnow, realising he must have been tricked in the bar too, says
"I have a pigeon".
Minnow explains to Steed that
if he releases his pigeon, Mannering is to contact him within the
hour. Mrs Peel is now being interrogated as to Steed's
whereabouts. With Minnow releasing the pigeon, Steed follows in a
helicopter! It leads him to the building where Mrs Peel is being
ever more forcibly questioned. Mannering issues pistols to all his
'trainees' telling them they contain blanks and that in this test,
there are ten points for whoever shoots the intruder, a Mr Steed,
who they may know. Mrs Peel breaks free as Steed gets into the
building past the shooting guards. About to be shot by five of the
men (who intend to share the points) he persuades them, with Mrs
Peel's assistance, to first take a shot at Mannering. He survives
the real bullets, but his deadly scheme has come to an end.
Mother telling Steed that he
might need a drink suggests this is a difficult case for the team.
Colin Fish's slightly more relaxed interpretation is very close to
the one we see on TV. There are lots of scenes in this first
episode with its interrogations, meetings with Mother, a report
from a flat, and incidents at an archery range and a fairground.
The man repeating his name, rank and serial number stays in the
mind. Changing the location where Steed and Mrs Peel meet a
contact to the Green Pheasant Inn adds variety and, unlike it
would have done on TV, didn't cost a thing. Mrs Peel isn't heard
much initially while she's on errands and in audio this somehow
makes her appear more absent that in video. The top interrogator,
Mannering, is on fairly equal terms with his subordinates but
should maybe be being more assertive and is less confident (more
later). The forensic expert helping Mrs Peel examine the flats of
agents sounds very normal. The pronounced delivery of the TV
character gave us briefly another slight eccentric. So, maybe the
humour here is being given mostly to Mother. Not that Steed and
Mrs Peel are always serious (even if the situation usually still
is). As one of Mannering's men dies, they announce a temporary
dead end and that it's time for lunch! It doesn't just sound like
a quick sandwich either, more likely back to the Green Pheasant.
Later, Mannering is persuading Mrs Peel that she must go on a
training course. Whereas he was quite civil with his men earlier
he, surprisingly, doesn't use much charm now. No-one will mind me
saying that Christopher Lee's performance on TV is a better one.
A pivotal scene in the story
however is really well done on radio. Mother and Steed are still
baffled by their men insisting that they said nothing. Steed asks,
"How the devil do they work it?" and the narrator answers, "How?
It's done like this!" - and all is revealed (to the listener) in
the training course bar. Its location is now revealed to Mother
and Co. with the help of a homing pigeon. "No pigeons were harmed
…" I'm sure. Indeed, considering all the stunts, the travel for
location shooting, the makeup etc. that are needed for TV, radio
production has its advantages. It seems to have plenty of funny
moments too. The soldier, after reporting on the pigeon's arrival,
adds, "and there was a helicopter following it". The actor sounds
like he just managed to keep a straight face! Steed now seems more
unconcerned by all the rifles pointing at him than Steed on TV.
TO THE TELEVISION EPISODE
Name Changes: None.
Character Changes: This is one of a number of
episodes adapted for the Sonovision Avengers which replaces
the television character of Tara King with that of Emma Peel.
There is no Captain Soo;
Colonel Mannering only refers to 'others' who interrogate (in
Mother has no assistant Rhonda,
so Steed wheels Izzy's corpse into the room.
Caspar's first contact (who is given the name James Wilson) is
challenged at archery this time before being shot with an arrow.
The man with Caspar at the
start (who is given the name Dan Fletcher) later gets
Izzy Pound is located at a
fairground rather than a quarry and, having a talking part, plays
a role in tracing Caspar. His tip allows Steed to take Mrs Peel to
lunch at 'The Green Pheasant' where Caspar arrives. In the TV
version, he arrives at Steed's flat.
Mrs. Peel picks the lock at
Minnow's apartment instead of breaking a window.
Caspar releases the homing
pigeon from his kitchen instead of from his car.
Colonel Mannering only
threatens to make a fake call to Mother while duping Mrs Peel.
Towards the end, Mrs. Peel
tries to charm a guard with "Don't be such a silly soldier!"
The story ends by adjourning to
the bar without the last TV scene.
Bloopers: In Episode
One, Mrs Peel says Jasper initially, instead of Caspar.
In addition to the Friday
evening episodes (Episodes One and Six), the concluding
episode - aired on a Monday - also carries a 'Friday-style' credit announcement,
presumably because it was the last installment of the serial.
There are many references in
the radio version to English places such as Salisbury, Oxon,
Battersea Park and Bridgewell Road.
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