Steed meets the ancestors. Emma is lost in time.

5 or more x 15-minute episodes
based on the television episode
Escape in Time (1967),
written by Philip Levene

Principal Cast:
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):
Date and transmission nights unknown.

The Past Show
This episode I will mostly be
going back in time.


Mother, who is staying in the Tower of London for security reasons, calls in a young agent named Clive Paxton. He gives Paxton an assignment to investigate the mysterious disappearances of various nefarious characters. The only links between them are that they all came to England carrying large sums of money before vanishing completely. Mother gives Paxton the only lead he has the name Waldo Thyssen.

Paxton finds the Thyssen home, and getting inside, discovers a strange corridor through which he appears to travel in time! Emerging from the corridor he finds himself in the Elizabethan age, and meets a man from that time who promptly shoots him! Paxton's body is later found in the Thames, and Mother calls Steed and Mrs. Peel in for a briefing. They are given the same information as Paxton, as well as the fact that Paxton was shot with an Elizabethan pistol, and repair to Steed's flat to mull over the clues.

Meanwhile, another agent Tubby Vincent has already retraced Paxton's route to the Thyssen home. He, too, travels down the time corridor and arrives in the Jacobean period only to be stabbed by a man with a knife. However, Vincent survives long enough to make his way to Steed's flat. "It's all in the past no time!" he mutters before dying.

Steed and Emma examine Tubby Vincent's body and find a note linking one of the missing criminals a Colonel Josino with a place called Mackiedockie Court. They drive there the next day and wait. When Josino's car turns up, the pair follow it. But soon they realise that a blue car is following them (somewhat obviously), so they split up Mrs. Peel follows the blue car, and Steed follows the Colonel to a barber's shop, where unfortunately he loses his quarry.

Vesta and Mitchell, now well aware that Mrs. Peel is on to the fact that she is being followed, decide to force her out into the remote countryside, where she can be forced from the road. Mitchell puts his foot on the accelerator and makes life for Mrs. Peel very difficult. Eventually, Emma realises that she is fighting a losing battle and deliberately sends her car skidding off the road, jumping from the vehicle before it crashes into a tree. She escapes the crash unharmed, but Vesta and Mitchell mistakenly think she's dead. She's definitely not dead and her injuries are more to her dignity than to her person. She is however, furious with the pair who forced her off the road and swears to get her own back on them. She'll even make them pay her parking fines!

Meanwhile Steed enters the barber's shop, and is curiously invited to "get away from it all" by the barber. When Steed shows some interest in this proposition, the barber instructs him to go to the nearby Eastern Gallery. There, Steed is interviewed by a Asian woman, Anjali, who offers the chance of escape to a new life. All he needs is his passport, and half his worldly possessions as payment. Steed agrees, and is then taken blindfold by Manners on a car journey to meet Waldo Thyssen at his secret lair. Thyssen meets Steed and reveals that the service he provides is not only exclusive, it is also unique. With his assistance, the wanted men of the world can escape their pursuers forever by being sent back to any time period they wish! Steed and Thyssen discuss terms, but Steed is unconvinced that Thyssen's service is for real. To assure his new client, Thyssen suggests a practical demonstration...

Thyssen steps up the sales pitch, and tells Steed of the notorious criminals and embezzlers who have taken advantage of his services Bleschner, Jubaire, Bei Bei Jhin, Colonel Josino. Steed comments that Josino was at large until only recently and asks how long it will be before he returns. Thyssen explains that Josino chose to live in the Britain of the past, in 1904 in fact, and that it is strictly a one way arrangement once the transaction is completed. Steed accepts Thyssen's offer of a demonstration, and he is lead to a door and the disconcerting time tunnel beyond it. Thyssen operates the machinery and Steed ends up in 1790, still in Thyssen's house, but in the time of Samuel Thyssen, a philanderer. From a window, Steed sees a horse and carriage pull up to the house. All looks convincing... Before Steed can investigate further, he finds himself back in the time tunnel, and before he knows it, he is back in the present day. Waldo Thyssen is waiting for him when he re-emerges from the tunnel. Thyssen gathers that Steed is impressed and instructs him to clear up his affairs and most importantly, ensure that he obtains the diamonds that Steed has promised him in payment. Thyssen will contact him in two days time, whereupon Steed will be sent back to the time of his choice.

Meanwhile, Emma Peel has begun to get somewhat impatient. Not having heard from Steed, she has decided to try the escape route for herself. She faces a problem, however. What possible reason can she have for going to the barber's? Eventually, she decides to resort to subterfuge... pretending to be interested in buying after shave lotion as a present for Steed. She gradually worms her way into the barber's confidence and is sent off on the escape route... ending up at Anjali's, where she is interrogated. Anjali was not expecting a woman: Head Office would have said. Mrs Peel bluffs her way through, saying that Head Office know all about her and that she had been told to expect a more efficient service than she was receiving. Reluctantly, Anjali relents and asks Mrs Peel to wait while she makes arrangements for her transportation.

Thyssen's servant, Manners, has driven the blindfolded Steed back to London. When the driver has departed, Steed heads for Emma's apartment, but finds it empty. Where is Mrs Peel? Mother, tucking into raven pie at the Tower of London, can tell Steed nothing of his partner's movements and together, they realise that she has no doubt attempted to follow the escape route. Mother warns that if the people who shunted Emma's car from the road catch sight of her, then she is in dead trouble.

In the grounds of Thyssen's mansion house, the gravel is churned up as Manners pulls his car to a stop. He turns to the blindfolded Mrs Peel in the back and tells her to get out. She has arrived at her destination.


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Mother, who is trying to figure out the escape route of some wanted criminals, is ensconced in the Tower of London. There's a growing suspicion that he's working, eating and sleeping there. The atmosphere makes him complain, "'Tis a dreary day, forsooth," which soon leads him and those he influences to some Shakespeare. Telling the first agent Clive Paxton that all clues point to a Mr Thyssen, he sends him off as Lady Macbeth does the lords: "Stay not upon your going but get cracking, now". Paxton is soon being cruelly told, "Good night sweet prince, the rest is silence".

When Mother telephones them, Mrs Peel tells Steed, "Methinks the bell doth toll", very like the bell that summoned Duncan to heaven or to hell. He greets them like some soldiers in Henry VIII and Hamlet, "Good morrow and well met. You come most timely upon the hour". On hearing the assignment, Steed is feeling like Hamlet having seen the ghost and mutters, "Oh cursed spite that Steed was ever born to put it right". Learning that all the criminals come to England to escape, Mrs Peel has a quaint and amusing reply: "Odds Bodkins, it is mighty curious".

Meanwhile a second agent on the case, Tubby Vincent, is stabbed. "Dead. Dead for a ducat," says the assailant but unlike the hiding Polonius, he manages to escape to Steed's flat and so help the case. Maybe some other line would have been more appropriate.

As we move into Episode Two, the exchange between a couple following Mrs Peel, "What do we do to get rid of her? Why get rid of her", sounds just as earnest as Richard III's "Chop off his head" pronouncement about Hastings. Mrs Peel escapes and she and Steed find Mother, like Hamlet searching for the ghost, very cold and remarking, "The air does indeed bite shrewdly". Steed appropriately tells Mrs. Peel it's time for action with Henry's "Once more unto the breach, dear friends," as Mother, trying to keep the casualties down, reminds them, "Exactly, but do be careful not to close up anything with our English dead," or it will be, "Sweets to the sweet, farewell", as said to poor Ophelia. Following the escape route, Steed says he is prepared to give "half my worldly possessions"; quite reasonable really, compared to what Shylock thought might happen to him.

In Episode Three, Steed meets Thyssen, convinces him that he too wants to escape, and for a trial has a hankering for the Eighteenth century which is the same one Patrick Macnee often says he fancies! Returning, but unable to find Mrs Peel who is following the escape route behind him, he goes to the Tower where Mother, as was to be expected sometime, reminds him, "One mustn't loose one's head". It was an appropriate point, as Steed - like Hastings - had been talking a lot. He suggests that Steed's "lean and hungry look" - a look that Caesar saw in the sensitive Cassius - might be improved with some Raven pie. His earlier fears that the absent Mrs Peel might be in danger lack a sense of urgency at this point.

The three existing episodes are great to listen to. As for how it continues - the rest is silence.

As I finish this review, my last for the radio series, I'd like to say how grateful I am to those who made the show, to Jon Wright and Barbara Peterson for recording them and to Alan and Alys in restoring them. It's no wonder that The Avengers is often among the favourites of those who enjoy radio theatre.

Ron Geddes


Name Changes: Thyssen is referred to as 'Tayssen' during Episode One, which then reverts to 'Thyssen' in Episodes Two and Three.

Character Changes: Mother appears in this version, although he was not in the TV episode. Some of Mother's lines here were, on television, given to the character of Clapham, a Ministry official, played by Geoffrey Bayldon.

Storyline Changes: The TV version has the tailing of suspects, such as Colonel Josino, in Mackiedockie Court taking place entirely on foot, and doubles are used to put the agents off the scent of those they are following. Indeed, in the television show, Emma attempts to follow Steed as he negotiates the route to Thyssen, but is deflected by a double of Steed and loses track of her partner. The radio version has her involved in the car chase with Vesta and Mitchell at this point.

Emma is not forced off the road in the TV version, but follows Vesta's car, which she then finds abandoned. Walking into a nearby field, she is attacked by a man riding a motorcycle but eventually escapes when the man crashes his machine.

The radio series makes mention of Thyssen's clients requiring a passport (reasonable enough!), but in the TV programme the 'passport' is actually a series of stuffed toys, which are exchanged as part of the procedure leading to Thyssen.

When Mrs Peel follows the escape route, in the radio version, she goes to the barber's asking for after shave lotion for Steed. In the television version, she simply goes for a shave! Understandably, the barber is perplexed until Emma waves her stuffed toy...

Peter Bowles, in the television version affects a speech impediment while playing Waldo Thyssen, intended to differentiate him from the other incarnations of the Thyssen family that he portrays. This does not recurr in the radio adaptation.

The radio episodes describe Thyssen's time travel machine as being a giant computer. The television version is altogether more bizarre to send people back to the past, he operates a one-armed bandit machine, the spinning wheels stopping on the year requested!


Sonovision produced two versions of Escape In Time. The first adaptation was transmitted as the series opener in December 1971, while this version was produced later in the series, rewritten by Dennis Folbigge. The original version was adapted and directed by Tony Jay and did not feature the character of Mother.

As only Episodes 1-3 of this serial exist, information here is based mainly on these recordings. The serial is thought to have comprised five, six or seven episodes (the original version being in five parts).

Alys Hayes

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