Production Number: Unknown
A British agent, George Stannard,
is on a mission investigating a monastery on the remote island of
St. Dorca off the West Coast of Scotland. When
he gets close to discovering their secret, he winds up dead at the hands of a gang of sinister
fishermen who use poison-tipped fishing rods as
their weapons of choice.
Purdey and John Steed learn of their colleague's
tragic demise and begin to piece together the
puzzle he has left behind.
Meanwhile, Gambit deputises for Stannard at a
lecture on suspended animation given by Dr
Maybach Von Claus, an expert in the field. While
Gambit is otherwise engaged, Ralph lures Von
Claus away and facilitates his kidnap. The
doctor is taken to St Dorca, where the monks'
leader, Father Trasker, asks him to treat a sick
uncovers a clue that may link in with Stannard's
mission a plane carrying "Germany's greatest
treasure" had crashed on St Dorca at the end of
World War II and this leads the three agents
to the island.
Purdey finds the wreckage and Steed finds
himself very much the odd one out at the
cold medieval walls, the St Dorca monastery
hides the darkest of secrets. The monks within
prove to be nowhere near as virtuous as their
reputation would suggest and the fanatical
Father Trasker is coercing the unwilling Dr Von
Claus into reviving a hated war criminal thought
to be long dead.
Purdey and Gambit prevent the birth of a new
PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The New Avengers: Series 1, Episode 1
Production Completed: Apr 1976
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film
UK REGIONAL PREMIERES
Tue 19 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
ATV Midlands: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Border: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Channel: Currently unconfirmed
Grampian: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Granada: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
HTV: Sun 17 Oct 1976, 7.50pm
Scottish: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Southern: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Thames: Tue 19 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Ulster: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 7.30pm
Westward: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Yorkshire: Fri 22 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
AUSTRALIA: Wed 9 Feb 1977
BELGIUM: Wed 3 Nov 1976
CANADA: Thu 3 Feb 1977
COLOMBIA: Thu 2 Oct 1980
FRANCE: Sat 22 Jan 1977
GERMANY: Sun 15 Sep 1991
GREECE: Fri 15 Apr 1977
IRELAND: Tue 28 Sep 1976
ITALY: Fri 19 May 1978
MALAYSIA: Thu 3 Nov 1977
MALTA: Mon 31 Jan 1977
NETHERLANDS: Thu 28 Oct 1976
SINGAPORE: Wed 31 Aug 1977
SWITZERLAND: Sun 7 Dec 1976
UNITED KINGDOM: Sun 17 Oct 1976
USA: Tue 5 Sep 1978
CHARACTERS & CAST
Lady with Dog
Gunnar (Nazi Corporal)
Man with Suitcase
Trudi Van Doorne
STAND-INS & STUNTS
Commentary with Gareth Hunt and Brian Clemens,
hosted by Marcus Hearn. Recorded in September
Writer Brian Clemens
Series Theme & Music Laurie Johnson
Designer Syd Cain
Lighting Cameraman Mike Reed B.S.C.
Albert Fennell and Brian
Director Desmond Davis
Editor Ralph Sheldon
Second Unit Assistant Director Nicholas
Second Unit Lighting Cameraman Jimmy Allen
Second Unit Camera Operator Malcolm
Sound Recordists Denis Whitlock, Ken Barker
Dubbing Editors Peter Lennard, Bob Dearberg
Casting Director Maggie Cartier
Set Dresser Simon Wakefield
Lumley's Costume Design Catherine Buckley
Hairdressing Helene Bevan, Joyce James
Neville Smallwood, Alan Boyle
Wardrobe Supervisor Jackie Cummins
Continuity Renιe Glynne
Second Unit Continuity Pat Rambaut
Post-Production Co-ordinator Paul Clay
Production Supervisor Ron Fry
Unit Manager Robert Fennell
Construction Manager Leon Davis
Rank Film Laboratories
Pinewood Studios and on location
of The Avengers (Film & TV) Enterprises Ltd
for TV Productions and I.D.T.V. Paris
A fine opener to
the series which reintroduces John Steed well and
quickly demonstrates the great promise of Purdey and
Gambit. Desmond Davis' direction is breathless and
magnificent and Laurie Johnson's staccato score is a
terrific statement of intent. The 'nazis in hiding'
plot is well-worn, but the execution is near perfect.
The Avengers are back, brasher than ever and,
all is right with the world.
EAGLE'S NEST DECLASSIFIED
Brief... This was the
pilot episode of The New Avengers and was
mainly filmed on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Trudi Van Doorne
had been shortlisted to play Purdey (at that point called
Charly). She later changed her name to Geraldine
Gardner and her later credits are under that name.
Tragically, she died of hypothermia on a beach in
February 1987 aged just 37.
about after the actress visited hairdresser John
Frieda without telling the producers. The result
caused a sensation, as millions attempted to
replicate her look. TV Times magazine even held a
lookalike competition. For the second series, the
style was modified.
sequence involving Gambit in a Citroen DS21 Pallas
car chasing the truck carrying the kidnapped von
Claus was performed by Rocky Taylor (doubling for
Gambit), Alan Stuart (driving the truck) and Roy
Alon (doubling for Ralph). Roy Alon later recalled
how he came to be involved: "In 1976 I got a phone
call from Andy Armstrong to work at Pinewood Studios
on The New Avengers. The job involved diving
head first from a speeding truck, which was driven
by Alan Stuart. Rocky Taylor, doubling for the hero,
was driving the car chasing us and Eddie Stacey was
jumping out of the way. I had a really great time...
The reason I got that job was they'd opened the
stuntbook with all our photographs in it, and I
looked like the actor [Charles Bolton], so it was a
bit of luck."
The pool of stunt
people who worked on The New Avengers were:
Roy Alon, Andy Armstrong, Marc Boyle, Peter Grace,
Wendy Leech, Colin Skeaping, Eddie Stacey, Alan
Stuart and Rocky Taylor.
The main location
Eilean Donan Castle appears in the films
Highlander (1986) and The World Is Not Enough
(1999). In the James Bond film, it appears as Castle
Thane, the Headquarters of MI6.
The scene of Von
Claus' lecture and kidnap was, in reality, Stoke
Poges Golf Course near Slough in Berkshire.
Famously, this was previously a filming location for
the James Bond film, Goldfinger (1964).
Trivia... Steed enters
emerging from his yellow Rover 3500 SD1 hatchback
(having untidily whacked the kerb when parking!). His bowler
hat is now a radio transmitter, though
is still lined with chainmail!
makes its only appearance. Joanna Lumley disliked it
intensely and called it
'the green slime'.
Bogey March was written by Lieutenant F.J.
Ricketts in 1914 and became hugely popular. Its use
in this episode is a humourous reference to an
unofficial British World War II lyric, well-known
even today, which claims that "Hitler has only got
one ball the other is in the Albert Hall". The
tune was also used (as here, without the lyric) to
great effect in the film The Bridge Over the
River Kwai (1957).
The broadcast of
The Eagle's Nest in Ireland on Tuesday 28th
September 1976 at 8.00pm was billed by the Irish
press as the "world premiere" of the new series. We
have not found an international broadcaster that
took The New Avengers earlier (and the
domestic British transmission was nearly three weeks
later), so it looks like this bold claim was
The first transmission of The
Eagle's Nest was
affected by a violent thunder storm which caused a
failure of the Moel-y-Parc transmitter on Sunday
17th October 1977. This meant that viewers in West
Wales were unable to see the episode on that
evening, although the remainder of the HTV area was
not affected by this outage. West Wales viewers
finally had a chance to see The Eagle's Nest
on Sunday 5th April 1981.
Stop Press... On 8th
October 1976, The Connacht Tribune published a review by Harry
Casey of the Irish world premiere of The Eagle's Nest. It was
less than complimentary: "A first look at The New Avengers last
week certainly led me to believe that the new series is going to be
far worse than the old Avengers. Having discovered that Hitler
was still knocking around in its first programme, I just dread to
think what astonishing revelations await us in subsequent helpings.
Steed (Patrick Macnee) is still the inimitable Steed, but Joanna
Lumley just isn't Diana Rigg, no matter how tantalisingly sexy she
tries hard to be. We'll give it another week or so. Disappointing."
In Print... This episode and
The Midas Touch were novelised together as
The Eagle's Nest by John Carter, the second
novel in the series. This book
appeared in Britain in two editions, a paperback
from Futura Publications published in December 1976
hardcover from Arthur Barker issued on 2nd March
1977, and in paperback in the USA from
Berkeley Medallion in 1978.
Alan Hayes UK Transmissions by Simon Coward and Alan Hayes
International Premieres by Denis Kirsanov
Ministry Verdict by Alan Hayes
Declassified by Gareth Humphreys and Alan
Hayes with Denis Kirsanov
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