Production Number: Unknown

PLOTLINE

Terrison and Mullins, two down-and-outs, are tucking into a rabbit that the latter has poached when Terrison sees how his other half lives. A chauffeur driven car trundles by, carrying Craig, a top man in Security – a man who could be Terrison's identical twin. The pair see their opportunity and hatch a plot between them. Terrison studies Craig's background, his voice, manner and behaviour, and then Mullins kills him. Terrison becomes Craig and is practically indistinguishable from the original. Now he has power and access to secrets that can be sold to the highest bidder.

Five years later, the pair are in cahoots with a brilliant plastic surgeon, Dr Prator. Together, they recruit drifters from the Mission for the Distressed and Needy who bear passing resemblances to prominent government and security officials. With plastic surgery and extensive behavioural training, they can become perfect doubles, controlled by the group. They have found a double for Steed and plan to execute the original. Meanwhile, Gambit and Purdey infiltrate the Mission and are chosen as suitable doubles, but neither is aware the other is the original... The avengers must break the organisation, but who can they trust? Can they even trust each other?

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The New Avengers: Series 1, Episode 8
Production Completed:
Aug 1976
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

Anglia: Tue 14 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
ATV Midlands: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Border: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Channel: Currently unconfirmed
Grampian: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Granada: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
HTV: Sun 6 Mar 1977, 7.25pm
Scottish: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Southern: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Thames: Tue 14 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Ulster: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Westward: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
Yorkshire: Fri 17 Dec 1976, 8.00pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
AUSTRALIA: Wed 27 Apr 1977
CANADA:
Thu 21 Apr 1977
FRANCE:
Sat 12 Feb 1977
GREECE: Fri 3 Jun 1977
IRELAND: Tue 30 Nov 1976
ITALY: Thu 6 Jul 1978

MALAYSIA:
Thu 29 Dec 1977
NETHERLANDS: Thu 9 Dec 1976
SINGAPORE: Wed 17 Aug 1977
SPAIN: Sun 6 Sep 1981
SWITZERLAND: Tue 12 Apr 1977
TURKEY: Sun 8 Nov 1981
UNITED KINGDOM: Tue 14 Dec 1976
USA: Tue 13 Oct 1978
WEST GERMANY: Thu 23 Feb 1978
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed/Tramp
Mike Gambit
Purdey
Dr Prator
Mullins
Craig/Terrison
Tramp/Mark Clifford
Wendy Clifford
Bilston
Torrance
Tramp
Lady Sheila Rayner
Peters
Attendant
Patrick Macnee
Gareth Hunt
Joanna Lumley
David De Keyser
Edward Petherbridge
Richard Leech
Neil Hallett
Annabel Leventon
David Webb
Donald Hewlett
J.G. Devlin
Jill Melford
Michael Sheard
Robert Putt
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Not released.

DVD EXTRAS

No episode-specific DVD extras available.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writers – Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner
Series Theme & Music –
Laurie Johnson
Production Designer –
Syd Cain
Lighting Cameraman –
Mike Reed B.S.C.
Producers – Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens
Director –
James Hill

Editor – Graeme Clifford
Assistant Director – Ron Purdie
Second Unit Assistant Director – Roger Simons
Location Manager – Nicholas Gillott

Camera Operator –
Herbert Smith
Second Unit Lighting Cameraman –
Jimmy Allen B.S.C.
Second Unit Camera Operator – Malcolm Vinson
Sound Recordists –
Denis Whitlock, Ken Barker

Dubbing Editor –
Peter Lennard, Mike Hopkins
Casting Director –
Maggie Cartier
Art Director –
Robert Bell
Set Dresser – Simon Wakefield

Hairdressing Supervisor – Helene Bevan
Assistant Hairdresser – Joyce James
Make-up – Alan Boyle, Alan Brownie
Wardrobe Supervisor – Jackie Cummins
Fight Arranger – Cyd Child
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

Processed by Rank Film Laboratories

Made at Pinewood Studios and on location

A Production of The Avengers (Film & TV) Enterprises Ltd
for TV Productions and I.D.T.V. Paris

MINISTRY VERDICT

An intricately woven thriller with Hitchcockian overtones. Doppelgangers had been done before in The Avengers, but never with this level of sophistication or directorial sleight of hand. The script provides mouthwatering roles for the regulars and each grabs them and delivers something memorable, particularly Joanna Lumley, who is going from strength to strength as the series develops. Outstanding entertainment.

FACES • DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This was first episode in production order to feature the new lion logo, animated title sequence and red background end credit 'lion' sequence. The new sequence was later edited on to most prints of the earlier episodes. However, the end credit sequences of these episodes would retain the old dark green logo against a lighter green background despite the substitution. There is a suggestion that all episodes originally went out with the animated sequence, the original one having been replaced with the new one before the first UK transmission, but it has not been possible to definitively confirm this. An even earlier live-action sequence featuring a graffiti style 'New' has also surfaced on some prints in the USA.

  • Here all three stars get the chance to shine in characters other than their normal roles. Perhaps confusingly, Macnee is the only actor who is actually playing a completely different person. Lumley and Hunt are playing their normal characters, masquerading as other people as a means of infiltrating the organisation by convincing Prator that they can convincingly impersonate Purdey and Gambit. Still with me? No??? I'm not surprised. It's a credit to the actors that all three do a sterling job and the double-play situations provide both wry humour and  deeper insights into the inter-relationships of the 'real' Steed, Purdey and Gambit.

  • This episode bears startling similarities with an episode of the ITC adventure series, The Champions produced nine years previously – The Mission. A special feature investigating how this came to be, written by J. Ferguson, can be found in the Stay Tuned section of The Avengers Declassified.


  • On Location... Location work for this episode took the crew back to the Pinewood Sanatorium, where they had just filmed Target!, to shoot the confrontation between Purdey and Mullins at the decommissioned and derelict Base 47. This sequence was shot in a different area of the sanatorium complex, and at no point can the buildings from the target range be seen. As mentioned on the Target! episode guide page, all these buildings have now been demolished and redeveloped.

  • Other notable location work included a brief sequence shot on the south steps of the Royal Albert Hall, the world famous music venue in Kensington, London. Another sequence was filmed in the historic Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market. At the time of filming, the market had just been moved to Nine Elms after three hundred years on the Covent Garden site. The market area has now been regenerated, keeping the fabric of the structures intact, into a thriving tourist centre with shops, restaurants, bars and arts venues.


  • Trivia... Doppelgangers had featured in three episodes of the original series – The Man With Two Shadows (1963), Two's A Crowd (1965) and They Keep Killing Steed (1968). Steed and Mrs Peel also met their robot doubles in Never, Never Say Die.

  • If you think you know David de Keyser, the actor who played Dr. Prator, from somewhere else, it's quite likely you're remembering his voice rather than his appearance. He has one of the most distinctive voices in British drama and is frequently used for voiceover work, in advertising, films, radio and television. He has regularly over-dubbed non-English speaking actors in films and – his claim to fame in my book – did so in the BBC dubbed version of the classic French historical adventure serial, The Flashing Blade (original title: Le Chevalier Tempκte).

  • When Purdey visits the Mission for the Distressed and Needy undercover as a Salvation Army worker, there is a brief cameo from the celebrated Irish actor, J.G. Devlin (1907-1991). Devlin was a legend of the Irish stage before coming to Britain, where he appeared in a succession of roles in film, television and theatre. Aside from The New Avengers, his other genre credits included Man in a Suitcase, The Champions and The Sweeney. He also had a prominent role in The Desperate Hours, one of the best remembered episodes of the BBC comedy series, Steptoe and Son, in which he played an Irish convict on the run.


  • And Finally... The swimming pool seen at the start of the episode is reputed to be the same one that was the site of Mother's floating HQ in the Tara King episode, All Done With Mirrors (1968).

Plotline by 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

 

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