Production Number: Unknown

PLOTLINE

When General Stevens makes a routine inspection of the 19th Division Special Commandos, he finds the barracks deserted, aside from one soldier who is rather too handy with a sten gun. When the 19th's commanding officer, Colonel 'Mad Jack' Miller, returns with his men from a sortie overseas, he has Stevens detained, with the full privileges afforded him by his rank.

After a few days, Stevens' disappearance comes to Steed's notice. Meanwhile,  some canisters of film revealing Miller's commandos in the field has come into Gambit's possession. He and Purdey investigate the 19th's apparent involvement in a number of international skirmishes that are outside the jurisdiction of the British Army. It transpires that Miller is keen to have his unit involved in real conflict action, a difficult objective to achieve in peacetime. To date, the unit has been reactive, waiting for battle opportunities to present themselves, but Miller plans to create an international incident in the Middle East, during which Stevens' dead body will be discovered. The ensuing diplomatic breakdowns will inevitably lead to sufficient entertainment for his men and rich pickings in looting.

Purdey and Gambit decide to infiltrate the 'Glorious 19th', Gambit as a new recruit with a forged military background and Purdey by chatting up Miller's soldiers in their local pub. Miller breaks up the party and harshly disciplines a soldier, Jones, for revealing confidential information. Purdey is locked up and Gambit must find some way to release her and put an end to Miller's dangerous endeavours.

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The New Avengers: Series 1, Episode 13
Production Completed:
Oct 1976
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

Anglia: Wed 5 Jan 1977, 8.00pm
ATV Midlands: Fri 21 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
Border: Currently unconfirmed
Channel: Currently unconfirmed
Grampian: Currently unconfirmed
Granada: Fri 21 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
HTV: Sun 19 Dec 1976, 7.50pm
Scottish: Currently unconfirmed
Southern: Fri 21 Jan 1977, 8.00pm
Thames: Wed 5 Jan 1977, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Currently unconfirmed
Ulster: Fri 21 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
Westward: Fri 21 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
Yorkshire: Wed 9 Mar 1977, 8.00pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
AUSTRALIA: Wed 13 Apr 1977
CANADA:
Thu 12 May 1977
FRANCE:
Sat 5 Mar 1977

GREECE: Fri 15 Jul 1977
IRELAND: Tue 21 Dec 1976
ITALY: Thu 24 Aug 1978
MALAYSIA: Thu 2 Feb 1978
NETHERLANDS: Thu 6 Jan 1977
SINGAPORE: Wed 3 Aug 1977
SPAIN: Sun 13 Sep 1981
SWITZERLAND: Tue 3 May 1977
UNITED KINGDOM: Sun 19 Dec 1976
USA: Fri 22 Dec 1978
WEST GERMANY: Mon 27 Feb 1984
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed
Mike Gambit
Purdey
Colonel 'Mad
Jack' Miller
Sergeant Bowdon
Major Prentice
George Harris
Colonel Elroyd Foster
General Stevens
Captain Tony Noble
Doctor Laing
Terry Jones
Keller
Orderly
Freddy Spinks
Turner
Soldier
Peter Travis
Patrick Macnee
Gareth Hunt
Joanna Lumley
 
John Castle
Shaun Curry
Stephen Moore
Alun Armstrong
Ballard Berkeley
Michael Barrington
Michael Howarth
John Forbes-Robertson
Brian Croucher
John Labanowski
David Purcell
Francis Mughan
Richard Derrington
John Challis
Colin Skeaping
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Not released.

DVD EXTRAS

No episode-specific DVD extras available.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer Brian Clemens
Series Theme & Music
Laurie Johnson
Production Designer
Syd Cain
Lighting Cameraman
Ian Wilson B.S.C.
Producers Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens
Director
Sidney Hayers

Editor Ralph Sheldon
Assistant Director Roger Simons
Location Manager Nicholas Gillott

Camera Operator
Malcom Vinson
Sound Recordists
Paul LeMare, Ken Barker

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

Joanna Lumley's Wardrobe Jillie Murphy, Jennifer Hocking
Hairdressing Supervisor
Helene Bevan
Make-up Alan Brownie, Wally Schneiderman
Wardrobe Supervisor Jackie Cummins
Fight Arranger Cyd Child
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

Dirtier by the Dozen is one of those episodes of The New Avengers that feels like a halfway house between it and The Professionals. It's all bit bleak, although it does have the odd moment of well observed humour. What it really lacks is Steed, who is relegated to the background for the greater majority of the episode no doubt this was one of the episodes that caused Patrick Macnee to complain that he wasn't being given a big enough slice of the cake. Unfortunately, this is one instance in which Steed's absence doesn't really lead to a good Gambit episode. It just feels a bit pedestrian, all told, and despite a strong cast led by the excellent John Castle, it has a "so is that it?" feeling to it as it rounds off a generally excellent first series with a whimper rather than a bang   despite all the explosions!

DIRTIER BY THE DOZEN DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... Another episode, like Target! which operated with essentially just the Second Film Unit, due in the main to the filming being confined to Pinewood and one other location which provided all the needs of the production.

  • The helicopter finale was performed by the stars of the series rather than the stunt team, reputedly to cut costs.


  • On Location... Much of this episode was shot close to home for The New Avengers crew, in the environs of Pinewood Studios and Heatherden Hall. The Hall is a grade II listed Victorian Country House at Iver Heath in Buckinghamshire standing in the grounds of Pinewood Studios, for which it now acts as the administration block. Although the house itself (most famously the location seen in the pre-credit teaser of the 1963 James Bond film, From Russia With Love) is not seen in Dirtier by the Dozen, but the production utilised sections of the ornamental garden (suitably dressed up with exotic plants to represent the jungle seen in the opening scenes) and the South Lodge Drive (for the scene where Steed first meets Major Prentice during an army exercise).

  • The only location outside the Pinewood boundaries used for Dirtier by the Dozen was Longmoor Camp, a British Army training camp on the A3 road near Liss and Liphook in Hampshire. The camp was built, along with neighbouring Bordon Camp, to provide barracks for soldiers using the training area at Hogmore Inclosure and Longmoor. The Longmoor Camp was planned out in 1900 and the first servicemen to occupy the facility were the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the 2nd Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment in May 1903. In the years after World War II, troop training was moved to Aldershot and the camps became home to various units attached to the Army. At the time of filming The New Avengers, the camp was home to the Army School of Transport. In 1991, the Bordon and Longmoor camps were amalgamated. The Longmoor Army Ranges continue to be used for manoeuvres and incorporate a designated Danger Area which is used for training with live ammunition. 


  • Personal History... In Dirtier by the Dozen, we are introduced to Purdey's 'Uncle Ellie', more formally Colonel Elroyd Foster, played with the usual gusto by the late, great Ballard Berkeley (most famous as the Major in Fawlty Towers).


  • Trivia... Purdey proves unusually resourceful with her underwear in this episode, handing Gambit her bra for use as a slingshot. Gambit is surprised that she didn't burn it with all the other girls (a reference to the feminist movement's bra burning of the time). Purdey responds: "I didn't need to. I knew I was liberated!" "Bra-vo!"

  • The title is a play on the classic 1967 war film, The Dirty Dozen, starring Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Charles Bronson.

  • Joanna Lumley looks fabulous in her bright red/pink outfit designed by Jillie Murphy and Jennifer Hocking. However, it is almost certainly the worst camouflage ever seen on a battleground!


  • Bloopers... None that we could see, unless you count soldiers with longer than regulation length hair!


  • In Print... This episode was novelised as Fighting Men by Justin Cartwright, the fourth novel in the series. This book appeared in Britain in two editions, a paperback from Futura Publications published in March 1977 and a hardcover from Arthur Barker issued on 2nd June 1977, and in paperback in the USA from Berkeley Medallion in 1978.

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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