The Avengers (1961-1969)

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  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    Posts: 5,942
    @j_w_pepper

    then I guess you have the German versions like I do.

    The introduction to the series and the episodes from Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang Bahro are a true gift to the fans. Never seen anything like that done before for a TV Show release.

    Probably do. Though I admit I haven't watched those introductions at all, and only part of the Blu-ray episodes since I had (and watched) them on DVD before. I just want to OWN them :-) and watch them again when I get around to doing that.
  • Posts: 19,339
    Blimey,this thread has gone mad re posts....i've created a monster haha !!
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    barryt007 wrote: »
    Blimey,this thread has gone mad re posts....i've created a monster haha !!

    I am not surprised. You really know how to create popular threads!
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy N.Ireland
    Posts: 12,012
    I'm another big fan of the Avengers. =D>
    I'd love to see Mark Gatiss reinvent it for a modern audience, with some " Black Widow"
    Type fighting from a new Mrs Peel
  • Posts: 19,339
    barryt007 wrote: »
    Blimey,this thread has gone mad re posts....i've created a monster haha !!

    I am not surprised. You really know how to create popular threads!

    Bless ya,thanks my old pal...roll on September !!
  • Posts: 4,622
    bondjames wrote: »
    @timmer, sadly blu ray are also region coded. It's one big rip off. Quite annoying. There are some that are region free (or all region), but even then one must be careful. For example, UK versions of BBC tv series are usually region free, but they will only work on blu ray players that can support 1080/50i. It's been my experience that Sony usually can't play them, but Samsung/LG can.

    That's why I only order from Amazon Canada and occasionally USA just to be safe. Didn't know Blu-ray was region coded till now.
    So it seems the Peel and King series are on blu-ray then, so updated plan then would be to get the early stuff on DVD.
    I see now that Amazon Canada has recently added the blurays for the second Emma Peel series and the King series.
    These items weren't there a few weeks ago. So this is good news, as I had been preparing an Avengers budget to buy the whole series on Dvd , but now I can get blurays instead

    :)
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited April 2017 Posts: 23,883
    @timmer, just so you know, there is only one blu ray set that can play on a Canadian blu ray player, and that is the 2nd Peel set (Season 5), which was released specifically for the North American market. Here it is.

    https://www.amazon.ca/Avengers-Blu-ray-Import/dp/B00MVIYKVE/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1492042387&sr=1-1&keywords=the+avengers+blu+ray

    The King version is a UK version and will not play on your blu ray player (unless you purchase a more expensive region free blu ray player, which is what I'm hoping to get at some point to avoid this nonsense going forward). There is a comment in a box on the web page saying it's region B/2 & you will note that the packaging is different (sometimes a way to tell is to look at the rating info on the box - UK versions have a big rating in a triangle somewhere).

    https://www.amazon.ca/The-Avengers-Blu-ray/dp/B013JZW7WQ/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1492042069&sr=8-10&keywords=the+avengers+blu+ray

    So don't assume that because it's on Amazon.ca that it's necessarily a North American NTSC (Region A/1) release. They sometimes sell the UK PAL (or region B/2) versions, like in this case, but then they put the disclaimer.
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 4,622
    @bondjames Thanks ! I hadn't drilled down, on what's being offered yet
    Too bad, as I'd like to get all three of those blu-rays that @BondJasonBond006 posted earlier.
    This stuff takes so long to get over here.
    Those Blu-rays show a 2014 release date.

    I think I'll get the DVDs of the old stuff pre-Peel, and the one region 1 Blu, then plot strategy for getting the other two blu's in a watchable format.


  • Posts: 6,432
    I watched the Emma Peel and Tara King episodes numerous times, anything previous to Emma Peel I struggled to watch. The tone of the show certainly changed as it progressed, the early episodes appeared dull though I have not attempted to watch them since the 80s.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 2,517
    Big Cathy Gale fan here (well, big Honor Blackman fan, really).

    As with most shows of the period, one of the huge pleasures of watching is the constant parade of brilliant and instantly recognisable character actors - hello there, lovely Geoffrey Palmer, etc etc.
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 6,432
    Certainly an impressive list of guest stars over both Avengers series, the Cybernaut episodes stuck out in my mind when I was a kid I remember Peter Cushing starring in one episode. I liked the more surreal episodes that mirrored what Doctor Who and Prisoner were doing. Some truly great television during the 60's.
  • Posts: 4,583
    Ian Hendry is a doctor,so why its called 'The Avengers' yet i dont know,he is just having a cup of tea hahaha.

    All is explained in the first episode, unfortunately lost. Dr. David Keel, MD, was a man who had everything : his oswn surgery, and a receptionist/secretary qho he was engaged to. But one day, his fiancée was murdered by gangsters who were never caught or convicted for this crime. In order to find them and punish them, Dr. Keel made the acquaintance of a mysterious, umbrella-wielding (he did not yet wear the bowler hat that was to become his signature) adventurer named John Steed, well-acquainted with the murky world in which he was going to enter. Together, those two men would battle the criminal element of London, still trying to find Dr. Keel's fiancée's murderers and avenge her death.

    Later, Ian Hendry decided to leave the series, thinking it was too similar to the one he starred in before (Police Surgeon), even if he was the star of the show, thus prompting the producers to make John Steed the star, and give him the bowler hat that would forever cement him in the public consciousness (including in the foreign countries in which the show was sold. In France, for example, it was called Chapeau Melon et Bottes de Cuir - Bowler Hat and Leather Boots - and in Germany Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone - With Umbrella, Charm and Bowler Hat-).

    In France, the first time it aired, we got the episodes with Diana Rigg first (I have fond memories of "The Cybernauts", for example). We got to see the Cahy Gale / Venus Smith episodes only in the '90s, on cable.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    The Town Of No Return (2nd October 1965) Series 4, Episode 1
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    James Bond Connection: Robert Brown appearing in this episode.

    This is the first episode with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. The famous tune also appears for the first time, composed by Laurie Johnson, one of the truly greats.

    It was also the first episode to use true motion picture film instead of the unsatisfying video tape-transfer to film which was used up to now for the series. The show went outdoors so to speak, with various location shootings.

    The Avengers 1965 onwards looked and felt more realistic than ever therefore.

    I have always loved this episode, maybe because it introduced me to the series, maybe because it's the first one with Emma Peel.

    But even besides those facts, objectively I find this one to be Top 10 worthy of the 26 series four episodes.

    The story takes place in a mysterious coastal town. Several agents have disappeared and the locals seem to be a bit on the strange side.

    The opening immediately grabs you with a bizarre scene. Highly memorable and setting the tone for the many bizarre things that would arrive in series 4 and 5.

    Rigg and Macnee have the perfect screen chemistry. One would think they had already worked together for years.

    Absolutely love the little things to discover like the boiling tea kettle that Steed provides from a bag that's just sitting on the seat in the train Steed and Peel are travelling to the village of Little Bazeley. Props like this make The Avengers going into Sci-Fi territory and of course later "Sci-Fi" episodes will be a fact.

    I also find this episode quite Noir-ish.
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    It is a personal favourite of mine, that I can re-watch as often as I like. Little Bazeley may be a town of no return, but I will return to there, regularly.

    Enter: Emma Peel, her very first scene:
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  • edited April 2017 Posts: 4,622
    Enjoyable review @BondJasonBond006

    Brings back memories. Back when the series aired on CBC I'm pretty sure I saw all the series 4-6 episodes. I've caught up with a few series 4 viewings recently as well.
    This episode does ring true as a classic.
    I am now more determined than ever to build a complete collection, and rewatch the whole series, including the old pre-Peel stuff, which I've only seen on You-Tube snippets and short viewings.

    Peel's intro episode though, truly ranks as a TV landmark moment!
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    The Murder Market (12th November 1965) Series 4, Episode 7
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    James Bond Connection: Peter Bayliss appearing in this episode, plays Benz in From Russia With Love, Russian security agent who is on the train with Kerim Bey before they get killed by Grant.

    This is quite a remarkable episode. First of all it was the second episode filmed and for those first two episodes it was Elizabeth Shepherd that played Mrs. Peel! Only during the filming of The Murder Market it became clear that it wouldn't work out with Shepherd and she was replaced with Diana Rigg. How's that for a twist of television fate!

    It was aired seventh episode and you could almost never tell it was the first one for Diana Rigg.

    Steed and Peel investigate a murder-for-hire organisation fronting as a matchmaking bureau.

    There are some hilarious moments in this one. Steed has very funny dialogue as he poses as a rich bachelor that wants to get a partner. "Togetherness" an agency for finding a partner is a nice variation of Strangers On A Train.

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    Some truly memorable scenes in Murder Market, like Steed killing Mrs. Peel! or Emma lying in a coffin and later dancing around it.

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    With as many great episodes that series four has to offer it's rather difficult to pick favourites.
    Still, this is another Top 10 worthy outing of the 26 series four episodes.

    Personally I love it for the hilarious impersonation as a wealthy, spoiled rotten bachelor by John Steed. Patrick Macnee is just priceless and has a great comedic talent.

    When Mr. Lovejoy (who runs Togetherness) asks Steed what he works, Steed replies:
    "Work?....Tried it once, it didn't work out. Too much like work."

    FUN FACT
    In Germany this episode was never aired until 2003.
    The reason for leaving it out in the late 60s was this: The TV station ZDF that showed The Avengers told German newspaper "Der Spiegel" that it was unsuitable to show this episode because Mrs. Peel is lying in a coffin then leaving it to dance besides it. What if someone who has lost a loved one recently is seeing this?
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    Posts: 5,942
    Wow, Jason, are you going to keep this up? I'm really looking forward to your review of A Touch of Brimstone. And also Small Game for Big Hunters, in German Afrikanischer Sommer, which is the earliest episode I truly remember from watching it as a kid.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    glad you like it @j_w_pepper, A Touch Of Brimstone surely will get a special treatment when I will review that episode, truly iconic.


    The Master Minds (6th November 1965) Series 4, Episode 6
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    This was the second episode filmed with Diana Rigg and aired as sixth one on TV.

    Government minister Sir Clive Todd is wounded as he and other ministers try to steal top secret documents. He has no idea why he did it and hypnosis is suggested. All concerned belonged to a club for people with high I.Q.s called RANSACK, who are about to meet at a school. Steed and Peel join the club in order to expose the mastermind behind the next heist - the theft of a plane from an R.A.F. base

    Steed goes to the school and finds Holly Trent (Patricia Haines), the school games mistress, conducting archery lessons.
    I loved the character of Holly Trent in her archery outfit! I remember having a crush on her and only learned decades later that she was married to Michael Caine! Sadly Haines died at 45 because of lung cancer.

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    No matter if Emma Peel poses as a nurse or an archery expert she simply looks fabulous in any dress.

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    Mass hypnosis is used on the club members which only Steed seems to be unaffected of. It's revealed pretty early why, but it's still a nice mystery.

    Want to see Peel on a trampoline? Look no further, here you go!

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    Another great episode with lots of fun moments. Maybe not Top 10, but personally I love this one as well.

    Some hilariously bizarre typical moments like one of the Professors at the school always standing on his head or hanging upside down a rope.

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    The end fight between Emma Peel and the Mastermind takes place behind a movie screen. You see the silhouettes fighting and on the screen you see the war plane film that is shown to the club members repeatedly. At one point the film moves backwards and it creates quite a bizarre scenery.
  • Posts: 6,432
    Diana Rigg really was gorgeous back in the day.
  • Posts: 4,622
    @BondJasonBond006

    So another actress played Mrs Peel for the first two episodes of Series 4?
    So when did Rigg debut? In the 3rd episode?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    timmer wrote: »
    @BondJasonBond006

    So another actress played Mrs Peel for the first two episodes of Series 4?
    So when did Rigg debut? In the 3rd episode?

    Town Of No Return and The Murder Market were filmed with Elizabeth Shepherd. The Murder Market only partially, because then, the producers sacked Elizabeth to say it directly.
    They felt it didn't work out with her.

    Both episodes were re-shot, but only the scene where Shepherd was in, the rest was left as it was.

    It was never shown on TV naturally, on the Blu-ray set of the b/w season with Rigg, Shepherd gives an interview on that time in her life.

    Sadly no footage survived of the actual scenes shot I believe, but I have to check.
  • MooseWithFleasMooseWithFleas Philadelphia
    Posts: 3,164
    Fantastic show! Most familiar with the Emma Peel series. Macnee and Rigg simply brilliant. Castle De'ath and The Hour That Never Was are a couple of my favorite episodes.

    My mom is a huge fan and I remember for mother's day and her bday buying her a volume of the original A&E dvd releases each holiday. Wondering if it's worth upgrading to blu-ray
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 2,517
    Oh, I love The Hour That Never Was! Brilliant example of making things incredibly creepy on a shoestring budget (see also: all of Sapphire & Steel).
  • MooseWithFleasMooseWithFleas Philadelphia
    Posts: 3,164
    Agreed @Agent_99 ! Quite a cerebral episode that definitely has a creepy vibe.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    Dial A Deadly Number (4th December 1965) Series 4, Episode 10
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    When put-options put you six feet under!

    Company chairmen across the city are dropping dead, apparently through natural causes. Can Steed and Mrs Peel discover who is making a killing?

    With the help of an answering service, CEOs across London are killed by remote to make their companies go down in value.

    The dinner party and the wine cellar sequences: Those are certainly amongst the finest moments in all of the series. And it elevates this otherwise rather unspectacular episode somewhat.

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    Jan Holden, once again an actress with class playing a supporting role, quite a villainess or is she?

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    When Steed goes wine expert it is oh so fabulous. At a wine-tasting he engages in an old-fashioned duel. The weapon of choice: A glass of vintage wine.
    Beautifully done scene with expertly written dialogue. Belongs to the greatest moments in the series.

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    Quite naturally such an exclusive wine cellar has its perils.

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    Want to see Peel in colour? Look no further, here you go!

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    "agreeable, well-rounded, a little on the flinty side"
    It makes you almost wish those episodes had been shot in colour! What a nice purple velvet dress!

    I wouldn't exactly call this episode a must-see, although it could be argued ALL of the series four episodes have to be seen.

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    Personally I like Dial A Deadly Number quite a bit! And by the way, at the beginning of the dinner party you get to hear a nice different version of The Avengers theme playing in the background.

    "venerable, devious, a little ambivalent" referring to the villains not the wine...
    Steed in a dinner jacket also is quite a sight! And Peel, unsurprisingly, is once again wearing one of her marvelous leather outfits.

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  • edited April 2017 Posts: 444
    I adore The Avengers and the Blu Ray releases made re-watching the lot again recently on another marathon far from over familiar. It's great to see them in such good quality. Loving the Blu Ray releases of Department S too.

    Perhaps the wrong admission for a Bond site but if I could be just one gentleman agent then it would have to be John Steed. All that Brandy, Champagne and barely a hair out of place.

    Macnee's appearance in AVTAK was quite interesting timing as the Channel 4 repeats (they'd repeated series 4-6 since the inception of the channel) came to an end just before the summer of 1985 and nicely bridged the gap until ITV then re-ran The New Avengers that Autumn.

    It's great to the original VT episodes getting a repeat outside of a few selected episodes in the mid 90s. They deserve a wider audience. I have a fondness for 60s B&W VT material anyway so the pre-film series episodes aren't a struggle to watch in the slightest. It seems a heresy but I do prefer Cathy Gale to Emma Peel. The former is a much more nuanced character with a much more bristly relationship with the less ethical Steed of those earlier series. Just a shame too many episodes of series 2 were given over to Venus Smith.

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited April 2017 Posts: 9,021
    Death At Bargain Prices (23th October 1965) Series 4, Episode 4
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    When a colleague is found dead in a large London department store Steed and Mrs Peel go undercover as staff members, exposing a dastardly plot by the wheelchair-bound Horatio Kane to devastate the capital with a huge bomb housed within the store.

    A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION

    The moment has arrived where we visit one of the most remarkable of all Avengers episodes.
    Almost the whole episode takes place in a department store, that's quite unusual for The Avengers to be in one place only. Furthermore this may be the best written episode ever concerning dialogue.
    There is a firework of repartee between Steed and Peel. So many outright funny and witty moments, too many to mention all of them.

    The diabolical mastermind It is always a good sign if there is one of those in an episode.

    If you look closely enough you'll find Daleks in that department store! What a nice homage to Dr. Who!

    Charles Crichton directed this episode and he has done some of the very best in the series when it comes to Peel/Steed interaction.

    There is one great scene after the other in that episode. Quite splendid!

    One quote if I may:
    (Mrs Peel is working undercover in a department store)
    John Steed to Mrs Peel: "I asked the chief predator where to find you and he said, "Our Mrs. Peel is in ladies' underwear." I rattled up the stairs three at a time!"
    Emma Peel: "Merry quips department on the fifth floor, sir."

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    The shop owner: Horatio Kane
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    In the end, naturally, Emma Peel has to wear a leather jumpsuit. Lucky for us!
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    Emma to Steed (at her flat): "Would you like a drink?"
    Steed (having caught a black eye before): "Intravenously!"
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    The Tag:
    With series four the "tag" at the end started. The last scene when Steed and Peel always drive on/in a vehicle to wave goodbye. What a cool idea and there are quite a few very memorable scenes amongst them.

    This time on bicycles. A sight not to be missed!

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    You sure can tell, this is one of my Top favourites.

    It's hard to rank the series four episodes when really almost all of them are simply irresistibly good.

    Still, Death At Bargain Prices receives the SILVER MEDAL. It's that good.
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 4,622
    timmer wrote: »
    @BondJasonBond006

    So another actress played Mrs Peel for the first two episodes of Series 4?
    So when did Rigg debut? In the 3rd episode?

    Town Of No Return and The Murder Market were filmed with Elizabeth Shepherd. The Murder Market only partially, because then, the producers sacked Elizabeth to say it directly.
    They felt it didn't work out with her.

    Both episodes were re-shot, but only the scene where Shepherd was in, the rest was left as it was.

    It was never shown on TV naturally, on the Blu-ray set of the b/w season with Rigg, Shepherd gives an interview on that time in her life.

    Sadly no footage survived of the actual scenes shot I believe, but I have to check.

    Thanks! So those first two episodes were re-shot with Rigg, thus becoming part of the Rigg canon.
    It is very helpful to have an Avengers expert on a Bond board. We have a couple of Uncle experts too in @delfloria and @waverly.

    It's helpful because both Avengers Series 2 onward, and Uncle, were contemporary, inspired by, cousins of '60s Bond.
    I rank both Uncle and Avengers on a '60s pedestal just a notch below Bond.

    Avengers I see offered a little nod to its American spy-show cousins of the period, with episodes titled, The Girl From Auntie, and Mission..... Quite Improbable.

    ====regarding the "tag" at the end of episodes.
    I thought Bond and Swann driving off in the DB5, at the end of Spectre, evoked the The Avengers tag scenes.

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    @timmer
    now that you mention it!! I always thought that ending in SP reminded me of something, it had this familiarity about it but I could never put my finger on it.

    It may be totally coincidental, but it does evoke The Avengers!
  • Posts: 4,622
    Btw I have ordered North American blu-ray of Series 5.
    Arrives in about a week. Good times with Steed and Peel again, and in full colour HD!

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    @timmer that's great, good call! Personally I love series 5 as much as series 4
    ____________________________________________________________________________


    Too Many Christmas Trees (25th December 1965) Series 4, Episode 13
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    A very creepy, gritty Dickens Christmas!

    Steed has been having disturbing nightmares involving Christmas trees and a man dressed as Santa Claus while Steed is trudging through the snow in his pyjamas. At a party given by publisher and Dickens fan Brandon Storey, two telepathic spies attempt to read Steed's mind and make sense of the dream.

    A classic and fan-favourite. No wonder, it is bloody brilliant!
    It belongs in any Top 10 and certainly is in mine. Very tempted to give another medal, but only Gold and Bronze is left, and I just can't. Because, sorry for repeating myself, series four is filled with marvelous, wonderful gems.

    Too Many Christmas Trees is special and unique. Because where usually all seemingly supernatural stuff gets explained away by Steed and Peel, so we realise it's all a ploy by the nasty villain, here the supernatural does really take place.
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    It is also the only Christmas episodes in all of the series, so maybe this one time exception can be forgiven. And it should, as an Avengers episode has seldom been that frightening, creepy and gritty!
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    Wonderful atmospheric black and white cinematography plus eerie incidental music guarantee genuinely unsettling and suitably dark and menacing moments.
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    Furthermore this is Dickens Heaven! Almost impossible to spot all the Dickensiana in the episode.
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    And then there is this:
    Steed is browsing through his Christmas mail. Emma hands him a card from Cathy Gale. "Best wishes for the future - Cathy" she reads to Steed.
    Steed looks at the card. "Mrs. Gale! Ah, how nice of her to remember me. What can she be doing in Fort Knox?"

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    After this episode you won't play cards again.
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    Yet another fantastic episode, unsurprisingly really. It's my No 4 I say.
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