Dead Men Are Dangerous Script Changes

This is a brief summary of differences between the dialogue and stage directions of the scripted episode and the filmed version that eventually made it to the screen. Since this is an original copy of the script personally used by actress Joanna Lumley, it is missing three scenes which featured her character, Purdey, prominently, likely because the actress tore them out so she could use them for rehearsals, and thus I am unable to determine whether or not those scenes were altered from what was scripted. This guide is meant to be used in conjunction with the script, so it is recommended that you have it on hand as you read through. Changes are identified by scene number. (Back to the Scripts)

Scene 9: Purdey plays cricket with Steed and Gambit in the episode. In the script she's a spectator. Gambit's scripted dialogue is longer: “A yard, Steed. We had a back yard,” whereas Gareth simply says, “It was a back yard.” He also adds an “anyway” before asking what's wrong with his bowling. Purdey's also missing line in the debate about cricket vs. baseball—in the episode she follows up Gambit's opinion that baseball is more interesting to watch with “What, than cricket?” We also lose part of the Purdka drink conversation—nothing about Purdey adding the bitters to cheer up the vodka (from Gambit or Steed) or the gin.

When Steed sees Mark in the distance, Purdey asks Steed if he's all right in the episode, but follows up by asking him if he's going to cancel their dinner date, which there was no mention of in the episode. We just see them coming back from dinner later on—here it's prefaced.

Scene 10: Hara (Crayford's soon-to-be henchman) gets some dialogue in the bar before setting off to attempt to mug him. He says nothing in the episode. Mark's dialogue is also slightly different—his piece about being able to turn Hara into something more if he had time didn't make it to film.

Scenes 13-16: Purdey and Steed's conversation as they drive back from dinner is completely changed. Purdey actually puts her head on his shoulder, rather than simply attempting it, and they flirt back and forth with completely different lines. The only ones that are the same are the bit about the Chinese going by experience, not age, and Steed not being Chinese. When they discover Steed's home has been trashed, Steed's line is not, “The only thing that can't be replaced is the love and life of an old friend,” and he adds a “done” to the end of the “If the Chinese didn't say that…” line.

Scene 17: Stage direction change—Mark thumps a bureau, while in the filmed episode he grabs a chain and squeezes it.

Scenes 18-20, presumably featuring Purdey and Gambit's fight in the gym, have been torn out by Joanna.

Scene 22: In the filmed story, the Bentley's gas tank survives, while here it's the radiator.

Scene 23: Steed accuses Purdey of betraying her own gender, not sex as in the filmed version. We also actually see the coffin being delivered by delivery men, whom Purdey talks to, and who bring the coffin into the house. In the filmed story, Purdey goes to the door and finds it outside. No one is there to deliver it. Steed's final line is changed, too. Nothing about “digging” into the files or memories, as in the filmed episode—they use “check” instead.

Scene 24: Sandy, not Purdey, passes Emma, Cathy, and Tara's files on the shelf.

Scene 28: Steed says “Which medal?” not “What medal?” in the filmed version, and uses the word “trousers” rather than “pants.”

Scene 31: Gambit's dialogue is altered slightly. In the filmed version he says, “No, but I'm good with figures.” He also pre-empts Penny before she can ask what she can do for him, whereas Penny makes the offer in the filmed version. He also doesn't list off his requests as “first,” etc., and the bit about “romantic surroundings” doesn't make it into the filmed version. The line in the filmed version about his flat is changed to “The service there is highly recommended.” His response when asked if he can mix a martini is “Well enough” in the filmed version, not “Does it matter?”

Scene 32: Gambit's offscreen dialogue never made it to screen. Gambit's comment about Mark being “distinctive looking” changes to a simple “What did he look like?” in the filmed version. He's also the one who picks up the plaque in this version, whereas Penny does it in the filmed version, and exclaims “Look at that!” Gambit's description of going up the mizzen is also different than the filmed version—there was nothing in the episode about scratching a living, looking down at the deck, being sick, etc. The exchange between him and Penny about his lack of education is missing from the filmed version completely.

Scenes 33-40 are missing. They encompass Crayford's dialogue about the sniper rifle to Hara, Steed examining his damaged belongings, and Purdey's phone call to Steed to tell him Mark has been certified dead.

Scene 41: Penny's dialogue regarding choosing between Gambit and the school was changed from “you're going to be short one maths teacher” to “I'm afraid the school loses."

Scene 42: Steed and Purdey's discussion of his headache is simplified to “Headache?” “Definitely” in the filmed version.

Scene 52: Minor direction changes. We open on Gambit lying on the couch in the filmed version, not the bowl of iodine, and we don't see him with the number plate or throwing it in the trash. He also doesn't have his back to Penny when she offers to have a sandwich with him. He's also the one who tells her she can't dress his “serious” wounds “yet” in the filmed version, whereas Penny puts the “yet” in here and lets him repeat it. Gambit doesn't say anything about a “rain check” when he leaves her, just that they'll meet up again “Very, very soon.” He certainly doesn't only kiss her on the nose, either! They have a long liplock in the filmed version, and there's no dialogue for Penny in the episode after he leaves.

Scene 55: Steed says “I've been and well truly warned,” which is slightly different from the script.

Scenes 63-69 are missing. They contain Steed's phone call to Purdey to warn her to take care of herself, and her subsequent capture by Crayford.

Scene 74: There are slight changes to both Steed and Gambit's dialogue here, but they are very minor and probably just the result of the actors not saying the lines exactly as written.

Scene 83: When Crayford tells Purdey how he's going to kill her, he doesn't say anything about it being instantaneous, instead finishing by repeating “naturally.”

Joanna Lumley's birthday

Joanna Lumley's Birthday

Joanna Lumley's 31st birthday was celebrated two days early on the New Avengers set on April 29, 1977 at Pinewood Studios during the filming of Dead Men Are Dangerous. As this photo shows, Lumley shor the gym fight scene with Gareth Hunt that particular day, and celebrated between takes, still dressed in her karate outfit. Patrick Macnee dropped by to join in the festivities.

Joanna Lumley's birthday