The Avengers Come Back

This season, The Avengers are back on the television screen on KRO. Last year, John Steed, Purdey and Gambit attracted an average of 5,480,000 viewers each week. The first episode of the new series will be shown on Thursday, September 29 at 8.25 pm on Nederland 2 and after that The New Avengers will be shown on Monday evening, like it was before.

At the moment, new episodes of the New Avengers are being filmed in Canada. Studio went over there to take a look, and the results of that visit will be shown to you in the coming months. But first a flashback of The Avengers, from 1960 to 1977.

It all started in 1960. Patrick Macnee returned to England after a few years of acting and having the odd job doing the washing up in America. Producer Sydney Newman was busy with the preparations of The Avengers, and thought that Patrick was the right man for the job. And Macnee agreed to do it, on one condition: that he didn’t have to grow a moustache, as written in the script.

His partner from 1960 to 1963 became Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale, often dressed in boots and a leather cat suit. After 3 years in The Avengers, she accepted a role in the James Bond film Goldfinger, and can still be seen in many films nowadays.

After a 2 year break, they found Honor’s replacement in Diana Rigg, who played Emma Peel from 1965 to 1967. An attractive, active Avenger. Many people still consider the Emma Peel days as the Golden Era of The Avengers.

After 2 years, Diana decided to leave. “I learned a lot, but I’m also very happy to have been released from the role”.

After that she also starred in a Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and returned to the theatre.

The third Avenger was Linda Thorson, who played the somewhat naïve and innocent Tara King. But after a 150 episodes the very successful series ended. The English were afraid to continue, because of financial risks.

Last year, after a seven year break, new plans for The Avengers could finally be made real thanks to financial support from the French. This time, Steed would have 2 partners: Gareth Hunt (an ex-Formula One driver) as Mike Gambit and Joanna Lumley as the beautiful Purdey.

She was picked out of 300 candidates to play the role of Purdey, after having been a top model, and an actress in small roles like in Coronation Street and Are You Being Served?

And of course there’s the man who survived all the ups and downs and played the main character for all those years: gentleman John Steed with his bowler and brolly. He’s being played by the now 55 year old Patrick Macnee, a man who just like his character John Steed, likes a glass of wine and some luxury. “I have a feeling that The Avengers is practically a satire of my own background: Eton college, hunting, shooting, fishing.”

A man who’s very proud of his last name, not Mcnee or MacNee, but Macnee, a small and very old Scottish family.

So what’s the secret behind the success of The Avengers?

"It’s a very well made TV series with original, exciting, and sometimes almost science-fiction like storylines. There’s a lot of action, and all 3 actors are responsible for their own running, jumping and shooting."

Even Purdey doesn’t need a stunt double for her judo kicks, which they did have for the Emma Peel character. Despite the amount of action, the trio always emerge in the finest, and most modern outfits. And of course, that amazing sense of humour, to come up with the most dry and funny remarks in times of trouble, almost as if they were pushing their luck.

These same New Avengers can be seen on your television screens, starting Thursday night. In the first episode, a Chinese drug baron, tries to lure the trio into a trap and kill them.

After a lot of exciting moments, Steed, Purdey and Gambit manage to get out of it and save the day, but only just.

With thanks to Philippa for the translation. (Back to articles "About the Show")