This is the new heroine of Bowler Hat and Leather Boots (The Avengers): JOANNA LUMLEY

Humour and seduction, suspense and stunts, make up the varied menu offered by TF1 on Saturday 21:30, and for the next thirteen weeks. OK! magazine tells you more about the famous heroes of the British series.

The seductive John Steed and the lovely Purdey are back. A new recruit joins the charming duo: it’s Gambit, a handsome brown-haired man who will enarapture you with his karate demonstrations. For the first time, the thirteen episodes were shot in France. And exactly in Chapelle-en-Serval, Oise. On this occasion, you will find Pierre Vernier as a colonel, with Christine Delaroche and Sacha Pitoëff also included in the cast.

Did you know that the series was launched in 1960 on the other side of the Channel? Since then, it has done well, judging by the number of filmed episodes: 83 episodes on more than 120 TV channels around the world.

If Patrick Macnee survived millions of pitfalls, it is not the same for his partners. Remember, there first was the blonde Honor Blackman, then the lovely Diana Rigg followed by Linda Thorson, and finally, the youngest, Joanna Lumley. This James Bond in petticoats was born 29 years ago in Srinagar in Kashmir (her father was a Major in the Indian Army). Barely out of the convent, where she took classes to complete her education, Joanna become, in a few months, one of the highest-paid cover-girls in England. "Like I wanted,” she said, “modelling was a real springboard for me". Today, Joanna has finally become the actress she dreamed of being.

At Steed’s side, a new accomplice, well-versed in karate: Gareth Hunt. His training has not made him a close combat champion. He was for years a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. At fifteen, he left on a cargo ship. Gareth is a complete sportsman. He just left London to settle in the countryside with his girlfriend to be near golf courses, shooting ranges where he can use his bow and arrow, tennis courts. But he also has a hobby: music.

At the heart of the series is the indestructible Patrick Macnee. The character of John Steed is so familiar to him that it has become almost second nature to him. As soon as the series is over, Patrick Macnee knows his manager will shortly call for him to announce the next project, and this is how the last 17 years has passed.

With thanks to Denis of Steedumbrella for the translation. (Back to Joanna Lumley articles)