Behind the Scenes: Cathy Gale Era
Page 3 of 9

As The Avengers entered its third season (and Cathy Gale her second), the producers took a pause to examine the books. Rarely was the show on-budget, and balking at the raise requested for Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman, the producers pondered letting one of them go. Studio execs, however, were much more in tune with the show's popularity, and they handed down a healthy budget increase to cover the actors' raises.

While our duo prevailed, gone were Venus Smith and Dr. Martin King. Jon Rollason was just a stop-gap between Ian Hendry and Honor Blackman, and Julie Stevens was pregnant. Just as well, since Cathy Gale was by far the most popular of them and the show was becoming quite successful thanks principally to her.

Gone, too, were One-Ten, One-Six and One-Twelve, Steed's superiors since the series began. Two new chiefs were introduced, Charles and Quilpie, the latter played by Ronald Radd, who had appeared in the previous season and who would return at the end of the Emma Peel era.

Other changes included expanded wardrobes and lavish, permanent living quarters for both characters, as well as scriptwriting of the highest caliber. Popular response to the wit and fantasy of the previous season was taken as a cue for more. Stories were shaped cooperatively by writers, directors and, most especially, the actors, who went to great lengths to ensure their characters remained true.

Ironically, it was thought that John Steed was becoming too affable during the course of the previous season, so a conscious effort was made to toughen him back up, make him more callous and ruthless—whereas Steed's popularity reached its peak when he became the much more affable "gentleman spy" in later years.

With respect to the careers of Avengers co-stars, history was about to repeat itself, even as plans for the fourth season began to coalesce...

For help in understanding the progression of the show's history, the Avengers Timeline puts it all in graphic perspective.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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