IMHO: 30 August 2008
Page 11 of 12

Just when you thought things were winding down...

Earlier this year, as I struggled to move everything to a new host, I began to get seriously weary with the whole idea of continuing to manage such a behemoth of a website. I was pretty much convinced it had run its course. After all, it's been on the net for almost thirteen years, and it got me my 15 seconds of Internet notoriety, if such a thing exists. My interest in the subject matter (I haven't watched an episode in years, literally) was sadly waning, as was that of most TheAvengers.TV participants. Perhaps Nanny Roberts was right.

But curious things can happen at curious times. Unexpected little electric shocks, as if concerned individuals were remotely applying the paddles to an unconscious victim of acute apathy, may be having some effect.

It started with a brief connection back in October 2007: out of the blue, Rodney Marshall, son of noted writer Roger Marshall, wrote to the website. At first I assumed it was just another one-off email—TAF has had plenty of noteworthy visitors over the years (even if only half were legitimate), and aside from Anne Frost, who contributed a nice bio of her late brother, Dennis Spooner, they were all simple greetings.

But Rodney returned, offering up a lovely retrospective penned by his father just for the website! In my mind, this single event gave The Avengers Forever the adult, professional, authoritative sheen I'd hoped it might one day acquire. No longer was TAF just another fan site—albeit an enormous one—among a gazillion others all over the Internet. It had, in a sense, arrived—even if it took over a decade to accomplish.

Rodney then went on to become a regular contributor of episode reviews. After delivering over forty of them, plus his own essay, he announced that he had obtained permission from his father to retrieve a stash of scripts tucked away in his attic (literally). He told Rodney that there might be "one or two"... but what Rodney found in his father's black box was, to use an appropriate phrase, quite quite fantastic, and beyond all expectations:

As exciting as all of this might sound, it gets better: the five Emma Peel monochrome scripts contain the original subtitles (Steed does this, Emma does that), which have never appeared anywhere in print. And the draft for "A Funny Thing" also has the original episode title, again never mentioned anywhere else.

But the best—and most unexpected—news came last. Roger Marshall has given his blessing to release these scripts to the public domain via The Avengers Forever. At this point I was genuinely thunderstruck. It will be thrilling enough to have ten scripts online, but "A Funny Thing" represents a real coup because of the three different versions: now the evolution of the episode that marked Marshall's departure from The Avengers can be analyzed in stunning detail.

I don't think I could ever offer enough thanks for this bounty of treasures. Plus, the timing could not have been more fortuitous. I'd resigned myself to monthly infusions of relatively incidental updates, just to keep the site from appearing moribund. But now I have more to do than I have time, given the incredible volume of content that will be flowing across the Atlantic over the next several months.

Could it possibly get any better? Yes, believe it or not. Rodney and I have a couple more surprises in store for another day. Naturally I cannot say more, otherwise it wouldn't be a surprise...

Nanny Roberts is dead wrong.

And that's my humble opinion.

David K. Smith, 16 July 2008

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