Episode 6: Dr David Keel Era
Page 6 of 192


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Keel uncovers death at the circus
Carol gets wrapped up in herself*

Production completed: 11 February 1961
UK Premiere: 11 February 1961

On his way to a much-needed break from a heavy workload, Dr Keel happens to witness the attempted suicide of a young woman who leaps from a bridge as he is crossing it. A passing boater rescues her from the icy waters, and Dr Keel attends to her until she is taken to a hospital. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving, she dies, leaving Dr Keel—and the police—with several mysteries. An autopsy reveals she was drugged—to the point that she could not possibly have leapt from the bridge on her own, suggesting murder instead of suicide. So, who might have wanted her dead, and why? And who is she? Anything that might help identify her is missing—even the boater who rescued her...

Dr Keel has the nagging suspicion that he has seen the young woman before, and with the help of his assistant, he finds a picture of her in an article about a traveling circus performing in town. Together they pay the circus a visit on its last performance—only to be confronted with yet more riddles about the identity of the young woman Dr Keel thought he saw leap from the bridge...


Don't take this the wrong way, but... I didn't miss Patrick Macnee. Between the involving story and Ian Hendry's fine performance, the episode held its own more than adequately without John Steed's help. Yes, it was that good. Kudos to writer Dennis Spooner, director Don Leaver, and a fine cast that includes Avengers veterans Edwin Richfield and Kenneth J. Warren.

Although this episode brings to mind some of Cathy Gale's ("Conspiracy of Silence" and "The White Elephant" for instance), in a way "Trapeze" rises above all of them by remaining truer to the series' drama/thriller roots. Surprisingly, the story's realism is not compromised by the limitations of production, which is an impressive achievement not to be outdone by any studio-bound episode to follow.

Alan Hayes made much ado about Ingrid Hafner's character, and I must agree: Carol Wilson rightfully ranks as an "Avengers Girl," even though she is not Steed's partner! In this episode, she is incorporated directly into a series of clever plot twists that will keep the viewer occupied to the very last frame.

More than just a a genuine treat to watch, "Trapeze" is a key slice of rare television history. Together with "Hot Snow" and "The Frighteners," it paints a highly intriguing picture of the series' first season, leaving us all the sadder for not having more.


  • The working title for this episode was "The Man On The Trapeze."
  • This episode was suggested to the producers by Ian Hendry, who began his career in the circus.
  • Patrick Macnee is not in this episode.
  • This episode was broadcast live and never aired in London.
  • *This unofficial subtitle is by Yours Truly.

 Essential Reading


Written by
Designed by
Directed by
Music by
Story Editors

Dennis Spooner
Paul Bernard
Don Leaver
Leonard White
Johnny Dankworth
Patrick Brawn & John Bryce


Dr. David Keel
Carol Wilson
Supt. Lewis
Anna Danilov
Police Sergeant
Dr. Sterret
Box Office Clerk

Ian Hendry
Kenneth J. Warren #
Ingrid Hafner
Delena Kidd
Howard Goorney #
Edwin Richfield #
Mia Karam
Ivor Salter
David Grey #
Dorothy Blythe
Ian Gardiner
Andy Alston


Katrina Sandor

Patricia Haines #


Howard Goorney

The Undertakers

David Grey

All Done with Mirrors

Patricia Haines

The Nutshell
The Master Minds
Who's Who???

Edwin Richfield

The Removal Men
The White Elephant
Too Many Christmas Trees
Dead Man's Treasure
All Done with Mirrors

Kenneth J. Warren

The Little Wonders

All materials copyrighted per their respective copyright holders.
This website Copyright 1996-2017 David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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