Unaired Episode: Tara King Era
Page 163 of 192

 

These images are from the original version of this episode.

  On the Radio

• Straight from the Shoulder

INVITATION TO A KILLING

?

Produced in late 1967

Long before Diana Rigg officially passed the torch to Linda Thorson in "The Forget-Me-Knot," John Bryce had managed to produce, with much difficulty and little reward, a 90-minute "pilot" to formally introduce Tara King. When Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell were recalled to their posts, they considered his material unsuitable. But with their American contract yet to be fulfilled, and an impossibly short time in which to do so, they chose to recycle rather than reject.

"Invitation" was tossed into the Clemens/Fennell food processor, and out came the 60-minute episode, "Have Guns - Will Haggle." Several details of the plot were altered, and new footage was shot to stitch the pieces together. In particular, some of the scenes in which Tara is wearing a blonde wig are original. A sharp eye will also note a change in seasons from one scene to the next, as well as some disconcerting transitions from day to night.

Here are a few of the alterations made to the original, according to Dave Rogers:

  • In "Have Guns," Tara test fires the rifle at the weapons research facility. Originally, Steed test fires the rifle on the way to the facility.

  • In "Have Guns," Conrad holds a brunette Tara at gunpoint in her flat. Originally, he forces a blonde Tara to drive him to Adrianna's house.

  • In "Have Guns," Tara bests Conrad in the rifle demo at Adrianna's. Originally, she is gunned down by Conrad.

It would be enlightening to see the original version of this episode, as I'm certain there are many more alterations. It also apparently featured Jennifer ("Killer") Croxton in the cast, although she wound up on the cutting room floor by the time the dust settled.

By the way, why all the wig swapping for Tara? Bryce et al, in their infinite if enigmatic wisdom, decided that Linda Thorson, naturally a brunette, should be blonde as Tara King. But the peroxide used on her hair caused it to fall out! And so the device of wearing wigs was invented to disguise her handicap. Linda's natural hair was not seen until "All Done with Mirrors," the eleventh episode produced.

Of note, the other two episodes Bryce managed to complete are the unaired "The Great Great Britain Crime," later remade as "Homicide and Old Lace," and "Invasion of the Earthmen," which apparently survived relatively intact. See Behind the Scenes for additional details.

 

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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