The Avengers has, for all practical purposes, achieved "legend" status among cult TV programs. And legends always have "lore" associated with them. Most of the following is true to the best of my knowledge, but then history is always reinventing itself, so who knows?
On this page:
On their own pages:
Silly Statistics. According to Dave Rogers, production of The Avengers involved
That and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee.
Gobs of Guest Actors. Over 1,100 guest actors appeared on The Avengers and The New Avengers. Counting repeat visits made by over 350 guest actors, that's nearly 2,000 appearances. You can see them all starting here.
Global Reach. Legend has it that The Avengers aired in 120 countries, which is apparently a record that has never been broken.
The Decade of The Avengers. It is perhaps worth noting that The Avengers was on the air in Britain during some part of every calendar year from 1961-69, although there was a year and a half gap between the Cathy Gale and Emma Peel. See what the decade looked like in detail here.
A-Peel by Any Other Name. One of the most popular tales is how Emma Peel got her name. After Honor Blackman (who played Cathy Gale) left the series, concerns were raised about what to name her replacement character. The studio's press officer, Marie Donaldson, had a brainstorm: the character would have "man-appeal." This was shortened to "m-appeal." Emma Peel!
And Tara King? Linda Thorson came up with her own character name: Tara from her favorite film at the time, Gone With the Wind (the name of the estate), and King for "King and country."
America Was First... to see Tara King. She was introduced to North Americans in "The Forget-Me-Knot" on 20 March 1968, a full six months before the Brits got to see her (September 1968). Still more useless information: "Knot" was filmed nearly nine months after Diana Rigg had left the series, and three months after Linda Thorson was signed on.
Mrs Peel's Multiple Personalities... Emma Peel was played by five actors! Elizabeth Shepherd was originally cast as Steed's partner, but after filming one and a half episodes ("The Town of No Return" and "The Murder Market"), the general consensus was that she did not fit the part. This was an expensive decision to make, too, considering how much filming was done. But the switch to Diana Rigg, as history shows, paid off. The other three? She had two stunt doubles, Cyd Child and Annabelle Heath, and her radio show counterpart, Diane Appleby.
Birthday Pals. In the month of February, guest actor Charlotte Rampling was born on the 5th, Patrick Macnee on the 6th, composer Laurie Johnson and actor Gareth Hunt both on the 7th, Yours Truly on the 8th, and Howard Blake on the 12th.
Bootleg Tapes? More than a few fans may have some very old Avengers videos from the late 70s and early 80s. Depending on how copyright laws are interpreted, these tapes could be considered illegal, even though the companies selling them were legitimate businesses. The product line was later expanded to include virtually all episodes until suddenly, in the mid-90s, Patrick Macnee and Dave Rogers purportedly spearheaded a movement to have all "non-official" video products eradicated by the courts and replaced by the legitimate, remastered offerings we see today.
Kinky Boots Indeed! The Cathy Gale-era of the show spawned a novelty record called "Kinky Boots," performed by Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman. Patrick was so petrified about singing (or, in particular, being unable to sing) that after several failed takes, he was escorted to a local pub, lubricated with brandy, and returned to the recording studio. Even after that, a sound engineer had to stand next to him and tap him on the shoulder whenever he was supposed to sing. When the single was re-issued in 1990, it hit the charts, selling over 40,000 copies! By the way, here are the lyrics—if you must have them...
And Speaking of Kinks... The name of the famous rock band "The Kinks" actually comes from the song "Kinky Boots." In a 1995 interview with Kinks lead singer Ray Davies, he related how the band acquired its name... "Dave and Pete wore these capes and boots... Kinky Boots I think was a single that a program called The Avengers had out—a TV show. And this drunk guy at the bar looked over and said, 'You blokes should call yourselves the Kinks because you look like one.' And Larry page, who became one of our managers, said, 'He's got a point there!' " (With thanks to Fred Radnor)
Black and White in Color. Even though the fourth season was filmed in black and white, all of set designer Harry Pottle's sets were painted in full color. The idea was that it created a better atmosphere for the actors, as opposed to sets done all in "tech greys," as was the practice then.
They Keep Playing Steed. Most fans assert John
Steed was only ever played by Patrick Macnee.
In reality, this is not the case. Steed was played by Simon Oates in short-lived
stage play. Then there was
the radio show in South Africa, wherein Steed was played by
Donald Monat. And don't forget
(unless you want to) Ralph Fiennes in the movie.
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