Episode 21: The New Avengers
Page 187 of 192



 Le long sommeil (1re partie)

 Der Drache erwacht - Teil 1

 K come killers - 1

 De M van Moord

  Other Viewpoints

• Visitor Reviews
• The GLG Report
• The Young Avenger


Produced in France: June 1977
UK Premiere: 27 October 1977
US Premiere: 23 March 1979 (aired together with Part 2 as a "feature-length" episode)

A leftover Russian commando unit comprised of radio-controlled sleepers is activated by a malfunctioning satellite. All 250 soldiers are eventually killed... but there were actually 252. The French government dismisses Steed's warning of the dangers posed by the two "Special K" agents, so it is up to the Avengers to prevent the assassination of France's President—and the start of World War III!


One of the problems with the episodes produced in France is that there are no recognizable faces—at least for those of us on this side of the pond. Another problem is that they tend to exemplify one of the series' biggest shortcomings: no sense of humor. The Avengers wasn't a hit just because of some clever banter; it was the show's remarkable sense of the absurd that helped make it so endearing. There is little to distinguish much of The New Avengers from any other ordinary action show, and this episode in particular has the added handicaps of being entirely humorless, substantially over-long and, to use Emma's words, "All proceeding at the pace of an infirm, gravely debilitated, very old snail." (Brian Clemens must have been on Quaaludes when he wrote this beast.)


There was a great fuss made over the fact that Diana Rigg "appears" in this episode (courtesy of a few feet of recycled footage from "The Winged Avenger" and "The Hidden Tiger"), but it is disappointingly brief and lamely staged, consisting mostly of a lengthy shot of Steed's back in a phone booth as their atypically humorless dialog gets the story going. Then, the fact that the shot of Emma in the "current day" phone call is virtually identical to that of the flashback only makes it even less believable, and her "I am not Spock"-equivalent line is a sobering slap in the face. The result is a sentimental touch that's anything but satisfying. Perhaps worst of all, the scenes with Emma are completely unnecessary; they do nothing for the story and hence are purely gratuitous—painfully obvious it's all a vain attempt to draw in fans of the originals.

But was the voice-over done by Dame Di? No one knows. It is hotly debated still to this day, with some fans insisting it's her, and others insisting it's not. One thing is certain, however: at the time production got under way, Dame Di was nine months pregnant with her daughter, Rachael (born May 1977). Her desire to distance herself from The Avengers was already evident; but even if someone had twisted her arm enough to get her to agree to a cameo, she certainly would not have wanted to become involved in any film production, however brief, when she was about to deliver, or had just delivered, a baby. So whether the lamentable results seen in this episode were a consequence of her refusal to participate or her inability to participate is irrelevant. The question that remains is, of course, who provided her voice. Until the day Dame Di or a production crewmember makes a definitive statement, it will remain a mystery!

 Essential Reading


Written by
Directed by

Brian Clemens
Yvon Marie Coulais

Full production credits


John Steed
Mike Gambit
Colonel Martin
General Gaspard
Jeanine Leparge
Salvation Army Major

Patrick Macnee 007
Gareth Hunt
Joanna Lumley 007
Pierre Vernier
Maurice Marsac #
Charles Millot
Paul Emile Deiber
Christine Delaroche
Sacha Pitoeff
Maxance Mailfort
Sylvan Clement
Krishna Clough
Kenneth Watson
Tony Then
Eric Allen


Emma whatever-her-last-name-is

Diana Rigg


Maurice Marsac

The Lion and the Unicorn

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This website Copyright 1996-2017 David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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