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Episode 5: The New Avengers
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"Why the hell did I ever let them talk me into this?"
Purdey: "You honestly think I am into dirty old men like you?"
Steed: "Oh, Helga... Come out, come out, wherever you are..."

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• The Young Avenger
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Steed's filly of the week: Helga

Purdey's date who turns out to be an enemy agent and dies of the week: Cromwell

All the rest



French: "Pour attraper un rat"

German: "Die weisse Ratte"

Italian: "Caccia al topo"

Dutch: "Ratten vangen"



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Live-action titlesProduced: June 1976
UK Premiere: 30 November 1976
US Premiere: 16 February 1979

Everything went according to plan... just seventeen years too late. The White Rat, a double agent, received a bullet in the leg by Gunner, one of our boys operating in the eastern sector. The White Rat escaped, and sometime later Gunner suffered amnesia in a fall. Seventeen years later he regains his memory and starts transmitting a code that sends the Avengers into action looking for the source. Now a ministry official, the White Rat is finally cornered by Gunner, and the two exchange fatal gunshots just prior to the arrival of the Avengers.


It is rewarding that guest star Ian Hendry (Dr. David Keel in the first season of The Avengers) made his reappearance in a decent episode. Hendry himself is quite good, if for no other reason than for having learned to raise his voice above a mumble. Although we realize the identity of the White Rat before our heroes do, it is still a nicely convoluted tale, enhanced by a fine music score and sprinkled with plenty of humor—particularly Purdey and Gambit, who share one of the very best scenes of the series. It is also rather poignant that Steed must welcome Hendry "back home"—seventeen years later. How much more interesting this episode might have been, however, had it been a story about Dr. David Keel...!


It is worth noting a connection between Ian Hendry's character—that of a trapeze artist—and his earliest vocation in a circus. Indeed, it was Hendry's influence that led to the unusual—and recently rediscovered—first season episode, "Girl on the Trapeze."

Anthony Sharp (Grant) played Walters, Minister for Internal Security, in the short-lived stage play of The Avengers. Also, the play was penned by Terence Feely and Brian Clemens.

 Best Scene

Purdey and Gambit arrive at a church where they had expected to find Gunner. Brandishing his pistol, Gambit races in to find two ladies arranging flowers. To cover their predicament, Purdey bursts into a tirade, screaming at Gambit, "Take your hands off me, you brute! You can't make me do it! I'll never marry you, never! I hate you!" Then she darts out of the church, leaving Gambit staring at the ladies with two batches of eggs on his face.

 Best Line

Steed confronts the Minister with his suspicions. "You see my position, Minister, I have to suspect everyone. My recurring nightmare is that one day I may have to arrest myself."



Written by
Directed by

Terence Feely
James Hill

Full production credits


John Steed
Mike Gambit

Patrick Macnee The 007 Connection
Gareth Hunt
Joanna Lumley The 007 Connection
Ian Hendry*
Edward Judd
Robert Fleming
Barry Jackson
Anthony Sharp
Jeremy Hawk
Bernice Stegers
Jo Kendall
Dallas Cavell*
Sally-Jane Spencer


Terry Plummer

Genevieve Allenbury
Anita Graham
Matthew Gilpin


Dallas Cavell

Box of Tricks

Ian Hendry

Dr David Keel

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Page last modified 11 May 2003.