Trivia Overload

While it was banned altogether in the U.S., the episode still aired in the U.K.—but not without some difficulty. Demands were made to cut down the whipping scene at the end, and since that was the version that was distributed worldwide, it would appear that no one has ever seen the complete whipping scene until its debut on A&E video. Well, sort of—it aired on cable in uncut form just a month or so prior to the video release. Still, if it's whipping women that upset the broadcasters of the 60s, why was nothing said or done about "Silent Dust," wherein Emma is subjected to more than a few cracks by Juggins?

Of course, it all looks rather tame by today's standards (as does Emma's Queen of Sin costume—Baywatch is more risqué), but back in the 60's, when the word "hell" could not be uttered on U.S. airwaves and navels could not be exposed, sensibilities were a bit different. Still, one must note that the whip is never seen touching Emma—just a lot of cracking and darting about and Cartney grimacing.

While feminists object to the excessive sexism, guess who designed that notorious costume? Why, Diana Rigg herself! (For an eye-popping view, follow the linked image at right.) But for a more balanced perspective, a female "boomer" observes: "Does anybody under the age of 45 today grasp the concept of High Camp? We real Mrs. Peels don't need pseudo-champions 'defending' us against sexism. We can manage very nicely on our own, and yes, some of us old dames even have a sexy sense of humour while we're going about cutting down Insensitive Diabolical Masterminds to their own teeny-peeny size!"

Diana Rigg recalls the worst part of filming the episode was spending an entire day holding a snake, and being told by the owner that it might pee on her at any moment.

Pablo Alonso wonders, who is Boris Kartovski? A man from the East trying to improve the relationship between his side and the West? An enemy agent slain by Steed years ago whose brain has been preserved? Or just two Clemens characters with the same name?

Bob Halloran of Jacksonville, Florida notes a tie-in to the Marvel comic X-Men: the writer in the early 80's, Chris Claremont, is an ex-pat Brit, and a story line he brought into the comic had them fighting a group of old-money types who were also mutants, using their powers towards World Domination (of course), called the Hellfire Club, and one of the members is named Jason Wyngarde (Wyngarde from Peter Wyngarde, and Jason from Jason King, the character he played in Department S) who managed to mind-control the X-Men's Jean Grey into becoming their "Black Queen." Of course, now they're even more blatant: the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club's London branch is a "Ms. Steed."

It probably comes as no surprise that this is the all-time highest-rated episode in Avengers history at the time it was being run. It ought to come as a surprise what the other top-rated episodes were.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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