Extra: Emma Peel Era
Page 105 of 192



The Avengers are back!
Good show!

Produced: ca March 1966
UK Premiere: Never transmitted
US Premiere: Late 1966

"It'll be a crime if we don't find a body," laments Emma. "It'll be a crime if we do!" corrects Steed. So begins "The Strange Case of the Missing Corpse."

Emma enters in her leather fighting gear and begins a mock battle. "Attacked, I fight. Back and forth." Steed chimes in, "Forth and back!" Emma continues, "A leg trip..." Steed adds, "A prodigious throw," and Emma watches an imaginary body fly overhead. Steed: "Felled him with a single blow." Emma: "I burst in shooting..." Steed: "The secret of the double-barreled atomic sock knitter is safe." Emma finishes, "The nation (dramatic pause) is secure." Raise the flag.

Relaxing on a sofa, Emma asks, "Steed, have you ever heard of finding a body under a bear skin..." The corner of the rug is raised, revealing two very shapely legs. Emma remarks, "Bare skin... It is a body." Steed murmurs, "A woman's body." Emma exclaims, "But it's alive!" Steed smiles, "I don't mind. I'll handle this personally." And with a flourish he accompanies the body out of the room, whilst Emma resumes knitting a sock.


What is unnerving to me is that I remember seeing the darned thing on television. (Ugh—am I really that old already?) Ah, well, fond memories nonetheless. In the end, "Corpse" only loses a half-bowler for its brevity.


Shot on the set of "Honey for the Prince," what started out as a color film test to promote the new season to TV execs got transformed into an advertisement for the upcoming color episodes on American television, which was the only place to ever broadcast any part of it. The dialog and description above comprises the whole of the advert; the lines, "The Avengers are back! Good show!" were voiced over at the end.

Said to have originally been a twenty-minute "mini-episode" (according to Dave Rogers), the version presently available on video is three minutes long. The California film archive, where "Hot Snow" and "Girl on the Trapeze" were unearthed, claimed to have a ten-minute version, although as it turns out this was an error, and they had the same three-minute version that appears on DVD. While it's possible that a longer version may have been shot, I have a suspicion it's been three minutes all along—twenty minutes is a lot of footage just for a "color test."

What is rather curious is the general lack of color in the piece, particularly the costumes—Emma is in either black or white, Steed is in charcoal grey, and the Body is in white with black stripes. Granted, the set was leftover from a monochrome episode, where color is of no consequence. But considering it was a "color test," one should think they would have at least put some bright-colored clothes on someone—but as it stands, about the only real color evident is Valerie Van Ost's lipstick!

Speaking of Valerie (who was Penny in "Dead Man's Treasure"), she was one of several actresses screen-tested to replace Diana Rigg. As "The Body" (ahem) she is seen cavorting about in naught but a barely-long-enough sweater and seamed fishnet stockings...

This is the one and only time Emma ever appeared in the zippered leather catsuit, often seen in the monochrome season, on color film. The only other occasion she is seen in leather in color is in "You Have Just Been Murdered," where she sports a different creation. Diana is on record as disliking the leather gear, which is one reason it was virtually non-existent during the color season.

More super-trivia: Bootleg copies of the one-minute American advert have been circulating for years, but they are so many generations removed from the source that the color signal was lost and the (seriously grainy) image appears in monochrome. Très ironique, non?

With special thanks to Jeff Rosenthal and Carlos Pagés. By the way, you can enjoy a "feature-length photo-novel" at Los Vengadores.

 Essential Reading


Teleplay by
Directed by

Brian Clemens (?)
James Hill (?)

John Steed
Emma Peel
The Body

Patrick Macnee 007
Diana Rigg 007
Valerie Van Ost #


Valerie Van Ost

Dead Man's Treasure

All materials copyrighted per their respective copyright holders.
This website Copyright © 1996-2017 David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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