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Episode 84: Emma Peel Era
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Emma: "Hold still, will you? There's a chip on your shoulder."
 
Steed: "After THAT lunch, the next one on the elevator is in for a nasty surprise."
 
Steed: "A fiver says the one in the black coat wins."
 

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HammondLambertJephcottDr. Armstrong

 

 A.K.A.

French: "Les Cybernautes"

German: "Die Roboter"

Italian: "I cibernauti"

Spanish: "Los Cybernautas"

Dutch: "De robot"

Radio: "A Deadly Gift"

 

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THE CYBERNAUTS

TAF TOP TEN

6

Steed Receives a Deadly Gift
Emma Pockets It

Produced: 2 March to mid-March 1965
UK Premiere (London, Season 4): 14 October 1965
US Premiere (New York, Season 1): 28 March 1966

Science Fictional (click to see category list)Industrial bigwigs invited to bid on a "new circuit element" are being murdered by what appears to be a karate expert. Steed and Emma eventually discover, however, that the killer is not flesh and blood, but a deadly robot built by a brilliant inventor for the purpose of obtaining exclusive rights to the new electronic product—a product that would allow him to create machines capable of replacing humans.

 IMHO

The fourth Steed/Peel episode produced was the first to air in the United States, receiving mixed reviews (what do critics know?). Although the premise is certainly hackneyed (mad scientist builds army of robots to take over country), it is stylishly produced, propelled by clever dialog and, in the end, a single finger. The robot versus robot sequence is a nice change of pace from the usual fight scene. And some of the delightful—and supremely subtle—little touches that make The Avengers such an endearing program pop up here and there. For instance, did you catch Emma giving Steed a brief dusting (above left)? Highly recommended.

 Trivia

This is the original that begat two sequels: "Return of the Cybernauts" and "The Last of the Cybernauts...??" This is still by far the best in most books.

Tusamo speaks prophetically when he remarks, "This heralds a new age. Computers no bigger than a cigarette box. Pocket television. And radios smaller than a wristwatch." Science fiction back then. All quite real today. I wonder if Philip Levene ever imagined that his "new circuit element to replace the transistor" would one day become a reality as the ubiquitous integrated circuit? (Never mind that robots such as Roger are still centuries away.)

Did you catch who Emma is representing when she visits Jephcott? Winnel and Fentle's chain stores. Cute little play on Wintle and Fennell, series producers. (Thanks to "M" for spotting that one!)

Mark H. Stevens comments that the Star Trek novel Assignment Eternity, a sequel to the episode "Assignment: Earth" with Robert Lansing and Teri Garr, has a reference to The Avengers. At one point Spock describes Lansing and Garr's characters as having aided a pair of British operatives in dealing with robot killers known as Cybernauts!

In his review, Dr. Hermes raises an issue that I've been meaning to address for years. At one point a profusely sweating Benson remarks to Dr. Armstrong (who has a blanket on his lap) that "it's over seventy!" Would anyone ordinarily find that temperature uncomfortable? Even our cool-headed Steed was wiping his brow. And it certainly couldn't have been 70 degrees Celsius, because that's nearly 160 degrees Fahrenheit—everyone would have passed out long ago!

 On Location

Dr. Armstrong's factory is actually the maintenance building at the ABC studios.

 Best Scene

Steed is a brat in Armstrong's elevator, running his 'brolly 'round the bumpy wall (see the screen grab). What a Puckish grin!

 Best Line

As Steed is leaving for Armstrong's plant, he tells Emma, "If I'm not back by eleven-thirty, I'll stay for breakfast." Emma: "You don't eat breakfast."

 Tag

Sitting in a horseless carriage doing a crossword puzzle with a pencil that breaks, Steed refuses a pen he is offered by Emma, who then departs in her Lotus.

 

THE CYBERNAUTS

Teleplay by
Directed by

Philip Levene
Sidney Hayers

Full production credits

CAST

John Steed
Emma Peel
Dr. Armstrong
Benson
Jephcott
Tusamo
Sensai
Lambert
Hammond

Patrick Macnee The 007 Connection
Diana Rigg The 007 Connection
Michael Gough*
Frederick Jaeger*
Bernard Horsfall* The 007 Connection
Burt Kwouk* The 007 Connection
John Hollis* The 007 Connection
Ronald Leigh-Hunt*
Gordon Whiting*

UNBILLED/STUNTS

Gilbert
Oyuka
Secretary
Martial Artists

John Franklyn-Robbins
Katherine Schofield
Diane Clare
Billy Cornelius
Joe Dunne
Joe Robinson

*DOPPELGANGERS

Michael Gough

The Correct Way to Kill

John Hollis

Warlock
The Superlative Seven
Legacy of Death

Bernard Horsfall

The Fear Merchants
They Keep Killing Steed

Frederick Jaeger

Death of a Great Dane
Return of the Cybernauts
Target!

Burt Kwouk

Kill the King
Lobster Quadrille

Ronald Leigh-Hunt

Dragonsfield
The Three-Handed Game

Gordon Whiting

The Golden Eggs
 

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Page last modified 21 July 2008.