Rodney's Reviews
Page 33 of 42

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station
By Rodney Marshall

For me this is one of the very best Mrs. Peel episodes, which is ironic when you consider that it was the result of "creative turmoil." It is well known that a final, irrevocable falling out between my father and Brian Clemens resulted in the former refusing to put his name to the script and the latter doing a partial re-write, hence the fictitious name "Brian Sheriff," a typical Clemens joke. My father has never watched the episode and has not kept his original script. However, the original espionage idea and scenes such as the murder of the agent at the "ghost station" are typical Marshall, while the humour emanating from the Crewe character—the diddley-dum code-breaking and the crockery fight on the train—are certainly Clemens touches. Unlike planes, trains make an atmospheric backdrop for drama: From Russia With Love, Agatha Christie, Strangers on a Train...

As in "Murdersville," another of my favourites from the colour Rigg era, there is a disturbing edge to the story. The murder at Chase Holt station is extremely effective and hard to re-watch without a chill running down the spine. The hole-punching of the "o" in Narborough as a device for passing on MOD information is also a lovely touch. There is a wonderful array of guest characters: the bride and groom killers, the ticket inspector and the train-lover Crewe with his signal box home. As in quite a few of the episodes in this series, the hit-man is young, blond and has to smile engagingly before bumping his victim off.

The creative conflict meant that my father never worked on The Avengers again, but he would not have been comfortable with the Tara King era. As a parting episode I think that this is a more than satisfactory conclusion and maybe, one day, I'll even convince him to watch it.

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.

Top of page
Table of Contents