Visitor Reviews
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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station
by Nick Griffiths

This is one of the few times I actually agree with the Avengers dossier; this episode is Fab.

I remember watching this (1995 I think it was) wondering why no one else in my school watched The Avengers. There are so many things about this episode which keep me getting the video out.

John Laurie is possibly the highlight of the episode with his mad, mad performance as Crewe, the train obsessed eccentric who I felt sure was the mastermind (I jumped for joy when it transpired he wasn't). John Laurie gives his character the warmth and joy which explains his four Avenger appearances.

The guest cast is a joy to watch—Isla Blair is excellent as the villainess. It is also great to see The Navy Lark's Richard Coldicot on screen. I wonder if it was an in-joke that he had been recently posted to the Admiralty (he played a promotion lusting Captain in The Navy Lark). The villain is superb, especially with his little visor and train set. Quite why he wanted to press the button as the PM's train went by his I'll never know. The only way to make this perfect (for me any road) is if it were a Tara episode.

Four Bowlers

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station
by Gregory A. McVey-Russell

This story is lots of fun, which is why I never get sick of watching it. The plot—assassinating the PM with an exploding train—could be called pedestrian by Avengers standards. But it's the characters and the dialog between them that make the episode.

That and the trains. I love trains. First we meet the ill fated "fat, pompous" Lucas. He was a straight man, but the dialog he generated was priceless. His description went from "rather corpulent, not much hair, mustache" by the ever tactful Mr. Steed to "bald, fat, with a little mustache" by the cut-to-the-bone Mrs. Peel. Then there's the Groom, ever smiling as he blows your head off. Admiral Cartney is goofy and fun; his corny line to Mrs. Peel ("more able bodied men!") was handled quite well with the repeating track of him giggling at himself. And Emma's facial expression was priceless. And the ticket inspector is a wonderful little imp who takes great pride in his work and genius (see David's still of him for an example).

And then there's Crewe. The series has given both of our heroes subs every now and then, but Crewe was the best Steed sub ever during the Emma Peel years. He rocks. John Laurie did a great job with him. Crewe is eccentric but not silly. He really does know his railroads, and can tell you about train track sounds and Scott Simon designed train stations with equal aplomb. This helps to give his character believability. And as Emma's temporary partner he learned quickly how to fight, and even saved Emma's life—a feat which earned him one of those classic, beautiful Diana Rigg full-face smiles (David's got a still of that, too).

The characters and the dialog make up for the limp plot. It's a fun trip.

Three and a half bowlers.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station
by Matthew Moore, a.k.a. Sixofone

Plot: Poor. Someone trying to blow up the prime minister with a bomb is realistic, but why did a ticket collector want to blow him up? Why?

Humour: Very Good. The Morse Code scene was great. There was a little thing which I found funny: when Crewe is hiding from the ticket collector, he enters a compartment, sits on a woman, and the woman never notices. "I'd like you to listen to this umbrella."

Direction: Very Good. Interesting experimental cinematography during the fight with all the steam.

Acting: Very Good. Great performances from John Laurie, James Hayter, Drew Henley, and Richard Caldicot.

Music: Good. Same old music, but you gotta love it.

Tag: Very Good. Did you vote for him?

Miscellaneous: This was more of an Emma-focused episode, which worked for me considering the previous episode, "The Superlative Seven," was a Steed-focused episode. The fights in this episode were some of the best from the Peel era. For your information, the ticker collector (James Hayter) was Mr. Tebbs in Are You Being Served?—if you still don't recognize him, imagine him with a moustache.

Overall Rating: 6/10

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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