Rodney's Reviews
Page 35 of 42

Who's Who???
By Rodney Marshall

We all have our pet hates. The webmaster dislikes clowns and puppets; I don't like "doubles." ("Faces," for example, is one of my least favourite New Avengers Series 1 episodes.) Having said that, "Who's Who???" has a very clever script, with plenty of humour. The idea of a brain swap—rather than two identical Steeds or Mrs. Peels—is far more interesting. We are so used to the never-changing rapport and relationship between our dynamic duo, as well as to their respective personalities, that to see "Mrs. Peel" chewing gum and "Steed" with gelled hair is hilarious and it is surreal to watch them dance and kiss.

The public announcements serve two purposes. Yes, they heighten the fun; but they are also an acknowledgement that for us (the viewers) it really is confusing. How can one look at Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee without seeing them as Mrs. Peel and Steed? No wonder Major 'B' and his agents are disbelieving; we are "in" on the swap and still find it hard to accept. Never has an episode title been more appropriate.

I have praised Philip Levene's script, but a successful episode involves far more than a clever screenplay. The fact that "Who's Who???" works so well is a testament to the acting ability of Rigg, Macnee, Patricia Haines and Freddie Jones. I absolutely love the latter's horror (as Steed) when he discovers that the imposters have drunk his final '47 champagne without even chilling it, i.e. they lack his class (who doesn't?) There is even time for a critique of how people are judged by appearances; the Major is convinced that Steed (when he looks like Basil) could not have been educated at Eton.

It must have been great fun making this episode, particularly for Rigg and Macnee who get to let their hair down and play it "common." Despite my inherent dislike of the "s/he isn't who s/he seems to be" scenario, this is IMHO a four bowler.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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