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Episode 131: Tara King Era
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Tara: "DOH!"
 
Mother: "You're not going to like this..."
 
Steed: "Eh? Could you repeat that?"
 

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 A.K.A.

French: "Ne m'oubliez pas"

German: "Auf Wiedersehen, Emma."

Italian: "Il non ti scordar di me"

Spanish: "No Me Olvides"

 

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THE FORGET-ME-KNOT

Steed becomes a traitor
Emma passes the torch to Tara*

Production completed: 19 January 1968
UK Premiere (London, Season 7): 25 September 1968
US Premiere (New York, Season 3): 20 March 1968

Selling Secrets (click to see category list)Agent Sean Mortimer learns of a traitor in The Organization, but by the time he reaches Steed and Emma, the amnesia-inducing drugs used on him take effect, and he can no longer remember his own name, let alone his urgent message. Just as Emma is making some headway coaxing information out of Mortimer, she, too, is hit with the drug. Meanwhile, Steed encounters trainee, ahem, number 69, A.K.A. Tara "Rah-boom-dee-ay" King, and thanks to her phone number tucked in his shoe, he has a tenuous link to reality when he at last is drugged as well, and Mother is forced to put him on the "suspect" list.

 IMHO

Sorry, but Tara King is just too dopey to be believable as a super-spy, and I find it difficult to accept that she makes the transition from ham-handed trainee to fully-fledged agent during the course of an hour. Plus I have less trouble with telepathic man-eating plants from outer space than with amnesia drugs that are conveniently selective in which memories they block and when. It's sad enough that Emma has to leave, but sadder that she does so in such a lackluster episode. Despite all of this, I always get choked up seeing her touching and tender farewell to a tearful Steed. "Always keep your bowler on in times of stress," she whispers, "and watch out for diabolical masterminds." Oh, it rips my heart out!

As bad as it is, "Knot" is probably a good deal better than the 90-minute "Invitation To A Killing" John Bryce had originally created to introduce Tara King, judging from the surviving bits recycled in "Have Guns - Will Haggle."

 Trivia

For many years it has been claimed that Patrick Macnee plays Peter Peel when he drives Emma off at the end. While this appears to be so in the close-up shots, Paul Weston, Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director, played Peter in the long shot as they drove away.

Having just recovered from drug-induced amnesia, Emma checks with Steed to make sure she's got things straight by whispering something in his ear, to which he responds, "I'm afraid so." What does she whisper to him?

Traditionally this episode has been included in Emma Peel color season listings, since it features Diana Rigg, but technically it is the third episode completed in the Tara King season, long after Linda Thorson was signed on.

Some controversy surrounds the production of this episode. Cornell, Day & Topping (The Avengers Dossier) claim it is an unfinished Emma Peel episode begun in September 1967 that was abandoned and later reworked in the eleventh hour by Brian Clemens after rejecting Bryce's material. Other sources, including Dave Rogers and Patrick Macnee, maintain it was written anew solely for the purpose of introducing Tara King. However, after having scrutinized the episode more than a few times, and knowing the shortcuts Clemens was renowned for taking, I could easily believe that portions of it had been filmed during the previous season and salvaged for a new version to save a few dollars.

Either way, most or all of it was filmed in just eight days (with Diana Rigg, having already left the show months before, recalled for four days, thanks to a contract technicality), and it wound up as a truly bizarre hybrid, featuring modified Emma Peel opening titles and Tara King closing credits. Did you notice the subtle variation in the opening title sequence? Steed does a golf swing with his brolly!

Also of note, Mother was a much more interesting character on his feet, so to speak, but not knowing that ABC in America would request he be made a regular, the producers destroyed the marvelous set with the grid work ceiling and straps, and it would have been too costly to rebuild. Pity, as they adopted the "goofy location of the week" tactic instead.

One of the first tangible signs of the show being "Americanized" appears in the scene where Steed greets Mother, who asks him, "Where's Mortimer?" Steed answers, "My apartment." Ordinarily he would have said, "My flat."

Pablo Alonso notes that a snippet from this episode was used, Forrest Gump-style, in the Pretenders' music video "Don't Get Me Wrong." Singer Chrissie Hynde is inserted in Linda Thorson's place when Tara greets Steed in the tag scene.

By the way, guest actor Jeremy Burnham went on to author five Tara King teleplays.

This is also the one and only time Steed deliberately addresses Mrs. Peel as Emma. Yes, he did one other time in "Who's Who???" but he wasn't exactly himself then.

According to Television's Greatest Hits, this was the top-rated episode for 1969 (in repeat, no less), and ranked sixth of all Avengers episodes according to viewer ratings at the time it aired. It may come as a surprise what the other top-rated episodes were.

*This unofficial subtitle is by Yours Truly.

 On Location

The village and pond that Burton and Steed drive past is Letchmore Heath.

 Best Scene

Without a doubt, Emma's farewell is the most touching scene in the entire series, one that can choke up even the most hard-hearted fan. Indeed, it has been noted that Patrick Macnee, after filming the scene, returned to his dressing room and cried.

 Best Line

Whatever Emma whispers to Steed.

 Tag

Emma departs Steed's flat for the last time and advises Tara, who has just arrived, "He likes his tea stirred anti-clockwise."

 

THE FORGET-ME-KNOT

Teleplay by
Directed by

Brian Clemens
James Hill

Full production credits

CAST

John Steed
Emma Peel
Tara King
Sean
Mother
Simon Filson
George Burton
Karl
Brad
Dr. Soames
Sally
Taxi Driver
Jenkins
The Gardener

Patrick Macnee The 007 Connection
Diana Rigg The 007 Connection
Linda Thorson
Patrick Kavanaugh
Patrick Newell*
Jeremy Burnham*
Jeremy Young*
Alan Lake*
Douglas Sheldon
John Lee*
Beth Owen
Leon Lissek
Tony Thawnton
Edward Higgins*

UNBILLED/STUNTS

Peter Peel

Paul Weston* The 007 Connection

*DOPPELGANGERS

Jeremy Burnham

The Town of No Return
The Fear Merchants

Edward Higgins

The Mauritius Penny

Alan Lake

The House That Jack Built

John Lee

The Bird Who Knew Too Much

Patrick Newell

The Town of No Return
Something Nasty in the Nursery

Paul Weston

Murdersville

Jeremy Young

Gnaws
A Touch of Brimstone
Never, Never Say Die
 

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Page last modified 1 January 2005.