Trivia Overload

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.

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.

Say, What?

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? This little mystery has been puzzling fans for years. Here are some suggestions I've received:

Mike Weber claims that, according to some lip-readers, Emma asks, "Are you the man who sleeps with me?"

According to Rick Setchell's wife, Kate (who happens to lip-read), it's "Are you the man who asked me to bed?"

Adam Durrance checked in with "Are you the man who seduced me?"

My dear friend Margaret studied the scene for hours and concluded that Diana Rigg ad-libbed, "Are you the man who dallies with me?"

John Orleanski and his friend Eric Diethorn took a high-tech approach to the problem. Using sophisticated audio analysis equipment, they sampled the sound during Emma's whisper and subjected it to scientific scrutiny. The results are not (yet) conclusive, but preliminary analysis indicates that the most likely contender is "Are you the man who dallies with me?"

My own pet theory for many years has been, "Are you the man who tried to seduce me?"

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This website Copyright 1996-2017 David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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