Rodney's Reviews
Page 31 of 42

The Hidden Tiger
By Rodney Marshall

As I have argued elsewhere, it is a mistake to draw simplistic comparisons between the black & white Peel series and the colour season. As the title sequence forewarns us, this new series is far more a statement about style than the previous one. It is hip and cool, but the content is generally more "frothy," with plots often "skimmed" rather than full bodied. However, when the scripts are allowed to develop past the cartoon stage, we are in for a treat and are genuinely privileged, as is the case with Philip Levene’s "The Hidden Tiger."

This episode has become synonymous with cat punning and it is true that a great deal of the humour derives from an almost infinite number of hilarious oral and visual feline-related gags. Among the best are Steed and MrThe Avengers Forever: Rodney's Reviewss. Peel's fictitious cat details and Cheshire's lapping up of his milk aperitif. Indeed, Ronnie Barker's appearance is arguably the highlight of the hour (with his wonderful comic timing) at the midway point of what up until then seemed a rather serious episode, if only in Avengers terms. The PURRR set is fabulous, with cats' eyes, odd statues and a basket coffin. Laurie Johnson provides one of his best ever scores and we move seamlessly and cleverly from scene to scene.

I remember thinking that Cheshire was going to be the deadly mastermind the first time I watched it. The fact that neither of the archfiends is as memorable does not really matter. "The Hidden Tiger" is proof that with an unsettling backdrop, plenty of eccentricity and witty dialogue, the spirit of the original Peel era could still be rediscovered in the colour season.

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