Recently reminded of The Avengers, one of the first I managed to watch was
They Keep Killing Steed. Listening to
Too many Olés, I didn't expect such short episodes or the mixture of narrative and action.
I noticed the name Emma Peel was used, presumably as it would be better known than Tara King. Diane Appleby speaks so clearly and
from the outset is so more assertive than her TV counterpart that I liked her right away. However I wasn't initially used to
Donald Monat, being a little different from Patrick Macnee.
In my opinion, a setting in Spain lends itself well to the radio adaptation. Ye Olde Sun Hotel is now the more exotic Miranda Hotel
in Tarragon. The villains' bunker is now beneath a bullring, rather than in a quarry. As well as Arcos and his accomplices, both
the apparently domiciled Baron and the Captain have Spanish accents, and this helps the listener follow the plot, and also makes
them more serious rivals to Steed for Mrs. Peel's attention somehow.
In the TV version, there are a couple of superbly surreal scenes at a lake with 'Mother' in an underwater retreat. Here, he only has
a brief appearance in a rather more prosaic caravan. I certainly missed the eccentric humour and must find out what was in the
original script. Likewise, the fact that the visual scene of Arcos sculpting a face and taunting Steed wasn't portrayed on radio is
understandable, but the game of chess with its war of words could have worked. Instead, these bad guys play cards, and throw
glasses of wine at Steed and are altogether tougher adversaries.
I began to appreciate this Steed's more pragmatic interpretation as the episodes progressed, not to mention his drier humour. An
overpowered Arcos is told "That'll teach you to click your castanets at me!" It does however give the impression he's slightly less
concerned about Mrs. Peel. She, on the other hand, is positively enthusiastic when taking a shot, unknowingly, at the real Steed.
It is quite alarming! At such times, Diane Appleby balances Steed more by portraying a more independent character than the
debutante Linda Thorson.
The two main characters very entertainingly take centre stage in this 'Avengers on the Radio' story. It's mission accomplished - but
will they unwind on a real beach this time?
Reviewed by Ron Geddes