The Avengers ran non-stop, without repeats, until 28th December
1973. A few days later, on 1st January 1974, it was replaced by another famous
Lever Brothers serial, The Mind of Tracy Dark, which ran until 1979. This in turn was replaced
by The World of Dick Francis, which continued until 1985, when it was dropped from the
Springbok Radio schedule. By this time, Springbok Radio had just been reduced to a mere six hours
programming a day. It was the beginning of the end for the station, which had been the most popular
of those run by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. And the end came pretty swiftly...
The Modern SABC...
Rebranded for the new Millennium.
The reason? Well, in the mid-Seventies, South Africa finally launched itself into the TV age with
the introduction of the country's first television service on a single channel. Test transmissions
started on May 5th 1975, and the official service was launched on January 5th 1976. This had
serious repercussions for radio, which came under increasing pressure from the new service.
Springbok Radio saw its audience steadily decline and, despite protests from many loyal listeners,
the station was finally closed down at midnight on December 31st 1985. The SABC replaced it with
Radio South Africa - later renamed SAFM. This new station effectively continued the work of the
old 'English Service'.
AND THE AVENGERS TODAY...
Sonovision Studios still exists, though it has moved to new buildings at 40 Wessell Road in the
Rivonia district of Sandton, a northern suburb of Johannesburg. The studio is now owned and run by
John Culverwell and Louis Van Ass, a former colleague of the late David Gooden.
No production documentation relating to The Avengers is thought to have survived, either at
the SABC, or at Sonovision.
Despite being a major success in South Africa, the fact that the great majority of these serials
no longer exist leaves the Sonovision series as an oft-forgotten footnote to The Avengers.
It could have been so much more.
delighted that this Internet tribute has revitalised interest in the series.
Alan Hayes with Donald Monat and Frans Erasmus