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Full Cast Audios of the Lost Avengers Episodes
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Alan
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Alan Hayes's excellent restorations of the South African radio series convinced me it was worthwhile. So thanks, Alan!


You're very welcome! Smile
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wadham has a great dry, amused humour - the "twinkle" - and dare I say it, his voice is perhaps better suited to audio-only plays than Macnee, since he can indicate with his voice alone what Macnee does with his eyes, poise, and wry smiles.

Anthony Howell's Dr Keel is not to be underestimated either, of course. Whilst he may not have all of Hendry's lightness of touch (or at least television available to show it facially), he has a remarkable intensity that really suits the character. Very hard to convey vocally without overacting, but in this case it's understated and suits the mood - and Steed - perfectly.

It makes me wonder why they ever needed the gimmick of a female Avenger at all - but of course I'm glad the TV series went for that, no holds barred. It changed TV for the better, no doubt.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
My dreams are quite literally coming true.

This is incredible.

And anyone in doubt of non-Macnee Steeds really needs to hear this. Julian Wadham is superb - just as perfect in the role as Patrick Macnee was.


But he's...not Steed? I find it very difficult to divide the character from the actor in this case. It's like he's Steed, but he's not really Steed. There's something a little disrespectful in it, somehow.

I don't know, I may try giving it another chance.

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It makes me wonder why they ever needed the gimmick of a female Avenger at all - but of course I'm glad the TV series went for that, no holds barred. It changed TV for the better, no doubt.


Because it made the series better. I maintain it would never have lasted as long as it did, or been as iconic, without the addition of the women.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
But he's...not Steed? I find it very difficult to divide the character from the actor in this case. It's like he's Steed, but he's not really Steed. There's something a little disrespectful in it, somehow.
Fortunately, he's not Ralph Fiennes either. But sadly he isn't Simon Oates! Smile

We're never going to get Macnee playing Steed again, but we can finally enjoy the missing stories. There's more to The Avengers than Macnee (though as Morrissey might say, as he did of there being more than music to life, not much more)!
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:

I maintain it would never have lasted as long as it did, or been as iconic, without the addition of the women.
True. Though I'd argue the Venus Smith episodes aren't automatically "better" than the Keel/King ones just because she's a woman. And the series was very successful in its first season, that's why it came back Smile But there's no denying that making one of the two leads a woman - and switching gender roles so cleverly - was a key ingredient of its success which no series since has really emulated as successfully.

"The Girl on the Trapeze" kind of shows that they could have kept Hendry (who was undoubtedly a better actor than Macnee) and paired him with a woman and had just as much a success. Keel was just as brainy as Steed and arguably kinder to women than the fairly misogynistic Steed of seasons 1-3. A lot of viewers think Cathy and Steed are antagonistic to each other, and Keel was rather more respectful. It's really only staying power that made Steed a key factor rather than Keel.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Lhbizness wrote:
But he's...not Steed? I find it very difficult to divide the character from the actor in this case. It's like he's Steed, but he's not really Steed. There's something a little disrespectful in it, somehow.
Fortunately, he's not Ralph Fiennes either. But sadly he isn't Simon Oates! Smile

We're never going to get Macnee playing Steed again, but we can finally enjoy the missing stories. There's more to The Avengers than Macnee (though as Morrissey might say, as he did of there being more than music to life, not much more)!


He's just such a major facet of the show that I find it difficult accepting anyone else in that role. He's the only one that was there for the entire run. I'm just very iffy on it - I don't buy Wadham as Steed; I'll accept him as "Steed." It seems to only make me sad because those episodes aren't available in their original form.

The Avengers for me was never really about good writing - and some of the episodes are really horribly written, when you come down to it. But the charisma of the actors made it what it was, and Macnee was a major part of that.

But that's me.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
It seems to only make me sad because those episodes aren't available in their original form.
The episodes wouldn't be any more available with Wadham though! And them being available now, doesn't make the originals any more or less "lost". If they're not for you, fine - let those who want them enjoy them Smile I know what you mean, as I can't accept the "new" Sapphire and Steel. I'll just ignore those and let those who like them carry on...

I enjoy the quirky writing of the early Avengers more than the formulaic stuff later on, but - maybe that's just me Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Lhbizness wrote:

I maintain it would never have lasted as long as it did, or been as iconic, without the addition of the women.
True. Though I'd argue the Venus Smith episodes aren't automatically "better" than the Keel/King ones just because she's a woman. And the series was very successful in its first season, that's why it came back Smile But there's no denying that making one of the two leads a woman - and switching gender roles so cleverly - was a key ingredient of its success which no series since has really emulated as successfully.

"The Girl on the Trapeze" kind of shows that they could have kept Hendry (who was undoubtedly a better actor than Macnee) and paired him with a woman and had just as much a success. Keel was just as brainy as Steed and arguably kinder to women than the fairly misogynistic Steed of seasons 1-3. A lot of viewers think Cathy and Steed are antagonistic to each other, and Keel was rather more respectful. It's really only staying power that made Steed a key factor rather than Keel.


I find Macnee more likable, even in the earliest forms, than Hendry - but that is colored by what I know happens with Steed later. I wasn't trying to say that Venus was better, but rather that the male/female dynamic made for more interesting television when they got to Cathy. Steed arguing with a do-good male doctor is not nearly so much fun as Steed arguing with a do-good female anthropologist with judo skills, in my opinion.

The antagonism between Steed and Cathy is what makes their relationship so dynamic, and sets it apart from later shows that had that "will they/won't they" back and forth. They like each other and hate each other in equal measure. Keel might have been more respectful, but (if we're speculating) he would also have been duller.

I'm not trying to stop anyone from enjoying them! I was just...voicing a slight dissent in the general opinion. I do think it's very cool that they are actually bringing back these episodes, at the very least because it means that there's still a wider interest in The Avengers.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When "Girl on the Trapeze" was found, Hendry's immense animal magnetism and acting skill was such that I didn't find him duller than Steed at all. The camera loved that guy and he loved it. Macnee was right when he said that Hendry was the best actor in The Avengers. It's a huge shame we can't see more of his episodes, and I don't think the audios are a substitute for that, if anyone wonders. But they are enjoyable in their own right. I don't need to keep comparing with later eras - since that first series was so different to later eras anyway. And they can't be compared with the missing episodes, for obvious reasons. I just enjoy them as thriller plays, with an engaging couple of leads and some great atmosphere and performances.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree, and I'll keep recommending the audios to anyone who might want to try them and make their minds up. Not everyone will like them, or be able to accept them, which is fair enough. A few decades ago, neither would I have. Now I can just view them from a separate perspective without needing to compare to Macnee, or later seasons, I guess.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
When "Girl on the Trapeze" was found, Hendry's immense animal magnetism and acting skill was such that I didn't find him duller than Steed at all. The camera loved that guy and he loved it. Macnee was right when he said that Hendry was the best actor in The Avengers. It's a huge shame we can't see more of his episodes, and I don't think the audios are a substitute for that, if anyone wonders. But they are enjoyable in their own right. I don't need to keep comparing with later eras - since that first series was so different to later eras anyway. And they can't be compared with the missing episodes, for obvious reasons. I just enjoy them as thriller plays, with an engaging couple of leads and some great atmosphere and performances.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree, and I'll keep recommending the audios to anyone who might want to try them and make their minds up. Not everyone will like them, or be able to accept them, which is fair enough. A few decades ago, neither would I have. Now I can just view them from a separate perspective without needing to compare to Macnee, or later seasons, I guess.


I meant that Hendry (or rather Keel) would have been duller as a counterpart to someone like Cathy because he would have been more respectful (and so we'd have lost the dynamic that makes Steed/Gale work so well). A female counterpart to Keel would have likely been closer to Venus or Carol (?), subservient and largely uninteresting. Steed was the looser, wilder, and more flippant of the two - and because of that he's better paired with a strong woman like Cathy who will challenge his sexism (Not his misogyny. Steed never evidences any hatred of women whatsoever). I personally find characters like Keel too good for their own good. But again, that's entirely a matter of opinion. It's sad that we don't actually have the Hendry season, but I also have difficulty projecting "he would have been better because..." given that we have so very little of what he produced. And that's the crux of it - we don't have Hendry.

So my...issue with the audio shows comes back to what we do have. Dividing Steed from Macnee seems pretty much impossible, so again it does not seem quite right to view these episodes as "The Avengers." It's more "The Avengers Reboot."

Maybe, at the end of the day, I'm just happy with the show as it is. I'm satisfied that Hendry left and the women stepped in; I'm satisfied with Macnee as Steed. I want to try the Big Finish productions again just to hear the scripts being performed, but they are not, and will probably never be, The Avengers to me. I don't view Steed as a malleable, changing character like James Bond that can be played by anyone, and that's OK with me.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Timeless A-Peel wrote:

This is unbelievably wonderful news! Very Happy I was hoping this might happen, but with the uncertainties of the Avengers market, I was worried that the first three sets wouldn't be enough of a success to justify it. Clearly they were, which is good news in and of itself! Very Happy
Yes, I'm really glad I supported the release and pre-ordered the CDs. I'll be doing that for all the further sets. I have rarely bought audio plays before - only Hitchhiker's Guide (each new series as it was made, from the third onwards) and a few of the Dr Who ones but only two or three. I have bought a few audio books in the past, but usually not plays. The Avengers is the first show with the drawing power to make me want to, and Alan Hayes's excellent restorations of the South African radio series convinced me it was worthwhile. So thanks, Alan!
Timeless A-Peel wrote:
I'm hopeful that, once they wrap up the missing episodes, that they might be brave enough to strike out into fresh territory, expanding the universe, so to speak. Especially if they work to fill in some of the gaps, like the one between Tara and TNA, show what Steed got up to in the interim.
And there are a few unmade scripts out there, too. Personally I'd love to hear more about how Dr Keel got on wherever he went next, how he and Steed parted company, how Steed met Mrs Gale, etc. I'm sure there's lots of scope for new "1960s" adventures. Audio can do it so much better than film. Hollywood really was a big misstep for The Avengers.


Yes, I don't buy a ton of radio series, either--just the ones I'm really excited about (like Hitchhiker's). But these are fabulously exciting. And I would love to see them show why Dr. Keel left, how he met Cathy (way back in the '50s), all that sort of thing. There's tons of things to explore. Very Happy

And like you, Alan's site and the availability of the radio series really got me into radio drama as a whole, even before Hitchhiker's, so we owe him a huge debt. Because of him, when I heard these were going to be released, I wasn't wondering how Wadham would stack up to Patrick, but to the great Donald Monat! Big shoes to fill on both counts, but Wadham does it. Cool
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Personally I'd love to hear more about how Dr Keel got on wherever he went next, how he and Steed parted company, how Steed met Mrs Gale, etc.


That would be fun. There are a couple of versions of how Steed met Mrs Gale. It was originally planned that the episode Warlock would feature their first meeting - it was going to be at the British Museum, or somewhere like that, but the scenes were removed as the episode wasn't the first one with Cathy to be broadcast.

Alternatively, the first, and only, volume of Steed's biography ended with his first meeting with Cathy - I think in that one she was dressed as a nun!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

paulpdjh wrote:
Frankymole wrote:
Personally I'd love to hear more about how Dr Keel got on wherever he went next, how he and Steed parted company, how Steed met Mrs Gale, etc.


That would be fun. There a couple of versions of how Steed met Mrs Gale. It originally planned that the episode Warlock would feature their first meeting - it was going to be at the British Museum, or somewhere like that, but the scenes were removed as the episode wasn't the first one with Cathy to be broadcast.

Alternatively, the first, and only, volume of Steed's biography ended with his first meeting with Cathy - I think in that one she was dressed as a nun!


I always think of Warlock as their first meeting, despite the broadcast order. She calls him "Mr. Steed" at one point, and their whole rapport is very like they're feeling each other out. They don't talk like they know each other.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
But he's...not Steed? I find it very difficult to divide the character from the actor in this case. It's like he's Steed, but he's not really Steed. There's something a little disrespectful in it, somehow.


In many ways, it's the least disrespectful relaunch of the lot in that the Big Finish plays are trying to be as close to the source material as possible. It's an exercise in being respectful, if anything.

Yes, of course, John Steed is more Patrick Macnee's creation than that of any single writer. Julian Wadham hasn't gone into this trying to copy Macnee's performance, but has taken his memories of Patrick's approach, the glint in his eye, etc, and then gone down his own path taking the script for inspiration. And it works superbly.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps disrespectful was the wrong word - dismissive might be closer, though it still doesn't hit what I'm getting at.

OK - I still have problems with it. Maybe I'm not hearing what you are in Wadham's performance, and I probably need to listen to more episodes (which is unlikely to happen, really, because they're rather expensive for something that I'm not certain about). But whatever, I don't have to like it. It's nice that the episodes still exist and nice that Big Finish is trying to do something with them.

For me it rates similarly to some of the recent adaptations of Sherlock Holmes - it's good to drum up new excitement for an old character and series, but I cannot quite accept it as equivalent, or even close to, the original. I find it impossible not to compare Wadham to Macnee, radio to television (which I really shouldn't, as they're different mediums), and find the new ones wanting.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
I find it impossible not to compare Wadham to Macnee


I can see what you mean as Patrick Macnee is a very hard act to follow. Personally, on audio at least, I have been able to accept other actors playing Steed, though it took a while before Donald Monat in the South African radio version of The Avengers seemed like Steed. It wasn't until I was listening to the third serial that he really clicked with me and since then I've had no problems accepting him, or more recently, Julian Wadham as Steed.

Getting back to the series one audio books, I wonder if the 9 episodes for which no scripts are known to survive will be rewritten based on purely the surviving evidence or whether there will be some creative writing? I assume it will be the former, but it would be fun to have Colin Baker back as Dr Tredding in some of the episodes. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Lhbizness wrote:

I maintain it would never have lasted as long as it did, or been as iconic, without the addition of the women.
True. Though I'd argue the Venus Smith episodes aren't automatically "better" than the Keel/King ones just because she's a woman. And the series was very successful in its first season, that's why it came back Smile But there's no denying that making one of the two leads a woman - and switching gender roles so cleverly - was a key ingredient of its success which no series since has really emulated as successfully.

"The Girl on the Trapeze" kind of shows that they could have kept Hendry (who was undoubtedly a better actor than Macnee) and paired him with a woman and had just as much a success. Keel was just as brainy as Steed and arguably kinder to women than the fairly misogynistic Steed of seasons 1-3. A lot of viewers think Cathy and Steed are antagonistic to each other, and Keel was rather more respectful. It's really only staying power that made Steed a key factor rather than Keel.


good point..but I don't think the Hendry had the chemistry that Macnee had on screen and with his co actors
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Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paulpdjh wrote:
Getting back to the series one audio books, I wonder if the 9 episodes for which no scripts are known to survive will be rewritten based on purely the surviving evidence or whether there will be some creative writing? I assume it will be the former, but it would be fun to have Colin Baker back as Dr Tredding in some of the episodes. Smile


There will have to be creative writing in every instance as we have no record of the dialogue.

As for Tredding, it seems pretty much certain Philip Stone was only engaged for Hot Snow and Brought to Book, so I would hope that Big Finish don't use the character again. There will also be a decision to be made as to whether '5' or One-Ten made any unbilled appearances.

I think it's inevitable however that for some episodes, particularly Nightmare, Crescent Moon and Hunt the Man Down, it will be a case of coming up with plots that hold together and not conflict with what is known. A difficult task, but I'm sure John Dorney will come up with the goods.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It'll be nice if there's a good Roger Delgado impression for Crescent Moon Smile I've always wondered how that story would've worked. It's such an early one and quite exotic for the "gritty" series, all set in the sunny Caribbean. Mind you, Death Despatch in series 2 sort-of worked okay.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
Lhbizness wrote:
But he's...not Steed? I find it very difficult to divide the character from the actor in this case. It's like he's Steed, but he's not really Steed. There's something a little disrespectful in it, somehow.


In many ways, it's the least disrespectful relaunch of the lot in that the Big Finish plays are trying to be as close to the source material as possible. It's an exercise in being respectful, if anything.

Yes, of course, John Steed is more Patrick Macnee's creation than that of any single writer. Julian Wadham hasn't gone into this trying to copy Macnee's performance, but has taken his memories of Patrick's approach, the glint in his eye, etc, and then gone down his own path taking the script for inspiration. And it works superbly.
Although there are some very nice interviews on the CDs/downloads about how they approached this new/old series, and of course some text copy of another interview in the Big Finish "Vortex" magazine, I wish I'd recorded the BBC News radio feature about it which played shortly before release. That's ephemeral and never likely to be heard again. Unless the BBC were kind and archived the sound clip somewhere on their website, but I'm never likely to find it again. In my defence, I was in my car at the time I heard it, though I should have recorded the iPlayer feed later. Maybe I should ask Nick Briggs, head honcho at BF, if he has a copy Smile I only have a few things in common with Nick, being a massive Who fan and in a tent with him and Patrick Troughton back in 1983, and also wanting to cut K-9s cables at the same event; but I'm sure he'd understand my need for Steed Smile
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