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Full Cast Audios of the Lost Avengers Episodes
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
They're not rewritten very much at all - there may be some small insertions for scene-setting, such as the passer-by who is asked for directions at the start of the Hot Snow episode in order to establish economically and cleverly the setting and the goal of the criminal, but as you'd expect from a professional scripter of John Dorney's reputation it's done fantastically well, and nothing is removed from the original scripts.

The South African radio series (adapting the film episodes) from the 1970s took greater liberties (and the episodes were "lost" to SA audiences because there was no television service in South Africa until 1976), but was effective too. Just not as brilliantly authentic as these season 1 episodes are - they even have the music and the sound "mileu" down perfectly to evoke 1961 and match the existing episodes as close as it is possible to match. They really are a great reconstructive achievement.

A lot of fun and not something worth moaning about - if they're not for you, just avoid them and let them sell to those who enjoy 'em!


I'm interested in the changes of medium, though, and how the plot etc. is affected. And maybe that is actually the source of my reticence about it (beyond Steed's voice): it is not particularly well-adapted to the chosen medium.
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How can you say it isn't well adapted? It flows perfectly and the additions are done, as I say, economically and effectively - they enhance. As-live TV in 1960/61 was theatre with a camera pointed at it, effectively. As such it works brilliantly on audio. If you've heard it, and can compare it with the script extracts from the originals on Alan's site or in the book, you can see how suitable and suited it is. And we were watching on tiny 9-inch screens with fuzzy reception, so these programmes were more sound than vision then anyway!

Sometimes I think you just enjoy moaning - as I say, it's entertainment. If you don't enjoy it, go and listen to /watch something you do enjoy.

Come to think of it, I'll do the same myself now - this place has been depressing me recently.
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
How can you say it isn't well adapted? It flows perfectly and the additions are done, as I say, economically and effectively - they enhance. As-live TV in 1960/61 was theatre with a camera pointed at it, effectively. As such it works brilliantly on audio. If you've heard it, and can compare it with the script extracts from the originals on Alan's site or in the book, you can see how suitable and suited it is. And we were watching on tiny 9-inch screens with fuzzy reception, so these programmes were more sound than vision then anyway!

Sometimes I think you just enjoy moaning - as I say, it's entertainment. If you don't enjoy it, go and listen to /watch something you do enjoy.

Come to think of it, I'll do the same myself now - this place has been depressing me recently.


I was just asking if they had been significantly altered for adaptation to radio. Honestly, from the episodes I've listened to I've been confused about location and who is speaking at times - there are not that many "tells," as there often are in radio adaptations. I was wondering if that was a source of adaptation. That's all I meant. I want to like these episodes, and I want to understand them, because I like The Avengers.

I'm sorry, I'm not intending to sound like I'm moaning about anything. I was really just asking a question for my own edification and perhaps should not have editorialized beyond that.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm horribly behind and only listened to One for the Mortuary a couple of days ago. One thing that stood out for me in particular (which has also been cited on the Avengers Declassified's review) is how visceral and violent the attacks/kills are. It serves to illustrate the first season's grittier, brutal tone. There's also more of an emphasis on the aftermath, with Steed battered up from the fight, and telling Keel that he was caught unawares: "No witty sallies now." It's a million miles away from the Emma era, where the light-hearted, fantasy aspect meant that violence and its aftereffects were treated much less seriously. It's a fascinating illustration of how the series began, and how much it evolved over time. Having the audios brings that across even more than reading it on the page.

Also, I was amazed at how much Samuel Clemens' voice resembles his dad's. It's a nice little in-joke to have him involved in the serials. I do wish they'd give Donald Monat a cameo, particularly if he was acting opposite Julian Wadham!

Roll on set 2! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed the 1961 "TV Crimebusters" annual, which someone at work lent me, and which included some early Keel-era Avengers fiction (notably a comic strip) and some very amusing features like the "Tumble This Guff" guide to 1950s/60s London criminal street slang - "shut the Rory!".

But the emphasis of all the stories, whatever series they were from (even Danger Man!) was on grim and gritty violence, though with thought given to the plots, and sometimes either in exotic locations or (like The Avengers) with characters from exotic locations and cultures intruding on smoggy London.

With its docks and large immigrant areas (like Limehouse and its Chinese population) even the earliest episodes have a touch of exoticism (for which I can forgive Sophie Aldred's attempted Chinese accent in the Big Finish play!).

It's great how having a doctor on call allows the series to show the aftermath of fights and even use such scenes to further the plot, as sometimes the good doctor has the baddies in his power (The Frighteners, one of the few surviving episodes, uses this technique well with the great Phillip Locke in dire straits at Keel's surgery).
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The SA 70's ones were quite good but I found the running dialogue explaining what the scenes were about sometimes just taking up a lot of the scene explaining what it was all about. I think the lost episodes are taking the time to figure out how to avoid that and mainly use sounds and dialogue to explain it.
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
I enjoyed the 1961 "TV Crimebusters" annual, which someone at work lent me, and which included some early Keel-era Avengers fiction (notably a comic strip) and some very amusing features like the "Tumble This Guff" guide to 1950s/60s London criminal street slang - "shut the Rory!".

But the emphasis of all the stories, whatever series they were from (even Danger Man!) was on grim and gritty violence, though with thought given to the plots, and sometimes either in exotic locations or (like The Avengers) with characters from exotic locations and cultures intruding on smoggy London.

With its docks and large immigrant areas (like Limehouse and its Chinese population) even the earliest episodes have a touch of exoticism (for which I can forgive Sophie Aldred's attempted Chinese accent in the Big Finish play!).

It's great how having a doctor on call allows the series to show the aftermath of fights and even use such scenes to further the plot, as sometimes the good doctor has the baddies in his power (The Frighteners, one of the few surviving episodes, uses this technique well with the great Phillip Locke in dire straits at Keel's surgery).


I've read the comic from the Crimebusters annual, and really enjoyed it, as I did the audio serial. It's great to hear the series with a more you can see its influence on TNA, too. There's a real sense of consequence and the impact on people's lives of what's going on, including Steed and Keel's, as they get battered up and lose people in the line of duty. To have both these and the Emma/Tara episodes, which appealed to me precisely because the deaths were bloodless and the leads could come out of the fights unscathed. It's great to have both approaches within the same series--you can go for the era that suits your mood. Smile

It is a good plot device to have a doctor as a character, too, I agree. Keel has the right sort of skillset to be useful in Steed's line of work, and they do a good job of integrating his day job into his sidelines with Steed, even explaining that Dr. Tredding covers for him when he's out, and having Carol holding down the fort. There's a sense of Keel having a life beyond what we see onscreen that the writers clearly put some thought into.
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to have been a much darker, more realistic - or as close as you can get - television show than what it developed into. At least with the surviving episodes with visuals, you can see how noir aesthetics influenced both the setting and the dialogue. Would have loved to see more of what Hendry did with the Keel character and how he and Macnee interacted.

Quote:
The SA 70's ones were quite good but I found the running dialogue explaining what the scenes were about sometimes just taking up a lot of the scene explaining what it was all about. I think the lost episodes are taking the time to figure out how to avoid that and mainly use sounds and dialogue to explain it.


It's a challenge of moving a visual script to a non-visual format - even if there wasn't a lot of camera movement or establishing shots in the original series, you could still probably tell if it was Steed or Keel (or someone else) speaking. Granted, I should probably finish listening to the whole set before I totally dismiss this - but the first two episodes continue to perplex me.

Is it just me or do Wadham and Howell sound really similar?
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:

Is it just me or do Wadham and Howell sound really similar?
Not to my ears, but maybe it's different for native English speakers who can tell all the nuances of accent often down to the nearest town and the decade in which people were born!?
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As much as I really enjoyed these, it did take me a while to get used to the voices and know straight away who was speaking. I did have the advantage of knowing Anthony's voice quite well from Big Finish's range of Blake's 7 audios, but it still took until the second cd. Its an issue of the studio over the years that their casting process sometimes overlooks similarity of vocal tones and style of speech in the leading cast members. This was especially true of a few Dr Who audios shortly after Nicholas Briggs took over as producer where stories had a number of actors of a similar age and vocal range that were difficult to tell apart, not necessarily in the same story but in consecutive stories so you often had a sense of deja vu!
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
Frankymole wrote:
How can you say it isn't well adapted? It flows perfectly and the additions are done, as I say, economically and effectively - they enhance. As-live TV in 1960/61 was theatre with a camera pointed at it, effectively. As such it works brilliantly on audio. If you've heard it, and can compare it with the script extracts from the originals on Alan's site or in the book, you can see how suitable and suited it is. And we were watching on tiny 9-inch screens with fuzzy reception, so these programmes were more sound than vision then anyway!

Sometimes I think you just enjoy moaning - as I say, it's entertainment. If you don't enjoy it, go and listen to /watch something you do enjoy.

Come to think of it, I'll do the same myself now - this place has been depressing me recently.


I was just asking if they had been significantly altered for adaptation to radio. Honestly, from the episodes I've listened to I've been confused about location and who is speaking at times - there are not that many "tells," as there often are in radio adaptations. I was wondering if that was a source of adaptation. That's all I meant. I want to like these episodes, and I want to understand them, because I like The Avengers.

I'm sorry, I'm not intending to sound like I'm moaning about anything. I was really just asking a question for my own edification and perhaps should not have editorialized beyond that.



moaning...is that a UK thing ? lol...actually, I think we have better moaners in the States...compariing the audio plays to TV show, is like comparing apples and oranges...yeah, both are fruit..but both are radically different so to speak..in my opinion
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Lhbizness wrote:

Is it just me or do Wadham and Howell sound really similar?
Not to my ears, but maybe it's different for native English speakers who can tell all the nuances of accent often down to the nearest town and the decade in which people were born!?


They don't sound alike at all to me. I can't claim to pinpoint the accents or anything, but the timbres of their voices are quite distinct--they "sound" the way they should look, if that makes any sense, regardless if I picture Macnee/Hendry or Wadham/Howell as speaking.

We've had so much research into the Keel era recently, between Alan's site and book, these serials, etc., that I'm getting the best handle on the season and the characters of Keel and Steed that I've ever had--season one used to be this vague ghost season that I knew was there, but was mainly notable for being lost. Now I have a better sense of what's been lost, and it makes the tragedy of the wiped episodes that much worse. The more I learn about the Keel era, the more I think it could have been one of my favourite seasons of the actual series. We've been so lucky that there have been people to research and bring the whole season to light, and even luckier that someone thought to dramatise them! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Timeless (not that I can claim any credit for the idea of audio dramatising the missing episodes bar planting a seed in Nick Briggs' mind a few years ago!).

Your understanding will soon be further enhanced when my next book (also written with the estimable Richard McGinlay) is released in June. Smile


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
Thank you, Timeless (not that I can claim any credit for the idea of audio dramatising the missing episodes bar planting a seed in Nick Briggs' mind a few years ago!).

Your understanding will soon be further enhanced when my next book (also written with the estimable Richard McGinlay) is released in June. Smile


Without the seed, there'd likely be no serials, so don't undersell yourself! Very Happy

But really, your site really sparked my interest in the Keel era, and everything that's come since has just built on it. It's a fascinating and hugely important chapter in the series' history, and I can't wait to see what you and Richard come up with!
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Timeless. It was certainly something I hoped to achieve when I started investigating Series 1, but I never imagined that it would involve me in reconstructing the episodes, publishing two books and being able to sit down and listen to audio dramatisations! Beyond my wildest dreams! Smile
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I say, I'll have to listen to the rest of the episodes and see if the voices become clearer to my hearing. I've paid for them all, might as well give them a fair shake. I think it's easier in some ways to accept Howell as Keel because so little remains of Hendry's performance; Wadham has a more uphill battle because there are a further five seasons in which Macnee's Steed is the main character. Every time I hear Wadham speak (when I can discern that it's him), I have a sense of listening to an imitation and not the real thing. Maybe it would be the same with any actor, maybe it's just an issue with the casting of Wadham. Perhaps that's my personal hang-up, but it does diminish my enjoyment.

I want to reiterate that I'm not at all trying to diminish or dismiss what Alan or what Big Finish have accomplished in bringing these episodes into a more complete form. I simply have reservations about my own experience of them. I do hope this doesn't sound like I'm moaning. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not at all.

However, I don't agree with you Smile - I think Julian Wadham is a remarkably good choice for Steed. It doesn't feel like an imitation to me, more like he has taken the essence of Macnee's style and then gone his own way.

If anything, it was Howell who I took longer to accept.
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
Not at all.

However, I don't agree with you Smile - I think Julian Wadham is a remarkably good choice for Steed. It doesn't feel like an imitation to me, more like he has taken the essence of Macnee's style and then gone his own way.

If anything, it was Howell who I took longer to accept.


I think I'm just fundamentally a purist about my favorite characters. I also get antsy about anyone other than Jeremy Brett playing Sherlock Holmes. Smile I don't really see Macnee in Wadham's Steed - just an attempt to "be" Steed that falls kinda flat, if that makes sense. So much of the style is the way Macnee physically presents himself, which is obviously not there on audio. Maybe I'm just angry with Wadham for not being Macnee!
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know what you mean, and it is certainly something that often works against actors taking on roles which are so very linked with one particular actor. There's actually more of a case for any number of people playing Holmes because there's the original novels and short stories and every actor comes along and finds their interpretation from it.

Steed, while he started out on the printed page (the scripts), the character is as much Macnee's as the writers' as the creation of John Steed was a collaborative process. This is why everyone who plays the role will inevitably be compared to Macnee, because there is a lot of Macnee in the role as written. This is not the case with Holmes/Brett or Bond/Connery.

However, Donald Monat and Julian Wadham have proved to me that it *is* entirely possible to create a new Steed, which doesn't imitate, but takes the germ of the performance, the metre of the delivery, and yet make it their own.

Ralph Fiennes, on the other hand...
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It just makes me sad that our first introduction to John Steed is via another actor rather than Macnee. I feel a sense of erasure, which I know is not intended. There's no way to bring back those episodes, really. I guess this is the next best thing - it just gives me more of a sense of what is lost.

But as I say, I'll give the final two episodes a listen and see if my mind is changed.
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