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Full Cast Audios of the Lost Avengers Episodes
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:49 pm    Post subject: Full Cast Audios of the Lost Avengers Episodes Reply with quote

I just saw this on Outpost Gallifrey:

Big Finish have acquired the rights to remake the lost The Avengers scripts:


Quote:
Big Finish Productions is delighted to announce that it has signed a licence with STUDIOCANAL to produce full cast audio productions of 12 lost episodes of the classic TV series The Avengers.

The Avengers first launched in 1961, and starred Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel and Patrick Macnee as the elusive and suave John Steed. Beginning with the murder of Keel’s fiancée, and his sworn intent to avenge her death, that first year comprised 26 episodes. Sadly, only two of them exist in their entirety as film prints (Girl on the Trapeze and The Frighteners), while just the first act remains of the opening episode, Hot Snow.

Working from the surviving scripts, Big Finish will be presenting the adaptations in three four-disc box sets. The scripts will be adapted, with minimal changes, by John Dorney, the director is Ken Bentley and the producer is David Richardson. The executive producers are Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery.

“We are absolutely thrilled to add this wonderful series to our catalogue,” says David Richardson, “and we look forward to faithfully recreating those classic lost episodes. We have two brilliant, high-profile actors for the roles of Dr Keel and John Steed – look out for an announcement of the casting once recording begins in July.”

“This opportunity confirms the enduring appeal of this classic TV series and the resonance of the SC collection in the context of British Film and Pop culture,” says John Rodden, General Manager Home Entertainment at STUDIOCANAL.

Volume 1 of The Avengers: The Lost Episodes will be released in January 2014 (and includes a full recreation of Hot Snow), with Volumes 2 and 3 following in July 2014 and January 2015.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Staggering. Simply staggering! First the book that Alys, Richard and I have been working on comes out, then three weeks later, this!!!

Who said Series 1 was neglected? Smile

Brilliant!!!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting.

I wonder how big a market there will be for this though.

For many people The Avengers is Steed and Mrs Peel.

And for many it means Patrick Macnee.

I'm not sure how many people will be interested in audio adaptations of the Dr Keel episodes with different actors. Seems like quite a niche thing even within Avengers fandom.

I'm already buying their Doctor Who and Blake's 7 ranges, so not sure I would stretch to this as well.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I expect the overheads are amortized across their big sellers (e.g. the Dr Who range) and so niche products (like this and Sapphire and Steel, and to an extent Blakes 7) are possible due to the low marginal costs - they already have the studio time and probably contracts for the pressing and printing.

Personally I'm more likely to get this sooner rather than later, along with the books about Series 1, because I would like as much information as possible on these stories and to enjoy the rest of Hot Snow - and 11 other lost episodes - as unfolding dramas before reading the synopses (or after - my memory is terrible so reading the book probably won't ruin my enjoyment of being in the audience of these "new" episodes) will be a nice lead-in to watching the Series 2-3 episodes again. Having a script that's been tailored for audio may make it even more rewarding than the Tunnel of Fear off-air tape, if we ever get to hear that...

(I do love Blakes 7 but for me the TV episodes are the core of that, and I can't really take to scripts that have no involvement by Chris Boucher who, for me, made that series work. Nevertheless I am likely to hear them one day; and productions like this Avengers audio series can sell over a long period, BF don't need an instant return, a slow burner can be effective. Who knows, Studio Canal might start including them in their Avengers sets one day - perhaps with the BluRays? Wink)
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Franky, you have an eagle eye. You told me you would be looking out for more Avenger news and boy did you ever! What can I say but you have outdone yourself this time!

I have been on this site just a bit over a month and there is so much going on actively with the Avengers it is staggering. I was just thinking the same thing after getting Alan's book. Why can't this be acted out? I am secretly wishing Patrick MacNee would come back to act this out --what 52 years later! OK so I live in a fantasy world.

I am delighted it will be available in audio. I really wish it would be made into a video but after hearing Alan's radio Avengers I think they could do a great job on this one. This is incredible news! I just love this site.
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Allard
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exhilarating.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
I am delighted it will be available in audio. I really wish it would be made into a video but after hearing Alan's radio Avengers I think they could do a great job on this one. This is incredible news! I just love this site.


I take it you're not aware of this then?

http://declassified.theavengers.tv/animations_video_main.htm

Very Happy
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest, I haven't any problem whatsoever with Steed and Keel being recast for this. In some ways, it will bring the audience in gradually before (hopefully) they start making original audio dramas based on other eras of the show.

Keel is not that well known, even in Avengers fandom, so having a fresh actor playing the part should not be too jarring. Steed of course is a different matter, but I am sure that with sensitive casting, this will not be an issue. Donald Monat has proven it can be done and done well on audio.

I think this is a bold project, starting from a novel angle, and I for one will be supporting it wholeheartedly.
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't believe this! I've been saying that a new radio series would be one of the best ways to bring the show back, and here we are! Someone not too long ago mentioned that doing the missing Keel episodes would be a good way to start, and here we are. I'm thrilled! Very Happy I've been reading reviews of all the other Big Finish dramas in SFX for years, and lamenting that the Avengers never got the same treatment. I'll definitely be getting these when they come out.

I'm not in the least bit worried about the recasting's effect on the series' success. So many of these radio productions have recast major players, and been very successful. Sapphire and Steel was well-received without the participation of either Joanna or David McCallum. Dirk Maggs replaced the late Peter Jones with William Franklyn for the last three Hitchhiker's series, and they worked beautifully. And there are loads of Who audio releases floating around featuring adventures of Doctors portrayed by actors now deceased. So recasting Steed and Keel is just par for the course for the wider audience. And Donald Monat has already proven that you can have a brilliant Steed without Patrick. Is it too much to hope that they'll track him down again to play Steed?

If these do sell well, it'd be great if they went on to put out new serials with original storylines featuring other characters. They could take a page from the Who releases and have multiple series running at once, each for a different era of the show. They could do one of those cases that crops up repeatedly in each of the eras as well. Imagine following the thread of an unsolved assignment from the Keel era all the way to TNA. The possibilities are endless. Very Happy

The post on the Big Finish site says you'll be entered for a draw to win a season one and two set if you pre-order:

http://www.bigfinish.com/news/v/the-avengers-licenced

Pre-ordering available here:

http://www.bigfinish.com/ranges/coming_soon_reverse/the-avengers

This is so unbelievably exciting. Hopefully it'll drum up more interest in the original radio series, and Alan's site. Very Happy

EDIT: The good people at SFX are all over the news. Let's hope Ralph Fiennes is unavailable indeed. Wink

http://www.sfx.co.uk/2013/06/26/wednesday-link-a-mania-87/
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Big Finish audio plays have been on the radio a while after their CD/download release - specifically BBC7 (now rebranded as BBC Radio 4 Extra), a digital channel so also available online in some parts of the world. It'd be great if The Avengers series 1 gets a broadcast! They have to make and release it first I guess...

Monat as Steed would be brilliant; but I'd accept any equal substitute Smile
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Some Big Finish audio plays have been on the radio a while after their CD/download release - specifically BBC7 (now rebranded as BBC Radio 4 Extra), a digital channel so also available online in some parts of the world. It'd be great if The Avengers series 1 gets a broadcast! They have to make and release it first I guess...

Monat as Steed would be brilliant; but I'd accept any equal substitute Smile


I was wondering if it would get an actual radio broadcast (I listen to 4 Extra on occasion)--that'd be brilliant! Very Happy The Avengers on the radio again, 40 plus years later.

It'd be a wonderful piece of continuity if they put Donald Monat in, though I doubt they will. I look forward to seeing who they do cast. In a way, I'm actually more intrigued to see who they pick for Keel. We've recast Steed a few times, but other than Emma, no Avengers partner has been portrayed by another actor.
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Killerwhale
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astonishing news!
Can't wait to hear these lost episodes. Been longing to experience them for decades. Given that they're unlikely to involve stars from the original, using these scripts will give the audios authenticity from the start.
Already greatly enjoying several audio series from Big Finish and know the team they've assembled should deliver something special. Here's hoping this is a great success and will lead to more.
Personally, I'd love to hear what can be recreated from the other lost 1961 episodes, not to mention new cases for Cathy Gale, Emma Peel et al.

In the meantime, I'd recommend The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes by Richard McGinlay, Alan Hayes and Alys Hayes!
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Killerwhale wrote:
Personally, I'd love to hear what can be recreated from the other lost 1961 episodes, not to mention new cases for Cathy Gale, Emma Peel et al.
If that's the case, then I hope they draw on Alan (and his colleagues') research that deduced so much of what constituted the episodes with no surviving scripts. With suitable credit/involvement/remuneration, of course!
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timeless A-Peel wrote:

I was wondering if it would get an actual radio broadcast (I listen to 4 Extra on occasion)--that'd be brilliant! Very Happy The Avengers on the radio again, 40 plus years later.

It'd be a wonderful piece of continuity if they put Donald Monat in, though I doubt they will. I look forward to seeing who they do cast. In a way, I'm actually more intrigued to see who they pick for Keel. We've recast Steed a few times, but other than Emma, no Avengers partner has been portrayed by another actor.
I agree. Personally I'm very keen on the Freddie Jones recasting of Steed, that was great! They sort-of recast Keel with Martin Rollason as Dr Martin King performing some leftover Keel scripts, who was fantastic (thank you for letting me get in my obligatory Dr King shout out!), but yes, whoever follows in Ian Hendry's tracks has big shoes to fill. I hope they can resist the urge to make this feel like the Emma or Cathy years, and have its own identity with something like the grit and darkness of the 1961 episodes.

If they get Dankworth's jazzy incidental music or something that is a reasonable facsimile of it, it will help evoke the post-austerity noir era perfrectly. And with audio or not, we need some fights and action and jeopardy, involving knives and knuckledusters as in the existing episodes, whatever today's namby-pamby sensitivities demand!
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Timeless A-Peel wrote:

I was wondering if it would get an actual radio broadcast (I listen to 4 Extra on occasion)--that'd be brilliant! Very Happy The Avengers on the radio again, 40 plus years later.

It'd be a wonderful piece of continuity if they put Donald Monat in, though I doubt they will. I look forward to seeing who they do cast. In a way, I'm actually more intrigued to see who they pick for Keel. We've recast Steed a few times, but other than Emma, no Avengers partner has been portrayed by another actor.
I agree. Personally I'm very keen on the Freddie Jones recasting of Steed, that was great! They sort-of recast Keel with Martin Rollason as Dr Martin King performing some leftover Keel scripts, who was fantastic (thank you for letting me get in my obligatory Dr King shout out!), but yes, whoever follows in Ian Hendry's tracks has big shoes to fill. I hope they can resist the urge to make this feel like the Emma or Cathy years, and have its own identity with something like the grit and darkness of the 1961 episodes.

If they get Dankworth's jazzy incidental music or something that is a reasonable facsimile of it, it will help evoke the post-austerity noir era perfrectly. And with audio or not, we need some fights and action and jeopardy, involving knives and knuckledusters as in the existing episodes, whatever today's namby-pamby sensitivities demand!


Despite the fact that Dr. King owed his existence to some unmade Keel scripts, he feels like his own character to me, not a Keel clone, so I wouldn't count him as a recasting. I was actually thinking how brilliant it would be if they made some more Dr. King adventures, perhaps outlining just where Steed found him in the first place. I loved Dr. King, so more of him would be welcome. Someone get Jon Rollason on the phone! Cool

I hope they keep the gritty atmosphere as well. I want them to feel as true to the era as possible, no matter how grim. And while we're at it, who are they going to cast as the original Avengers girl, Carol Wilson, wielder of a mean syringe?

There's lots of excitement about this on on Big Finish's Twitter feed, which is heartening!

https://twitter.com/bigfinish
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree on King being his own man. Whatever the genesis, Macnee and Rollason worked out a wonderful relationship between the two characters on screen.

In fact, Steed (and Patrick) did such a good job at instant chemistry with all their new short-term partnerships, in the episodes where a regular was on vacation/holiday, right into the colour era. It's no wonder that the New Avengers clicked so quickly and so interestingly.

My personal favourite after King/Steed was Merlin/Steed. It would have been nice to have even more "side adventures" partnerships/new new Avengers than we got on screen ("Dead Man's Treasure Hunt" and "Killer" are good examples) - perhaps that might be possible if the new audios take off.

Thanks for the Twitter tip/feed link!
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrick indeed did an admirable job of meshing with just about anyone they threw at him. I'd have loved to have seen more of Merlin as well, and with radio that could be quite possible. I know the Who serials have done several stories based around minor characters, or ones invented solely for radio. I don't see why they couldn't do the same with characters like Forbes or Merlin. They could even fill in the gap between the original series and TNA, show us what Steed was up to in the meantime. Heck, they could write a story featuring Tara passing the baton to Gambit. Anything's possible. Cool
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cyberrich
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to hearing these! I can't wait to see who is cast as Steed and Keel. If these audios had been made a few years ago, Pat Macnee himself could have reprised his role. Rich.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the subject of Donald Monat, well of course that would be marvellous, but let's not forget Series 1 sees a young Steed at the start of his Avenging. Donald, while still doing voice work in LA, is in his early 80s now, and would most probably sound his age.

In terms of Big Finish drawing on my, Alys' and Richard's work, we are in contact with the people running the show at Big Finish, and are offering advice and help. To be honest though, from what they've told us, they really don't need it. They know what they are doing and I am confident that they will do a fine job with the adaptations and the casting. If we can help them on questions of some things being unclear in the scripts, all well and good, but trust me, they will do a fine job with or without our involvement.

In terms of where the audio releases might go after the Series 1 discs (assuming they are sufficiently successful), I would actually like the series to present another 'audio only' era, with Steed and a new partner, not seen in the TV series. I don't necessarily think that having a new Cathy, new Emma, new Tara, new Purdey and Gambit, is really the best way to go.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Steed at the start of his career, though? It might be for us (and Keel) the first time we've seen him, but he did missions behind enemy lines during the war and I expect his intelligence career carried on into civilian life in 1945...

Are the BF bods planning to do anything with the episodes where no scripts exist?

I suppose they could do a "new era" and new partner set in between Tara and TNA. Though people may wonder why that partner was snubbed in the Steed's Stud photographs seen in "House of Cards". Perhaps she was another Venus Smith Very Happy
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