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Bowler Hats and Kinky Boots: The Ultimate Avengers Book
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
Frankymole wrote:
Lhbizness wrote:
Sounds like a very interesting book and I'm excited to read it!

I'm sure that there are lots of rumors, some true and some not, about various backstage shenanigans, as there are with any series (especially in a time period where sexism and sexuality could make "inappropriate behavior" a firing offense).

Regardless, it does sound like Thorson was ill-treated by the show, much as the women who came before her, and unfortunately mean-spirited statements that she only got the job because she was dating someone are a pretty common accusation against young actresses. Not certain that it's really important, in the end, at least in terms of the show we have.
Possibly, although sadly it is used as a lazy way to disparage Linda Thorson, often by Emma fans who won't even countenance discussion of other pros and cons of the series, merely dismissing her entire era because she allegedly "slept her way into the job". It's ironic if Beth Shepherd slept her way out of the job!


Well, yeah, if you want to criticize the Tara era, criticize the show or the performance or the scripts or anything else, not whether or not the actress was sleeping with a producer. It doesn't really matter, one way or the other. Though, quite honestly, I'd never heard anything about this until it was brought up on this board, and then in defense of Thorson. Most Emma fans I've known object to the character and not the actress (but I am comparatively young in the ways of this fandom.)

In general, though, Thorson seems to be the most objectified actress in the series - more discussion is laid on about whether or not she flashes her underwear or how short her skirts are than either Rigg or Blackman, both of whom had some interesting wardrobe choices over the years.
Possibly, but Emma gets fairly objectified in both her Queen of Sin gear and in her 'Dance of the Seven Veils' (or was it six?) with even comments about her being retarded in the latter. Plus the lascivious, lingering tilt shots of her in her knicker-showing outfits in 'A Sense of History' and the like, which even got compiled into composite screen shots on some websites...

The usual attack for Thorson re: the "producer's girlfriend" seems to be that it "explains" her "lack of acting talent" - which if you watch the other screen tests, is absolute bunkum, since she's head and shoulders above the other famed actresses they test.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was actually referring to fan discussion, not to what the series portrays - although evidently, all three main women (and later Purdey) were objectified in one sense or another. My own perspective is that despite the visible objectification of Emma in scenes like her striptease or the Queen of Sin outfit, she still manifests a control over herself - in the striptease sequence, for instance, she follows it with basically flipping Steed off (the "retarded" is obviously Steed ribbing her, as we are well aware that Emma's of near-genius level), and then proceeds to fight an assassin that neither the Prince nor Steed are capable of defeating. She's in charge in some measure, and even bemused or annoyed by the fawning males. So there's a difference, in my mind, between mere objectification in the series (e.g. looking up a character's skirt) vs. the use of sexuality for humor or as a part of the character.

But, yeah, all three women are objectified in fan commentary (mostly male) and it gets rather tiring to see them boiled down to girls in short skirts and leather catsuits - which is far from the sum total of their contributions. I don't think there's anything wrong with appreciating the women, or Steed, physically. But while I've often heard deeper discussion of Emma and Cathy's attributes across fan discussions, Tara often gets reduced to short skirts and instances of underwear flashing. For all my problems with the character, it doesn't seem quite fair.

I've just never heard anyone say they don't like Thorson or think she's talentless - it's mostly been about not liking Tara, which tends to get put down to the scripts, direction, etc. than anything inherently wrong with Thorson's abilities.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not fair, especially as Tara's costumes are rather more mature than the fetish figure-hugging leather or the velveteen romper-suits of Emma which tend to infantilise her or provide titillation (she got rid of the leather as soon as she could make such demands).

I haven't read all these posts about knicker-flashing and mini-skirts, but it is notable that the mini-skirt was first brought in by Emma - indeed, didn't they claim that Alan Hughes invented it for her, and that there was worry in case the fashion didn't catch on, and by the time her minis reached the screen they'd be laughable? I recall Clemens saying something like that.

The horror of "Billy" or whatever the stuntman doubling for Diana Rigg was called, in a mini-skirt, is something I don't want to revisit in my nightmares anytime soon...

Plenty of folks dislike Thorson and think she's talentless - rather than the Tara character being weak. Not just fans on the internet, but pre-internet age or early internet-age books too. Just check out "The Avengers Dossier" for a lengthy, tiring diatribe through all of its season 6 reviews... Thankfully, many other groups of viewers, including the magnificent French, disagreed (hence the champagne adverts and ultimately the return of The Avengers in the 70s as TNA) and there were great reviews and continuing repeats, comics etc in the 70s, so it seems to be a 1990s onwards thing (like the backlash against Jon Pertwee's Dr Who - trendy fans finding it cool to personally bash an actor).
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paulpdjh
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really looking forward to reading this book.

The discussion of objectification of the female Avengers reminds me of a discussion I had with a female colleague, back in the 1990s. She viewed The Avengers as no more than the 1960s equivalent of the 1990s TV programme Baywatch. As her evidence she cited "Gale and Peel's love of judo and black leather and Peel and King's uncanny ability to get themselves tied up every week and need rescuing by the big, brave Steed. All of which is designed to fulfill male fantasies". I did point out that for a programme she disliked, she seemed to have watched quite a bit of it! Laughing
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, I was trying to say that it isn't fair to relegate Thorson's contributions to mini-skirts and knickers-flashing, not to start a lengthy shouting match about how objectified, childish, etc. etc. Emma was. I was making an observation based on what I've seen NOW, not twenty years ago (when I was five). I don't really think that Emma's outfits particularly infantilize, but that's more of a product of the actress who occupies them than of what the intentionality of the show might or might not be. But really, it's not an issue of what the women do or do not wear - it's an issue of what's discussed. Just in general, at least in contemporary discussion Emma and Cathy are usually spoken of as feminist or proto-feminist figures alongside their physical attributes. There's little mention of Tara's position as an Avengers woman, except in reference to the underwear-flashing, short skirts, etc. Again, whether or not that's a fair assessment is up for debate, but it does seem to be the general approach. (Not necessarily on this board, I'm talking across Avengers discussions). The Baywatch/Avengers comparison sounds like it comes from someone who never paid attention to the show.

Yeah, there's a lot of male fantasy going on here, but there's an equal amount of progressive approach to female characters and an owning of female sexuality by the women that is more liberating than confining (speaking, in fact, as a woman). Being sexual is not the same thing as being fetishized or, more importantly, blithely accepting one's fetishization by male eyes, and indeed all three of the main women take a more or less eye-rolling approach to attempts to fetishize them (Emma's conversation with Piedi in Quick Quick Slow Death is a good example).

I've also gotta say that, whether the show intended it or not, there's a good bit of female fantasy going into Steed. Unlike Bond, who's basically a male view of what women want while also being a dyed-in-the-wool misogynist, Steed is an attractive man, a complex but dashing figure, and a man who likes women without viewing them solely as a means to pleasure - his relationship with all of his female counterparts is playful and humorous, and even at his most sexist (in some of the early Gale eps), he enjoys their company and respects their input. For many women, the idea of a man who is equal parts old-school gentleman, dashing rogue, and forward-thinking modern male is incredibly attractive.

As for Thorson, I've simply found that the character has been reviled, but not the actress - this, again, in discussions I've seen. And as I said, it's unfair to use the actress's personal life as a reason to reject her character - I don't like Tara for plenty of very good reasons, but I see no reason to react against Thorson.

Anyways, we've wandered off the topic again. Sorry, Mike.
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As mentioned in the above post...

Speaking of fashions, leather and otherwise, John Bates was not the first designer approached to come up with The Avengers collection, as another well known designer failed to come up with all the goods.
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peabody
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, this is fantastic news! I can't wait to get your book, Mike. I'm especially intrigued by the info on incidental music and the day by day progress reports. These are good times to be an Avengers fan. Very Happy
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeR wrote:
As mentioned in the above post...

Speaking of fashions, leather and otherwise, John Bates was not the first designer approached to come up with The Avengers collection, as another well known designer failed to come up with all the goods.
Was it a female designer?
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
MikeR wrote:
As mentioned in the above post...

Speaking of fashions, leather and otherwise, John Bates was not the first designer approached to come up with The Avengers collection, as another well known designer failed to come up with all the goods.
Was it a female designer?


It was indeed a female designer.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks - nuff said! I hope it turns out to be who I think it is...
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeR wrote:
Frankymole wrote:
MikeR wrote:
As mentioned in the above post...

Speaking of fashions, leather and otherwise, John Bates was not the first designer approached to come up with The Avengers collection, as another well known designer failed to come up with all the goods.
Was it a female designer?


It was indeed a female designer.


Intriguing! June can't come soon enough. Very Happy
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is now a 10% discount on all books (including Bowler Hat and Kinky Boots) when purchased on the new Telos website until May 31st. However, you need to enter the code newwebsite 14 at the checkout stage.
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dissolute
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exciting times, killer postage to Australia though - it's the same as the price of the book! I'll definitely get it, but might have to wait for a postage deal or see what Amazon can offer. Sad
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dissolute wrote:
Exciting times, killer postage to Australia though - it's the same as the price of the book! I'll definitely get it, but might have to wait for a postage deal or see what Amazon can offer. Sad


Having had a word with Telos Publishing they tell me that the book should appear on various Amazon sites shortly after publication in the UK.

One option then would be to use Amazon's Book Depository subsidiary with free worldwide shipping.

Hope this helps.
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without asking you to spoil any of the book's contents, Mike, I'm curious as to which season of the show produced the most surprises (or at least cases of previously-unknown information), at least in your opinion? Were there eras that proved particularly hard to find fresh information about, or did they all prove equally challenging? Naturally, if you feel that the book answers that better, feel free to say so. I'm just curious about the research process. Smile
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timeless A-Peel wrote:
Without asking you to spoil any of the book's contents, Mike, I'm curious as to which season of the show produced the most surprises (or at least cases of previously-unknown information), at least in your opinion? Were there eras that proved particularly hard to find fresh information about, or did they all prove equally challenging? Naturally, if you feel that the book answers that better, feel free to say so. I'm just curious about the research process. Smile


Timeless

Id say that the previously unknown information that I have uncovered covers every season of The Avengers and perhaps to a lesser extent The New Avengers. Perhaps Id say that the first season on film held more surprises than any other though, especially the cross over from season three, when the series went from videotape to film. The popular press and trade magazines of the day (Kine Weekly and the Daily Cinema) seemed to report material that made little sense surrounding the series and it was only talking to Richard Bates that gave me the true sequence of events. Although everyone I spoke to regarding the book was helpful, Richard really went the extra mile about his and John Bryces experiences and their one and only meeting with Julian Wintle.

Brian Clemens was also very supportive of the project and he wrote me a introduction for the book, which was very good of him and even called me a couple of times offering more assistance and asking when my deadline was.

So from a behind the scenes point of view then again Id go for season four, also because I had access to a huge amount of correspondence between Julian Wintle at Elstree and Brian Tesler at Teddington, usually with regard to draft scripts being submitted for assessment.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:04 am    Post subject: Re: Bowler Hats and Kinky Boots: The Ultimate Avengers Book Reply with quote

MikeR wrote:
After spending three years assembling and writing the most detailed book ever on The Avengers, The New Avengers and The Avengers feature film, Telos Publishing have now scheduled Bowler Hats and Kinky Boots for a summer release.

At slightly over 800 pages this book is now available to pre-order on the Telos website www.telos.co.uk although it will become available later on both Amazon UK and Amazon USA and there will also be a Kindle version. This design will be the cover.



Compiled from official paperwork from ABC Television, Iris Productions, Telemen Productions, ABC Television Films, The Avengers (Film & TV) Enterprises and Warner Brothers, including internal correspondence and daily progress reports, this volume gives a day by day account of how the series progressed. In addition to this information, the author has also spoken and corresponded with many people who worked on the series, thus giving the fullest picture yet of how this classic and stylish British production was assembled. This volume also covers the South African radio series and the stage play.

Just to wet your appetite I can confirm that you will also discover the answers to the following

Who was the first actress considered as Ian Hendrys replacement?

Which episode of The Avengers was vetted by The Ministry of Defence before transmission?

Which major member of the videotaped production was later invited to join the team at Elstree Studios making the series on film and turned it down?

Before the Associated British Picture Corporation decided to fund the series on film, ABC Television considered making the series as a co-production with another ITV regional company, but which one?

Besides the UK, which other country was considered for filming episodes of The Avengers?

In spring 1965 Honor Blackman was offered the lead in which primetime American TV series?

Which black and white Diana Rigg episode besides A Touch of Brimstone had cuts?

Which director was verbally reprimanded by Albert Fennell for rewriting portions of a film series script in his lunch break?

Further to this, there is the full story behind the proposed Broadway Avengers play and the 1965 feature film project that was to have location filming in the Middle East.

All this and more can be found in Bowler Hats and Kinky Boots.


The finished book cover has now arrived.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeR wrote:
Timeless A-Peel wrote:
Without asking you to spoil any of the book's contents, Mike, I'm curious as to which season of the show produced the most surprises (or at least cases of previously-unknown information), at least in your opinion? Were there eras that proved particularly hard to find fresh information about, or did they all prove equally challenging? Naturally, if you feel that the book answers that better, feel free to say so. I'm just curious about the research process. Smile


Timeless

Id say that the previously unknown information that I have uncovered covers every season of The Avengers and perhaps to a lesser extent The New Avengers. Perhaps Id say that the first season on film held more surprises than any other though, especially the cross over from season three, when the series went from videotape to film. The popular press and trade magazines of the day (Kine Weekly and the Daily Cinema) seemed to report material that made little sense surrounding the series and it was only talking to Richard Bates that gave me the true sequence of events. Although everyone I spoke to regarding the book was helpful, Richard really went the extra mile about his and John Bryces experiences and their one and only meeting with Julian Wintle.

Brian Clemens was also very supportive of the project and he wrote me a introduction for the book, which was very good of him and even called me a couple of times offering more assistance and asking when my deadline was.

So from a behind the scenes point of view then again Id go for season four, also because I had access to a huge amount of correspondence between Julian Wintle at Elstree and Brian Tesler at Teddington, usually with regard to draft scripts being submitted for assessment.


I've salivating just reading this.Smile

A few examples the correspondence is on the DVD and they made fascinating reading.

This will be my perfect Birthday present!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dissolute wrote:
Exciting times, killer postage to Australia though - it's the same as the price of the book! I'll definitely get it, but might have to wait for a postage deal or see what Amazon can offer. Sad


hope so...as the postage at times, is an killer....brutal.....
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeR wrote:
Timeless A-Peel wrote:
Without asking you to spoil any of the book's contents, Mike, I'm curious as to which season of the show produced the most surprises (or at least cases of previously-unknown information), at least in your opinion? Were there eras that proved particularly hard to find fresh information about, or did they all prove equally challenging? Naturally, if you feel that the book answers that better, feel free to say so. I'm just curious about the research process. Smile


Timeless

Id say that the previously unknown information that I have uncovered covers every season of The Avengers and perhaps to a lesser extent The New Avengers. Perhaps Id say that the first season on film held more surprises than any other though, especially the cross over from season three, when the series went from videotape to film. The popular press and trade magazines of the day (Kine Weekly and the Daily Cinema) seemed to report material that made little sense surrounding the series and it was only talking to Richard Bates that gave me the true sequence of events. Although everyone I spoke to regarding the book was helpful, Richard really went the extra mile about his and John Bryces experiences and their one and only meeting with Julian Wintle.

Brian Clemens was also very supportive of the project and he wrote me a introduction for the book, which was very good of him and even called me a couple of times offering more assistance and asking when my deadline was.

So from a behind the scenes point of view then again Id go for season four, also because I had access to a huge amount of correspondence between Julian Wintle at Elstree and Brian Tesler at Teddington, usually with regard to draft scripts being submitted for assessment.


Thanks, Mike! I can see that being the case, given how much change the series went through between seasons 3 and 4 (videotape to film, Honor to Diana, Teddington to Elstree, etc.). There's always a certain level of vagueness associated with that period, so it's just begging to be filled in. I can't wait to read what you found! Very Happy
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