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PR: With Umbrella, Scotch and Cigarettes - a new book
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Alan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The phrase is "a necessary evil". They are diabolical masterminds at Amazon... Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
The phrase is "a necessary evil". They are diabolical masterminds at Amazon... Wink
It does appear that there are more than one kind of DM. Wink I am happily awaiting my book from lulu.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please post your reactions. It would be great to have people discussing the content of the book here.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
Please post your reactions. It would be great to have people discussing the content of the book here.
Be happy to. Cool (but may be a delay with work at it's busy season.)
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ischtar
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three days ago I did something unusual – I bought an E-book version of „With Umbrella, Scotch and Cigarettes“. I don't like E-books. But it's also unusual because I bought the book for a second time after I already had bought it as a paperback version a few weeks ago.
The reason is that I want to access it on my smartphone and laptop too, because this is a terrific book. Seriously. I think this is the best book that has been published about The Avengers for years.

Alan Hayes and Richard McGinlay did a fine research and in doing so managed to write a high-quality book about The Avengers, that presents new and amazing information about the production of the lost series one.
It does not present opinions (you can find that anywhere on blogs and forums) but facts by research and information collected in hard work in archives obviously over months. It compares and corrects information about the first series of The Avengers in a really Sherlockian way. It's
not enough for Alan Hayes and Richard McGinlay to present and summarise well known information or opinions, no – they step forward and show you new wonders from Avengerland: background information about the production of each single episode, from planning to rehearsals to recording, they present lively descriptions of the people who made the Avengers, listings of transmitting ratings, archived material and much more.

I hope there will be more of this, as I like to read new refreshing things about this fantastic series.
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Rodders
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Add in Bowler Hats and Kinky Boots and the other current Avengers projects and most of us have never had it so good, to borrow Macmillan's phrase.
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The Bird Who Wrote Too Much


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got the book so have much more to read through, Alan. Firstly, it is brilliant! Alan and Richard are quite the sleuths. And the artwork that Shaqui sketched is really quite incredible. it has such the comic book feel to it.

Well forgive my questions Alan as I need more time to dig into it. but it is such a pleasure to be able to ask an author questions. Not an opportunity to be missed!

I was skimming and had some questions. The first season is difficult as we don't get to see the performance itself, but from your meticulous work, it looks like some of the series 1 episodes could they indeed be plots for the peel or King era? I was thinking about Radioactive Man or Nightmare. It seems like the episodes really varied as they were trying to find their direction from almost a film noir feel from one episode to a Cold War espionage to the next.


When did the first eccentrics show up? How about the first DM that was not a straight forward rogue type? I was eyeing Brian Clemen's ,One for the mortuary. Does Clemens or even Macnee recall if Benson, with his umbrella that turns into a sword or cane, and bowler hat was the inspiration for the later Steed's attire and the use of the umbrella as a weapon?

I smiled when you mentioned the 2 characters were drinking too much as part of the episode. I can only empathize as it had to have been the most high pressured of jobs to do these one time plays, one right after another. Did the actors get real alcohol on the set? If not, I can imagine they needed it. Wink
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
Just got the book so have much more to read through, Alan. Firstly, it is brilliant! Alan and Richard are quite the sleuths. And the artwork that Shaqui sketched is really quite incredible. it has such the comic book feel to it.


Delighted you're enjoying the book! I hope that the rest of it is suitably entertaining and enlightening. Smile

Quote:
Well forgive my questions Alan as I need more time to dig into it. but it is such a pleasure to be able to ask an author questions. Not an opportunity to be missed!


Well, half an author. Mind you, I've half-authored two books, which I suppose adds up to being a whole author. Wink

Quote:
I was skimming and had some questions. The first season is difficult as we don't get to see the performance itself, but from your meticulous work, it looks like some of the series 1 episodes could they indeed be plots for the peel or King era? I was thinking about Radioactive Man or Nightmare. It seems like the episodes really varied as they were trying to find their direction from almost a film noir feel from one episode to a Cold War espionage to the next.


I think a handful could have translated, with appropriate rejigging, to the B/W Emma Peel era - but not The Radioactive Man, which is a terrific thriller by the sounds of it, though not even typically Avengers. Keel and Steed are periferally involved with most of the story's focus on George Pravda's character Marko Ogrin. Nightmare - what we know of it - could translate to the film era, as could the likes of Ashes of Roses, Dance with Death, Please Don't Feed the Animals, maybe Double Danger, Tunnel of Fear and The Deadly Air.

There's even a comedy in the mix, or at least an episode much lighter in tone, but I won't spoil the surprise for you...

Quote:
When did the first eccentrics show up? How about the first DM that was not a straight forward rogue type? I was eyeing Brian Clemen's ,One for the mortuary. Does Clemens or even Macnee recall if Benson, with his umbrella that turns into a sword or cane, and bowler hat was the inspiration for the later Steed's attire and the use of the umbrella as a weapon?


Benson's employer, Pallaine, is a candidate for earliest diabolical mastermind. First eccentric... hmmm... quite clearly Geoffrey Bayldon's Professor Kilbride (The Deadly Air) is an unarguable eccentric, dressed as a swami and meditating, but it's possible he was not the first. I think that may have been Major Renton-Stephens in Please Don't Feed the Animals, though the evidence will have been in the performance, which we can no longer see.

As for the bowler, this is something we discuss in the book.

Quote:
I smiled when you mentioned the 2 characters were drinking too much as part of the episode. I can only empathize as it had to have been the most high pressured of jobs to do these one time plays, one right after another. Did the actors get real alcohol on the set? If not, I can imagine they needed it. Wink


I cannot imagine that Macnee and Hendry would have turned up for work if fake tipple was on offer! Wink (Though obviously it was an open secret that a lot of seen-on-TV booze was actually cold tea. Erk!!!)
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Alan
A Touch of Brimstone


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally, there's a 15% discount promotion that runs until midnight on the 31st October.

HALLOWEEN is the code.

FWD15 will obtain the same percentage discount and should be working beyond the 31st.

http://www.hiddentigerbooks.co.uk/
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anti-clockwise
The Bird Who Wrote Too Much


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fake tipple eh? Laughing Ice tea too boring I am sure for these gents. That must have been most disappointing for them when they suddenly had to stop drinking alcohol in the scripts. It is really most interesting how the show evolved. So thank you for your replies on that.

And again please refer me to the book as I have not finished it in 24 hours Wink but it seems as though the show started out almost as film noir. Not to get into semantics. But the idea of a hard working man making a successful career, and then some random thing happens to him, sometimes just by shear accident that negatively impacts his life forever as we see with Keel... But then it seems like the episodes were so very inconsistent after that. Some gritty underworld crime, followed by the next week episode of pure espionage. I am guessing you might explain that direction in the book, but I am intrigued, as I had the idea they switched gear soon into espionage but does not appear so. Very inconsistent from week to week, which may have made it more exciting. But just a most excellent book, and of course Richard deserves half the compliment Cool
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the subject of tone, I think for the most part it is pretty consistent, but with shifts of locale and subject to keep it from becoming boring. It was never set up as 'TV noir' - it was intended to go against the grim, realistic tone that was prevalant in film and television at the time. There's a buddy-buddy aspect to it that leads to humourous exchanges, though they were clever enough to make Steed's role in the proceedings slightly shady, meaning that Keel was often unsure of where he actually stood. But I think the film noir aspect is overplayed - and quite likely I am in part to blame for that as I deliberately went for a noirish feel on the reconstructions for DVD.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
On the subject of tone, I think for the most part it is pretty consistent, but with shifts of locale and subject to keep it from becoming boring. It was never set up as 'TV noir' - it was intended to go against the grim, realistic tone that was prevalant in film and television at the time. There's a buddy-buddy aspect to it that leads to humourous exchanges, though they were clever enough to make Steed's role in the proceedings slightly shady, meaning that Keel was often unsure of where he actually stood. But I think the film noir aspect is overplayed - and quite likely I am in part to blame for that as I deliberately went for a noirish feel on the reconstructions for DVD.
I guess I was making a judgment from Hot Snow where the half episode I saw had no humour. It had such the random feel of the dumb baddies getting the wrong doctor's office which led to the death of Keel's fiancé. I am going to readthe chapter in your book involving the humourous aspects, since that is at least one key difference. But it is good to know there was humour from the start and I have no doubt Hendry and Macnee must have been quite the pair.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not easy to judge based on what we have of Hot Snow. There's the lovely interchange between Keel, fiancee Peggy and Dr Treading, which is quite light and bouncy, and the stuff with the gang, which has some level of humour between Charlie and Johnson, with the former being rather arch.

What follows the murder is hardly likely to have been laugh a minute, of course, and that's why that first act is not really helpful when we're looking at how the series set its tone. The early episodes are pretty grim, but after a few weeks, Keel and Steed have a more trusting relationship and lightness and wit creeps slowly in.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
It's not easy to judge based on what we have of Hot Snow. There's the lovely interchange between Keel, fiancee Peggy and Dr Treading, which is quite light and bouncy, and the stuff with the gang, which has some level of humour between Charlie and Johnson, with the former being rather arch.

What follows the murder is hardly likely to have been laugh a minute, of course, and that's why that first act is not really helpful when we're looking at how the series set its tone. The early episodes are pretty grim, but after a few weeks, Keel and Steed have a more trusting relationship and lightness and wit creeps slowly in.
Ah that is what I suspected. It really did evolve in that first year. Well really as most shows do I suppose. But I will be fascinated to read about where the humour started developing. I'm afraid I may be asking questions that are directly in the book, so again you can refer me back. I saw Brian Clemens was involved early on, with Brought to Book. But from the looks of it, he only wrote 2 episodes for the first season. There were clearly a lot of genius involved from the start of the show. How or when did he start really taking such direction of the show? Was One for the Mortuary the first episode dealing with Mortuaries as TA seem to have a perverse love affair of sorts with them.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
Ah that is what I suspected. It really did evolve in that first year. Well really as most shows do I suppose. But I will be fascinated to read about where the humour started developing. I'm afraid I may be asking questions that are directly in the book, so again you can refer me back. I saw Brian Clemens was involved early on, with Brought to Book. But from the looks of it, he only wrote 2 episodes for the first season. There were clearly a lot of genius involved from the start of the show. How or when did he start really taking such direction of the show? Was One for the Mortuary the first episode dealing with Mortuaries as TA seem to have a perverse love affair of sorts with them.


Brian Clemens has always over-egged the influence he had on the show's early days and this book, in the nicest possible way, Richard and I try to redress the balance and explain the reality of the creation and development of the series.

It's fair to say that Clemens only really was in a position to control the development of the series from Series 4.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
anti-clockwise wrote:
Ah that is what I suspected. It really did evolve in that first year. Well really as most shows do I suppose. But I will be fascinated to read about where the humour started developing. I'm afraid I may be asking questions that are directly in the book, so again you can refer me back. I saw Brian Clemens was involved early on, with Brought to Book. But from the looks of it, he only wrote 2 episodes for the first season. There were clearly a lot of genius involved from the start of the show. How or when did he start really taking such direction of the show? Was One for the Mortuary the first episode dealing with Mortuaries as TA seem to have a perverse love affair of sorts with them.


Brian Clemens has always over-egged the influence he had on the show's early days and this book, in the nicest possible way, Richard and I try to redress the balance and explain the reality of the creation and development of the series.

It's fair to say that Clemens only really was in a position to control the development of the series from Series 4.
OK well I clearly need to educate myself further. He has a way of promoting himself, but I know Sydney Newman and Leonard White deserve much more credit. Did you interview anyone for the book? I know Leonard White is well into his 90's. So I am guessing most of your work is from scripts and documents. The problem with Clemens is that he promotes himself and everyone else who was responsible for producing TA can't fight back.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We did interview people, yes, but only when there were obvious gaps in the documentation we were working from. Richard Bates for instance gave us some helpful insight into the character and work of John Bryce, John Whitney helped us regarding his writing, as did Geoffrey Bellman's widow Rosemary, along with a handful of others.

In the main, others have made many statements in various media in the past, and we have referred to these also.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan, you and Richard mention these bosses with the weirdest names: mainly numbers. And they phone in interesting places. One is mainly in an office, and the other-where does he call from? Did the audience get to see their faces or only their voices? It is quite intriguing. Is it a spy organization for the gov't or is the audience truly in the dark?
There seem to be a lot of stretching of the truth by certain gents. Wink Just curious, the starting salary for Macnee or Hendry-were they quite well to do or just the average salary of an Englishman back then? It sounds like a lot but then they are not working all year I assume and the amount was per episode.
And just curious. You mentioned the consultant police surgeon for the series was suing: do you know for what? Seems rather odd as he was there to just consult I assume. Nice job putting all these very confused and jumbled facts together in a most cohesive manner. I am sure it was not easy.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
We did interview people, yes, but only when there were obvious gaps in the documentation we were working from. Richard Bates for instance gave us some helpful insight into the character and work of John Bryce, John Whitney helped us regarding his writing, as did Geoffrey Bellman's widow Rosemary, along with a handful of others.

In the main, others have made many statements in various media in the past, and we have referred to these also.
Lovely. Richard Bates was the story editor? He stayed on through series 4 as I recall? It must have been quite interesting to interview them.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
Alan, you and Richard mention these bosses with the weirdest names: mainly numbers. And they phone in interesting places. One is mainly in an office, and the other-where does he call from? Did the audience get to see their faces or only their voices? It is quite intriguing. Is it a spy organization for the gov't or is the audience truly in the dark?


The questions are flowing thick and fast now! Smile

It's not clear where One-Fifteen phones from - he is seen in an ornate room in one of the tele-snaps, but we have no further info.

Yes, generally the audience did see the faces, though there is at least one instance where One-Ten is only heard in voice-over on the phone.

It's pretty clear to the audience it's a government department, but a suitably mysterious one.

Quote:
There seem to be a lot of stretching of the truth by certain gents. Wink Just curious, the starting salary for Macnee or Hendry-were they quite well to do or just the average salary of an Englishman back then? It sounds like a lot but then they are not working all year I assume and the amount was per episode.


It was a good wage compared to the man on the street, who earned on average between £12 to £14 a week in 1960 when Macnee and Hendry were hired.

Quote:
And just curious. You mentioned the consultant police surgeon for the series was suing: do you know for what? Seems rather odd as he was there to just consult I assume.


All will be revealed in the sequel book about the prequel series! Smile

Quote:
Nice job putting all these very confused and jumbled facts together in a most cohesive manner. I am sure it was not easy.


Thanks! I don't think of it in terms of being hard or easy - we just enjoyed ourselves getting to the bottom of any number of mysteries!
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