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When did you first see the pre-Emma Peel episodes?
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Alan
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:05 pm    Post subject: When did you first see the pre-Emma Peel episodes? Reply with quote

Inspired by a comment by Ian Wegg in another part of the forum, I wondered if it might be interesting to hear when members first saw the Honor Blackman (or Ian Hendry) episodes of The Avengers.

The Emma Peel, Tara King and New Avengers shows have always been easier to see, at least in the UK.

I first got to see some videotaped episodes in the 80s. With my foggy memory, I've long forgotten exactly which episodes they were - but one of them was definitely Death of a Great Dane and another was a Venus Smith episode, possibly A Chorus of Frogs.

These were among a collection of about six episodes that Dave Rogers had got on VHS from Pinewood and I saw copies that he made for Alys, who later became my wife.

The picture and sound quality were pretty ropey (particularly with Death of a Great Dane) but it was fascinating to see what came before the slick, filmed episodes that I'd seen on Channel 4.

Later of course some Cathy Gale episodes were shown on Channel 4 (a selection of about 12) and I finally got to see the full run in the 90s on the Bravo channel, though these were all recorded for me by a friend as I didn't have satellite TV at the time.

So, what about you? When did you first see Cathy Gale in action?
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mariocki
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I first saw a Cathy Gale episode when (I think) one was shown as part of a classic TV season (TV Heaven?) in about 1992. All a bit vague but I thought it was a one-off before Ch4 showed that run episodes.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was reminded about The Avengers by the hype about the 1998 film. I'd already been getting interested in other TV series from the 1960's/70's about then. I probably watched a bit of some episodes in the mid 1960's aged about 7 but, presumably because I saw this a few times, I can only directly remember the stills in the opening titles of Emma Peel stretching in fight sequences. That stuck in my young memory!

The first Cathy Gale episode I saw would have been Man With Two Shadows on the parallel lines VHS from the local library around 1998 because I remember that 'They Keep Killing Steed' from that video was the first episode I watched 'recently'. I remember liking the story and the Steed/Cathy partnership in MWTS.
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Ian Wegg
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: When did you first see the pre-Emma Peel episodes? Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
Inspired by a comment by Ian Wegg in another part of the forum, I wondered if it might be interesting to hear when members first saw the Honor Blackman (or Ian Hendry) episodes of The Avengers.


Haha, I'm honoured to have been the source of inspiration!

To expand on what I said previously, I came to The Avengers in the Emma Peel era. I was aware that there was a predecessor to Diana Rigg because my parents would talk about Honor Blackman, but I had been too young to have seen those series.

My first viewing of a Cathy Gale episode was a showing of Mandrake at Chichester in 2011. Roger Marshall attended and answered questions about it, he clearly preferred the earlier VT series to the later filmed ones.

~iw
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mariocki wrote:
I first saw a Cathy Gale episode when (I think) one was shown as part of a classic TV season (TV Heaven?) in about 1992. All a bit vague but I thought it was a one-off before Ch4 showed that run episodes.


That would have been The Gilded Cage as part of TV Heaven, transmitted on 15th February 1992. Channel 4's selected screening commenced on 7th January 1992 (The Avengers' 31st birthday) with The Frighteners, and then ran weekly up to 25th March, finishing with The Medicine Men.

Smile
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Sam
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was born in 1967. Too young to remember any original series episodes new, but re-runs of Emma & Tara were quite common on one of our local stations during the 1970's.

(Being as my family always watched The Avengers, it's quite probable I was already a fan when that picture was taken!)
<-----

I do remember watching The New Avengers when CBS aired them new, and then later they re-ran some Emma eps.

I was aware of Cathy's existence (but not Dr Keel or Venus), but never saw any of them until A&E began running them in the 1990's. The first two I saw were "The White Elephant" and "The Grandeur That Was Rome", although I can't remember which one was first.

Once the DVD's came out I eagerly purchased them as soon as I could. The original A&E Cathy releases were not the best quality, so I bought the Optimum UK re-mastered versions and watch them on my computer.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure how aware I was about the Cathy Gale episodes prior to actually seeing them. Honor Blackman was doing the ITV sitcom, whose name escapes me in the early 90's; did I know her as an Avengers woman then..?

We had a family holiday to Florida in summer of 92 where I got to see some King and then Peel repeats. That got me into the show again.

Then one morning in 93..? I discovered that my brother had recorded an episode of the Avengers that was on TV late at night. I don't think it was the whole episode maybe just the final act but it was Second Sight. I remember looking forward to hearing the Johnson theme again and being disappointed by what I heard on the end credits. As much as I loved the series and would start buying the videos in 94? Once I discovered they were being released, I'm not sure I really made the connection that they were the same series.

I think I got The Complete Avengers book in 1994 so devoured the episode synopsises and got more of a visual idea that Blackman and other people had been in the show before Rigg.

I think it was probably my love of Peter Hammond's work that caused me to dip into the show on video. My brother had a video of Brett's Holmes which had one episode directed by Peter Hammond, I was blown away by his style then I noticed his name on The Avengers credits. Lumiere released a few episode so I bought Mr. Teddy Bear and Bullseye.

The style of production didn't phase me as I was used to the look from my love of Doctor Who. I was very taken by the two episodes, especially Bullseye even though it was the more mundane of the two episodes.

It wasn't until the contender DVD box set that I finally got to see the full seasons and loved them.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
mariocki wrote:
I first saw a Cathy Gale episode when (I think) one was shown as part of a classic TV season (TV Heaven?) in about 1992. All a bit vague but I thought it was a one-off before Ch4 showed that run episodes.


That would have been The Gilded Cage as part of TV Heaven, transmitted on 15th February 1992. Channel 4's selected screening commenced on 7th January 1992 (The Avengers' 31st birthday) with The Frighteners, and then ran weekly up to 25th March, finishing with The Medicine Men


I must amend my previous answer. I've checked my video catalogue and I find I actually recorded and kept that episode when broadcast in TV Heaven. Assuming I watched it, then that would have been my first viewing of a Cathy Gale episode too, although I have no memory of it. When I get a chance I'll dig out the recording and watch it.

Clearly I still had little interest in the pre-Rigg era at that time. I taped the Without Walls documentary in 1992 but it seems I didn't bother with any of the C4 Avengers run until series 4.

~iw
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Spaceship Dispatcher
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vague teenage memories, apologies! There was a VHS box set in the 1990s that contained tapes of 3x Cathy episodes, 3x b/w Emma, 3x colour Emma and (the most watched tape) 3x Tara episodes; the tape sleeves and the card box were all pale blue, but I'm afraid I have no idea about the specific details of when it was released or when I bought it...
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometime between 1985 and the end of the decade I obtained some VHS tapes from Australia and one of these included a several generations old copy of Death of a Great Dane. Further to this, around the same time there was an event held at the National Film Theatre by the BFI and they screened Dressed to Kill. Both episodes made an impression on me and now I rate these as among my favourite videotaped episodes of The Avengers.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Gilded cage on channel 4 in 1992, part of their TV heaven series. I remember my heart racing as the opening credits started. I bought the TVTimes New Avengers souvenir in 1976 (still got it) that was full of photos of the old series. I never thought I'd get to see the episodes. It was a long 16 year wait, but it was worth it.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure it was the A&E '64 set 1 (2000) for me - the NTSC picture's quality for "The Secrets Broker" was so poor I didn't bother getting any more and I was glad when Contender put out their own set later on which was so much better.
It just might have been the Parallel Lines #2 VHS tape though, I remember a local video store having them for hire but I'm pretty sure that was at least in 2001 as I was working in town when I discovered they had them.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some vague recollections of watching some of the Ian Hendry era episodes in 1961. My first clear memories of The Avengers were of watching the Honor Blackman series two and three when they were originally broadcast on ITV between 1962-1964 - I was 9-11 years old. It was during that big-freeze winter of 1962-1963 that I became really hooked.
I can vividly recall the brilliant New Year murder-mystery episode: Dressed to Kill, the riveting Mr Teddy Bear story, and the media attention when Honor accidentally knocked out professional wrestler Jackie Pallo in the live broadcast of Mandrake.

Being 12-14 when Diana Rigg took over (I was born in 1953) I distinctly remember thinking Honor would be impossible to replace. However, it only took Diana three or four episodes for her to supersede Honor in my affections. The Cybernauts, A Surfeit of H2O, The House That Jack Built and A Touch Of Brimstone (in censored form) affirmed my belief that Miss Rigg as Emma Peel was now my number one television heroine. I thought that the sublime Macnee/Rigg combination had brought The Avengers to its zenith.

It was in 1965 that I started writing to ABC television asking for photographs of Miss Rigg as Emma Peel. ABC television would very generously send back five or six b/w 10x8 stills, free of charge, from the series with an ABC typed episode synopsis slip attached to the rear of each Emma Peel image.

Also around the 1966-1967 period, I bought the four John Garforth books and the two Patrick Macnee/Peter Leslie Avengers’ novels. Patrick’s books, Deadline and Dead Duck are the best Avengers books I’ve read.

I watched contemporary shows of the 1960’s: The Saint, Sherlock Holmes, The Man From UNCLE, Mission Impossible and Adam Adamant which I loved
– but The Avengers, my number one, was never surpassed.

I loved seeing Honor Blackman as Miss Pussy Galore in Goldfinger – the third Bond film I saw on the big screen in 1964. I was 12 when I bought my first James Bond novel in 1965: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service price: 3/6, and distinctly remember thinking that Diana Rigg would be perfect for the role of Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo. So I was delighted when, four years later, she was cast in that classic role as Tracy, James Bond’s wife.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny, as old Russian Avengers fan (since 1995), for first time I watched full episodes from video era... in early 2014. Although I had video era from January 2010, a reason for the delay was that in Runet operated a group of enthusiasts, who planned to make Russian subtitles for these episodes, and I was waiting for the case when I could evaluate the matter at the appropriate level, due my problem English on listening. Nevertheless, the case with the subtitles did not work out for some unknown reason, although according to the last information of one of the participants of mentioned project, that I read in Internet a few years ago, they were ready to start. Personally, I thought about the realisation of the early episodes of The Avengers in Russian, too, many years ago, but as series with Russian soundtrack, but not single-soundtrack. Persistent financial constraints did not allow me to do it and usually if I had some extra money, often I just spent it on the rare Avengers items on Ebay, mainly fanzines. I also planned to work in the following order for Russian soundtrack to save finance: a group of enthusiasts making subtitles, and I'm looking for people who'd voiced it at my expense. So I waited until the beginning of 2014, when I came to the conclusion that the subtitles project seems was dead and the crisis in Russia has reached such a point that I should was to save up the money for years, only to carry out this plan.
I froze the idea and decided to start watching the episodes from video era. The first episode was "Don't Look Behind You", then on the evening of next day, "Dressed to Kill" - it was enough that I delved into the atmosphere of wonderful world Very Happy , even if I was able to understand only 30 percent of the English words by ear, and I began every evening to watch one episode at a time. Smile

For the first time I saw Cathy Gale fragments in 2001, when sitting in the computer room in the library decided to watch an amateur video for the song Kinky Boots. I was fascinated by compilation and regretted that the Russian fans of the series that I knew, and I did not have the own computer at home to view it to many times. However, the main desire of Russian fans of that time was not in search of the video era of The Avengers, this was desire in viewing the black and white episodes of Emma Peel in Russian, that happened just in 2003.
I remember when Sergei Pronin bought a computer in 2002 (he was the first one of us who did it), we surprisingly found, in one fine day arriving to visit him, he became a fan of mentioned videoclip for the song Kinky Boots. Very Happy
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Charlie Parker
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was with the Contender Parallel Lines video series that I first saw a pre-Emma Peel episode, took me a little by surprise in terms of stylistic differences but I soon grew used to it.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I first saw them on A&E in the early '90s, I think when they aired them in the US for the first time. The repeats that I'm currently watching on Cozi-TV (in the US) just aired them all the way through, so it was interesting to see them again for the first time in a long time.

When I was a kid, I remember finding them very jarring after having made my way through Seasons 4-6. I found a lot of them too boring, slow, and the general production quality much too murky to really enjoy them, and also found the more rakish, caddish portrayal of Steed also jarring. I do recall thinking it got off to a promising start with the very memorable (and very Season 4-ish) "Mr. Teddy Bear" and liking the edgier, spikier vibe of Mrs. Gale, but the subsequent episodes disappointed. I was even more confused when characters like Venus Smith and Dr. King showed up and Cathy was nowhere to be seen, and wasn't crazy about these other partners at all, with Dr. King too bland and Venus too ditzy for it to feel like The Avengers.

Having just rewatched them, I enjoyed them more now, especially as an adult who better understands how the show, and British television evolved over the course of the '60s. I still think "Mr. Teddy Bear" is an absolute classic and totally stands up with the best of The Avengers, but did find myself getting bored with most of the rest of Season 2 (and skipped the Venus and King episodes entirely), though I thought "The Mauritius Penny" came close. Season 3 however was a big step up, and felt closer to The Avengers that I love, especially eps like "Brief for Murder," "The Nutshell," "Man with Two Shadows," "The Wringer," "Dressed to Kill," "Mandrake" and "Build a Better Mousetrap."
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely agree about "Mr Teddy Bear". It's one of my favourite episodes, and I wish many more of the video-taped episodes were in that vein.

I first saw ALL the surviving stories (at the time) of the video-taped era on sat/cable channel "Bravo TV" who showed them in the '90s. This was the first time I had seen Venus Smith and Dr King. I had first seen Cathy Gale when Channel 4 had shown "The Gilded Cage " as part of their TV Heaven series. I had found Honor Blackman terrific. I was so keen to see more of her, as I found Mrs Gale incredibly strong and intelligent. I remember thinking at the time, that even in the '90s there weren't many female characters as strong as she was. I think, to an extent, that is unfortunately still true.

However, the quality of the video-taped era varies greatly. Some stories, such as "Mr Teddy bear" are outstanding, while others are pretty poor. Having re-watched them on DVD I still think that is the case. When watching a Venus episode and she starts singing... Oh dear! I'm so glad she featured in only a few stories as I couldn't take much more! Her acting wasn't bad so they should have just stuck with that. Apparently the then producer Leonard White was later quoted as saying that if he had stayed on he would have kept Venus. Well, if this is true, then thank goodness he left is all i can say, or else they'd be more awful singing to have to listen to!!

Although i love the Rigg/Macnee era the most and the great relationship between Mrs Peel and Steed, I do love Mrs Gale too. Her toughness is still great to watch.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was introduced to the Avengers when I was about eleven or so and when it was repeated (Peel colours) on TV ten years later I knew I wanted to see this. I taped them and became an instant fan.

After re watching these within a year I jumped at the chance of buying Tara King DVD's (first two of five box sets) a discount prices.
A year later I bought season three on ebay.co.uk (season four was too expensive).

It was a bit getting used to, but I quickly learned to love the Gale era episodes.

These were the first episodes I chose to watch:
November Five
Death of a Batman
The Undertakers
Build a Better Mousetrap
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Ian Wegg
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apart from two isolated episodes I detailed previously, I have finally got to watch the Cathy Gale episodes over the last few weeks, thanks to the True Entertainment channel.

As they have no nostalgia value to me I am trying to watch these in the context of a 1960's video series. I have to say that there are a couple of gems but I'm finding many of them heavy going.

I'm now about half way through and I'm coming to the conclusion that quite a few of the stories would have been better as 30 minutes programmes.
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J.Mac3
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I could say that I saw the original US broadcasts in the 1960s but I was a bit too young. I clearly remember my favorite shows on Friday evenings in1966-1967 being the Green Hornet followed by the Time Tunnel. The Avengers aired immediately afterwards, so I must have seen the opening scenes of The Avengers now and then, but I only remember watching the full episodes in the summer of 1971, in reruns. I was 14 at that time and being in the early stages of the male hormonal barrage, naturally I fell madly in love with Emma Peel. She, and her relationship of equality with Steed, have stayed with me ever since. Like so many of my peers, I wanted to live in the world of the Avengers and, of course, with Emma Peel. *sigh*
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