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Why exactly were Clemens & Fennell fired?

 
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AgentCooper
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2022 6:14 pm    Post subject: Why exactly were Clemens & Fennell fired? Reply with quote

I've always wondered - the show clearly had gone through a "golden age" with Emma Peel, had success in America and globally...and ABC fired the two men who had shepherded the show to this success. Why exactly did that happen when it did? What were the politics at play behind the scenes that led to this? I've never understood why you'd fire your "show-runners" (a modern term, I know, but that's ostensibly what Clemens & Fennell were) at the top of their game?
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mariocki
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2022 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it was because ABC wanted the series to be more realistic and less humorous, something which Clemens and Fennell objected to.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2022 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes apparently some top brass though the show was becoming too "out there" and fantastical and wanted to return to the gritty crime series of the John Bryce years (seemingly oblivious to the more fantastical series 3 shows)... Luckily the mistake was realised soon after when Bryce fell badly behind and the episodes in train were dull as ditchwater...

Amusingly once Clemens and Co were back in the saddle the show got some of its most bizarre episodes ever - thankfully!

I do wonder if this version is entirely true though. Invasion of the Earthman is about as wacky as they come, though I suspect it was reworked a bit in the edit. Terry "Dalek man" Nation, who wrote it (and was good friends with TNA writer and ITC scripter/producer Dennis Spooner, as was Brian Clemens), went on to become the script editor of the season so was clearly on the same wavelength as Clemens & Fennell.
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mousemeat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Yes apparently some top brass though the show was becoming too "out there" and fantastical and wanted to return to the gritty crime series of the John Bryce years (seemingly oblivious to the more fantastical series 3 shows)... Luckily the mistake was realised soon after when Bryce fell badly behind and the episodes in train were dull as ditchwater...

Amusingly once Clemens and Co were back in the saddle the show got some of its most bizarre episodes ever - thankfully!

I do wonder if this version is entirely true though. Invasion of the Earthman is about as wacky as they come, though I suspect it was reworked a bit in the edit. Terry "Dalek man" Nation, who wrote it (and was good friends with TNA writer and ITC scripter/producer Dennis Spooner, as was Brian Clemens), went on to become the script editor of the season so was clearly on the same wavelength as Clemens & Fennell.


yeah, I would concur, pretty much..but I thought it also had something to do with budget of the series, cost over runs, etc...and the mission was to reduce budget...
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mariocki
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was the reason given to the cast and crew but it wasn’t actually the case.
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow... and I appreciate that this probably isn't the whole reason... I think that it may be linked in with ABPC/ABC reasserting its control in the wake of the ITV franchise reshuffle. My understanding is that until early 1967, the series was made for ABC (and therefore ABPC) by Telemen, a company jointly owned by Julian Wintle and ABC. When it was revealed in mid-1967 that ABC would be merging with Rediffusion to form Thames from mid-1968, it was indicated that "The Avengers" would move from Telemen to be made by ABPC's Television Films subsidiary... with Julian's departure across late 1967 into early 1968. If Brian and Albert were part of the Telemen set-up with Julian, then it's likely that ABPC would have wanted to reassert more direct control via John Bryce as their own producer...

Just a theory of course...

All the best

Andrew
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Andrew. That does seem more likely than them throwing away the golden goose in what seems like a fit of pique or nostalgia for the Bryce videotape era.
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
Thanks Andrew. That does seem more likely than them throwing away the golden goose in what seems like a fit of pique or nostalgia for the Bryce videotape era.


It seems to "fit" in some respects... John seems to have still been at ABC on "Redcap" and then "Public Eye", although I'm not quite sure what he was working on in 1966. He's then at LWT by April 1968 and in the autumn working on "The Inquisitors" (an off-beat thriller series that was abandoned after the recording of several episodes and never aired). So if "The Avengers" needed to be brought under full control of ABPC at that juncture and John was at ABC, then that would sort of make sense...

All the best

Andrew
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AgentCooper
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew Pixley wrote:
Somehow... and I appreciate that this probably isn't the whole reason... I think that it may be linked in with ABPC/ABC reasserting its control in the wake of the ITV franchise reshuffle. My understanding is that until early 1967, the series was made for ABC (and therefore ABPC) by Telemen, a company jointly owned by Julian Wintle and ABC. When it was revealed in mid-1967 that ABC would be merging with Rediffusion to form Thames from mid-1968, it was indicated that "The Avengers" would move from Telemen to be made by ABPC's Television Films subsidiary... with Julian's departure across late 1967 into early 1968. If Brian and Albert were part of the Telemen set-up with Julian, then it's likely that ABPC would have wanted to reassert more direct control via John Bryce as their own producer...

Just a theory of course...

All the best

Andrew


Thanks, this makes a lot of sense. I always felt like there was probably some back-room political stuff behind it, as is usually the case in these situations. I always had a little bit of a hard time believing it was done purely for creative reasons (though I know ABC didn't love all the whimsy and surrealism either and had them tone it down slightly in the second chunk of Series 5).
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mousemeat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

all good and logical points...but the bottom line, even today, is money, BUDGET. and ABC, etc...didn't have a bottomless pit for budgets, unlike their U.S. counterparts at U.S. ABC. AND once U.S. ABC pulled the plug, the show was OVER. despite countless sales and broadcasting in other regions.
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mousemeat wrote:
all good and logical points...but the bottom line, even today, is money, BUDGET. and ABC, etc...didn't have a bottomless pit for budgets, unlike their U.S. counterparts at U.S. ABC. AND once U.S. ABC pulled the plug, the show was OVER. despite countless sales and broadcasting in other regions.


Oh, absolutely. I think that from around late 1966/early 1967, ABPC are having the series made primarily for the US market with the UK market being very much a secondary consideration (akin in some respects to the approach adopted by the series financed by ATV and distributed by ITC). The moment the US network didn't renew the order, that was that.

All the best

Andrew
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AgentCooper wrote:
Thanks, this makes a lot of sense. I always felt like there was probably some back-room political stuff behind it, as is usually the case in these situations. I always had a little bit of a hard time believing it was done purely for creative reasons (though I know ABC didn't love all the whimsy and surrealism either and had them tone it down slightly in the second chunk of Series 5).


There's certainly memos as far back as 1965 indicating that ABC didn't necessarily agree with some of the more excessively stylised elements that Telemen were introducing into the series. There is a significant shift in tone for the eight episodes filmed from "Death's Door" onwards... and that could well have been a move designed to appease ABC/ABPC...

All the best

Andrew
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mousemeat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew Pixley wrote:
mousemeat wrote:
all good and logical points...but the bottom line, even today, is money, BUDGET. and ABC, etc...didn't have a bottomless pit for budgets, unlike their U.S. counterparts at U.S. ABC. AND once U.S. ABC pulled the plug, the show was OVER. despite countless sales and broadcasting in other regions.


Oh, absolutely. I think that from around late 1966/early 1967, ABPC are having the series made primarily for the US market with the UK market being very much a secondary consideration (akin in some respects to the approach adopted by the series financed by ATV and distributed by ITC). The moment the US network didn't renew the order, that was that.

All the best

Andrew


bingo, couldn't stated it..any better...I will say, the show was aired against the top rated show on U.S. TV, Rowan & Martin's Laugh in, which aired on NBC. Shame that ABC, simply didn't move the show, to a different day and time..might have played out much different, maybe even run for another season or two...Alas, we will never know...perhaps in a alternative universe..
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