The Emma Peel Chronology

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of Emma Peel, in the fourth season premiere of the British spy show The Avengers, I decided to put together a chronology of the character’s experiences. Though the series was designed to work without continuity—i.e., the episodes could be broadcast in any order—when the episodes are viewed in the sequence they were produced, some interesting character development becomes apparent. The relationship between Emma Peel and her partner-in-adventure, John Steed, is initially rather more edgy and distant before settling into the freewheeling camaraderie they are best remembered for. A close examination of the episodes also reveals a growing trust between top professional Steed and his “talented amateur” partner. But rather than merely summarizing the episodes, as such synopses are readily available, I chose to look at the stories strictly from Emma’s point of view. This gives a fresh perspective on these classic tales. Some discussion of the chronological placement of the episodes is offered in the Notes section at the end, though the chronology generally follows the original production schedule.

And now, the first part of The Emma Peel Chronology!

October 1964

Late in the month, Emma Peel is practicing her fencing moves at her penthouse apartment in Hampstead when John Steed stops by to recruit her to assist him with one of his cases. Within the hour, they are on a train to the east-coast hamlet of Little Bazeley, where four of Steed’s fellow agents have vanished in the past year. Another passenger, Jimmy Smallwood, is also on his way to Little Bazeley and chats with Emma, showing her photos of his brother Tom, the local blacksmith there. Upon arrival that evening, all three of them head for the local pub, where Emma and Steed pretend not to know each other. They meet three locals, “Piggy” Warren, Jill Manson, and Mark Brandon, whose behavior is immediately suspicious. Smallwood soon goes to visit his brother, but the locals prevent Emma and Steed from leaving the pub. After discussing the case in Steed’s room, Emma finally returns to her own room and goes to bed.

The next morning, Emma reports to the primary school, claiming to have been posted there by the Education Ministry. Manson, the headmistress, insists the students are all on holiday, despite it being the middle of the term. With nothing much to do, Emma soon goes looking for Steed and finds him on the beach. They stumble upon Jimmy Smallwood’s body—he was murdered last night and hidden in a sand dune. They immediately pay a visit to the blacksmith, and though he claims to be Tom Smallwood, he looks nothing like the man in the photo. Next, Steed asks Emma to look into the parish records while he checks out the abandoned RAF base nearby. At the local church, Emma meets the vicar, Jonathan Amesbury, but they discover the pages covering the last several years have been torn out of the record books. Thus, Emma returns to the empty school to search the place. There, a dying man stumbles in and reveals himself to be the real Mark Brandon. He point Emma to a photograph on the wall and manages to give some cryptic warnings before he dies. Emma takes the photo to Amesbury, who confirms that Manson and Brandon are impostors. Unfortunately, Amesbury, too, is an impostor, and Emma is taken prisoner. She is soon rescued by Steed, and they realize that Little Bazeley is the staging area for a foreign invasion and everyone in town is an impostor. They track the spies to an underground bunker at the airfield, where the invasion force is training for battle. After fighting with the impostors, Emma and Steed manage to trap the invasion force inside the bunker. Steed then calls in his agency for the mopping-up operation, and he and Emma return to London.

December 1964

Emma visits Steed at his apartment at 4 Queen Anne’s Court on Tothill Street in Westminster. He tells her of his latest case, eleven well-organized murders with not a single suspect. The only link between the victims is they all had their portraits taken recently at the same photography studio. Posing as a reporter for a business magazine, Emma interviews Jessica Stone, the widow of the latest victim. During the interview, Mrs. Stone and her brother-in-law, Robert Stone, quarrel over whether there are any recent photographs of the deceased. Emma thinks Mrs. Stone is lying and reports her suspicions to Steed afterwards. Steed reports that the portrait photographer, Fred Beale, said he only shoots portraits for the Togetherness Marriage Bureau, so Steed is off to check them out. He asks Emma to find out whether the eleven victims were married or not, so she spends her afternoon digging through the police reports. Later that night, Steed phones Emma and sends her to see a man named J.G. Henshaw at a nearby address. He refuses to explain why and hangs up abruptly, which annoys Emma. When she arrives at Henshaw’s apartment, Emma sees an attractive woman rushing out before discovering Henshaw drowned in the bathtub. Angry, Emma confronts Steed, believing he could have prevented Henshaw’s murder if he’d acted faster. She then reports that all the victims were bachelors except the latest one, Jonathan Stone. Steed suggests that Emma should pay a visit to the marriage bureau herself in the morning.

Thus, the next day, Emma meets with the marriage bureau’s proprietor, Adrian Lovejoy, but he receives a call from his managing director and sends her off to the photography studio. There, Beale shoots Emma’s portrait, and while she’s waiting for the prints to be done, she sees Robert Stone questioning Beale, though she can’t make out what they’re saying. She delivers the portraits to Lovejoy at the Togetherness Marriage Bureau, and he interviews her about what she’s looking for in a man. Afterwards, Emma returns to Steed’s apartment, where they compare notes. Steed tells Emma about his date with Barbara Wakefield, which was arranged by Lovejoy and his assistant, Walter Dinsford. Wakefield seemed a bit too interested in Steed’s tale of a cousin who stands between him and a vast fortune. Emma suspects Wakefield might be the woman she saw leaving Henshaw’s apartment last night. Steed then heads back to Togetherness. A few hours later, Emma and Steed meet up again, and Steed informs her that Togetherness is really an assassination bureau—and they’ve assigned Steed the task of killing Emma. Thus, the pair concocts a scheme to catch the conspirators.

In the morning, Emma pretends to be dead, laid out in a special coffin provided by Steed’s agency. Lovejoy and Steed stand over her, discussing their arrangement, and then, after Lovejoy has left, Steed tells Emma to remain there the rest of the day while he finds out who the “managing director” is. He leaves her a bottle of champagne to help her pass the time. However, Lovejoy soon returns with some henchmen, and they seal Emma in her casket and carry it out to a hearse. Luckily, she is able to slip out through a false panel and escape before she is discovered. She heads back to Togetherness, where she finds Robert Stone sneaking around. Stone convinces Emma that he’s not part of the conspiracy, so they work together to search the premises. However, Wakefield discovers them and holds them at gunpoint as Lovejoy, Dinsford, and the others enter with Jessica Stone. Mrs. Stone reveals that she is the “managing director” now, having taken over from her husband after murdering him for sleeping around. Steed suddenly appears and a fight breaks out. Emma easily overcomes Mrs. Stone, but has a difficult time with Barbara Wakefield, who is an efficient killer. Finally, with a little help from Steed, Emma is able to defeat Wakefield. The conspirators are taken into custody, and Emma and Steed learn that Beale was also part of the cartel.

A week or so later, Steed wakes Emma before dawn one morning so they can drive out to the country house of Sir Clive Todd. There, she meets two of Steed’s superiors, Sir Jeremy and Major Plessy, and learns that Todd was shot in the head last night while breaking into a government strongroom in Whitehall. Steed tells her that this was only the latest incident in a rash of damaging security breaches, and it falls to them to discover the “diabolical mastermind” behind it. Emma dons a nurse’s uniform so she can question Todd when he regains consciousness. However, when Todd wakes up later, he claims to have amnesia. Then, Dr. Fergus Campbell arrives from Steed’s agency to take over Todd’s treatment, though he’s pessimistic about his patient’s chances. Steed flirts with Todd’s daughter, Davinia, before leaving to run down some leads. While Steed is out, one of Todd’s friends stops by and speaks with Campbell, though Emma does not meet him. Todd eventually becomes a little more lucid, so Emma tries some word-association with him. Steed enters and questions Todd about RANSACK, but before Todd can answer, Campbell gives him a lethal injection. Distraught, Campbell insists he doesn’t know why he administered the poison, though he admits to being a member of RANSACK, a club for the intellectually gifted, just like Todd and the man who visited earlier, Desmond Leeming. Steed decides to have Emma infiltrate RANSACK, so she returns to London for a job interview with Leeming and a Professor Spencer. Afterwards, she reports to Steed that Spencer took her on as his secretary, and he and Leeming were very impressed with her high IQ. Furthermore, she assures Steed she filled out his entrance exam so he’ll be accepted as a member.

The next day, Emma reports to the Dorrington Dean College for Young Ladies, a boarding school near Oxford out of which RANSACK is temporarily operating. She meets the school’s gamesmistress, Holly Trent, who is taking care of the grounds while the students are on holiday. Emma spends most of the day going through RANSACK’s files, but nothing seems out of the ordinary. When Steed arrives, Emma passes him the answers to the next intelligence test so he’ll be sure to pass. In the evening, she pays Steed a brief visit in his dorm room and they compare notes on the case. Then she retires to her own room for the night.

In the morning, Emma finds Steed in the gymnasium and he questions her about a secret meeting she attended last night. Emma knows nothing about any secret meeting and thinks Steed is confused. Leeming then announces a special meeting has been scheduled for 6:00 PM. Later, back in her room, Emma hears an announcement that the meeting has been rescheduled for 5:30. She then joins the others for a twilight ramble in the woods, though Steed fails to appear. During the hike, Emma slips a pine cone into her jacket pocket.

Steed confronts Emma the next morning, but she again remembers nothing unusual happening the night before. However, she is surprised to discover that the “pine cone” in her pocket is a metallic object not likely to be found in any forest. Steed catches up to her later in the gymnasium and reports that a missile base on the coast was burglarized last night, and no one can figure out how the thieves pulled off their heist. Still dubious about Steed’s assertions, Emma goes about her day, posing as Spencer’s secretary, then returns to her room. She finds a note from Steed telling her to unplug her radio. An hour later, Emma hears people walking down the corridor outside her door and follows them back to the gymnasium. She notices that everyone else is in a trance, and realizes unplugging her radio must have prevented her from being hypnotized again. Leeming calls the meeting to order, but his superior hides behind a screen and speaks through a voice-altering system. This mysterious leader announces that Steed is a spy and asks for a volunteer to kill him. Emma immediately offers to do it. She takes a bow and arrow and heads out to the archery range, where she finds Steed. She lets off an arrow in Steed’s direction in case anyone is watching, then they quickly compare notes. She returns to the gymnasium and tells Leeming that Steed is dead. However, Leeming pulls a gun on her, revealing that they found Steed’s note in her room. Steed comes to the rescue and fights with Leeming and his henchman while Emma tackles their leader, who turns out to be Holly Trent. Emma prevails against her foe, and Trent, Leeming, and their henchmen are taken into custody. The other members of RANSACK are cleared of any wrongdoing. Later, Emma and Steed learn that Dr. Campell had also been hypnotized and killed Sir Clive Todd after Leeming triggered a post-hypnotic suggestion.

Two days before Christmas, Emma arrives at Steed’s apartment to find him haggard and sleepless. He reveals that he’s been having a vivid recurring nightmare for the past week. In the dream, Steed saw Freddy Marshall, an old friend whom he’s been investigating as a possible security leak. They are shocked when Marshall turns up on the front page of the newspaper, dead from a cerebral hemorrhage. Later that afternoon, Emma returns with groceries to make dinner. She sees Steed is having a restless nap. When Steed wakes up, Emma helps him go through his mail, mostly Christmas cards from old girlfriends, including Cathy Gale. Suddenly, Emma invites Steed to accompany her to a Christmas party tomorrow at the country estate of publisher Brandon Storey. Steed accepts, looking a little out of sorts.

On Christmas Eve, Steed picks Emma up at her apartment and they drive out to Storey’s estate in Steed’s vintage Bentley. When they arrive, Steed recognizes the house from his nightmares. The butler, Jenkins, admits them and shows them to their rooms. After settling in, Emma and Steed attend a cocktail party, where they meet their host, as well as Emma’s friend Jeremy Wade, who got her the invitation in the first place. Emma is amused that Steed seems noticeably jealous of the handsome young Wade. She meets other guests, such as Martin Trasker and Felix Teasel, a psychoanalyst. Steed excuses himself to take a nap and later returns to tell Emma about the vivid nightmare he had, in which he saw a woman who has only just arrived, the noted psychic Janice Crane. Emma’s concern for Steed’s mental state grows during the fancy-dress ball that evening. She urges him to seek psychiatric help, but Steed blows her off. When Crane then draws Steed into her mind-reading act, Emma has had enough. She intentionally drops her wine glass to disrupt the performance, then confronts Wade about the goings-on. He admits to being involved in a “psychic experiment” and promises to meet her later to explain. However, after everyone has gone to bed, Emma seeks out Wade only to find he’s been murdered. She immediately goes to Steed for help, but he appears to have gone mad. Emma then turns to Teasel for advice, but he pulls a gun on her to keep her from interfering. As soon as Teasel lets his guard down, Emma attacks him and knocks him out. She goes back to Steed, who reveals that he’s only feigning madness and that Teasel is a fellow agent. They believe there’s a conspiracy to steal state secrets telepathically, and they deliberately kept Emma in the dark so she couldn’t inadvertently jeopardize their operation. Emma and Steed then track the conspirators to their hidden lair downstairs, where they fight with Jenkins, Trasker, and Storey, who is disguised as Father Christmas. Jenkins and Storey are shot dead, but Trasker and Crane are taken into custody. Steed is pleased that Freddy Marshall’s death has been avenged, while Emma mourns for Jeremy Wade.

January 1965

Emma decides to take a refresher course in applied medicine, focusing on forensics, thinking it will prove valuable for her investigative work. Toward the middle of the month, Steed summons her to the boardroom of Todhunter Industries, two hours after the chairman of the board died suddenly. Steed explains that Norman Todhunter was the sixth top executive to die recently under mysterious circumstances, and the only connection between the victims is a banker named Henry Boardman. Steed plans to meet with Boardman and sends Emma to the funeral parlor to collect Todhunter’s personal effects. There, Emma questions the undertaker and learns that Todhunter’s body had a curious bruise over the heart. She also notes that Todhunter’s paging device, or “bleeper,” has disappeared.

The next day, Emma decides to follow up with Todhunter’s answering service. She meets the proprietor, J.P. Warner, who boasts of having more than five thousand “bleepers” in service. During their chat, Emma recognizes one of Warner’s employees, having seen him at the funeral parlor yesterday. Warner identifies the man as Fitch, his “resident mechanical genius,” and mentions his work as an engineer during World War II. Emma assumes Fitch was at the undertaker’s to retrieve Todhunter’s “bleeper,” but when Warner doesn’t know anything about it, her suspicions are raised. Later, Steed tells Emma of his meetings with Henry Boardman, a broker named Frederick Yuill, and the stock-market wizard Ben Jago. He suspects the murders are part of a plot to manipulate the stock market.

Following Steed’s suggestion, Emma contacts John Harvey, one of Boardman’s junior executives. She poses as a new client, recently returned from Barbados, and flirts with Harvey until he invites her to Boardman’s next cocktail party.

On the night of the party, Emma and Steed arrive at Boardman’s apartment separately and pretend not to know each other. Boardman introduces his wife, Ruth, and Steed playfully tries to poke holes in Emma’s cover story about Barbados. Emma and Steed become concerned when Frederick Yuill fails to show for the party. After securing an invitation to Boardman’s next wine-tasting event, Steed takes his leave. Emma waits several minutes before departing as well. She meets up with Steed in the parking garage, where she finds he’s been attacked by two thugs on motorcycles. They head immediately for Yuill’s apartment, where they find him dead. The only clue is a strange tear in his vest, right above his heart. Emma and Steed discuss the case while going through Yuill’s papers.

Five days later, Emma and Steed attend the wine-tasting event, where she is again chatted up by John Harvey. Steed and Boardman engage in a wine-tasting duel, and Emma gets the feeling that Boardman and Harvey don’t trust either of them.

Thus, the next day, Emma visits Harvey at his office again, to try to charm her way into his confidence. When Warner drops off a case of his “bleepers,” Harvey brags to Emma about his investment in this new technology. She then goes to have tea with Boardman and charms him as well. Later that night, Emma dons a zippered leather catsuit and sneaks into Fitch’s workshop to search the place. She discovers photos of Steed’s pocket watch, taken at the wine-tasting event, but Fitch catches her red-handed. Holding Emma at gunpoint, Fitch admits that he’s rigged a bomb in Steed’s watch to kill him, brags about the other murders he’s committed, and considers the most appropriate means of killing her. Taking his time about it, Fitch ties Emma up and puts her in a cupboard. Luckily, Steed soon comes to the rescue, having learned of Fitch’s plot from his accomplice, Ruth Boardman. Steed and Fitch fight until Fitch accidentally shoots himself with his homemade bicycle-pump gun. Emma and Steed then discover that Fitch outfitted the “bleepers” with a telescoping capillary needle to turn them into the perfect murder weapon.

As dawn breaks, Emma and Steed plant undoctored “bleepers” on their remaining suspects to flush out the rest of the conspirators. Emma is still at the bank when she hears a gunshot and rushes into Boardman’s office, finding he’s been shot by Ben Jago. She follows Jago down to the wine cellar, where he and Harvey are holding Steed at gunpoint. Emma drops a crate on Jago, knocking him out. She disarms Harvey, but he starts choking her until Steed smashes a wine bottle on his head. Emma drops their burly henchman with a karate chop to the kidneys. Harvey retrieves his gun and starts shooting at them, but Steed knocks him out with a well-aimed champagne cork. Jago, Harvey, and Ruth Boardman are all taken into custody.

February 1965

Emma is deep into her research for a paper on thermodynamics when Steed summons her to meet him at Pinter’s Department Store. When she arrives, Emma is annoyed at first, but is willing to help out when Steed explains that one of his fellow agents was gunned down and dumped in an alley last night, the only clue being a Pinter’s receipt in his pocket. Steed asks her to work undercover as a sales clerk, so Emma arranges an interview with the store manager, Robert Wentworth. She is hired immediately and assigned to the ladies’ underwear department, where she meets the store detective, Jarvis, who intimates that something odd is going on. She also overhears other employees talking about the “king” who lives in the Department of Discontinued Lines on the top floor. Steed checks in with her a little later, revealing that the staff is talking about Horatio “King” Kane, a wealthy industrialist who acquired the store a year ago. Steed goes off to try to meet with Kane, so Emma returns to work. At closing time, she overhears one of the clerks complaining to Jarvis about not being invited to the frequent “senior staff” meetings held after hours. Jarvis then confronts Emma about her inquisitive behavior, so she claims to be from the Ministry of Labour. After agreeing to collaborate with Jarvis, Emma heads home and tries to make some headway on her scientific research. However, Steed turns up with a black eye, received when Wentworth threw him out of Kane’s quarters. Steed leaves Emma some purloined newspaper articles about Wentworth’s inglorious military career in the Congo. Later that night, Jarvis phones Emma and asks her to meet him at the store. When she arrives, though, Emma finds that Jarvis has been stabbed to death with a Kaiser blade.

The next morning, Emma returns to work at Pinter’s, where she informs Steed about Jarvis and gives him some leads to follow up on. After lunch, she is chatted up by the store’s chief accountant, Tony Marco. When she shows Marco the dead agent’s receipt, he immediately takes her to see Wentworth. Finding herself locked inside the staff lounge, Emma stumbles upon a secret door that leads her to a makeshift laboratory. There, she discovers a missing nuclear scientist, Professor Popple, working in leg-irons. Unfortunately, she is captured by Wentworth and his henchmen, tied up, and hidden inside a rolled-up carpet. A couple of hours later, after closing time, Steed finds her, and she leads him back to Popple, who’s in a drug-induced stupor. Emma realizes that Popple’s computer runs on punch cards that are disguised as store receipts. She feeds the receipts into the computer, and it prints out the plans for a nuclear bomb. After Popple becomes lucid enough to confirm that there’s an atomic bomb in the store, Emma and Steed set off to search for it. After several hours, they’ve found nothing, but then Emma realizes the bomb is actually incorporated into the structure of the building itself. They are caught by Kane and one of his gun-toting henchmen, and Kane delights in describing his plan to blackmail the country—after destroying London. When Wentworth arrives, Steed suddenly attacks them with a ping-pong-ball gun, then he and Emma split up to try to reach the basement to disarm the bomb. They fight their way through Kane’s henchmen, but, realizing his scheme is unravelling, Kane activates the elevator that will trigger the detonator. Finding a crowbar, Emma and Steed manage to pry open the gates at the last moment, stopping the elevator’s descent. Kane, Wentworth, and their underlings are taken into custody, Popple is freed from his imprisonment, and the atomic bomb is safely dismantled.

March 1965

About a month later, Steed recruits Emma to help him investigate the murders of four top executives in the electronics industry, all of whom were apparently killed by a super-strong, bulletproof assassin. The victims all prove to have had appointments with the Hirachi Corporation, a Japanese electronics firm with a revolutionary new technology, so Steed decides to pay them a visit. Suspecting that the killer is a martial-arts expert, Emma goes to check out an exclusive karate training academy. There, her interest is piqued when the sensei mentions a student he calls “Oyama,” who can reputedly split a door with his bare hands. The sensei is dubious about Emma’s commitment to the martial arts until she proves herself against his female assistant. He is then happy to admit her as a student. Later, Steed stops by Emma’s apartment to tell her of his meeting with Mr. Tusamo at Hirachi. When he develops the film he shot in Tusamo’s office with his microcamera, Steed finds they now have a list of the competitors for Hirachi’s European concessions. Four of the companies are linked to the murdered executives and only two remain, so Emma and Steed each pick one to investigate. Thus, Emma heads over to Jephcott Products, Ltd., posing as a buyer for a department store, and meets with Mr. Jephcott, the owner. That evening, she returns to the karate dojo, where she is surprised to discover that “Oyama” is Jephcott himself, instantly making him her prime suspect.

Emma goes to see Jephcott again the next morning, but he is tied up in board meetings and is unavailable. She stops in at Steed’s apartment to make herself a cup of tea, and they discuss his upcoming appointment at United Automation, the last name on Hirachi’s list. Emma then returns to stake out Jephcott’s factory, and Steed joins her there after his appointment. Finally, the light in Jephcott’s office goes out, but when he fails to emerge from the building, Emma and Steed enter to check it out. They find that Jephcott has been murdered like the others, with a huge hole smashed through the wall of his office. They return to Emma’s apartment, where they conclude that the head of United Automation, Dr. Clement Armstrong, must be behind the killings, despite being confined to a wheelchair. Steed decides to pay Armstrong another visit, and, to prevent United Automation from getting the concession, asks Emma to call Mr. Tusamo at Hirachi to assure him a competing offer will come in the morning. Steed leaves her with a sleek pen that Armstrong gave him earlier. Emma makes the call to Hirachi, then waits anxiously for Steed to contact her. As midnight approaches, Emma decides to join Steed at United Automation in case he needs help. Once there, she finds a storeroom full of electronic parts, where she comes face to face with the assassin, a massive humanoid robot. Emma empties her gun into it, but the robot shrugs off the bullets and keeps advancing. Steed appears and yells to her that the pen is a homing device, so she throws it to him. Steed uses the pen to cause the assassin to attack a janitorial robot. Dr. Armstrong tries to intervene in their battle, but is accidentally killed by the robots. When the janitorial robot is destroyed, the assassin becomes inert, having no further programming. Steed then tries to apprehend Armstong’s accomplice, Benson, but he has managed to escape. As they head back to Emma’s apartment, Steed informs her that Armstrong called his robots “Cybernauts” and planned to use them to take over the country. When they arrive, Emma is not too pleased to find that the Cybernaut assassin smashed her front door and patio doors while she was out.

April 1965

A series of mysterious failures of the country’s radar-defense network prompts Steed to ask Emma to join him at a government early-warning station, where they discuss the problem with a Dr. Palmer. Suspecting sabotage, Steed decides to focus their investigation on the late Hubert Marlow, who was developing a radar-jamming device before his sudden death last month. Steed then goes to check out some leads in the nearby town of Pringby, leaving Emma to dig through Marlow’s personnel and research files. In the early afternoon, Emma comes across an appointment scheduled in Marlow’s diary for the day he died and decides to check it out. She drives to the address in Pringby and finds it is an undertaker’s shop. Inside, she is shocked to find Hubert Marlow’s corpse, looking surprisingly fresh. Later, Emma meets up with Steed at his apartment and reports her finding. Steed is surprised, as he saw Marlow alive that very morning. Having discovered something shady is going on at the Sir Horace Winslip Hospital for Ailing Railwaymen in Pringby, Steed decides to send Emma in undercover as a nurse.

The next morning, Emma reports to the hospital as a new trainee nurse, using false credentials supplied by Steed’s agency. The head nurse, Miss Thirlwell, gives Emma a brief orientation, then puts her to work. Emma soon meets a chatty colleague, Nurse Spray, who has a crush on the head surgeon, Dr. Johnson. During her rounds, Emma discovers a suspiciously heavy box of flowers, but Thirlwell shoos her away before she can check inside the box. As evening approaches, Spray informs Emma that all the trainees are being given the night off, since the senior staff will be operating and the O.R. is strictly off-limits. Curious, Emma hangs around until Steed arrives to check in with her, telling her of his meeting with the eccentric Sir Horace Winslip. Hearing footsteps approaching, Emma and Steed duck around a corner, from where they watch a coffin being carried into the operating room. Since there is a guard posted at the operating room door, they decide to investigate the florist, whose shop is located next door to the undertaker Emma visited yesterday. Inside, they discover numerous electronic components hidden amongst the flowers. They slip into the undertaker’s shop through a connecting door, where they find coffins with holes drilled in the lids. Steed comes across a ledger with burials scheduled several weeks in advance, and when they plot the locations on a map of the area, the graves form a ring around the radar station. Emma and Steed hide as a group of pallbearers enter and exchange one coffin for another. After the men have left, Emma and Steed’s suspicions are confirmed—the coffin contains a radar-jamming device, powered by a solar cell on an antenna that rises through the hole in the lid. Determined to find the devices’ control center, Emma follows the pallbearers back to the hospital, arriving just before dawn.

Slipping inside the hospital, Emma pulls a gun on Thirlwell, ties her up, and takes her place in the operating room, where Johnson and his assistants are assembling the jamming devices. Unfortunately, Thirlwell soon gets free and exposes Emma as an impostor, whereupon she is gagged and tied down to the operating table. Not wanting another death to draw attention to their activities, the spies decide to stage an accident involving Winslip’s scale-model railway line, located on his adjoining estate. A couple of henchmen tie Emma to the tracks, then drive the train towards her. Luckily, Steed arrives in time to fight off the henchmen and divert the train before Emma is run over. After driving the train back to Winslip’s sheds, Emma and Steed return to the hospital and apprehend Johnson, Thirlwell, and their co-conspirators. Sir Horace Winslip is extremely grateful to Emma and Steed for exposing Johnson’s duplicity.

A couple of weeks later, Emma accompanies Steed to interview the noted physicist John Wadkin, who has resurfaced after having gone missing a few years ago. Steed is hoping Wadkin will give them a lead on seven other missing physicists. When they arrive at Wadkin’s home, Emma meets one of Steed’s colleagues, Agent Varnals, who objects to Emma’s presence. Steed is frustrated to find that Wadkin’s mind has been shattered, leaving him little more than a mental vegetable playing with an abacus. Emma recognizes that Wadkin’s condition is the result of being brainwashed, and Varnals confirms that he believes Wadkin was held in a Manchurian prison camp called Nee-San. Emma is disturbed to learn that Steed seems to know the camp from personal experience. They next interview Wadkin’s Chinese-born wife, Anna, and though she comes across as evasive, Emma feels that she is trustworthy. Steed then leaves, but asks Emma to remain so she can speak with an old associate of Wadkin’s who will be there shortly. When Dr. George Cullen arrives, he proves to be argumentative and uncooperative, as he considers Wadkin to be a traitor due to how quickly he spilled his secrets. Cullen is unable to get through to Wadkin, who becomes extremely agitated after seeing the number 621 on his abacus. While Emma is arguing with Cullen, Wadkin is kidnapped by men posing as Chinese laundry workers. She fights with one of the kidnappers, but the bumbling Varnals gets in her way, allowing the man to escape. Cullen storms off, and Emma checks the house and grounds for clues. About a half hour later, a man named Leonard Pasold shows up, looking for Cullen, but Emma tells him Cullen has already left. When Steed eventually returns, Emma fills him in on what has occurred. Steed notes that Cullen is in London for a conference, staying at the famous Chessman Hotel, and decides that he and Varnals will keep him under surveillance. Annoyed by Varnals’ attitude toward her, Emma returns home.

Emma is not surprised when Steed phones late the next morning to ask for her help. She meets him at the Chessman Hotel and learns that Cullen disappeared during the night and was replaced by an impostor who checked out before breakfast. Curiously, Cullen had been given Room 621 when he checked in. Steed asks her to go undercover on the hotel staff, but she gives him a hard time about it, still annoyed at the way Varnals treated her. She spots Pasold arguing with the desk clerk about Cullen’s disappearance and points him out to Steed. While Steed goes to talk to Pasold, Emma reluctantly meets with the hotel manager, Mr. Carter, and gets herself hired on at the reception desk. A little while later, Steed, who is now passing himself off as “Monsieur Gourmet,” the celebrated hotel critic, asks her to check back through the records to see if Wadkin had been staying in Room 621 when he disappeared. Emma digs out the record books, but Carter sees her and becomes suspicious. They are interrupted when Carter must scold some Chinese laundry workers for coming in through the lobby rather than using the service entrance. Recognizing the men from yesterday, Emma goes snooping in the basement and discovers Pasold’s body in a large laundry basket. On her way back to reception, Emma is intercepted by Carter, who sends her up to Room 621. Expecting a trap, Emma enters the room with trepidation. Sure enough, she finds the windows and door suddenly blocked by steel panels as gas pours out of the air vent to render her unconscious. When she comes to, Emma finds herself in what appears to be the Nee-San prison camp in Manchuria. An Asian man in a Red Chinese Army uniform interrogates her, but Emma sticks to her cover story. Still groggy from the effects of the gas, she is very worried. However, Steed soon comes to the rescue, and, while fighting with the guards, Emma discovers that the camp is merely a mock-up and she is still, in fact, in the Chessman Hotel. As they return to the lobby, Steed informs her that the hotel’s owner, Max Chessman, was selling secrets to the Soviets in exchange for permission to build a chain of hotels across the Eastern bloc. Chessman and Carter are arrested as traitors, and the eight kidnapped scientists are set free.

May 1965

Emma accompanies Steed to the small town of Lower Storpington when a local resident is found drowned in the middle of a dry field. Another resident, a wannabe prophet named Jonah Barnard, has been writing crank letters to the Times about an apocalyptic flood, and Steed thinks there may be a connection. After dropping Steed off at Barnard’s house, Emma drives out to interview the dead man’s brother, Eli Barker. Revealing himself to be an ardent follower of Barnard’s, Barker directs Emma to the local distillery, Grannie Gregson’s Glorious Grogs, for he believes his brother must have fallen into a tank of spring water while trying to steal liquor late at night. Emma goes to the distillery posing as a journalist, but the director, Dr. Sturm, gives her the brush-off. She is curious about a row of raincoats and umbrellas hanging in a corridor, so she returns to Barker’s cottage and convinces him to show her where his brother snuck into the distillery grounds. They agree to meet at 9:00 PM, so Emma drives back to Barnard’s house to join Steed. However, Jonah Barnard informs her that Steed has already left, so Emma leaves a joke message for him. That evening, Emma goes to meet Barker, but he doesn’t show up. She finds a gap in the fence and slips inside, and while snooping around, she finds Barker—dead by drowning, just like his brother. She immediately informs Steed, and they compare notes on the investigation.

The next morning, Emma and Steed inform Barnard of Barker’s death. Then, while Steed goes to the distillery, Emma heads over to the train station to collect a load of meteorological equipment. She unpacks it in Barnard’s barn, where he is building his ark. When Steed returns, he and Emma drive out to the field where the first victim was found and set up the equipment. The field has a stationary cloudbank hovering over it, which Barnard claims has been there for several days, and Emma confirms that the initial readings are very strange. They then return to Barnard’s to meet up with Sir Arnold Kelly, an expert meteorologist Steed has called in. Kelly finds the results baffling, so the three of them head back to the field to conduct further tests. Emma and Steed are alarmed to discover that their equipment has been smashed in the meantime. Leaving Kelly to set up his own equipment, Steed drops Emma off at Barnard’s then heads back to the distillery. A little while later, Sturm’s assistant, Martin Smythe, shows up and forces Emma at gunpoint to accompany him to Sturm’s laboratory, where she is tied up and laid in Sturm’s giant mechanical wine-press. Sturm tortures Emma for information, but she refuses to talk. During the interrogation, Sturm brags that he has created the ultimate weapon—torrential rain on demand—and plans to sell it to the highest bidder. Emma mocks him as a “diabolical mastermind.” Finally, Sturm’s secretary, Joyce Jason, enters and calls him and Smythe to an important meeting. Once they have left the room, Steed and Barnard emerge from a hatch in the floor and free Emma from the wine-press. They go to destroy the rain machine, fighting their way through Sturm’s henchmen. During a brawl in a chamber where heavy rain falls constantly, Smythe and the henchmen are defeated and Sturm is electrocuted when his device overloads. Steed calls in his agency for the mopping-up operation, and informs Emma that he discovered Kelly’s body in the tunnels under the distillery; he’d been drowned like the others. Smythe, Jason, and their henchmen are all taken into custody.

Several days later, Emma arrives at Steed’s apartment to find him unconscious on the sofa. A man in a trenchcoat sneaks up behind her, but Emma incapacitates him with ruthless efficiency. Suddenly, Steed awakens and reveals that it was merely a test to prove that Emma is fit to assist him with his cases. Satisfied, the man in the trenchcoat, Major Carson, reports that the mysterious Soviet spy known as Colonel Psev is expected to infiltrate a high-level defense conference in a couple of days. Though no one knows what Psev looks like, his four-person entourage arrived in the country last night: Joseph Pudeshkin, Boris Shvedloff, Alicia Elena, and Andrei Vogel. Steed asks Emma to pose as a clerk at a model airplane store near the Soviet embassy, as radio-controlled planes are one of Psev’s few known hobbies. Hours later, Emma sells a top-of-the-line kit to a minor official from the embassy, confirming Steed’s suspicions.

At the shop a day or so later, Emma takes a call from the Soviet embassy requesting a replacement kit, and she agrees to deliver it personally. While at the embassy, Emma spots Steed through a doorway. However, when she visits him at his apartment that evening, Steed denies having been there, and Major Carson corroborates his story. Emma worries that Psev may be planning to replace Steed with an impostor, but Steed blows it off as too unlikely.

The next evening, Steed asks Emma to accompany him to a cocktail party at the Soviet embassy. At the last minute, though, he is summoned back to HQ, so he drops Emma off at the party and takes her Lotus to his meeting. Inside the embassy, Emma mingles with the other guests, wondering which one might be Colonel Psev. She chats with the ambassador, Sergei Brodny, a nervous little man whom Steed has known for some time. Finally, Steed arrives, but Emma immediately suspects him of being an impostor. When Steed flubs a trick question, Emma slips out to find a phone and calls Major Carson. However, the line is cut off and Emma is then taken prisoner by Pudeshkin, Shvedloff, Elena, and Vogel—and Steed. She is tied up and locked in an office.

In the morning, Emma is relieved when Steed comes in through a window, until Psev’s entourage enters and reveals that it was a trick. Steed introduces himself as “Gordon Webster,” then receives his instructions to kill the real Steed and infiltrate the conference. On his way out, “Webster” throws a glass tumbler into the fireplace near Emma, leaving shards of broken glass within her reach. While Psev’s entourage monitors the progress of their scheme, Emma surreptitiously severs her bonds with the glass shards. When “Webster” finally returns to make his report, Emma leaps up, knocks out a guard, takes his gun, and tries to force “Webster” to surrender his miniature camera. Unfortunately, Psev’s entourage overcomes Emma and disarms her. “Webster” then insists he will turn over the microfilm only to Colonel Psev in person, so the six of them enter the colonel’s private office. The room proves to be empty, and the four spies reveal that they are P.S.E.V. collectively. Satisfied, “Webster” hands over the film, and while the four spies are examining it, he and Emma slip out of the embassy and make their way across the grounds. At the first opportunity, Emma attacks “Webster” and seizes his gun. However, Steed insists that he and his superior, Major Plessy, guessed the truth about “Psev” and cooked up the whole impostor scheme to expose them. When they are attacked by an armed model airplane, Emma accepts him as the real Steed and hands him back his gun. Steed shoots down the model plane, but then a miniature bomber comes after them. Luckily, Steed is able to hijack the remote-control frequency with his portable phone and sends the bomber back into the embassy, where it explodes, killing the four spies.

June 1965

Emma visits Steed at his apartment, where she learns he is looking into the recent disappearances of a number of prominent horticulturalists. She is surprised to learn that the latest victim is her old acquaintance Laura Burford. They drive out to Surrey to interview Burford’s fiancé, Alan Carter, who wears a hearing aid. Carter tells Emma and Steed of how Burford just walked out of their lab, carelessly destroying months of research, and vanished. He also tells them that the president of their local Horticultural Circle, Sir Lyle Peterson, has been acting strangely of late. Emma is immediately suspicious of Peterson, and Steed decides to pay him a visit in the morning.

While Steed goes to visit Sir Lyle Peterson, Emma makes inquiries with the company that supplies Peterson with horticultural equipment. When Steed returns, he reports that he found Laura Burford at Peterson’s estate, along with the other missing horticulturalists, working on some secret project. For some reason, Steed adds, they had set up an oil derrick on the grounds, despite there being no oil in Surrey. Steed then shows Emma a plant with poisonous barbs that someone hid on his car seat, clearly hoping to do him in. A phone call from the equipment company sends Steed and Emma out to an abandoned farm near the village of Denby, where they are shocked to discover a lost space capsule. Steed calls in the military and the area is quickly cordoned off. They soon find that the capsule crashed back to earth about a month ago after colliding with what appears to be the remains of an enormous plant from outer space. Emma notices that the plant resembles the seed pod of a dandelion, and her analysis is soon confirmed by an expert botanist, Dr. Sheldon. Steed sends Emma to chat with the locals while he goes to talk to Alan Carter again. In the local pub, Emma finds Peterson’s supplier, Joe Mercer, having his lunch. He informs her that Peterson has been placing strange orders for the last month, which she realizes coincides with the arrival of the alien pod. She then rendezvous with Steed and they check in with Dr. Sheldon, who reports that the alien plant may have been intelligent and would see human beings as a food source. Emma and Steed begin to suspect that Peterson found a second seed pod that was intact, and it has been exerting some form of mind-control on its victims. Steed picks up a couple of hearing aids like Carter’s, as he has deduced that they somehow interfere with the plant’s mental influence. Then, along with Dr. Sheldon, they drive out to Peterson’s estate with a powerful herbicide. They pass through Denby in the early evening and find the entire village deserted, save for Mercer, who also wears a hearing aid. When they reach the estate, Emma, Steed, and Sheldon find the plant has already grown so large as to engulf the house, and it appears to have eaten numerous people. Peterson’s chauffeur turns up and shoots at them, but Emma finds a discarded shotgun and kills him. Peterson himself then comes after them with a shotgun, but Emma disarms him and Steed places a hearing aid in his ear, releasing him from the plant’s control. Peterson immediately realizes the plant will seed soon and wipe out the human race. The plant then grabs Sheldon with its tendrils, and while Steed rescues her, Emma fights her way to the herbicide, which Steed dropped during the altercation with the chauffeur. Unfortunately, Emma loses her hearing aid in the struggle, and she falls under the plant’s influence. She starts dumping the herbicide onto the floor, but Steed stops her. Steed and Emma then fight over the herbicide until Steed manages to head-butt her into unconsciousness. When she comes to, Emma finds that Steed managed to kill the plant in time, and the world is safe. However, she is saddened to learn that the plant apparently ate both Laura Burford and Alan Carter.

A few days later, Emma and Steed are punting on a lake near the village of Manderley in Dorset when Steed mentions a rash of mysterious bird die-offs. He then announces he must return to London, and suggests that Emma find out why a man’s been watching them with binoculars from a nearby tree. Emma confronts the man, who calls himself Quince and explains that he is a birdwatcher doing his own investigation of the die-offs. During their conversation, they wander onto some private land and are confronted by a belligerent gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. The landowner, Peter Omrod, rides up on a horse and intervenes. When Emma claims to be from the British Trust for Ornithology, Omrod invites her to come riding sometime. Later, Emma meets up with Steed and he tells her about Silent Dust, a deadly pesticide that could be turned into a devastating weapon if it fell into the wrong hands. Steed suspects that the bird die-offs indicate that someone in Manderley has obtained the secret formula. Thus, Emma takes a room at the village inn.

A couple of days later, Emma is at the local pub, where she meets an embittered flower breeder named Croft. Emma considers him a likely suspect, but then Quince appears and tells her he’s discovered something about the birds. Seeing that Mellors is watching them, they decide to meet by the lake after nightfall. However, when Emma arrives for the meeting later that night, all she finds are Quince’s broken spectacles.

In the morning, Emma and Steed compare notes, then Steed asks her to find out about a chemist named Prendergast, who developed Silent Dust while working at the Fellows Fertilizer Company. Before leaving, Emma is amused to see Steed cozying up to Beryl Snow, a loud-talking woman in equestrian gear. At Fellows Fertilizer, Emma learns that Prendergast died six months ago, and that Peter Omrod routinely tested the company’s experimental products at his farm. She then phones Prendergast’s daughter, Clare, a local artist, and commissions a sculpture. They agree to meet later that evening. Emma then goes looking for Steed, only to find he has disappeared. While asking after Steed at the pub, Emma runs into Omrod, who invites her to a fox hunt. She excuses herself and continues her search, which soon takes her to an abandoned house on Omrod’s estate. There, she discovers Quince’s body in a cupboard. Suddenly, Steed stumbles in, delirious from a leg injury and with a bullet in his shoulder. Emma patches him up, and when he regains consciousness, Steed reports that he was shot by Mellors, and asks her to have a powder sample he found there analyzed, as he believes it may be Silent Dust. She takes the envelope, then rushes off to meet Clare Prendergast, leaving Steed to deal with Quince’s corpse. While posing for the sculpture, Emma learns from Clare that Omrod was her father’s only friend, who stood by him after he was ostracized for creating Silent Dust. Emma is convinced that Omrod is their prime suspect.

The next day, Emma returns to London and drops off the sample for analysis, then drives back to Manderley. When she arrives, Steed informs her that Omrod has been buying up numerous plots of land in the area, even though he claims it’s no good for farming. Steed also suspects that both Croft and Snow are part of the conspiracy, along with Omrod’s employees Mellors and Juggins.

The following afternoon, as they are preparing for the fox hunt, Emma tells Steed that she has received a report identifying the powder as highly concentrated Silent Dust. Their suspicions are confirmed, but, as the hunt begins, she and Steed get separated. Realizing she is on her own, Emma follows Omrod and Snow when they break off from the pack. Emma efficiently takes out Snow and then overhears Omrod and Juggins planning to use Silent Dust to turn Dorset into a desert. Emma draws her gun and confronts them, but Mellors disarms her. Undaunted, Emma makes a run for it, but Omrod and Juggins pursue her on horseback. Out in the fields, Emma knocks out Omrod with a judo throw. Juggins comes after her with a whip, but Steed arrives and defeats him. The conspirators are taken into custody and their supply of Silent Dust is confiscated and destroyed.

July 1965

Early in the month, Emma accompanies Steed to a military reunion at RAF Station 472 Hamelin, which is scheduled to be closed down. When a barking dog darts across the road, Steed swerves to avoid it and crashes his Bentley into a tree. They decide to walk the remaining half mile to the base, and along the way Steed regales Emma with tales of his days carousing there during World War II. However, when they arrive at the camp, the whole place appears to be deserted, although the officers’ mess is decorated for the party. While looking around outside, Emma and Steed find abandoned crates of milk bottles piled up on the airfield. They head over to the squadron leader’s quarters, where Steed notices all the wine glasses are shattered. Wanting to get a bird’s-eye view of the base, Emma and Steed climb to the top of the air-traffic control tower. They are surprised to see a milkman running across the tarmac, and shocked when he is suddenly shot in the back by a sniper. By the time they reach the milkman, he has died. Nearby, Emma discovers an unconscious rabbit. Mystified, they decide to split up and continue looking around the area. Emma finds the milkman’s body has been moved onto his lorry, but then an ear-splitting sound causes her to black out. When she comes to, Emma finds herself gagged and strapped to a dentist’s chair in the base infirmary. An armed guard stands nearby, but he ignores her as she struggles vainly to free herself. After quite some time, Steed finally arrives, knocks out the guard, and releases Emma from the chair. Finding ampules of truth serum, they deduce that someone is hypnotizing the base personnel and extracting intel from them with the drug. When the victims awaken an hour later, they must be unaware of the lost time. Sure enough, Emma’s wristwatch is one hour ahead of all the clocks in the camp. As Steed plays around with the dentist’s drill, Emma realizes it’s wired into an ultrasonic device and deduces that it must be used to induce the hypnotic trance. Suddenly, the base dentist, Philip Leas, enters, holds Emma and Steed at gunpoint, and admits to being the mastermind behind the scheme. He reveals that post-hypnotic suggestions were planted in the minds of the base personnel, so they would become unwitting sleeper agents at their next postings. Steed attacks Leas and fights with him while Emma battles his two henchmen. After defeating her two opponents out in the corridor, Emma returns to the exam room to find Steed laughing uncontrollably. Seeing Leas unconscious on the floor, Emma realizes that Steed accidentally opened the valve on a tank of nitrous oxide, filling the room with laughing gas. She begins to laugh as well as she breathes in the fumes. Leas and his henchmen are turned over to the base security detail, and the party continues as planned. Emma meets several of Steed’s old war buddies, like Geoffrey Ridsdale and “Porky” Purser, and hears many tales about Steed’s wartime exploits.

August 1965

Steed presents Emma with a letter from a Mr. Angus De’ath who is seeking advice on opening his family’s Scottish estate to the public. Emma agrees to drive up to Castle De’ath and pose as a publicity consultant while Steed passes himself off as a historian studying the family’s past. Thus, Emma writes to Mr. De’ath to inform him that she will visit the castle in a few days.

When Emma arrives at Castle De’ath in her Lotus Elan, she meets the laird of the clan, Ian De’ath, though she first mistakes him for Angus, his cousin. Ian is annoyed that Angus has hired a publicity consultant, as he hasn’t yet decided whether to consent to opening the castle as a tourist attraction. Angus appears and proves to be a jolly sort of charmer. He introduces Emma to “Jock MacSteed,” whom he believes to be researching the infamous 13th laird, known as “Black Jamie.” Their conversation soon turns to a tragic accident that occurred last week, the drowning of a scuba diver in the nearby loch. However, Steed takes Emma aside and mutters that the victim was apparently tortured before he was drowned. While Emma gets settled into her room, Steed goes out fishing. She then has a look around the castle, but while she is down in the dungeon, two men attack her and knock her out. When she comes to, Emma finds that both men are gone, so she staggers back upstairs, where Ian chastises her for going into the dungeon alone. Upstairs, Emma tells Steed what happened, and he reveals that his agency believes there is a connection between Castle De’ath and a commercial fishing crisis that is threatening the national economy. Later, at dinner, Angus regales them with tales of the glorious history of Clan De’ath, as well as Black Jamie’s treachery 500 years ago, which resulted in his being walled up in the castle’s tower. Now, he says, Black Jamie’s ghost is reputed to haunt the castle, and Ian confirms it. When Steed decides to turn in, Emma goes to bed as well. However, during the night, she is awoken by the sound of bagpipes. The mysterious music leads her back into the dungeon, where she notices the rack’s parts have been oiled recently. Suddenly, the lights go off and the door is locked, forcing Emma to spend the rest of the night dozing on the rack.

In the morning, Steed finally finds Emma and lets her out of the dungeon, reporting that he was nearly murdered in his bed last night. Suspecting there’s more to the ghost stories than the cousins are letting on, Steed asks Emma to read up on the history of the castle while he goes “fishing” in the moat. Ian soon finds Emma in the library and again expresses his reservations about opening the castle to the public. Later, after learning some interesting facts about the castle’s construction, Emma sneaks back into the dungeon to verify that it’s much smaller than it should be. Suddenly, two of Ian’s employees, McNab and Roberton, enter, prompting Emma to quickly hide inside an old iron maiden. She is curious when the two men mention detecting a blip in the moat with their radar, and then discovers that the iron maiden actually disguises a passageway to an underground bunker filled with generators. After a quick look around, Emma goes to report her discovery to Steed, but she is unable to find him. Ian appears then and asks her to leave immediately, as he has decided the castle shall remain closed to the public. As she packs her bag and departs, Emma is convinced that Ian is the mastermind behind the fishing crisis and must have taken Steed prisoner. Thus, she parks her car in a secluded spot down the road, waits until dark, then slips back inside the castle. She returns to the underground bunker to search for Steed and finds it contains a submarine docking station, which suggests that Ian and his cronies are sneaking enemy submarines through the loch, into the moat, and docking them in flooded pens beneath the castle. Around midnight, Emma comes upon a secret passage into the tower, where McNab is playing the bagpipes to mask the noise of the underground machinery. She attacks McNab, and their fight takes them back into the main area of the castle, where she finally throws him off a balcony overlooking the dining room. The De’ath cousins enter, and Emma is surprised to learn that Angus is the spy, not Ian. Angus suddenly stabs Ian with a dirk and stuns Emma. When she comes to, Emma sees Steed and Angus battling with claymores. Spotting Roberton about to shoot Steed in the back, Emma grabs a handy crossbow and kills him. Panicking, Angus bolts for the dungeon, and Emma warns Steed that the iron maiden is an escape route. However, when they reach the iron maiden, they realize that its inner door mechanism failed to open because Steed blew up the control panel in the bunker, so Angus died a gruesome death when the torture device slammed shut. The remaining conspirators are then taken into custody, and Emma and Steed return to London.

September 1965

Steed phones Emma and asks her to meet him at the apartment of Ted Murphy, an agent who was murdered while engaged in routine security work. When she arrives, Emma finds a man with a stocking on his head ransacking the place. He attacks her, and though she fights back, he manages to tangle her up in a chair long enough to escape. Steed then arrives and is frustrated that the apartment has already been trashed by their enemies. However, Emma discovers numerous golf score sheets that all show scores only for the first 12 holes. She also finds brand-new golf equipment and a golf ball bearing the insignia of the Craigleigh Golf Club in Surrey. She immediately phones the club and arranges for Steed and herself to become members. Emma realizes that this case may prove to be especially challenging, as she really doesn’t know anything about golf.

The next day, Emma and Steed drive out to the Craigleigh Golf Club. When they arrive, the golf pro, Jerry Collins, harasses them about a tournament being in progress, but they insist they are new members. When they spot one of the scientists Murphy had been keeping an eye on, Dr. Peter Adams, Steed attempts to arrange a foursome. Unfortunately, Adams’s golf partner proves to be belligerent and foils Steed’s plan. Thus, Steed leaves Emma to play along behind Adams, while he goes off to snoop around the clubhouse. Later, Emma is curious when she sees Adams and his partner intentionally skip putting on the 13th green. She is distracted when a runaway golf cart nearly runs her down, and when she goes to catch up with the two men, she finds they have vanished. Emma meets up with Steed at the clubhouse, and he is concerned because Adams is an expert on missile defense and a prime target for spies. Steed goes off to snoop around some more, leaving Emma to be chatted up by Bertie Waversham, the asinine club captain. Still, Emma manages to learn from Waversham that Adams’s golf partner is some kind of radio technician named Frank Reed. Steed soon returns and shows Emma a rifle bullet he found in Reed’s golf bag. They conclude that Reed has kidnapped Adams, but then Adams reappears looking none the worse for wear. Fearing Adams may be a willing participant in whatever’s going on, Emma and Steed decide to keep a close eye on him. Their patience pays off later that evening when Adams and Reed suddenly disappear during a brief power outage. Emma and Steed split up to search the golf course, but she is soon waylaid by Collins at the 13th hole. They fight in a sand trap, but Emma defeats him handily. Collins explains that he thinks Reed is up to something, as he keeps insisting on being paired with Adams for specific tee-times, and even tried to bribe Collins to pair him with Adams for tomorrow’s tournament. Now one of the golf carts is missing, and Collins is convinced that Reed has stolen it. Hearing the golf cart nearby, Collins scrambles out of the sand trap, only to be struck in the head with a golf ball and killed. Startled, Emma sees the golf cart, with a long metal cylinder mounted on it, disappearing into the woods. She rendezvous with Steed, but when they return to the 13th hole, Collins’s body is gone. Steed suspects he wasn’t really dead, so they split up again to search for him. Emma breaks into the clubhouse, where she finds the modified golf cart under a tarp. Surprisingly, the metal cylinder turns out not to be a weapon but a telescope. Emma discovers a star map and photographs it with her micro-camera. Then, Reed and his caddy, Jackson, enter, prompting Emma to hide. She overhears them discussing Adams, then Jackson admits to having killed Collins with his golf-ball gun. Reed declares that he means to beat Steed in tomorrow’s tournament by any means necessary, so Emma tosses a golf ball into a rack of clubs and slips out while the two men are distracted. She reports what she has learned to Steed, and they make their plans for tomorrow.

In the morning, while Steed plays Reed in the first round of the tournament, Emma sneaks around to move Steed’s balls into more favorable positions and mess up Reed’s balls. Thus, after 18 holes, Steed easily defeats Reed, knocking him out of the tournament. Steed is then scheduled to play Adams in the afternoon, but he is suddenly shot in the head with the golf-ball gun. Emma can’t see who fired it, but she assumes it was Jackson. Luckily, Steed’s hat was lined with chain-mail so he was uninjured, though he feigns having a headache to avert suspicion. Emma develops the film she shot last night and studies the star map, finding one particular star that shouldn’t be there. She contacts the Greenwich Observatory to inquire about it, then returns to the clubhouse to inform Steed. Later, as Steed heads out for his afternoon match against Adams, Emma receives a phone call from Greenwich. Professor Minley informs her that the errant “star” is actually a single-channel TV satellite called Vostok II, which will make its final pass over Surrey in about an hour. Realizing the spies must be hijacking the satellite signal, Emma rushes out to tell Steed, but Reed abducts her at gunpoint and takes her to an underground bunker hidden in the sand trap at the 13th hole. There, she learns the mastermind behind the scheme is a club member named Colonel Watson and that Adams is indeed selling secrets to the Eastern Bloc via TV transmission. Emma is handcuffed to a chair, and becomes very worried when she learns the spies are planning to kill Steed with a land mine on the 12th green. When the mine is detonated, Emma fears the worst, but then Steed marches Adams into the bunker, having evaded the trap. During the ensuing fight, Emma turns the chair she is handcuffed to into an effective weapon. Adams, Reed, and Jackson are defeated, but Watson makes a run for it. However, Steed manages to knock him out by hitting him with an expertly driven golf ball at long range. Though her chair was smashed to pieces in the fight, Emma is stuck wearing the handcuffs until Steed gets around to finding the keys.

A couple of weeks later, Emma meets Steed at the country home of a Dr. Gibson in Hertfordshire, where a local farm hand, Gatt Kendrick, has reappeared after vanishing for three days. Kendrick was one of four missing locals, and was found in a coma wearing tropical kit and with an arrow in his back. Steed suspects the arrow was poisoned, but Gibson insists he’s tested it and found no trace of anything that could induce a coma. The sound of drums draws Emma and Steed outside, where they find a strange symbol has been chalked on the front door. Steed returns to London to pursue some leads, and Emma, thinking she recognizes the symbol, contacts an entomologist named Professor Swain. When he arrives, Swain confirms that the symbol comes from the religion of Shirenzai, a sort of voodoo practiced by the natives of the tropical country of Kalaya, where he has conducted much of his research. Over Gibson’s objections, Swain performs a Shirenzai ritual on Kendrick and asserts that the man is the victim of Kalayan magic. After Swain has left, Emma phones the Kalayan embassy and learns that a Colonel Rawlings operates a Kalayan Ex-Servicemen’s Club in the estate next door to Gibson’s. When she gets off the phone, Emma discovers that Gibson, too, has fallen victim to the “curse.” She gets the comatose physician into bed, and when Steed finally returns, they compare notes. Emma tells Steed what she has learned, and he reports that Kendrick and the other missing men all served in Kalaya in the army. Leaving Emma to watch over Kendrick and Gibson, Steed heads next door to infiltrate Rawlings’ club. She passes the evening reading a book, Tribal Customs of Kalaya, which Steed brought for her. Eventually falling asleep in a chair, Emma is awoken by a slamming door and discovers that Kendrick and Gibson are gone. She summons Swain, who agrees to return to the house to consult with her. However, after he arrives, Swain argues with Emma about his assertion that the two men became like zombies and walked out on their own. She believes it more likely they were kidnapped, and that their mysterious malady may be related to the common sleeping sickness carried by the tsetse fly. Incensed, Swain storms out, only to promptly vanish as well. Finding Swain’s spectacles in the driveway, Emma is unnerved to see the symbol of Shirenzai painted on the windshield of his car. Locking herself inside the house, Emma spends a restless night waiting to hear from Steed.

Early in the morning, Steed finally phones and says he saw Kendrick and Gibson at Rawlings’ place late last night, and Emma confirms that they disappeared during the evening. She reports that Swain also went missing, but Steed hurriedly hangs up the phone. The day passes with no further word from Steed, so, after midnight, Emma decides to sneak next door to look for him. She is amazed to find that the jungles of Kalaya have been recreated inside a huge greenhouse on Rawlings’ estate, complete with Kalayan natives in traditional costumes. Disguising herself as a native girl, Emma soon spots Swain and follows him to a meeting with Steed and another man, Simon Trent. Trent and Swain boast about their scheme to destroy the native Kalayan government with a new strain of sleeping sickness carried by specially-bred tsetse flies. Spotting Kendrick and Gibson lying on cots under some mosquito netting, Emma tries to slip in and check on them, but Trent catches her. Emma fights him off as Steed knocks Swain down, then tosses Emma the case containing the infected tsetse flies. They make a run for it, but get separated in the jungle. Emma is soon captured by one of Trent’s henchmen, but Steed swings down on a vine and rescues her, Tarzan-style. Once Trent, Swain, and their goons are defeated, Emma and Steed expose the tsetse flies to the cold, rainy weather outside, killing them. During the mopping-up operation, Emma meets Colonel Rawlings, who is half mad and believes he’s still living in Kalaya. Kendrick, Gibson, and the other victims soon recover, and Emma and Steed receive special commendations from the Kalayan government.

October 1965

While Steed is on holiday, Emma attends a fancy-dress party that lasts all night. She leaves shortly after dawn and walks back to her car. Suddenly, an old woman on a bicycle crashes on the other side of the road, so Emma runs over to help. Unexpectedly, the old woman produces a hypodermic needle and injects Emma with a powerful sedative. When she regains consciousness, Emma finds herself inside a giant birdcage in a warehouse, still wearing her skimpy costume from last night’s party. Her captor, a bearded fellow, soon appears and refers to her as “Lot 17.” Emma realizes she is to be auctioned off to an intelligence agency behind the Iron Curtain, but she is confident Steed will soon come to her rescue.

As the days pass, Emma becomes increasingly worried. Her initial escape attempts are stymied. After testing the bars of her cage, she thinks she might be able to bend them enough to slip out, except that she is closely watched around the clock by armed guards. The guards are supervised by a woman who carries a whip. Emma decides to bide her time and wait for an opportunity. Finally, after ten days, Emma’s captor reveals that there is a bidding war over her between someone named Ivanov and a “real English gentleman” named “Mr. ffitch.” Emma suspects that “ffitch” may in fact be Steed.

The next day, a closed-circuit television camera is brought in and set up outside Emma’s cage, and she realizes the auction is finally going to take place. As the bidding begins, Emma is relieved to hear Steed’s voice over the intercom. Posing as “Wayne Pennyfeather ffitch,” Steed wins the auction with a bid of £200,000. Several minutes later, Steed enters the warehouse with a blond woman at his side. As Steed brawls with one of the guards, Emma manages to grab the whip-wielding woman and bend the bars enough to get her head stuck. Emma then takes the keys off her foe’s belt and frees herself from the cage. Steed defeats his opponent and, smiling, introduces the blonde as “Mrs. Emma Peel.” Emma then learns that the blonde’s real name is Georgie Price-Jones and she is an actress hired to impersonate Emma during the kidnapping scheme, who then assisted Steed with his investigation. Emma’s captor, Gregorio Auntie, and his accomplices are taken into custody.

November 1965

Several weeks later, Emma meets Steed at a country house where an East German agent named Willi Fehr is being held after being discovered trying to dispose of a dead body. Fehr appears to be catatonic, but Steed is convinced he’s faking. They discuss the case with Steed’s military contact, Captain Noble, who provides them with a photo of a tattoo on the dead man’s arm. Back in town, Emma tracks down the tattooist, Fintry, who reveals that the tattoo belonged to a man named Arthur Peever. Later, Steed reports that Fehr is dead, having been shot by Noble during an escape attempt. His own inquiries having come to nothing, Steed asks Emma to follow up on another clue, a repair stub from the exclusive Piedi’s Shoe Shop. Emma heads to the shop, where she finds that Piedi is a foot-fetishist with a phony Italian accent. He is smitten with Emma’s feet and informs her that the repair job was for a dance school, Terpsichorean Training Techniques. Emma goes straight there and, seeing a help-wanted sign, applies for a job with the proprietor, Lucille Banks. Impressed with Emma’s dancing skill, Banks agrees to give her a one-week trial run. Emma is introduced to two other instructors, the smarmy Ivor Bracewell and a young woman called Nicki. The drunken bandleader, Chester Read, stumbles in, but Emma is not impressed with him. Then, a student enters, and Emma is surprised when Nicki introduces him as Arthur Peever.

Early the next morning, Emma checks in with Steed and Captain Noble, who can no longer speak due to injuries sustained during Fehr’s escape attempt. She then heads to the dance school, intent on seeing if the shoes Piedi repaired fit the man calling himself Arthur Peever. It turns out they do not. Later, she receives a phone call from Noble asking for the address of Fintry’s tattoo parlor. Due to his injured throat, Noble can communicate only by whistling in Morse code, but Emma is able to understand him. Finally, after a long, grueling day of dance lessons, Emma returns home and collapses into bed.

The following day, Emma tries to chat up Peever, but he remains aloof. She then learns from Nicki that Banks has a habit of giving diplomas to mousy, anonymous men even if they are horrible dancers—like Peever. Suddenly, Banks enters with Steed, who has signed up for lessons. When Emma gets a moment alone with him, Steed reveals that Fintry has been murdered, but managed to tattoo on a sausage that his killer has a rose tattoo on his wrist. While hiding the sausage, Emma stumbles into a scheme by Nicki and Piedi’s assistant Bernard to sell shoes to the students behind Banks’s back. Realizing that Bernard would therefore know if the man calling himself Arthur Peever is an impostor, Emma makes up an excuse to leave and rushes over to the shoe shop. When she arrives, though, she finds that Bernard, too, has been murdered. Emma is convinced that the dance school is crooked.

After conferring again with Captain Noble the next morning, Emma and Steed both head back to Terpsichorean Training Techniques, where they learn a gala dance has been scheduled for that evening. Snooping around in a storeroom, Emma spies on Banks practicing to switch out one dancing partner for another behind a screen. Chester Read discovers Emma, but she quickly makes up an excuse and hurries away. That evening, as the gala gets underway, Steed returns and informs Emma that Noble has determined the school must be a front for an organization that sneaks enemy agents into the country. During the dancing, it becomes clear that Steed is the target of the next impostor, and that Bracewell, who sports a rose tattoo on his wrist, is the killer. Emma and Steed foil the scheme so that the impostor clubs Bracewell rather than Steed behind the screen, then Emma dances the impostor back behind the screen, where Steed clubs him. They then change partners and dance Banks and Peever into Banks’s office, where Emma and Steed knock them out as well. Chester Read menaces Emma with a dagger, revealing himself as the mastermind behind the operation, but Steed knocks him out, too. Read, Banks, Bracewell, and Peever are then arrested while Nicki is cleared of any wrongdoing.

December 1965

Emma and Steed drive out to Faversham Military Hospital to consult with Dr. Harold Long of the Psychological Warfare Department. There, Emma learns that a 60-year-old high-ranking general, Woody Groves, has been killed playing chicken on lonely country roads. Also, Gordon Lamble, the head of the chemical warfare establishment, has been injured while trying to scale St. Paul’s Cathedral. Steed explains that there were five earlier incidents that were just as baffling, and asks Emma to watch over Lamble while he investigates Groves’s death. A little while later, Emma and Dr. Long find Lamble on the ledge outside his window, apparently contemplating suicide. However, he then climbs back inside and returns to his bed. Long administers a sedative, then opines that Lamble’s mental state resembles shellshock. When Steed returns that evening, Emma reports what happened. Suddenly, the door to Lamble’s room slams, and when they enter, Emma and Steed find Lamble suffocated to death. Curiously, they find an envelope on his bed containing four white feathers, the old symbol of cowardice. Recalling that General Groves had a black rose pinned to his coat, Steed decides to have another look around Groves’s office. Emma goes home to bed.

Late the next morning, Steed comes to Emma’s apartment to report another suspicious death, this one a test pilot at RAF Hamelin. Like Groves, the pilot had a black rose pinned to his lapel. Steed notes that last night he observed a member of Groves’s staff, Major Robertson, place a black rose on the general’s box of medals after playing “Last Post” on a bugle. Thus, he sends Emma to interview Robertson, posing as a probate expert dealing with the disposition of Groves’s belongings. Emma uses Robertson’s interest in phrenology to get him talking, and while he’s ranting about the lack of danger and excitement in modern warfare, she sneaks a look at some of the papers on Groves’s desk. Robertson catches her and sends her over to the regimental museum. He soon joins her there and gives her a guided tour. After a little while, Emma excuses herself and returns home, convinced that Robertson is smitten with her.

In the morning, Emma receives a tin of chocolates from Robertson, but before she can open it, Steed arrives and shows her a postcard he found on the corpse of a Lt. Stanhope, who was machine-gunned after arranging to meet Steed last night. The postcard shows a picture of Manton House, a military museum, and Steed intends to check it out. When Emma then shows him the tin of chocolates, Steed reacts as though it contains a bomb. He opens the tin with extreme caution, but it proves to be harmless. As he pops a chocolate into his mouth, Emma realizes he was having her on. Steed heads out to Manton House, so Emma returns to Groves’s office under the pretense of creating an inventory. There, Robertson continues yesterday’s discussion about the need for danger in one’s life, and Emma plays along. Convinced that she’s a kindred spirit, Robertson produces a black rose, pins it to his coat, and invites Emma to Manton House. Robertson drives her there at breakneck speed, taking reckless chances at every opportunity. Emma is annoyed but says nothing. When they arrive, Robertson introduces her to other members of his secret society, suggesting she could be dubbed “Diana” or perhaps “Pallas Athena.” They then run into Steed, who is also wearing a black rose and is passing himself off as “Bacchus.” Emma claims to be very interested in joining the “Danger Makers,” as they call themselves, so Robertson goes off to arrange her initiation. Steed tells Emma they need to discover the identity of “Apollo,” the group’s leader, but then Robertson returns and escorts Emma to another room. There, she is handcuffed to an elaborate electrified rig and made to walk across a couple of see-saws while avoiding a lethal shock. She passes the test and is unshackled, but then Dr. Long enters and holds Emma and Steed at gunpoint, revealing that he is “Apollo.” Emma is locked in an upstairs bedroom, but she escapes by knotting some sheets together and climbing out the window. She soon finds Steed in the attic, but he’s already knocked out Robertson and freed himself. Steed reveals that the Danger Makers are plotting to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London tomorrow, so he and Emma invade the group’s planning meeting and start a fight. Long flees and Steed chases after him, leaving Emma to be overpowered by his four accomplices. She is dazed for a moment, then catches up to them in the initiation room, where Long is about to shoot an unarmed Steed. When one of the Danger Makers objects, Long shoots him instead. Without hesitation, Emma leaps onto one of the see-saws, flipping Long onto the rig, where he is electrocuted. The remaining Danger Makers drop their black rose boutonnieres onto Long’s corpse and leave the room. However, Steed has them rounded up and taken in for questioning.

A week later, Emma accompanies Steed to the Queen’s Theatre in London, where he informs her of a series of childish pranks played on foreign diplomats, which have been very embarrassing to the British government. Then, in a nearby luxury box, an emir sits down only to have his chair collapse under him. Amid laughter from the audience, the humiliated emir storms out. Emma and Steed leave as well, and as they are driving through the city, Steed reveals that their prime suspect is the Honorable John Cleverly Cartney, who was sitting near them at the theatre. In fact, Cartney has been spotted in the vicinity of most of the pranks. Thus, Steed asks Emma to pay Cartney a visit while he checks out some of Cartney’s known associates.

The next day, Emma visits Cartney at his home, posing as a representative from a charity organization. Cartney immediately turns on the charm, and Emma does find him attractive. Even so, she resists his advances and notices a curious entry in his day planner. As she is leaving, a friend of Cartney’s comes in, whom Cartney introduces as Lord Darcy. Emma then rendezvous with Steed at his apartment, where he reports that he broke into Lord Darcy’s home and found a box full of rubber scissors. When Emma mentions the entry in Cartney’s day planner, Steed realizes it is a reference to a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held within the hour. Assuming the pranksters have switched out the real scissors for a rubber pair, Emma and Steed race to the site of the ceremony, watching the proceedings on a portable television. However, when the diplomat tries to cut the ribbon, he is electrocuted. Steed notes grimly that the culprits have moved from simple pranks to cold-blooded murder. They return to Steed’s apartment, where he decides to make contact with Lord Darcy while Emma pays another visit to Cartney. Relishing the opportunity, Emma drives back to Cartney’s house and is a bit annoyed to find him hanging out with a bimbo named Sara Bradley. Delighted to see Emma again, Cartney invites her to a meeting of his private club. He escorts her into a banqueting hall where several men and women in 18th-century costumes are carousing. Cartney reveals that it is a modern incarnation of the infamous Hellfire Club and introduces Emma to his friends as his guest of honor. The “lords” of the club introduce themselves in an elaborate and archaic manner, using obvious aliases. Emma observes their revelry with curiosity, trying to get more information out of Cartney. Suddenly, Lord Darcy enters in a highly agitated state, demanding to speak with Cartney in private. He mentions the rubber scissors, but Cartney quickly cuts him off and calls a special meeting of the “superior members.” Cartney and his “lords” then escort Darcy out, and Emma takes the opportunity to make her exit.

A day or so later, Lord Darcy is found dead, a victim of drowning. Emma is convinced he was murdered by the Hellfire Club, so she meets Steed at the funeral chapel where Darcy is laid out. When Cartney arrives to pay his respects, Steed claims that Darcy was just about to recommend him as a new member of the club. Cartney invites Steed to their meeting later that evening. Emma returns home and waits to hear from Steed. He finally contacts her to report that his initiation was successful and that he has confirmed the Hellfire Club was behind all the pranks. Furthermore, they’re now planning something really big. Thus, they make plans to attend the club’s “Night of All Sins” gala tomorrow night.

The following evening, Emma and Steed return to Cartney’s house, dressed in Regency-era costumes, and find the party already in full swing. Amidst the revelers, they spot a sedan chair full of crates labeled “fireworks” being carried down into the cellar. Emma follows and determines that the boxes actually contain dynamite. She hurries upstairs to warn Steed, but Cartney has her hustled off to change into a “more appropriate” costume. In another room, Emma is drugged so she does not resist as two women re-do her hair and make-up, then dress her in a black whalebone corset, silk panties, lace-up leather boots, opera gloves, and a leather collar with three-inch-long steel spikes. A chain leash is hooked to her collar, with the other end looped around her wrist. She is given a live snake to hold, then a black cape is draped around her and she is led back to the party. There, Cartney introduces her as “the Queen of Sin.” Several men grab Emma, lift her over their heads, and carry her throughout the house as the snake slithers off to the warm hearth. Later, while watching a bare-knuckled boxing match, Emma’s mind slowly clears. Suddenly, one of the fighters recognizes Steed as the man who broke into Lord Darcy’s flat several days ago. Steed freely admits it and is forced to fight a duel with one of the “lords.” While everyone is distracted by the swordfight, Emma slips off back to the cellar and knocks out the two men who are stockpiling the crates of dynamite. However, Cartney appears and attacks her with a bullwhip. Emma tries to avoid the lash, until Cartney accidentally snags the lever that opens the trap door he is standing on. Cartney drops into a deep well and drowns. Emma heads upstairs and finds Steed has won the duel and locked all the guests in the banqueting hall. After changing back into her original costume, Emma heads for home. The surviving “lords” of the Hellfire Club are arrested for treason.

Emma and Steed celebrate Christmas together and look forward to another year of foiling the machinations of Britain’s most diabolical masterminds.


October 1964 – “The Town of No Return” was written as an introduction for the character of Emma Peel, though Diana Rigg had already filmed numerous episodes before production was completed. Thus, I place it first on the chronology. The story takes place in the middle of a school term, and there are leaves on the trees. It’s generally warm enough to go without coats outside, though Steed does complain about how chilly it is at night, so I place it in late October.

December 1964 – In “The Murder Market,” Emma gets uncharacteristically angry with Steed after finding Henshaw’s corpse in a bathtub. This suggests she is unaccustomed to seeing dead bodies at this point and is unfamiliar with Steed’s methods. She also has a rough time during her climactic battle with Barbara Wakefield, suggesting that Emma’s fighting skills are still somewhat underdeveloped. It’s not terribly cold outside, though Emma and Barbara both wear fur coats. The trees in the cemetery are bare, as they are at the Dorrington Dean College for Young Ladies in “The Master Minds.” Again, Emma wears a fur coat, but the weather is still mild enough for late-night rambles in the woods. “Too Many Christmas Trees,” naturally enough, takes place at Christmas, so I slot it into the chronology in late December.

January 1965 – In “Dial a Deadly Number,” Emma’s hand-to-hand combat skills still seem somewhat lacking, though she’s definitely improving. When outside, Emma wears furs and Steed an overcoat, suggesting the weather has gotten colder. Emma wears her iconic zippered leather catsuit for the first time in this episode.

February 1965 – Emma is still a bit antagonistic toward Steed in “Death at Bargain Prices,” suggesting that it’s fairly early in their relationship. Also, Steed seems very impressed by Emma’s victory over the henchman Massey, indicating that she’s made a breakthrough in terms of fighting technique. There are no leaves on the trees outside the department store.

March 1965 – Emma’s martial arts skills are sufficiently developed by “The Cybernauts” to win her a spot at the sensei’s exclusive dojo. It’s conceivable she continues training there in the months to follow. The weather seems to be improving, though the trees are still bare. At least the birds are singing!

April 1965 – We see in “The Gravediggers” that most of the trees have leaves on them again, and the weather is warm and pleasant. Emma even wears a sleeveless outfit. In “Room Without a View,” Agent Varnals’ attitude toward Emma suggests she has not yet been fully accepted by Steed’s organization as a suitable operative. During the episode, George Cullen specifically says that it’s 1965.

May 1965 – Emma’s zippered leather catsuit is presumably ruined during the fight in the rain chamber at the conclusion of “A Surfeit of H2O,” as she never wears it again. In “Two’s a Crowd,” Ambassador Brodny says, “At this time of year, the blossoms will be on the trees,” indicating that it is springtime. Given the lack of continuing supporting characters, it’s interesting that Steed mentions Major Plessy, who appeared in “The Master Minds” and is apparently one of his superiors. Major Carson obviously assesses Emma’s suitability at the start of this episode in response to Agent Varnals’ concerns about her last month.

June 1965 – “Man-Eater of Surrey Green” and “Silent Dust” clearly take place during the summer. After Steed is shot in the line of duty, he takes about six weeks off to recuperate.

July 1965 – With “The Hour That Never Was,” Emma starts regularly wearing fashions designed by John Bates. The story takes place during Steed’s convalescence. The weather here is sunny and warm.

August 1965 – In “Castle De’ath,” it’s warm enough up in Scotland for Steed to spend an afternoon fishing in a kilt and scuba diving in swim trunks, so it must still be summertime.

September 1965 – Although the weather is pleasant for golf in “The Thirteenth Hole,” Emma has a fur jacket and Steed wears an overcoat, suggesting the approach of autumn. Likewise, in “Small Game for Big Hunters,” it’s cold and rainy at night and Emma covers up with her fur jacket while sleeping in a chair. There are still leaves on the trees in both episodes, though.

October 1965 – At the beginning of “The Girl from Auntie,” it’s warm enough for a woman to walk around outside in a bikini and for Emma to wear a skimpy costume. She does have her fur jacket around her for warmth, though, and the weather in London is rainy. At this point, Emma and Steed have been working together for at least a year, and she has clearly come to trust him implicitly.

November 1965 – In “The Quick-Quick-Slow Death,” Emma is wearing a fur coat and Steed sports an overcoat and gloves, indicating that the weather is turning chilly again. A calendar at the bank says it’s the 23rd, placing this fairly late in the month.

December 1965 – Steed continues to wear an overcoat and gloves while outside in “The Danger Makers.” Apparently the closure of RAF Station 472 Hamelin, described in “The Hour That Never Was,” was delayed until the end of the year, if not cancelled entirely, as the base is seen again in this story. There appears to be a mixture of trees with and without leaves in the exterior scenes, placing this episode very early in the month. By the end of “A Touch of Brimstone,” though, the trees are bare again, revealing the onset of winter.




Dropping Acid in the Negative Zone

In this excerpt from Amazing Dope Tales & Haight Street Flashbacks (Summertown, TN: The Book Publishing Company, 1980, pp 16–17), Stephen Gaskin reminisces about his experiences with Marvel Comics in the San Francisco counterculture of the late 1960s.

Pop Culture

When I was in college, I hardly read anyone who was alive—that’s what you do in college, because everyone in the English Department is so competitive that none of them can agree on anyone who is alive, because they think they’re better than all the living ones.

I started tripping with Charlie and Linda and Paul and John and Bob and Kemo and them guys. We went over to this house, and it was far out. Charlie and Linda lived there together, just lived together. It blew my mind. They were one of the first young couples I’d met who just lived together. I was from square country.

They had lots of rock ‘n’ roll records, and they had lots of comic books. They had Doc Strange, a whole box, all in order. And they had a whole box of Fantastic Four, all in order. And they had a whole box of Thor, all in order. They had a lot of comic books.

There was a lot of pop philosophy coming out in the comic books at that time. They pointed out to me that comic books had changed: it used to be that they were very stick-figured like Superman and Lois Lane; but in the Fantastic Four, the characters had personalities, and interacted. They hassled with each other, and had problems and phobias and stuff; they had to conquer themselves to do things. Doc Strange had to do a lot of self-conquering. The battles he fought were not always something outside that could be done with a savate kick: he had to come in and get to himself inside. It was said that some of that continuity was being written by acid-takers. I don’t know if that was true, but that’s what was being said. And we believed it, because it looked like it.

So they were running all this pop culture, and they would use metaphors from comic books in their trips. On acid trips, they’d talk about how this was just like when Thor happened across the bridge in Valhalla when Loki and Thor were having it out.

I hung out and got stoned with these kids, and listened to the Who play Boris the Spider, and had it about scare me up my tree. Boris the Spider was scary, I realized. And the Who was even scary, some.

They taught me the Tolkien trilogy. They told me about Gandalf the Grey.

These were people who were students where I was teaching. We talked about magic and telepathy of every form. We went through and combed all of our experiences, and talked about it together. They were my first tripping partners, and some of my first teachers.


Captain Marvel is Here!

Have no fear...


Those Kinky Sixties 2

In the early 1960s, "kinky boots," which had been popular in the underground fetish scene for decades, began to emerge into the fashion mainstream, as demonstrated by this article from the January 3, 1964 issue of Time magazine.

Notably, the article makes no mention of the pervy provenance of the "lady-lion-tamer" boot that it breathlessly describes, making only oblique references to its impracticality and sexiness in contrast to the perfunctory rubber rain boot. The kinkiness is further obscured by references to wholesome characters from children's literature such as Christopher Robin and Peter Pan.

The specific examples given in the second paragraph, "made of fake leopard or silk faille or nylon mesh or even real leather" reference an article in the May 12, 1963 New York Times fashion section, which led off with four photos of those specific styles. Clearly the writer of the Time piece was using the previous year's newspaper article as a source. Even that article, written by Leonard Sloane, called boots "a seemingly unlikely prospect for fashion honors in the women's shoe industry" and marveled at the rapidity with which high-fashion boots had caught on in the American market. However, Sloane also ignores boots' long history as a prominent sexual fetish item.

The reference to the magazine's BOOKS section directs the reader to this photograph of teen-age novelist Caroline Glyn.

It's hard to imagine a world where even style-conscious women were dubious about wearing boots and had to be encouraged to do so by articles such as this one. But, just two weeks later, the New York Times would run a helpful article on the proper care of leather boots. And, unknown to the editors of Time magazine, the go-go boot craze was just around the corner.

Previous kinkiness


Emma Peel's Leather Catsuit

Though the character of Emma Peel is closely associated with the zippered black leather catsuit she wore in the title sequences and promotional materials for her first season on The Avengers, she wore the outfit only a few times in the episodes themselves.

Below, Mrs. Peel battles a well-dressed henchman in a photo-comic based on the extended fight scene from “Death at Bargain Prices,” which premiered in October 1965. Diana Rigg plays Emma Peel and George Selway is her opponent, with Patrick Macnee making a cameo as John Steed.