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The Avengers - The Emma Peel Collection (ViaVision/Imprint) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Avengers - The Emma Peel Collection (ViaVision/Imprint) Blu-ray Review

    Click image for larger version  Name:	cover.jpg Views:	1 Size:	26.1 KB ID:	407490

    Released by: ViaVision/Imprint
    Released on: November 25th, 2022.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Dianna Rigg, Patrick Macnee
    Year: 1965-1967
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Avengers - The Emma Peel Collection – Movie Review:

    The Avengers ran on British television from January 7, 1961 through May 21, 1969 and during those years John Steed (Patrick Macnee) had countless adventures and solved a multitude of crimes. However, it was the years during which he was teamed with the lovely and talented Mrs. Emma Peel (Diana Rigg of On Her Majesty's Secret Service) saw the show hit its peak, where the cast and crew produced two seasons of fantastic content that remain to this day the most popular episodes of the show.

    Though Steed started off solving crimes with the help of his friend Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry of the original Get Carter) and then later Dr. Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman, best known as Pussy Galore from Goldfinger), by 1965 things had changed. Emma Peel was brought on board for the fourth season of the series, and for its color debut in the fifth batch of episodes. The chemistry that Rigg and Macnee showed together on screen proved to be explosive and the series managed to really hit its stride.

    The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Collection contains the following episodes spread out across the set in the following order:

    Disc One (Series Four):

    The Town Of No Return: A small town named Little-Bazely-By-The-Sea has seen four government agents go missing recently. Steed and Ms. Peel head down to check out the scene and find that a lot of the locals aren't nearly as innocent as they seem, particularly the reverend and the inn keeper. Hammer Films’ Roy Ward Baker directed this episode.

    The Murder Market: Togetherness Inc. seems alright on the outside, after all, they help bring couples together, but when a string of brutal killings seems to be connected to them, it's up to John and Emma to figure out what it is that is really going on behind closed doors.

    The Master Minds: Monty Python's Flying Circus regular Ian McNaughton guest stars in which a double agent is wounded during a job in which he tries to steal some government files. John and Emma find out he's a member of an elite club in which you have to have genius intelligence to join. Emma gains entry easily enough, but things prove to be more difficult for Steed.

    Disc Two:

    Dial A Deadly Number: We all know that the stock market can get nasty sometimes, but this time out it ends in murder! Steed decides to dabble in high finance to go undercover to solve the crime while Emma sets out to investigate a few strange coincidences on her own.

    Death At Bargain Prices: A local department store becomes the scene of some controversy when an agent is murdered in cold blood inside a store elevator. Emma and John start to sleuthing and all signs point towards the wealthy man who runs the joint, who may or may not have something to do with a missing nuclear scientist.

    Too Many Christmas Trees: This holiday themed episode finds John Steed having strange dreams where agents start turning up dead at the hands of a Christmas themed murderer. He and Emma head off to a party at a wealthy man's house to find out he's obsessed with Charles Dickens and might have something to do with Steed's state. Baker directed this episode as well.

    The Cybernauts: A massive, hulking, killing machine has been on the rampage throughout London, knocking off a few men related to a prominent electronics firm. Emma goes undercover to infiltrate a karate school that might have something to do with it, while Steed investigates the corporate side of things by posing as an electronics executive himself in this classic episode which introduces some characters who would, surprisingly, be brought back in later episodes (a rarity in the series).

    Disc Three:

    The Gravediggers: Dr. Marlow has died under strange circumstances and Steed and Emma Peel go undercover to try and figure out why. What they uncover is a strange conspiracy relating to an old railroad tycoon and a hospital that he runs as a charity gig. If you want to see Diana Rigg in a nurse’s outfit, and you know you do, this episode is for you.

    Room Without A View: Something strange is going on at the Chessman Hotel when a scientist who was thought to be long dead turns up to see his wife. When Steed and Emma look into things, they find that the hotel has a history of missing persons turning up there and that there might be more to this than sheer coincidence. Baker directs again.

    A Surfeit Of H2O: A poacher is out doing his thing in the woods when a storm hits and he slips and drowns in a stream. Something else is amiss in the small town, however, when the local carpenter starts building an ark. Could there be something in the local brew that is making people go a little loopy?

    Two's A Crowd: Once again directed by Hammer Horror maestro Roy Ward Baker, this episode finds John and Emma on the trail of a foreign spy who is in London to sneak into a military conference and report back to the enemy with the results.

    Disc Four:

    Man-Eater Of Surrey Green: Despite the fact that Alan is hard of hearing, he's quite the whiz when it comes to plants. Soon to be married, things turn odd when his bride to be starts acting odd and decides to throw in the towel. Emma and John come to look into the strange behavior of the local townsfolk and find a giant space seed has landed in a field just outside of town.

    Silent Dust: Steed thinks that a bum fertilizer might be behind the strange fact that all of the birds have left or died in a small country village but when he and Emma come to look around they find that the locals are none too friendly at all. Baker directs again.

    The Hour That Never Was: Steed and Emma are off to a party to be held at an air force base that is going to be closing its doors soon. They arrive after a car crash only to find the place completely deserted. Is this really happening or are our two heroes in some sort of dreamland?

    Castle De'ath: Something strange is going on in Scotland as the fisherman are complaining that all of the fish have just disappeared! A scuba diver is found dead on the coast, and Emma and John start investigating the connection it all has to a local nobleman.

    Disc Five:

    The 13th Hole: John and Emma join a posh country club to solve the murder of a man who was killed on the thirteenth hole of the golf course. John ends up having to complete in a golf tournament to keep up the ruse, and thankfully Emma is there to help out. Once again, Baker directs.

    Small Game For Big Hunters: Steed becomes thoroughly confused in this episode when he tries to figure out how a local man was put under the influence of modern day voodoo and ends up fending for his life from a gang of bandits who seem to have come from some time in the past.

    The Girl From Auntie: When Steed comes back from a well-earned vacation he finds that Emma is not quite herself. He teams up with an actress to figure out what's happened to his dear friend Emma and they uncover a mystery that leads to a knitting club. Baker directs.

    Quick-Quick-Slow Death: Emma ends up teaching at a strange dance academy with John as a student when they have to investigate the death of an agent who was run over by car.

    Disc Six:

    The Danger Makers: When a string of senior British army officers are seemingly being killed off one by one, John and Emma have to take a look to see what's going on. What they wind up having to deal with is a strange secret organization that might have deep rooted ties to the army itself. Nigel Davenport has a guest role in this episode.

    A Touch Of Brimstone: John and Emma go up against the Hellfire Club lead by the diabolical John Cartney, played by Peter Wyngarde, when a diplomat is murdered by electrocution while he's cutting a ribbon at an opening ceremony.

    What The Butler Saw: Steed gets his haircut by a barber who happens to be involved in international espionage himself and it is through him that he learns of three army officers, one of whom is a traitor. Steed goes undercover to find out who, while Emma tries to seduce a captain in order to trap him.

    The House That Jack Built: Emma's Uncle Jack passes on and leaves her his house, which, when she goes to look it over, proves to be a maze of sorts of full of some strange psychological devices that wreak havoc on those who enter.

    Disc Seven:

    A Sense Of History: John and Emma have to go undercover at a local school to investigate what might be an accidental death on the archery green but what in reality is murder. Could it have something to do with the rivalry between the faculty and the student body?

    How To Succeed…At Murder: In a strange twist of fate, all of the men in charge at a big corporation wind up dead, leaving the doors wide open for their former secretaries to move in and take over. Steed tries to hire one of the women to act as his own secretary and finds out that these girls might have more on their minds than he first thought.

    Honey For The Prince: Emma and John are out at a party one night and when they return to John's apartment they're shocked to find an agent lying dead on his floor. It all somehow ties in to a company that brings fantasy to life and a European Prince with deep oil ties.

    Disc Nine (Series Five):

    The Fear Merchants: In what at first seems to be a strange coincidence, four men who work with ceramics all have a nervous breakdown around the same time but no one is really sure why until Steed and Mrs. Peel figure out what the connection between the four men really is. This is where the series switches to color.

    Escape In Time: Somehow a group of criminals have, one by one, seemingly disappeared into thin air and eluded the authorities and escaped from the law. It's thought that there must be a tunnel or something that they're using but it might just have something to do with time travel.

    The Bird Who Knew Too Much: Somehow top secret British facilities are being found out through aerial photographs but no one is sure how they're being taken until John and Emma deduce that it's related to a fashion photographer and a parrot.

    Disc Ten:

    From Venus With Love: A group of wealth astronomers are being killed off one by one, their bodies turned white by some sort of bright killer light. Steed goes undercover at an Astronomers club to find out why, while Emma sets out to find the source of the light. Barbara Shelly and John Pertwee guest star.

    The See-Through Man: When an invisible man breaks into the head office, John and Emma follow some clues and finger a chemist at a pharmaceutical company as the culprit but it might have less to do with him and more to do with Soviet spies in the area.

    The Winged Avenger: Professor Poole has invented some boots that allow anyone who wears them to walk up walls and on ceilings. It looks like these boots are being used for evil when some fancy rich guys end up dead, but then there's a comic book called The Winged Avenger that somehow ties into all of this as well.

    The Living Dead: The home of Duke Bennedict has a slight problem – the dead are rising from the grave! It all has something to do with a cave-in that happened at a mine five years ago that killed a bunch of men and one of his relatives but he's not sure what he can do about it until Steed and Mrs. Peel show up.

    Disc Eleven:

    The Hidden Tiger: A society that rescues cats find themselves being killed off by a giant tiger, until John and Emma show up and find out that it is all related to a conspiracy of great proportions, for a secret society is bent on taking over England.

    The Correct Way To Kill: Steed finds out that a lot of enemy agents are turning up dead, but it's not by British hands. Steed and Mrs. Peel end up having to make an uncomfortable alliance with Soviet spies to uncover the truth about these deaths. Michael Gough has a supporting role in this episode.

    Never, Never Say Die: Christopher Lee guest stars in this episode, as Professor Frank N. Stone, a man who might just be an indestructible man thrashing around the quaint English countryside wreaking all kinds of havoc. To make matters worse, a man who just wants to finish his drive somehow manages to keep running him over again and again.

    Epic: A very insane movie director and his three big wig actor friends decide that they want to cast Mrs. Peel in their next film project. She's not interested so they decide to kidnap her and film her anyways, with some very strange results. Good thing for Emma that Steed is on the case! Peter Wyngarde guest stars.

    Disc Twelve:

    The Superlative Seven: In this sendoff of The Magnificent Seven we're treated to a guest appearance by Donald Sutherland. Steed goes to a high society party only to find himself trapped in a life sized remote control plane that is bound for a deserted island where he'll be forced to fight for his life against six other highly skilled combatants. Charlotte Ramping and Brian Blessed also appear in this episode.

    A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Station: An agent named Lucas mistakenly gets off at the wrong train station while out investigating some strange circumstances and ends up dead. When Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent in to investigate they uncover a plot to kill the British Prime Minister!

    Something Nasty In The Nursery: A group of clandestine men who are all let in on some top secret plans all begin to have strange dreams about children's toys and nannies that could stem back to their childhoods. Emma explores the area and uncovers something strange at the toy store while Steed goes undercover to check out a school for English nannies.

    The Joker: Emma goes to visit a friend for a weekend of Bridge playing but finds herself trapped in her host's house. Someone is trying to drive her insane and the culprit has ties to her past. Normally Steed would come to save her but this time out he's got a sprained ankle.

    Disc Thirteen:

    Who's Who???: Emma and John take on the curious case in which an agent is found dead while wearing a pair of stilts. They set out to solve the murder and find that a pair of enemy agents plan to lure them into a trap where they will swap their minds!

    Death's Door: A group of English politicians head off to a world peace conference but soon start having strange nightmares. When one of them winds up dead, Steed and Mrs. Peel are tasked with keeping the man who is sent to replace him alive at all costs.

    Return Of The Cybernauts: Peter Cushing guest stars in this episode which sees the Cybernauts back for another swing. Clemant Armstrong's brother wants Steed and Mrs. Peel dead so he sets a trap for them in hopes of carrying out his revenge but the Cybernauts aren't quite down for the count and he might get more than he bargained for.

    Disc Fourteen:

    Dead Man's Treasure: A dying agent stashes some important documents in a box that winds up missing so Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent to look for it but wind up having to tussle with enemy agents and a deadly car that electrocutes people.

    The £50,000 Breakfast: A dead ventriloquist is found dead with a king's ransom in jewels stashed inside his stomach! Emma heads out to investigate the businesses in the area in hopes of uncovering some clues while Steed is forced to blackmail someone to sort it all out.

    You Have Just Been Murdered: There's a run of sorts on the bank when a few different wealthy men all withdraw their fortunes at the same time. Steed figures that someone is blackmailing these poor guys but he can't get any of them to spill the beans. Things get stranger when he receives a phone call from one of the men who tells Steed that he has just been murdered.

    Disc Fifteen:

    Murdersville: An old friend of Emma's is back from a long spell of traveling and so she heads off to a small seaside town to visit him. When she gets there she finds that the locals have murder on their minds and that something is very, very wrong in this town.

    The Positive-Negative Man: A scientist is found dead, trapped inside a wall, and our heroes are called in to investigate. One thing leads to another and soon they find themselves out chasing a strange looking man who just might be the culprit.

    Mission… Highly Improbable: The fifth season closes off when a wealthy man and his Rolls Royce disappear into thin air while being shown to a military base. Steed is of course on the case as soon as he can be, but is he getting smaller? Something is amiss, good thing Emma's not too far behind.

    The Forget-Me-Knot (Season Six): The first episode of the sixth season of the show was the end of an era, as Steed bids farewell to Mrs. Peel in an episode where Steed becomes accused of criminal activity after his friend Mortimer and Mrs. Peel get abducted by a biker gang.

    While some episodes worked better than others and not every one of them came up a winner, for the most part the content of these two seasons was excellent. The sexual tension between Steed and Mrs. Peel paved the way for some extremely quick and witty dialogue and the back and forth banter between the two of them, always playful, was perfect no matter how ridiculous the situation was that the two found themselves in. Always able to keep their cool even when battling the undead or karate robots, Steed and Mrs. Peel were a truly dynamic duo and their chemistry and camaraderie made the series, quite simply, good fun.

    The show also had a very interesting look. It was very much 'pop art' come to life and it was obviously influenced a lot by comic books and the spy movies that had come before it, as all manner of gadgets, gimmicks, bizarre sets and strange villains pop up throughout the series. Aside from the relationship between the two leads, the other catch that the show had working in its favor was that it was always interesting just to see who or what they'd have to fight against in each new episode. Sure, it was all preposterous but it didn't matter, as everything was done with tongue placed firmly in cheek and this allowed the show to get away with it. Had it been played completely straight it never would have worked in the first place. That's not to say that the show isn't without its dramatic moments, however, as some of the murders are creepy enough. There are a more than a few spots where either Steed or Mrs. Peel will find themselves in peril and while we know that they're not going to be killed off, we still want to make sure that they make it out in one piece. Tension is frequently built very effectively from these scenes, the fact that the two leads are as likeable as they are playing a huge part in why we wind up on the edge of our seat.

    The focus of the set is obviously on Rigg's character (if the name ‘The Emma Peel Collection’ doesn't tell you that, you're just not paying attention) and it's for good reason. She's graceful, sexy, funny and smart and you can definitely see how she captured the hearts of many a young man during the show's run. Her sassiness is a large part of the reason why the show remains a cult favorite roughly sixty years after the fact and her enduring popularity is completely understandable given how charismatic and undeniably charming she is in the part. From the moment we meet her for the first time in The Town Of No Return, when Steed simply rings her doorbell, through to the last episode we never learn how they meet, what their background is or how they've been teamed up together but it doesn’t take away from anything in the least, since the mystery of it all is half the fun.

    The Avengers - The Emma Peel Collection – Blu-ray Review:

    Everything in this set is presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers taken from original 35mm elements using restorations provided by Studio Canal. The first batch of episodes in this set were shot in black and white, but starting with From Venus With Love in 1967 the show did make the transition into color. As such, there are two very different looks for the show that need to be examined in a bit more detail individually.

    The Black And White Episodes: These episodes are all about shadow and contrast and as such, you get a lot of very stark looking and, at times, almost noir-ish compositions in the show. Thankfully, this material has been handled fairly well here and aside from some mild shimmering and a little bit of what looks like minor noise reduction smoothing things over just a bit, the transfers look to be in very good shape. There is a bit of print damage here and there and, of course, some visible bit of grain from time to time but none of this is distracting, it just serves to remind that the series was shot on film. The blacks are generally pretty strong, the whites are clean and clear, and everything in between looks well defined, with good detail, depth and texture present.

    The Color Episodes: The later episodes, surprisingly (or maybe not) don't look quite as sharp at times, though they typically do come very close. While it's a complete joy to see the show make the leap to color and it's a lot of fun to see the whacked out color schemes and compositions come to life there is occasionally a bit of softness to the color photography that isn't present in the black and white episodes. That being said, things still do look very nice here, even if they're not quite as sharp as the earlier episodes – the benefits of seeing the compositions and wild hues in color more than makes up for whatever small imperfections may exist in the source material and again, we get pretty solid depth and detail and a fair bit of nice texture as well. And most importantly for these episodes, the colors really do pop, especially and most frequently when it comes to Peel’s wardrobe choices.

    The English language LPCM Mono sound mixes are pretty clean without any noticeable hiss or distortion creeping into the mix at any given time. The odd scene sounds a little bit flat but overall these tracks take care of business nicely if you don't get too irate over the occasionally pop in the mix. The theme song in particular that starts and ends each episode on the while the opening credits play through sounds quite good, as does a lot of the background music used throughout the episodes. Dialogue isn't ever hard to understand either, which is nice, and sound effects have just the right amount of punch to them. Optional English subtitles are also provided for each episode in the set, but not for the supplemental material.

    This set is stuffed to the fills with extra features, starting with a selection of commentaries laid out as follows:

    -The Town of No Return by producer/writer Brian Clemens and director Roy Ward Baker
    -The Master Minds by writer Robert Banks Stewart
    -Dial A Deadly Number by writer Roger Marshall
    -The Hour That Never Was by director Gerry O’Hara
    -The House That Jack Built by director Don Leaver
    -The Winged Avenger by writer Richard Harris
    -Epic by guest actor Peter Wyngarde
    -The Joker by filmmakers Sam Clemens and George Clemens (sons of writer/producer Brian Clemens) (recorded in 2022 and exclusive to this release)
    -Return of The Cybernauts by Diana Rigg’s stunt-double Cyd Child
    -Murdersville by producer/writer Brian Clemens

    The commentary tracks are pretty interesting, and definitely worth listening to as they give us a pretty comprehensive look at everything from what it was like writing for the show to performing stunt work to directing specific episodes to appearing on camera. There’s plenty of talk here about working with Macnee and Rigg and what they were like as people, how much fun and also how much work it could be on any given day of a shoot, friendships that were made during the production and loads, loads more.

    The rest of the extras are spread out as follows:

    Disc One:

    Up next is a quickie, it's the alternate thirty-two second American opening for the series in which we see the characters play out across a chessboard. While the British opening is more in tune with the feel of the show, it's nice to see this here especially as it will be how a lot of American viewers remember seeing the show when it aired on US television.

    We also get the forty-seven second reconstructed John Stamp series trailer for the series, nineteen seconds’ worth of UK commercial break bumper slates, three and a half minutes of alternate opening and closing UK credits for The Master Minds and twenty-six seconds of alternative UK commercial break bumpers for The Master Minds

    The Series Of No Return - An Audio Interview With Actress Elizabeth Shepherd, who was originally cast as Emma Peel, runs eleven minutes and let’s Shepherd talk about her awareness of how popular the series was, how she secured the role of Emma Peel, thoughts on the scripts, experiences shooting her first episode and thoughts on the people she worked with on it, working with Macnee, why production stopped and more. This all plays out over top of a nice slideshow of images from her work on the show. Sadly, the episode she shot no longer exists but we do get to see a quick close up of her hand that made it into the version later made with Rigg.

    Armchair Theater: The Hothouse starring Diana Rigg is a fifty-three minute episode from the fifth season of the TV series from 1964 and it would appear to be Rigg's TV debut. It's a well-told story about Anita Fender, a mother whose marriage to supermarket owner Harry (Harry H. Corbett) isn't what it once was. Things change when the Fenders meet Gordon and Charlotte Parsley, who are clearly very much in love.

    There are also still galleries for The Town Of No Return featuring Elizabeth Shepherd, The Town Of No Return featuring Diana Rigg, The Murder Market and The Master Minds.

    Disc Two:

    Starting off the extras on disc two are a Death At Bargain Prices alternative end tag scene that runs a minute and a half and some Death At Bargain Prices colorization test footage running just over a minute.

    Up next is a one minute Cybernauts vintage interview piece with McNee that is quite brief but which contains some fun behind the scenes footage.

    This disc also includes The Avengers At 50, an interview with director Don Leaver from 2011 in which he spends forty-two minutes discussing the work that he did on the show and sharing stories from his time behind the scenes.

    This disc also includes separate still galleries for each episode.

    Disc Three:

    The third disc includes variant opening titles for The Gravediggers running just over three minutes as well as a fifty second 'Mit Schirm, Charme Und Melon German' language opening titles segment and a two minute 'Chapeau Melon Et Bottes De Cuir French' opening and closing titles segment.

    This disc also includes separate still galleries for each episode.

    Disc Four:

    The Avengers At 50 is an interview with director Gerry O'Hara from 2011. It runs thirty-seven minutes and features O'Hara, sporting some bright red socks, telling some interesting stories about the time that he spent working on the series, getting along with fellow cast and crew members and details of some of the specific episodes he directed.

    Once again, there are separate still galleries for each episode.

    Disc Five:

    Extras on the fifth disc start off with Guest Actor Francis Matthews Recalls Filming The Thirteenth Hole, a quick forty-second piece where he talks about his lack of golfing experience and how it affected his scenes.

    There are also some vintage news reels included on this disc. The Avengers Fashion Show is a silent fifty-two second piece showing off some highlights from the fashion show episode. Patrick Macnee's Wedding Day, also silent, runs thirty-four seconds and shows off clips from his wedding. The Diana Rigg Interview is a quick forty-second clip where the actress talks about trying to do things differently with her role in the series. The Avengers Sold To USA is a fourteen second silent bit where the show's two stars get into a car.

    Once again, there are separate still galleries for each episode.

    Disc Six:

    This disc starts off with some colorization test footage from A Touch Of Brimstone that runs fifty-nine seconds and is interesting to see.

    Diana Rigg At The BFI is an interview/Q&A session with the iconic actress from 2015. Here, over twenty-nine minutes, she talks about how she got her role, leaving the Royal Shakespeare Company to get into television and film acting, some of her early roles, working with different directors, what it was like working with Mcnee, memories of specific episode, the international and domestic success of the show and its effect on her, some of the series' more avant-garde moments and how nice it was to play a character like Emma Peel who was an influential character and heroine to many people.

    Still galleries for each episode round out the disc.

    Disc Seven:

    Extras on disc seven start off with a series five teaser film for The Strange Case Of The Missing Corpse. This three minute clip would appear to have been the public's first glimpse at the series in color and it's an amusing artifact from the show's history.

    In The Avengers At 50 section, containing more content from 2011, we get a video message from Mcnee running just under four minutes where he briefly looks back on his time spent working on the series, expressing his gratitude for the experience and his time working with Blackman and Rigg.

    Carol Cleveland is interviewed about her guest spot on A Sense Of History in a five minute piece. She talks about working with Mcnee and Rigg, how the episode wasn't originally shown in the United States because it was too naughty, the good publicity that this gave her career and memories of filming the show.

    Writer Roger Marhsall is interviewed in a thirty-eight minute featurette that looks back on his career. He discusses how he got into working on the show, episode highlights, what it was like on set while the show was being made, always wanting to be working on something better than what he was working on, trying out new ideas in the show, getting cast feedback and his own thoughts on the episodes that he personally wrote.

    In addition to still galleries for each episode on the disc, we also get a still gallery containing a selection of publicity stills.

    Disc Eight (Bonus Disc):

    Disc eight is all supplemental material. It starts off with more material from The Avengers At 50 celebration from 2011. First up is a screenwriters panel interview with Brian Clemens, Richard Harris, Richard Bates and Terrance Dicks. This twenty-one minute piece sees the four interviewees talk not only about their work as writers but as story editors on The Avengers as well. They also discuss their individual histories with the show, details on some of the specific stories they worked on, how everyone got along when they had to collaborate and work together and more.

    Up next is an interview with stunt-double Cyd Child who speaks for fourteen minutes about how she got involved in Judo after doing ballet as a kid, how she then got into television work after doing industrial photography, what it was like doubling for Rigg, some of the complicated wardrobe choices she had to deal with, what Rigg and Mcnee were like to work with and the trickiness of emulating Rigg's cat-like movements.

    An interview with writer Jeremy Burnham runs eight minutes and lets him go over how he worked as an actor and appeared in The Town With No Return (and having to make it twice) before then getting into writing for the show. He then talks about how he got into writing for the show, why he stopped acting in the late sixties and some of the different storylines that he was responsible for on the show, which he did for two years.

    The last of this section is an interview with composer Laurie Johnson. Running forty minutes, here we learn about Johnsons' life and work leading up to his working on the show, his training and early work, and then the work he did specifically for The Avengers, some of the people that he worked with and influences that may have worked their way into the music for the show, how he tried to build tensions and suspense with his work, wanting to help add to the series' production value and the schedule under which he had to work.

    Disc 8 also includes a selection of Diana Rigg German Super 8 films. The first of these, Das Diadem, is a twenty-one minute where Rigg lands a plane and hops into a sports car unaware that she's being followed home. She locks away a box and then heads back out to go swim with some dolphins, again, being watched the entire time. Eventually she realizes what's happening and decides to put a stop to it. Interestingly enough, seventeen minutes into this it switches from black and white to color.

    The Minikillers section includes four shorts, watchable all together or individually. Operation Costa Brava is a ten minute piece where Rigg, strutting about in a bikini, catches the eyes of a few different men who are all out to get one another. Bonus points for including a weird doll in this episode. Heroin, running ten minutes, sees Rigg relaxing at the beach covertly taking photos of a boat not too far off shore only to suddenly find herself surrounded by mannequins. Macabre, also running ten minutes, sees Rigg at a seaside cafe where, again, she's observed by some men who are clearly up to no good. More booby-trapped dolls show up and Rigg gets to drive a sweet vintage Jaguar convertible. The last of the Minikillers episodes is the twelve minute Flamenco. In this one, Rigg enjoys a flamenco show in a night club only for dangerous assassins to once again show up and ruin her fun.

    The last of the German Super 8 movies is Der Goldene Schlussell, a seven minute that is a shorter alternate version of Das Diadem. All of the German material has sound but no dialogue.

    Brian Clemens In Conversation At The BFI is a featurette from July 28th, 2010. Over seven minutes, he talks about starting writing as a kid, getting into writing professional as a young man, getting work at the BBC and then his work on The Avengers.

    Finishing up this disc is The Avengers Fashion Show still gallery and a Diana Rigg photo gallery.

    Disc Nine:

    Disc nine's extras start off with a minute of silent episode trims from The Fear Merchant and three minutes of silent episode trims from Escape In Time.

    The disc also includes a German television interview with Macnee and Rigg conducted by Joachim Fuchsberger. This piece runs ten minutes and it's quite fun as it starts with Steed and Peel finding Fuchsberger laying down on the floor, presumed dead. From there, they go over the popularity of the series in Germany and a recent trip that the pair made to the country, Rigg's background as an actress, Mcnee's experiences in Germany and more.

    Up next is Mit Schirm, Charme Und Melon, the alternate series five German opening titles, which is cool to see included.

    Producer/writer Brian Clemens is interviewed in another The Avengers At 50 segment from 2011 running twenty-two he minutes. He talks about how he got his start writing for the show and moved up to becoming one of the producers, what it was like writing for the show and some of the episodes he worked on in that regard, memories of some of his collaborators, casting Rigg in the role of Mrs. Peel, why he wound up leaving the series and quite a bit more.

    The Grenada Plus Points section contains quick recollections with Mcnee, composer Laurie Johnson and stunt-double Cyd Child offering quick facts and intro material for The Fear Merchants, Escape In Time and The Bird Who Knew Too Much episodes. This runs just over four minutes in total.

    Finishing up the disc are photo galleries for each of the three episodes on the disc.

    Disc Ten:

    Disc ten start off with two minutes of silent episode trims from the From Venus With Love episode and two and a half minutes of silent episode trims from The See-Through Man episode.

    The Grenada Plus Points section contains quick recollections with Mcnee and stunt-double Cyd Child offering quick facts and intro material for all four episodes on this disc. This runs just over five minutes in total.

    Once again, finishing up the disc are photo galleries for each of the three episodes on the disc.

    Disc Eleven:

    On disc eleven, writer/producer Brian Clemens provides an optional introduction for The Correct Way To Kill that runs just over two minutes and for Epic, running just under three minutes. These are done in the spirit of the show and quite fun.

    The disc also includes a Series 5 archival trailer that runs two minutes as well as a Series 5 German cinema trailer running two minutes (interestingly enough, Peel is top billed over Steed in this one!).

    We also, once again, get a selection of Granada Plus Points recollections and trivia for each episode, once again featuring Macnee, Johson and Cyd.

    Photo galleries for each episode finish off the disc.

    Disc Twelve:

    Brian Clemens once again provides some fun introductions, this time for The Superlative Seven, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Station and The Joker.

    Macnee and Johnson are again included in the Granada Plus Points section, treating us to yet more episodic recollections and trivia for each episode on this disc.

    Separate photo galleries are also included for each episode on this disc.

    Disc Thirteen:

    This disc starts off with another The Avengers At 50 segment in which Macnee's biographer Marie Cameron is interviewed for seventeen minutes. She talks about meeting him in 1971 and how she came to work with him and write his life story with his full cooperation. She details how they worked together before email and the ability to collaborate online and different stories that he told her during the process. There are lots of fun anecdotes and memories shared in this piece.

    Macnee and Johnson are once again included in the Granada Plus Points section, treating us to yet more episodic recollections and trivia for each episode on this disc, and separate photo galleries are also included for each episode on this disc.

    Disc Fourteen:

    This disc includes two The Avengers At 50 pieces, the first is an interview with stunt co-ordinator Raymond Austin that clocks in at twenty-one minutes. This piece covers his career befoer The Avengers and working with Hitchcock, how he then came to do work on the series, how different stunt set pieces were done, some of the challenges that he and his team ran into on the job, getting injured himself on one stunt and more.

    The second is an interview with actress Anneke Wills running twelve minutes. She goes over how she came to have a guest spot on the show and how she got the part, how big and popular the show was at the time, working with the cast and crew and specific memories from the time that she spent working on the show.

    Macnee, Child and writer Roger Marshall are all included in the Granada Plus Points section, treating us to yet more episodic recollections and trivia for each episode on this disc, and separate photo galleries are also included for each episode on this disc.

    Disc Fifteen:

    Brian Clemens provides another fun two minute introduction to for the Murdersville episode.

    Also found on the disc are The Avengers: A Retrospective, a 1993 home video promotional program presented by Macnee that runs for sixty-three minutes. In this piece, Mcnee basically gives viewers a run down on the history of the show and what made it work. It is, however, primarily a highlight reel showing of various memorable moments from the series' run.

    The Diana Rigg 1973 Interview With Bobby Wygant segment runs six minutes and sees Rigg talking about her recent wedding and new husband and some of her (at the time) current, post-The Avengers television work, and, of course, her work on The Avengers itself.

    K Is For Kill is a two minute excerpt from The New Avengers series in which Mrs. Peel shows up in a cameo to get a phone call from Steed asking for some help on a case.

    Macnee and writer Roger Marshall are all included in the Granada Plus Points section, treating us to yet more episodic recollections and trivia for each episode on this disc, and separate photo galleries are also included for each episode on this disc.

    Disc Sixteen:

    This disc is comprised entirely of supplemental material, starting with standard definition presentations of all four of the original episodes from the Cathy Gale era of the show that wound up being remade in Series 5 - Death Of A Great Dane (remade as the 50,000 Breakfast and available with an audio commentary from writer Roger Marshall), Don't Look Behind You (remade as The Joker) available with an introduction from Macnee and Honor Blackman as well as an audio commentary from Blackman and Paul O'Grady, Dressed To Kill (remade as The Superlative Seven) and The Charmers (remade as The Correct Way To Kill).

    Tunnel Of Fear - Recovered Episode From Series 1 is a selection of fifty-two minutes of previously missing material starring Ian Hendry and Patrick Mcnee from the very early run of the show. Taken from a tape source, this material doesn't look amazing, but it's great to see it included here regardless.

    Newsreel: Honor Blackman's Judo Book, available with optional commentary from Blackman and O'Grady, is a quick minute long clip showing Blackman performing some Judo flips and then talking about the benefits of learning self-defense.

    From there, jump into more The Avengers At 50 content starting with an interview with Blackman conducted by Paul O'Grady that runs for sixteen minutes. This covers the legacy of the show and her part in television history, thoughts on the character she played in the show, memories from her time on the show and her experiences riding a motorbike, having to do judo for the show and learning it for her role, memories of working with Macnee and plenty of other details about working on The Avengers.

    The packaging for this release is also very impressive. Series four and series five are collected in two flipper cases per season. Each case has its own unique cover sleeve which, on the reverse side, lists the episodes and extras included on each disc inside. These fit inside a very sturdy, full color, double-sided hardbox package that is limited to 1500 copies. Inside this box, alongside the discs, is a full color 120-page booklet featuring an essay on the series by Dick Fiddy of the British Film Institute as well as story Information and credits for every episode in the set taken from the original studio files.



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    The Avengers - The Emma Peel Collection - The Final Word:

    Sixteen discs of action, intrigue, humor, suspense and sex appeal? You betcha, and they're all cleaned up and looking good in high definition and with proper lossless audio. On top of that, Indicator has gone the extra mile and absolutely stacked this set with extra features old and new. The Avengers – The Complete Emma Peel Collection contains so much flat out fun viewing that it's pretty much impossible to resist. Highly recommended!
    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized The Avengers - The Emma Peel Collection Blu-ray screen caps!

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