Episode 1 - From Venus With Love7½ stars
by Philip Levene
Directed by Robert Day
Steed is shot full of holes
Emma sees stars!
Ernest Cosgrove (Paul Gillard) receives a call in the early hours - co-ordinates, declination and right ascension - of Venus - and he sets to photographing the planet with his astrocamera. While he works, his glass of beer starts bubbling furiously, and he rises, dripping sweat, from the telescope. He goes for the glass and a burst of white light and an electric crash send him reeling to the floor, dead and his hair bleached white as snow.
Steed drags Mrs Peel away from fencing practice to investigate;
Cosgrove was an up and coming war ministry bureaucrat of 37, despite now
looking 60. Steed says his death is the first and sure enough, that night
when Sir Frederick Hadley (Michael Lynch) makes his observations,
a similar fate is in store for him. The Avengers investigate again, Steed
taking the film from the telescope and Mrs Peel the advertisement of
a chimney sweep, Bert Smith.
She visits the sweep while he's working and discovers he's an upper-class sweep - Bertram Fortescue Winthrop Smith (Jeremy Lloyd) who's one of the rich patrons of the British Venusian Society - as were Cosgrove and Hadley. While she's ringing Steed to impart this news, Smith is struck down as well, the soot around him an alabaster halo. She pursues a glittering vehicle but loses time ducking a blast which sets fire to a scarecrow behind her. She tracks her quarry to a farmhouse but loses it when the hay bales collapse onto her and catch fire and the ball of light escapes...
Steed visits the BVS where he's greeted warmly by the money-seeking
Venus Browne (Barbara Shelley) and somewhat coldly by the scientific
Crawford (Derek Newark). They send him to have an eye test by one of the
members, Dr Primble (Phillip Locke) an eccentric ophthalmic surgeon who
uses hats as much as letters for testing sight while Mrs Peel goes to visit
another BVS astronomer, Lord Mansford. When she arrives, his butler
Jennings (Adrian Ropes) says she's just missed him - he's locked inside
his vault, perusing his art treasures, "until the clock strikes three".
Steed shows Primble Hadley's photos and Primble suggests Earth has been invaded by gaseous Venusians, while at the same time odd things are happening to Mansford's vault - the time lock opens and he's dead, white as a sheet. The camera in the vault recorded similar images, and the side has a hole burnt through it.
Colonel Whitehead (Jon Pertwee), last of the BVS enthusiasts is recording his
war memoirs when Venus arrives, asking for another donation, which he refuses
until he's seen the accounts. Seconds after her departure, and seconds before
Steed's arrival, he too is struck with the bleaching blast - his tape deck
recording the strange sound of the attack.
Steed plays it to Mrs Peel as she walks in her front door, making her duck for cover as he starts it at some of Whitehead's machine-gun sound effects, and she takes the recording to Venus Browne, claiming to be from a newspaper. Venus is deeply interested, but doesn't recognise the sound. She calls Crawford to hear it but he can't identify it over the 'phone. Suddenly, the house is attacked by the glowing ball, setting the curtains on fire.
Steed visits Primble, making it known he's from Security and is investigating the deaths, and mentions he's using Cosgrove's observatory that night. Mrs Peel waits for Crawford to arrive, while Steed sets up a wax dummy of himself and retires to a safe corner. Seconds later, his beer bubble and the dummy's head is obliterated. Primble bursts in, saying he saw the light come from the cemetery. Steed arrives and is once again shot at with the beam, Primble declaring the invasion underway.
Ministry scientist Professor Clarke (Arthur Cox) visits the site and notes the
scorched earth but discards his soil sample when he hears of the mirrored vehicle.
He identifies the recording - indubitably a laser, as Crawford is just that moment
telling Mrs Peel - and one of their primary uses is in eye surgery.
Mrs Peel breaks into Primble's garage and finds a heavily modified silver sports car, with forward-facing laser option installed. She is attached by Martin (Rocky Taylor?), who she overcomes but Primble traps her in the laser's sights. She's strapped to a surgery trolley to get her to talk, but Steed arrives before the final eye chart is burnt through and kills Primble by reflecting his laser back at him.
They go to leave, and Mrs Peel is impressed by Steed's modish white bowler!
Steed and Mrs Peel have been invited to have dinner on Venus, Venus Browne of the BVS that is, not on the planet, which is just as well, otherwise there'd be no wine - his Claret not travelling well.
|Transmission dates:||Foreign title||
whisky and soda
|Germany||24-Oct-67||(Einmal Venus, hin und zurück)|
|France||2-Jul-68||(Bons baisers de Vénus)|
|Italy||16-Nov-73||(da venere con amore)|
|Spain||---||(Desde venus con amor)|
|Holland||19-Apr-69||(Met de groeten van Venus)|