• title card: white all caps text reading ‘THE THIRTEENTH HOLE’ outlined in black and superimposed on a view of the top of a golfhole flag, made of metal and bearing the number 13 in a circle; there are two crossed clubs on the top of the pole
  • Emma fights Collins on the edge of the bunker at the thirteenth hole
  • Reed looks impressed as Jackson aims his golfball gun inside the pro’s shed
  • Steed uses a wind gauge as he prepares to tee off
  • Emma plays Steed’s fairy godmother, predicting he will win the game (as she’s helping his ball along)
  • Reed covers Emma’s mouth with his hand as he points a revolver at her face
  • The explosion of the bomb can be seen above the grass at to top of a small hill with trees in the background
  • Steed and Emma celebrate with a bottle of champagne while driving off in a golf cart

Series 4 — Episode 18
The Thirteenth Hole

by Tony Williamson
Directed by Roy Baker

Production No E.64.10.16
Production completed: September 22 1965. First transmission: January 25 1966.

TV Times summary

In which Steed finds a bogey — and Emma gets the birdie …

Plot summary

A Ministry agent is killed on a golf course and when the Avengers search his flat, they find none of his scorecards went past the 12th hole. The Avengers investigate the club and meet with a frosty reception. Out on the course, two other players vanish at the 13th hole — but turn up later at the club house as if nothing happened. The club president is killed by a golf ball when he’s helping Mrs. Peel investigate and then Mrs. Peel helps Steed cheat so he wins against the suspect, Reed, foiling his plan to play against Dr. Adams that afternoon — a Russian satellite will be passing over, and they plan to use it to broadcast government secrets to Russia. Steed survives a blow from the golf ball gun by using a chain-mail-lined hat and he and Emma defeat the villain and destroy the communications equipment.
The Avengers depart in a gold cart.

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Out on the fairway, Frank Reed (Patrick Allen) calls for a two iron from his caddy, Jackson (Victor Maddern), then a four iron. As he’s pondering his choice for the next shot, Jackson points out a man investigating the bunker alongside the thirteenth green. Reed stands up and orders, ‘303’. Jackson hands him a rifle and Reed coldly kills the man then resumes his game.

Act 1

Jackson is searching the man’s flat when Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) arrives, looking for Steed. He escapes after a brief fight and Emma runs into Steed when she gives chase. John Steed (Patrick Macnee) tells her the flat belongs to a fellow agent called Ted Murphy, who was found dead in an alleyway. He’d been working on routine surveillance of scientists and obviously stumbled on something that wasn’t routine! Mrs. Peel finds score cards from Craigleigh Golf Club, all stopping at the twelfth hole, and a brand new set of clubs as well as a ball with the club’s logo.

They visit Craigleigh, where they see Reed setting off for the course with Dr. Adams (Peter Jones), one of the scientists Murphy had been keeping an eye on. They alight from Steed’s car, hoping to catch up to them on the course, but are stopped by the club professional and acting secretary, Jerry Collins (Francis Matthews).

COLLINS: Members only this weekend. (SMILES) There’s a tournament… members only.
STEED: Oh that’s marvellous, I hate playing on a crowded course, don’t you, Mrs. Peel?

Mrs. Peel smiles disarmingly and informs him they are both paid up members, as of yesterday. Collins frowns after them as Steed and Emma head for the course.

They beat Reed and Adams to the first tee and Steed hopes to be asked to form a foursome and get off on a nice, friendly basis. He is about to tee-off when Reed stops him by intercepting his driver with a club, arrogantly ordering him out of the way as they are due to tee-off at 3 o’clock.

EMMA: Well, you got off on the right foot. That was a really friendly basis!

His plan foiled, Steed leaves Emma to play after them solo while he snoops around the club. After Emma tees off, Jackson emerges from behind a golf cart and drives off. Steed enters the club house and finds Murphy’s name has been struck out of the membership list. A moment later, Collins enters with Colonel Watson (Hugh Manning), arguing about playing schedules. They see Steed in the practice area1 and chat to him, Collins instructing Watson on his grip after introducing them. Steed fishes for reaction, first by mentioning Murphy then Reed’s ‘punctuality’. When he says he’s heard the thirteenth hole is hard to finish, he gets a bite from both men, Collins glaring at him sternly while Watson shiftily tries to act nonchalant.2

Mrs. Peel meanwhile has followed her quarry to the thirteenth, and she is followed by Jackson. She sneaks up to one of the bunkers flanking the green as Reed and Adams deliberately knock their balls into the opposite one and head off to it. Before she can investigate, Jackson’s cart comes crashing down into her bunker and she leaps out of its way. When she finally gets to the green, they have vanished without a trace.

She returns to the club house and tells Steed how they disappeared in less than a minute. He’s concerned about the loss of Adams, who’s a leading missile scientist,3 and goes to search the staff room. Captain Bertie Waversham (Donald Hewlett), the oleaginous club captain, pounces on Mrs. Peel and introduces himself. She coolly endures his feeble jokes, but “I wouldn’t mind giving you a stroke or two, on or off the course” takes the cake.

Reed returns from the course and Steed hides when Jackson brings in Reed’s clubs. They depart and Steed sneaks over to examine the golf bag, finding a .303 rifle and bullets for it in the tee holder. A golf ball rockets in through the window and narrowly misses Steed, deflected by a pin flag.4 Collins suddenly appears and demands to know why he’s there; Steed smiles and asks him to return the ball to its owner, noting a drive that could bend the metal flag would require a strong arm, a professional touch…2

Waversham meanwhile has told Mrs. Peel who Reed is, and says he thinks he’s a radio technician. Steed returns to the club house and Emma indicates that Reed has returned; he shows Emma one of the bullets.

STEED: Guaranteed to put a hole in one every time.

Steed doesn’t think Adams has been killed as he’s too valuable. Fearing he has been abducted, they ask Reed where he is but then Dr. Adams wanders in and wonders what the fuss is about.

The Avengers realise Adams is a willing partner in whatever is going on and resolve to watch him. Reed meanwhile bribes5 Collins to pair him with Adams in the tournament and let them tee-off at 11am.

Adams is jumpy and keeps checking his watch. Reed joins him then, a few moments later, the lights flicker and dim then go out. Seconds later they come back on but Reed and Adams have disappeared, the Colonel smiling at their empty seats drunkenly. Emma and Steed abruptly excuse themselves from Waversham to follow.

Collins, then Emma and Steed, hear a cart driving off into the night. It’s driven by Jackson and has a large telescope in the back; he picks up Reed and Adams and heads for the 13th. Emma follows and is surprised by Collins.

They fight then discover they’re both investigating Reed. Collins tells her about the bribe and adds that Reed and Adams tee-off every day at precisely 11am and 3pm. He ignored hey will pair up at 3pm if they beat their opponents in the first round of tomorrow’s tournament. He breaks off when they hear a golf cart; Collins pops out of the bunker to take a look and is killed by a flying golf ball, the impact so hard the club arms are branded on his forehead. Mrs. Peel dimly sees a cart with what looks like a cannon on it driving away…

Act 2

Steed examines the signs of the struggle in the bunker, unaware that Mrs. Peel was involved until she puts one of her feet in one of the footprints; they go to inspect Collins’ body but it has disappeared. She tells him he was shot with a golf ball and describes the “one man tank” she saw.

They head back, Steed entering the bar where Watson, Waversham and Reed are awaiting him. When he announces he was taking a moonlight stroll around the course there is great consternation of all assembled6 — Watson says it’s against the rules as he might damage the greens. Colonel Watson has the schedule for the tournament and notes that Steed and Reed will tee off at 11am, which annoys Reed but he covers it well.

REED (FROWNING): We’re paired together. How’s your game?
STEED: Good at Gleneagles, err, fair to middling at Pebble Beach.7
REED: So we meet tomorrow.

Mrs. Peel meanwhile finds the golf cart in the pro shop and discovers the cannon is a telescope, and there’s a star map under the seat. She goes to examine it more carefully but she’s suddenly interrupted by Reed and Jackson entering and takes cover.

Jackson tells Reed to tell the boss that Adams has returned then informs him he killed Collins, who was snooping about the green. Jackson brandishes an odd mini-bazooka which fires gas-propelled golf balls. Reed notices the star map on the table and turns on Jackson, giving Emma the chance to escape — not before she’s heard them say that their plot concludes tomorrow afternoon.

After she’s gone, Reed tells Jackson he’ll beat Steed so he can play Adams at 3pm.

JACKSON: Oh, one more thing — Should something go wrong tomorrow and this fellow Steed should win… ?
REED: Then he’ll sign his own death warrant. If he wins — you’ll have to kill him.

Steed and Reed tee-off but not before Steed pulls out a compass, a wind gauge, and a triangular plumb gauge to judge the course and conditions. Reed cheats and distracts Steed mid-swing but Emma is out on the course and drives Reed’s ball deep into a tussock with her foot then switches another ball for Steed’s. When Steed goes to look for his ball, Mrs. Peel appears from the bushes:

EMMA: Fear not, for e’er this day is done, You shall have a hole-in-one.8 I am your fairy godmother
EMMA: Me. I want you to win this game.

When he asks if she has money on him, she informs him about Adams organising a rendezvous with Dr. Adams at 3pm which she plans to thwart.

When the players get to the green, Steed discovers Mrs. Peel has deposited his ball in the hole, giving Steed the hole by three shots. At the end of the round, Steed has won easily meets Emma on the way back to the club house.

EMMA: That was an auspicious victory.
STEED: Reed thought is was sus-picious.

Emma is wondering what Reed will do as a result when Jackson emerges from behind a tree with his gas gun and fires a golf ball at Steed, striking the side of his hat and knocking him down. He lies on the ground, unresponsive, as Mrs. Peel tries to wake him…

Act 3

Steed comes to in the club house, Emma smirking at his pessimism in choosing a hat lined with chain-mail. She shows him the star chart, which marks a new star between Leo and Orion. Watson enters and asks how Steed is then says he’ll scratch him from the tournament.

STEED: I’m not scratching, I’m itching to play.
WAVERSHAM: Oh, we can’t allow that, old chap. I mean, after a nasty crack on the head like that, you’re…

Steed protests that he’s perfectly fit and will rest up to conserve his strength until tee-off, despite Waversham’s and Watson’s protestations, and the two men exchange a worried glance then depart in a huff.6

On the course, Adams is worried about not reaching the thirteenth by 4pm so Jackson tells him to make sure Steed putts first on the twelfth and Steed won’t trouble them again.

Professor Minley (Norman Wynne) from the Greenwich Observatory returns Mrs. Peel’s call and tell her the “new star” is Vostik 2, a Russian communications satellite that can handle a television signal. It’s been in orbit over Britain for the last month, passing over Surrey at 12pm and 4pm — today is its last orbit. Minley supposes to use the satellite one would need television transmission equipment and the co-operation of the Vostik technicians.

Emma sets off for the course where Steed is slowing his game by trimming the grass with some nail scissors. Before she can reach him to tell him bout the satellite, she is kidnapped by Reed at gun point and taken to the thirteen hole. Reed opens a door hidden in the bunker and they enter an underground… errr… bunker where Colonel Watson is in charge, finally revealed as the mastermind.

Collins’ body is still lying under a bench in the corner so she’s handcuffed to a chair. Watson then activates a periscope and shows her Jackson, planting a sensitive landmine that will be set off by the weight of a golf ball in the cup of the twelfth hole — and Steed is approaching… Steed putts and comes up just on the lip of the hole, Adams trying to be nonchalant while hiding in the bunker.

Watson turns on the equipment, explaining that Adams can divulge his secrets and, because of the camera,9 demonstrate their application in the minutest detail. A Russian scientist (Richard Marner) appears on the T.V. screen and is told there will be a slight delay. Steed spots the mine and rushes over to a small bunker then plays an improbable billiards shot, using his putter as the cue and a second golf ball which cannons into the hole and explodes the mine safely. When the dust settles, Adams is surprised to find Steed in the bunker beside him.

Steed grabs his lapels and marches him over to the thirteenth where they enter the bunker. The Russian scientist sees Steed first and shouts a warning — Steed pushes Adams ahead of him and deals Watson a blow with his walking stick. He then turns on Reed and strikes his shooting arm with the stick before he can shoot.10 Jackson enter the bunker and joins in, Mrs. Peel hitting him with her chair, now held above her head. Steed then hurls his walking stick through the television screen, making the Russians flinch.

Watson takes the opportunity to escape and runs out. Steed follows and, finding the Colonel has a healthy lead, starts hitting golf balls at him. He finally manages to knock him out and sighs in relief. He then turns to Emma:

STEED: How about finishing the game? What’s your handicap?


The Avengers depart, Emma chiding him for “not doing it in one”. Steed manages to pop the champagne cork and says it’s a question of the wrist action. He pours two glasses of Charles Heidsieck champagne and they drive away — in one of the golf carts.

  1. Francis Matthew initially looks the wrong way, as Patrick Macnee has moved across the set from where he probably was in rehearsal.
  2. Collins being set up in the early red herring rôle.
  3. Steed says Dr. Adams works at the apparently fictitious Catherby Hall research centre.
  4. In fact, the flag is behind Steed and not initially damaged by the ball.
  5. It’s a small roll of £1 notes, maybe £10 in all. Not worth his while, you think? That would be £162 in 2023 terms but back then it was half a week’s wages so it would depend how corruptible Collins was — as it turns out, not very! For legal reasons, the prop is deliberately wrong and the serial numbers are upside down or in the wrong place.
  6. Keeping the red herrings alive, Waversham and Watson both seem alarmed at the prospect of Steed wandering the course at night.
  7. Trademark Steed one-upmanship, suggesting he has played top class golf courses around the world.
  8. Diana Rigg delivers this line with an air that is a cross between A Missummer Night’s Dream and Bewitched. Her actions with the twig wand are reminiscent of Elizabeth Montgomery.
  9. A PYE Mark III camera that would have been used for programmes filmed on 405-line videotape.
  10. Steed goes to pull the sword out of his stick, then realises he brought the wrong stick.

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