• An ornate dagger prtrudes from the target on the back of a man’s white jacket
  • View of an outsized chessboard, skewed from the white queen’s square. The dead man lies across the black diagonal across the king and queen square for the white side while Emma and Steed approach it along the bishop and queen white diagonals; the black king stands on his square, there is a white knight at WK6 and bishop at WQB7
  • Steed kneels to pick up a bottle of champagne, the close-up frams him from th wait down
  • Close-up of Steed’s face, reading the label of the champagne
  • Close-up of Emma’s legs, she pulls her gold revolver out of her right boot
  • Close-up of Emma’s face, she smirks at Steed
  • Emma and Steed toast each other with the champagne
  • Our heroes depart, Emma tracing back up the WKB diagonal, Steed alognside on the black diagonal from hte kngiht’s square, our view has shifted to from the WKB square

‘Chess board’ Intro

When The Avengers was bought by the ABC network in the United States in 1966, network executives were concerned that the audience might not take to the show if it didn’t understand the characters, so they commissioned a short introductory sequence to fill in the perceived gap. The sequence was only ever broadcast in the USA, so when Canal+ remastered the episodes, it was omitted from the DVDs produced for the US market. A&E and Canal+ were surprised at the uproar this caused, so when the Emma Peel episodes were repackaged after the Ian Hendry episodes came to light, it was included as a feature on the disc.

Plot summary

An ornate dagger is plunged into the back of a man standing in the centre of an enormous chess board. Emma and Steed march diagonally towward the body from opposite corners and the narrator says “Extraordinary crimes against the people, and the state have to be avenged by agents extraordinary. Two such people are John Steed, top professional, and his partner, Emma Peel, talented amateur. Otherwise known as The Avengers”. The Avengers raise their champgne glasses and toast each other.

I’ve transcribed the entire script.

show transcript

show summary


GRAMS. Theme music
CU an ornate dagger sunk into the middle of a target [1]
PULL OUT to reveal it’s in the middle of a waiter’s back,
the target painted on his white blazer in black.
He falls to the ground dead
CUT TO wide shot of a chess board with a black king surrounded by a white knight and white bishop, two figures walk onto the board [2]
They both march diagonally towards the waiter.
NARRATOR: Extraordinary crimes against the people, and the state have to be avenged by agents extraordinary
STEED bends down to take the champagne bottle from the waiter’s hand. [3]
C/U STEED’s hand, as he rises again
NARRATOR: Two such people are John Steed
STEED examines the bottle, then looks intently at EMMA [4]
NARRATOR: Top professional
CUT TO MID C/U of EMMA’s boot
She slips her gold-plated revolver into it [5]
SLOW PAN up her long legs
CUE V/O as the pan reaches the waist
NARRATOR: And his partner, Emma Peel, talented amateur
HOLD on EMMA’s face, she smiles [6]
CUT TO C/U two flutes being filled with champagne
NARRATOR: Otherwise known as The Avengers.
ZOOM OUT from glasses to reveal STEED and EMMA
They toast each other and take a sip form the glasses [7]
They turn away from camera and walk off towards TOP STAGE RIGHT
CUT TO long shot of board, (new angle) FROM BOTTOM STAGE LEFT [8]


John Steed Patrick Macnee regular 007
Emma Peel Diana Rigg regular 007


Teleplay by Brian Clemens regular Danger Man The Champions The Professionals Adam Adamant
All characters and events in this Teleplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely co-incidental.
Produced by Julian Wintle regular
In Charge of Production Albert Fennell regular The Professionals
Music by Laurie Johnson regular The Professionals Jason King
Associate Producer Brian Clemens regular Danger Man The Champions The Professionals Adam Adamant
Photography Lionel Banes regular The Saint (billed as Lionel Banes B.S.C.)
Production Manager Geoffrey Haine regular The Champions
© Associated British Productions Limited MCMLXVI
Diana Rigg’s wardrobe designed by John Bates regular
and her shoes by Edward Rayne regular

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