• title card: white all caps text outlined in black reading ‘ESCAPE IN TIME’ superimposed on a close-up of Thyssen’s stern, bearded face, he is dressed in Elizabethan clothes with a large white ruff and a gold and scarlet jacket
  • subtitle card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading ‘STEED VISITS THE BARBER
			EMMA HAS A CLOSE SHAVE!’superimposed on the close-up of Thyssen in Elizabethan dress, Thyssen is now smiling
  • Youtube video — Steed summons Mrs. Peel to the case by engraving his signature ‘WE’RE NEEDED’ on the back of her invitation to the Hunt Ball
  • Mrs. Peel and Steed hold each other closely, having just broken from an embrace in a shop doorway to avoid close examination by their quarry
  • Emma is holding a black crocodile stuffed toy and braces herself as Mitchell, wearing hunting pinks, rides his motorcycle murderously towards her
  • Steed, on the right, smiles at the stuffed kangaroo toy striped in orange and peach that he has just been given by Parker, who wears a striped blazer and boater
  • Inside the ‘time machine’ Steed zooms along a striped corridor that whirls around him as the drugs take effect
  • Mrs. Peel has her bare feet locked in the stocks, her Georgian dress at odds with the Tudor surrounds
  • Youtube video — Stedd and Mtrs Peel depart in a vintage Unic cab that refuses to start until it has covered Steed’s face in soot

Series 5 — Episode 3
Escape In Time

by Philip Levene
Directed by John Krish and Roy Rossotti

Steed visits the barber
Emma has a close shave!

Production No E.66.6.2
Production completed: October 10 1966. First transmission: January 23 1967.

Regional broadcasts

Rediffusion London27/01/19678:00pm
ABC Midlands28/01/19679:10pm
ABC North28/01/19679:10pm
Anglia Television27/01/19678:00pm
Border Television29/01/19678:10pm
Channel Television27/01/19678:00pm
Grampian Television13/12/19678:00pm
Southern Television23/01/19678:00pm
Scottish Television28/01/19679:10pm
Tyne Tees Television28/01/19679:10pm
Ulster Television14/12/19677:30pm
Westward Television27/01/19678:00pm
Television Wales & West25/01/19678:00pm

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for January 27 1967, 8pm (London edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for April 11 1967, 8pm

8.0 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee

as John Steed
Diana Rigg

as Emma Peel
Escape in Time
By Philip Levene

In which Steed visits the barber … and Emma has a close shave!

Cast also includes

Thyssen Peter Bowles
Clapham Geoffrey Bayldon
Vesta Judy Parfitt
Anjali Imogen Hassall
Sweeney Edward Caddick
Parker Nicholas Smith
Tubby Vincent Roger Booth
Josino Richard Montez
Paxton Clifford Earl
Mitchell Rocky Taylor

Designed by Wilfrid Shingleton
Music by Laurie Johnson
Directed by John Krish
Produced by Albert Fennell
and Brian Clemens
Executive Producer
Julian Wintle

ABC Television Network Production

International broadcasts

ABN2 Sydney, Australia11/04/19678:00pm
ABV2 Melbourne, Australia10/04/19678:00pm
ABC New York, USA10/02/196710:00pm
ORTF2 France23/07/19688:30pm
Suisse Romande, Switzerland8/07/19688:35pm
French titleRemontons le temps
ZDF Germany26/09/19679:15pm
German titleFahrkarten in die Vergangenheit
KRO Netherlands28/05/19689:10pm
Dutch titleVlucht in het verleden
Svizzera Italiana5/07/19749:00pm
Italian titlefuga nel tempo*
Spanish titleEscapatoria a tiempo

* Italian listings showed this as 10pm, as Italy observed Summer Time and Switzerland did not.

This episode was moved up the schedule in the United States, displacing The Bird Who Knew Too Much, which had originally been scheduled for February 10 1967. That episode would screen four weeks later, on March 10 1967.

Germany: Hamburg Abendblatt listing for September 26 1967, 9.15pm
USA: New York Times listing for February 10 1967, 10pm
Spain: ABC Madrid listing for October 9 1967, 4.20pm
Netherlands: Nieuwe Leidsche Courant listing for May 28 1968, 9.10pm
Netherlands: Dagblad de Stem listing for May 28 1968, 9.10pm
TV Svizzera Italiana: Radiocorriere listing for July 5 1974, 10pm*
TV Svizzera Italiana: Stampa Sera listing for July 5 1974, 10pm*
France: Gazette de Lausanne listing for ORTF2, July 23 1968, 8.30pm
Switzerland: L’Impartial listing for July 8 1968, 8.35pm

Episode Rating

Subject 0–5
Direction 4 stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
Mastermind 4 stars
Plot 4 stars
Emma 4 stars
Set Design 4 stars
8 stars

I like this episode, but there are points where I would like more. Maybe more sustained humour, and a less stereotypical Thyssen would do it.

Mrs. Peel’s Grand Hunt Ball invitation turns out to be a summons from Steed, and they set out to discover what’s become of the world’s most wanted criminals.
They’re on the trail of Josino and follow him as he acquires a stuffed toy and a shaving cut. Steed takes the same path and ends up going through time to 1790! Emma follows, much to the gang’s surprise and confusion, and finds herself in the Tudor era after the mastermind cottons onto her. A leap across time saves Emma from the stocks and exposes Thyssen’s fraud.
Exit the Avengers in a veteran taxi — Emma in the driver’s seat and Steed with a face full of soot.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
MGB white, red upholstery 5038 KM
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Triumph T120 motorcycle red/silver B00 54
Rolls-Royce Hearse 20/25, coachwork by Woodall Nicholson black RW 6425
Four-horse carriage blue and yellow -
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180
Unic Taxi 1908
Owned by Lord Montagu and on display at Beaulieu — National Motor Museum.
burgundy/black MD 1480

Who’s Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Karl Bleschner Waldo Thyssen? V* ? [prior to episode]
Jubert Waldo Thyssen? V* ? [prior to episode]
President Bibigyn Waldo Thyssen? V* ? [prior to episode]
Clyde Paxton ‘Bruno’ Thyssen V* 16th Century pistol
Tubby Vincent ‘Edwin’ Thyssen V* Stabbed with a Jacobean dagger
Colonel Josino Waldo Thyssen? V* ?
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma’s Fashions Steed’s Fashions
  1. red silk palazzo pants with a burgundy silk low cut, long skirted top with blue lining, silver clasp at waist & silver shoes
  2. turquoise jacket, zippered, quilted, high collar, single vent in back & black gloves, black long-sleeved rollneck skivvy and hipsters with wide webbing belt
  3. (2) without gloves & jacket
  4. (2) with driving gloves
  5. top & pants of (2) with a navy A-line coat and a white cap.
  6. Georgian costume — powdered wig, beauty spot, purple silk dressMrs. Peel loses the wig at one stage.
  7. striped (white/mid blue/dark blue) long sleeve t-shirt styled dress, mini length
  8. (1)
  1. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with 4 buttons, slanted flap pockets and 2 very long vents, white shirt, electric blue tie, black bowler hat & umbrella
  2. pale grey double-breasted suit, felt collar, flap pockets, 2 very long vents, wide skirt, grey chelsea boots, umbrella and bowler, white shirt, grey tie with wh spot
  3. navy single-breasted 3-piece suit with a peaked collar, 1 long vent, 3 hard buttons, flap pockets, white shirt, purple paisley tie, black bowler hat & umbrella, black chelsea boots
  4. grey Georgian costume — dandy: white waistcoat blue&white brocade jacket, black hose, buckled shoes
  5. dark taupe jacket single-breasted 1v, green wc brass buttons, pale khaki shirt, dark green and bronze tie, beige trousers, brown bowler and chelsea boots, black umbrella
  6. navy single-breasted 3-piece suit with piped cuffs, waistcoat with piped lapels, white shirt, thin navy tie no tiepin
  7. suit of (3) with navy tie white shirt

Continuity and trivia

  1. 1:38 — It’s those doors again! You might remember them from From Venus with Love and The Bird Who Knew Too Much, amongst others.
  2. 2:45 — great set design for the “time tunnel”, I especially like the conveyor belt in the floor.
  3. 2:57–3:39 — There’s a fragment of celluloid or something caught top left of the screen when Paxton wakes up in the Elizabethan room. It remains for the tracking shot, so it’s stuck to the camera lens.
  4. 4:15 — Ball invitation is propped up against the bird sculpture.
  5. 4:28 — Steed utters the old chestnut, “one of our best agents”. It’s surprising how oftne the best agents are the ones killed!
  6. 4:32–5:27 — There’s a hair caught top right/centre of the lens in the mortuary scene.
  7. 8:21 — The cameraman loses focus as Peter Bowles walks towards the camera & Tubby Vincent.
  8. 8:27–8:37 — When Tubby Vincent escape Thyssen after being stabbed, Thyssen has his back to the death masks and is thrust sideways, yet ends up slumped against the door, several yards away.
  9. 9:21 — The cameraman loses focus when Emma walks towards the camera holding the note about Josino.
  10. 11:42 — Mackiedockie Court must be near Tom Savage’s studio (The Bird Who Knew Too Much), as they’re both near the same Stone Street. And they must both be near Purbright & Co. (Quick-Quick Slow Death and How to Succeed .... At Murder) which is on Mackiedockie Street.
  11. 13:53–14:55 — In the motorcycle fight scene, it’s rather obvious that there’s a stunt double, as the chalk marks on Diana Rigg’s pants are nothing like those on the performer who leaps over (and into!) the motorcycle — Cyd Child, getting a minor injury.
    Cyd tells the tale that they redid the scene several times, but every time the director declared it wasn’t close enough. They re-shot the scene one more time and the motorbike hit her, after which she went up to the director and asked, “Was that close enough?”

    both legs & arms

    sleeve only

    right leg

    ©1961–9 CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd All Rights Reserved
  12. 19:10 — Anjali says that Steed was estimated to be 6′ 2″ tall, and weighs 170lbs; he confirms this is correct, although it is different to what Remak calculates in Killer.
  13. 24:30 — Thysen introduces Steed to his ancestors.

    Matthew Thyssen
    Tudor inquisitor

    Bruno Thyssen
    Elizabethan sportsman

    Edwin Thyssen
    Jacobean duellist

    Samuel Thyssen
    Georgian philanderer

    Herbert Thyssen
    Victorian squire

    Waldo Thyssen
    Sixties criminal

  14. 28:28 — Lens flare in the top right corner of the screen.
  15. 28:43 — Lens flare in the top left corner of the screen.
  16. 31:07 — There’s something stuck to the lens top right as Smith marches Mrs. Peel into Thyssen’s sitting room. It reappears at 33:20–34:25.
  17. 34:25 — “I appreciate your appreciation.”
  18. 36:36 — There’s a corrupt frame on the DVD.
  19. 38:53 — the holes in the stocks are too large to actually restrain Mrs. Peel.
  20. 39:05, 40:54, etc. — You can just see the flare guard in the very top left corner of the screen in the angled CUs of Thyssen. It reappears at 43:40–43:59 during the fight and 47:06 when they re-enter the Sixties room and find Vesta still cuffed to the pillar.
  21. 43:42 — Rocky Taylor is standing in for Patrick Macnee during his dance with the pike.
  22. 44:59 — Stunt doubles for Peter Bowles and Patrick Macnee (Rocky again) but Diana Rigg does all her own work in the fight scene.
  23. 47:06 — Upon finding Vesta handcuffed to a pillar in the 1960s, Emma asks, “Didn’t we get the vote?”
  24. 47:18 — Bird sculpture back near the door again.
  25. Running time: 49′22″

Cast notes

  1. The executioner is played by stunt regular Terry Plummer — he’s seen at his best (although, as always, uncredited) as Frederick in A Surfeit of H2O, but turns up in The Superlative Seven (his only credit, despite being in thick Chinese makeup), Never, Never, Say Die and a host of other episodes.

A note on the timecodes

Timecodes for episodes are problematic as each release has its own quirks so the 2009–11 Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal DVD sets have different run times compared to the A&E and Contender DVD sets from a decade beforehand. The newer Studio Canal & Via Vision blu rays seems to be back in line with the earlier releases, except they often have StudioCanal idents lasting 20 to 22 seconds added to the beginning.

The Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal DVD releases were remastered and their frame rate has been changed, resulting in a shorter running time. However, the picture quality has increased markedly. I assume this is because they used a simple 2:2 pulldown (24 @ 25) when converting from the original film masters (film runs at 24 frames per second, while PAL runs at 25fps, the new DVDs are in PAL format).
This pulldown was also the cause of audio errors on many episodes, especially for Series 5, as the audio sped up to match the new rate (4% faster), rather than being properly pitch-shifted. Checking the dialogue sheets, which list the feet and frames of the reels, it looks like the speed change is around 5.04%, so there may be some cuts as well — probably from around the commercial breaks and ends of reels, as they amount to about 25 seconds. All my assumptions are based on the episodes having been filmed on standard 35mm film, which has 16 frames per foot and runs at 24 frames per second, so a minute of footage uses 90 feet of film (1,440 frames).

The audio errors have been corrected in the currently available DVDs, but the 2:2 pulldown remains. There is also the addition of a Studio Canal lead-in, converted to black and white to match the episode for Series Four, but colour for Series Five, adding an extra 18 or 19 seconds to the running time and making it harder to match timecodes with previous releases. It’s annoying that it has been slapped on every single episode, Series 1–3 didn’t suffer this indignity.

The previous Contender and A&E DVD releases didn’t seem to suffer from these problems, so I assume they either used soft telecine and preserved the original 24fps rate of the film (my preferred option in DVDs) or they used 24 @ 25 pulldown (2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:3 Euro pull-down).

Thankfully, the new blu ray releases for series 4–6 appear to use native 24fps with soft telecine so the running times and pitch all seem to be correct again along with a much greatly improved picture quality, most notably in the Tara King episodes which are finally (mostly) back to their original glory.

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