• 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.

TV Times summary

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

Plot summary

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 back 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.

show full synopsis

show plot summary


Ministry agent Clyde Paxton (Clifford Earl) investigates the study of a well-appointed country house. In the middle of the rooms is a pedestal with five death masks of generations of the family — all strangely similar. He enters a small alcove and someone pulls the lever of a slot machine, causing the corridor to swirl around him, and Paxton loses consciousness. He comes to some time later, finding the room furnished in an Elizabethan style, the pedestal now holding a solitary head. He turns and is shot by the house’s Elizabethan scion, Bruno Thyssen (Peter Bowles)...

Act 1

Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) dresses for a hunt ball, but John Steed (Patrick Macnee) has altered her invitation with a summons and she goes with him to the morgue instead. There, Clapham (Geoffrey Bayldon) shows them Paxton’s body, fished recently from the Thames and shot with, as Mrs. Peel accurately identifies, an Elizabethan sporting piece. Clapham tells them Paxton was onto a escape route for the world’s leading criminals, who are disappearing without trace one by one.
Back at Steed’s apartment, they go through the case files of the missing criminals and Mrs. Peel mistakes agent ‘Tubby’ Vincent (Roger Booth) as one of the wrong-doers. Tubby meanwhile is investigating the same country house and suffers a similar fate to Paxton, stabbed by the Jacobean ancestor, Edwin Thyssen (Peter Bowles) but he fights back and escapes with a note — ‘Josino arriving from South America. Make contact 12:30pm Mackidockie Court’ and the drawing of a black crocodile — which is the only clue left after he dies on Steed’s carpet.

The Avengers are on hand when Colonel Josino (Richard Montez) arrives with a toy crocodile under his arm, and they have to pretend to be amorously kissing in a doorway to avoid detection. Josino is given a giraffe in exchange for his crocodile by Vesta (Judy Parfitt), who is followed by Mrs. Peel. He takes the new toy to a stall run by Parker (Nicholas Smith), who gives him a kangaroo with a note in its pouch. He eats the note and visits a barber, humorously named T. Sweeney (Edward Caddick).
Mrs. Peel meanwhile trails Vesta into the countryside. Josino has now got a plaster on his cheek and a toy elephant, which he takes to an Indian art gallery. When he leaves, Steed is delayed by a cluster of nuns and when he catches up he discovers he’s following a double and the Colonel has vanished. So too has Vesta, who sends Mitchell (Rocky Taylor) to take care of Mrs. Peel but she evades his attempt to run her down with his motorbike, and it crashes and explodes.

Act 2

Steed finds Mrs. Peel sewing plush toys in her flat and she hands him a giraffe to use on the trail. She follows him about Mackidockie Court and Sweeney directs him to the art gallery where he hands the elephant to Anjali (Imogen Hassall) who imperiously orders him where to go, and not to ask questions. She tells him he’s now under the protection of Ganesha, the Elephant God and ‘Remover of Obstacles’. Mrs Peel is also obstructed by some nuns, and she catches up to Steed, only to find it’s Mitchell in disguise and she kills him when they fight. Steed meanwhile is driven off, blindfolded, by Vesta and Parker to the country house, where he meets Waldo Thyssen (Peter Bowles) — who is concerned that he hasn’t heard of his exploits. He shows him a film of the Epsom Derby of 1904, and Josino is in the crowd! Thyssen explains he can send a man back to the past, where he can never be found and offers Steed a trial run. He indicates the heads on the pedestal, his forebears from previous eras and Steed decides the Eighteenth Century with Samuel the philanderer is more his style than the Elizabethan torturer. After dressing the part, he is instructed to go through the doors and Thyssen pulls the lever, the corridor becoming a whirling time tunnel and the calendar ticking back to 1790...

Act 3

Steed awakes a short time later and finds the house appointed in blue Wedgewood and Dutch masters. Peering out the window he sees a horse-drawn coach arrive and hides when some of the residents barge into the room. They are in Regency attire and scamper though the door he had come through earlier. When Steed tries to follow them it become the time tunnel again. Mrs. Peel is meanwhile trying the escape route herself, much to the consternation of the gang members — in fact, seconds after becoming Mrs. Peel’s double, Vesta realises she’s disguised as the woman who was following her before, but Parker and Sweeney have already taken her to Thyssen.

Steed calls at Mrs. Peel’ flat and, finding her sewing gear out, sets off with Clapham to try to find Thyssen’s house — a turkey farm being their best clue. Mrs. Peel is being introduced to the idea of escaping to the Georgian era but Vesta arrives, declaring her a spy and Waldo decides to send her to meet his cruel Tudor ancestor, Matthew, instead. She wakes in a stark stone room, with apparently only one head on the pedestal — and Josino’s body in an oaken trunk. The pedestal head opens its eyes, revealing it to be the sadistic Matthew Thyssen (Peter Bowles) and she tries to escape, but an executioner (Terry Plummer) bars her way.

Act 4

Clapham and Steed meanwhile pull up oustide the house, which Clapham dismisses as not being 15th century, but the statue of Ganesha outside decides the point. Inside Mrs. Peel is locked in some stocks and interrogated, Thyssen declaring her to be a heretic, a bawd, a witch, which just makes her laugh at him. Meanwhile Clapham and Steed approach the house but Clapham is knocked down by the butt of Sweeney's shotgun. He turns it on Steed who makes short work of him by using the knock-out gas sprayed from his umbrella tip. Vesta, a redcoat (Joe Dunne), Parker, dressed as a Cavalier and finally bursts in on Thyssen and the executioner, much to Mrs. Peel’s relief.
He frees her and they overcome the villains, Thyssen anachronistically pulling a pistol on them and revealing, of course, that all the Thyssens were him. He’s overcome and they return through the centuries, and the ‘time machine’ — which was just simply lights, mirrors and sleeping gas[scooby doo] — to the modern study, where Mrs. Peel spots the handcuffed Vesta and queries, “Didn’t we get the vote?”


Later, at Mrs. Peel’s flat, Steed offers her an escape route — to a party, he has a taxi waiting. The taxi is an ancient Edwardian Unic taxi which has escaped its time, Mrs. Peel suggesting it’d be safer to go by horse. Sure enough, Steed gets a faceful of soot as they try to start the taxi.


Production dates: 9/1966 Drinks
Transmission dates: Foreign title champagne (rosé [?])
yellowy-green cocktail [?]
whisky cocktail with a slice of lemon
UK 28/01/1967
Sydney 11/04/1967
Melbourne 10/04/1967
USA 17/07/1968
Germany 26/09/1967 (Fahrkarten in die Vergangenheit)
France 23/07/1968 (Remontons le temps)
Italy 5/07/1974 (fuga nel tempo)
Spain --- (Escape en el tiempo)
The Netherlands 28/05/1968 (Vlucht in het verleden)

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