• title card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading ‘THE WINGED AVENGER’ superimposed on a thin white curtain blowing in the wind coming through the large broken window behind it
  • subtitle card: white all caps text with black dropshadow to the left reading ‘STEED GOES BIRD WATCHING
			EMMA DOES A COMIC STRIP..’ superimposed on a thin white curtain blowing in the wind coming through the large broken window behind it
  • Youtube video — Mrs. peel is painting a modernist picture, she turns to refresh he brush and when she returns, she finds that Steed has signed the corner ‘Mrs. PEEL’; he smiles at her and says, ‘We’re needed’
  • Mrs. Peel and Sir Lexius chat while resting on his replica third ledge of the Eiger — that is in his study!
  • Julian, in the Winged Avenger costume, looms over Gerda in an attacking stance as they pose for Packer
  • Professor Poole comes down from the ceiling wearing his magnetic boots
  • Emma and Packer fight while suspended from the ceiling
  • Shades of ‘Batman’ — Steed hits the Winged Avengers with a huge card reading ‘POW!’
  • Youtube video — Steed and Emma return to her flat where Steed first draws a picture of dinner, then serves the real thing with a superimposed starbust ‘PING!’

Series 5 — Episode 6
The Winged Avenger

by Richard Harris
Directed by Gordon Flemyng and Peter Duffell

Steed goes bird watching
Emma does a comic strip..

Production No E.66.6.6
Production completed: December 12 1966. First transmission: February 15 1967.

Regional broadcasts

Rediffusion London17/02/19678:00pm
ABC Midlands18/02/19679:10pm
ABC North18/02/19679:10pm
Anglia Television17/02/19678:00pm
Border Television19/02/19678:10pm
Channel Television17/02/19678:00pm
Grampian Television6/03/19688:00pm
Southern Television15/02/19678:00pm
Scottish Television18/02/19679:10pm
Tyne Tees Television15/02/19678:00pm
Ulster Television4/01/19689:00pm
Westward Television17/02/19678:00pm
Television Wales & West17/02/19678:00pm

TV Times listing

TV Times listing for February 17 1967, 8pm (London edition)
Sydney Morning Herald listing for April 14 1975, 10.10pm

8.0 The Avengers
Patrick Macnee

as John Steed
Diana Rigg

as Emma Peel
The Winged Avenger
By Richard Harris

In which Steed goes bird watching — and Emma does a comic strip …

Cast also includes

Sir Lexius Cray Nigel Green
Professor Poole Jack MacGowran
Arnie Packer Neil Hallett
Stanton Colin Jeavons
Julian Roy Patrick
Tay-ling John Garrie
Peter Roberts Donald Pickering
Simon Roberts William Fox
Dawson A. J. Brown
Dumayn Hilary Wontner
Fothers John Crocker
Gerda Ann Sydney

Designed by Wilfrid Shingleton
Music by Laurie Johnson
Directed by Gordon Flemyng
and Peter Duffell
Produced by Albert Fennell
and Brian Clemens
Executive Producer
Julian Wintle

ABC Television Network Production

International broadcasts

ABN2 Sydney, Australia
ABV2 Melbourne, Australia
ABC New York, USA17/02/196710:00pm
ORTF2 France
Suisse Romande, Switzerland15/04/19689:15pm
French titleLe vengeur volant
ZDF Germany
German titleDer geflügelte Rächer
KRO Netherlands30/09/19699:10pm
Dutch titleDe gevleugelde wreker
Svizzera Italiana10/05/19749:00pm
Italian titleil vendicatore alato
Spanish titleEl vengador alado

I have not located this episode in the initial run of the series in Australia in 1967 but it appears, marked as a repeat, in the late night rerun series in 1975. It’s possible that April 14 1975 was in fact it very much belated premiere.

ORTF2 did not include this episode in their 1968 series — whether if fell victim to the strikes or was not picked up by the network is unclear. The French premiere appears to have been at 8.35pm on September 28 1973, on TF1.

USA: Chicago Tribune listing for February 17 1967, 9pm
France: L’Impartial listing for TF1, September 28 1973, 8.35pm
Netherlands: Dagblad de Stem listing for September 30 1969, 9.10pm
USA: New York Times listing for February 17 1967, 10pm
Spain: El Pueblo Gallego listing for September 11 1967, 6.02pm
Switzerland: Journal de Genève listing for April 13 1968, 9.15pm
TV Svizzera Italiana: Radiocorriere listing for May 10 1974, 9pm
TV Svizzera Italiana: Stampa Sera listing for May 10 1974, 9pm

Episode Rating

Subject 0–5
4½ stars
4½ stars
Humour 5 stars
4½ stars
3½ stars
3½ stars
Emma 5 stars
Set Design
3½ stars
9 stars

9/10! There’s not much that would improve this episode, it’s just about perfect. Oodles of wit and style combined with great direction and props make this a real viewing pleasure. Make sure you see it!

Mrs. Peel is busy painting when she’s distracted by discovering Steed has just signed her masterpiece.
Ruthless businessmen are being killed by a comic-strip character come to life.
Good on him, I say.
The illustrator, Arnie, has turned fiction into fact using special climbing boots invented by Professor Poole — with them, you can walk up the side of a house. A battle ensues on the ceiling before Steed uses Batman tactics to bring the Winged Avenger down to earth. POW! WHACK! BLAM!
Back at Mrs. Peel’s apartment Steed draws dinner, then serves it with a ping! of tureen lids.

The Cars

Marque/Model Colour Number Plate
Austin 1800 white, black/red interior -
Lotus Elan S3 glacier blue SJH 499D
Bentley Speed Six 1926 British racing green RX 6180

Who’s Killing Whom?

Victim Killer Method
Simon Roberts Arnie Packer V* Clawed to death
Peter Roberts Arnie Packer V* Clawed to death
Tay-Ling Arnie Packer V* Clawed to death
Edward J. Dumayn Arnie Packer V* Clawed to death
Julian Arnie Packer V* Clawed to death
Professor Poole Arnie Packer V* Clawed to death
Arnie Packer V* Steed & Emma Hurled out upstairs window during fight.
Click a name to see the face

The Fashions

Emma’s Fashions Steed’s Fashions
  1. tan skivvy... blue jacket & skirt, tan stockings
  2. white & oatmeal linen suit & matching silk blouse
  3. orange hooded parka, black trousers & skivvy, white gloves, brown ankle boots
  4. brown catsuit with tan trim
  5. black top & pants with blue suede jacket (wide lapel), black gloves, blue suede thigh boots & matching garter & belt
  6. blue catsuit with pink trim
  7. striped sundress
  8. pink sleeveless dress
  9. (6)
  10. (6) with pink hat, pale pink piping, blue boots
  1. navy single-breasted 3-piece suit with a peaked collar, white shirt, electric blue tie with small navy spot
  2. fawn overcoat and bowler over below
  3. grey herringbone single-breasted suit, waistcoat, cream shirt, crimson tie with sm black spot, pale grey socks, tan suede shoes
  4. dark grey double-breasted overcoat over white shirt, blue tie, charcoal suit
  5. brown and green hunting blazer, pale green shirt, green/bronze tie, houndstooth trousers, brown bowler, black umbrella
  6. above with grey bowler
  7. grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with triangular flap pockets, white shirt, pale gold tie
  8. charcoal chalk striped single-breasted suit, white shirt, paisley purple tie
  9. above with black bowler & umbrella

Continuity and trivia

  1. The illustrations seen throughout this episode are by Frank Bellamy, best known for his Fraser of Africa strip in Eagle and for drawing Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons for TV Century 21, and Joe 90. It was during a break from Thunderbirds in Autumn 1966 that Frank created the illustrations for this episode. He also designed the artists’ studio set and the Winder Avenger costume.
    Some of the mocked-up comic books are American comics with custom covers drawn by Frank pasted onto them.
  2. 1:48 — The ‘Simon Roberts & Son — Publishers’ sign from this episode turns up in the back lot in "Epic". David Lodge, playing a policeman, falls on it.
  3. 4:49 — Smirnoff and Johnny Walker product placement.
  4. 2:32/8:35/43:48 — Every time the Avenger climbs a wall, we see his claws going up notched stone or concrete blocks, despite the fact that no building he ever climbs resembles them. Anyway, why is he using the claws when he could just walk up the wall?
  5. 6:05 — A major continuity error in the intro! (see above) The entirety of the canvas is in full view at all times — even just at the point where Mrs. Peel starts in amazement — the crimson Mrs. PEEL is not on the corner of the canvas until after Steed walks around the back, wiping his brush.
  6. 7:30 — Steed and Mrs. Peel consult an illustrated “Birds of the World”.
  7. 8:20 — How is the The Winged Avenger parked in some woods near Simon Roberts & Son?
  8. 11:18 — Grundig product placement.
  9. 14:16 — Overdub, fluffed line, or melodrama?
    Sir Lexius is having tea with Emma and says “...tried to [gap] do me out of the profits!” Jenna Clayton thinks he said something else, I think he paused for effect (or maybe stumbled over his lines).
  10. 15:14–15:30 — the bird in the air is different to the bird on the wrist — and Sir Lexius has a large hole in his leather gauntlet.
  11. 15:45 — Arnie Packer’s telephone number (as dialled by Tay Ling) is 463–337.
  12. 18:16 — Stand-ins for Miss Rigg: Billy Westley leaps over the hedge, wearing a wig... and Diane West walks through the garden (19:08).
  13. 23:50 — Professor Poole’s house (Stanmore Hall) is the same as Brigadier Whitehead’s from From Venus with Love. Stanmore Hall was a popular shooting location for many shows of the time.
  14. 24:01 — Stand-ins do the stair-climbing duties.
  15. 24:32 — Diana Rigg makes the unfortunate choice of a white bra under a black knitted rollneck.
  16. 25:34 — The (prop) staircase in Poole’s mansion shakes terribly whenever anyone’s on it; when Steed and Emma follow Poole up them, It looks as though the whole thing will collapse beneath them!
  17. 27:47 — Emma spots an article about E.J. Dumayn in the Wednesday November 30 1966 edition of “The Daily Mail”
  18. 28:57 — When Dumayne is killed, not only does he obviously catch himself and cushion his fall, but he also visibly inhales and exhales one time after he lands!
  19. 32:18 — The Lotus headlights fail to close, and it’s Cyd (or maybe Billy!) who gets out.
  20. 33:14 — Why would Poole have rows of book cover Parlimentary debates?
  21. 33:50 and elsewhere — How do Poole, Emma and The Winged Avenger keep their bodies horizontal while climbing up the walls? They’re somehow managing it almost entirely through the use of their ankle muscles!
  22. 33:50 and elsewhere — How do Poole, Emma and The Winged Avenger keep their bodies horizontal while climbing up the walls? They’re somehow managing it almost entirely through the use of their ankle muscles!
  23. 35:19 — The address of Winged Avenger Enterprises is 163 Boxley Road, .... Heath (according to Professor Poole’s cuff-note).
  24. 38:00 — Steed and Emma fail to realize that finding the published The Winged Avenger comic with the picture of Dumayn’s body makes Packer at least a co-conspirator; they wonder aloud whether Packer or Stanton — or both — is the Winged Avenger.
  25. 42:10 — more stair-climbing duties for a stand-in — possibly Diane West.
  26. 42:28 — Steed’s near-side headlight still doesn’t work.
  27. 42:29 — The perennial problem of colour-shift appears when Stanton & Steed are in the Bentley with the projected background of moving scenery.
  28. 43:00–44:38 — When chasing Emma, The Winged Avenger climbs out the second story window, climbs up at least one story, then crashes through the window onto... the second story!
  29. 44:30 — Just before Stanton and Steed arrive at Poole’s house, Steed asks Stanton ‘How are we doing?” Stanton replies “Not too good!”and shows Steed a drawing, which in the longshot is nothing like the drawing of the Winged Avenger at the window that we are given as the close up.
  30. 46:08 — During the fight with Emma, just after scratching the table, one of the hooks from the right claw falls off the Winged Avenger’s costume — and it falls up to the ceiling!
  31. 46:32- — During the final fight scene, when Steed and Stanton break in, Emma and the Winged Avenger are 5 or 6 feet above them; but when Steed whacks him with the signs, he’s is little more than one foot above him!
  32. 47:36 — The bird sculpture from Art Incorporated is in Mrs. Peel’s living room.
  33. Running time: 49′23″

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.

Cast notes

  1. Ann Sydney was Miss World 1964 and a pop star of the time, often appearing on Shindig (in much the same way, Danger Man had a guest actor in Patsy Ann Noble for the episode “Not So Jolly Roger”).
  2. John Garrie was obviously thought to look Asian to casting agents of the time — he turns up in the final Danger Man production Koroshi as a Japanese character.

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