June 15, 2014

CODENAME: FATHER

Happy Father's Day from Spy Vibe. Agents John Steed and Tara King of The Avengers reported primarily to a male controller, codename: Mother. But the Ministry hierarchy also included a female leader, codename: Father. She appeared briefly in the series 6 episode, Stay Tuned in 1969. In keeping with the show's eccentric character development, she was blind and relied on super hearing to navigate. Costume designer Ivy Baker outfitted Father with large dark glasses (ala 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse) and a drab gray coat with conservative pin, which telegraphed her slightly sinister character. She was played by Iris Russell, a Scottish actress who had appeared in early episodes of The Avengers and may be best known as Jean Skinner on Timeslip (1970-1971). In a verbal-connection to Ian Fleming, she also played "Judith Strageways" in The Moonraker (1958). Russell passed away in February, 2014. Father's second appearance in The Avengers universe was in the 1998 film adaptation, played by Fiona Shaw. Younger Spy Vibers may remember Shaw from Gormenghast, True Blood, and as Aunt Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films. Once again the costuming was gray and ominous, now adding a white streak of hair. A sign of duplicity? Readers can find out when the film is released on Blu-ray on August 12th. Happy Sunday and report to your fathers.


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