March 7, 2014


Dr. Keel, we're needed! Long before Avenger John Steed was partnered with Emma Peel and Cathy Gale (played by Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman- both left the series to do James Bond films), he was the shadowy partner of Dr. David Keel (played by Ian Hendry). Although some of the early programs have been released, many remain missing. Two companies have been working on projects to bring those lost episodes back to life.

Fans of Doctor Who may be familiar with the syndrome, as the studios used to save money by wiping and reusing their tapes. Much of early UK television was shot on video and remains lost forever. If only they knew about the future of syndication, home video release, and streaming content back then. A stash of old film reels were recently found that had been sent to stations in Africa, and at least a few Doctor Who treasures have been unearthed. Big Finish Productions has been filling the gaps by producing outstanding audio adaptations of early Doctor Who shows. Recently the company set their sights on lost episodes of The Avengers.

From Big Finish: "Steed and Dr. Keel return to action in these four recreations of classic lost episodes - 'Hot Snow,' 'Brought to Book,' 'Square Root of Evil,' and 'One for the Mortuary.' Starring Anthony Howell (Foyle's War, Dirk Gently, Dracula) as Dr. Keel and Julian Wadham (The Minister of Chance, War Horse, Downton Abbey) as John Steed, four episodes from the wiped first series of The Avengers recreated faithfully on audio. This full-cast audio drama is brought to life with eerily engrossing sound design and a brand new, cinematic music score." The Volume 1 box set was just released by Big Finish. The company will release Volume 2 in July and Volume 3 in January 2015. 

Hidden Tiger has also released a collection of lost episodes from Season One of The Avengers: "In the mid-Sixties, The Avengers proved itself to be a cultural phenomenon. But the earliest episodes of the show have, since their 1961 broadcast, disappeared from view, the vast majority of the recordings lost forever. The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes lifts the lid on that first year, and retells the stories in extended synopsis form, covering twenty-four episodes, in greater depth than ever before. The book also boasts a detailed introduction, which explores how these much sought after programmes came to be lost, and a detailed retelling of an alternative, untransmitted version of the episode Double Danger." Hard cover and paperback editions were released last June and a new Kindle edition was just released in February. You can "look inside" at the Amazon page here. Learn more at The Avengers Declassified.

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