Production Code: BFPAVENGE002


When a night watchman is killed in a devastating fire at a timber yard, Steed is of the opinion that the blaze was started deliberately. He discovers that the business had been struggling financially, and also that its owner, Maurice Roffey, had recently tripled the amount of fire insurance on the premises. However, Roffey has a cast-iron alibi, and no direct evidence of foul play has yet been uncovered, but Steed is in possession of one vague lead: the telephone number of a hairdressing and beauty salon run by Jacques and Olive Beronne. Someone telephoned Roffey from there, and Steed wants to know who it was.

He persuades Dr Keel to let his receptionist Carol Wilson take the afternoon off to visit the salon, which is staffed by a team of attractive young women two of whom it transpires have been having affairs with Monsieur Beronne. Assuming the name 'Miss Stone', Carol is eager for adventure and hopes to carry out some clever undercover detective work, but she almost ends up dead when the hairdryer under which she is sitting explodes.

As their investigation progresses, Steed and Carol discover that the salon is a hotbed of jealousies and rivalries, and someone there appears to be perfectly willing to kill but will they be able to establish what the connection may be between the salon, the Beronnes and Maurice Roffey...?

Click here to read about the original television episode

The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 2, Episode 1
Recording Dates:
30 September and
1,3,4 October 2013
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 61 minutes 10 seconds


Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 2
Release Date:
Wed 9 Jul 2014
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
Jacques Beronne
Olive Beronne
Maurice Roffey
Johnny Mendelssohn
Linda Chapman
Sleeping Car
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Terry Molloy
Rachel Atkins
Emily Woodward
Nicholas Briggs
Derek Carlyle
Anna Lukis
Penelope Rawlins
Richard Hope
Dan Starkey
Dan Starkey
Dan Starkey
Cameron Stewart
Francesca Hunt
Martin Hutson

At the present time, no original soundtrack has been released by Big Finish.


Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)


Purchase from Big Finish


Writer Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward
Adapted for audio by -
John Dorney
Recording, Sound Design, Music and CD Mastering
Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Series Theme -
Johnny Dankworth, rearranged by Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Interviews edited by -
Jamie Griffiths
BFP Administration -
Miles Haigh-Ellery, Cheryl Bly and Alison Taylor
Producers' Assistants - Hannah Peel, Paul Spragg and Frances Welsh
Cover Illustration -
Anthony Lamb
Booklet Design -
Mark Plastow
Booklet Notes -
Richard McGinlay
Web Services -
Hughes Media
Marketing Consultant -
Kris Griffin
David Richardson
Executive Producers -
Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
Ken Bentley

Thanks to Massimo Moretti, Brian Clemens, Sam Clemens, Marcus Hearn, Richard McGinlay and Toby Hrycek-Robinson

A Big Finish Production


  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode Ashes of Roses, originally broadcast on Saturday 4th March 1961 at 10.00pm in the ABC Midlands, ABC North and Anglia ITV regions.

  • The television version of this episode does not survive today. However, a camera script has been located, along with a single production photograph.

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded over four days in studio between Monday 30th September and Friday 4th October 2013 (with Wednesday 2nd October being a rest day) at Moat Studios. Four episodes were recorded during these sessions: Ashes of Roses, Please Don't Feed the Animals, Dance with Death and One for the Mortuary. The latter would ultimately be brought forward and included on the first volume in place of The Radioactive Man which was placed on this second set due to its atypicality.

  • One-Ten makes his Big Finish debut in this episode (his first television episode, Diamond Cut Diamond, has since been remade and will appear in Volume 5). In the screen version of Ashes of Roses, One-Ten's role was a voice-only part, heard speaking to Steed over the telephone. The lines were pre-recorded and played in from audio tape. In this new production, of course, all the roles are voice-only!

  • Actor Dan Starkey plays three characters in this episode, Steed's boss One-Ten, the night watchman and a heavy. At the time of recording, Starkey was a semi-regular in the BBC's popular Doctor Who series, not that his role afforded him the opportunity to become a familiar face as he was always heavily made up as his character, the Sontaran, Strax. The practice of using actors to play more than one role in radio and other audio production is not unusual. In fact, it has become something of a tradition, helping to bring programmes in on budget and giving performers otherwise restricted to a few lines in the studio something else to occupy their attention and time!

  • Brought to Audiobook... An additional night watchman character has been added to the opening scene. He goes off duty at the timber yard as Pritchard starts his shift. As originally scripted, this scene contained no dialogue. In the new version, the men's conversation establishes facts that would have been seen on screen: that the time is 2.30 in the morning, and that Pritchard has a newspaper, some sandwiches and a flask of coffee.

  • Before showing in Steed, Roffey's daily woman complains about the scope of her duties - she is Roffey's cleaner, not his secretary - thus establishing to the listener who she is. On screen, the nature of her employment was indicated by her wearing an apron and holding a dishcloth and a cup. Evidently she had been in the middle of doing the washing up.

  • One-Ten gets an extra scene near the beginning of the Big Finish adaptation. Whereas the television version showed Steed using pencil shavings to reveal what Roffey had written on his notepad, here Steed telephones One-Ten to report that he has done this.

  • The cast of characters has been simplified for the audio production, with one fewer speaking part - the minor character of Avril - among the staff at the salon. Towards the end of the first act of the television episode, Carol was discovered listening at a ventilator grille by Avril, who was soon joined by Denise. On audio, Carol is discovered by Denise alone. During the second act, Avril had a handful of lines which are transferred to Linda.

  • In the original camera script, the climactic confrontation between Steed and Mendelssohn in the petrol-soaked salon is described fleetingly as a "PUNCH UP". Big Finish adaptor John Dorney has conjured up some suitably Avenger-ish action for this scene: Steed, knowing that live rounds could set the place alight, carries a water pistol filled with vinegar, which he squirts into Mendelssohn's face. Additional dialogue between Steed, Mendelssohn and Olive is inserted at this point. Then a real gun goes off, igniting a blaze, as suggested by scripted camera directions. This scene originally also involved Joe, the heavy who had helped Mendelssohn to set the fire at the start of the episode, though on audio Joe is absent from the final showdown.

  • Trivia... Ashes of Roses was the first episode to depict Steed's flat. He entertains two young ladies there, Carol and Denise, both of whom appear suitably impressed by what they see.

  • Act 3 features a confrontation on the Night Ferry, an international sleeper train that ran between London Victoria and Paris Gare du Nord, across the English Channel via Dover and Dunkirk. Commencing its service on 14th October 1936, the Night Ferry usually departed from and arrived at Platform 2 of Victoria Station. Customs checks were carried out at the station. Only the first-class sleeping cars and the baggage vans travelled the entire journey. Second-class carriages ran from Victoria to Dover on the British side, and from Dunkirk to Paris on the French side, with passengers walking on and off the ferry in the usual way. Prior to the launch of the Eurostar service on 14th November 1994, the Night Ferry had been the only through passenger train between Mainland Britain and Continental Europe. It was eventually withdrawn on 31st October 1980, owing to a combination of ageing rolling stock (the British Rail Mark 3 sleeping cars introduced in the early 1980s were of unsuitable loading gauge) and competition from airlines.

  • In the original camera script, the salon is erroneously given two different telephone numbers. It is referred to on three occasions (twice in dialogue) as WEL 9291 and once (in directions only) as VIN 4437. Fortunately, this inconsistency does not affect the audio adaptation. WELbeck 9291 and VINcent 4437 were fictitious numbers held back for use in television and film by the Post Office. The VINcent exchange was completely fictitious. The numerical equivalent of VIN was 846 and all the caller got was the speaking clock (i.e. 846 is also numerical equivalent of TIM) in the big city 'Director' areas. For more detail on fictitious telephone numbers, please see the Trivia section of Hot Snow.

  • This episode saw the introduction of Puppy, the first of many pet dogs to be owned by Steed who seems to have had almost as many canine companions as human ones. Puppy would reappear a few episodes later, in The Yellow Needle, in which Steed foists her upon Carol while he jets off to Africa. Steed has a habit of palming his pets off on to other people, as is established at the end of Ashes of Roses! Puppy was originally played by Juno, a Great Dane trained by the legendary Barbara Woodhouse.

  • Stop Press... An interview feature entitled An Even Keel appeared in Vortex Issue 65 in July 2014 to coincide with the release of the second volume of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes. Actor Anthony Howell, returning to the studio for his second set of recordings as Dr David Keel was the interview subject. During the interview, he commented on how he was settling into the role and emerging from the shadow of Ian Hendry: "Before recording the first four [plays], I listened to the clips and everything I could find online because the two roles [of Steed and Keel] are quite iconic and the series is definitely a cult, iconic series. But now as we've done the first first four and having done those, you feel that it's more yours now, that I'm playing Keel, rather than Ian Hendry... I think Keel is more under my skin now."

    Read the rest of the interview by downloading Vortex Issue 65 from Big Finish

  • And Finally... Between the making of this serial and its release, Big Finish lost one of its 'family', Paul Spragg, who died unexpectedly on 8th May 2014 aged just 38. Paul was heavily involved in all aspects of Big Finish and was one of the public faces of the company, editing Vortex magazine so successfully for five years. He had been assistant editor on its first issue of March 2009. For The Avengers, he acted as a production assistant. Although Paul's death was not related to a heart condition, he and his family were supporters of the British Heart Foundation for many years. For anyone who would like to remember Paul in this way, a Just Giving page has been set up:

Plotline by Richard McGinlay Declassified by Richard McGinlay and Alan Hayes
Big Finish Productions Reproduced with permission

With thanks to David Richardson, John Dorney, Mark Plastow
and Big Finish Productions for their kind assistance


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