Production Code: BFPAVENGE002


Felgate, a civil servant involved with codes and ciphers, is suspected of being a security risk. He has been withdrawing large amounts of money from his bank account for no obvious reason, and is now heavily in debt. A month earlier, another government clerk, also working on ciphers, was pushed into the crocodile pit at Brinkley House, a privately owned zoo. Like Felgate, he had drawn a lot of money out of his bank.

Steed, who is currently posing as a new recruit at Felgate's office, asks Keel to follow Felgate as he visits the Bromango Strip Club and then Brinkley House Zoo. There the civil servant drops a packet, wrapped in colourful Christmas paper, into the crocodile pit. Steed stays behind at the zoo after it has closed, to observe what happens to the package. He sees no one enter or leave the pit, but nevertheless the packet vanishes without a trace.

It transpires that Felgate is being blackmailed by Kollakis, the manager of the strip club, who possesses a potentially ruinous tape recording of Felgate's indiscretions with one of the strippers. When Felgate runs out of money, Kollakis demands a copy of a top-secret file instead – which was what he and his boss had wanted all along. When Felgate refuses, his life is put in danger, and Kollakis turns his attention towards Steed, who has recently signed up as a member of the club...

Click here to read about the original television episode

The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 2, Episode 2
Recording Dates:
30 September and
1,3,4 October 2013
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 47 minutes 53 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
Renton-Stephens Barman
Café Owner
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Martin Hutson
Richard Hope
Alisdair Simpson
Alisdair Simpson
Rosanna Miles
Rosanna Miles
Penelope Rawlins
Jonathan Forbes
Jonathan Forbes
Derek Carlyle
Nigel Carrington
Terry Molloy

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


Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)


Purchase from Big Finish


Writer – Dennis Spooner
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
Producer –
David Richardson
Executive Producers -
Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
Director –
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 Please Don't Feed the Animals, originally broadcast on Saturday 1st April 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. No production photographs from this episode are known to exist.

  • 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.

  • Three performers undertook dual roles in this episode: Alisdair Simpson played Renton-Stephens and the barman, while Rosanna Miles portrayed both Christine and Yvonne, and Jonathan Forbes is heard as both Evans and Harrigan.

  • Brought to Audiobook... The opening scene of this episode was originally without dialogue. The clerk's line, "Ah. Here we are. Yes. Wouldn't you make a nice pair of shoes?" was added to the audio adaptation in order to convey the fact that he is looking down into the crocodile pit.

  • Keel's pursuit of Felgate required a fair amount of extra speech to make the action clear in sound only. These additions range from muttered asides (such as "Literally – after you") to a conversation with Steed about Felgate's movements within the zoo (approaching the crocodile pit and throwing something into it).

  • Occasional words or phrases appear to be missing from the camera script, as evidenced by incomplete sentences, questions that lack responses and responses that lack questions. The missing material has had to be extrapolated by adaptor John Dorney. His additions (examples shown in bold below) range from the mundane "Everything all right, sir", spoken by Kollakis, to the more inventive, such as the following exchange between Keel and Steed:

KEEL: Fascinating. Sorry - are you eating?

STEED: Lunch hour, old boy. Even civil servants have them. Would you like a sandwich?

KEEL: Thank you very much. What on earth is it?

STEED: Pâté de foie gras, old boy.

KEEL: In a sandwich?

STEED: One has to keep down appearances.

  • One line has been interpreted rather differently by Dorney than by the authors of this website and the book The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes. The camera script has Christine saying the following about Jimmy the monkey: "But Daddy really trained him. He's the only one. He'll do any tricks for." We had taken the second sentence break to be an error and adapted the line as: "But Daddy really trained him. He's the only one he'll do any tricks for." Dorney retains the original sentence structure but adds a word at the end: "But Daddy really trained him. He's the only one. He'll do any tricks for peanuts."

  • In the television script, Felgate's boss is just a voice, who speaks to Steed over the phone. On audio he becomes a physical presence, addressing Steed directly. After all, in this medium all roles are voice-only roles!

  • It would seem that Keel struck his naughty young patient in the original episode – the script contains the direction "(SLAP, CRY)". In this day and age, of course, the corporal punishment of children is generally frowned upon, so no such sounds are heard in the audio production. Nevertheless, listeners may consider this omission goes against the stated aims of Big Finish to present an authentic representation of the scripts and the era in which they were written.

  • The movements of the packet of ciphers carried by Jimmy the monkey are less than entirely clear in the camera script. One staging direction reads "Sarah closing kiosk; puts peanuts on shelf, and goes", which suggests that the peanuts are intended as a lure for Jimmy. Opinions vary as to precisely what happens next. Summaries published on this website and in the book The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes assume that, having snatched the packet from the crocodile pit, Jimmy leaves it on the kiosk counter, taking the peanuts as his reward for completing the task. Approaching the kiosk, Keel then confiscates the packet, just prior to his confrontation with Kollakis. The audio version has the peckish Keel picking up the peanuts that Sarah has left behind. The doctor then takes the ciphers directly from Jimmy – possibly the monkey is attracted to Keel because of the peanuts he is carrying.

  • Trivia... The camera script is marked in pencil with a small number of shorthand symbols. These indicate one additional line of dialogue each for Steed and Kollakis at the end of their scene in the latter's office, as well as Keel's final line, which closes the episode. Appropriately enough, given the subject matter of ciphers and codes, these marks have yet to be fully deciphered, though it is possible that Steed's comment to Kollakis is: "I'll do as you ask." Kollakis' response could be: "That's very kind of you, Mr Steed." Keel's remark at the end of the episode appears to be: "I wonder why I bother." Given the quality of Steed's witticism (about how porcupines make love – which is very, very carefully), one can understand why Keel might regret having risen to the bait! The latter line has been included in the audio play.

  • About a month elapses over the course of this episode – even longer than the three-week duration for the events of Square Root of Evil. However, most of that month passes between the opening teaser sequence and the rest of the episode. As far as Steed and Keel's involvement is concerned, the case lasts for just a few days.

  • The television version of Please Don't Feed the Animals was to be the last of the run of Series 1 episodes which was never aired in the area in which the series was produced, London. ATV London, the region's weekend broadcaster, having shown delayed transmissions of Hot Snow and Brought to Book on Saturdays 18th March and 1st April 1961 respectively, would join the network feed from the next episode, Dance with Death, on Saturday 15th April 1961. The London franchise holders would remain with the series throughout the Sixties.

  • 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 (Dr David Keel) was the interview subject. During the interview, he commented on the challenge of recreating a bygone era: "I suppose when you approach a script that's not contemporary, it's a good idea to read around the period and find out what was going on. Certainly the scripts, we have to do them pretty much verbatim. It's difficult at first because you are not saying things the way you would not, but at the same time it's also a good thing as it helps you get into the period and the character, and the delivery."

    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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