Production Code: BFPAVENGE004


Carol Wilson's landlord, Archie Duncan, has invested in a shipment of bananas, which he intends to sell at a considerable profit. To purchase the consignment, he has borrowed heavily from a Mr Barker of the Finance Loan Corporation and invested 2,000 of his own capital in this risky venture.

Archie must engage an agent to sell the bananas to market and approaches Lemuel Potts, a shady businessman who has expressed an interest in acting as middleman. Potts has a buyer a firm called Fletcher and Calpes and has Archie sign a contract, entitling Potts to a 7% commission. Unbeknownst to Archie, Potts is in cahoots with Barker and the goods will never leave the port. Barker and Potts will cash in on the insurance and Archie will lose his capital outlay, even though the loan itself will be covered.

Steed is on the trail of Barker and Potts, as this is far from an isolated incident. He involves Keel, not least because Archie Duncan is known to him he is a patient at Keel's surgery and the pair embark on a dangerous mission that pits them against the fraudsters and their operatives Herb and Charlie two criminals who will resort to any measure to get results strikes, larceny, fire... even murder.

Click here to read about the original television episode

The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 4, Episode 2
Recording Dates:
19, 20, 22, 23 January 2015
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 47 minutes 52 seconds


Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 4
Release Date:
Tue 30 Jun 2015
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
Archie Duncan
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Oliver Cotton
Philip Bretherton
Andrew Dickens
Andrew Dickens
Andrew Dickens
Daniel O'Meara
Daniel O'Meara
Andrew Dickens
Dan Starkey
Karina Fernandez
Karina Fernandez
Michael Chance
Michael Chance

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


Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)


Purchase from Big Finish


Writer Lewis Davidson
Adapted for audio by -
John Dorney
Recording and Music
Toby Hrycek-Robinson at Moat Studios
Sound Design and CD Mastering
Richard Fox and Lauren Yason
Series Theme -
Johnny Dankworth, rearranged by Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Interviews edited by -
(not credited)
BFP Administration -
Miles Haigh-Ellery, Cheryl Bly and Alison Taylor
Producers' Assistants - Ian Atkins, Sue Cowley, Hannah Peel, Joseph Smith, 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,
Jaz Wiseman, Alan Hayes and Toby Hrycek-Robinson

A Big Finish Production


  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode A Change of Bait, which was originally broadcast on Saturday 23rd December 1961 at 10.00pm in the ABC Midlands, ABC North, Anglia, ATV London, Border, Grampian, Southern, Television Wales and West, Tyne Tees, Ulster and Westward ITV regions.

  • The television version of this episode was transmitted two days before Christmas Day 1961 and was deliberately given a lighter tone than was usual. In a memo dated 27th July 1961, producer Leonard White suggested that the episodes to be transmitted on December 23rd and 30th 1961 should "give some recognition to Christmas and the end of the year respectively. So far as the Christmas story is concerned, we might consider incorporating something a little more sentimental than usual and it might concern young people. (For example, wayward boys, or girls, who are rescued and turned into decent citizens.) I am quite open to suggestions for these stories, so please turn them over in your mind and we will talk about them. However, I don't particularly wish to make these episodes so different that if the series should be played elsewhere and at another time of the year they would not readily be acceptable." The production team appear not to have followed this suggestion through for the other episode in question, Dragonsfield, but A Change of Bait has more comedy than most Series 1 stories.

  • The television version of A Change of Bait does not survive today. However, a camera script exists, along with 78 production photographs and an identical number of John Cura's off-screen Tele-Snaps.

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded at Moat Studios on 19th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd January 2015. Four episodes were recorded during these sessions: Kill the King, A Change of Bait, Hunt the Man Down and Dead of Winter.

  • Brought to Audiobook... In Lewis Davidson's original script, Keel refers to Archie Duncan's seizure variously as a mild stroke and a minor heart attack not the same thing at all. Adapter John Dorney irons out this inconsistency, using the term heart attack on both occasions.

  • As originally scripted, there was no reply to Steed's line "Hello, there you are," when he arrives at the surgery in Act 1. Dorney adds a suitably light-hearted comeback from Keel, in order to establish the doctor's presence: "Yes, here I am. You must be so surprised. Finding me in my own office, of all the places. Amazing."

  • Additional dialogue also helps to convey when Archie is looking through the post in his first scene with Carol in Act 1 (a direction in the camera script at this point calls for a close-up of some letters), when Carol is knitting towards the end of Act 2, and when Steed prevents the bell above Andre's door from ringing at the start of Act 3.

  • The final scene of Act 2 features a brief exchange between Keel and Steed, which is new to the audio production. In the camera script, this exterior film sequence is described simply as "Keel leaving his house" and lists no dialogue.

  • After Andre has dialled 999, a brief exterior sequence of a police car arriving has been omitted from the audio adaptation.

  • Trivia... In the age of the mobile phone, it has become more commonplace for telephone conversations to account for a relatively large proportion of the narrative delivery in films and television, including thriller series such as The X-Files, 24 and Sherlock. The mobile phone allows for far more movement during conversation, which can take place "in the field", compared with the decidedly static nature of A Change of Bait.

  • The number of the cheque that Potts writes out to Archie Duncan is not specified in Lewis Davidson's script. Instead, this was to be ad-libbed by the performers. In the audio production, the number given is 308759.

  • Stop Press... An interview feature entitled Bowlered Over appeared in Vortex Issue 77 in July 2015 to coincide with the release of the fourth volume of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes. Actor Julian Wadham commented on the joys of performing scripts that were written in a very different era: "The scripts are excellent and very well written, but you couldn't write these scripts today, as they are not particularly politically correct these days. Sometimes, it reduces us to tears of laughter! It's an absolute given that in these days Steed is always incredibly randy and can hardly talk to a woman without trying to chat her up. There are only two ways to react to that you can either disagree strongly and walk away from it, or go with the flow and enjoy it. But really, there are times when it's just so hilarious..."

    Read the rest of the interview by downloading Vortex Issue 77 from Big Finish


  • And Finally... Unusually for The Avengers (of any era), no one dies in A Change of Bait, another concession perhaps to Leonard White's request for material appropriate to the festive period. In a stark illustration of the changing times and public tastes, Christmas editions of today's popular British soap operas often have a higher mortality rate than horror films as they chase high ratings. 

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

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


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