Production Code: BFPAVENGE005


Keel strolls across Battersea Bridge on the way from his Chelsea surgery to a reunion dinner and stumbles into the middle of what appears to be a suicide attempt. A young woman has thrown herself from Battersea Bridge and has been hauled out of the water by a man on a boat. The man is decidedly uncomfortable at the arrival on the scene of a policeman and then a doctor, Keel. He gives a fake address and disappears.

The girl later dies in the Barrington Hospital, having whispered a single word "Danilov". Keel finds himself drawn into a mystery as he and the police try to identify the deceased woman and discover why she killed herself. Before long, Keel and the police surgeon have learned enough from the body to convince them of foul play. The woman had not drowned, but had instead died of barbiturate poisoning.

Keel is certain, however, that he had recently seen the girl in a photograph printed in a newspaper or magazine. He enlists Carol Wilson's help and their investigations lead them to The Stadium, where the Radeck State Circus are appearing. This is their last night in London and tomorrow the troupe will be returning to Radeck, behind the Iron Curtain. The question is, however, will the eighty-six men and women who entered Great Britain with the circus on a group visa be the same eighty-six that return home.

Click here to read about the original television episode

The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 5, Episode 2
Recording Dates:
6, 7, 19, 20 May 2015
Recorded at: Soundhouse Studios
and Moat Studios
Duration: 53 minutes 2 seconds


Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 5
Release Date:
21 Jan 2016
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
Dr David Keel
Carol Wilson
Audience Member
Dr Sterret
Box Office Lady
Anthony Howell
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Paul Thornley
Paul Thornley
Paul Thornley
Chris Porter
Chris Porter
Chris Porter
Miranda Raison
Tracy Wiles
Tracy Wiles
Tracy Wiles
Robbie Stevens
Robbie Stevens
Robbie Stevens
Jane Slavin

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 -
Rae Leaver
Wilfredo Acosta at Soundhouse Studios
(some material recorded at Moat Studios)
Sound Design and CD Mastering Richard Fox and Lauren Yason
Series Theme -
Johnny Dankworth, rearranged by Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Music -
Toby Hrycek-Robinson
CD Extras -
Jamie Griffiths
CD Interviews -
David Richardson
BFP Administration -
Miles Haigh-Ellery, Cheryl Bly and Alison Taylor
Producers' Assistants - Ian Atkins, Sue Cowley, Emily de Fraine, 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 Girl on the Trapeze, which was originally broadcast on Saturday 11th February 1961 at 10.00pm in the ABC Midlands and ABC North ITV regions.

  • A production document dated 23rd December 1960 reveals that this episode initially had the working title The Man on the Trapeze, which suggests that the characters of trapeze artist Katrina Sandor and Anna Danilov (who unwittingly takes her place) were originally to have been male.

  • A 16mm film recording of Girl on the Trapeze exists, though the original 405-line videotape is long since lost. The film copy was discovered alongside the first act of Hot Snow and a duplicate print of The Frighteners at the UCLA Library in California, USA. Its existence was noticed by archive TV enthusiast Dave Wood in April 2001 after the library had published its catalogue online. A camera script also survives from the original production. Because only two episodes from Series 1 of The Avengers exist in complete form, Big Finish has elected to remake Girl on the Trapeze and The Frighteners alongside the missing episodes, in order to provide a complete collection of stories featuring Keel and Steed. (The Frighteners will be included in Volume 6 of The Lost Episodes.)

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded at Soundhouse Studios (with some material recorded at Moat Studios) on 6th, 7th, 19th and 20th May 2015. Four episodes were recorded during these sessions: Nightmare, Girl on the Trapeze, Crescent Moon and Diamond Cut Diamond.

  • Brought to Audiobook... The circus setting of Dennis Spooner's script is one of the most vivid and interesting locations that The Avengers has ever visited, one that would not have seemed out of place in a later era of the programme (indeed, the show returned to such a setting in the Series 2 episode Conspiracy of Silence, and the unproduced Series 5 script This'll Kill You was to have seen Steed and Mrs Peel investigate strange happenings at the Big Top). However, the plot posed particular challenges for Rae Leaver, who adapted the script for audio. For example, Zibbo does not speak when he is in his clown guise, and this includes his sinister opening confrontation with Anna. Leaver gets around this problem by giving the clown a horn to honk whenever he is present.

  • A more elaborate clown sequence occurs when Keel and Carol are watching the performance between Zibbo and another clown, who is also silent, as they fool around with a balloon and lose it among the audience. During this scene, the spectators describe the action as it unfolds because Keel has seen it all before, he accurately predicts what will happen. The doctor's familiarity with the act is a neat allusion to Ian Hendry's real-life connections with the circus through his friendship with Coco the Clown (Nicolai Poliakoff). Other acts that Keel and Carol enjoy are represented by the sound effects of musical fanfares, snarling big cats and trumpeting elephants.

  • Another key visual element of the episode is a series of switches and substitutions that surround the ill-fated Katrina Sandor and Anna Danilov: the high-diver Vera Korsova is replaced by the comatose trapeze artist Katrina after Vera jumps off Battersea Bridge; the circus staff then pretend that the unconscious and bandaged Anna is Katrina; later on, Carol switches places with Anna, and finally wraps Vera in the bandages, causing all manner of confusion along the way! Vera's initial leap is conveyed via additional dialogue from a female passer-by, who spots the girl as she is preparing to jump and warns her to be careful. The passer-by later notices that the woman who is pulled from the river looks different from the one who jumped in - a fact which, in the television episode, is seen only by the viewing audience. The presence of Anna's bandages, the substitution of Carol for Anna, and Carol overcoming Vera and wrapping her up are all conveyed via extra dialogue.

  • The cliffhanging final lines of the first two acts of the audio play (Stefan addressing the unconscious Anna, and Keel being introduced to the strongman Turek) are also newly written by Rae Leaver.

  • Trivia... Girl on the Trapeze is one of only two instalments in the entire 187-episode run of The Avengers and The New Avengers that does not include the character of John Steed (the other is The Far Distant Dead, which will appear in Volume 7 of The Lost Episodes). Patrick Macnee retained his credit in the standard opening title sequence of the television episode, but did not appear within the story itself. As to where Steed has got to during this adventure, this is explained in the audio version of Crescent Moon!

  • The setting for this episode is reputed to have been suggested to the television production team by Ian Hendry, though whether this is true or a fan myth is open to debate. What is clear is that the idea for the Radeck State Circus depicted in this episode was evidently influenced by the Moscow State Circus, a troupe of Russian circus performers who first toured the United Kingdom in 1956.

  • The dialogue in the transmitted television episode contains a number of differences to that in the original camera script, due to minor last-minute rewrites or actors improvising their lines. Where such differences occur, the audio adaptation follows the transmitted version. For example, the circus is playing at a venue called the Stadium rather than the Olympic as given in the camera script, and accordingly Zibbo gives his false address as 12 Stadium Road as opposed to 12 Olympic Road. The television and audio versions also contain a number of light-hearted remarks which were ad-libbed by Ian Hendry during the original recording: to Carol as Keel searches through piles of newspapers ("You get these in a mess, don't you?"), to the box-office clerk after they get in a muddle when he tries to buy a programme out of the change from his tickets ("We're all dropping things tonight!") and to Carol again when she starts coughing while smoking a cigarette ("Yes, you never could do that very well, could you?").

  • The CD booklet accompanying this release carried a dedication to actor Patrick Macnee, who died on 25th June 2015.

  • And Finally... You could say that Volume 5 of The Lost Episodes contains the most and least missing episodes from Series 1 of The Avengers! On the one hand, we have Nightmare and Crescent Moon, for which no scripts or images have come to light. On the other, we have Girl on the Trapeze, for which not only the original camera script but also a film recording of the episode exist. Despite no longer being a missing episode, its inclusion in the audio range makes it possible, for the first time since 1961, to experience this adventure alongside dramatisations of the episodes that originally preceded and followed it on television.

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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