Production Code: BFPAVENGE005

PLOTLINE

Steed is forced to cut short his planned holiday in the Bahamas when his superior '5' dispatches him instead to the Caribbean island of Pascala. There he is to investigate the disappearance of a beautiful and wealthy young woman, Carmelita Mendoza, who has been spirited away from her bedroom in the middle of the night.

Steed questions the girl's mother, the family's retainer Vasco, and other members of the household staff, but learns little of interest. It seems a most peculiar case of kidnapping, and the agent is troubled by the apparent lack of motive. Señora Mendoza says that the family's jewels were removed from the house at the same time that Carmelita was taken, but Steed suspects a political motivation rather than a monetary one. Barely a week earlier, General Mendoza – the Señora's husband and Carmelita's father – had died in a car crash under mysterious circumstances. Steed wonders whether the pro-Western politician's death really was an accident as claimed...

Steed's enquiries inadvertently provide Vasco with a clue as to Carmelita's whereabouts. The retainer soon tracks down and kills the man guarding Carmelita in an old, abandoned church. However, rather than releasing Carmelita, Vasco proceeds to abduct the girl himself. If Steed is to save her, he's got to find out what's really going on - and fast.

Click here to read about the original television episode

PRODUCTION
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 5, Episode 3
Recording Dates:
6, 7, 19, 20 May 2015
Recorded at: Moat Studios
and Soundhouse Studios
Duration: 57 minutes 47 seconds

RELEASE

Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 5
ISBN:
978-1-78178-555-3
Release Date:
21 Jan 2016
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carmelita
Señora Mendoza
Vasco
Fernandez
Carlos
Luis Alvarez
Paul
Customs Officer
Bartello
'5'
Radio
Girl
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Faye Castelow
Anjella Mackintosh
Dan Starkey
Dan Starkey
Jot Davies
Jot Davies
Damian Lynch
Damian Lynch
Luis Soto
Luis Soto
Luis Soto
Alice Haig
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

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

BONUS FEATURES

Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)

BUY NOW!

Purchase from Big Finish

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writers – Geoffrey Bellman and John Whitney, based on a story by Patrick Brawn
Adapted for audio by -
Phil Mulryne
Recording and Music –
Toby Hrycek-Robinson at Moat Studios
(some material recorded at Soundhouse Studios)
Sound Design and CD Mastering –
Richard Fox and Lauren Yason
Series Theme -
Johnny Dankworth, rearranged by 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
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,
Jaz Wiseman, Alan Hayes and Toby Hrycek-Robinson

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF PATRICK MACNEE (1922-2015)

A Big Finish Production

CRESCENT MOON • DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... This audio play is based on the television episode Crescent Moon, which was originally broadcast on Saturday 4th 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 went by the working title Kidnapping by Consent, until that was changed to the less revelatory Crescent Moon.

  • The television version of Crescent Moon does not survive today. Nor do any scripts or images from the original production. However, storyline synopses exist, as well as other documentary evidence (see Brought to Audiobook... and Trivia...).

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded at Moat Studios (with some material recorded at Soundhouse 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... After Nightmare, Crescent Moon is the second most enigmatic episode of The Avengers. Its entry in The Complete Avengers is a little longer, but only by about fifty words! In common with the audio adaptation of Nightmare, the greatest feats of imaginative extrapolation (this time by Phil Mulryne, who develops a storyline originally scripted by Geoffrey Bellman and John Whitney) go into the second act, which features the welcome return (though played by different actors than before) of Steed's original boss '5' and his female assistant from Square Root of Evil.

  • It is impossible to be entirely certain of the roles played by the characters of Bartello, Luis Alvarez and Fernandez in the television version of this story. However, by referring to the TV Times cast list in order of appearance (which places the characters in the following sequence: Señora Mendoza, Steed, Bartello, Carmelita Mendoza, Luis Alvarez, Paul, Fernandez, Vasco, Carlos, Keel), it is possible to surmise that Bartello appeared in an early scene, perhaps sharing scenes with Señora Mendoza and John Steed. Therefore, Bartello is a household servant in the reimagined version of Crescent Moon. It is worth noting that despite the basis for this supposition, the characters speak their first lines in a quite different sequence in the audio adaptation: Carmelita, Paul, Luis, Bartello, Customs Officer (an additional minor character), Steed, '5' (an additional minor character), Vasco, Señora, Fernandez, Carlos, Keel, Girl (an additional minor character).

  • It is not known which of these characters, if any, was the kidnapper subsequently killed by Vasco in the original version of this episode. However, Luis Alvarez's position in the TV Times cast list, between Carmelita (the kidnap victim) and Paul (the other man involved in the abduction), suggests that Luis could be the ill-fated kidnapper. In the audio adaptation, Luis is Paul's brother.

  • That just leaves Fernandez to assign a role for. Several synopses state that Vasco is seen killing the kidnapper, but they do not indicate who sees this happen. "Seen" cannot simply mean seen by the television audience, because the crime is reported to the police in the story. By a process of elimination, the most likely person to be the witness is Fernandez. Big Finish script writer Phil Mulryne depicts this character as a nosy but cowardly village shopkeeper.

  • Something else Mulryne needed to clarify for the audio production is precisely who contacts Keel regarding his mysterious new patient. This is something which no previous synopsis (not even the one in the book Two Against the Underworld!) has ever specified. The writer settles upon the appealing idea of a return appearance by Steed's original boss, '5' (in fact, the only boss that Steed had been seen to have at this point in the television series). It is true that '5' is not mentioned in contemporary TV listings, but then neither is Steed's subsequent superior One-Ten for some of his more minor, 'voice on phone only' roles (in Ashes of Roses, Double Danger and Kill the King). Mulryne is in an ideal position to re-create the character of '5', having previously portrayed him in the Big Finish adaptation of Square Root of Evil - though here the role is taken on by Luis Soto. Soto proves to be a good vocal match for Mulryne's '5', and the change of actor is further disguised by the addition of a phone distort effect. In terms of character, what sets '5' apart from One-Ten is that he directly communicates with Keel in Square Root of Evil. By contrast, television producer Leonard White decreed that One-Ten should have little to do with Steed's 'amateur' sidekick. Guidelines issued by White on 31st October 1961 stated that: "One-Ten... knows of Keel's activity, but doesn't recognise him as anything more than an 'extension' of Steed's work. Very useful, of course - but not a 'professional'." This makes the involvement of '5' in Crescent Moon all the more credible.


  • Trivia... Numerous sources, including episode guides by Dave Rogers, indicate that the name of the kidnapped girl in this episode is spelled Carmelite. However, TV Times lists her as Carmelita, which does seem the more likely spelling. A Carmelite is a member of the Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a Roman Catholic movement founded in around the 12th century. Carmelita is a feminine given name in English and Spanish, named after the religious order.

  • The relevance of the episode's title has long been shrouded in mystery. To what does it actually refer? The name of a political movement? The shape of the island on which this tale takes place? The audio adaptation has it both ways – the crescent moon is said to be Pascala's distinctive shape and also a design that appeared on the banner of the revolution in which Vasco fought alongside General Mendoza.

  • At least Phil Mulryne didn't need to invent the name of the island. This is recorded in a short write-up of Crescent Moon that appeared in the Manchester Evening News on 4th February 1961: "In tonight's episode of The Avengers, Ian Hendry and his comrades-in-arms against lawlessness go abroad for the first time – to the Caribbean island of Pascala, where a politician's beautiful daughter has been kidnapped." In fact, only Steed ventured abroad in the television episode, with Dr Keel remaining in London, as is accurately reflected in the audio version.

  • As in Nightmare, there's an in-joke reference to the Emma Peel era of The Avengers. When '5' contacts Steed's physician friend, he says to him, "Dr Keel - you're needed."

  • This episode scores highly in terms of producer Leonard White's vision for the television show – his 'wish list' of elements for The Avengers included glamour (brought to us by the affluent Señora Mendoza and her daughter Carmelita), an unusual and exciting locale (the Caribbean island of Pascala) and an important mission (rescuing the daughter of a wealthy statesman, no less).

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


  • Bloopers... Mulryne comes a little unstuck in trying to present what might have happened on screen in 1961. The characters' entrances bear little resemblance to the cast list in order of appearance published in TV Times magazine. As written by Mulryne and performed by Jot Davies, Carlos is an appealing and engaging character, but unfortunately this young policeman is nowhere near the age range that could have been played by George Roderick (born 1913), the actor who originally portrayed him on screen (perhaps in the television version it was Carlos' weight rather than his youth that meant he didn't get a chance to prove his worth prior to the events of this episode – Roderick was quite a plump man). Some of the events also seem somewhat beyond the capabilities of live television production, with consecutive scenes featuring the same characters in different locations, and pigeons and sheep performing on cue (though it is possible that some of this action could have been pre-filmed).


  • And Finally... At the beginning of the audio play, Steed has been diverted from a trip to the Bahamas, and at the end of it he plans to resume his holiday. This is a brilliant bit of continuity (not too heavy-handed for the original series, which tended to eschew any references that might not be readily understood by the casual audience), which explains Steed's absence from Girl on the Trapeze. On audio, the running order of Girl on the Trapeze and Crescent Moon is the opposite of the original television transmission sequence, but the explanation works either way. "Now, Carlos," says Steed. "Which ship is for Nassau?"

Plotline by Alan Hayes • Declassified by Richard McGinlay
Images
© 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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