Production Code: BFPAVENGE006


An escaped convict being sought by the police, Harry Black, bursts into David Keel's surgery with wounds that have been caused by broken glass. He claims to have been framed for a crime that he did not commit and insists that something untoward is going on at the Southend-on-Sea funfair where he has been working.

This is exactly the lead that Steed's department has been on the lookout for. They are aware that government secrets are being leaked from somewhere in Southend, and Black's story, if true, could possibly lead them to the source of the operation.

Steed encourages Keel to accompany Black on his return journey to Southend and meanwhile finds himself work at the fairground as a barker. His arrival at the funfair and his suspicious behaviour do not go unnoticed, however, and he is interrogated by the manager, Jack Wickram, and Billy, the funfair's hypnotist. To their annoyance they find that even under hypnosis, Steed cannot be broken.

Meanwhile, Keel and Harry find incriminating evidence in Wickram's office. Harry's story appears to have been true. Their victory is shortlived, however, as one of Wickram's men stumbles across the two men and holds them at gunpoint.

Can Steed and Keel bring down Wickram's operation, prove Harry's innocence and get out of Southend with their lives?

Click here to read about the original television episode

The Avengers - The Lost Episodes:
Volume 6, Episode 3
Recording Dates:
21 Dec 2015, 6 Jan,
12 Feb 2016
Recorded at: Moat Studios
Duration: 52 minutes 31 seconds


Released as a part of
The Avengers - The Lost Episodes,Volume 6
Release Date:
20 Jul 2016
Physical Release: Audio CD
Download Release:
MP3 / M4B Formats
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Harry Black
Mrs Black
Maxie Lardner
Madame Zenobia
Foster 'The Bulldog'
Anthony Howell
Julian Wadham
Lucy Briggs-Owen
Pete Collis
Charlotte Stevens
Amy Embank
Amy Embank
Tony Turner
Charles Davies
Pete Collis
Charlotte Stevens
Tony Turner
Other parts played by members of the cast

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


Production Notes Booklet (with CD only)
Interviews with writers John Dorney,
Rae Leaver and Ian Potter


Purchase from Big Finish


Writer John Kruse
Adapted for audio by -
John Dorney
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
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 Tunnel of Fear, which was originally broadcast on Saturday 5th August 1961 at 8.50pm in the ABC Midlands, ABC North, Anglia, ATV London, Scottish, Southern, Television Wales and West, Tyne Tees, Ulster and Westward ITV regions.

  • At the time when this adaptation was being written and recorded, the television version of this episode was thought not to have survived. Since the original script written by John Kruse was also missing, the adaptation was based on storyline synopses, along with 67 production photographs and 75 of John Cura's off-screen Tele-Snaps.

  • In 2016, a 16mm B/W film recording of Tunnel of Fear was recovered by the archive television preservation group Kaleidoscope. The find was announced on their Facebook page on 3rd October 2016.

  • The audio adaptation of this episode was recorded at Moat Studios on 21st December 2015, 6th January and 12th February 2016. Three episodes were recorded during these sessions: The Frighteners, Death on the Slipway and Tunnel of Fear.

  • Brought to Audiobook... In common with Death on the Slipway, the opening sequence of Tunnel of Fear is not documented in the synopsis that appears in The Complete Avengers, though it is depicted in Tele-Snaps taken by John Cura. The first of these images appears to show Harry Black purchasing a ticket for the ghost train ride from Maxie Lardner. The next two shots show an empty train cart (over which the television episode's title caption was superimposed), with the presence of a discarded umbrella being the only indication that anyone had been seated there. The recovered television episode has since revealed that Harry is not present in this scene, and that the abandoned umbrella belongs to Jack Wickram.

  • Unlike Death on the Slipway, this episode is also blessed with an abundance of production photographs (67 of them, compared with just two for Death on the Slipway), which were taken during rehearsals for the television episode. The remaining three episodes to be presented in the Lost Episodes series Dragonsfield, The Far Distant Dead and The Deadly Air - are similarly well represented visually. These images helped to shed light on matters such as the very end of the episode, showing that Steed is about to summon the authorities using the villains' own telephone equipment.

  • In combination, both sets of images (Tele-Snaps and production stills) demonstrate that Maxie Lardner's attack upon Steed takes place in the belly dancers' dressing room, rather than in Steed's hotel room as suggested by the synopsis in The Complete Avengers. The business with Steed being knocked unconscious and then surrounded by attentive dancing girls was extrapolated from production photographs.

  • What these resources failed to explain is why Harry Black, having apparently been injured at a funfair at Southend, should travel nearly fifty miles to see a doctor in London. John Dorney, who fleshed out the audio script for this episode, came up with an inventive explanation: that Harry is yet another of Steed's helpers, and he has been given Keel's address by Steed. This differs from the theory put forward in the first edition of the book Two Against the Underworld, which postulated that Harry's mother lives in the surgery's catchment area and that Harry is hiding out at her home. The unearthing of the television episode in 2016 finally revealed the real reason for Harry's choice of medical facility - he has escaped from a prison work party nearby.

  • A Tele-Snap showing Carol studying some kind of paperwork has been interpreted in a variety of ways over the years. In the 2010 DVD reconstruction of this episode, Carol is said to be checking some identification that Harry was carrying. In the first edition of Two Against the Underworld, she is consulting a surgery record card, which shows that Harry was a patient there many years ago, before Keel's time. In Dorney's version of events, the item in Carol's hands is still a surgery record card, but she is about to fill it in for Harry as a new patient. In fact, the identifying document is something else entirely in the rediscovered television episode - a letter from Harry to his mother.

  • The Complete Avengers gives the impression that the hypnosis and interrogation of Steed by Wickram and Billy takes place immediately after Lardner's attack upon the agent. The Tele-Snaps tell a different story, however, revealing that between these two events Steed does have some respite. First, he telephones his boss One-Ten. Mrs Black is nearby as Steed makes his call, which has led Dorney to set this scene in the woman's home. Then Steed approaches the ghost train ride a skeleton with glowing eyes can be seen in the background, as well as the same picket fence that appears in the opening Tele-Snap. Precisely how Steed gets captured was not known prior to the return of the film recording in 2016 and so the dramatic end of Act 2 of the audio production is entirely the product of Dorney's fertile imagination!

  • Trivia... The setting for this story is a funfair at Southend-on-Sea, a holiday town situated on the Essex coast. Back in the 1950s, Southend was a thriving tourist destination and home of a popular, permanent funfair, called the Kursaal Gardens. The fair boasted many rides, including the world-famous Caterpillar ride, plus other attractions such as the motorcycle Wall of Death, and was lauded as the largest fairground in the South of England.

  • One long-held misconception, given weight by its appearance in TV listings and episode guides, was that this episode's title was The Tunnel of Fear. When producer Leonard White's scrapbooks were published in 2009, a Tele-Snap from this episode revealed that the title had no definite article.

  • Although Steed's dog Puppy is not mentioned in the synopsis in The Complete Avengers, it was known that the dog appeared in the scene at Keel's surgery, even before the recovery of the television episode, thanks to photographic evidence. Tragically, Tunnel of Fear would prove to be Puppy's fourth and final appearance in The Avengers, as Juno, the Great Dane who played her, was injured on the London Underground while being taken to a filming assignment and passed away at home a day later.

  • The synopsis in The Complete Avengers indicates that Harry hides out on his girlfriend Claire's boat, and the appearance of a mooring post and a boat's wheel in Tele-Snaps bear this out. The vessel would have been berthed in a marina, and the nearest one to Southend in the real world is at Leigh-on-Sea, some three miles away.

  • Bloopers... In the surgery, Steed refers to Puppy, who is usually stated as being female, as "he".

  • Stop Press... An interview feature entitled Sounds of the Sixties appeared in Vortex Issue 89 in July 2016 to coincide with the release of the sixth volume of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes. Adapter John Dorney comments upon the process of producing a script based on only images and synopses: "It was a rather different experience from my previous stories where I wasn't working from a script. By working with the Tele-Snaps and the detailed synopsis, you can work out fairly well how the plot all fits together. The process was largely a case of looking at the pictures and figuring out what was happening in them, compared with the synopsis and using that, I was able to pull together the nucleus of the storyline. You just want it to feel plausible. You still don't have everything, though, but there's enough there to edge you towards knowing where it's all going, especially with the photos. It's an interesting process because of the detective work that's needed and I'd liken it to a puzzle. You just need to put all the parts together."

    Read the rest of the interview by downloading Vortex Issue 89 from Big Finish

  • And Finally... John Dorney was present at a public screening of the recovered television version of Tunnel of Fear at the BFI Southbank in London on Sunday 4th December 2016, as part of the Missing Believed Wiped 2016 event. After the screening, he was involved in a brief question-and-answer session conducted by the British Film Institute's television consultant Dick Fiddy. Asked for his reaction to the episode, Dorney expressed his surprise about previously unknown story information such as the identity of the man who disappears into the ghost train tunnel in the opening scene. Dorney also explained that all of the episode's dialogue was new to him, because no script had survived and therefore he had had to invent speech for the audio version. He recalled in particular having no idea what the scene in the fortune teller's tent was supposed to be about, and so he had to make his best guess when writing the audio script. Dorney concluded that the rediscovery of Tunnel of Fear is a stark reminder that, though we may think we know a lot about the missing episodes of The Avengers, there is still a great deal that we don't know.

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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