Production Number: 3502 Tape Number: VTR/ABC/1807

PLOTLINE

Steed's latest assignment is not going well. He narrowly prevents his charge, a United Nations diplomat called Etienne Roland, from getting killed by a gunman as he emerges from his hotel. Unfortunately, an innocent victim, Alun Price, is shot during the melee. Dr King, who is on the scene at Steed's request, is unable to save the man.

Steed believes that there is a traitor at work. This is only the latest in a series of missions that have proven to be "wash-outs". However, Steed's superior on this case, One-Twelve, seems unconvinced, and accuses the agent of failing to carry out his duties. Steed asks to see his usual handler, One-Ten, but he is not available.

Persuading a reluctant Dr King to shadow him, Steed impersonates Roland in an attempt to mislead the enemy. He borrows the diplomat's distinctive hat and cane, dons a similar coat, and travels in his chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. However, Steed almost falls foul of a gun-toting workman when King is delayed by a medical emergency. Disaster is narrowly averted by a terrific rugby tackle by the doctor.

The agent reveals to King that there are only four possible suspects within the department. The first of these is One-Twelve, a man with whom Steed has never worked before. Then there is Fraser, who runs a barber shop as a cover and who has been following Steed's every move. Or it could be Mark Harvey, the ill-tempered architect who is Steed's "opposite number". He looks after the minister with whom Roland is supposed to be meeting in order to resolve a conflict in East Asia. And the fourth suspect? Steed himself!

It's a question of who is to guard the guards themselves, as One-Twelve points out to Steed. It's a problem that is bound to arise in their line of business from time to time...

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The Avengers: Series 2, Episode 3
Production Completed:
Sat 9 Jun 1962
Recording Format: 405 Line B/W Video
Archive Holding: 16mm B/W Film Recording

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

ABC Midlands: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
ABC North: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Anglia:
Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
ATV London: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Border:
Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Channel: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Grampian: Not transmitted
Scottish: Not transmitted
Southern: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Teledu Cymru: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
TWW: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Tyne Tees:
Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Ulster: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
Westward: Sat 24 Nov 1962, 10.05pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
ARGENTINA: Tue 28 Mar 2000
AUSTRALIA:
Mon 9 Dec 1963
CANADA:
Mon 9 Nov 1964
FRANCE:
Thu 5 Feb 1998
GERMANY:
Mon 20 Dec 2010
UNITED KINGDOM: Sat 24 Nov 1962
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed
Dr Martin King
Judy
Lilian Harvey
Monsieur Etienne Roland
One-Twelve
Mark Harvey
Fraser
Policeman
Customer
Gunman
Workman (Plumber)
Alun Price
Reporter
Party Guest/Reporter
Party Guest/Reporter
Party Guest/Reporter
Party Guest/Reporter
Chef
Male Extras
Patrick Macnee
Jon Rollason
Gillian Muir
Anne Godley
 
Carleton Hobbs
Arthur Hewlett
Frank Gatliff
Michael Mellinger
Anthony Blackshaw
Cyril Renison
Storm Durr
Richard Klee
Ray Browne
Henry Rayner
Diane Bester
Yvonne Walsh
Victor Harrington
Colin Fry
Philip Webb
Lance George
James Darwin
Jack Rolands
Graham Cruikshank
Albert Grant
Jeff Shane
John Roland
Gordon Lang
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Not released.

DVD EXTRAS

StudioCanal, UK: Camera Script PDF
Stills Gallery

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writers Anthony Terpiloff and Brandon Brady
Series Theme & Music
Johnny Dankworth
Designer
Terry Green
Story Editor
John Bryce
Producer
Leonard White
Director
Don Leaver

Production Assistant Sylvia Langdon-Down
Production Assistant (Timing) - Uncredited
Floor Manager Peter Bailey
Stage Manager Mary Lewis
Call Boy John Cooper
Wardrobe Supervisor - Uncredited
Make-up Supervisor - Uncredited

Technical Supervisor Peter Cazaly / Campbell Keenan
Lighting Supervisor
Luigi Bottone
Senior Cameraman Michael Baldock
Sound Supervisor Michael Roberts
Grams Operator - Uncredited
Racks Supervisor - Ray Knight
Vision Mixer - Del Randall

Studio Teddington 2
An ABC Network Production

MINISTRY VERDICT

It was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch this episode, well aware of its reputation for being something of a clunker. I was surprised to find it... not too bad, actually! The plot and pacing are rather pedestrian, but the production is competently handled, as one might expect from director Don Leaver. There is an unusually large amount of location work for this era of the show. Unfortunately, the role of Harvey (Frank Gatliff) is not explained as clearly as it might be especially when Patrick Macnee indicates that Harvey takes care of the diplomat Roland (Carleton Hobbs) while Steed looks after the minister, when in fact it's the other way around. On the plus side, though, both Arthur Hewlett as One-Twelve and Michael Mellinger as Fraser do a nice line in "wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him!"

THE SELL-OUT DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... A memo sent from ABC Television's script supervisor Anthony John to managing director Howard Thomas on Thursday 17th May 1962 reveals that the character of Roland was at one point going to be American. Obviously referring to an early draft of the script, John summarised the story as follows: "The setting is London and there is evidently to be a very high ministerial conference with a leading business tycoon from the US. A gang is out to 'spoil' the conference and will even resort to broad daylight murder to attain their ends. Steed impersonates the American, at great danger to himself, in order to find the culprits." Perhaps the production team felt that they had too many scripts in the pipeline revolving around the Americas (such as Canada in Mission to Montreal and Dead on Course, with Death Dispatch taking place in Jamaica and several South American countries and concerning secret information from Washington), so Roland became a Frenchman. The character was also changed from a business tycoon to a representative of the United Nations.

  • In assessing the level of violence in the script, Anthony John was rather dismissive of its content: "This is a director's play from the point of view that the script does not read with the excitement that he, the director, must obviously infuse into it. There is nothing in the way of violence to worry about."

  • If ever there was an indication that Jon Rollason was regarded by the production team as a mere filler-in rather than a fully fledged star of The Avengers, it can be seen in the dressing room allocation for The Sell-Out. Whereas Patrick Macnee, Carleton Hobbs and Arthur Hewlett each had a dressing room of his own, Rollason had to share with Frank Gatliff. Other rooms were shared between Gillian Muir and Anne Godley; between Michael Mellinger, Richard Klee and Storm Durr; and between Cyril Renison, Anthony Blackshaw and Ray Browne.

  • The first reading of the script by the cast took place in Rehearsal Room 2A, ABC TV Studios, Broom Road, Teddington, Middlesex, on Wednesday 30th May 1962 at 10.30am. Rehearsals commenced later the same day and continued until Thursday 7th June 1962 at the same location.

  • Camera rehearsals for The Sell-Out commenced at 10.00am in Studio 2 at ABC TV Studios, Broom Road, Teddington, Middlesex on Friday 8th June 1962 and continued until 9.00pm. The cast and crew reconvened at 10.00am the following day, Saturday 9th June 1962, working towards a dress rehearsal between 4.15 and 5.30pm, and the final recording between 6.00 and 7.00pm. The episode was transmitted from videotape on Saturday 24th November 1962 at 10.05pm, across all ITV regions except Grampian and Scottish.


  • On Location... This episode involved extensive location work in and around London, amounting to more than six minutes of screen time. It was carried out over two days, Monday 28th May and Tuesday 29th May 1962, and included a night shoot on the evening of the 28th. Patrick Macnee, Michael Mellinger (Fraser) and Storm Durr (Gunman) were present on both dates. Jon Rollason and Frank Gatliff (Harvey) were needed only during the night shoot on the 28th, while Philip Webb (Chef) was required only on the 29th.

  • In story order, the location work is as follows:

    • The first footage we see is an establishing shot of the British Museum on Great Russell Street, WC1, over which the episode's title caption is imposed. Footage of Steed leaving the museum, walking to his AC Greyhound sports car and driving away, pursued by Fraser in a Ford Consul, was also shot at this location.

    • The next filmed exterior is that of Harvey's house (real location unknown). We see Steed leave the house, pause at a shrub, walk out of the courtyard, get in his sports car and drive off, again tailed by Fraser in the Consul.

    • The action fades to footage filmed on Endsleigh Street, WC1, in which Steed parks his car, feeds a parking meter, and walks up the street. Meanwhile, having parked his Consul some distance away on the other side of the road, Fraser follows Steed on foot.

    • At this point, footage shot on Tavistock Square, WC1, is cut in, showing Steed entering the Tavistock Hotel, where he has hidden Monsieur Roland.

    • The action then cuts back to material filmed on Endsleigh Street, showing Fraser looking at his watch. As the film fades to the next studio scene, Fraser is about to light a cigarette, as revealed in the surviving film edit list for this episode.

    • Nine minutes later, we return to Tavistock Square, as Steed leaves the hotel disguised as Roland and boards a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, this time watched by the gunman in a Sunbeam Alpine convertible. The Rolls pulls away from the kerb...

    • ...and turns into Bedford Way, Bedford Square, WC1, only to be followed by the gunman in the Alpine.

    • The pursuit continues down Tottenham Court Road, W1.

    • Both vehicles then turn left into Maple Street, W1.

    • The exterior film fades to footage of the interior of the Rolls Royce (location unknown), in which Steed takes out a phone and calls the surgery. Following his worrying conversation with Judy, Steed turns to the back window, and we see a shot of the Alpine tailing him.

    • Following the commercial break, we see the Rolls turn off Richmond Hill, Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, and drive into the car park of the Richmond Hill Hotel, pursued by the Alpine. The Rolls goes around the side of the building and stops in a yard behind the hotel. After a brief studio scene, Steed alights from the vehicle, climbs the steps to the kitchen entrance of the hotel, and enters, passing the exiting chef on the way. Following just over a minute of studio action, the story moves back outside, with Steed running around the wall of the hotel, and the gunman making his escape in the Alpine.

    • The remaining location scenes, towards the end of the episode, are all from the night shoot that took place on the evening of Monday 28th May 1962. The action returns to the exterior of Harvey's house (location unknown) as Harvey emerges, with King at gunpoint. Steed steps out of hiding to confront Harvey. Following a brief conversation achieved in the studio, we are back on location again, as Steed and King run to Steed's sports car, and drive away.

    • The action cuts to the Hammersmith Flyover, W6, as the car heads for London Heathrow Airport.

    • Three-quarters of a minute later, we rejoin Steed and King's journey, which has now reached Brentford, Middlesex. The car passes the now demolished Firestone tyre factory on Great West Road.

    • Following a similar interval, we see that the car has reached Heathrow, Greater London. Steed and King enter and drive along Tunnel Road East, just in time to save the day. Like the BOAC sign says, they take good care of us.

  • Sound was recorded on the location footage. This would have been especially important during the night shoot, when Steed calls out to Harvey and then fires his gun sounds that would have been very difficult to cue in as separate audio at precisely the right moment in the studio. However, no dialogue was recorded on film for Steed's telephone conversation with Judy. Instead, Patrick Macnee delivered his lines "as live" in the studio, and the filmed footage was carefully cued in so that Steed is never shown on screen when the character is speaking. It was probably felt that it was simpler and more effective to have both sides of the conversation recorded in the studio at the same time, rather than have Gillian Muir converse with pre-filmed dialogue.


  • Trivia... At one stage, the episode was going to open with an exterior shot (achieved in the studio) of the lobby of the Astor Towers Hotel, with extras coming and going through a revolving door and King entering from the right of frame. This short scene appears in the camera script but not in the recorded episode. A slightly later shot of the hotel exterior, showing an aide emerging, looking around and then re-entering (presumably looking for the escaped gunman) was similarly dropped. The reason may have been to reduce the number of sets required, either to save on construction costs or studio space.

  • This is far from clear on screen, but the reason why the gunman shoots the wrong man near the start of the episode is because Steed pushes Roland out of the way. Directions in the camera script indicate: "STEED SPOTS GUNMAN. PUSHES ROLAND AS SHOT IS FIRED."

  • Though broadcast as the second Dr King episode, originally airing as the ninth episode of Series 2 overall, The Sell-Out is perhaps best viewed as the character's final adventure. There is a real sense that the doctor has had enough of his association with Steed. "Now listen, Steed," he says, "From now on, I'm just going to be a doctor. I'm not going to be anything else. I'm not going to be a... an agent, a counter-spy, a gunman or a cover for you, or anything you can use in your business. I'm just going to be a doctor, so you can... leave me in peace." Though he changes his mind at the last minute, it is easy to imagine that this is a case of, "Alright, just one more time." King makes a quiet exit from the show, deciding to take a bus at the end of the episode when he realises that Steed is fully occupied holding the would-be assassin at gunpoint.

  • This episode contains a rare instance of King's character differing from that of his predecessor Dr Keel. Reluctant to be roped into Steed's latest assignment, King rants, "Do I ever come round needing your help? I don't even know where you live." Neither of these claims is true of Keel, who has occasionally asked for Steed's aid (for example, in Hunt the Man Down and Dance with Death) and certainly knows where the agent lives, having visited his flat in Ashes of Roses. The two doctors do, however, share a common interest in rugby Steed compliments King on "a terrific tackle" after he brings down the gun-toting workman (Richard Klee).

  • The address of King's surgery is 12 Marjoribanks (pronounced Marchbanks) Terrace, SW3, as revealed during Fraser's report of Steed's movements to One-Twelve. The telephone number is Gerrard 1071 which also happens to be May Murton's number in Toy Trap.

  • Patrick Macnee and Diane Bester improvise a bit of unscripted business at the bar during the cocktail party, in which Steed compliments the party guest on her beautiful tan. She turns to another guest and remarks, "What a charming man!"

  • In the script, Steed and Lilian have additional dialogue during the party. When he learns that the school Harvey is designing is to be situated somewhere in the North, Steed exclaims, "Not slap in the middle of... well, amid those dark satanic mills!" "No," Lilian assures him, "it's that new town." "Of course," replies Steed, "you told me." Perhaps this exchange was removed in order to avoid offending viewers in the north of England who had, after all, been loyal viewers of The Avengers from the show's very beginning!

  • The drape with the triangular design seen in Harvey's studio was previously part of the set decoration for Dr Keel's surgery.

  • The gunman played by Storm Durr is never named, though when he contacts Harvey he uses the code name Grandfather Smith.


  • Bloopers... At 1 minute and 5 seconds into the episode, the camera collides with something and bounces upwards after zooming in on Jon Rollason.

  • At 4 minutes and 14 seconds, Patrick Macnee experiences a moment of uncertainty with his lines. The result is the slightly nonsensical, "In each of the missions... one vital... moment has been lost." The scripted line is somewhat different: "In each of these wash-outs, the moves on which the success of the mission depended were somehow discovered and countered." A few seconds later, a more substantial chunk of scripted exposition is missing from the finished episode: "Considerable steps were taken to conceal the fact that Monsieur Roland is in this country but the gunman knew where to go, and when. He picked the one time in twenty-four hours that Monsieur Roland was to leave his suite. There must be an informer and we must find out who it is quickly." Though the latter may have been a deliberate change, its removal at a late stage could be what momentarily threw the actor.

  • At 7 minutes and 40 seconds, a camera lens briefly enters the top right of frame.

  • At 8 minutes and 39 seconds, as she leaves the room with the tea things, Anne Godley (Lilian) drops a spoon on the floor just before the scene ends.

  • At 10 minutes and 36 seconds, Carleton Hobbs (Roland) fumbles his line slightly: "I find it necessary to resist the idea that m I am indispensable to anyone."

  • At 11 minutes and 16 seconds, Macnee begins to say, "Now, there's one point on that paper...", then pauses as he realises that he's fluffed the line. He recovers well by continuing, "...that, er, isn't exactly specified." In the camera script, the line is: "There's one important point which you won't find on the paper, sir."

  • At 11 minutes and 55 seconds, as he enters Dr King's consulting room, Macnee says hello to Judy and mumbles something about not having seen her for a while. However, he would have just seen her in reception, since she is now announcing his arrival to King. (Perhaps Judy saw Steed approaching the surgery and ran on ahead to warn the doctor in case he didn't want to see Steed which, indeed, he doesn't!)

  • At 13 minutes and 7 seconds, the shadow of a boom microphone crosses the room.

  • At 17 minutes and 10 seconds, Fraser allows One-Twelve to leave his barber's shop with very untidy hair. That's hardly going to help his cover for their meeting!

  • At 25 minutes and 4 seconds, there is more boom microphone action, as a shadow swiftly passes over Rollason's face.

  • At 26 minutes, Macnee says that Harvey "looks after Roland... I look after the minister", which is the complete opposite of the situation.

  • From 27 minutes and 54 seconds to 33 minutes and 4 seconds, the faint shadows of boom microphones can be seen passing over the actors and set several times during the cocktail party scenes.

  • At 35 minutes and 11 seconds, the second act ends with a somewhat confusing bit of action. The camera lingers on a shot of Fraser in his barber's chair and we do not see Steed being attacked, despite the script specifying: "See Steed hit." The agent appears to cry out for no reason, before collapsing to the floor.

  • At 41 minutes and 2 seconds, someone can be seen moving behind the frosted glass window of Fraser's barber shop. (Though this is not a scripted event, it is arguably not a blooper. This is supposed to be an exterior window, and so a late-night pedestrian could be passing by.)

  • At 44 minutes and 44 seconds, Frank Gatliff (Harvey) says, "Lilian, I may be gone into mourning," then corrects this to the scripted phrase, "until morning."


  • Stop Press... The 16th November 1962 edition of TV Times magazine (covering the week of 18th to 24th November 1962) featured an interview with Jon Rollason, as part of John Gough's Looking Around spread. Appearing on page 5 of the magazine, the interview revealed that four years prior to playing Dr King, the actor had been penniless. "I had auditioned for a small part in a West End play. I desperately needed the job, for I had a wife and two children to support." He was told that he was too good for the role, and reluctantly he went to look for other work. The low point of his early career was playing Shakespeare in repertory theatre: "I played the dead Henry V who is carried on at the beginning of Henry VI." However, Rollason's persistence paid off and he eventually came to notice through appearances in Birmingham, Richmond, Farnham, Halifax, Morecambe, and London's famous Old Vic.


  • And Finally... There is only one image in the stills gallery for this episode on the Optimum Releasing / StudioCanal DVD release of Series 2. This shows Steed meeting One-Twelve in the British Museum. However, an additional photograph is present on the disc, misfiled as the fifth image in the gallery for Dead on Course. This shows Dr King in his consulting room, a set that was only ever seen in The Sell-Out.

Plotline by Richard McGinlay UK Transmissions by Simon Coward, Alan Hayes and John Tomlinson
International Premieres by Denis Kirsanov Ministry Verdict by Richard McGinlay

Declassified by Richard McGinlay
Locations with thanks to Anthony McKay, Alan Field, Mike Richardson and Tavistock

With thanks to Dave Matthews, Dave Rogers, Piers Johnson, Jaz Wiseman
and StudioCanal for their kind assistance

 

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