Production Number: 3366 • Tape Number: VTR/ABC/1054


Once again, Dr David Keel finds himself crossing paths with the mysterious John Steed. Arranging a surprise meeting in a tea house cum club bar called the House of the Rising Sun, Steed makes the doctor a proposition that he finds impossible to turn away from. Steed has new information concerning the drug racketeers and offers Keel the opportunity to finally bring Spicer – the man who murdered his fiancιe Peggy – to justice.

Spicer now works for Nick Mason, a protection racketeer who preys on the profits of bookmakers. Steed has already infiltrated Mason's organisation, and now Keel must ingratiate his way into a rival gang, led by Ronnie Vance. Vance and his brother Pretty Boy are to be Spicer's next victims, so that Mason can move in and take over their territory.

Pretty Boy has been razor-slashed by Mason and is in urgent need of a doctor – ideally a corrupt doctor who will not ask awkward questions or be on to the police at the earliest opportunity. In order to convince Ronnie Vance that Keel is suitably crooked, Steed arranges for a police raid while the doctor is in possession of heroin. Can Keel and Steed remain under cover long enough to incriminate Spicer and ultimately bring all the gang members to book...?

Read the full story in Two Against the Underworld

The Avengers: Series 1, Episode 2
Production Completed:
Thu 12 Jan 1961
Recording Format: 405 Line B/W Video
Archive Holding: DOES NOT EXIST
John Cura Tele-Snaps: Not Photographed
Reconstruction: Not currently possible
Audio Adaptation: Big Finish, 2014
UNITED KINGDOM: Sat 14 Jan 1961
Never transmitted outside the UK


ABC Midlands: Sat 14 Jan 1961, 10.00pm
ABC North: Sat 14 Jan 1961, 10.00pm
Not transmitted
ATV London: Sat 1 Apr 1961, 8.35pm
Not transmitted
Grampian: Not transmitted
Scottish: Not transmitted
Southern: Sat 1 Apr 1961, 8.35pm
TWW: Not transmitted
Tyne Tees:
Sat 1 Apr 1961, 8.35pm
Ulster: Not transmitted
Westward: Not transmitted
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
Ronnie Vance
Nick Mason
Dr Richard Tredding
Detective Supt Wilson
Pretty Boy
Detective Sergeant
2nd Chinese Girl
Extras as Rising Sun Customers, Bookie's Clerks and PC
Ian Hendry
Patrick Macnee
Ingrid Hafner
Carol White
Robert James
Charles Morgan
Philip Stone
Godfrey Quigley
Alister Williamson
Clifford Elkin
Joyce Wong Chong
Neil McCarthy
Lionel Burns
Michael Collins
Redmond Bailey
Anna Shan-Khoo
Charles Bird
Lawrence Archer
6 Male, 1 Female

Not released.


StudioCanal, UK: Rehearsal Script PDF • Stills Gallery (image not actually from this episode)


Writer – Brian Clemens, from a story by Patrick Brawn
Series Theme & Music –
Johnny Dankworth
Designer –
Robert Fuest
Story Editor –
Patrick Brawn
Producer –
Leonard White
Director –
Peter Hammond

Production Assistant – Paddy Dewey
Floor Manager – Patrick Kennedy
Stage Manager – Barbara Sykes
Call Boy – David Granger

Lighting Director – Bob Simmons
Technical Supervisor – Peter Wayne
Senior Cameraman – Michael Baldock
Sound Supervisor – Peter Cazaly
Vision Mixer – Del Randall

Studio – Teddington 2
An ABC Network Production


  • Production Brief... The first series of The Avengers was written by a large pool of writers. Undoubtedly the most significant writing 'find' of the series' first year was Brian Clemens, who contributed two scripts for 1961 including this one. Clemens would ultimately become the most influential contributor to the series, writing more than a quarter of all episodes of The Avengers and The New Avengers, as well as story editing and eventually producing the series.

  • Uniquely for The Avengers, the episode opens with a narrated recap performed by Philip Stone, who also played the on-screen role of Dr Tredding. The narration, which played over a shot of Dr Keel looking at a photograph (presumably of his dead fiancιe Peggy), followed by a shot of Steed at a horse-racing track with a pretty girl on either side of him, reminds the audience of what happened in the previous instalment, Hot Snow.

  • This episode sees the debut of Ingrid Hafner as the recurring character of receptionist Carol Wilson. Hafner had previously appeared alongside Ian Hendry as Nurse Amanda Gibbs in several episodes of ABC's Police Surgeon.

  • Several scenes were trimmed and rejigged between the rehearsal script and the camera script, for timing and other reasons. One unfortunate side effect of these changes is that Carol's character does not seem quite as capable or independent as she might otherwise have done. For example, in the rehearsal script she defends herself for not getting a mysterious caller's name: "I asked her several times to give her name and she flatly refused. But she said it was urgent, so..." In the camera script, she just says sorry. 

  • An early scene with Keel, Carol and Tredding was considerably restructured between the rehearsal script and the camera script. In the rehearsal script, Keel and Tredding discuss the events of Hot Snow (so as to remind the viewer), how Keel is feeling about the loss of Peggy and his lack of closure. In the camera script, the essence of this discussion is transferred to Tredding and Carol: after Keel has departed, Tredding tells Carol about the events of Hot Snow, and they talk about how Keel must be feeling. The benefit of this restructuring is that we no longer have characters conveying information that they both already know.

  • Further lines were cut from Keel's first scene with Steed in Act 1, mostly to do with recapping the action from the end of Hot Snow. As a result, their exchange becomes less chatty, more business-like, and less revelatory of the drama that is about to unfold in the bar area of the House of the Rising Sun.

  • In Act 2 of the camera script, it is Keel's idea that he should pretend to be phoning his bookmaker, whereas in the rehearsal script it is Steed who tells Keel to do this. This adjustment strengthens Keel's role as the hero.

  • Camera rehearsals for this episode began at 10.00am on Wednesday 11th January 1961 in Studio 2 at ABC Studios, Broom Road, Teddington Lock, Middlesex. They continued – with two one-hour breaks, for lunch at 12.30pm and supper at 6.00pm – until 9.00pm that evening. The cast and crew reconvened the next morning at 10.00am for further camera rehearsals, ending at 3.00pm. Following a short break for tea, camera line-up and make-up, the dress rehearsal commenced at 3.45pm, with the episode going before the cameras for recording between 6.00pm and 7.00pm on the evening of Thursday 12th January 1961. There was a scheduled break in recording of five minutes between Acts 1 and 2 for the purpose of 're-setting', believed to be a reference to camera positioning. The 'play portion' of Brought to Book (its target running time without commercial breaks) was 52 minutes and 30 seconds, in common with most episodes produced early in Series 1. However, the episode as transmitted lasted 53 minutes and 10 seconds, as noted in a production memo of 7th March 1961 regarding Please Don't Feed the Animals. This represented an over-run of 40 seconds.

  • The production involved the use of four pedestal cameras, three boom microphones and four practical (i.e. fully functional) telephones, among other equipment.

  • On Location... For the most part, this episode was realised within the confines of the studio. However, a short sequence showing a horse race was played in from silent 35mm film near the start of the episode. The rehearsal script suggests the use of stock footage rather than specially recorded material.

  • A photographic slide was used as an establishing shot of the name plate outside Keel and Tredding's surgery. This photograph may have been taken during the location shoot for Hot Snow or could possibly have been a frame enlargement from the footage filmed for that episode.

  • A few short scenes outside Vance's flat were included in the third act of the rehearsal script, but these were dropped from the camera script.

  • Trivia... In Act 3, Keel threatens Spicer with a supposedly lethal injection. The doctor would use a 'deadly syringe' trick again in The Frighteners, although on that occasion he threatens to squirt the contents into his opponent's face rather than inject it.

  • Though both the Big Man and Spicer escaped justice at the end of Hot Snow, only Spicer is brought to book here. Some synopses for Hot Snow and Brought to Book indicate that Vance and the Big Man are one and the same character, but it is evident from the surviving scripts that this is not the case. To add to the confusion, both the Big Man in Hot Snow (who is heard, but not seen) and Ronnie Vance in Brought to Book were played by the same actor, Robert James. The Big Man is never heard of again in the series... though intriguingly the counterfeiter Hooper receives orders from a similarly unseen and unnamed boss in the next episode, Square Root of Evil. It is tempting to speculate that the production team might have intended the Big Man to become a recurring arch villain, rather like 007's Blofeld, for Keel and Steed to bring down in a later episode. From a modern perspective, the link to Blofeld is visually strengthened in Hot Snow, where we meet the Big Man – we do not see his face, just his hand, stroking a pet on his lap – but of course, The Avengers predates the feature film depiction of Blofeld by more than two years. However, if there were any such plans to introduce the Big Man as a recurring villain, they never made it to the screen, at least not fully formed.


The ensemble in the bar of the House of the Rising Sun (l to r):
Detective Constable (Michael Collins), David Keel (Ian Hendry), 2nd Chinese Girl (Anna Shan-Khoo), Detective Superintendent Wilson (Alister Williamson), Bart (Neil McCarthy) and Ronnie Vance (Robert James).

  • Unlike many other episodes from the first half of Series 1, Brought to Book was transmitted in the ATV London, Southern and Tyne Tees ITV regions – but eleven weeks after its original broadcast by ABC Midlands and ABC North. After screening The Avengers' first two scene-setting shows (Hot Snow and this one), ATV London, Southern and Tyne Tees skipped forward to the twelfth episode, Dance with Death, synchronising with the ABC broadcasts for the rest of the season. Some regions, namely Anglia, Border, Grampian, Scottish and Westward, joined the networked transmissions without showing either of the episodes which explained the background to Keel and Steed's association.

  • Confusingly for viewers in the Television Wales and West (TWW) and Ulster regions, Brought to Book was pre-empted on Saturday 1st April 1961 in favour of an episode of the imported US film series, 77 Sunset Strip, despite the fact that both regions had screened Hot Snow in tandem with the ATV London, Southern and Tyne Tees regional transmissions.

  • Stop Press... Manchester Evening News ran a short article as part of Max North's Tele-review page (page 7) on 14th January 1961, to accompany the broadcast of Brought to Book. It read: "Actor and director Peter Hammond, who directs ITV's The Avengers describes a Chinese girl he introduces in to-night's episode as 'a challenge to Jacqui Chan'. She is Joyce Wong Chong, who plays one of the young ladies who frequent the Soho club headquarters of a race gang. Her partner is Carol White, the 17-year-old blonde who two weeks ago starred in ITV's A Headful of Crocodiles." The article is somewhat misleading, in that the club (the Rising Sun) is actually Steed's headquarters rather than that of the gangsters. A Headful of Crocodiles was a 1961 episode of the ABC anthology series Armchair Theatre, produced by Avengers initiator Sydney Newman and featuring Simon Oates, who ten years later would star as Steed in the short-lived stage adaptation of The Avengers.

  • Regional editions of TV Times magazine ran a short piece by John Gough on 25th March 1961 about the preview he had been given of Brought to Book. Gough reported that the episode "culminates the first part of the series where Dr David Keel (played by Ian Hendry) tracks down his fiancιe's murderers [sic]. It also opens new doors for Keel's entry into the underworld and ensures his dedication in the fight against crime. Two charming young actresses brighten this criminal setting. They are Joyce Wong Chong, who comes from Hong Kong, and blonde beauty, Carol White."

  • And Finally... Coincidentally, Steed's penultimate line in the camera script predicts his famous catchphrase, "Mrs Peel, we're needed." He tells Keel, "We'll only call on you when you're needed – really needed." It's almost a case of "Dr Keel, you're needed!"

Plotline by Richard McGinlay • UK Transmissions by Simon Coward, Alan Hayes and John Tomlinson
Declassified by Richard McGinlay with Alan Hayes

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


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