Production Number: 3373 Tape Number: VTR/ABC/1170 (off-air)

PLOTLINE

When a night watchman is killed in a devastating fire at a timber yard, Steed is of the opinion that the blaze was started deliberately. He discovers that the business had been struggling financially, and also that its owner, Maurice Roffey, had recently tripled the amount of fire insurance on the premises. However, Roffey has a cast-iron alibi, and no direct evidence of foul play has yet been uncovered, but Steed is in possession of one vague lead: the telephone number of a hairdressing and beauty salon run by Jacques and Olive Beronne. Someone telephoned Roffey from there, and Steed wants to know who it was.

He persuades Dr Keel to let his receptionist Carol Wilson take the afternoon off to visit the salon, which is staffed by a team of attractive young women two of whom it transpires have been having affairs with Monsieur Beronne. Assuming the name 'Miss Stone', Carol is eager for adventure and hopes to carry out some clever undercover detective work, but she almost ends up dead when the hairdryer under which she is sitting explodes.

As their investigation progresses, Steed and Carol discover that the salon is a hotbed of jealousies and rivalries, and someone there appears to be perfectly willing to kill but will they be able to establish what the connection may be between the salon, the Beronnes and Maurice Roffey...?

Read the full story in Two Against the Underworld

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The Avengers: Series 1, Episode 9
Production Completed:
Sat 4 Mar 1961 (Live)
Recording Format: 405 Line B/W Video
Archive Holding: DOES NOT EXIST
John Cura Tele-Snaps: Not Photographed
Reconstruction: Not currently possible
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
UNITED KINGDOM: Sat 4 Mar 1961
Never transmitted outside the UK

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

ABC Midlands: Sat 4 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
ABC North: Sat 4 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
Anglia:
Sat 4 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
ATV London: Not transmitted
Border:
Not transmitted
Grampian: Not transmitted
Scottish: Not transmitted
Southern: Not transmitted
TWW: Not transmitted
Tyne Tees:
Not transmitted
Ulster: Not transmitted
Westward: Not transmitted
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
John Steed
Carol Wilson
Jacques Beronne
Olive Beronne
Denise
Maurice Roffey
Johnny Mendelssohn
Linda Chapman
Jean Lewis
Avril
Sleeping Car
Attendant
Voice of One-Ten
Night Watchman (Pritchard)
Joe
Daily Woman
(Mrs Brewer)
Fleur
(Salon Assistant)
Salon Customer
Puppy
Ian Hendry
Patrick Macnee
Ingrid Hafner
Mark Eden
Olga Lowe
Heidi Erich
Edward Dentith
Peter Zander
Barbara Evans
Maureen Beck
Nina Marriott

Gordon Rollings
Uncredited (*)

Uncredited
Uncredited

Uncredited

Uncredited
Uncredited
Juno

(*) Most likely to have been Douglas Muir

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Not released.

DVD EXTRAS

None.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writers Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward
Series Theme & Music
Johnny Dankworth
Designer
Patrick Downing
Story Editor
John Bryce
Producer
Leonard White
Director
Don Leaver

Production Assistant Verity Lambert
Floor Manager Geoff Smith
Stage Manager Nansi Davies
Lighting Director Bob Simmons

Technical Supervisor Peter Wayne
Senior Cameraman Michael Baldock
Sound Supervisor Peter Cazaly
Vision Mixer Esther Frost

Studio Teddington 2
An ABC Network Production

ASHES OF ROSES DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... Ashes of Roses was the last of seven consecutive Avengers episodes to be produced and transmitted live. Contrary to popular myth, this does not mean that the programme was not recorded. Camera scripts that are known to survive for the live episodes (those for Square Root of Evil, Girl on the Trapeze, The Radioactive Man and this one) all state VTR (video tape recording) numbers and note that the recordings were to be made from transmission. Additionally, a production memo detailing a proposed 1962 repeat run of Series 1 episodes lists VTR numbers for all of the live episodes, indicating that these recordings were in existence as at 30th March 1962.

  • In a production memo to director Don Leaver, dated 23rd December 1960, producer Leonard White listed the forthcoming scripts up to and including the eighth episode, which was to be Ashes of Roses (at that point, untitled). White suggested it would offer "a 'lead' role for 'Carol' (Ingrid Hafner) with Keel involved; Steed's participation in this episode is not certain yet". Eventually, possibly due to its being pushed back to Episode 9, it became a 'Carol and Steed' episode, rather than a 'Carol and Keel' one.

  • Camera rehearsals for Ashes of Roses began at 2.30pm on Friday 3rd March 1961 in Studio 2 at ABC Studios, Broom Road, Teddington Lock, Middlesex, and continued with a one-hour supper break at 6.00pm until 9.00pm that evening. The cast and crew reconvened at 10.00am the next day, Saturday 4th March 1961, for further camera rehearsals with a one-hour lunch break at 12.30pm ending at 6.15pm. After a one-hour break for supper, and a further 40 minutes for camera line-up and make-up, there was an unusual five-minute session listed in the camera script as "Promotion Ampex". Taking place at 7.55pm, this may have involved the recording of a promotional trailer for The Avengers on to Ampex video tape. The dress rehearsal commenced at 8.00pm and lasted until 9.30pm. Following another half-hour of camera line-up, the episode was performed and transmitted live, with a planned start and end time of 10.03pm to 11.00pm.

  • Ashes of Roses had a target running time of 52 minutes and 30 seconds. With commercial breaks one of 2 minutes and 5s and and another of 2 minutes and 35 seconds the full duration was planned at 57 minutes and 10 seconds, in common with most episodes produced early in Series 1.

  • The production made use of the following recording equipment: four pedestal cameras and three boom microphones.

  • Steed telephones One-Ten during Act 2. The actor playing One-Ten is not credited, but it was almost certainly Douglas Muir (otherwise a different contact could have been written in). His lines were pre-recorded and played in from audio tape. It is possible that these lines were recorded during the pre-production of One-Ten's previous episode, Diamond Cut Diamond.


  • On Location... Several before this episode was transmitted, producer Leonard White contacted W.G.R. Thom of the ABC's film department on the subject of location filming. The letter noted that "the pattern of using filmed inserts for this series is now well established and in the main it is agreed that they add considerable value to the overall production. Since, therefore, the pattern is likely to continue, I am wondering whether a more consistent procedure can be formulated to cover, primarily, the pre-filming recce's. In particular, I am thinking of the need to cover the selection of several possible locations and the approach to Authorities and individuals concerned in the use of these locations. As you are probably aware, the Floor Manager is able to help in this respect, but he is not attached to the production until the start of rehearsals and therefore this leaves nobody to do this, outside the rehearsal period, when it is usually more easily done and indeed when it should be done." Thom replied on 7th March 1961 and suggested that while the film department were increasingly busy, it would seem "that the only way we can help you is to endeavour to engage a freelance production manager as and when required, provided you can accept the cost on the budget. It would, of course, be more economical to assign a floor manager to the production for location filming purposes."

  • Despite going out live, Ashes of Roses incorporated approximately two minutes of pre-filmed footage. Location work included a shot (of unknown duration) of Steed and Denise leaving Jacques Beronne's salon in Steed's car during Act 2, and a 25-second scene of Steed and Carol approaching Jean's flat at the start of Act 3. Two further sequences, lasting eight and ten seconds respectively, showed Carol looking around the same street. Finally, towards the end of the episode, Olive and Steed crossed paths in a 50-second scene set on a platform at London Victoria Station. All of these sequences were shot on high-resolution 35mm film and were mute (silent).

  • Act 1 included a 20-second sequence showing a fire engine rushing to an emergency, over which the episode's title caption was superimposed. This was probably stock footage rather than specially filmed material. This clip was also silent the camera script indicates that the fire engine's bell was to be played in during transmission.


  • Trivia... The production assistant on this episode, Verity Lambert, went on to become the first producer of another well-known British television institution initiated by Sydney Newman: Doctor Who. The fourth serial of this space- and time-travelling adventure series would feature the explorer Marco Polo, portrayed by Ashes of Roses guest star Mark Eden.

  • Ashes of Roses was the first episode to depict Steed's flat. He entertains two young ladies there, Carol and Denise, both of whom are suitably impressed by what they see.

  • Act 3 features a confrontation on the Night Ferry, an international sleeper train that ran between London Victoria and Paris Gare du Nord, across the English Channel via Dover and Dunkirk. Commencing its service on 14th October 1936, the Night Ferry usually departed from and arrived at Platform 2 of Victoria Station. Customs checks were carried out at the station. Only the first-class sleeping cars and the baggage vans travelled the entire journey. Second-class carriages ran from Victoria to Dover on the British side, and from Dunkirk to Paris on the French side, with passengers walking on and off the ferry in the usual way. Prior to the launch of the Eurostar service on 14th November 1994, the Night Ferry had been the only through passenger train between Mainland Britain and Continental Europe. It was eventually withdrawn on 31st October 1980, owing to a combination of ageing rolling stock (the British Rail Mark 3 sleeping cars introduced in the early 1980s were of unsuitable loading gauge) and competition from airlines.

  • The synopsis for this episode published in Dave Rogers' 1989 book The Complete Avengers is unlike certain other Series 1 entries fairly accurate. Its main discrepancy is in stating that both Carol and Denise return to the salon towards the end of the episode. In the camera script, Carol goes there alone.

  • As Steed is posing as an employee of an insurance company, it is possible that Patrick Macnee donned a bowler hat during this episode, perhaps for the first time...

  • The telephone numbers given for the hairdressing salon, WELbeck 9291 and VINcent 4437 (see Bloopers, below) were fictitious numbers held back for use in television and film by the Post Office. The VINcent exchange was completely fictitious. The numerical equivalent of VIN was 846 and all the caller got was the speaking clock (i.e. 846 is also numerical equivalent of TIM) in the big city 'Director' areas. For more detail on fictitious telephone numbers, please see the Trivia section of Hot Snow.

  • As with many other early episodes of The Avengers, Ashes of Roses is poorly represented in terms of photographic records. Just one photograph is known to survive from the production, and this was reproduced in Dave Rogers' 1983 book, The Avengers. As this photograph is in portrait format, we present it below, uncropped, and have opted to include a generic photograph as the image at the top of the page. This is sourced from the ITC production, The Firechasers (1971), and is included for illustrative purposes only.

At the Beronne's salon, Carol (Ingrid Hafner)
has her hair styled by Denise (Heidi Erich)


  • Bloopers... The salon's telephone number is given as WEL 9291 on three occasions in the camera script: once in a direction describing Roffey's desk pad on page 8 and twice in dialogue on page 10. However, in a direction on page 9, when Steed reveals the number on the desk pad, it reads VIN 4437. Let us hope that someone on the production team caught that little inconsistency before the live transmission!


  • Stop Press... In TV Times magazine cover dated 1st December 1961, Ingrid Hafner recalled Ian Hendry's antics on the set of Ashes of Roses: "We had a hairdressing salon set and there he was mincing around in a filthy old overall brandishing a pair of scissors and a comb."


  • And Finally... This episode saw the introduction of Puppy, the first of many pet dogs to be owned by Steed who seems to have had almost as many canine companions as human ones. Puppy would reappear a few episodes later, in The Yellow Needle, in which Steed foists her upon Carol while he jets off to Africa. Steed has a habit of palming his pets off on to other people, as is established at the end of Ashes of Roses! Puppy was played by Juno, a Great Dane trained by the legendary Barbara Woodhouse. According to the camera script, Juno received an on-screen credit at the end of the episode. Another Woodhouse-trained Great Dane, Junia, would make her Avengers debut in the Series 2 episode Death of a Great Dane, as Dancer.

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, Dave Rogers, Jaz Wiseman and StudioCanal for their kind assistance

 

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