Production Number: 3415 • Tape Number:
Working Title: 'Confession From A Dead Man'
behalf of an insurance company, Steed arranges
for the convict Ted Mace to be sprung from
prison. He hopes that Mace will lead him to the place
where he has hidden two hundred thousand pounds worth of uncut
diamonds, stolen from a Hatton Garden jewellers.
However, word of the operation has got out on
the criminal grapevine and nothing goes to plan. Mace is
not only snatched from under the noses of Steed's men,
but he also gets himself shot in the process.
Later, Keel is
tricked into tending to the seriously injured
Mace on a houseboat on the river. Mace's
kidnappers, led by Al Brady, are also interested
whereabouts of the diamonds. Keel manages to remove
the bullet, but Mace's condition continues to
worsen. With his last breath, he whispers a
clue to Keel, "it's John Bartholomew's plot" –
a lead from Carol and arrives at the houseboat,
where he fools the villains and saves Keel.
Steed soon links Keel's captors to the co-owner
of the robbed jewellers', Leonard Bruton, and
the pair of them follow up the clue Mace gave in
his dying words. Their investigations lead them
into the countryside, where an elderly man
unwittingly holds the key to the mystery – and a
fortune in uncut diamonds...
full story in
Two Against the Underworld
PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The Avengers: Series 1, Episode 18
Production Completed: Thu 6 Jul 1961
Recording Format: 405 Line B/W Video
Archive Holding: DOES NOT EXIST
John Cura Tele-Snaps: Photographed
Reconstruction: Made 2009
UNITED KINGDOM: Sat 8 Jul 1961
Never transmitted outside the UK
UK REGIONAL PREMIERES
Midlands: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
ABC North: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
Anglia: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
ATV London: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
Border: Not transmitted
Grampian: Not transmitted
Scottish: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
Southern: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
TWW: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
Tyne Tees: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
Ulster: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
Westward: Sat 8 Jul 1961, 8.50pm
CHARACTERS & CAST
Dr David Keel
3 Additional Extras
Reconstruction by Alan and Alys Hayes,
narrated by Leonard White, combining original
script with off-screen Tele-Snaps and on-set
photographs • Stills Gallery (most images are
erroneously attributed to The Far Distant Dead)
Writer – Gerald Verner, adapted by John
Series Theme & Music – Johnny Dankworth
Designer – James Goddard
Story Editor – John Bryce / Reed de Rouen
Producer – Leonard White
Director – Roger Jenkins
Production Assistant – Izabella Lubicz
Floor Manager – Patrick Kennedy
Stage Manager – John Wayne
Director – Kenneth Brown
Technical Supervisor – Peter Wayne
Senior Cameraman – Michael Baldock
Sound Supervisor – Michael Roberts
Vision Mixer – Gordon Hesketh
An ABC Network Production
DOUBLE DANGER • DECLASSIFIED
Prior to writing this episode, Gerald Verner met
with Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee in April 1961, to
discuss and gauge how the characters worked.
carried the working title, Confession From A Dead
Man for a while, before Double Danger
became the firm title.
written by and credited on screen to Gerald Verner,
was heavily rewritten prior to broadcast by writer John Lucarotti,
who was engaged on a freelance basis to adapt the
script on the strength of one he had recently
submitted himself, The Far Distant Dead. Verner was greatly
incensed by Lucarotti's tampering, which he
claimed left his story in tatters.
script bears testament to his anger at the
rewrite. He has scribbled over his name, and
handwritten in biro in its place, "John Lucarotti –
put on now under Gerald Verner", meaning the episode
as broadcast carried his name but he no longer
considered it representative of the work he had put in.
between Verner's original and Lucarotti's rewrite
are extensive. Here are a few tasters:
Gerald Verner's Original:
are Lew Sleater and Harry Dew, East End types.
is renamed Mark Crawford. He and Dew are now
unwittingly shot by Steed's men.
Mace is hit
by a stray bullet that came from Brady's gun
(Keel notices that the calibre of the bullet
appears to match it).
taken to a bungalow to tend to Mace.
bungalow becomes a houseboat on the River.
Garden jewellers called Lowenstein and Brune.
Lowestein and Bruton.
covertly gains access to the bungalow and
picks off members of the gang with his
out to a non-existent army and suggests they
surround and then rush the boat.
locks Bruton in his study and then Brady and
just runs away and Brady arrives alone.
the lock-up, Keel collapses and Steed saves
the day by shutting off the car's ignition
and opening the door.
the lock-up, Keel switches off the car's
ignition and Steed opens the doors.
Bartholomew has Brady and Mills shift
furniture looking for diamonds he knows are
Bartholomew's resistance is more to do with
being too near death to be scared of dying.
double-crosses Mills. Were it not for
Steed's intervention, Brady would have shot
have all the proceeds from the diamond haul
and Mills remain partners.
episode ends back at the surgery, where Keel
and Carol conclude their discussion of the
hypochondriac patient Mr McLeary.
episode ends at the cemetery.
The first actors'
read through of Double Danger was held at The Tower,
RCA Building, Brook Green Road, Hammersmith, from
10.30am on Monday 26th June 1961. Rehearsals began
later the same day.
The recording of
Double Danger was planned to run to a target
running time of 52 minutes and 25 seconds plus two
commercial breaks of 2 minutes and 5 seconds each
which would bring the full transmission duration to
56 minutes and 35 seconds.
began for this episode on Wednesday 5th July 1961 at
10.30am and continued – with two one-hour breaks for
lunch and supper – until 9.00pm that evening. The cast
and crew reconvened the next morning at 10.00am for
further camera rehearsals, ending at 3.15pm. The
dress rehearsal commenced at 4.00pm after a short
break for tea, camera line-up and make-up, with the
episode going before the cameras for recording
between 6.00pm and 7.00pm on the evening of Thursday
6th July 1961. All the sessions on Wednesday 5th and
Thursday 6th July were held in Studio 2 at ABC
Studios, Teddington Lock, Middlesex. Double
Danger was transmitted from videotape on
Saturday 8th July 1961, with a scheduled start and
end time of 10.00-11.00pm.
Although scripted to take place at night, the
springing of Ted Mace from jail was shot during
daylight hours and was not night-filtered, as
evidenced by the surviving Tele-Snaps. These
invaluable off-screen photographs reveal that actual
night shoots were undertaken for scenes around the
houseboat and Bartholomew's cottage.
The locations for
Double Danger are not at present known,
though considering its proximity to the studios, it
is quite likely that the houseboat sequences were
filmed at Teddington Lock.
In total, the
episode contained six 35mm sequences, all appearing
during the first couple of acts: the opening prison
escape; Keel and Lola arriving at the houseboat by
car and boarding the vessel; Mills' car arriving at
the boat, followed by Steed in his Rolls Royce;
Mills jumping from the boat into the water; Lola and
Brady running from the boat, while Mills climbs out
of the water; and Mills following Steed to the
film sequences represented the rising tide in Act 1
and (on 16mm film) the rainfall at the end of the
episode. However, these were probably stock footage
rather than specially filmed material.
rehearsal script called for several more exterior
film sequences, including short scenes set outside
the surgery and the garage, but these were cut from
the final version, presumably for reasons of cost or
While the camera script of this episode suggests that
Double Danger opened with a filmed teaser showing
Ted Mace's escape from
prison, the surviving Tele-Snaps for this story
reveal that the episode as transmitted began with
the title sequence as normal. Only one episode of the series,
Root of Evil, appears to have opened with a
was scripted to feature one too, but again,
surviving Tele-Snaps have proved this idea was
dismissed before recording.
Though he is
unbilled in contemporary TV listings and at the
front of the camera script, the end credits at the
back of the script reveal that Ted Mace was played
by Howard Daley. The actor had previously appeared
alongside Ian Hendry in three episodes of ABC's
Police Surgeon. In all three of his Police
Surgeon appearances, Daley portrayed a police
constable, possibly the same police constable each
time. He was billed simply as PC in Under the
Influence, as Police Constable in Lag on the
Run, and finally afforded a surname in Smash
But No Grab, in which his character was named as
In an unusual move, Peter Reynolds (appearing as Al
Brady) received a credit in the opening titles of
this episode, alongside Ian Hendry and Patrick
Aspects of the
plot to Double Danger bear comparison to
Man Down. In both episodes the villains are
searching for hidden loot, which Dr Keel's injured
patient, the former prison inmate who originally
stole it, knows the location of. Suspecting that the
patient has passed information to Keel, the villains
– comprising two men and the robber's estranged wife
– kidnap Carol in order to make the doctor talk. The
main difference is that this time Keel does know
something. It is possible that some of John
Lucarotti's rewrites, such as the houseboat setting
and the softening of Lola's character, were intended
to reduce the similarities to Hunt the Man Down.
reconstruction of this episode, produced for
StudioCanal Releasing's DVD release of The
Avengers Series 3, featured a voiceover
delivered by original Avengers producer,
Leonard White. At the time of recording, White was
92 years young and did a fine job, sounding not a
day over sixty. The narration script featured a few
nods to Gerald Verner's original script, where it
was possible to do so without being at odds with the
Tele-Snaps and rehearsal photographs that survive.
While no significant deviations from the story as
broadcast were made, a few lines of dialogue from
Gerald Verner's version were slipped in as
Lucarotti's revisions were less captivating.
Prior to the transmission of Double Danger, TV Times
magazine, cover dated 30th June 1961, ran a
half-page interview with Patrick Macnee by Charles
Bayne, entitled Who Am I...? wonders Patrick
Macnee. In the feature, Macnee revealed some of
his biographical details, and mused, "Am I really
like John Steed of The Avengers? Very
English, a master of the understatement, polished,
educated, wealthy? Sometimes I wonder who's who.
Patrick Macnee or John Steed - who am I? Perhaps
Patrick is not everything John is, but we are alike
in many ways. In real life I am an adventurer. I
fancy myself as a sort of Scarlet Pimpernel. I crave
excitement. After the war I wanted to go in for
gun-running. Of course I have Walter Mitty dreams
about splendid things. Who doesn't? During the war,
when I was commander of a motor-torpedo boat, we ran
across a pack of German E-boats off the Channel
Islands. There was one thing to do. Sink the lot,
quickly. We had the advantage of surprise. It was
quick and deadly. We moved in and got most of them.
Quite an action. How I wish that story was true. But
it is just a bit of my Walter Mitty fantasy life. In
fact, I used to get seasick every time we went out."
Reaction to this
episode was not particularly positive, with a
somewhat dismissive review appearing in The
Stage and Television Today on 13th July 1961:
replied to this review – in outspoken fashion – in
the journal's subsequent edition, published on 20th
letter may have cleared his name with regards to "the
fiasco of Double Danger", it did however make
waves, which resulted in Verner leaving the
Avengers writing team. He had been pencilled in
to write further scripts for the series, but the
fall-out over Double Danger restricted his
contribution to the series to this solitary entry. A
successful thriller author, Gerald Verner returned
to writing novels and short stories, and never wrote
for television again. He died aged 83 in 1980,
leaving a legacy of over 120 novels which had been
translated into more than 35 languages. Verner is
probably best known today for his prolific work on
the Sexton Blake Library, for which he wrote 44
stories, although he wrote a large number of popular
thriller novels of his own invention and could count
The Duke of Windsor among his fans.
A mere five years later, it was John
Lucarotti who found himself in Gerald Verner's
position, when story editor Donald Tosh
made extensive revisions to Lucarotti's Doctor Who script
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve
(coincidentally, another Bartholomew plot!).
Lucarotti restored some of his original ideas when
he wrote the novelisation, which was published in
1987. It is tantalising to
imagine Lucarotti and Verner meeting in a bar some
time in the late Sixties and agreeing that rewrites can
be a painful experience!
Alan Hayes • UK Transmissions by Simon Coward, Alan Hayes
and John Tomlinson
Declassified by Alan Hayes with Richard McGinlay
With thanks to
Christopher Verner, Piers Johnson, Jaz Wiseman and
StudioCanal for their
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