Steed is shot full of holes...
Emma sees stars

Production Number: E.66.6.4
Working Title: 'The Light Fantastic'

PLOTLINE

A succession of members of the British Venusian Society are wiped out in seemingly inexplicable circumstances while observing the night skies and their favoured celestial body. When each of the dead astrologers is found by Steed and Mrs Peel, the adventurers observe that the victims have all had their hair turned a brilliant shade of white. Steed and Peel's investigations at first point to the incredible possibility that the inhabitants of Venus are anxious to protect their privacy and are aiming a space ray at anyone who dares to look upon their planet and that this ray is killing the members of the BVS. After further enquiry, the Avengers decide that the perpetrators are undoubtedly much closer to home, particularly after the attacks continue and they themselves become targets. Following up a lead in a country barn, Emma narrowly avoids being hit by a searingly hot heat ray. The danger seems to pass and she recovers her wits and witnesses a blinding white light retreating into the distance.

Meanwhile, Steed's investigations are of a less strenuous nature and he discovers that the sum of 20,000 is missing from the funds of the British Venusian Society. The finger of suspicion appears to point initially to the society figurehead, Venus Browne and her terse and somewhat sinister aide, Crawford. However, it soon becomes clear that they are not implicated and that an eccentric associate of Venus Browne, an exceptionally shortsighted optician, Dr Henry Primble, is the culprit. He has stolen the money to fund the construction and testing of deadly laser weapons that he has invented. When Emma breaks into a workshop, she discovers how she had been attacked in the barn by a sports cars that she finds hidden under canvas. A sports car with a front-mounted laser cannon! However, her intrusion is noted by Martin, Primble's henchman, and after a fight she ends up tied up in an optician's chair, the intended victim of one of Primble's laser weapons. Steed will have to move at the speed of light to save his friend from a sudden and explosive end.

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The Avengers: Series 5, Episode 4
Production Completed:
Nov 1966
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

ABC Midlands: Sat 14 Jan 1967, 9.10pm
ABC North: Sat 14 Jan 1967, 9.10pm
Anglia: Fri 13 Jan 1967, 8.00pm
Border: Sun 15 Jan 1967, 8.10pm
Channel: Fri 13 Jan 1967, 8.00pm
Grampian: Wed 22 Nov 1967, 8.02pm
Rediffusion London: Fri 13 Jan 1967, 8.00pm
Scottish: Sat 14 Jan 1967, 9.10pm
Southern: Mon 9 Jan 1967, 8.00pm
Teledu Cymru: Wed 11 Jan 1967, 8.00pm
TWW: Wed 11 Jan 1967, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Sat 14 Jan 1967, 9.10pm
Ulster: Thu 30 Nov 1967, 7.30pm
Westward: Fri 13 Jan 1967, 8.00pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
ARGENTINA: Tue 11 June 1968
AUSTRALIA: Mon 17 Apr 1967
AUSTRIA: Mon 9 Dec 1968
BELGIUM: Transmission unconfirmed
CANADA: Tue 17 Jan 1967
FRANCE: Tue 2 Jul 1968
GERMANY: Tue 24 Oct 1967
GREECE: Transmission unconfirmed
ICELAND: Transmission unconfirmed
IRELAND: Sat 27 Jan 1968
ITALY: Fri 16 Nov 1973
JAMAICA: Transmission unconfirmed
JAPAN: Tue 24 Aug 1971
MALAYSIA: Sat 29 Aug 1970
MALTA: Sat 13 Jan 1968
MEXICO: Transmission unconfirmed
NETHERLANDS:
Sat 12 Jul 1969
NEW ZEALAND: Tue 14 Mar 1967
PORTUGAL: Thu 1 Feb 1968
SINGAPORE: Sun 24 Dec 1967
SPAIN: Mon 23 Oct 1967
SWITZERLAND: Mon 11 Mar 1968
TURKEY: Sat 13 Dec 1975
UNITED KINGDOM: Mon 9 Jan 1967
USA: Fri 20 Jan 1967
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed
Emma Peel
Venus Browne
Dr Henry Primble
Brigadier Whitehead
Crawford
Bertram Smith
Jennings
Professor Clarke
Ernest Cosgrove
Sir Frederick Hadley
Lord Mansford
Martin
Patrick Macnee
Diana Rigg
Barbara Shelley
Philip Locke
Jon Pertwee
Derek Newark
Jeremy Lloyd
Adrian Ropes
Arthur Cox
Paul Gilliard
Michael Lynch
Kenneth Benda
Billy Cornelius
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Selections from the incidental score for this episode have been issued on The Music of Laurie Johnson: The Avengers, Edsel Records, 2007.

DVD EXTRAS

StudioCanal, UK: Episode Trims Dialogue Sheet PDF Granada Plus Points Image Gallery.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer Philip Levene
Series Theme & Music
Laurie Johnson
Production Designer
Wilfred Shingleton
Director of Photography
Wilkie Cooper
Producers
Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens
Executive Producer
Julian Wintle
Director
Robert Day

Music Editor Karen Heward
Supervising Editor
Peter Tanner
Editor Tony Palk
Recording Director A.W. Lumkin
Sound Recordist Simon Kaye
Dubbing Mixer Len Abbott
Sound Editor Jack T. Knight
Casting Director G.B. Walker
Production Manager Ted Lloyd
Construction Manager Charles Hammerton
Supervisory Electrician Walter 'Wally' Thompson

Mr Macnee's Costume Design Pierre Cardin
Miss Rigg's Costume Design Alun Hughes
Stunt Arranger Ray Austin
Assistant Director
Richard Dalton
Camera Operator
Frank Drake
Art Director Fred Carter
Set Dresser Ted Tester
Continuity Gladys Goldsmith
Hairdressing Bill Griffiths
Make-up Jim Hydes
Wardrobe Hilda Geerdts

Made at Associated British Elstree Studios and on location

An ABC Television Films Ltd Production

MINISTRY VERDICT

The fourth episode to be produced in colour, but the first to be transmitted in most UK regions. It's easy to see why it was pushed to the front of the order. From Venus With Love, blessed with a terrific script from one of the best Avengers writers, Philip Levene, encapsulates all that the fifth series is about: it inhabits a world of cranks, eccentrics and over-the-top villains, is brash, slick, stylish and above all, bursting with vibrant colour (although the original audiences missed out on that factor). Steed and Mrs Peel are at their most symbiotic as a team here and their on-screen chemistry is the sort of thing you'd bottle if it were possible. From Venus With Love is populated with a series of memorable characters (Jeremy Lloyd's Bertram 'Smith' and Philip Locke's wonderfully barmy Dr Primble are of special note) and the plot is strong enough to keep the viewer guessing until the end. In essence though, it's more about the ride. From Venus With Love is cool with a confident swagger. And it's glorious.

FROM VENUS WITH LOVE DECLASSIFIED

  • Teaser... Emma practices her fencing as Steed enters with a note impaled on his umbrella. The note reads, 'Mrs Peel We're Needed'.

  • Tag... Steed visits Emma's flat and invites her to have dinner on Venus (Browne)!


  • Production Brief... This episode was originally proposed in December 1965 with the working title, The Light Fantastic, but was rejected as too bizarre.

  • The episode features the Ford GT40, then the fastest available road car.

  • Laurie Johnson's incidental score for this episode includes some cues which subtly allude to Gustav Holst's famous The Planets suite, and in particular his composition, Venus Bringer of Peace.

  • The "O" of "LOVE" is replaced with a heart symbol in the opening title caption.

  • This episode was adapted for South African radio see here.


  • On Location... The shooting of From Venus With Love took the crew back to Kendal Hall on Watling Street in Radlett, which had previously been used as the home of Group Captain Miles (Denis Quilley) in What the Butler Saw (1966). Here it doubled for the mansion house where Mrs Peel met Bert Smith, a high-class chimney sweep.

  • The other major location in this episode was Stanmore Hall which stands on Wood Lane in Stanmore, North London. It appeared here as the home of retired war veteran, Brigadier Whitehead. The production team would go on to return to the house shortly afterwards, during the production of The Winged Avenger (1967), where the house and grounds would be used far more extensively and memorably. The house appeared in many ITC series and would notably feature in the cult gangster movie, Get Carter. The sequences shot at Stanmore for the film coincidentally featured Ian Hendry, the original Avenger.


  • Quite, Quite Eccentric... Aristocratic chimney sweep, Bert 'Smith'; myopic optician Dr Henry Primble; Brigadier Whitehead, who records audio re-enactments of his wartime exploits.


  • Acronyms... BVS British Venusian Society.


  • Trivia... Actor Jeremy Lloyd went on to feature in one further Avengers episode, Thingumajig, before figuring in the ill-fated stage production of The Avengers alongside Simon Oates. Lloyd went on to become a popular television writer, penning (with David Croft) the successful BBC comedy series Are You Being Served? and 'Allo, Allo. He was also briefly married to Joanna Lumley, who of course would later play Steed's sidekick, Purdey, in The New Avengers.

  • Emma proclaims that mankind has "got to the moon". In actual fact, the first manned landing on the moon did not occur until approximately eighteen months after From Venus With Love's transmission a case of the team future-proofing their product, perhaps? Alternatively, it could be a sign that a conscious decision had been made to set The Avengers a couple of years ahead of the time in which it was made.


  • In the Archives... A series of silent colour 35mm 'trims' from this episode were recently unearthed by the British television preservation society, Kaleidoscope. These comprise alternate takes of scenes from the episode.


  • And Finally... The science of this episode is a little at odds with reality with regard to the behaviour of laser beams. Contrary to the evidence of From Venus With Love, lasers are silent but somehow the fictional depiction is a lot more dramatic!

Plotline by Alan Hayes UK Transmissions by Simon Coward, Alan Hayes and John Tomlinson
International Premieres by Denis Kirsanov Ministry Verdict by Alan Hayes
Declassified by Gareth Humphreys and Alan Hayes

 

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