In April 2001, Donald Monat, the
actor who played John Steed in the Avengers radio series, accepted an
invitation to visit
The Avengers Forum to talk to fans of the series.
Much of the
exchange has been incorporated into our
Donald Monat Interview, but we
thought it would be worthwhile to preserve as much of the original
forum event as possible. Some of it was captured by the webcrawlers of
internet archives, and this is presented here as it appeared
originally. The remainder is lost other than as text that was saved at
the time. So take a trip back in time to when internet forums were
"Greetings! Thanks very much for
dropping by. It's a great pleasure to welcome you along. We hope
you've enjoyed reading some of the comments on the Forum. Thanks for
your time and (as always) your seemingly inexhaustible enthusiasm.
Alan and Alys Hayes
"Welcome Mr Monat! I was aware of
the Avengers radio show only through articles etc - until I
picked up a copy of A Deadly Gift at a film fair in Leeds and
was mightily impressed with the show. I hope you enjoy your spell at
the forum - and thanks again for your excellent interpretation of
"Hello Donald. Just wanted to say
thanks for dropping by... and also to express my (belated) thanks for
the enjoyment your radio versions of The Avengers have offered
me. Having read about the shows before I heard them, I couldn't
imagine how anybody else could be John Steed after the many hours I'd
enjoyed of the television episodes. And then when I heard A Deadly
Gift, I was totally won over with your interpretation of the role.
The shows you did are tremendous fun - and I'm delighted to have
learnt so much more about them from the work which Alan, Alys and
yourself have put into the website.All my very best wishes. Thanks for
visiting and I hope all the Avengerphiles make you most welcome!"
"A Hearty Welcome! It is a sincere
honor to have such a noteworthy guest grace our forum - particularly
someone with a very unique and fascinating perspective of our favorite
program. We hope you will enjoy yourself and feel welcome to stay for
a good long while."
David K. Smith
"Welcome, Mr Monat! A very warm
welcome to the forum from all of us yet to say so already! :-) I'd
like to second the words of Andrew Pixley - the radio series is
terrific fun and your performance brings a new light on the
Working in South Africa
A question for Donald Monat: "Hello
Mr Monat. Following your arrival at the forum, I've been taking a look
at the Avengers on the Radio website. Unfortunately I've never
heard any of the radio episodes but they sound like they're worth
tracking down. Reading your biography on the website, I wondered why
you and your wife June decided to go to South Africa to further your
careers? As far as I understand, there was no TV there at the time, so
wouldn't there have been more opportunity to get work in the UK or
America? Thanks, Andy."
"Hi Donald Monat. Following on from what Andy was saying, it occurs to
me to ask how people in the arts in South Africa were affected by the
political unrest in the country?"
The Censors: "Hi Donald.
Your response to Jane Clarke's query was very enlightening, and I for
one would be very interested for you to go into some more depth on
this subject, should you feel it appropriate. This is one of the
definite pluses of welcoming you to the Forum - other people here were
bound to think of questions or angles which Alys, myself and Mike Noon
overlooked when you were collaborating with us regarding the
Avengers on the Radio website. Did all programmes recorded for the
radio have to be submitted to the sponsors? If so, was this practice
still in operation at the time of the making of The Avengers at
Sonovision. As a writer and director as well as an actor in South
African radio, I suspect that you would have been more aware of the
procedures than most. Perhaps you could clarify how the censors worked
(i.e. were scripts or finished programmes submitted), and exactly who
they were - were they a Government department? You implied that things
occasionally got by the censors, was this because they were unable to
vet everything, or simply because of the live nature of some
Donald Monat is John Steed
"Having enjoyed several of the radio adaptations, I was wondering
whether you based your characterisation of John Steed upon Patrick
Macnee's? Did you watch any of the TV episodes prior to recording to
'get a feel' for the character, or did you just decide to stamp your
own personality upon the role?"
did enjoy seeing quite a few episodes of the TV series a few years
before I was asked to play Steed in the radio adaptations and I'm sure
Patrick Macnee's great performance had become embedded in my memories,
but I didn't actually study the TV episodes at the time. I guess I was
aiming to interpret the script in the spirit of the TV series, but in
my own way - as my voice is quite different to Patrick's."
"Comedy programmes such as Doctor Livingstone, I
Presume? and The ABC Show turned you and wife and co-star,
June Dixon, into household names in South Africa. Do you think that
this grounding in comedy helped with the character of John Steed?
There is a particularly nice touch in one of the surviving episodes
where you develop quite a banter with the narrator (Hugh Rouse),
breaking the tradition of having the narrator as a storyteller simply
relaying the tale. We realise that during your time as John Steed, you
were playing in other shows too. Do you recall what these were?"
Alan and Alys Hayes
"Yes, I'm sure
that spending many years in comedy was a big help in keeping a light
touch in The Avengers. After all these years, it's hard to
remember the details of other shows I was doing at the same time but,
looking up an old magazine article from 1973, it seems I was directing
a drama series about two truck drivers called Wheels, playing
regularly in Medical File, Personal Column, Max
Headley - Special Agent and The White Oaks of Jalna,
hosting a musical panel game called Going For A Song and June
and I were writing and starring in a weekly satirical comedy show
called Stop The Tape - I Want To Get Off!"
For Donald Monat:
"I believe that you played Steed for over a year - what is the
happiest memory that you've got of your time playing in The
...and perhaps I can add?:
"Perhaps in addition to Andy's question, I could ask you to give
people on the Forum some idea of the success of The Avengers on
SA radio? I recall that you and Diane Appleby (Emma Peel) did
some personal appearances..."
For Donald Monat:
"Did you have much opportunity to revise the role of Steed?"
What I meant: "I was wondering if you had any
interest in ever redoing the series on the radio with new scripts?"
compiled by Alan Hayes
with thanks to Wayback Machine
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