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 exceedingly under-designed!

Welcome Messages

"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. Kindest regards."

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 Steed."

David Tulley

"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!"

Andrew Pixley

"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 entertaining scripts!"

Gareth Humphreys

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."

Andrew Shepherd

Following on: "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?"

Jane Clarke

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 programmes?"

Alan Hayes

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?"

Martin Holder

"I certainly 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."

Donald Monat

"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!"

Donald Monat

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 Avengers?"

Andrew Shepherd

...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..."

Alan Hayes

For Donald Monat: "Did you have much opportunity to revise the role of Steed?"

Mike Cunningham

What I meant: "I was wondering if you had any interest in ever redoing the series on the radio with new scripts?"

Mike Cunningham

Transcribed and compiled by Alan Hayes
with thanks to Wayback Machine

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