Steed meets the ancestors. Emma is lost in time.
5 or more x 15-minute episodes
based on the television episode
Escape in Time (1967),
written by Philip Levene
Donald Monat as John Steed
Diane Appleby as Emma Peel
Colin Fish as Mother
Hugh Rouse as The Narrator
Adapted and directed by Dennis Folbigge
Produced by David Gooden
Transmission on Springbok Radio (7.15-7.30pm):
Date and transmission nights unknown.
This episode I will mostly be
going back in time.
STORYLINE (EPISODES ONE,
TWO AND THREE ONLY)
Mother, who is staying in the
Tower of London for security reasons, calls in a young agent named
Clive Paxton. He gives Paxton an assignment – to investigate the
mysterious disappearances of various nefarious characters. The
only links between them are that they all came to England carrying
large sums of money before vanishing completely. Mother gives
Paxton the only lead he has – the name Waldo Thyssen.
Paxton finds the Thyssen home,
and getting inside, discovers a strange corridor through which he
appears to travel in time! Emerging from the corridor he finds
himself in the Elizabethan age, and meets a man from that time –
who promptly shoots him! Paxton's body is later found in the
Thames, and Mother calls Steed and Mrs. Peel in for a briefing.
They are given the same information as Paxton, as well as the fact
that Paxton was shot with an Elizabethan pistol, and repair to
Steed's flat to mull over the clues.
Meanwhile, another agent –
Tubby Vincent – has already retraced Paxton's route to the Thyssen
home. He, too, travels down the time corridor and arrives in the
Jacobean period – only to be stabbed by a man with a knife.
However, Vincent survives long enough to make his way to Steed's
flat. "It's all in the past – no time!" he mutters before dying.
Steed and Emma examine Tubby
Vincent's body and find a note linking one of the missing
criminals – a Colonel Josino – with a place called Mackiedockie
Court. They drive there the next day and wait. When Josino's car
turns up, the pair follow it. But soon they realise that a blue
car is following them (somewhat obviously), so they split up –
Mrs. Peel follows the blue car, and Steed follows the Colonel to a
barber's shop, where unfortunately he loses his quarry.
Vesta and Mitchell, now well
aware that Mrs. Peel is on to the fact that she is being followed,
decide to force her out into the remote countryside, where she can
be forced from the road. Mitchell puts his foot on the accelerator
and makes life for Mrs. Peel very difficult. Eventually, Emma
realises that she is fighting a losing battle and deliberately
sends her car skidding off the road, jumping from the vehicle
before it crashes into a tree. She escapes the crash unharmed, but
Vesta and Mitchell mistakenly think she's dead. She's definitely
not dead and her injuries are more to her dignity than to her
person. She is however, furious with the pair who forced her off
the road and swears to get her own back on them. She'll even make
them pay her parking fines!
Meanwhile Steed enters the
barber's shop, and is curiously invited to "get away from it all"
by the barber. When Steed shows some interest in this proposition,
the barber instructs him to go to the nearby Eastern Gallery.
There, Steed is interviewed by a Asian woman, Anjali, who offers
the chance of escape to a new life. All he needs is his passport,
and half his worldly possessions as payment. Steed agrees, and is
then taken blindfold by Manners on a car journey to meet Waldo
Thyssen at his secret lair. Thyssen meets Steed and reveals that
the service he provides is not only exclusive, it is also unique.
With his assistance, the wanted men of the world can escape their
pursuers forever by being sent back to any time period they wish!
Steed and Thyssen discuss terms, but Steed is unconvinced that
Thyssen's service is for real. To assure his new client, Thyssen
suggests a practical demonstration...
Thyssen steps up the sales
pitch, and tells Steed of the notorious criminals and embezzlers
who have taken advantage of his services – Bleschner, Jubaire, Bei
Bei Jhin, Colonel Josino. Steed comments that Josino was at large
until only recently and asks how long it will be before he
returns. Thyssen explains that Josino chose to live in the Britain
of the past, in 1904 in fact, and that it is strictly a one way
arrangement once the transaction is completed. Steed accepts
Thyssen's offer of a demonstration, and he is lead to a door and
the disconcerting time tunnel beyond it. Thyssen operates the
machinery and Steed ends up in 1790, still in Thyssen's house, but
in the time of Samuel Thyssen, a philanderer. From a window, Steed
sees a horse and carriage pull up to the house. All looks
convincing... Before Steed can investigate further, he finds
himself back in the time tunnel, and before he knows it, he is
back in the present day. Waldo Thyssen is waiting for him when he
re-emerges from the tunnel. Thyssen gathers that Steed is
impressed and instructs him to clear up his affairs – and most
importantly, ensure that he obtains the diamonds that Steed has
promised him in payment. Thyssen will contact him in two days
time, whereupon Steed will be sent back to the time of his choice.
Meanwhile, Emma Peel has begun
to get somewhat impatient. Not having heard from Steed, she has
decided to try the escape route for herself. She faces a problem,
however. What possible reason can she have for going to the
barber's? Eventually, she decides to resort to subterfuge...
pretending to be interested in buying after shave lotion as a
present for Steed. She gradually worms her way into the barber's
confidence and is sent off on the escape route... ending up at
Anjali's, where she is interrogated. Anjali was not expecting a
woman: Head Office would have said. Mrs Peel bluffs her way
through, saying that Head Office know all about her and that she
had been told to expect a more efficient service than she was
receiving. Reluctantly, Anjali relents and asks Mrs Peel to wait
while she makes arrangements for her transportation.
Thyssen's servant, Manners, has
driven the blindfolded Steed back to London. When the driver has
departed, Steed heads for Emma's apartment, but finds it empty.
Where is Mrs Peel? Mother, tucking into raven pie at the Tower of
London, can tell Steed nothing of his partner's movements and
together, they realise that she has no doubt attempted to follow
the escape route. Mother warns that if the people who shunted
Emma's car from the road catch sight of her, then she is in dead
In the grounds of Thyssen's
mansion house, the gravel is churned up as Manners pulls his car
to a stop. He turns to the blindfolded Mrs Peel in the back and
tells her to get out. She has arrived at her destination.
THE REMAINING EPISODES OF
are currently not thought to
exist. If you've got them, know someone who has them, or simply
know what happened in them, drop us a line via email.
Mother, who is trying to figure
out the escape route of some wanted criminals, is ensconced in the
Tower of London. There's a growing suspicion that he's working,
eating and sleeping there. The atmosphere makes him complain,
"'Tis a dreary day, forsooth," which soon leads him and those he
influences to some Shakespeare. Telling the first agent Clive
Paxton that all clues point to a Mr Thyssen, he sends him off as
Lady Macbeth does the lords: "Stay not upon your going but get
cracking, now". Paxton is soon being cruelly told, "Good night
sweet prince, the rest is silence".
When Mother telephones them,
Mrs Peel tells Steed, "Methinks the bell doth toll", very like the
bell that summoned Duncan to heaven or to hell. He greets them
like some soldiers in Henry VIII and Hamlet, "Good
morrow and well met. You come most timely upon the hour". On
hearing the assignment, Steed is feeling like Hamlet having seen
the ghost and mutters, "Oh cursed spite that Steed was ever born
to put it right". Learning that all the criminals come to England
to escape, Mrs Peel has a quaint and amusing reply: "Odds Bodkins,
it is mighty curious".
Meanwhile a second agent on the
case, Tubby Vincent, is stabbed. "Dead. Dead for a ducat," says
the assailant but unlike the hiding Polonius, he manages to escape
to Steed's flat and so help the case. Maybe some other line would
have been more appropriate.
As we move into Episode Two,
the exchange between a couple following Mrs Peel, "What do we do
to get rid of her? Why get rid of her", sounds just as earnest as
Richard III's "Chop off his head" pronouncement about Hastings.
Mrs Peel escapes and she and Steed find Mother, like Hamlet
searching for the ghost, very cold and remarking, "The air does
indeed bite shrewdly". Steed appropriately tells Mrs. Peel it's
time for action with Henry's "Once more unto the breach, dear
friends," as Mother, trying to keep the casualties down, reminds
them, "Exactly, but do be careful not to close up anything with
our English dead," or it will be, "Sweets to the sweet, farewell",
as said to poor Ophelia. Following the escape route, Steed says he
is prepared to give "half my worldly possessions"; quite
reasonable really, compared to what Shylock thought might happen
In Episode Three, Steed meets
Thyssen, convinces him that he too wants to escape, and for a
trial has a hankering for the Eighteenth century which is the same
one Patrick Macnee often says he fancies! Returning, but unable to
find Mrs Peel who is following the escape route behind him, he
goes to the Tower where Mother, as was to be expected sometime,
reminds him, "One mustn't loose one's head". It was an appropriate
point, as Steed - like Hastings - had been talking a lot. He
suggests that Steed's "lean and hungry look" - a look that Caesar
saw in the sensitive Cassius - might be improved with some Raven
pie. His earlier fears that the absent Mrs Peel might be in danger
lack a sense of urgency at this point.
The three existing episodes are
great to listen to. As for how it continues - the rest is
As I finish this review, my
last for the radio series, I'd
like to say how grateful I am to those who made the show, to Jon
Wright and Barbara Peterson for recording them and to Alan and
Alys in restoring them. It's no wonder that The Avengers is
often among the favourites of those who enjoy radio theatre.
TO THE TELEVISION EPISODE
Name Changes: Thyssen is
referred to as 'Tayssen' during Episode One, which then reverts to
'Thyssen' in Episodes Two and Three.
Mother appears in this version, although he was not in the TV
episode. Some of Mother's lines here were, on television, given to
the character of Clapham, a Ministry official, played by Geoffrey
Storyline Changes: The
TV version has the tailing of suspects, such as Colonel Josino, in
Mackiedockie Court taking place entirely on foot, and doubles are
used to put the agents off the scent of those they are following.
Indeed, in the television show, Emma attempts to follow Steed as
he negotiates the route to Thyssen, but is deflected by a double
of Steed and loses track of her partner. The radio version has her
involved in the car chase with Vesta and Mitchell at this point.
Emma is not forced off the road
in the TV version, but follows Vesta's car, which she then finds
abandoned. Walking into a nearby field, she is attacked by a man
riding a motorcycle but eventually escapes when the man crashes
The radio series makes mention
of Thyssen's clients requiring a passport (reasonable enough!),
but in the TV programme the 'passport' is actually a series of
stuffed toys, which are exchanged as part of the procedure leading
When Mrs Peel follows the
escape route, in the radio version, she goes to the barber's
asking for after shave lotion for Steed. In the television
version, she simply goes for a shave! Understandably, the barber
is perplexed – until Emma waves her stuffed toy...
Peter Bowles, in the television
version affects a speech impediment while playing Waldo Thyssen,
intended to differentiate him from the other incarnations of the
Thyssen family that he portrays. This does not recurr in the radio
The radio episodes describe
Thyssen's time travel machine as being a giant computer. The
television version is altogether more bizarre – to send people
back to the past, he operates a one-armed bandit machine, the
spinning wheels stopping on the year requested!
Sonovision produced two
versions of Escape In Time. The first adaptation was
transmitted as the series opener in December 1971, while this
version was produced later in the series, rewritten by Dennis
Folbigge. The original version was adapted and directed by Tony
Jay and did not feature the character of Mother.
As only Episodes 1-3 of this
serial exist, information here is based mainly on these
recordings. The serial is thought to have comprised five, six or seven
episodes (the original version being in five parts).
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