Steed sees a specialist. Emma fights the big freeze.

7 x 15-minute episodes
based on the television episode
You'll Catch Your Death (1968),
written by Jeremy Burnham

Principal Cast:
Donald Monat as John Steed
Diane Appleby as Emma Peel
Anthony Fridjhon as Mother
Hugh Rouse as The Narrator

Production:
Adapted and directed by Dennis Folbigge
Produced by David Gooden

Transmission on Springbok Radio (7.15-7.30pm):
Episode 1 - Tuesday 11th July 1972
Episode 2 - Wednesday 12th July 1972
Episode 3 - Thursday 13th July 1972
Episode 4 - Friday 14th July 1972
Episode 5 - Monday 17th July 1972
Episode 6 - Tuesday 18th July 1972
Episode 7 - Wednesday 19th July 1972
This is a best guess based on available data

You'll Catch Your Death!
That sniffle could be fatal...

PLOTLINE

Outside the consulting rooms of H.R. Camrose F.R.C.S. – an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist in Harley Street, London – a Rolls Royce pulls up. Inside is the rather innocuous figure of a postman, who gets out and delivers a cream coloured envelope through Camrose's letterbox, then leaves in the Rolls Royce. Camrose's receptionist – Janice – adds the envelope to the waiting pile of post for the specialist, who is busy is examining the throat of an opera tenor named Jules Farage. When Farage leaves, Camrose (Ralph to his friends) goes through his post, finds and opens the cream envelope – only to discover that is it empty. However, as he peers into it he is suddenly gripped by a violent sneezing fit and collapses. Hearing the attack, Janice rushes in – to find him dead! Steed and Mrs Peel are summoned to Mother's top security rooms, where Steed is given a newspaper cutting. It has a report of the deaths of three top American E.N.T. specialists, and the headline report is about the death of Camrose in London. They must find out why this sudden spate of deaths is happening.

Steed visits Camrose's consulting rooms where he finds the empty envelope. Janice says it must have been a special delivery as it didn't arrive with the rest of the usual morning post, so Steed keeps it for later examination. Meanwhile, Emma goes to visit an old friend of Steed's – another E.N.T. specialist called Padley, who is in practice with two other consultants – Seaton and Herrick. Whilst waiting in reception she doesn't notice the Rolls Royce come and go outside. A cream envelope is delivered, addressed to Padley, and he decides to open it before his appointment with Mrs Peel. Emma and Padley's receptionist, Georgina, hear the sounds of violent sneezing and rush into Padley's office – to discover him dead, still gripping the envelope.

Steed and Mrs Peel meet for lunch to discuss events so far. They compare the envelopes found with the dead men, and realise that they are identical in manufacture, have unfranked stamps attached, but the addresses have been typed on different typewriters. Steed guesses that the envelopes are made by a high-class company called Maidwell and Pugh, and pops round to the warehouse to talk to one of the directors, Mr Maidwell. Maidwell confirms that his company makes the envelopes – the Cream Wove Bond range that he finds to be rather below Maidwell and Pugh's other products. However, the range sells extremely well – in fact one customer recently bought 10,000 envelopes, but did not buy paper to match! Checking his invoices, Maidwell informs Steed that the customer in question was the Anastasia Nursing Academy. Whilst Steed is at the warehouse, Emma returns to the offices of Padley, Seaton and Herrick. She goes in to see Seaton immediately, and asks what he has made of Padley's death. Seaton is puzzled – Padley was apparently killed by acute asphyxiation, but as far as Seaton knows, Padley had not been ill recently. Just as they are discussing this Seaton gets a telephone call to pick up some x-rays. He leaves the office, gets the items, but as he returns he notices a cream envelope inside the front door addressed to him. Curious, he picks up the envelope and opens it – then collapses in a fatal sneezing fit. Emma, thinking quickly, opens the front door in time to see the Rolls Royce driving off. She jumps in her car and follows it into the country, but loses the other car at a five-way crossroads. Out of luck she turns round and heads back to London, not knowing that in the concealed Rolls Royce the two occupants – Preece (the postman) and Dexter (the driver) – have noted her car make and number plate.

Steed visits the Anastasia Nursing Academy and presents himself to Matron Alice. Posing as a member of the Steed Foundation (a fictitious philanthropic organisation) he asks her about the Academy, with a view to making an endowment. Matron Alice explains that the academy is a top class centre for training nurses of the highest calibre, but no, they don't generate any more paper work than any other similar organisation (no need for 10,000 envelopes there then). Back at Steed's flat, Mrs Peel has just arrived – unaware that she has been followed by the Rolls Royce. She goes inside to await the arrival of Dr Fawcett from the Institute of Allergic Diseases, who she has arranged to meet there. The doorbell rings and she answers it, to be confronted by Dexter, posing at a market researcher for a new scent called 'Oblivion'. Emma is cautious and tries to fight off Dexter, but Preece appears and the two men overpower her and knock her out with the 'scent', which is really chloroform. Some time later, Steed returns to his flat and finds the door ajar. He goes in to find Dr Fawcett, who is in a foul mood, having waited over four hours for Mrs Peel to turn up. Steed spots the abandoned scent spray on the carpet and realises that Mrs Peel has been captured. That evening, after consulting Mother, Steed revisits the Anastasia Nursing Academy, quietly breaking in. He finds Matron's office and goes in, then hears the sound of typing. Opening another door, he finds a room full of girls typing hundreds of envelopes.

Steed returns, unnoticed, to Matron's office and proceeds to search it, wearing special gloves. He finds several telephone directories and correspondence, including a letter to Matron from a retired Colonel Maurice Timothy of Walsingham House. In the letter Colonel Timothy encourages Matron to keep up the good work – victory is just ahead! Meanwhile, in a cell in an unknown location Emma is just coming round from her ordeal. A door opens and Preece enters, and Mrs Peel tries to use this opportunity to escape, but Dexter is outside and coshes her, wrapping her in a straight-jacket. Steed has returned to Mother and mentions the letter from Colonel Timothy – could he be involved? Mother is certain that Timothy is not linked to the attacks – he is a reknowned philanthropist, but Steed is not so sure. So he visits Timothy at his home, and is stopped by the butler on entering Walsingham House. The butler explains that Colonel Timothy has contracted a type of permanent cold from his last posting in Malaya and is particularly susceptable to infection. Therefore all visitors are required to have an antibiotic injection before meeting the Colonel. The butler administers the antibiotic, and Steed is finally able to meet Colonel Timothy. Once again Steed pretends to be from the Steed Foundation, and asks for advice as to what nursing organisation he should endow – claiming that he has just set up some hospitals in Mozambique. The Colonel recommends the A.N.A., although he professes to disliking the place himself. In fact he has gone to the lengths of setting up his own clinic in his home, in order to find a cure for his condition and offers Steed a guided tour. On the tour, Steed meets Dr Glover, who heads the research, but also notices a nurse sporting an A.N.A. badge on the premises.

Emma, in her cell, once again comes to, but being bound and gagged, falls out of bed. She lands on a sack which bursts, letting out a stream of cream envelopes. Meanwhile, on the guided tour, Glover shows Steed the Deep Freeze room where volunteers stay for some hours in order to catch cold. They are then used in the experiments to isolate the cold virus, and thus find a cure. Steed is also shown the Allergy Laboratory, where the experiments take place. Whilst this is happening, Preece and Dexter are on their way back to London – this time their intended victim is Herrick. Steed finishes the tour and speaks to Colonel Timothy again. He comments that Timothy is running out of allies what with the deaths of the E.N.T. specialists. Timothy claims he contacted them some time ago but never heard back from any of them, hence his own research programme. As Steed leaves he sees a note about Herrick in a clinic diary, and realises that Herrick is the next victim. Steed finds a call box on the London road and tries to call Herrick, but the consultant is not answering his telephone – he has just finished work for the day and ignores the ringing. This time Dexter and Preece have left the cream envelope in Herrick's car, and are parked nearby to watch. Herrick gets in his car (an automatic) and starts it, then notices the envelope. He opens it and quickly succumbs to a sneezing fit. The car shoots forward and hits a tree flinging Herrick's body out. Steed arrives too late to prevent all this, and can only take the envelope as evidence. Back in the Allergy lab of Walsingham House, Matron Alice is filling several envelopes very carefully with the virus – one of them is addressed to John Steed! Steed reports back to Mother – still no sign of Emma, and the clues still appear to lead to Colonel Timothy.

Back in Emma's cell, Matron arrives to question her but is bitten by Mrs Peel for her troubles. So Matron takes her to the Deep Freeze room and leaves her there to consider her plight. Steed goes back to his flat, having invited Dr Fawcett to return. He spots the envelope lying on the floor inside but wisely does not open it. Fawcett arrives and is greeted by a gas-masked face! Steed has put one on and gives Fawcett another mask. The envelope is then opened and shaken on to one of the pot plants, which wilts quickly. Back at the Deep Freeze room Emma is trying vainly to keep herself warm. In Steed's flat the two men wait a while, then remove their masks. Fawcett is able to examine the remaining contents of the envelope under a microscope, and guesses that the substance is concentrated cold virus powder. He also knows the link between the dead E.N.T. specialists – they were all working on a project to find antidotes to virus allergies. He himself is only concerned with viral analysis – probably the reason why he hasn't received an envelope. In the Deep Freeze room a decidedly chilly Emma spots a cabinet containing potassium chlorate tablets and a bottle of ether. She has also seen a grating leading to an air shaft, and uses the tablets and ether in an explosive mix to dislodge the grating. Climbing into the shaft she is able to crawl some way, before succumbing to a sneeze – which causes her to fall down a duct and land in the Matron's office, at the feet of the Matron and Preece! They whisk her off swiftly to the Allergy Laboratory. Steed, meanwhile, has returned to Walsingham House to question the Colonel, but realises that Timothy is innocent when a cream envelope is found in the retired soldier's post.

Steed and Colonel Timothy join forces and go looking for Emma, guessing that she is somewhere in the Colonel's clinic. Mrs Peel is now suspended on a rope from the Allergy Laboratory ceiling, keeping her feet just off the ground. One arm is strapped to her side, and Dr Glover (the 'Chief' as Matron calls him) is about to test her for allergies. In the corridor outside, Steed and Timothy come upon a sentry – Dexter. Colonel Timothy unfortunately sneezes, but the pair still manage to knock Dexter unconscious with a combination of soldier's tin hat and steel-lined bowler. Preece appears and they deal with him in the same manner. Inside the laboratory, Glover has established that Mrs Peel is allergic to ragweed. He wants to use her to try out one of his serums, which will kill her, and gloating, explains that he has discovered an allergy to which no-one is as yet resistant to. He intends to market it in powder and liquid form as a weapon to anyone who will pay the highest price, but is concerned that other E.N.T. specialists will discover an antidote, hence his campaign to kill them off. Steed and the Colonel storm in at this moment, but Glover threatens them with the liquid and escapes. The Colonel knocks out Matron and Mrs Peel is released, whilst Steed goes after Glover. The scientist is making use of the external iron fire-escape ladder to flee the building so Steed emerges a floor about him, with a cream envelope. He shouts to Glover, who looks upward just ast Steed empties the contents on him. Glover sneezes violently, and falls off the fire escape to his death. Later, in Steed's flat, Emma is suffering from a bad cold – her feet in a warm footbath. Steed thinks he's escaped infection, after all it would compromise his reputation if they both suffered a cold at the same time – people would talk! But then he sneezes and realises he hasn't been lucky, asking Mrs Peel to let him share some space in her footbath!

GUEST REVIEW

As we open, we hear that the Harley Street doctor, Camrose, has a voice that is quite similar to that of Donald Monat's John Steed. This might have posed a problem, but his character wasn't around for very long! Steed and Mrs Peel enjoyably take an early trip in something sporty to visit their boss, Mother. When they later go on their separate investigations, Mrs Peel visits the colleague of Seaton, a second man who has died in mysterious circumstances. I felt that the things that the man said about Seaton, who had also been a friend, shouldn't have been said quite so irritatedly; surely he would be a little upset? He turns out to be the next victim, so there's unfortunately no further opportunity to study the actor's interpretation of the part. Mrs Peel's spotting of the strange special delivery postman is done well here as the prelude to an episode end cliff-hanger. Meanwhile, the matron that Steed talks to on his investigation is more mature than the one chosen in the TV realisation. It seems better casting initially, but she is impatient and aloof with him. None of the new characters have been very entertaining this far so that perhaps explains the choice of the more attractive character for TV. There's great opportunity with the serial's title for some humour in the regular announcement about Steed and Mrs Peel at the start. There's a good one about Steed who "finds some clues that are… not to be sneezed at". The story adapter surely enjoyed that bit of the work.

Steed gets one up on Mother regarding the name Timothy. It's nearly bed time so he's maybe sluggish from a nightcap. Steed goes on his way to visit a colonel and at one point lifts up the lid of a crate with his umbrella; good to hear it mentioned! The colonel, whose butler is (as often is the case in such partnership stories) cleverer than his 'gentleman', is quickly recognised as harmless. In turn, we realise that his sneezing, just for a change, isn't lethal and he's probably incapable of being behind it all. This gives a kind of rest from the main plot and the scene is enjoyably performed at a leisurely pace by the actor. This is interrupted by the narrator with a well-timed spooky reminder that "out in the night…" exciting things are still going on. Mother, meanwhile, is using nothing but sarcastic remarks to Steed in his eccentric management style. He sounds fuelled by something again; what a job! This story takes place pretty much indoors and with many night scenes such as when Steed then goes to do some thinking in his apartment. The serial's atmosphere is similar to that in a Sherlock Holmes case.

I bet you will also be pleased to hear that Mrs Peel's body is lissom - ahem - or she wouldn't have got through those bars. When Steed becomes involved again there's a nice opportunity to mention his bowler hat. Together with the earlier mention of his umbrella, both his distinguishing accessories have now appeared; a plus point. Glover's demise makes an explanation of the tidying-up of the case unnecessary. One of Mother's agents in Escape in Time lived to regret the dangers of the job. Predictably in hindsight, Mother's top agents here only catch a cold.

Ron Geddes

DIFFERENCES COMPARED TO THE TELEVISION EPISODE

Name Changes: Camrose's last patient, Jules Farage, is not given a name in the TV episode. The televised programme also seems to be confused as to whether to call the E.N.T. consultants 'Dr' or 'Mr'.

Character Changes: This is one of a number of episodes adapted for the Sonovision Avengers which replaces the television character of Tara King with that of Emma Peel.

It is intimated in the radio serial that Matron is a large woman – the actress playing the character in the TV version is slim.

Storyline Changes: Mother's lair in the TV version is an empty studio lot with ladders and coloured telephones scattered around. He also refers to 'Grandma' – his superior.

The television episode features more scenes at Steed's mews flat (probably for time and budgetary reasons). Steed and Tara meet at the flat to discuss developments, rather than at a restaurant. Maidwell comes to Steed's flat with examples of his envelopes – we never see the company warehouse.

In the TV version, Steed hears the sound of typing whilst speaking to Matron for the first time. He does return later that night to search her office but only finds the directories and Timothy's letter – we do not see the room full of typists.

The radio version makes no mention of a large model nose on the wall in Timothy's clinic. This is important in the TV episode as it has ladders inside the nostrils, leading from the air shafts, and it is down one of these that Tara falls when she sneezes, and also whilst climbing down one of the ladders that Glover is showered with cold virus powder by Steed.

The TV version of the cells are also individual deep freeze rooms, so Tara is not moved to another room when Matron tries to cool her down. Tara is also consciously looks into the sacks of envelopes, rather than falling on them.

The TV Steed comments that the Colonel's clinic is "Not to be sneezed at!" at one point, but unlike his radio counterpart, does not claim to speak Swahili.

The offices of Padley, Seaton and Herrick do not appear to be near a park in the TV version, and Herrick's car crashes into a wall rather than a tree.

In the television Allergy Laboratory Preece, Matron and Dexter all assist in filling the envelopes. Tara is later tied up there by both arms from a metal beam.

PRODUCTION NOTES

Colin Fish, the actor who regularly played Mother was not available for the recording of this serial, and was replaced by Anthony Frijhon.

This serial is known to have been the next one broadcast after Dial a Deadly Number.

Alys Hayes

Back to Top