Steed has two left feet. Emma dances with danger.

6 x 15-minute episodes
based on the television episode
The Quick-Quick-Slow Death (1966),
written by Robert Banks Stewart

Principal Cast:
Donald Monat as John Steed
Diane Appleby as Emma Peel
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 - Friday 19th May 1972
Episode 2 - Monday 22nd May 1972
Episode 3 - Tuesday 23rd May 1972
Episode 4 - Wednesday 24th May 1972
Episode 5 - Thursday 25th May 1972
Episode 6 - Friday 26th May 1972
This is a best guess based on available data

If I Could Waltz That Way...
Steed hones his terpsichorean techniques.

PLOTLINE

Willi Fehr, a one-time top agent and colleague of Steed's, is knocked unconscious in a road accident whilst in charge of a pram a pram which contains the body of a dead man in full evening dress. Fehr seems unwilling or unable to say what has happened, so the only lead is a tattoo on the dead man's arm. Mrs Peel discovers that the tattoo identifies the body as one Arthur Peever, and this is confirmed when Steed checks on the hired suit the dead man was wearing. It becomes clear that the two agents are on the right track when both the assistant at the suit hire shop, and the tattooist are both murdered. However, the tattoo artist leaves a clue to his killer the assassin has a rose tattoo on his wrist.

Another clue turns out to be the corpse's shoes pumps supplied for students at a dancing school, Terpsichorean Training Techniques (which also explains the evening suit). Mrs Peel joins the school as an instructress, where she discovers that one of the pupils is 'Arthur Peever', who seems alive and well although he does not resemble the corpse Fehr was ferrying at all. The dance school is run by Lucille Banks with a chief instructor by the name of Ivor Bracewell, and the drunken school band leader Chester Read. Steed also helps out with the investigation by enrolling as a student at the school. He notices how Miss Banks becomes interested at his interview, when he mentions that he has been out of the country for some time, and has no close friends or relatives.

Knowing that 'Peever' is an imposter, Mrs Peel goes to see Bernard, a craftsman at the shoe shop in the hope that he might have information about the dance students Bernard has been supplying cut-price dancing shoes to the TTT pupils. However, Bernard has been suffocated by being knocked unconscious and having his face pressed into a bowl of drying plaster. So Mrs Peel returns to the school to snoop on Lucille and company. She sees Lucille dancing with a dummy, which is then swapped for a man when Lucille passes out of sight in the ballroom. Emma reports what she's seen to Steed, when they meet at the dance Gala. They realise that this is the method by which people disappear and are replaced with incoming foreign agents who take on the missing person's identity. They know that the next victim will be wearing number 9 on his back at the Gala, and when Steed is given the number 6, they think he is not the victim. But Lucille cunningly upturns his number to read '9' and Mrs Peel realises Steed is in danger. Steed and Lucille dance away, Mrs Peel and her partner follow. She manages to warn Steed and together they overpower their partners Lucille and Bracewell. Peever also attacks but is knocked out. However, Chester Read comes after them with a gun and reveals himself as the ringleader of the operation but he too is despatched. Steed and Mrs Peel dance on into the night.

GUEST REVIEW

Despite the scene being set in everyday England, it's not long before we are introduced to something out of the ordinary - the early morning pram-walker. The stars of the show get the intonations just right whereas the interrogator doesn't sound quite believable. The scene at the tattooist leads the listener to think all about tattooing for a while, at the expense of concentrating on the plot, until they are brought back abruptly by some impending skulduggery. The serial continues uncharacteristically without a noticeable recap which is a little confusing when returning to the story. The man in the shoe shop, coming across as older than the one on TV, is good role-playing as he is supposed to be expert and age brings experience. There is no recap again as Mrs Peel moves between episodes from the shoe shop to the dancing school. Maybe the length of the plot didn't allow for the luxury of recaps this time, but their inclusion would have made things clearer. Initially, there was not that much difference between the voices of Lucille Banks and Mrs Peel to me, but gradually it became easier to distinguish them from one another. The introduction of another character, Mr. Peever, by Miss Banks brings all the loose plot strands together and we get an inkling that we are dealing with identity fraud. Some of the other characters that are introduced along the way come over convincingly, such as Peever's bank manager; a good part. I enjoyed the narration at both the dance studio and then returning to the tattooist's. Donald Monat portrays a very laid back "Jonathan Steed" whilst attempting to fit into the dancing school without making himself any more noticeable than any of the other new pupils. Patrick Macnee is more amusing in the TV version but I think this is an excellent 'undercover detective' approach here.

Mrs Peel is not left behind for coolness in getting rid of the tattooed gift from Steed without taking his advice ("Eat it!"). As they are whispering, she comes across as every bit his equal, I feel. The slightly lower level with a certain intonation makes them also appear to be right beside you. Nikki seems a more noticeable character in this radio version, appearing quite a few times (as on TV), and she comes over in a particularly naturalistic fashion, I thought. I didn't get the "You're too good for the chorus" quip about Steed by the narrator but no doubt there's an explanation!

The music builds up in the final episode. Those speaking with a tiny echo in their voice sound like they are at the back of the ballroom; it's a nice vocal effect to employ. This is better than just hearing the person in the distance more quietly which could be confused with someone whispering I suppose. It also allowed Steed and Mrs Peel to whisper earlier creating the 'near' sound. They seem great methods. This one goes along quite well and what comes across most is how capable this Mrs Peel can be.

Ron Geddes

DIFFERENCES COMPARED TO THE TELEVISION EPISODE

Name Changes: None.

Character Changes: Daisy and Elsie, two charladies are added.

Storyline Changes: The scene with Willi Fehr and the pram is said, in the radio version, to take place in the early morning in Shoreham, a town south of London. No attempt is made in the television episode to locate the action.

Two charladies, Daisy and Elsie, appear at the beginning of the first radio episode. They act as a narrative device, commenting on how strange it is to see a man, Willi Fehr, pushing a pram along the street, and they react to his subsequent accident. In both versions, the sight of a man pushing a pram is treated as being unusual several decades later, marital roles have changed to such an extent that this is, today, nothing unusual at all!

When Steed is interviewed by Lucille prior to joining the school, he mentions that he did once have a girlfriend but that she was run over by a bus in London. In the TV episode he claims that the unfortunate woman was eaten by crocodiles whilst on an Amazonian trek.

An omission from the radio programme (probably due to it being a visual joke) is that no comment is made about Chester Read's band the TV version shows the 'band' to be a group of life size cut-outs of Chester playing various musical instruments, together with an open-reel tape recorder actually providing the music.

Lastly, the TV episode shows Chester threatening Mrs Peel with a blade concealed in his conductor's baton the radio show changes this to a gun.

PRODUCTION NOTES

Episode Six of this story is one of the few Sonovision Avengers episodes that does not use Laurie Johnson's Symphony (Synthesis) to play out to the final commercial break. Instead, there is a musical fanfare and a crowd cheering.

Alys Hayes

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