Observations made by cast and production staff about making The Avengers on stage...

Simon Oates (John Steed)
Concerns about taking the role of John Steed...
"When they asked me to do it, I made a point of ringing Patrick Macnee, a great friend of mine. Were they trying to blackmail Pat into accepting the role, using me against him? I was concerned because, after all, it was his show. 'I just couldn't do it,' he said. 'It's too energetic for me, so do it with my blessing.' So I did it… and Pat was right, it was a pretty energetic show. But Patrick Macnee – what a hard act to follow…"

Interviewed by Alan and Alys Hayes for The Avengers Declassified, 1st November 2008

Sue Lloyd (Hannah Wild)
Creating the new Avengers heroine, Hannah Wild
"I see Hannah as a highly intelligent girl with a certain hardness. Practical, yet with a lot of warmth. She's fond of Steed, but otherwise there's no man in her life. On the action front, her accomplishments will include shootings, half nelsons and the occasional karate chop."

London Evening News, 2nd July 1971

Terence Feely (Co-Writer)
Why it came crashing down...

"It didn't work because the producer said he could do the effects, and Brian and I suspected he couldn't. We trusted the guy and it didn't work."

TV Zone, October 1993

Dave Rogers (Avengers Fan and Author)
Impressions of the Birmingham Theatre premiere, 20th July 1971...

"There were many unscripted funny moments. In one, Miss Lloyd hit her opponent over the head with a plastic bottle, and had to stand and watch while it slipped from her hands and bounced across the stage. And Kate O'Mara fell flat on her bottom when the rope ladder she was climbing collapsed. However, it was the first night (when things are expected to go wrong), and no-one seemed to mind, least of all Simon Oates himself, who finished the show with the line, 'Why not come back tomorrow night and see how the show really ends?' "

Writing in The Ultimate Avengers, 1995

Brian Clemens (Co-Writer)
How things might have worked out differently
"If it had been done like Phantom of the Opera, it would have run forever. It was too ambitious for the time. The critics liked the idea but not the execution. It should have played out of town for six months to get it right, iron out the difficulties with the props."

Interviewed by Dave Rogers for The Ultimate Avengers, 1995

Simon Oates (John Steed)
It could have been fantastic, but...

It needed time but they'd booked us in and allowed us just this tiddly running-in period in Birmingham – and I knew then we were on a duffer. I was disappointed, but I expected it really. The flow of the piece was being interrupted all the time by things going wrong. I think my performance was alright, but then I would think that! But we just kept getting hitches, hold ups, things going wrong. You could feel it coming…"

Interviewed by Alan and Alys Hayes for The Avengers Declassified, 1st November 2008

Sue Lloyd (Hannah Wild)
How to make friends and irritate people...

"One day, when I was appearing in the stage version of The Avengers, I found that I'd fallen behind my fellow Avengers as we lurched into Claridge's after a long, hilarious lunch. I hadn't the faintest idea where they were going, so I was relieved to see a small party way ahead, just trouping into the room at the end of the corridor. I sprinted after them and reached the door just as it was closing. I darted inside, peeled off my long, terminally-moulting afghan coat and thrust it at the short, heavy-set man standing by the door. It suddenly struck me that the room had gone quiet. Silent, in fact. Then it clicked. Not only had I gatecrashed his party – but I had mistaken Aristotle Onassis for the butler!"

It Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time: The Autobiography of Sue Lloyd, 1998

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Interview: Simon Oates
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