Production Number: Unknown

PLOTLINE

At an airfield, master-spy Ivan Perov is returning Vasil, a Russian defector, to his homeland when he falls foul of an extravagant sting by the avengers. Aided by a troupe of screaming female groupies who mob 'pop star' Gambit in the airport lounge, Steed and Roland smuggle Vasil out and into hiding.

Disgraced, Perov takes his life rather than face demotion and, more tellingly, "the laughter". After his funeral, he awakens – he had administered a drug to suspend his life signs. Revitalised, he activates The House of Cards – a long-planned 'sleeper' operation. Upon receipt of half a playing card, his sleeper agents are compelled to kill designated targets – Steed, Purdey, Gambit and Roland – all of whom were involved in the Vasil incident.

Each is attacked by someone close to them, but each threat is neutralised. Gambit endures a vicious karate bout and escapes bloodied but alive. Purdey receives an unwelcome visitor in her apartment, but Gambit comes to the rescue. Roland has a gun pulled on him, but is saved by a high-kicking bishop. A poisoning attempt on Steed is thwarted by Purdey. Steed realises that the next target must be Vasil, and rushes to his hideout. This is exactly what Perov has been waiting for – to be lead to his real quarry. He follows in a helicopter, determined to steal a famous victory from the jaws of ignoble defeat. Can the new avengers possibly stop him?

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The New Avengers: Series 1, Episode 3
Production Completed:
May 1976
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

Anglia: Tue 26 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
ATV Midlands: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Border: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Channel: Currently unconfirmed
Grampian: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Granada: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
HTV: Sun 21 Nov 1976, 7.50pm
Scottish: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Southern: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Thames: Tue 26 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Ulster: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Westward: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
Yorkshire: Fri 29 Oct 1976, 8.00pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
AUSTRALIA: Wed 23 Feb 1977
CANADA:
Thu 3 Mar 1977
FRANCE:
Thu 30 Dec 1976
GREECE: Fri 29 Apr 1977
IRELAND: Tue 12 Oct 1976
ITALY: Fri 26 May 1978
MALAYSIA: Thu 17 Nov 1977
MALTA: Mon 7 Feb 1977
NETHERLANDS: Thu 7 Oct 1976
SWITZERLAND: Tue 9 Nov 1976
TURKEY: Sun 4 Oct 1981
UNITED KINGDOM: Tue 26 Oct 1976
USA: Fri 20 Oct 1978
WEST GERMANY: Thu 1 Jun 1978
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed
Mike Gambit
Purdey
Ivan Perov
Roland
Cartney
The Bishop
Spence
Joanna
Suzy Miller
Olga
David Miller
Professor Vasil
Boris
Dr Tulliver
Frederick
Kristos
Patrick Macnee
Gareth Hunt
Joanna Lumley
Peter Jeffrey
Frank Thornton
Lyndon Brook
Derek Francis
Mark Burns
Geraldine Moffatt
Annette Andrι
Ina Skriver
Murray Brown
Gordon Sterne
Dan Meaden
Jeremy Wilkin
Anthony Bailey
Terence Plummer
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

The complete incidental score for this episode has been issued on The Music of Laurie Johnson: The New Avengers, Edsel Records, 2009.

DVD EXTRAS

No episode-specific DVD extras available.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer – Brian Clemens
Series Theme & Music –
Laurie Johnson
Production Designer –
Syd Cain
Lighting Cameraman –
Mike Reed B.S.C.
Producers – Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens
Director –
Ray Austin

Editor – Ralph Sheldon
Assistant Director – Ron Purdie
Second Unit Assistant Director – Roger Simons
Location Manager – Nicholas Gillott

Camera Operator –
Jimmy Devis
Second Unit Lighting Cameraman –
Jimmy Allen B.S.C.
Second Unit Camera Operator – Malcolm Vinson
Sound Recordists –
Denis Whitlock, Ken Barker
Dubbing Editors –
Peter Lennard, Bob Dearberg
Casting Director –
Maggie Cartier
Art Director –
Robert Bell
Set Dresser – Simon Wakefield

Joanna Lumley's Costume Design – Catherine Buckley
Hairdressing – Helene Bevan, Joyce James
Make-up – Neville Smallwood, Alan Boyle
Wardrobe Supervisor – Jackie Cummins
Fight Arranger – Cyd Child
Continuity – Renιe Glynne
Second Unit Continuity –
Pat Rambaut
Post-Production Co-ordinator –
Paul Clay
Production Supervisor – Ron Fry
Unit Manager – Robert Fennell
Construction Manager – Leon Davis

Processed by Rank Film Laboratories

Made at Pinewood Studios and on location

A Production of The Avengers (Film & TV) Enterprises Ltd
for TV Productions and I.D.T.V. Paris

MINISTRY VERDICT

Exceptionally well-constructed thriller which has a better share of the action for Steed than some of the early episodes of The New Avengers, and Patrick Macnee is clearly enjoying himself. Purdey and Gambit also get some excellent material and it's becoming clear that the new team maybe different from 'the old', but they are shaping up very well indeed. It also has a strong guest turn by the superb Peter Jeffrey. 'Nuff said.

HOUSE OF CARDS • DECLASSIFIED

  • On Location... We get our first glimpse of Steed's country mansion, often referred to as 'Steed's Stud', because of the horses he has stabled there. These scenes were filmed at Binfield Manor, near Binfield, Berkshire, as were other first series sequences set at Steed's home. Fulmer Hall, Fulmer, near Gerrards Cross doubled for Steed's residence in the second year, although there was no reference made to his having moved.

  • The distinctive windmill location used for the climactic face-off between Perov and Steed stands above the picturesque village of Turville in Buckinghamshire. At the time of filming, the property was owned by actress Hayley Mills and her then-husband, Roy Boulting, the film producer.


  • Personal History... We learn in this episode that Purdey's stepfather is a bishop – it turns out that he (as played by Derek Francis) has picked up a few combat skills from his stepdaughter.


  • Trivia... Steed's three major female partners from the original series, Cathy Gale, Emma Peel and Tara King, are featured in framed photographs in a humorous scene where Steed and his girlfriend Joanna are talking at crossed purposes. While Joanna is referring to the women, Steed is talking about photographs of a very different type of filly – horses he has owned in the past – including one that he sold to an Arab prince. "I think he eventually had to shoot her," says Steed as Joanna looks worriedly at the photo of Tara.

  • Gambit's teenage all-girl welcoming committee at the airfield – in reality RAF Northolt – were all uncredited. Shame!


  • Bloopers... Peter Jeffrey's final Avengers role is once again a villainous one. Unfortunately, despite his long association with The Avengers, this didn't prevent his surname being misspelt as 'Jeffery' in the end credit sequence.


  • In Print... This episode was novelised as House of Cards by Peter Cave, the first novel in the series. This book appeared in Britain in two editions, a paperback from Futura Publications issued in 1976 and a hardcover from Arthur Barker published on 10th March 1977 and in paperback in the USA from Berkeley Medallion in 1978.


  • And Finally... While this is a fine episode, Perov's operation is far from effective. The only people who end up dead are his sleeper agents!

Plotline by Alan Hayes • UK Transmissions by Simon Coward and Alan Hayes
International Premieres by Denis Kirsanov • Ministry Verdict by Alan Hayes
Declassified by Gareth Humphreys and Alan Hayes

 

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