Production Number: Unknown

PLOTLINE

Professor Marco, arriving in London for a demonstration of a new nerve gas, S-95, is intercepted on route and his assailant, Brady, takes his place at the event. Steed, Purdey and Gambit are also present and, along with the other dignitaries, are innoculated against the effects of the drug. The test goes ahead is deemed a perfect success until Brady shows his colours and absconds with canisters of S-95 enough to put half of London to sleep.

The new avengers awake the next morning to find a London that is still asleep. Drivers asleep at the wheel, a paper boy fallen from his bicycle in the road, lovers snoozing mid-embrace and Purdey has locked herself out in her silk pyjamas! She decides to investigate and heads for Gambit's apartment, just as Gambit and Steed are heading for hers. They just miss eachother. Purdey is out on her own. 

The long Sunday morning lay-in is Brady's work. A helicopter has circled the City of London, the banking heart of the capital, spraying the S-95. Brady and his team, travelling on a site-seeing coach, have all been innoculated and head from one bank to the next, breaking into each and speeding off with the loot.

Purdey, Steed and Gambit are in a seemingly impossible situation. They have to find and intercept Brady and his robbers in a silent world where the slightest sound might give them away and just how long will their antidote to the nerve gas last?

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
The New Avengers: Series 1, Episode 11
Production Completed:
Oct 1976
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

Anglia: Wed 12 Jan 1977, 8.00pm
ATV Midlands: Fri 7 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
Border: Wed 16 Mar 1977, 8.00pm
Channel: Currently unconfirmed
Grampian: Wed 16 Mar 1977, 8.00pm
Granada: Fri 7 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
HTV: Sun 12 Dec 1976, 7.50pm
Scottish: Wed 16 Mar 1977, 8.00pm
Southern: Fri 7 Jan 1977, 8.00pm
Thames: Wed 12 Jan 1977, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Wed 16 Mar 1977, 8.00pm
Ulster: Fri 7 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
Westward: Fri 7 Jan 1977, 7.30pm
Yorkshire: Wed 16 Mar 1977, 8.00pm
INTERNATIONAL PREMIERES
AUSTRALIA: Wed 4 May 1977
BELGIUM:
Wed 29 Dec 1976
CANADA:
Thu 24 Feb 1977
FRANCE:
Sat 19 Feb 1977
GREECE: Fri 1 Jul 1977
IRELAND: Tue 7 Dec 1976
ITALY: Thu 31 Aug 1978
JAMAICA: Thu 7 Jul 1977
MALAYSIA: Thu 19 Jan 1978
MALTA: Mon 4 April 1977
NETHERLANDS: Thu 16 Dec 1976
SINGAPORE: Wed 6 Jul 1977
SPAIN: Sun 26 Jul 1981
TURKEY: Sun 29 Nov 1981
UNITED KINGDOM: Sun 12 Dec 1976
USA: Fri 6 Oct 1978
WEST GERMANY: Mon 19 Mar 1984
CHARACTERS & CAST
John Steed
Mike Gambit
Purdey
Brady
Dr Graham
Chuck
Bart
Tina
Fred
Ben
Phil
Pilot
Bill
Professor Marco
1st Policeman
2nd Policeman
Sleeping Man in Car
Sleeping Woman
in Car
Frank Hardy
Sleeping Man in Mini
Gang Member
Woman in Taxi
Patrick Macnee
Gareth Hunt
Joanna Lumley
Keith Buckley
Arthur Dignam
Mark Jones
Prentis Hancock
Sara Kestelman
Gavin Campbell
Dave Schofield
George Sweeney
Peter Godfrey
Leo Dolan
Colin Skeaping
Jason White
Tony McHale
Peter Richardson
 
Denise Reynolds
Joe Dunne
Tex Fuller
Jim Dowdall
Anulka Dubinska
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Not released.

DVD EXTRAS

No episode-specific DVD extras available.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer Brian Clemens
Series Theme & Music
Laurie Johnson
Production Designer
Syd Cain
Lighting Cameramen
Ernie Steward B.S.C. and Ian Wilson B.S.C.
Producers Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens
Director
Graeme Clifford

Editor Ralph Sheldon
Assistant Director Roger Simons
Location Manager Nicholas Gillott

Camera Operator
Malcolm Vinson
Sound Recordists
Paul LeMare, Ken Barker

Dubbing Editor
Peter Lennard, Mike Hopkins
Casting Director
Maggie Cartier
Art Director
Robert Bell
Set Dresser Simon Wakefield

Hairdressing Supervisor Helene Bevan
Make-up Alan Boyle, Alan Brownie
Wardrobe Supervisor Jackie Cummins
Fight Arranger Cyd Child
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

A distinctive and memorable episode, brim full with tension, atmosphere and excitement. It owes a good deal to original series episodes, The Hour That Never Was (1965) and The Morning After (1969), but is given a fresh twist via superb direction from Graeme Clifford and a top performance from Joanna Lumley. The filming locations take in the grime of docklands, the heights of the Post Office Tower and a dozen other locales, all of them  exceptionally well chosen. The script is strong even if it does play on a few well-worn themes. The viewer's attention is not so much held as captured the extras are the only ones falling asleep to this one... 

SLEEPER DECLASSIFIED

  • Production Brief... Joanna Lumley performs much of the action herself in her pyjamas, including high-kicking an assailant off the roof of a stationary train. However, the more dangerous moments such as the windscreen smashing were performed by Cyd Child.

  • Child injured herself quite badly while smashing the shattered windscreen of the Mini. Falling glass shards cut badly into her arm and one piece jammed into her hand.

  • A further, possibly more serious accident was seconds away from happening to actor Dave Schofield (Ben) after he and George Sweeney had smashed their way into the Montague Jewellers shop. After they extricated items of jewellery from the window display, a large section of broken glass fell unexpectedly, narrowly missing Schofield's retracted arm. The footage survived into the episode as broadcast and the look of shock on Schofield's face is plain.

  • A behind-the-scenes photograph has come to light which confirms that Sleeper was still filming in the first week of October 1976. The clapperboard on this photograph confirms a filming date for the helicopter sequence of 5th October.

With thanks to Bob Rocca, who was given this photograph by clapper loader Simon Hume

 


  • On Location... An incredible variety of location work in this episode, almost all of which is meant to be in the City of London and its environs. It works superbly, which is remarkable considering that footage was shot at Bell's Hill Shopping Centre, Stoke Poges (Buckinghamshire), the Brunel University in Uxbridge (Middlesex), Southall Water Tower (Middlesex and last seen in Target!), Hammersmith (West London) and Camden Lock (North London). It's a testament to Graeme Clifford's directorial talents that these meld together seamlessly.

  • The filming at the Post Office Tower (now Telecom Tower) featuring Patrick Macnee and Gareth Hunt, where their characters are looking across the city for activity, was filmed on the 34th floor of the structure. The viewing area where they stood is outside the famous revolving restaurant, long since closed to the public.

  • Unwittingly, the filming at the Post Office Tower could have got the producers and crew in severe hot water, as filming and photography was not permitted in the building as it was protected until 1993 under the Official Secrets Act.


  • From Script to Screen... The freeze-frame leading into the opening title sequence was changed from that in the script Hardy falling on the points lever of the railway track after being shot by Tina to a rather enigmatic shot of Brady's tinted sunglasses.

  • Also, Professor Marco was originally called Professor Lopez in the script. Presumably this was changed as a Professor Lopez had already appeared in Target!.


  • Personal History... We learn that while Purdey wears silk pyjamas (with ill-fitting trouser bottoms, it would seem!), Gambit sleeps au naturelle. He has a wardrobe full of unused pyjama sets. He has a new pair sent to him by his aunt for every birthday.

  • Neither Gambit or Steed has a key to Purdey's flat, but Purdey clearly has one for Gambit's apartment.

  • This episode is one of the few where Gambit calls his fellow agent 'John' rather than 'Steed'. Steed reciprocates in kind. This is a subtle sign of Gambit's concern for Steed, who fears that something bad has happened to old friend, Mark Hardy.


  • Trivia... Future That's Life! presenter, Gavin Campbell appears in Sleeper as one of Brady's gang of bank robbers. You almost expect him to pipe up, "this has nothing to do with us", one of the catchphrases of the consumer magazine programme.


  • Bloopers... The second-unit night shoot featuring Steed's 'big cat' Jaguar XJ12 Coupe is proof that you can often quite easily tell a stand-in driver from Patrick Macnee particularly when the stand-in is wearing a trilby hat at the wheel!

  • Steed and Gambit drop Purdey off late at night after a meal together and Steed goes up to Gambit's for a night cap. However, the internal shot clearly shows daylight through Gambit's window !


  • And Finally... When Purdey hides in the boutique, she poses as a mannequin and, to complete the illusion, picks an advertising placard from the dummy to her left. 'Today's Biggest Offer', it boldly proclaims. The New Avengers had all the best deals...

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
Thanks to Des Glass and Ian Beazley

 

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