AUDIO REVIEW: THE AVENGERS LOST EPISODES VOLUME 3 / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: ANTHONY HOWELL, JULIAN WADHAM, LUCY BRIGGS-OWEN, MIRANDA RAISON, DAN STARKEY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The third volume of The Avengers Lost Stories from Big Finish is again adapted by John Dorney from original scripts of four episodes of the original 1961 series. The stories centre on Dr. Keel and the enigmatic John Steed, who is well connected with various government departments (unidentified).
The stories cover a wide range of themes and some are more ‘of their time’ than others. They are: The Springers (an underworld organisation who help convicted criminals escape from jail); The Yellow Needle (a conspiracy based in Africa that threatens to assassinate a friend of Keel’s); Double Danger (called in to treat a gunshot wound, Keel uncovers links to a gang of diamond thieves); and Toy Trap (Keel is looking out for the daughter of a friend who is at risk of getting caught up in prostitution).
There are no weak stories in the set and they set out the character of Dr. Keel, who is very much the lead partner and has a challenging and sometimes fractious relationship with Steed, a far cry from the companion relationships of later characters when the show evolved.
The stories are all economical in their set-up and all well-realised on audio with a diverse cast and plenty of period touches, including lots of jazz and 1960s telephones ringing. There are also an enormous number of references to cigarette smoking – this really is drama from 50 years ago.
Not only has this release kept up the quality of the previous two boxsets, but all involved have found their groove making this the best of the releases so far. Even if you haven’t heard the others, this would be an excellent jumping on point and a chance to hear how The Avengers was originally conceived before Steed became the main character.
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