As Big Finish get to the end of the road with their recreation of the first TV series of The Avengers, the sixth volume of stories comprises three adventures rather than the four we have so far been treated to. We are pleased to report no lowering in standards, though, and three more entertaining tales recapturing the early 1960s.
First is The Frighteners, originally written by Berkeley Mather and adapted by Rae Leaver. Dr Keel (Anthony Howell) and John Steed (Julian Wadham) are on the trial of the Deacon (Michael Lumsden), a man who can arrange to have people intimidated. The story doesn’t stop there, it widens out into the murky doings of Sir Thomas Weller (Hugh Ross), a love affair, a confidence trick and several deceptions. Dr Keel gets plenty of action amidst the comings and goings, pushing Steed somewhat aside. The adaptation is solid, but the original story feels convoluted and could have been stripped back.
Ian Potter adapted the second story in this set, Death on the Slipway from a James Mitchell storyline. Here we are back in espionage territory and a story of nuclear submarine deterrents, still relevant over 50 years later. Steed is undercover and soon encounters a Russian spy, and gets plenty of chance to flirt with Liz Wells (Niky Wardley) and be the hero. Less for Dr Keel to do but some great other characters including Sir William Bonner (Jon Culshaw).
The final tale is John Dorney’s adaptation of a Terrence Feeley story involving more secrets, a trip to the seaside and a funfair. Both Keel and Steed have plenty to do as they get drawn into this well-realised world of fortune tellers and a ghost train where Steed has to think fast to survive. Much of the action centres on Steed’s mole, Harry Black (and his mother) as we are provided enough clues to keep us interested in the plot without being spoon-fed.
Big Finish released The Avengers: The Lost Episodes Volume 6 on July 20th; full details are available on their website for this and the rest of this range with this release available exclusively from their website until September.
With the end of this range approach, we have to hope Big Finish gets a license to produce some original work in this era of The Avengers. Until that time, this three story set provides a great way for curious listeners to try this series at a lower than normal price.
THE AVENGERS: THE LOST EPISODES VOLUME 6 / ADAPTED: RAE LEAVER, IAN POTTER, JOHN DORNEY / STARRING: ANTHONY HOWELL, JULIAN WADHAM, LUCY BRIGGS-OWEN, HUGH ROSS, MICHAEL LUMSDEN, JON CULSHAW, NIKY WARDLEY, DAN STARKEY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW