We’re veering a little towards more familiar Avengers territory with this story by Dennis Spooner, adapted once more by John Dorney (and I suspect needing quite a bit of work to make it an effective audio). There’s a patent Avengers eccentric – think T.P. McKenna in Doctor Who’s The Greatest Show in the Galaxy – and one of the more outré ways of disposing of someone in a series that was trying to be gritty and realistic.
This one’s a bit more of a partnership between Steed and Keel; because Steed is undercover with the person they’re monitoring, he needs someone else to keep an eye on things when he’s not around, and Keel gets landed. The doctor is becoming more accustomed to this spy lark – there’s a great moment when he has to think on his feet to save a man’s life, and sways into action. (For those who know the fate of the original Keel actor, Ian Hendry, this is a sad piece of foreshadowing.) Anthony Howell makes Keel very credible, and helps to keep the series grounded – particularly now that we’re seeing Julian Wadham’s Steed eating pate de foie gras sandwiches during his civil service lunch break (and getting it on Keel’s prescription pad!).
As ever, the episode features a bout of fisticuffs, and director Ken Bentley uses the soundscape to ensure that we have a good idea what’s going on despite the lack of visuals (and without too much of someone commenting on how good a fight their opponent is putting up).
Verdict: Chances are you’ll guess what’s happening before Steed and Keel do, but it’s fun listening to them get there. 8/10