The final story in this set is also based on a script by Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward, and provides plenty of chances for Steed to demonstrate his wiles – even if he doesn’t turn up until the start of the second act. (The more of these I listen to, the more I am glad that producer David Richardson and the team kept the “bumper” music to indicate the end of the acts.) You think this is going to be one of the Keel-only (or near enough Keel-only stories), like its predecessor in the set, but the balance is rectified as Steed goes “under cover” in the dance academy.
There are some neat red herrings scattered along the way – the whole question over the apparent early announcement of Elaine’s death certainly starts the audience looking for motives in perhaps the wrong place – and there’s other misdirection which works well. As a former pianist for a dance academy (it was a job, don’t judge me!), I know that the direction captures the monotonous use of music as an accompaniment for the studies.
There’s an interesting hint that even before the Sixties had properly begun to swing, there was a freer attitude among some towards sex, and this is an element that’s picked up in the CD extras at the end of this story. The series’ three stars have some interesting insights into the mores of the time (even if the theory about Steed influencing the shape of the Bond movies, to my mind, is completely off base!).
We’re still some way from The Avengers of Steed and Mrs Peel – although not that far from the dynamic between Steed and Cathy Gale – and I look forward to more Steed and Keel… and maybe even some new stories for them down the line?
Verdict: A convoluted tale rounds off the set well. 8/10