…and Steed? Has the week off. This is one of the rare episodes of the early Avengers series where only one of the stars appeared – and ironically, it’s one of the few episodes that still exist fifty-five years later. Which is a shame if you want to see how Patrick Macnee and Ian Hendry interacted on screen, but does mean there’s plenty of insight into Keel’s character – something which is brought even further to the front in this skilfull adaptation. Set in a circus, there are various important plot developments – as well as quite a lot of background material – that seems purely visual, and some neat workarounds have been devised to ensure the story works on audio.
Fans of the Doctor Who story Day of the Daleks will appreciate the use of language in this episode, which plays off the foreign nationality of the majority of its participants. There’s the odd moment where the circus troupe members feel a bit clichéd, but that’s definitely part of the original story, and not something that could be easily rectified – it’s part of the period charm if you like!
Lucy Briggs-Owen and Anthony Howell work really well together here, and it’s a shame that there weren’t more opportunities during the series run for them to do so. It’s a story with a big cast list, so there’s more doubling up than usual for the audio, and it’s to the credit of all involved that it doesn’t feel like that.
Verdict: Doctor Keel and Carol step into a deserved spotlight. 8/10