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Avengers, The: Season Four – StudioCanal (BluRay) 
Written by: on December 24th, 2015


Release Dates: UK, October 2nd, 1965 – Uk, March 26th, 1966
Directors: Roy Ward Baker, Peter Graham Scott, Quentin Lawrence, Sidney Hayers, Charles Crichton, James Hill, Wolf Rilla, Gerry O’Hara, Don Leaver, Bill Bain, Don Leaver
Cast: Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Steven Berkoff, Michael Gough, Burt Kwouk, André Morell, Gordon Jackson, Sue Lloyd, Geoffrey Palmer, Roy Kinnear, Warren Mitchell, Julian Glover, John Bluthal, Peter Burton, Bernard Cribbins, Eunice Gayson, Nigel Davenport, Peter Wyngarde, John Le Mesurier, Michael Goodliffe, Ron Moody, Roland Curram

BluRay released: February 23rd, 2015
Approximate running times: 1352 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: PG (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: StudioCanal
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £37.99 (UK)


The Avengers was a Spy-fi British television series from the 1960’s that lasted six series (seasons). This series only mainstay was its leading man Patrick Macnee in the role of John Steed. Throughout this series run he had a total of four partners, season one – Ian Hendry in the role of Dr. David Keel, seasons 2 & 3 – Honor Blackman in the role of Dr. Cathy Gale, seasons 4 & 5 – Diana Rigg in the role of Emma Peel and season 6 – Linda Thorson (Tara King). The series would hits its peek during the Emma Peel years, with season number 5 being the first in color! And when it comes to popularity this series reached its apex with season 5. Also by the time Emma Peel arrived for the fourth season the show made the switch from video tape to 35mm and it is also during the fourth season that the show would become one of the first British television shows to be shown on American television.

Season 4 would comprise of twenty six episodes and here is a list of the twenty six episodes that have been included for this collection.

The Town of No Return / The Murder Market / The Master Minds / Dial a Deadly Number / Death at Bargain Prices / Too Many Christmas Trees / The Cybernauts / The Grave-Diggers / Room Without a View / A Surfeit of H2O / Two’s A Crowd / Man-Eater of Surrey Green / Silent Dust / The Hour That Never Was / Castle De’ath / The Thirteenth Hole / Small Game for Big Hunters / The Girl from AUNTIE / Quick-Quick Slow Death / The Danger Makers / A Touch of Brimstone / What the Butler Saw / The House That Jack Built / A Sense of History / How to Succeed … at Murder / Honey for the Prince

In terms of overall quality there was a huge leap between season three and season four. With the switch from video to film being one of the strongest reasons assets for season four. Also the switch to film elevated each episode beyond your run of the mill television series. Essentially each episode was like a fifty minute movie. Another area where this switch greatly benefits is its striking use of black & white cinematography, which at times has a film noir like look to it.

And not to be overlooked are the first rate screenplays that also pitted Steed and Peel against a wide variety of nemeses. Some of the villains for season four include, the Cybernauts, a man-eating carnivorous alien plant, a villain mastermind who uses his telepathic powers to steal secrets and a pair of plot involving nuclear missiles. Also this season features a two doppelgangers, in one episode Steed creates a double and in another episode Peel has an impersonator.

Another where this season delivers and then some are the performances from all involved in making this show, especially the extraordinary performances from Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee. And when it comes to casting this season features many well-known actors like, Michael Gough (Batman), Burt Kwouk (A Shot in the Dark), André Morell (The Hounds of Baskerville), Peter Wyngarde (The Innocents), Julian Glover (For Your Eyes Only), Roy Kinnear (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) and Sue Lloyd (Corruption).

Looking back it is hard to imagine that this season originally started off on the wrong foot and that very early on they had to replace its lead actress. Fortunately from there they found the perfect actress in Diana Rigg and her undeniable chemistry with Patrick Macnee would take the show to the apex of its popularity.

The BluRay:

The Avengers Season 4 is presented over seven 50 GB dual layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and all of the episodes are presented in their intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Also this release contains all twenty six of series 4’s episodes and each disc in this set contains three to four episodes.

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Also sound effects are well represented and when it comes to the music that appears in the series, things sound appropriately robust. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.

The extras included with this release are spread over seven discs.

Extras on disc one include, a stills gallery, USA cheeseboard opening sequence (29 seconds), UK animated bumpers and alternative UK animated bumpers (43 seconds), alternate UK opening and closing credits for the episode ‘The Master Minds’ (3 minutes 22 seconds), ‘The Series of no Return’ an audio interview with actress Elizabeth Shepard (10 minutes 40 seconds), an episode of Armchair Theater titled ‘The Hothouse’ starring Diana Rigg (53 minutes 13 seconds), filmed episode intros with comedians Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang bahro for these episodes ‘The Murder Market’ (6 minutes 19 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘The Town of no Return’ (7 minutes 56 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and ‘The Master Minds’ (4 minutes 51 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and a fourth introduction where they give a brief overview of the series (8 minutes 28 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary for the episode ‘The Town of no Return’ with screenwriter / producer Brian Clemons, director Roy Ward Baker and the second audio commentary track for the episode ‘The Master Minds’ with screenwriter Robert Banks Stewart.

Topics discussed in the audio interview with Elizabeth Shepard include, she discusses that she was aware of the shows popularity when she was approached for the role of Emma Peel, how she didn’t have to audition for the role, how she tried to make her character better and the screenplays stronger, the difficulties of trying to fit in on an already well established television series, working with Patrick Macnee, her thoughts on the Emma Peel character and changes to wanted to make to the character and how one day she was let go from the series without any explanation.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Brian Clemons and Roy Ward Baker include.

Brian Clemons: the opening titles music, the advantages of shooting The Avengers on film, Elizabeth Shepard and why she was replaced by Diana Rigg, the cast & crew and how he initially got involved with The Avengers and his contributions to the series throughout its run.

Roy Ward Baker: what footage was kept and what scenes had to be re-shot when Diana Rigg took over the Emma Peel role, the cast & crew and the changes that occur from screenplay to what appears onscreen.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Robert Banks Stewart include, was he familiar with The Avengers T.V, series before were approached to write for the series, The Master Minds and how he came up with concept for the episode, Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee’s undeniable chemistry, the cast, the black & white episodes verse the color episode of The Avengers and his thoughts on how the episode tuned out.

Extras on disc two include, a stills gallery, colorized sequences (1 minute 11 seconds) and alternate end tag / credits for the episode ‘Death at Bargain Prices’ (1 minute 20 seconds), behind the scenes footage for the episode ‘The Cybernauts’ (1 minute 4 seconds), filmed episode intros with comedians Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang bahro for these episodes ‘Too Many Christmas Trees’ (7 minutes 44 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘Death at Bargain Prices’ (5 minutes 48 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘Dial a Deadly Number’ (5 minutes 9 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and ‘The Cybernauts’ (7 minutes 21 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and an audio commentary for the episode ‘Dial a Deadly Number’ with screenwriter Roger Marshall.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Roger Marshall include, how he came up with the idea for Dial a Deadly Murder, how this episode was shoot entirely on sound stages, the cast, the process of script to screen took about three weeks for each episode and the look of the series and working with established directors.

Extras on disc three include, a stills gallery, French opening and closing (1 minute 50 seconds), two different openings for the episode ‘The Gravediggers’ (3 minutes), filmed episode intros with comedians Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang bahro for these episodes ‘Two’s a Crowd’ (6 minutes 10 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘A Surfeit of H2O’ (7 minutes 39 seconds, in German no English subtitles) ‘Room Without a View’ (5 minutes 35 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and ‘The Gravediggers’ (4 minutes 33 seconds, in German no English subtitles).

Extras on disc four include, a stills gallery, an episode reconstruction titled ‘Kill the King’ (14 minutes 30 seconds), filmed episode intros with comedians Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang bahro for these episodes ‘Castle De’ath’ (5 minutes 42 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘The Hour That Never Was’ (5 minutes 10 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘Silent Dust’ (6 minutes 25 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and ‘Man-Eater of Surrey Green’ (7 minutes 24 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and an audio commentary for the episode ‘The Hour That Never Was’ with director Gerry O’Hara.
These episode reconstructions are for episodes from season one that no longer have any exiting masters. These are reconstructed by combing telesnaps and other surviving images with newly recorded narration.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Gerry O’Hara include, how this is the first of two episodes that he directed for the series, how the main location is a now abandoned air force base, working with Diana Rigg and his thoughts on what she brought to the series, the cast and his thoughts on their performances and he discusses various other films that he worked on.

Extras on disc five include, a stills gallery, John Stamp Avengers trailer (45 seconds), ITN Newsreel footage (38 seconds) and (50 seconds), an episode reconstruction titled ‘Dead of Winter’ (14 minutes 22 seconds), filmed episode intros with comedians Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang bahro for these episodes ‘Quick-Quick Slow Death’ (5 minutes 8 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘The Girl From Auntie’ (6 minutes 20 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘Small Game For Big Hunters’ (4 minutes 9 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and ‘The Thirteenth Hole’ (5 minutes 55 seconds, in German no English subtitles).

Extras on disc six include, a stills gallery, colorized sequences for the episode ‘A Touch of Brimstone’ (1 minute 23 seconds), filmed episode intros with comedians Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang bahro for these episodes ‘The House That Jack Built’ (5 minutes 20 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘What The Butler Saw’ (7 minutes 35 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘A Touch of Brimstone’ (9 minutes 36 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and ‘The Danger Makers’ (5 minutes 20 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and an audio commentary for the episode ‘The House That Jack Built’ with director Don Leaver.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Don Leaver include, how he was one of the few directors who stayed on as a director when the series made the transition from video to 35mm, shooting on location verse shooting in a studio, working with Diana Rigg and his thoughts on her performance for this episode, his thoughts on the episode and what he could have done better.

Extras on disc seven include, a stills gallery, filmed episode intros with comedians Oliver Kalkofe and Wolfgang bahro for these episodes ‘Honey For the Prince’ (8 minutes 20 seconds, in German no English subtitles), ‘How to Succeed…. at Murder’ (5 minutes 51 seconds, in German no English subtitles) and ‘A Sense of History’ (5 minutes 51 seconds, in German no English subtitles), a promotional trailer titled ‘The Strange Case of the Missing Corpse’ (3 minutes 9 seconds) and a short film starring Diana Rigg titled ‘The Diadem’ (17 minutes 30 seconds). This short film is just a longer version of this short film ‘Der Goldene Schlüssel’ and when this short film ends it is followed by about 3 ½ minutes of color footage.

These episodes have never looked or sounded better and there is a wealth of extra content to expand ones knowledge about the show and those involved in making it. Overall another solid release from StudioCanal.

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