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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Catching Up With Emma Peel: Part 2

In my last post, I related how "The Avengers" Emma Peel 16-DVD Megaset only seemed to have half of the 1965 and 1966 episodes featuring John Steed and Emma Peel.  Confused, I headed over to in search of an episode list.

There, I learned (to my dismay) that Diana Rigg didn't play Emma Peel for three full seasons of "The Avengers." Her first season consisted of 26 episodes, which were transmitted from October 1965 through March 1966.  Nor did she have a proper introductory episode, to hand over the role of Steed's partner from Catherine Gale to Emma Peel, at the end of the prior season.  Another actress was actually hired first, but halfway through the first episode, "The Town of No Return," the production team stopped filming, fired the actress, and drafted in Rigg as a replacement. Then they re-filmed the story from the beginning.  (Imagine that!  Emma Peel was the most popular companion John Steed ever had, yet Diana Rigg wasn't the producers' first choice)!  After finishing the 1965/66 season, Rigg portrayed Emma Peel for a second season consisted of 24 episodes, all transmitted during 1967.  

Adding together the 1965/66 season and the 1967 season, this leaves one episode remaining. That belongs to the 1968/69 season, a mammoth production block consisting of 33 episodes, which was transmitted from September 1968 through May 1969.  That sixth-and-final season starred Linda Thorson as Tara King, who became John Steed's new companion. Unlike the abrupt handover from Catherine Gale to Emma Peel, Diana Rigg reprised her role as Emma Peel for that first story, "The Forget-Me-Knot," a nice gesture that gave closure to Peel fans, and offered a fitting introduction to her replacement Tara King.  

Of course, I could have just looked at the
episode list on the back of the package.
(Had so many of the discs not fallen off their spindles,
I probably would have).

So, while the Emma Peel Megaset technically covers three season, really there's only two, with one additional episode. But at least I've got all of them now on DVD.  Even though half the discs had fallen loose, they all played fine, which came as a huge relief.  More importantly, I can fit the discs in sleeves in a DVD storage book, which take up a lot less space than 24 VHS tapes.  Picture quality is fine; I suspect that these are the same DVDs that A&E produced in the '90s, without any additional remastering.  There are no special features, aside from two (yes, exactly two) still photographs from each episode.  Still, given that I originally purchased the 3-tape VHS sets for $30 each, to purchase the equivalent of all eight now for $25 seems an unbeatable deal. 

Frankly, after spending $240 on all those VHS tapes, even a list price of $50 seems reasonable.  

Dragon Dave

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