Audio Drama Review: The Avengers: The Comic Strip Adaptations, Volume 4: Steed and Mrs. Peel

The 1960s Avengers return in a series of four 50+ minute audio dramas. The dramas are based on comic strips written in the 1960s about the adventures of John Steed (Julian Wadham) and Emma Peel (Olivia Poulet.) These are based on the TV series starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg and are released by Big Finish Productions.

In “Listen Hear,” Steed is spiriting Emma away on his uncle’s boat to retrieve a mysterious invention the government can’t let fall into the hands of the other side. It was lost at sea along with one of the top British agents. Two foreign agents are also after the mysterious device, and both groups soon figure out someone else is trying to get it, too.

This story had just enough mystery, and a great deal of whimsical humor that fits  into this era of the TV show.

In “The Clown Has Two Faces,” top secret plans have been stolen from a scientist who only mentions the word “clowns,” which sends Steed and Mrs. Peel on separate trails. Both land at a sinister circus that’s been part of a foreign government’s plot to acquire the plans.

This episode does feel like one of the color Steed and Peel TV episodes. It’s got some fun characters, a nice chase, and good atmosphere. It works for a solid fifty minutes of entertainment. It just lacks the extra something special or memorable to take it from being a good story to a great one.

In “White Heat,” Steed and Peel have to find and stop a mad scientist who blew up a top British Agent and is threatening to unleash a giant fireball on London if not paid a big ransom.

In many ways, this is a standard (almost generic) Avengers plot. However, the key to this story and what makes it so good is the style and the charm. The way the villain is played is perfect, we get plenty of laughs without it becoming ridiculous or over the top. There’s some superb one liners here that led to repeated fits of laughter while I was listening to it.

This simply delightful and of the best stories in this range.

In “Now You See Him,” an investigation of scientists who disappeared mysteriously, seemingly into thin air, ends up setting Steed and Peel on the trail of a sinister magician.

This one moves a great pace with funny moments. The villain works great within the context of the Avengers. The ending sets up the sequel and is a bit hard to swallow. Still, this is a fairly good story to round out the box set.

Overall, I had a lot of fun listening to this set. It feels authentic to the era, without being overly derivative. If you loved the 1960s Avengers TV show or outrageous 1960s spy adventures, this is definitely worth a try.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

The set is currently available as a download or CD at Big Finish  

EP3212: Dragnet: The Big Ruling

Jack Webb

Friday and Smith search for the new source of heroin on the street.

Original Air Date: September 6, 1955

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EP3211: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Jack Madigan Matter

Edmond O'Brien

Johnny is called in by a bail bondsman to locate two witness in a major organized case, who have disappeared.

Original Air Date: October 21, 1950

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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EP3210: Mystery is My Hobby: Mystery of the Burning Light

Bart investigates a murder on a friend’s boat.

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EP3209: Man Called X: All that Glitters

George Raft

The Man Called X goes to the Philippines to foil the theft of a gold shipment.

Original Air Date: October 16, 1947

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Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715

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