Series / The Avengers
John Wickham Gascoyne Beresford Steed and Mrs Emma Peel (née Knight)

"Always keep your bowler on in times of stress, and a watchful eye open for diabolical masterminds."

A very popular British Spy Drama running from 1961-1969, created by Sydney Newman and produced by ITC for ITV. It ran for a total of 161 episodes across six seasons and singlehandedly started the Spy Catsuit and Action Girl tropes.

Its most famous male-female partnership, between 1965 and 1968, was Patrick Macnee (who would later appear in a James Bond film) and Diana Rigg (who would later appear in a Bond film).

In earlier seasons (1962-1964), the female co-star was Honor Blackman (who would later appear in a Bond film).

The series was originally created as a vehicle for Ian Hendry (who would not later appear in a Bond film), to capitalise on the popularity he had developed during his previous show, Police Surgeon. In the pilot, his character, Dr David Keel, was recruited by spy John Steed (Macnee) as a part-time expert assistant in return for Steed's help capturing the murderers of Keel's wife; this was pretty much the last time in the series any actual avenging took place. This first series was generally a grim-and-gritty crime affair, centering around drug smugglers, arms dealers and endless cases involving stolen diamonds.

A TV strike delayed the start of the second season, so Hendry left to pursue a film career. Steed became the show's central character and the production team started to explore other partnerships. The first, lasting just a few episodes, was Dr. King, a blatant Suspiciously Similar Substitute. He was followed up by stories that alternately paired Steed up with nightclub singer Venus Smith (The Chick) (played by Julie Stevens, who has never appeared in a Bond film) and female spy Catherine "Cathy" Gale (arguably TV's first true Action Girl, and played by Blackman, who, as noted already, would later appear in a Bond film). Cathy, who was mostly written identically to Dr. Keel (Word of God is that some of her early scripts were actually written for Hendry), proved to be the most popular and Venus was quietly dropped.

This retooling of the show became a massive smash. With a consistent Agents Dating format, the show began to move away from more mundane villains and towards science fictional supervillains and diabolical masterminds.

Blackman left to pursue a film career (playing Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, a Bond film) and was replaced by Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel, described as a "talented amateur". Simultaneously, production switched from videotape to 35mm film. The show became much more stylish and faster-paced and even gained a new theme tune, although it wasn't until the next season that it was produced in colour. Mrs. Peel — whose husband didn't make an appearance until her final episode — set the trend of the Spy Catsuit and continued the gentleman spy / Action Girl setup. Steed and Mrs. Peel became the show's iconic pairing, helped by the introduction of filmed and colour episodes raising the show in the public's consciousness.

The stories became crazier and crazier — Space plants from the moon! Assassination by laser! Invisible spies! Housecats trained to kill! Politicians hypnotised into becoming children! A Shrink Ray! — and typified the swinging cool of 1960s Britain.

Eventually Rigg left Steed for the embrace of George Lazenby's doomed James Bond film, and Steed took on his last partner, Tara King. Tara (played by Linda Thorson, who has not appeared in a Bond film, but made up for it by being the only one of the bunch to appear on Star Trek) was a more feminine character, though still an Action Girl, but the series never survived the loss of Rigg, massive problems behind the scenes and being put up in America against Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. The series finished after just one season with Tara King.

A Revival was attempted in 1976, with The New Avengers, starring Macnee and Joanna Lumley (who's better known for Absolutely Fabulous, but had earlier appeared in a Bond film) as Purdey. Oh, and Gareth Hunt, the guy off the Nescafe adverts (but not Bond films, before or after The Avengers), as Mike Gambit. But the new, gritty tone — matching shows like The Sweeney and (later) The Professionalsnote  — was too much of a departure and it soon collapsed. (Extensive Executive Meddling in the second year was also to blame, as the producers were forced to mount several episodes in France and in Canada, which would have been fine if the scripts and production had remained up to par.) This series lasted from October, 1976 to December, 1977, for a total of 26 episodes in two seasons.

The show was later made into a movie starring Ralph Fiennes (who now appears in Bond films) and Uma Thurman (who may or may not appear in some future Bond film yet), whose only redeeming quality was Sean Connery (who had appeared in many Bond films) hamming it up as an evil Scotsman. For more on this film, which is pretty much disowned by fans for straying too far from the concept of the series, see The Avengers (1998).

In the 1990s, the franchise was revived by Eclipse Comics and writer Grant Morrison for a comic book series, Steed and Mrs. Peel, which could not be titled The Avengers because of the well-known Marvel comic (this also happened when Gold Key Comics released a one-off in the 1960s). This comic was reprinted twenty years later by Boom! Studios, who then continued it as an ongoing series with newly-written stories, starting with writer Mark Waid (who definitely wasn't in a Bond film, but instead became the only person to write both these Avengers and the other Avengers).

For the series' character sheet, see here.

Not to be confused with the American comic or its film adaptation, the latter of which was renamed Avengers Assemble for the British market for precisely this reason.

Character tropes include:

Plot tropes include:

Other tropes that appeared on the show include:

  • Absentee Actor: Usually the female lead.
  • Acquitted Too Late
  • Alan Smithee: "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Station" gives script credit to "Brian Sheriff," alias Brian Clemens and Roger Marshall (when Marshall left the series due to Creative Differences with Clemens, he rewrote Marshall's script - the pen-name indicates the sheriff doing the marshal's job).
  • Auction of Evil: "The Girl from Auntie".
  • Bound and Gagged/Distressed Damsel: Happens fairly often to the female lead, considering the time period.
  • Bloodless Carnage
  • Catch Phrase: "Mrs Peel - we're needed!"
  • Cat Fight: "The Living Dead".
  • Chekhov's Wardrobe: Mrs. Peel's amazing ability to always wear a catsuit if she would be involved in a fight later.
  • Clip Show: "Homicide and Old Lace".
  • Chained to a Railway: "The Gravediggers".
  • Chameleon Camouflage: One episode had a villain escape prison and attempt to murder John Steed with such a gimmick.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: In 1968, Gold Key Comics published a one-shot comic book based on the series, reprinting a British comic strip. However due to the fact Marvel Comics owned the name The Avengers in comics, the adaptation was titled John Steed Emma Peel, though its official title remained The Avengers in the indicia. In 1990-1991 Eclipse Comics published a 3-issue comic book mini-series (written by Grant Morrison), but it ran into the same problem so it was titled Steed and Mrs. Peel; it also suffered from a months-long delay before the release of part 3. An Avengers comic strip also ran in one of the UK weekly comic magazines, but there were no problems using the original title over there. The Steed and Mrs. Peel title of 1991 was revived by Boom Comics in the early 2010s (beginning with a reprint of the Morrison mini-series and then moving into original tales) and ran for about 18 months. The New Avengers was adapted in comic strip form in a pair of UK-published Annuals.
  • Continuity Nod: Cathy Gale sends a Christmas card in "Too Many Christmas Trees" from Fort Knox. Doubles as a Shout-Out to Goldfinger.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • In France, the show was titled Chapeau Melon et Bottes de Cuir (Bowler Hat and Leather Boots).
    • The German title translated as "With Umbrella, Charm and Bowler". That hat must REALLY have made an impression.
    • As noted, American-published comic-book version of the series needed to be retitled John Steed Emma Peel or Steed and Mrs. Peel, because the title The Avengers is already taken for Marvel's superhero comic. Turnabout is fair play, however: the 2012 Film/The Avengers film based on the Marvel title had to carry the title Avengers Assemble in the UK because of the TV series.
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: "Epic".
  • Cool Car: Emma's Lotus Elan.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: "The Living Dead".
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: "The Living Dead".
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Steed and Mrs. Peel in "Escape in Time".
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: "Death's Door".
  • Fanservice: Mrs. Peel in "The Girl from Auntie", "A Touch of Brimstone", "Honey for the Prince", just to name a few.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The murder weapon of choice in "From Venus, With Love".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: At one point, Steed infiltrates into a society of radical cat lovers, and the director asks him about his own cat. Steed proceeds to describe in great detail his "beloved pussy Emma", and looks quite amused when the director asks how nice Emma feels purring in his lap.
    • From the arrival of Cathy Gale onwards, innuendo became a hallmark of the series.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection
  • Hell-Bent for Leather
  • Instrument of Murder: One enemy agent in had a clarinet with a blade that would slide out of the bell when the right key was pressed.
  • It Must Be Mine: "The Girl from Auntie".
  • Jumped at the Call: Both Steed and Mrs Peel clearly enjoy their adventures, even though it occasionally means killing lots of people.
  • Last Name Basis: Steed, Gambit and Purdey are this to each other.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Steed.
  • Lost Episode: All but two-and-two-thirds episodes of the first season. Videotape was expensive in the early 60's and was routinely reused. The first act of the first episode can be found on YouTube.
  • Loving Details: When Emma Peel departs, she meets her replacement, Tara King, on the stairs. A little wistfully, Emma tells Tara, "He likes his tea stirred anticlockwise." The series had always been very coy about the nature of the relationship between Emma Peel and John Steed, so this plays as a final bit of Ship Tease.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: Many episodes, and a literal one in "False Witness".
  • Monster Clowns: "Look - (Stop Me if You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers..."
  • Most Writers Are Male: In this case, all the writers - which explains a lot about Mrs. Peel in particular.
  • Musical Pastiche: In "The Winged Avenger".
  • Never Found the Body: Mrs. Peel's husband Peter; a pilot found to be alive in the Amazonian jungle years after a plane crash, which signals Mrs. Peel's exit from the series.
  • NewWeird: Some of the episodes delved into "Weird Fiction," John Steed was once shrunk to "doll-size."
  • Nice Hat: Steed and his bowlers, complete with a steel plate in the crown for clonking people on the head with.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup
  • Nothing Is Scarier: "Don't Look Behind You".
  • Of Corsets Sexy: "A Touch of Brimstone".
  • Oh, Cisco!
  • Opening Narration: The American screenings of the Emma Peel episodes.
  • Parasol of Pain: Steed's umbrella.
  • Parent Service: Emma Peel.
  • Pretty in Mink: Emma Peel.
  • Pressure Point: Emma Peel in "The Living Dead".
  • Put on a Bus: Tara King in two episodes.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: It originally had a theme tune by Johnny Dankworth. It also underwent a complete makeover when production was switched from videotape to film, simultaneous with Diana Rigg's arrival, resulting in the more familiar Laurie Johnson theme.
  • Resemblance Reveal: In the episode that writes out Mrs. Peel, her husband (a pilot who was lost in a plane crash some years before her entry into the series) turns out to be still alive. He doesn't appear in person until the final scene, at which point he is revealed to look exactly like Steed. (What this might imply about Mrs. Peel's reasons for hanging around with Steed is left as an exercise for the viewer.)
  • Re Tool: The show changed dramatically with the introduction of Cathy Gale.
  • Re Vision: Mother.

The 1976-77 remake series The New Avengers provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: "Gnaws".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In "Complex", the computer controlling the entirety of the security headquarters has actually been constructed to act as a spy for the Soviets. It starts murdering any agents who get too close to figuring out its secret.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In "The Deadly Angels", Purdey gets into the maze in the health farm by crawling through the vents.
  • Animal Assassin: In "Cat Among the Pigeons", the villains uses birds as his assassins.
  • Anachronistic Clue: In "K is for Kill: Tiger by the Tail", Steed and Gambit realise that the K agent had a recent photo of his target despite having in cryogenic suspension since World War II. This tells them that the agent had access to a recent file since his awakening.
  • Apocalypse Hitler: "The Eagle's Nest" featured a group of Nazis attempting to revive the cryogenically preserved body of Hitler.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The threat in "Gnaws" is a sewer rat mutated to monstrous size by an undiluted experimental growth formula spilled down the drain.
  • Awesome McCool Name: Colonel "Mad Jack" Miller in "Dirtier By The Dozen".
  • Bad Habits: "The Eagle's Nest".
  • Blow Gun: Used by an assassin in "Target!". Gambit turns the tables on him by blowing down the end of the blow gun, causing him to swallow the poison dart.
  • Bodybag Trick: In "Hostage", Purdey's kidnappers carry her out of her flat hidden in a coffin.
  • Book Safe: In "Forward Base", a Russian agent has the radio for contacting the eponymous forward base inside a copy of the Bible.
  • Bullet Catch: In "The Gladiators", the Russians had developed a super-martial arts training program which would enable those who survived to deflect bullets with their hands. The graduate did fairly well, but it turned out he could only deflect attacks from one direction at a time.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: In "The Midas Touch", Gambit and Purdey have a casual conversation about who was the director of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre during a Car Chase.
  • Car Fu:
    • In "The Last of the Cybernauts...??", the super-strong Kane physically shoves Mike's Range-Rover into him, squashing him between two cars and knocking him out before going after Purdey.
    • In "K is For Kill: Tiger by the Tail", Purdey takes the handbrake off Colonel Stanislav's car while it is parked on a slope, causing it to roll downhill and slam into him.
  • Car Meets House: In "Three Handed Game", an amnesiac agent desperate to find his way back to Steep crashes his motorbike through the window of Steed's living room.
  • Cat Fight: The episode "Angels Of Death" has Purdey taking on not one but two gorgeous female opponents (played by Caroline Munro and Pamela Stephenson), after Gambit's basic decency prevents him hitting women and they beat the bejasus out of him.
  • Caught in a Snare: Happens to Gambit in "Trap" when he is trapped by Soo Choy's men.
  • *Click* Hello: Gambit pulls this when he gets the drop on Colonel 'Mad Jack' Miller in "Dirtier by the Dozen".
  • Clothing Combat: In "Trap", Gambit improvises a bolas out of his tie and a pair of shoes.
  • Continuous Decompression: In "Trap", Steed, Gambit and Purdey are on a plane when the main cabin starts filling with gas. Gambit opens the main door to depressurize the cabin and suck out the gas. The depressurization goes on for long enough for the pilot get out of the cockpit and still be sucked out of the plane.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Happens to Steed twice in "Medium Rare" as part of a Frame-Up. The first time, he sent to a Doomed Appointment and arrives just after the man he was supposed to meet has been murdered, and seconds before internal security arrives. The second time, he happens to walk him on a murder the killer was planning on framing him for. The killer knocks him out and leaves him beside the body with the murder weapon in his hand.
  • Costume Copycat: In "Hostage", one of the villains dresses in a copy of Steed's distinctive suit, bowler hat and umbrella as part of a plan to frame Steed as a traitor.
  • Covert Group: Soviet spymaster Ivanov planted many undercover agents in Great Britain, where they wormed close to tactically important persons, ready to assassinate them on cue. This covert network was called "the House of Cards," because select playing cards would activate the moles. British Avengers John Steed, Emma Peel and Mike Gambit thwarted Ivanov and neutralized his moles.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Done in "Sleeper" to isolate central London while the gang are Taking Over the Town.
  • Cyanide Pill: In "The Eagle's Nest", Gambit captures an enemy operative who kills himself with a concentrated dose of jellyfish venom.
  • Dance Battler: Purdey was a former ballerina who practiced a very balletic fighting form, complete with pirouettes and high kicks.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: In "Cat Among the Pigeons" Steed is attacked by a falcon that has been planted in the back of his car.
  • Deadfoot Leadfoot: In "The Deadly Angels", Steed is in a car being driven by one of his friends. A sign is flashed that causes the friend to suffer a fatal heart attack. The car continues to careen along as Steed attempts to steer it to a safe stop.
  • Death Course: An episode had one of these disguised as a British agent training course. Agents would be shot with harmless little darts to show whether they passed. The villains poisoned the darts.
  • Deep Cover Agent: The episode "House of Cards" features a rogue Russian agent activating an old cold war project of deep, deep cover agents, two of whom are old friends of Steed.
  • Disconnected by Death: In "Target!", the poisoned Palmer manages to make it to a phone booth and call Steed. He gasps out some vital information, including the fact that he is already dead, before keeling over.
  • Disposable Vagrant: One of the victims of the giant rat in "Gnaws" is a tramp.
  • Dodge the Bullet: In "K is for Kill: Tiger by the Tail", Gambit is able to use his pistol to deflect the bullet a Russian assassin fires at him.
  • The Door Slams You: An intruder kicks the door closed into Steed's face as he goes to enter Stannard's apartment in "The Eagle's Nest".
  • Doppelgänger: "Faces", of the Magic Plastic Surgery variety.
  • Dramatic Drop: The villain attending Steed's party drops his champagne glass when he hears the general announce that the 'Eye of God' satellite is going to do an underground scan of Buckinghamshire, where he has concealed his stolen missile.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: At the end of "Sleeper", Steed, Gambit and Purdey steal outfits from unconscious robbers and infiltrate the gang, using the balaclavas to disguise their identities.
  • Easy Amnesia: A variant in "To Catch a Rat". A agent suffering crippling injuries in an attempt on his life and loses all of his memories. Unlike most uses of this trope, his memory stays gone for 17 years. The Easy Amnesia comes into play when a blow to his head (from a child's swing) restores his memory instantly.
  • The Eiffel Tower Effect: "Complex", the first episode filmed in Canada, opens with a shot of the CN Tower in Toronto so there can be no doubt where they are.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: In "To Catch a Rat", Purdey and Gambit charge into a church expecting to confront an enemy agent. Instead, the confront two local ladies arranging flowers. Purdey immediately announces that this is wrong and he cannot force her to marry her and storms out. Gambit stands there for a few moments looking embarrassed before hurriedly stuffing some money in the poor box and slinking out after her.
  • Empty Quiver: In "Obsession", a rogue air force officer steals a rocket to blow up the Houses of Parliament during a state visit by a Middle Eastern statesman.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: The Avengers help themselves to the Unicorn's champagne while holding him prisoner in his apartment in "The Lion and the Unicorn".
  • Evil Cripple: Felix Kane in "The Last of the Cybernauts...??". A double agent crippled and hideously disfigured trying to escape from Steed, Gambit and Purdey, Kane is confined to a wheelchair and resurrects the robotic Cybernauts to extract his revenge.
  • Evil Elevator: In "Complex", the murderous AI controlling the building causes the floor to drop out of the elevator beneath Greenwood's feet, send him plummeting to his death.
  • Evil Former Friend: In "Dead Men Are Dangerous", Steed's life is threatened by a revenge campaign from Mark Crayford, a childhood friend (at least to Steed), who viewed Steed as a lifelong rival, and who Steed was forced to shoot when he revealed himself to be a double agent.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Colonel Miller has one in "Dirtier By The Dozen". It's never explained how a man with only one eye could remain as a serving line officer in the British Army.
  • Faking the Dead: In "Dead Men are Dangerous", Mark Crayford starts his scheme of revenge against Steed by having himself declared dead and a death certificate issued in his name, so Steed will not suspect him.
  • Finger in the Mail: In "Hostage", the kidnappers send Steed a lock of Purdey's hair with a warning that worse is to follow if Steed does not obey their instructions.
  • Groupie Brigade: The Avengers stage one as a distraction to allow them to snatch a defector from an airport in "House of Cards".
  • Hand Cannon: In "Gnaws", Gambit thinks enemy agents might be using some kind of specialised armoured transport in the sewers, and arms himself with a handgun which, in his words, will "stop a tank at 30 paces". In the end, it proves just as effective against the actual threat which turns out to be a giant rat.
  • Hand or Object Underwear: In "Three Handed Game", Purdey bursts in on Gambit as he is posing as a life model for a sculptress. He hurriedly grabs a sheet to cover himself up.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: "Trap" opens with an agent being caught eavesdropping on the villains. Despite being shot by a guard, he manages to escape and survives long enough to deliver a cryptic message concerning a drug deal to Gambit.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In "The Lion and the Unicorn", Gambit steals a window washer's three-wheeled van to chase a fleeing thug through the streets of Paris. Naturally he ends up wrecking it.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Gambit does this to O'Hara in "The Gladiators" when he finds O'Hara scoping out the bad guys' escape route. He taps him on the shoulder and then slugs him on the jaw as he turns round.
  • Hired Guns: The rouge British Army unit in "Dirtier By The Dozen".
  • I Have Your Wife: In "Hostage", a gang of villains abduct Purdey and hold her hostage to ensure Steed's compliance.
  • Impairment Shot: Double vision and going in and out of focus are used to indicate curare poisoning in "Target!". There is a prolonged sequence from Steed's POV as he staggers poisoned through the Shooting Gallery.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The border guards in "Dead Men are Dangerous" show some spectacularly bad aim when they manage to miss Steed despite him lying prone on the ground no more than 20 or 30 feet away.
  • Improvised Weapon: In "Dirtier by the Dozen" Gambit uses Purdey's bra as an improvised sling to knock out a commando.
  • Instant Sedation: "Sleeper", where a group of bank robbers disperse a powerful knockout drug over London early on a Sunday morning in order to pull off a series of bank heists.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: In "Trap", Purdey walks up to the captain of Soo Choy's men and gives herself up. While he is securing her, Steed gets the drop on him and knocks him out.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: In "The Tale of the Big Why", The Mole draws a gun on Steed, Gambit and Purdey and plans to shoot them so they cannot reveal his secret. Steed orders Gambit to disarm him and Gambit moves forward. The Mole fires but his gun merely clicks as the hammer falls on empty chamber. Steed had spotted the gun in The Mole's pocket and - suspicious of why an undersecretary would be carrying a loaded pistol - had removed the clip.
  • Kangaroo Court: In "Dirtier by the Dozen", Colonel 'Mad Jack' Miller holds a drumhead court martial and sentences one of his to be executed by firing squad.
  • Kill and Replace: This is the bad guys scheme in "Faces", using Magic Plastic Surgery to create doubles of people in the security services, then killing the original and having the doppelganger take their place.
  • Lady in Red: Purdey in "Dirtier By The Dozen", in contrast to the men all dressed in khaki.
  • Last Breath Bullet: After being shot by the White Rat in "To Catch a Rat", Gunner struggles to his feet long enough to shoot the Rat as he was about to shoot Purdey.
  • Living on Borrowed Time: An enemy agent in one episode who had a bullet working its way toward his brain, and was desperate to kill Steed before that happened.
  • Lock Down: "Complex".
  • Loves Only Gold: Professor Turner in "The Midas Touch". Gold is Turner's obsession, which is why he names his secret project Midas. A Plaguemaster, Turner creates a Poisonous Person named Midas that he intends to sell to the power that can pay him the greatest amount of gold.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Used by the bad guys in "Faces" to create doubles used in their Kill and Replace scheme.
  • Married to the Job: In "House of Cards", Steed refers to his career as "my one and only marriage…and I've been very faithful."
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: In "Faces", both Gambit and Purdey go undercover to infiltrate an organisation that is creating duplicates of intelligence operatives, where they are employed as doubles of themselves. Each ends up believing that the other is an imposter, and has killed the real Gambit/Purdey.
  • The Mole: In "To Catch a Rat", a former agent recovers his memory after having amnesia for 17 years. He remembers he was hunting a mole known as 'the White Rat'. Realising the the Rat is still in the department, he resumes his hunt.
  • Mugged for Disguise: In "Sleeper", the main bad guy disposes of of a visiting scientist and steals his clothes to take his place at a demonstration where he plans to steal the secret weapon.
  • Mugging the Monster: In "Dead Men are Dangerous", a mugger attempts to mug a ex-spy and trained killer. The spy slams him around and then recruits him as a henchman.
  • Murder by Cremation: In "Complex", the murderous AI controlling the building disposes of one its victims by dumping him into the building's trash incinerator.
  • New Old Flame: The villain in "Obsession" is an ex-fiancee of Purdey who had never been mentioned before.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Purdey poses as a mannequin in a store window in an attempt to avoid two of the robbers in "Sleeper". She is hampered by the fact that her pants keep falling down.
  • No Immortal Inertia: The soldiers in the Russian 'secret army' who have been in 'cold storage' since World War II in the "K is for Kill" two-parter. When they are killed they revert to their chronological age.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: In "The Deadly Angels", Gambit is held at gunpoint by a secretary. He starts instructing her on the proper way to hold and search a prisoner at gunpoint. When he tells her to take the safety catch off the gun, she goes to obey. As she does so, he turn around and snatches the gun off her. He then gives it back to her, kisses her and asks her for a date.
  • Novelization: A half-dozen storylines from the series were adapted as novels. (The parent series also had a series of books based on it, but they were all original novels.)
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: In "The Lion and the Unicorn", Steed has to go to extreme lengths in order to convince the Unicorn's gang that he is still alive (after being accidentally shot by one of his own men) in order to prevent a gang war and recover a hostage the Unicorn's gang is holding.
  • Off with His Head!: In "Trap", Soo Choy plans to behead Steed, Gambit and Purdey as revenge for foiling his drug operation. He gets as far as getting Gambit's head on the chopping block.
  • Older and Wiser: Steed.
  • Only One Name: Purdey.
  • Outside Ride: In "Dead Men are Dangerous", Gambit leaps on the back of a fleeing car. He gets thrown off but manages to pull off the number plate as he goes.
  • Paranoia Gambit: In "Forward Base", Purdey and Gambit spook a Russian agent into revealing the location of the base by calling him to tell him his cover is blown, and then doing absolutely nothing. They reason that the fact that he cannot find them will absolutely convince him that they are on to him.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: In "K is for Kill: The Tiger Awakes", one of the Russian does this before tossing a grenade through the window of the Allied HQ museum.
  • Plaguemaster: Professor Turner in "The Midas Touch". Turner has found the ultimate carrier for a host of deadly diseases, calls him Midas and offers him to the highest bidder in exchange for gold.
  • Pocket Protector:
    • In "The Midas Touch", smuggler Hong Kong Harry is shot by an assassin to prevent him from reaching a meeting. He is saved because he is wearing a quarter of a million dollars worth of gold dust inside a Fat Suit.
    • In "Faces", Steed is saved when his doppelgänger's bullet hits the pocket watch givien to him minutes earlier by his best friend's widow.
    • In "K is for Kill: Tiger by the Tail", Steed is saved by because he is a gentleman. Although he doesn't smoke, he carries a cigarette case for those of his friends who do, and an assassin's bullet strikes the cigarette case.
  • Poisonous Person: Midas in "The Midas Touch". Midas is the perfect carrier for diseases, and Plaguemaster Professor Turner turns him into a living weapon whose slightest touch kills.
  • Pop the Tires: One of the people chasing the MacGuffin in "The Tale of the Big Why" shoots out the tyres on Steed's Range-Rover to stop Steed and Gambit chasing her.
  • Pretty in Mink: Purdey dons a fur coat when she poses as a gangster's moll in "Faces".
  • Pursued Protagonist: "The Eagle's Nest" opens with an agent on a remote island being chased by two murderous anglers. He attempts to seek sanctuary in a monastery where things do not go well for him.
  • The Remnant: In "K is for Kill", a cadre of Soviet soldiers are accidentally awoken from their cryogenic sleep and embark on following their original Cold War orders; attacking several former military targets that have been abandoned for decades.
  • Renegade Russian: In the "K is for Kill" two-parter, Colonel Stanislav is a hardliner who is not happy with the thawing Cold War, and puts in a motion a scheme set up after World War II in an attempt to trigger World War III.
  • Revealing Injury: In "To Catch a Rat", Gunner knows that he will be able to identify the White Rat because he shot the White Rat in the left leg during their last encounter.
  • Revival
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: "Gnaws".
  • Seeking Sanctuary: In The Teaser to "The Eagle's Nest", a Pursued Protagonist flees from his attackers into a monastery. He disturbs the monks at their devotions, demanding sanctuary. This ends badly for him, as the monks are actually Nazis in disguise.
  • Self Offense: In "To Catch a Rat", Purdey and Cromwell end up attacking each other when they both have the same idea of searching Cledge's apartment in the dark.
  • Sexy Jester: In "Three Handed Game", Purdey puts on clown wig, red nose and face paint.
  • Shooting Gallery: "Target!".
  • Shoot the Rope: Done as part of a *Twang* Hello by a bow-wielding assassin in "Faces". He uses an arrow to sever the the rope holding up a training dummy next to Purdey as a way of announcing his presence.
  • Shot at Dawn: In "Dirtier by the Dozen", Colonel 'Mad Jack' Miller has one of his men executed by firing squad following a drumhead court martial.
  • So Much for Stealth: At the start of "The Lion and the Unicorn", Steed and Purdey are listening at the door of the hotel room of Professional Killer the Unicorn when Purdey knocks over an ashtray and they have to flee for their lives.
  • Stab the Salad: The Teaser of "Complex" opens with what appears to be a sniper sighting down a rifle on someone exiting a building. As he squeezes the trigger, it is revealed that he is actually using a special long-distance camera mounted on a rifle-style stock to take a photograph.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: In "The Lion and the Unicorn", the villains strap a bomb to their royal hostage in case Steed attempts a double-cross before the hostage exchange can take place.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: "The Eagle's Nest".
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Purdey had a gold silk karate gi, which really stood out compared to Gamnit's plain white one when they were sparring.
  • Suffer the Slings: In "Dirtier by the Dozen", Gambit uses Purdey's bra as an improvised sling to hurl a rock that knocks out a commando.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: In "K is for Kill", Colonel Stanislav activates a cadre of Soviet soldiers who were put into cryogenic sleep shortly after World War II. One of the soldiers is his father, who now appears about half the age of his son.
  • Super Window Jump: Gambit was fond of doing this when he was racing to the rescue. He comes crashing through the window of a folly in "Dead Men are Dangerous", a health farm in "the Deadly Angels", and a suburban home in "Complex".
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Enemy agents seem to wander into Steed's house in every other episode.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: In "To Catch a Rat",Purdey tells Cromwell to take of his trousers, to his obvious surprise. It turns out she had ripped his trousers during the struggle and intends to sew up the rip.
  • Taking Over the Town: In "Sleeper", a gang uses a secret weapon to knock out a section of central London, then put in roadblocks and cut the phone lines to allow them to loot a series of banks at will.
  • Telepathic Sprinklers: In "Complex", Purdey is trapped inside a building which is attempting to kill her. Steed and Gambit dump a bunch of matches and lighters to her through the mail chute. She uses these to trigger the sprinklers which go off through the entire building and short out the computer controlling the building.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: In "The Tale of the Big Why", the Avengers find themselves alternatively pursuing or being pursued by a brains-and-brawn pair of thieves who do not even know what the MacGuffin they are trying to steal is: merely that it is extremely valuable in the right hands.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: "The Eagle's Nest" where a remote Scottish island was harbouring a dark secret. The island had been secretly taken over by Nazis at the end of World War II, and the monastery as being used to house the cryogenically frozen body of Adolf Hitler until such time as they could revive him.
  • Toyota Tripwire: In "The Tale of the Big Why", Gambit and Purdey drive after two villains who chasing a man across a field. Gambit opens the door of the Range-Rover as they drive past to knock down one of the villains as he stops to aim his shotgun at the fleeing man.
  • Transferable Memory: In "Three Handed Game", a device is invented that allows memories and skills to be transferred from one mind to another. It is stolen by a mercenary who intends to use it to steal espionage secrets. When the Avengers get too close, he uses it to transfer his mind to a new body.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Steed and Purdey pull this trick to inflitrate Soo Choy's base in "Trap"
  • *Twang* Hello:
    • Done by a bow-wielding villain to announce his presence to Purdey in "Faces".
    • In "Dirtier by the Dozen", Gambit is unlocking Purdey's cell when a knife embeds itself in the door beside his head.
  • Underwater Base: In "Forward Base", the eponymous base turns out to be an elaborate submersible community hidden in Lake Ontario.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: In "The Deadly Angels", Steed and Purdey are trapped in a room with the walls closing in to crush them. They end up extremely close quarters before Gambit manages to switch the machinery off.
  • War for Fun and Profit: In "Dirtier by the Dozen", Colonel 'Mad Jack' Miller plans to trigger a war in the Middle East and use the confusion to loot whatever isn't nailed down and disappear before any of the powers involved can work out what has happened.
  • With My Hands Tied: In "The Tale of the Big Why", Purdey takes down one of her kidnappers despie having her hands tied.
  • Yellow Peril: The Chinese crime lord Soo Choy in "Trap", who wears traditional Chinese robes and a Mandarin cap and generally comes across as a poor man's Fu Manchu. Not helped by being played by a Caucasian in obvious Yellow Face.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "The Last of the Cybernauts...??", Kane employs Goff to get the Cybernauts working. Once they are operating, he quickly determines that Goff is only an engineer and incapable of making any improvements to the robots, he uses a Cybernaut to snap Goff's neck.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: In "Faces", Gambit poses as a homeless man to infiltrate a group creating duplicates of intelligence operatives. While looking for someone he can turn into a double of Gambit, the plastic surgeon initially doesn't think the disguised Gambit will be suitable.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: At the end of "Obsession", Purdey and her New Old Flame are standing pointing guns at each other, with him standing between her and the rocket that is about to be launched at the Houses of Parliament. He calmly states that she will not be able to bring herself to shoot him. However, Gambit, who arrives at this point, has no such qualms and shoots him.

Alternative Title(s): The New Avengers