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Trivia / The New Avengers

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  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • It's rumoured that Joanna Lumley suggested Purdey's name. She was originally called Charly but had to be changed when they discovered a perfume with the same name. Purdey was named after the most expensive shotgun in the world.
    • Lumley had long hair on her first promo stills for the series. On the first day of filming, she surprised the producers and crew by coming up with a bowl cut, which would remain Purdey's trademark hairstyle. She was also consulted on what colours would feature in Purdey's apartment set - lilac with dashings of purple.
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  • Actor-Shared Background: In "Dead Men are Dangerous", Gambit reveals that he dropped out of school at fifteen to join the merchant navy to sail around the world, which is what Gareth Hunt did in real life.
  • Banned Episode: "Gladiators" was banned in some parts of Britain due to excessive violence. In London, it did not premiere until nine months after "Emily", and even then it aired at 11:25 PM.
  • B-Team Sequel: Unlike the original series, the sequel was unable to film at Elstree Studios, as it was being used for A New Hope. It was filmed at Pinewood Studios instead.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Lewis Collins was considered for Gareth Hunt. He made a guest appearance in "Obsession". Series producer Brian Clemens noted his chemistry with Martin Shaw and cast them in The Professionals. Martin Fisk was also considered. He would later appear in "The Last of the Cybernauts". Another candidate, Malcolm Stoddard, appeared in "Target".
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    • Trudi Van Doorne auditioned for Purdey. She was instead cast as Gerda in "The Eagle's Nest". Gabrielle Drake, who was considered not only for Purdey but Tara King, was cast as Penny Redfern in "Dead Men are Dangerous".
  • In "Target", Frederick Jaeger was originally cast as Bradshaw, but when filming was delayed because of bad weather, he had to leave to fulfil another commitment, so Roy Boyd was cast instead. Jaeger was instead cast as Jones.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • For the last four episodes, they had to film in Canada. Brian Clemens — who didn't even go there — called those the worst of the series. He and Albert Fennell felt that the continuity of production established in the UK was lost. Patrick Macnee agreed with them.
    • Joanna Lumley would later express her disgust at the famous promotional picture for the show of her showing a gun in her stockings, saying that the photo only came about because the show's makers explicitly told her that they wouldn't take pictures of her that day unless she wore said clothing, to the point she described it as "upskirting". Lumley would later recall that, since she came that day in tights, she "ripped the stockings off" an older woman in exchange for a five-pound note, and since they weren't her size, the stockings only came up to just above her knees.
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    • Macnee told Starlog that he flat out disliked the series:
      I felt...I was being badly used. I wish I hadn't done it now. I don't like The New Avengers. I think it was bad and ordinary and unimaginative and not interesting.
    • Lumley wrote in her memoir that the French backers were a little disappointed that Linda Thorson wasn't asked to return as Tara King.
    • While the three leads enjoyed working with each other, they all agreed that the series sorely lacked the humour of the original series.
  • Creator-Chosen Casting: Gareth Hunt was reportedly always Brian Clemens' favourite choice for Mike Gambit and following his audition, it was just a matter of convincing his fellow producers. Clemens later admitted that Joanna Lumley was always his choice for Purdey, having met her five years previously when he visited the set of The Abominable Dr. Phibes (which was made at Elstree Studios and directed by series regular Robert Fuest), in which she had a small role that ended up being cut.
  • Creator Couple: For "Trap", director Ray Austin cast his then-wife Yasuko Nagazumi as Yasho.
  • Creator's Favorite Episode: Cyd Child, Joanna Lumley's stunt double, named "Sleeper" as her favourite episode, despite obtaining a hand injury.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Patrick Macnee was able to increase his role's visibility as the series progressed, losing weight to improve his athleticism and "keep up" with his new partners.
  • Executive Meddling: The French financers kept demanding a sexier Purdey. Joanna Lumley remained as the character, but was given a sexier French wardrobe as a result.
  • Follow the Leader: The series' Darker and Edgier tone was made in the wake of tougher and grittier shows of The '70s like The Sweeney and (later) The Professionals. Patrick Macnee would later complain that the series had lost its identity and become something of a Starsky & Hutch clone.
  • Inspiration for the Work: The idea for reviving The Avengers came about due to the series' popularity in France. Patrick Macnee was hired to do some champagne commercials and the producer was an avid of the series and asked Brian Clemens when it would return.
  • International Coproduction: The show was a joint British-French-Canadian production.
  • Late Export for You: The series didn't air in America until two years after its debut.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Patrick Macnee's agent advised to him to return to his famous role as the renumeration was extremely good and he'd receive 5% of the profits.
  • The Other Darrin: Diana Rigg was asked to make a guest appearance, but declined. As a result, "K Is For Kill Part One: The Tiger Awakes" features old footage of her on the phone from "The Winged Avenger" and "The Hidden Tiger", while Sue Lloyd (who played Mrs. Peel on stage) provides a voice cameo.
  • Recycled Set:
    • "Sleeper" features a scene filmed on a standing Victorian street set at Pinewood Studios that was originally built for One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing.
    • The exterior of the villains' hideout in "Hostage" was represented by a standing set discarded after appearing in another production, while the interior was assembled from the sewer set from "Gnaws".
  • Recycled Script: "Complex" is essentially a remake of the Avengers episode "Killer". Meanwhile, "Medium Rare" was based on the Thriller episode "Murder in Mind", while "Gnaws" is a reworking of the Thunderbirds episode "Attack of the Alligators".
  • The Red Stapler: Purdey's distinctive bobbed hairstyle was a huge hit, with hairdressers across the UK being bombarded with requests from women wanting a "Purdey Cut".
  • Referenced by...: A wall in Tuff Turf has "The New Avengers!" spray painted on it.
  • Renamed to Avoid Association: Purdey was originally named Charley. This was changed when cosmetics giant Revlon had a perfume named Charlie and the producers wanted to avoid inadvertedly giving them free publicity.
  • Star-Making Role: For Joanna Lumley.
  • Unfinished Episode:
    • Tony Williamson, who wrote nine episodes of the original series, suggested a possible story outline involving the kidnapping of Elizabeth II that would serve as the pilot for the series. Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell disliked the idea and it was discarded.
    • Williamson also submitted a script entitled "Tell Me About It", which involved a revolutionary gas called PX 400 that makes anyone who inhales it tell the truth. The script featured a humourous sequence where Steed, Gambit and Purdey don gasmasks and attempt to get a man named Keller to reveal what the villains plan to do with the gas, only to discover that he's suffering from amnesia. It turns out that the gas is destined to be released at a peace conference, with the aim of making all the politicians tell the truth and wreck the negotiations, thus causing a war.
    • In 1981, following the series' popularity in America, Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner wrote a Made-for-TV Movie called The First Avengers Movie. Going in the fantastical direction of the Emma Peel era, it would have opened with people being mysteriously killed by something that leaves them as nothing more than skeletons. It turns out that a South American dictator named Cavalo (Telly Savalas) has perfected a way of controlling ants and now has the largest army in the world, which he intends to use for world domination. His henchmen move around on Kirby wires to avoid stamping on the ants. Among the eccentric characters are madcap minituraistion expert Bernard Igg (John Cleese), who is said to be developing contacts lenses for butterflies ("Because they keep losing theglasses") and George Ware (Rowan Atkinson), who realises what devastation the ants can cause and thus lives in a helium balloon ("Because the submarine isn't ready yet"). Steed and Gambit would have been joined by an ex-trapeze artist named Carruthers (Gambit would have vistited her flat and greeted her with "Carruthers, we're needed"). The trio would have been joined by a CIA agent named Suzy Stride. The opening titles would have announce that the movie had a cast of thousands (meaning the ants), though the true nature of the killers wouldn't be revealed until the heroes had discovered the truth. Steed would have reverted to driving a classic Bentley and Gambit would drive a Morgan convertible. CBS abandoned the project, though both writers were paid.
  • Wag the Director: Patrick Macnee refused to wear flared trousers with his suits, preferring his to be cut straight.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Louise Jameson auditioned for Purdey.
    • After the series was cancelled, an American version of the series was proposed. They shot a pilot called Escapade but it was never picked up. Morgan Fairchild and Granville Van Dusen were to play the Purdey and Steed counterparts.
    • Purdey was originally named Charley and was Steed's niece.
    • Both stars had costume ideas that were rejected. Joanna Lumley wanted Purdey to wear fashionable sportswear to allow easy movements for fight scenes and Gareth Hunt wanted Mike Gambit to be casually dressed in blue jeans and bomber jackets.
    • It was initially planned to have a big name guest star in every episode, hence why Peter Cushing has a "Guest Star" credit in the first episode. It was scrapped due to budget limitations.
    • There were plans to have two episodes set in West Germany for the second season and five in Australia for the proposed third season, but these fell through.
    • In 1994, Lumley and Hunt publicised the launch of the series on domestic videocassette. Sales were stronger than expected, prompting Brian Clemens to consider reuniting the two actors in a "Spin-Off" series. Although both were keen to participate and a script was written, plans stalled at an early stage for undisclosed reasons.
  • You Look Familiar: Ian Hendry, who had played Steed's initial partner Dr. David Keel in The Avengers in 1961, reappeared in "To Catch a Rat" as a different character, Irwin Gunner. Timing constraints prevented the script being re-written to have him be Keel.