What can be said about what is probably “the” fantasy adventure series of the sixties? Who can forget the adventures of Steed and Mrs Peel? Possibly the best remembered era of the show’s run.
The series started on the 7th of January, 1961, and was broadcast live, no possibility of re-takes, whatever happened right or wrong, went out on air. The series was much drier at this time, with little of the wit that was to become one of its trademarks. It was a much more serious Cops and Robbers format, revolving around the main character Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry). The premise was set up in the first episode, “Hot Snow”. After the murder of Dr. Keel’s fiancé by drug dealers, and the police’s inability to act, due to lack of evidence, Dr. Keel vows to “Avenge” her death by tracking down her killers. Hence the title “The Avengers”. In the course of so doing, Keel is approached and questioned by Steed (Patrick Macnee), a mysterious undercover agent, who then assists in the task. So the original team was formed.
After Ian Hendry left at the end of the first season, he was followed by a stream of lovely, but dangerous ladies, who took the place as Steed’s sidekicks. They were Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) and Tara King (Linda Thorson), with the outrageous storylines and fantasy elements developing along the way. 161 episodes were made in six seasons.
Although the series had nearly a nine-year run, effectively spanning a whole decade (1961 – 1969), most items of Avengers merchandise were issued in a two-year period, 1966 – 1967. This coincided with the show’s most popular team up (well, with this writer, anyway) of John Steed and Emma Peel.
Both the New Avengers and the 1998 Avengers feature film have their own sections for items relating to them see relevant sections.