Dr. David Keel – The Avengers (1961) | Portrait

Ian Hendry As Dr. David Keel – The Avengers (1961) | Portrait

 

It is with great pleasure that we bring you the first of what we hope will be a growing collection of artwork, to celebrate the life and work of Ian Hendry. We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with some very talented artists so that we can bring Ian’s work to you in a form other than celluloid and pictures. We hope that you enjoy these works.

 

Ian Hendry was the original Avenger, a fact often forgotten due to the fact that so many of the first series of The Avengers have been ‘lost’ presumed wiped. Some episodes, however, do remain along with a number of stills from the shows which we will use as inspiration to bring the show to life in other ways, including art.

 

The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created in the 1960s. The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant John Steed (Patrick Macnee). Hendry left after the first series and Steed became the main character, partnered with a succession of assistants. Steed’s most famous assistants were intelligent, stylish and assertive women: Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), and later Tara King (Linda Thorson). Later episodes increasingly incorporated elements of science fiction andfantasyparody and British eccentricity. The Avengers ran from 1961 until 1969, screening as one hour episodes its entire run.

The pilot episode, “Hot Snow“, aired on 7 January 1961. The final Episode, “Bizarre”, aired on 21 May 1969.

The Avengers was produced by ABC Television, a contractor within the ITV network. After a merger in July 1968 ABC Television became Thames Television, which continued production of the series although it was still broadcast under the ABC name. By 1969 The Avengers was shown in more than 90 countries. ITV produced a sequel series The New Avengers (1976–1977) with Patrick Macnee returning as John Steed, and two new partners.

In 2007 The Avengers was ranked #20 on TV Guide‘s Top Cult Shows Ever.

1961: With Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry)

The Avengers began in the episode Hot Snow, with medical doctor, Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry), investigating the murder by a drug ring of his fiancée and office receptionist Peggy. A stranger named John Steed, who was investigating the ring, appeared and together they set out to avenge her death in the first two episodes. Afterwards, Steed asked Keel to partner him as needed to solve crimes.

The Avengers followed Hendry’s Police Surgeon, in which he played police surgeon Geoffrey Brent. While Police Surgeon did not last long, viewers praised Hendry. Hendry was considered the star of the new series, receiving top billing over Macnee, and Steed did not appear in two episodes.

As the series progressed, Steed’s importance increased, and he carried the final episode solo. While Steed and Keel used wit while discussing crimes and dangers, the series also depicted the interplay—and often tension—between Keel’s idealism and Steed’s professionalism. As seen in one of the two surviving episodes from the first series, “The Frighteners“, Steed also had helpers among the population who provided information, similar to the “Baker Street Irregulars” of Sherlock Holmes.

The other regular in the first series was Carol Wilson (Ingrid Hafner), the nurse and receptionist who replaced the slain Peggy. Carol assisted Keel and Steed in cases, without being part of Steed’s inner circle. Hafner had played opposite Hendry as a nurse in Police Surgeon.

The series was shot on 405-line videotape using a multicamera setup. There was little provision for editing and virtually no location footage (although the very first shot of the first episode consisted of location footage). As was standard practice at the time, videotapes of early episodes of The Avengers were reused. Of the first series, two complete episodes still exist, as 16 mm film telerecordings. One of the episodes remaining does not feature Steed. The first 15 minutes of the first episode also exists as a telerecording; the extant footage ends at the conclusion of the first act, prior to the introduction of John Steed.

 Extract from Wikipedia

 

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Further Reading

A detailed account of his work in The Avengers is included in the new biography of his life.

Read:  ‘Send in the Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry’ by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

 

 

Comment and Share Please! We love to read all your comments and appreciate it when you take time to share the articles. It really helps a site like ours in the search engines too! Please share and comment on this article using the form below:

 

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