The Avengers (1961) – Lost Episode ‘Tunnel Of Fear’ From The Very First Series Rediscovered After 55 Years!

Picture above: Ian Hendry (as Dr. David Keel) and Patrick Macnee (as John Steed) – promotional photoshoot for the launch of the first series – Soho, London (December 1960)

[Article Update: The Avengers – Tunnel of Fear – Studio Canal DVD Release Set For Early 2018 ]

Monday 3rd October 2016 is a very special day. I have just received an email from Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope which says:

“Today I have been given a missing episode of the Avengers from 1961 starring your late uncle.
I plan to announce it at 9.30pm tonight on Facebook and we will show it on Saturday 12th November at Birmingham City University”.

It’s a moment that I know many devoted fans of The Avengers in the UK – and around the world – have longed for and one which I certainly believed would happen one day.

The last major discovery from this series happened some 15 years ago, in April 2001, when the opening act of Hot Snow and the complete episode of Girl on the Trapeze were mysteriously found in the catalogue of holdings in the University of California, Los Angelese (UCLA). Up until that point, only one episode was known to exist, The Frighteners, a copy of which was also discovered at UCLA through an online search by archive television enthusiast Dave Wood.

Chris Perry writes about this latest find on the Kaleidoscope Facebook Group page – full post below:

Discovery 63: The Avengers – Tunnel of Fear tx: 5.8.1961
Written by John Kruse, directed by Guy Verney.
with Anthony Bate, Doris Rogers, John Salew and Nancy Roberts.

the-tunnel-of-fear-the-avengers-series-1-ian-hendy-patrick-macnee-1961-1 the-tunnel-of-fear-the-avengers-series-1-ian-hendy-patrick-macnee-1961-2

 

Pictures: Scans from the discovered film –  Tunnel of Fear, The Avengers (1961)

“Kaleidoscope’s love affair with The Avengers goes back to watching the Channel 4 repeats; and then visiting the Pinewood studios to root around the old ABC archive to see what could be found. “The Frighteners” was found after seeing a clip on Ian Hendry’s This Is Your Life. “Hot Snow” turned up at UCLA. I remember Dave Rogers and I opening cans to find “The Golden Fleece”, which was the last Honor Blackman episode to be found. I also remember our surprise when we persuaded Lumiere to re-master the negs of Rigg and Thorson onto D3 and discovered the prints were longer than the C4 prints. Yes indeed, I have always had a love affair with The Avengers.

 

Now today I am delighted to announce that Kaleidoscope has acquired the long-lost print of “Tunnel of Fear”. We will be screening this rediscovered edition at our November event Missing Believed Wiped Central. We hope to have a guest connected with the show to introduce it as well.

 

We have also acquired a large film collection simultaneously which contains more lost archive gems and I will be announcing each of those new finds all week at 9.30pm.

 

None of this couldn’t have happened without Steve Birt who has proven once again to be a very worthy friend and financial backer to Kaleidoscope.

 

We look forward to you joining us to enter the “Tunnel of Fear” on November 12th 2016 at Birmingham City University. To accommodate the expected rush for tickets we have extended tickets to 250. That is our maximum maximum though. The event time has been extended by an hour and will now finish at 6pm.”

Event: Missing Believed Wiped – Birmingham 12th November 2016

To join the Kaleidoscope Facebook Group, click the link below:

Kaleidoscope Facebook Group

BBC2 Newsnight – Feature on Kaleidoscope’s Work Including Clip From The Avengers ‘Tunnel Of Fear’ (1961) – Broadcast 2nd November 2016

Tunnel Of Fear – The Avengers, Series 1, Episode 20

Production completed: 3rd August 1961. First transmission: 5th August 1961

Plot

Top secret information is leaking into Europe from somewhere in Southend and is it a coincidence that Harry Black, a recent escapee from prison, worked in the funfair? Closer examination reveals that the Ghost Train is more scary than it looks and Wickram is arranging the leaks. Trick cigarettes allow Steed to bluff the enemy into submission and Black is proved innocent: he was hypnotised and framed.

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tunnel-of-fear-the-avengers-ian-hendry-patrick-macnee2b
tunnel-of-fear-the-avengers-ian-hendry-patrick-macnee3b
tunnel-of-fear-the-avengers-ian-hendry-patrick-macnee5b
tunnel-of-fear-the-avengers-ian-hendry-patrick-macnee6b

Pictures above: Stills taken from the original film recording – Tunnel of Fear, The Avengers (1961)

 

Ian Hendry in make-up with Joan Watson – Rare Behind the Scenes Shot

Ian Hendry + Joan Watson The Avengers (1961) In Make-Up

Picture: Ian Hendry in make-up with Joan Watson. The original opening credits board for The Avengers is on the stand to the right.

Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee Reunion – This Is Your Life (1978)

On 8th March 1978, Patrick Macnee was the special guest on Ian’s This Is Your Life. The video below is an extract from the original show, broadcast one week later, where the two reminisce about those early days:

The Avengers Series 1 – The Missing Episodes

A special mention must be given to Richard McGinlay, Alan Hayes and Alys Hayes who have carried out some marvellous research on the first series of The Avengers, culminating in the book:

Two Against The Underworld – The Collected Unauthorised Guide To The Avengers Series 1

Two Against the Underworld brings together six years of research and combines and updates two previously published Hidden Tiger books (The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes andWith Umbrella, Scotch and Cigarettes) to tell the story of The Avengers from both sides of the camera.

 

Avengers-Hendry

 

Picture: Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel ( illustration by Shaqui Le Vesconte fro the book, Two Against The Underworld)

Their dedication to detail is inspiring and they must take a lot of credit in ‘putting the pieces’ together to tell the fascinating story behind the very first series of The Avengers.

Richard and Alan have been interviewed twice now on this website – discussing their work and their personal love of the series.

These interviews can be found via the links below:

The Avengers Series 1 – A Case Reopened

The Avengers Series 1 – With Umbrella Scotch and Cigarettes

Ian Hendry Patrick Macnee The Avengers-1962

Picture: Ian Hendry (as Dr. David Keel) and Patrick Macnee (as John Steed)

Big Finish – The Avengers Series 1

Also, a special mention for Big Finish whose audio productions of the first series has brought new life to the missing episodes.

In their own words:

“The Avengers – The Lost Episodes recreates the existing scripts on audio with a full cast of actors. Discover, for the first time in over fifty years, the beginnings of a TV legend…”

For more information visit:

Big Finish – The Avengers, Series 1

The Avengers December 1960 Ian Hendry Patrick Macnee Ingrid Hafner ABC TV Soho London 7

Picture: Patrick Macnee, Ingrid Hafner and Ian Hendry in Soho, London

For further reading about the series, see also:

The Avengers – Series 1 Promotional Photoshoot in Soho, London (1960)

Ian Hendry in make-up with Joan Watson (The Avengers, 1961)

Ian Hendry – Original ABC TV Promotional Portrait (The Avengers, 1960/1961)

 

As and when more information becomes available, I’ll update you all via this website and the Ian Hendry Facebook page.

It’s been a great day – let’s raise a glass to Ian, Patrick and Ingrid, you are in our thoughts.

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Website of Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

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

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