The Avengers Series 1 (1961) The Search For The Missing Episodes – Ian Hendry + Patrick Macnee

Video above: Brief history of the missing episodes. Please post theories, thoughts and corrections on this post of the Facebook Page. Thanks!

Apologies if the production values of this video fall short of the finest directors and producers – or your favourite classic film – but I did try and include a great ending, even if it wasn’t my own! This subject has been keeping my mind busy of late. Hopefully one day more clues will emerge and episodes found.

The episodes found so far have all been on 16mm film:

Episodes 1: Hot Snow (first act only)
Episode 6: Girl On The Trapeze
Episode 15: The Frighteners

So does this mean that only three episodes were ever transferred onto 16mm film? Or that only these three have been found? I think the latter.

Some believe that the episodes found in the UCLA archives in California, were possibly linked to Ian Hendry’s pursuit of a career in film. The footage discovered there includes Ian playing the lead and notably Patrick Macnee not being present (Act One: Hot Snow) or scripted into the episode (Girl On The Trapeze). The theory that this film was possibly used to showcase Ian’s talent to studios or agents in Los Angeles certainly has a lot of merit.

But that still doesn’t address the issue that only one episode has been found on 16mm film in the UK. If copies of the episodes were being made to 16mm film then surely more episodes would have undergone the process? Perhaps Ian Hendry did ask for 16mm film print copies to send to the US to help him pursue his film career, but that still leaves only one episode – The Frighteners – being copied to film for other purposes. Why only one episode? And why Episode 15?

Assuming that more copies to film were in fact made, the question is did any of them survive – either forgotten about or in a private collection?

Episode 1: Hot Snow

Just as an example, the first episode was broadcast from the following list of networks at the times specified. Details taken from Alan Hayes excellent The Avengers – Declassified Website

Given transmission occurred at the same time for many regions it seems inevitable that copies of the episode were made by ABC TV and sent to the various regions for broadcast purposes. Was this on videotape (which we know was an expensive medium at the time) or 16mm film? What happened to the tapes after broadcast? Were they returned to ABC TV?

ABC Midlands: Sat 7 Jan 1961, 10.00pm
ABC North: Sat 7 Jan 1961, 10.00pm
Anglia: Not transmitted
ATV London: Sat 18 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
Border: Not transmitted
Grampian: Not transmitted
Scottish: Not transmitted
Southern: Sat 18 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
TWW: Sat 18 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
Tyne Tees: Sat 18 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
Ulster: Sat 18 Mar 1961, 10.00pm
Westward: Not transmitted

We Can But Hope!

Maybe it’s just ‘dreaming’, but recent stories like this one certainly fuel my overactive imagination:

Classic cars found in French farmhouse expected to fetch millions

Actor Alan Delon’s Ferrari and King Farouk’s Talbot among 60 luxury vehicles found in countryside, compared by auctioneers to ‘discovering tomb of Tutankhamun’……

You can read about this amazing story here

Further Reading

Good overview article by Richard McGinlay on the history of the missing episodes:

The Missing Episodes – The Avengers Series 1

The links to the articles below include a couple of great interviews with Richard McGinlay, Alan Hayes and Alys Hayes – authors of two excellent books on Series 1 of The Avengers:

See also:

The Strange Case Of The Missing Episodes – Interview

With Umbrella Scotch and Cigarettes – Interview

Ian Hendry – Original Promotional Portrait For The Avengers By ABC TV


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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