The Avengers (1961–1969)
4 user 1 critic

Look - (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers... 

Directors of the Capitol Land and Development Company are being killed. They have the tender for the Cupid project, an underground government headquarters in the event of a nuclear war. ... See full summary »



(teleplay by)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lord Dessington
Brigadier Wiltshire
Miss Charles
The Honorable Thomas Randolph Cleghorn
Sir Jeremy Broadfoot
Fiery Frederick
Jay Denyer ...
Tenor (as Jay Denver)


Directors of the Capitol Land and Development Company are being killed. They have the tender for the Cupid project, an underground government headquarters in the event of a nuclear war. Clues such as a red nose and a giant footprint lead the Avengers to a home for retired clowns, irate that the project will flatten a sainted variety theatre and with an agenda of their own. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

8 May 1968 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Clown makeups are copyrighted, and painting them on eggshells is actually one way that is used to document them for copyright purposes. See more »


Referenced in QI: A Quite Interesting Game (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

John Cleese and Bernard Cribbins
14 April 2011 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

"Look - (stop me if you've heard this one) But There Were These Two Fellers..." is unique and one of a kind, the only full blown comedy, and the most controversial episode of the entire series. For the first time, Tara wears a long haired brunette wig, making her look more like Emma Peel than ever before (exactly the opposite of what the original producers intended). A pair of vaudeville clowns are killing off the entire board of a development company taking the blame for putting their fellow performers out of work. A simple red nose left behind provides a vital clue as to the killer's identity, with future Monty Python star John Cleese making a brief but memorable appearance as Marcus Rugman, hilariously nervous caretaker of the clown makeup copyrights, carefully preserved on fragile eggs, laid out in a most unaccommodating series of shelves! (Tara: "you are a public office?" Marcus: "yes, that's the trouble!") The sort of uptight role that Cleese truly excels at, perhaps the single funniest part of his scenes is the elaborate messages ("Don't knock, don't even breathe!") posted on the door to his sanctuary (completed March 1968, 18 months before Python's debut). A vibrant combination of mirth and malice, Julian Chagrin's silent pantomime as Jennings conjures fond memories of Harpo Marx, but it's Jimmy Jewell's quick changing Merry Maxie Martin who steals the show, his climactic tussle with Steed yielding 7 different costume changes. Also featuring Bernard Cribbins ("The Girl from Auntie") playing gag writer Bradley Marler, who laughs at every groaner he utters, Johnny Vyvyan, later seen on THE BENNY HILL SHOW, showing up in costume at the rest home where the comics receive their marching orders, plus Talfryn Thomas ("A Surfeit of H2O"), John Woodvine ("Dead of Winter" and "The Murder Market"), and Robert James, veteran of "Hot Snow," "Brought to Book," "Death A La Carte," and "Too Many Christmas Trees." Echoing "How to Murder," which also featured a ventriloquist, and best seen when familiar with the AVENGERS formula, as described by Patrick Macnee (for whom this entry remained a favorite); that is, to take perfectly ordinary situations and tilting them slightly, emphasizing the humor, which had been sadly lacking throughout the earliest Tara shows. Better than ever as Tara (her 8th episode), Linda Thorson's delightfully charming performance compares most favorably with the departed Diana Rigg, in keeping with the overall tone, finally on equal footing with Macnee's Steed (who does his share of quick changes in the tag scene). And to think, all it took was a little bit (a lot?) of humor!

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