The Avengers (1961–1969)
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Mission... Highly Improbable 

A car carrying two Ministry officials, enroute to investigate the budget overruns on Professor Rushton's latest project, vanishes under escort. Steed goes to investigate, and discovers the ... See full summary »




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Radd ...
Noel Howlett ...
Prof. Rushton
Francis Matthews ...
Richard Leech ...
Col. Drew
Stefan Gryff ...
Kevin Stoney ...
Sir Gerald Bancroft
Peter Clay ...
Corp. Johnson
Cynthia Bizeray ...
Nicole Shelby ...
Brunette (credit only)
Nosher Powell ...


A car carrying two Ministry officials, enroute to investigate the budget overruns on Professor Rushton's latest project, vanishes under escort. Steed goes to investigate, and discovers the hard way where the money has gone; to build a device capable of shrinking anything to a fraction of its normal size. While Rushton has great science- and industry-oriented plans for the device, his assistant Chivers has plans of his own... to make a profit, and dispose of anyone in his way. Steed, inches tall, manages to telephone Emma with a warning, but she is captured by a co-conspirator of Chivers, and next faces the shrinking machine. How will Steed and Emma get through this one? Written by

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Release Date:

10 January 1968 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A fun connection. Jane Merrow played Susan Rushton in The Avengers' "Mission . . . Highly Improbable" in 1967. In 1970 she played Lady Cora Weston in Mission: Impossible's "Lover's Knot". She did the spoof/homage/rip-off/compliment show first. See more »


John Steed: Do you assist your father?
Susan Rushton: Eh, not directly, I, I work in administration.
John Steed: Then perhaps you could supply me with an infantry?
See more »

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User Reviews

Incredible science fiction that doesn't cop out on its premise
6 April 2011 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

"Mission ... Highly Improbable" lives up to its title; whereas previous entries dealt with alien invasions, time machines, or invisible adversaries that failed to deliver on their premises, here we have an invention that miniaturizes objects (remember 1939's "Dr. Cyclops"), with both Avengers brought down to size before it's over. Francis Matthews ("The Thirteenth Hole") plays the villain, Dr. Matthew Andrew Chivers, who uses the machine created by Prof. L. T. Rushton (Noel Howlett) for his own nefarious purposes, shrinking a Ministry official come to audit the project's expenses, then the Captain (Nicholas Courtney, "Propellant 23") who discovers the truth, winding up flushed down the sewer. Ronald Radd ("Bullseye" and "The Outside-In Man") is toplined as enemy agent Shaffer, who shows great interest in Rushton's invention, with brief appearances from Richard Leech ("Traitor in Zebra" and "Dressed to Kill") and Cynthia Bizeray ("Square Root of Evil"). Lovely Jane Merrow provides a nice contrast to Diana Rigg, but one actress who is credited but does not appear is Nicole Shelby, who does actually show up in "They Keep Killing Steed." Both Steed and Mrs. Peel help each other escape using the same desktop set, but it's all in good fun, especially when Emma parades herself before Steed as he examines her 'merchandise' to make sure everything's in place (and with Diana Rigg breaking out with such a winning smile, it is sheer perfection). Emma Peel returns for one final episode, "The Forget-Me-Knot."

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