Sir Christopher Lee in his second AVENGERS episode
Making his second appearance (after "Never, Never Say Die"), the legendary Sir Christopher Lee is well cast as the charmingly deceptive Colonel Mannering, organizing a plot to eliminate informants within Steed's organization. One after another, various agents are spirited away to an isolated retreat in the country and made to give up their secret information, until Tara King becomes the latest to be kidnapped, with Steed hot on her trail. Other returning veterans included David Sumner ("Death on the Rocks"), Neil McCarthy ("Brought to Book" and "Dead Man's Treasure"), and Cardew Robinson ("The 50,000 Breakfast"). Special mention must go to Neil Wilson ("The Frighteners" and "The Gilded Cage") as forensics expert Norton, who instantly details every ingredient of a certain cigar ash, then suggests it's only a wild guess! By the time Christopher Lee shot this episode (completed October 22, 1968), his busy year had included the final two Fu Manchu entries, "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave" (third in the Hammer series), and a bittersweet reunion with London neighbor Boris Karloff in "The Crimson Cult." Colonel Mannering is almost Dracula-like in his mesmeric seduction of each individual agent, one of the show's greatest villains. Lee and Patrick Macnee were lifelong friends for over 80 years (since 1931!), who would work together again in 1990 (as Holmes and Watson, respectively) in two European television miniseries, "Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady" and "Incident at Victoria Falls." Incidentally, David Bond is the father of actress Samantha Bond, best known as Miss Moneypenny in the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films.
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