The Avengers: Season 4, Episode 1

The Town of No Return (1 Sep. 1966)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Comedy | Crime
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Steed and Emma visit a mysterious coastal town where several agents have vanished, and where the locals are not all they seem.


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Title: The Town of No Return (01 Sep 1966)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Alan MacNaughton ...
Mark Brandon
Patrick Newell ...
Jimmy Smallwood
Terence Alexander ...
'Piggy' Warren
Jeremy Burnham ...
Vicar, Jonathan Ainsbury
Juliet Harmer ...
Jill Manson
Walter Horsbrugh ...
School Inspector


Steed and Emma visit a mysterious coastal town where several agents have vanished, and where the locals are not all they seem.

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Release Date:

1 September 1966 (USA)  »

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


First episode introducing the now famous theme song composed by Laurie Johnson. This catchy tune was also the base for the theme of the TV series The New Avengers (1976) and again for the movie The Avengers (1998) See more »


During the scene in which Smallwood is chased by bloodhounds, there is a shot of him running through some water - but whereas the actor playing Smallwood is obese and dark-haired, the stunt man seen front-on in the water shot is grey-haired and slim. See more »


John Steed: Don't touch that, we may be in orbit.
Emma Peel: You of course quite a constellation.
See more »


Referenced in The Avengers (1998) See more »

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Enter: Emma Peel
2 October 2010 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

After a long break, 'The Avengers' returned to I.T.V. in September 1965 with a new production team ( headed by Julian Wintle ). The show was now on film, allowing for more ambitious plots, Laurie Johnson's theme ( with its famous kettledrum opening ) replaced John Dankworth's, and most importantly, Diana Rigg had arrived as 'Mrs.Emma Peel', arguably the most famous 'Avenger' girl of all ( Elisabeth Shepherd was cast originally, but replaced because she had no flair for light comedy ). Like her predecessor 'Mrs.Cathy Gale' ( Honor Blackman ), Emma was a widow, fond of leather suits and karate, and possessed a quick wit. Her relationship with John Steed ( Patrick Macnee ) seemed platonic but there were hints given that it could have been deeper. At the start of the episode, Steed visits her at her flat, and it is obvious they are well acquainted.

The show essentially remained the same - a light-hearted espionage romp that got more outrageous as it went on. Several agents have vanished mysteriously from the seaside town of Little Bazeley, so the Avengers investigate. They find it strangely underpopulated. The school is empty because the kids are 'on holiday' even though it is mid-term. Parish records have been tampered with. At night the sound of marching can be heard coming from the streets. 'Blackwood' ( Patrick Newell ) is there to see his brother Tom, the local blacksmith, from whom he has not heard in a long time. A stranger ( Robert Brown ) has taken his place. Blackwood is then found dead on the beach. Nearby is a deserted R.A.F. base. In an air-raid shelter, Steed and Emma find an army preparing to take over the country one town at a time...

Written by Brian Clemens ( who had risen through the ranks to become associate producer ), this gets the 'Emma Peel' era of 'The Avengers' off to a strong start. Rather than make concessions to the American market, 'The Avengers' decided to be ultra-British - and it worked! The opening in which schools inspector Mark Brandon ( Alan MacNaughtan ) walks out of the sea in a protective bubble probably inspired the scene in the 1998 movie in which Steed and Emma walk across the frozen Thames in transparent globes. Terence Alexander ( 'Charlie Hungerford' from 'Bergerac' ) plays 'Piggy' Warren', the handle bar moustached-landlord of the inn where the Avengers are staying. He appeared several times in the course of the series, most notably as 'Ponsonby' in 'The Correct Way To Kill'. Robert Brown later played 'M' in the Bond movies of the '80's. Juliet Harmer, who plays the schoolmistress 'Jill Manson', went on to be 'Georgie Jones' in the B.B.C.'s 'Avengers' rival 'Adam Adamant Lives'. Patrick Newell made a further appearance in the show - 'Something Nasty In The Nursery' - before climbing into a wheelchair to play 'Mother', Steed's boss. Jeremy Burnham a.k.a. 'the Vicar' - wrote several of the best Linda Thorson episodes.

When repeated on Channel 4 in 1996, Charles Catchpole - then television critic of the 'News Of The World' - lambasted it because only a few soldiers were on view instead of an army. He has got to be joking. Many modern series would find it tough to put an army on screen, so how did he expect a show from thirty-five years ago to be able to do this? Directed by Roy Baker, whose credits include the best 'Titanic' movie ever - 'A Night To Remember' ( 1958 ).

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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