The Avengers: Season 6, Episode 3

The £50,000 Breakfast (28 Feb. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Comedy | Crime
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The Avengers go to the dogs as their only lead when $50,000 of stolen diamonds is found in a dead man's stomach. Mismatched Borzoi hairs lead Steed and Emma to a pet cemetery where they take the bite out of the villain's bark.



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Title: The £50,000 Breakfast (28 Feb 1968)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Cecil Parker ...
Yolande Turner ...
David Langton ...
Pauline Delaney ...
Mrs. Rhodes (as Pauline Delany)
Anneke Wills ...
Judy Channerin
Cardew Robinson ...
Eric Woofe ...
1st Assistant
Philippe Monnet ...
2nd Assistant
Richard Curnock ...
Dusty Rhodes
Jon Laurimore ...
Security Man
Richard Owens ...
Michael Rothwell ...
Kennel Man
Yole Marinelli ...
Juanita Jerezina


The Avengers go to the dogs as their only lead when $50,000 of stolen diamonds is found in a dead man's stomach. Mismatched Borzoi hairs lead Steed and Emma to a pet cemetery where they take the bite out of the villain's bark.

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Release Date:

28 February 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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The view outside the Lithoff office is flat, and clearly a photograph. See more »

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User Reviews

Blood on the Glass Ceiling
12 May 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Towards the end of Diana Rigg's run on 'The Avengers', many episodes began to acquire a slightly darker, more melancholy tone than what had become typical for the series by this point. Whilst the earliest colour episodes were full of brilliantly played but two-dimensional eccentrics who were bumped off in amusing ways, episodes like 'The Joker', 'Death's Door', 'Return of the Cybernauts' and 'Murdersville' began to suggest that there was real blood in these character's veins, and having it spilt all over the floor might not be that funny. 'The £50,000 Breakfast' is, like 'The Joker', a rewrite of an earlier episode ('Don't Look Behind You') and naturally brings with it a darker flavour more typical of the series' early years, before terminal whimsy set in. The character of Mrs Rhodes has the dubious distinction of being the only woman to be murdered in the colour episodes.

The real strength of 'The £50,000 Breakfast' are its villains. Rather than diabolical masterminds with improbably-themed schemes to blackmail the country or release devastation into the streets, they're simply a quartet of fraudsters who saw an opportunity and took it. Yolande Turner's magnificently brittle Miss Pegrum is one of the real beneficiaries of the series' newly rediscovered sense of character. In a few scenes, she and the script work together to convey the frustration of an intelligent, ambitious woman thwarted by sexism and the 'old boy' network. For a series that revolutionised the depiction of women in pop culture, its surprising that 'The Avengers' actually addressed the subject of gender politics very rarely (and the one episode which took it as the central theme, the similarly corporate 'How to Succeed... at Murder', is - of course - the most sexist episode of the series). Miss Pegrum must be content with being the woman behind the man - until she has a brainwave. It's easier to be the power behind the throne if there's no-one sitting in it... (Whoopi Goldberg would realise the same thing years later in 'The Associate'). Of course, this is still the high-fantasy world of 'The Avengers', so Miss Pegrum can also take on Mrs Peel in an outrageous, high-kicking brawl - whilst wearing high heels and a skirt-suit. Interestingly, the male villains attempt to slip out quietly. The poor woman is undermined by the failings of her male colleagues yet again.

The other great villain is Cecil Parker, in a wonderful guest turn as a butler. His motivation, both very funny and yet oddly creepy in the implied misogyny, may be the single greatest motive for a villain in the series - or anywhere else, to be honest. It's a wonderful example of the pettiness of the downtrodden (you have to wonder if Miss Pegrum fed into it at all) and a good illustration of the way the series taps into English class tensions with greater subtlety than it is often credited for.

These wonderful performances (and others - Anneke Wills as the cute and kooky Judy is particularly good) are all wrapped up in the series' usual strengths - a strong sense of visual storytelling (check out the arc shot around the crashed car at the beginning, or Mrs Peel framed in the tie-shop window, and begin to understand that this was the best directed television show of the 1960's) and a witty, witty script (by Roger Marshall). Try to ignore the casually racist remark of one character ('lead balloon' doesn't begin to cover it), and an overly eccentric vicar, and just enjoy the polish of one of the best and most important television programmes ever made at its height.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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