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"The Avengers" What the Butler Saw (1966)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The butlers did it

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
4 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Somebody is leaking defence secrets to the enemy; there are only three suspects, one from each service; an admiral, a brigadier and a group captain. Steed dons suitable facial hair and uniform to visit each but can't determine who is most likely to be the culprit; each has a weakness; gambling, drinking and women respectively. The men have one thing in common; they all employ butlers from a prestigious Butlers' school. To investigate that link Steed enrols in the school while Mrs Peel sets about catching the eye of the randy group captain.

This was an enjoyable episode with plenty of laughs and a little twist at the end. Early laughs are provided by Steed's appearance as he visits each of the military men; the cliché facial hair is great; especially when he is posing as an RAF officer with a ridiculously impressive moustache! Later fun is to be had as he undertakes training as a butler. Mrs Peel's method of attracting the Group Captain is also rather amusing as is the revelation that he only carries on with so many women because his reputation demands it… he'd rather play board games with them. The bad guys are suitably unpleasant; I particularly liked John Le Mesurier portrayal of one of the bad butlers… so different from his best known role of Sgt Wilson in the classic series 'Dad's Army'. Overall this provided a good mixture of humour and drama making it a pretty good episode.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Flipping over Emma Peel

Author: kevin olzak ( from Youngstown, Ohio
4 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"What the Butler Saw" has less Emma watching, with Steed attempting to ferret out a traitor among a Brigadier (Howard Marion Crawford, later seen in "The Living Dead" and "Stay Tuned"), a Vice Admiral (Humphrey Lestocq), and an RAF Captain, Georgie Miles (Dennis Quilley), notorious for his numerous female conquests. He naturally flips over Mrs. Peel (effortlessly stealing him away from the competition), while his butler (Hammer veteran Thorley Walters) spends his spare time running a school for butlers infiltrated by Steed (who jealously advises Emma not to do what he would). John Le Mesurier, previously seen in "Mandrake," stands out as the sinister Benson, with Ewan Hooper, dubbed in his memorable role as Dracula's servant priest in Hammer's 1968 "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave," using his own voice here as Sergeant Moran, whose climactic showdown with Mrs. Peel is a particularly well directed bit of action (and probably painful). Norman Scace had previously done "Lobster Quadrille," and Peter Hughes had done "The Medicine Men," while Kynaston Reeves went on to do "Legacy of Death."

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Brighter and Better Butling.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
12 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Neat little episode in which Steed infiltrates a gang of butlers who serve in the households of high-ranking military officers, learn their weaknesses, and use those weaknesses as instruments to learn military intelligence to be passed on to "the other side." Mrs. Peel helps by insinuating herself into the desires of a womanizing RAF officer.

Most amusing scene is when Steed attends a kind of basic training course for butlers. He must learn the correct way to maintain a dignified presence while acting in a properly subservient manner. They practice their lines, for instance. "Your carriage is waiting, sir." "Did you ring, sir?" "Shall I serve the aperitifs now, sir?" "A lady to see you sir. (Q: "What does she look like?") She's, ahem, young -- and rather pretty, sir." Ironing trousers by the numbers, and all that.

Most awkward scene: The RAF officer brusquely tries to seduce Mrs. Peel who must put him off by gracefully ducking away and finally throwing him over her shoulder.

The familiar face of John Le Mesurier appears. If you don't know the name you'll recognize the actor. Other performers of note show up in one or another episode -- Gordon Jackson, Andre Morrell. They all seem to be having a good deal of fun.

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