After a trip to the dentist government minister Lord Mauncey enters a secret vault and attempts to steal the F File, which contains the country's most important defence information. He is ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Bown ...
John Franklyn-Robbins ...
David Kelsey ...
Lord Mauncey
Robert Mill ...
Dervis Ward ...


After a trip to the dentist government minister Lord Mauncey enters a secret vault and attempts to steal the F File, which contains the country's most important defence information. He is gassed before he can leave and captured by Major Duncan, head of M7. Duncan calls in the Champions to see if they can steal the file, proving the need for a better security system. Mauncey does not know why he entered the vault and he is then killed. Richard enters the vault but memorizes the file's contents before escaping, though he is pursued by heavies, who take him to the man who wants the file. Craig traces a link between Duncan and Mauncey having the same dentist, after Mauncey is hypnotised, as Dauncey was, by the dentist. He has then to get to where Richard is being held before he spills the beans. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

2 April 1969 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Vault of death
16 July 2012 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

I have always loved spy films/television shows where the main character walks into a perfectly ordinary place such as the back room of a shop or a photo booth or an office, presses a hidden button, and it turns either into an elevator, or opens a secret entrance to some futuristic underground complex. 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' is the classic example, of course. This 'Champions' episode by Philip Broadley opens with such a sequence. 'Lord Mauncey' ( David Langton, who was 'Lord Bellamy' in I.T.V.'s 'Upstairs, Downstairs' ) visits a London shirt and tie shop, requesting a particular type of bow tie, one with a unicorn motif. He goes into a changing room, presses a button on the mirror, causing the room to descend to basement level. Beyond is a corridor whose only feature is a test panel on the wall. By arranging lights in a particular sequence, he opens the door. There is another test panel - this one playing the first two notes of a tune, and he has to complete it or he will not be allowed through the next door. The final challenge involves putting the correct combination to a series of tumblers. He finally enters a room full of filing cabinets, removes a dossier marked 'F', and tries to leave. But he has unknowingly activated a defence mechanism, and is gassed. 'Major Duncan' ( William Squire, 'Hunter' in the last few 'Callan' series ) of Department M7 requests help from NEMESIS. The 'F' File contains important information on Britain's nuclear defence system. Mauncey admits to trying to steal it, but does not know why. Is there a security leak or a more terrifying explanation?

'Nutcracker' is a ( no pun intended ) cracking episode, whose highlight is easily Richard's attempt to break in to the vault. Although the tests might look childishly simple, there is a catch - you only have a limited amount of time to do them or you get gassed or killed. Added suspense comes from Richard completing them, only to realise he has left the tie behind on one of the test panels. The idea of a dentist brainwashing people to either give away or steal secrets was also done in a memorable 'Avengers' episode called 'The Hour That Never Was'. The late John Franklyn-Robbins is suitably menacing as 'John Warre', the dental surgeon. He later played a Time Lord in the 'Dr.Who' classic 'Genesis Of The Daleks'. Spy fans will recognise the actor who plays Mauncey's guard as Dervis Ward, who as oil magnate 'Henry Kellor' got blown up by a lethal cigar at the start of the 1966 Bond-like 'Bulldog Drummond' thriller 'Deadlier Than The Male'. Michael Barrington, the shop manager, who was the Governor of H.M. Slade Prison in 'Porridge'.

Sharron is only required to keep the shop assistant ( Robert Mill ) busy while Richard penetrates the vault. A nice bonus for spy fans are the fake policemen who stop Richard's car by spraying the road ahead with nail clusters. The climactic fight in Warre's dental practise is a bit brief, but as this is such a good story I'm prepared to overlook this.

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