Steed, Purdey and Gambit, aided by a flock of rabid female fans rescue defector Professor Vasil from under the nose of Ivan Perov at an airport. Perov reactivates a group of 13 sleepers ... See full summary »





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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Gareth Hunt ...
Peter Jeffrey ...
Ivan Perov
Lyndon Brook ...
Derek Francis ...
The Bishop
Mark Burns ...
Geraldine Moffat ...
Suzy Miller (as Annette André)
Ina Skriver ...
Murray Brown ...
David Miller
Gordon Sterne ...
Professor Vasil
Dan Meaden ...
Jeremy Wilkin ...
Dr. Tulliver


Steed, Purdey and Gambit, aided by a flock of rabid female fans rescue defector Professor Vasil from under the nose of Ivan Perov at an airport. Perov reactivates a group of 13 sleepers known as the House of Cards in order to avenge himself on the Avengers and get Vasil back to Russia. Written by The TV Archaeologist

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Release Date:

20 October 1978 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


For years this could not be repeated because Jeremy Wilkin refused it to be shown. See more »


One of the screaming girls at the beginning looks directly at the camera. See more »


John Steed: [to Olga] I feel deeply ashamed at hitting a woman. But you were unlucky, you came along when I needed to hit something.
See more »

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User Reviews

A Game Of Cold War Cards
23 November 2008 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Russian scientist Professor Vasil is snatched from under the noses of the K.G.B. by Steed, Gambit, and Purdey ( with assistance from Department operative Roland ). The agent in charge of the operation - Ivan Perov ( Peter Jeffrey ) - is so worried at the loss of face that he commits suicide. Or appears to. In fact he is alive and well and hopes to regain face by means of a programme he began in the 1950's called 'House Of Cards'. Russian agents were carefully infiltrated into British society, and now Vasil plans on activating them; firstly, to kill the New Avengers and then, to snatch back Professor Vasil...

For many years, this was a 'lost' New Avengers episode. Lost in the sense that one of its cast refused to allow it to be repeated, but thankfully this is no longer the case.

Peter Jeffrey had played villains in two earlier 'Avengers' episodes - as 'Max Prendergast' in 1967's 'The Joker', and then as 'Monty Bristow' in 1968's 'Game' ( my favourite Linda Thorson episode ). Like Peter Bowles and Peter Wyngarde he could always be relied on to give a good performance.

The idea of 'sleepers' being awakened and ordered to wreak havoc was also the premise of Walter Wager's novel 'Telefon', which was filmed the following year by Don Siegel, starring Charles Bronson and Donald Pleasence. The use of playing cards as 'triggers' may have been inspired by Richard Condon's book 'The Manchurian Candidate'.

As was the case with 'The Eagle's Nest', Brian Clemens avoided criticism of stereotyping an entire race by bringing in a good Russian, in this case Olga ( Ina Shriver ).

Interestingly, in Peter Cave's novelisation, it is revealed that Perov's sleepers were trained behind the Iron Curtain in a village made to resemble a British community - a neat reference to the 'Danger Man' episode 'Colony Three'.

Comedy actors Frank Thornton and Derek Francis appear, the latter cast as Purdey's stepfather, a bishop, who when the going gets rough is able to apprehend bad guys by kicking them, just as his stepdaughter does.

Steed gets one of his best moments in this episode; when his girlfriend Jo ( Geraldine Moffatt ) is caught trying to poison him, she pleads for mercy, but he tells her that he long ago married a job, and has remained faithful ever since.

In a nice touch, framed photographs of Cathy Gale, Emma Peel, and Tara King are seen prominently displayed in Steed's living room.

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

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