The New Avengers: Season 1, Episode 1

The Eagle's Nest (5 Sep. 1978)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Mystery | Thriller
7.4
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Steed investigates the death of a colleague while Gambit witnesses the kidnapping of Professor Von Claus. Purdey scuba dives to the remote island of St. Dorca, where a monastery hides a secret and Germany's greatest treasure.

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Title: The Eagle's Nest (05 Sep 1978)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Gareth Hunt ...
...
...
Von Claus
Derek Farr ...
Father Trasker
Frank Gatliff ...
Karl
Sydney Bromley ...
Hara
Trevor Baxter ...
Brown-Fitch
Joyce Carey ...
Lady with Dog
Neil Phillips ...
Main
Brian Anthony ...
Stannard
Ronald Forfar ...
Jud
Jerold Wells ...
Barker
Geraldine Gardner ...
Gerda (as Trudi Van Doorne)
Peter Porteous ...
Nazi Corporal
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Storyline

Steed investigates the death of a colleague while Gambit witnesses the kidnapping of Professor Von Claus. Purdey scuba dives to the remote island of St. Dorca, where a monastery hides a secret and Germany's greatest treasure.

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5 September 1978 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Cushing also had acted in the Original Avengers series. See more »

Quotes

John Steed: [pointing a gun at four Nazi's, two of whom are armed with poisoned fishing rods] I abhor violence. And loud gunshots make me blink.
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Soundtracks

Colonel Bogey March
(uncredited)
composed by Kenneth Alford
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User Reviews

 
"Monkey Business!"
15 November 2008 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Though 'The Avengers' ended in 1969, repeats kept on coming on I.T.V. ( in my part of the world at least ) until 1972. Some lucky regions got them as late as 1975, mostly of the colour Rigg and Thorson episodes, good news for anyone who had recently upgraded their television sets.

In 1976, 'The New Avengers' appeared. Patrick Macnee returned as 'Steed', with Joanna Lumley as 'Purdey' and Gareth Hunt as 'Mike Gambit'. Many felt the concept of a trio damaged the show, leaving little room for the kind of romantic chemistry Macnee had earlier enjoyed with his co-stars. I personally feel that it was a necessary move, especially seeing how Macnee was in his fifties when the show was made.

'The Eagle's Nest' opened the series. A British agent named George Stannard is being chased across open country by fishermen whose rods have poisoned hooks. He seeks sanctuary in a monastery, but the monks stand by and watch him being led away. Whilst being interrogated, he makes a break for it, and speeds away from the island in a boat. A hook catches him across his right cheek, and he dies.

Steed arrives at Stannard's London flat, only to be attacked. He gives chase, but ever the gallant gentlemen stops to help an old lady find her dog. He calls Gambit, requesting he consult Purdey. As she and Stannard had been lovers, it is thought she might have knowledge of his present whereabouts.

The trail eventually leads to the remote Scottish island of St.Dorca. Steed turns up posing as a tourist, while Purdey sneaks in unannounced.

Back in London, Gambit chases the kidnapper of the noted German cryobiologist Von Claus. He catches up with him, but the man takes his own life. Oddly, he is wearing a hairpiece, the crown of his head is shaved, like a monk's...

I will leave the synopsis here. Suffice it to say, the episode has little of the flavour of the original series, coming across more like a 'Freewheelers' adventure. From the pre-credits scene you immediately know its not the '60's anymore. Laurie Johnson's music is very much of its time, Steed does not have his Bentley, and the elegance and charm that endeared 'The Avengers' to millions is all but gone. As 'Steed', Macnee is as impeccable as ever, Joanna Lumley's 'Purdey' was the best 'Avengers' girl since 'Mrs.Peel', and 'Gambit', while his character was never developed as well as it should, gave a fresh look to the show.

As 'Von Claus', Peter Cushing made his second 'Avengers' appearance. He had earlier played 'Paul Beresford' in 'Return Of The Cybernauts'. Anticipating being criticised for stereotyping the German people as heel-clicking Nazis, Clemens deliberately made a good German the pivot of the story.

The premise of Hitler in suspended animation was hokey even then, but it is executed with some panache here. Not showing us Hitler's actual face was a wise move. The main villainy is provided by Derek Farr as 'Father Trasker'.

I.T.V.'s trailer relied heavily on clips from this episode, such as Purdey's fight, Gambit's car chase, and Steed saying 'Rule Britannia!' when discovered by the Nazi monks. It had the unintended side-effect of making this look like a repeat even on the first run.

Critics were divided. Brian Lawrence of 'The News Of The World' called it 'great entertainment' while Peter Phillips of 'The Sun' thought it 'did not deserve a slot even on children's television'. Phillips' harsh view was echoed by many 'Sun' readers. They felt that the show was a lot of 'childish comedy, with stereotypical situations'. What had happened was that other more realistic thriller shows such as 'The Sweeney' and 'Starsky & Hutch' had come along, and Steed and co. looked ridiculous by comparison.

Nevertheless, 'The Eagle's Nest' reached number eight in the Top Ten most watched programmes of the week ( not bad for a non-networked show ), and eventually the public grew to like 'The New Avengers'. Steed was back, and with a vengeance!


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