"The Avengers" Box of Tricks (TV Episode 1963) Poster

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Third episode with Venus Smith
kevin olzak22 December 2010
Third of the six episodes featuring nightclub singer Venus Smith (Julie Stevens), again an improvement on its predecessor. In demonstrating his magic box, a shady magician (Ian Curry) makes his female assistant disappear, then reappear, murdered by a fatal gunshot. Curiously, when her replacement (April Olrich) meets the same fate, the magician escapes suspicion! Steed brings Venus Smith into the picture, performing at the same nightclub where the murders occurred (two songs this time), and she's more helpful this time around, hearing voices from inside the magic box, and visiting an old friend (Jane Barratt) whose wheelchair-bound father, General Sutherland (Maurice Hedley), holds the key to the solution (NATO security leaks). Steed goes undercover in two disguises, one a masseur for the ailing General, wisely ducking out when Venus shows up (she blew his cover in "The Removal Men"), and later as a hypochondriac millionaire visiting Dr. Gallam (Edgar Wreford), the General's less than inspiring physician. Steed and Venus finally work well as a team, but had only three more together; next up for Venus would be "School for Traitors."
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Steed and Venus uncover a spying plot
Tweekums2 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This episode opens in the Gemini Club where a magic act is taking place; the magician's assistant steps into a box and as planned she disappears, then as he reopens the box for her to emerge her dead body falls out… shot! Steed starts asking a few questions, getting help from his friend Venus Smith, who works as a singer at the club. While investigating the magic box she hears what sounds like a military many discussing classified information. This fits in with recent leaks of NATO secrets linked to meetings attended by General Sutherland. Steed has been seeing the General, by posing as his masseur, and learns that his daughter is trying to get him to see an alternative therapist. The General refuses but she follows the therapist's advice and places a little box in her father's wheelchair believing it to provide some sort of healing radiation. If they are to stop the leaks Steed will have to discover just what the little box contains.

I rather enjoyed this episode; while Cathy Gale is probably the better partner for Steed Venus Smith makes a welcome change. Julie Stevens is a delight in the role; a fair more innocent character who believably gets a little out of her depth at times. The case itself is rather fun; nobody will be surprised when it emerges that the dodgy therapist is a wrong'un but there are still some surprises about who is involved. Patrick Macnee in on top form as Steed; I particularly liked his undercover guises where he pretends to be a masseur and later a hypochondriac hoping to be treated by the dodgy therapist. Overall this was a lighter episode than many this season but it was still a lot of fun.
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