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John Steed - Eloquently dressed British spy featured on the fantasy espionage drama THE AVENGERS/ABC/1966-69. John lived at 5 Westminster Mews.

John Steed and Cathy Gale - THE AVENGERS
John Steed and partner, Cathy Gale

Originally, the Avengers (the collective nickname for a team of British agents working for her majesty's secret service) consisted of the debonair John Steed (Patrick Macnee) who was distinguished by his trademark derby, umbrella and sharply designed but conservative suits; and Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman) whose wardrobe catered to leather freaks. (Honor Blackman later left to play "Pussy Galore" in a James Bond feature film Goldfinger (1964).

When the series was syndicated to America in 1966 Steed was teamed with Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), a slender, 5'-8½", karate-kicking widow. Her brightly colored jumpsuits with lots of zippers were called Emma Peelers. Emma Peel lived on Primrose Hill in London and used an Italian Baretta 7.65 hand gun.

"Extraordinary crimes against the people and the State have to be avenged by agents extraordinary. Two such people are John Steed, top professional, and his partner Emma Peel, talented amateur -- otherwise known as the Avengers."

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel - THE AVENGERS
Emma Peel

The Emma Peel character was best described in one episode by   crazed film director Z.Z. Von Schnerck (Kenneth J. Warren) who said:

"I needed you, Mrs. Peel, a woman of beauty, of action, a woman who could become desperate and yet remain strong, a woman who could become confused and yet remain intelligent, who could fight back and yet remain feminine. You, and only you, Emma Peel, have all these qualifications."

When Mrs. Peel's lost husband returned on the March 20, 1968 episode "The Forget_Me_Not," a curvaceous Tara King (Linda Thorson) became Steed's new partner until the end of the series run.

Linda Thorsen as Tara King - THE AVENGERS
Tara King

Emma's parting remark to her replacement was to remember that Steed liked his tea stirred counterclockwise (a tongue in cheek reference to secret agent James Bond who preferred his Martinis shaken not stirred).

In 1976 the series was revived in Britain as THE NEW AVENGERS and later in the USA for the CBS late night lineup in 1978. Steed's new colleagues included the cool, blonde known as Purdey (Joanna Lumley) and the highly efficient, Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt).

Gambit, Purdey and Steed - Cast of THE NEW AVENGERS
Mike Gambit, Purdey and John Steed

TRIVIA NOTE: Over the life of the series, John Steed had a number of associates/partners. They included: Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry), Dr. Martin King (Jon Rollason), Catherine Gale (Honor Blackman), Venus Smith (Julie Stevens), Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), Tara King (Linda Thorson), Lady Diana Forbes-Blakeney (Jennifer Croxton), Purdey (Joanna Lumley), Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt), Georgie Price-Jones (Liz Fraser), Olga (Anna Quayle), Jenny Firston (Penelope Horner), and Inge Tilson (Dora Reisser).

In the process of creating a new character to fill the void left by Honor Blackman's departure, writer Marie Donaldson played with the phrase "Man Appeal." She distilled it further to "M" appeal and finally to "Emma Peel."

A motion picture remake entitled The Avengers (1998) starred Uma Thurman as Dr. Emma Peel and Ralph Fiennes as John Steed.

THE AVENGERS - Movie starring Uma Thurman and Raplph Fiennes


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