The New Avengers – 1976
In tribute To Brian Clemens, 1931 – 2015 and Patrick Macnee, 1922 – 2015
The cult British secret agent fantasy adventure television series that was the sequel to the successful 1960’s series The Avengers.
The New Avengers was developed by original series producers Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens. A joint UK-France-Canada production The New Avengers was produced by The Avengers (Film and TV) Enterprises Ltd for the ITV network, cost £125,000 per episode to produce at Pinewood Studios in England and was seen in 120 countries.
Two series totalling 26 episodes were produced and aired between 1976 and 1977.
Because of the huge cost per episode finance was sought from other sources, in order to complete the planned 26 episodes. Production company Nielsen Ferns came on board but was understandably keen to promote its home country, so the final four stories, titled The New Avengers in Canada on the caption card preceding each episode, saw the action move to Toronto, Ontario (with scenes for the episode “Forward Base” shot at Ward’s Island). By this time Brian Clemens was heavily committed to another project, The Professionals for LWT and control of the series passed to a largely local crew. The results attracted heavy criticism, from fans and from Clemens himself.
As financial problems continued, plans for a third series were abandoned. However because of strong sales of the show to other networks notably CBS in the United States – saw two attempts to revive the show (in 1979 and 1980), though co-financing arrangements proved impossible to agree upon.
In the previous Avengers Steed had always been partnered with just one other, but for The New Avengers we have Steed, Mike Gambit and Purdey. The idea behind the Gambitt character was that by now Macnee was 53 years old and it was feared he may not be up to the potential stuntwork and action scenes. However, Macnee was able to increase his role’s visibility as the series progressed, losing weight to improve his athleticism and ‘keep up’ with his new partners.
Of all the cult shows from around this time this had the lot, fantasy, action, Joanna Lumley and those cars.
Picking up the adventures of John Steed (again played by Patrick Macnee) as he and his team of “Avengers” fight evil plots and world domination.
Created By: Brian Clemens and Albert Fennel
Produced By: Brian Clemens
Original Transmission Dates: 22nd October 1976 – 17th December 1977