Quote, Unquote: The New
Avengers Season 1
Patrick Macnee, Actor, on the return of The Avengers: "The New Avengers sort of sneaked up on me. Last year, I was in a play at Chichester Festival and on the very last day I had to travel to Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, to do a Champagne commercial for French television. It was an Avengers-style commercial, mainly featuring Linda Thorson (who's a big name in France) and I was only there as a kind of reminder of The Avengers. They kept on at me to do my lines in French, which I find difficult. Time was getting late, and I had a 100-mile drive to catch the curtain at Chicester. I was just dashing out of the door when a tall Frenchman called Rudolf Roffi asked me if I'd like to do The Avengers again. I rushed past him saying: 'I certainly can't do it in French.' I forgot all about it until six weeks later when Brian Clemens rang me at the Schubert Theatre in Chicago, where I was playing in Absurd Person Singular. He said it was no joke - The Avengers was going to be done again and they wanted me in it. I said send me a script. They never did. I didn't see a script until I came back to Britain. My daughter Jennie was very suspicious at first. She said there must be some kind of catch. But when I did get some scripts I realised that they were better than ever before. And there we were, doing it. Now it's almost as if I've never been away."
Joanna Lumley, Actress, on auditioning for the role of Purdey: "I was dejected at the time I did the audition. I'd been out of work for six months and there were loads of little things going wrong at the flat that needed fixing, like the loo not flushing! I was so fed up I'd thought of packing up and going off to the States! So I couldn't believe it when I was offered the part. It was such a good one and I knew it would be fun to do."
Patrick Macnee, Actor, on Steed's origins: "I base Steed on a combination of Leslie Howard's Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel, a performance by Ralph Richardson in a 1936 film called Q Planes - and on my father."
Joanna Lumley, Actress, on Purdey's fighting style: "If you want a demonstration of my fighting kicks, I'll oblige - but I don't encourage it. You'll never know what hit you! The high-kicking technique is inspired loosely by the French fighting art of Panache. And Purdey, an ex-ballerina, knows how to use her legs to good effect."
Gareth Hunt, Actor, on finding his vocation: "I stayed in the Merchant Navy for six years, but one time, in New Zealand, I got footloose. With another couple of guys, I jumped ship. That was at a place called Napier, and to make a clean getaway, we hired a cab for a hundred mile trip. Cost us eleven quid and two watches. We did odd jobs out there, but of course, we were caught, and ended up in the nick. I did three months, and it taught me one thing. Never to get on the wrong side of the law again! Eventually, I decided it was time to concentrate on that old first love of mine - acting. I studied, played bit parts. Toured in rep, got my confidence and experience, and then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Now I'm with the National Theatre, so in a way, if I ever had any ambition, I've answered it."
Joanna Lumley, Actress, on an unfortunate incident on set that resulted in her injuring a stuntman: "The accident happened during an actual 'take'. It looked marvellous on camera. But the poor man must have been in agony for some moments, and I hurt my foot. As soon as the director called 'Cut,' I rushed across to see how he was. It was several seconds before he could speak. And then I apologised profusely. But he just smiled and said it was one of the occupational hazards that he ran. But it made me a little nervous of the fighting scenes for some time. The idea of really hurting someone is not my idea of fun."
Patrick Macnee, Actor, on The Avengers' enduring success: "Today, seven years on (from The Avengers), I feel that The New Avengers has a fresh validity; the timing is perfect for a whole new series. But if I had been asked any time in the past seven years to do it, I can assure you I would have refused. For me, a most exciting thing about the old Avengers is its recent apparent discovery by American youth. It has become a cult thing in the colleges. There are 83 episodes of the series with Di and Linda which are currently showing in some American city every day of the week. From this, you will assume I must be vastly wealthy from the repeat fees. Not so. Down in the small print on the contract there is a clause that says no repeat fees will be paid unless it is shown in more than 20 places at the same time. This time, just in case, I've looked very closely at the small print..."
Joanna Lumley, Actress, on the downside of her role: "I have no head for heights. So, of course, I seem to spend my time on rooftops, trying to look cool while screaming inside."
Gareth Hunt, Actor, on public perceptions: "People expect me to be a millionaire driving around in an XJ6. Well, I'm not, and Alexander the Beetle does me just fine!"
Quotes sourced from Look-In,
TV Life and TVTimes
materials copyrighted per their respective copyright holders.