“Dial a Deadly Number” Review

Another cracking episode – featuring some cutting edge technology: the pager! It’s so futuristic there’s an explanation of how pagers work (repeatedly emphasising they’re like the ones in hospitals – the idea of personal pagers being so extraordinary). Every time a pager is dialled (from a rotary telephone, of course) we see the mechanical exchange clicking (again, it’s all modernity; no manual exchange like we saw in Dead On Course or will see again in Murdersville. The pagers have the range of the City of London. Wow. (There’s also an explanation of a financial instrument – put options – for making money on falling share prices. Just as well they never did a plot based on trading sub-prime mortgages…)

Mrs Peel’s cover story is that she has newly arrived from Barbados. When she is ‘introduced’ to Steed he undermines her cover: “so little tan” but Emma happily slings back an instant response.

There’s another wine tasting (see Death of a Great Dane and The Secrets Broker). This one is smaller, more intimate, and more antagonistic. It’s wine tasting as a duel – as in one-up-manship – although ultimately Steed disarms Peter Bowles with a champagne cork! And – almost inevitably – it makes ‘that’ ricochet sound… Peter Bowles is back after Second Sight – but this is my favourite of his Avengers roles – he’ll be back in Escape in Time.

Some great lines… in the wine cellar, Steed, looking at Emma: “Agreeable, well rounded, a little on the flinty side.”


“I’m optimistic. I admire a woman with a past.”

“What’s optimistic about that?”

“The hope that history may repeat itself.”

Fitch: “I will kill you with scientific tenderness, Mrs, Peel.”

All in all, this episode is an absolutely corker! (Sorry)

Tag scene: in a cab, Steed and Mrs Peel have another wine tasting.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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