1960s psychedelia and senior civil servants with a serious nanny fixation – all taken seriously, as it should be, making for a well-crafted and satisfying episode that is better than I remember. There’s some slightly awkward ‘baby’ acting, but I was too busy enjoying Paul Eddington (who’s back in this one) to find time to cringe. Patrick Newell is back too, in his last pre-Mother appearance. There’s one of those classic Avengers old-world shops, this one staffed by Clive Dunn, selling toys to the aristocracy (he refuses to believe that Steed doesn’t have a title). It’s a wonderful satire on the notion of the ruling class with toys designed to build character and engender patriotism etc… Whilst we’re on guests, Penelope Keith is back after her incredibly brief appearance in The Murder Market though barely featured here either.
GONN are the Guild of Noble Nannies, a training school reminiscent of The Charmers, and What the Butler Saw but somehow more credible and with a beautifully played scene in which Emma is amused to come across Steed trying to keep a dozen babies from crying (she picks one up and switches it off).
The dream sequences are well produced – perhaps not on a parr with Too Many Christmas Trees – but the plot is better in this one. Generally the design is wonderful in this one, there are good location shots, and the direction is excellent. There’s a thrilling car park fight – some scoundrel tries to run Emma in a car and she has to dodge it and outrun it. Best of all is the stunning, stunning work from Laurie Johnson.
Subtitle: Steed squires a nanny. Emma shops for toys.
We’re needed: A model carousel.