The last of the remakes goes the furthest back in The Avengers history for its source – Death of a Great Dane, the only series 2 episode to be remade (the other 3 all come from later in series 3). Despite being reworked, this retains a very strong feel of the early Avengers, as if a black and white episode had been colorised (and Mrs-Peel-ised), albeit with some curtains that would certainly look better in monochrome. But it’s a very series 2 episode in series 5: it’s more complex – it lacks the simplicity and outrageous flamboyance of some some of the series 5 stories. It has moments of genuine creepiness and tensions, less of the ridiculous and more of the grotesque.
The interplay between the leads is excellent, and Steed is characterised as being much more playful, and less pompous than he’d become at this point in the show. So while it doesn’t, in a sense, fit with continuity, it’s refreshing; in fact it’s a very good episode and actually better than the original.
It’s also the only remake episode that’s not by Brian Clemens (this one’s by Roger Marshall, and it’s his last script for The Avengers although in a sense A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Station was his last script, because this one he wrote it 5 years earlier). The changes are minor: one character has changed gender, and the great danes have become russian wolfhounds. Steed doesn’t have a dog himself anymore, though he mentions that he used to have one. Steed climbs out on a window ledge, something that comes from the terrible Death a la Carte rather than Death of a Great Dane.
No policemen, but there are black musicians in a steel band (‘jungle music’, oh dear).
Anneke Wills is back, too briefly, following her appearance in Whatever It’s Called.
Not a classic, but an interesting curiosity and an improvement on the episode on which its based. And certainly above average for this very lacklustre season.