The Avengers (TV series)

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The Avengers is a 1960s British television series in the Spy-Fi genre set in cold war Britain. Episodes were one hour in duration thoughout the series run. The Avengers focused on John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and his investigative partner working as government agents for the "Ministry". Steed had a succession of partners. As the series evolved the later partners were high profile, stylish women: Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), followed by Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), and later Tara King (Linda Thorson). Later seasons increasingly incorporated elements of science fiction and fantasy, parody and British eccentricity. The Avengers was produced from 1961 to 1969, longer than any other continuously running espionage series until 24. (The Mission: Impossible series holds the record for the largest number of episodes, with 171.) By 1969 The Avengers was shown in more than 90 countries. ITV produced the sequel series The New Avengers (1976–1977) with Patrick Macnee returning as John Steed, with two new partners.

The Avengers was produced by ABC Weekend Television, a contractor within the ITV network. After a merger in July 1968 ABC Weekend Television became Thames Television who continued production of the series, although it was still broadcast under the ABC name. The 1961 series was sparsely dubbed with library music, but opened with a jazz-influenced theme by John Dankworth. Much of the program's incidental music was composed by Laurie Johnson. Johnson also composed "The Avengers Theme", used in the opening and closing title sequences of the later seasons.

The Avengers preceded the first James Bond film, Dr. No, by one year. The Avengers stars Patrick Macnee, Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg later co-starred in Bond films. The New Avengers regular Joanna Lumley had, prior to that series, appeared in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

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