James Brough ([personal profile] magister) wrote2015-07-30 09:06 pm

Mr Macnee - you're needed.

Channel 4 in its early years was something of a goldmine. It showed an awful lot of old ITV and American TV as well as vintage films - presumably because the programme budget was a bit short to fill it with original programming. Hence, it's where I first saw films like the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre Dame as well as TV shows like Thriller, Callan and The Avengers.

Pat Macnee was not the typical hero for a spy series - by and large they tended to be either more physically imposing - the likes of Patrick McGoohan or the various incarnations of James Bond - or more ordinary everymen - Alec Guinness's Smiley or Edward Woodward in Callan. Macnee's genius was to turn the originally rather bland John Steed into a character who would not have been out of place in an Oscar Wilde comedy.

There's something rather fitting that he should die a matter of days after Christopher Lee - they were the same age, had been schoolmates and had acted together in episodes of The Avengers and also as Holmes and Watson. Their styles were pretty much mirror images - Lee often playing outwardly forbidding figures who revealed moments of frailty, while Macnee seemed harmless at first glance, but hid something much more ruthless at heart. His most famous stage role was the deluded games player Andrew Wyke in Shaffer's play Sleuth - someone who appears playful and harmless but proves to be far more dangerous.

He will be sadly missed. One can only hope that wherever he is, there is a magnum of champagne on ice and he is keeping a watchful eye out for diabolical masterminds.
sir_guinglain: (TVTimes1967Avengers)

[personal profile] sir_guinglain 2015-07-30 08:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Beautifully put. I hope there is someone to stir his tea anti-clockwise too.

I'm steadily watching The Avengers box set, though not in order, and am enjoying watching the evolution of Steed. I still have season three to come, having already seen much of season four, thanks to different parts of the set being in different places.
hollymath: (Default)

[personal profile] hollymath 2015-07-30 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooh, he and Surly seem lovely for Holmes and Watson.