Thursday, 26 April 2012

Remembering Purdey - The New Avengers (1976-1977)

Purdey was a character in the British TV series The New Avengers, another classy series that takes me back to those innocent days of my childhood! Purdey was played by the lovely Joanna Lumley from 1976-77. She was a spy working for British Inteligence, partnered with John Steed (Patrick MacNee) and Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt).
When Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell first mapped out the characters for The New Avengers - an updating of The Avengers - the female lead character was to have been named Charlie (or Charley). The decision was made not to use the name, possibly due to the Charlie perfume brand, or the fact a new American TV series called Charlie's Angels had just premiered. Lumley is credited with suggesting the character be named Purdey, after James Purdey and Sons', a famous shotgun manufacturer.
Purdey is a martial arts expert (learned, according to her, during her time with the Royal Ballet [which let her go for being too tall!]) and (true to her namesake) an expert markswoman, who is often called upon to use her feminine attributes to distract villains. Purdey saw Steed as an attractive, yet fatherly figure, and there was also on-going banter and playful flirting between Purdey and Mike Gambit (although the series never indicated anything more in her relationship with either man).
During the two-year run of the series, no second name was ever given to the character and it was never revealed on screen whether Purdey was the character's first or last name. Although critical reaction to the series was lukewarm, the casting of Lumley was seen as inspired and following the tradition of iconic Avengers actresses Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson.

1 comment:

  1. I discovered your site by accident! I too enjoyed the Avengers and the New Avenger series! I was and and still very fond of the shows! I purchased a complete set of the New Avengers for my personal use!

    I am a American, perhaps about your age! It was a highlight of the weekend to view the episodes! Steed as well as Gambit were very classy characters! I found Purdey to be quite charming! I dislike current American television! American television has very little to offer me! I dislike the idea that the shows are rated to the level of perhaps a third grader! The action shows are perdictable in outcome! I also dislike the shows based on some group of individuals competeing for recognition on some deserted outpost or island! I am also not interested in watching individuals on Big Brother!

    The Romans in their era had the gladiaters in the colluseums, we have www wrestling! The Romans had free bread, we have welfare in America! The Roman era failed because of a number of factors! What does a comparison of America with the Romans say? We need tha ability to think and achieve goals! The Avenger series made one think!