John Steed, wearing his bowler and carrying his umbrella over his arm, opens a bottle of champagne. He is backlit and in silhouette.Welcome to Feather Dusters at 400 Yards, my blog about the British television series The Avengers. There’s a lot of cool stuff to explore in this groundbreaking series that spanned the entire decade of the 1960s: the characters, the performances, scene and episode analysis, technical aspects of the production, and more. Plus there are pages for Avengers fanfiction, music videos, and fan art! Links to audio versions of my blogs and fanfic are available on the podcasts page. So click on a tag or a category or something in the navigation menu, or just keep scrolling, and explore along with me.

Please also read the comments policy before commenting on anything I write. This policy is strictly enforced.

If you’re using my blog as a resource for your own research and writing about The Avengers or 1960s television, please be sure to give me proper credit. My pen name here is therealavengers, and you can hyperlink the blog(s) you refer to if you’re writing online, or you can use whatever citation style is appropriate if you’re writing in other formats.

Tara King and Female Physicality in The Avengers

Fight scenes are an important part of each Avengers episode, whether the fights are a quick scuffle to get away from a villain or the big battle at the end that vanquishes the bad guys and puts things to rights. Starting with Season 2 and the advent of badass judoka Cathy Gale, the female leads had at least as much fighting time as Steed did, and possibly even more in Seasons 2 and 3. (I don’t know for sure because I haven’t gone through those seasons and counted, but I’d be willing to bet that Cathy thrashes more baddies than Steed does.)

These instances of combat aren’t just moments that advance the plot and add excitement to the adventure: they also say some important things about the characters. I’ve already explored facets of the combat aspect of the show in some other blogs (links at the foot of this post), but here I want to talk about Tara King as a combatant and about Steed’s responses to Tara’s physicality, in contrast both to the response of Tara’s friend Teddy in “My Wildest Dream” and especially in contrast to the dynamic between Steed and Cathy Gale.


A Collection of Bloglets About “School For Traitors”

Claire’s Scam

The way Claire runs her scam is really quite clever. She introduces the pickle she’s in, says, “Oh, look, a blank check,” and then lets her marks connect the dots in their own minds and assume that what she wants is for them to forge the signature on the check. Never once does Claire say anything like, “Darling, can you forge this signature for me?” In this way, Claire is never actually implicated in the forgeries themselves, and although her marks whine about being “tricked,” the decision to forge the checks is entirely their own.

The idea to use the forged checks as the mechanism for blackmail is also very well chosen. The marks are all white university lads, the type of person whose own sense of entitlement to money will lead them to assume that it’s okay to forge the checks because they think Claire is entitled to the money she says she was supposed to have been paid.


“Mere Vessels of Pleasure”: Gender, Sex, and Patriarchy in “A Touch of Brimstone”

⊕ Content warning for mentions of kink, BDSM, and gang rape.

In the Season 4 episode “A Touch of Brimstone,” the (not-so-)Honorable John Cartney (Peter Wyngard) has gathered a group of men together to create a “Hellfire Club” in imitation of similar clubs that existed in the eighteenth century. As with the original Hellfire Clubs, at least some of the members of Cartney’s association are titled members of the nobility. Cartney himself is only an Hon., but Willy Frant (Jeremy Young) is Lord Cartigan, Tubby Bunn (Bill Wallis) is Lord Ragslan, and Roger Winthrop (Michael Latimer) is Lord Lacon. And as with the eighteenth-century Hellfire Club founded by Sir Francis Dashwood, the members of Cartney’s gang devote themselves to both debauchery and high-level political pranking.