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R.I.P. Brian Clemens, The Brains Behind TV's The Avengers

January 12, 2015 By Charlie Jane Anders


If you love British TV, then you should raise a glass to Brian Clemens, who just died at age 83. Above is a brilliant interview with him from 2008, in which he talks about writing the pilot of The Avengers with Patrick Macnee, and a lot of the show's other scripts besides.

Besides helping to create The Avengers (and its sequel The New Avengers), Clemens wrote a ton of scripts for Danger Man, the show starring Patrick McGoohan which led into The Prisoner. And he also created The Professionals and a bunch of other great shows. He also wrote for Remington Steele and the Highlander TV show, and also wrote film scripts for And Soon The Darkness (1970), See No Evil (1971), The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (1973) and Highlander II: The Quickening (1991).

Deadline quotes the British Film Institute describing Clemens' career as "almost the history of the action-adventure genre of British television. His scripts have enlivened almost every action-drama series seen on television over the last 50 years."

Clemens also helped to shape a lot of the writers who, in turn, shaped Doctor Who in the early days. As he told Geek Girl News:

When I started writing back then, most of generic television in Britain was written by about ten or twelve writers, of which I was one. Dennis Spooner worked for me and I worked for him and so on. Because I was at Elstree Studios doing The Avengers and whenever we had a hiatus where we took a short break, Dennis or Terry Nation would come in and ask 'can you write one of mine?', on a series they were doing. That's how I got on The Persuaders!

Clemens had one regret though he chose Diana Rigg to play Emma Peel in The Avengers, he felt as though his scripts did not do her justice. Talking to TV Times in 1977, he said:

I didn't do Diana a very good service. It made her an international star but I think I could have done more for her as far as the script was concerned. She was rather a stooge to Patrick Macnee's Steed.










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