The Champions 1.12 – The Fanatics

You know, we’ve talked about Terry Nation and the very dated, sexist aspects of his scripts once or twice before, but this one still irked me a bit. This time, Terry doesn’t have an opportunity to be condescending to any of the women in his cast, because he simply doesn’t include any.

Other than Sharron, there’s not a woman onscreen at all except for a couple of extras right at the very end. The story’s about a gang carrying out high-profile assassinations, and it’s all men killing other men. This is perhaps a little unfair of me to single out Terry Nation – there weren’t any other women in the previous episode of The Champions that we watched, either – but when you spot a trope, you just keep seeing it.

Anyway, our son really enjoyed this one because it was full of exciting scenes and two great fights. Not content with beating the daylights out of two villains in the drawing room, a little later on, Richard kayos three more in the radio room. He liked the second fight better because more bad guys got clobbered.

One of the fellows on the receiving end of Richard’s fists is Gerald Harper, shown above, and Donald Pickering has a small role as well. I am not certain about the actual filming dates for The Champions, but I think that this was made in either late 1967 or early 1968 (the trees suggest March or April), meaning this must have been shot within a few months of the abandoned Avengers episode “The Great Great Britain Crime,” which also featured both Harper and Pickering. The awesome Julian Glover’s here as well, and Richard gets to knock him senseless in both of the fights. Again with the Avengers timeline, this was probably filmed within a couple of months of Glover acting in the episode “Split!” in February 1968.

I gave our son a heads-up that he’ll see Donald Pickering again in one week, in the next Doctor Who story that we’ll watch. Pickering will be twenty years older, and yellow, so I’m not betting on him recognizing the guy.

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