|Steed awakes from a Christmas nightmare.|
On an apparent whim, Mrs. Peel invites Steed to accompany her to a weekend holiday gathering at the country estate of publisher Brandon Storey. As they approach the isolated mansion, Steed gets a strong feeling of deja vu. Once inside, he recognizes the sleigh full of presents in the hall, his outfit for the costume party, and even a guest he has never met--it's as if Steed's nightmare was coming true.
Although its plot doesn't rank with the best Avengers episodes, Too Many Christmas features all the elements that made this unique series a favorite among its many fans. Macnee and Rigg have tremendous chemistry, which is amazing considering that they had only filmed a few epsiodes at that point in their two-year run together. Their witty banter and knowing winks are Avengers trademarks. For example, when Mrs. Peel is opening Steed's Christmas cards, there's one signed: "Best wishes for the future, Cathy."
"Mrs. Gale...how nice of her to remember me," muses Steed, adding "What can she be doing in Fort Knox?"
Fans of the show know that Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman, was Steed's previous partner. Blackman had just starred in Goldfinger as Pussy Galore--who was involved in a scheme to devalue the gold stored at Fort Knox.
|Steed tells Emma about his deja vu.|
The Avengers often recycled its guest stars and Too Many Christmas Trees features several actors who appeared in other episodes: Robert James, Alex Scott, Barry Warren, and Edwin Richfield. Interestingly, many of these performers also appeared in horror pictures made by Hammer Films (for instance, Barry Warren was an aristocratic bloodsucker in the excellent Kiss of the Vampire). Director Roy Ward Baker, who helmed eight Avengers episodes in all, also worked for Hammer. Finally, Brian Clemens, who produced and wrote some of the finest Avengers outings, later wrote and directed Hammer's Kronos (aka Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter).
Of course, the two leads and the clever scripts are what make The Avengers a must-see series (especially during the Diana Rigg years). That alone makes this holiday episode a delightful hour for any classic TV fan.