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Avengerworld - The Avengers in Our Lives

REVIEWS

Part way through this volume - dipping in and out of the essays at random rather than following them in the proffered order - and very, very much enjoying what I'm reading. Some of the pieces are lovely, cozy little bits of nostalgia, evocatively resurrecting memories which make me believe as I read them - that the 1980s was the most exciting possible decade to be fascinated in archival television because, through scarcity of publications and home video media, there was so much still to discover. Tony McKay and Mike Richardson are two of my oldest and dearest friends, the sort of people who thirty years later you are still delighted to have in your life because of their wonderful desire to learn new things, to piece together new bits of research ... and to make me laugh with their observations on some of the more absurd elements of what they discover. As such, their recollections were very powerful on a personal level, but also very comforting because the value they have taken from their experiences seems to have been very much about the richness of their journeys through the landscape of Avengerland ... not just the sole objective of reaching a destination which may or may not ultimately disappoint with what it has to offer. Dick Fiddy's piece is similarly fascinating ... but rather different; I never got to the Scala Cinema when it was doing its wonderful work in the early 1980s, so reading about it and the experiences was very lovely.

But it's the experiences which - for me - are "international" are where this book really blossoms with delight, and why I've been chatting and e-mailing people I know quite a lot about it this week. What really, really impresses me with so much of what I've read is about getting the different perspectives on how The Avengers has been broadcast, viewed and admired by so many people with very, very different lives to my own. Different ages, different genders and - above all - different parts of this very, very varied world.

As I say, I'm still dipping in and out of this tome so I'm aware there's many delights yet to come, but so far I've been vastly taken with pieces such as Tatiana and her encounter with a movie poster on a trip to Paris, Ben and Jan's independent discoveries of the full story and landscape behind De Wrekers on KRO, Vincenzo being captivated by the stylish action offered in Gli infallibili tre on Rai 2, Koen's exposure to so much British televisual product and his ingenuity and thirst to follow Steed's escapades in Belgium, Margaret's connections between seeing the filmed exploits in the US and her dad's experiences in the war, Piers' vivid descriptions of how the incarnations of The Avengers could be followed down under, Irina's shifting perspective on Steed's female colleagues as she savoured the shows on Petersburg's channel, Christine's marvelous account of admiring Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone on ARD (as well as reuniting me with Pan Tau who haunted the airwaves of S4C... and all manner of other fascinating trivia), Kimberly's super account of how syndicated reruns captured her imagination ... and (as I think everyone will agree) Denis' amazingly recounted experiences of post-Perestroika schooling and broadcasting, conveying so brilliantly the nature of Russian broadcasting of imported shows and the amazing devotion which this wonderful show has inspired in him.

I'm sure that there are many more parts of the world (including corners of the UK!) that I've still yet to visit in numerous other doubtlessly enjoyable essays just as soon as I find a spare moment to sit down and relish them.

And there's also Dave Rogers' foreword which - as per my comments earlier about the contributions from Tony, Mike and Dick - immediately reminds me of the sheer excitement of the pre-internet days of television study.

Hope others are enjoying this as much as I am.

Andrew Pixley, Television Historian

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