Friday 11 February 2011

Brilliant Book Is Brilliant

Although The Incredible Suit is primarily known as a film blog, it would be remiss of me not to mention the odd TV programme, especially if that TV programme is my favourite in the entire history of televisual entertainment, and certainly if an amazing book about that TV programme has recently been published by the quite staggeringly super chaps at Titan Books.

So here's a review of a book about a TV programme that was once made into a film that nobody liked. The show is called The Avengers, the book is called 'The Avengers: A Celebration' and the film is called a massively misjudged pile of decomposing, fly-ridden horseshit, but that's not important right now.
Subtitled '50 Years Of TV's Most Stylish Show', it comes as no surprise that the book consists mostly of photos of its dapper leading man, Patrick Macnee, and his various female co-stars looking so chic that the word "stylish" looks shabby in comparison. If it's words you're after there's a concise history of the show's complex origins and brief but sufficient introductions to each markedly different series, but 'The Avengers: A Celebration' is primarily interested in taking your eyeballs on holiday and making love to them on the beach every day at sunset while a swarthy waiter mixes an expensive cocktail for them to enjoy when they've cleaned themselves up.
It's mostly production stills and publicity shots with a few candid rehearsal snaps thrown in, but nearly all of them are new to me and I thought I'd seen every frame of Diana Rigg in a leather catsuit that ever existed. All the photos are so pin-sharp you could cut yourself on them, and with some of them taking up a full 26 x 30cm page it's often like swimming in Honor Blackman's big black and white eyes.
By far the best thing about the book is the chance to pore over Patrick Macnee's incredible suits, after which somebody should name a blog or something. He designed most of them himself until Pierre Cardin came along to do it for him, and they're all beautiful creations.
Of course no book of photos from The Avengers would be complete without a shot of Diana Rigg in her notorious, self-designed 'Queen Of Sin' outfit for the episode "A Touch Of Brimstone", which had 1960s Britain gasping for breath and loosening its starched collar, and this book doesn't disappoint in that department either.
Sadly the one thing a book can't offer that an award-losing blog can is this astounding nugget of pop cheese "sung" by Macnee and Blackman in 1964. Your ears won't thank me but if boots are your thing, it's your lucky day.


  1. I think The Avengers was a triumph of style over content. The music, costumes, sets and direction carried what was in essence the same story every episode; rather like Batman in many ways. Steed & Batman both had their partners, clothes and cars and had secret identities. Both had good catchy theme tunes too. The relationship between Steed and his side kicks Emma Peel, Catherine Gale or Tara King was always platonic. I rather hope that was true of Batman and Robin.

  2. You would get on so well with Nick Setchfield of SFX magazine. He's a massive Bond and Avengers fan!