The Avengers (1961) s04e22 Episode Script

What the Butler Saw

1 Well, that's it, sir.
I've said my piece.
The job gets more dangerous all the time.
I think it calls for a rise in pay.
Either you double my cut or count me out.
[Rings] - You rang, sir? - [Clicks fingers] [Gunshot] Will that be all, sir? Not too hot for you, sir? Can you take me now? A quick scrape and a hot towel or two? Yes, I think so, sir.
I'll leave you to stew for a while.
Right, sir.
I left the Mastiff in the back of the car.
Let's hope the cat doesn't get out of the basket.
[Whispers] What's happening your side of the wall? - Buying British defence secrets.
- Who from? Not much of a day, is it, sir? - Someone in your War Office.
- Let's hope it brightens up later! [Whispers] Who at the War Office? You know the risk I'm taking.
If I were found out That's the problem of being a double agent.
You double the risk and the remuneration.
Thank you, sir.
Narrowed it down to three names.
Group Captain Miles, Brigadier Ponsonby-Goddard and Vice Admiral Willows.
One of them must be a traitor.
Hot towel for you, sir? Er, yes.
[Whispers] Question is which one of the three is the rotten apple? Any ideas? [Groans] Oh, just coming, sir.
Finish you off in half a second, sir.
[Grunts] An admiral, a brigadier and a group captain.
[Doorbell rings] [Steed] Ahoy there! Commander Red.
Request permission to board.
I have an appointment with Admiral Willows.
Ah, yes, Commander.
You are expected.
[Willows] Benson! Benson! Benson! By thunder, where is that man? There you are! Where the devil's the top half of my number one blues? - Sir? - My jacket! My uniform jacket! Idiot! Very well, sir.
Right away, sir.
By the way, sir, this is this is Commander Red.
- Admiralty business I suppose.
- Yes, sir.
Ah, well, I'm too busy now.
First race is at 1:30.
- Race, sir? - Ramsdown Park.
A little filly running.
Had my eye on for some time.
- Tomorrow, sir? - Triple-guinea stakes.
- Oh, dear.
Day after? - Races.
May fit you in next week perhaps? Here you are, sir.
That's it, sir.
That's better.
Now where's my bridge coat? - Sir? - My bridge coat! My top coat! Very well, sir.
Right away, sir.
Land lubber! I wish Walters hadn't disappeared like that.
- Walters, sir.
- My butler.
The chap I had before Benson! - Now he really looked after me.
- You say he disappeared.
How? I don't know what happened to him.
Went AWOL.
Jumped ship.
Fell overboard.
- If you will wait here, Major White.
- Thank you.
- I'll inform the brigadier you are here.
- Right.
[Blows whistle] Down, man! Down! Get your head down! Take cover! By George! That was a close thing.
- Brigadier Ponsonby-Goddard, sir? - Brigadier? What do you think this is? Fruit salad? Major General Ponsonby-Goddard.
- Sorry, sir.
- It's my son you want, young Percy.
Lucky you came along.
You can reconnoitre the West Ridge.
- The West Ridge, sir? - Over there.
By the fire tongs.
- Yes, sir! - Off you go, then.
I'll give you covering fire.
[Whispers] Keep your head down! - What do you want with him anyway? - Sir? Young Percy.
That's who you came to see, isn't it? Oh, a short history of his military career for the Regimental Magazine, sir.
I wouldn't print a word about young Percy if I were you.
A traitor.
That's what he is.
Ought to be shot! [Shouts] Father! Father, I told you before about playing around in here.
Playing?! Playing? Manoeuvres, then.
Kindly confine your activities to the garden.
And don't blow up the roses! All right then! Off you go! Charge! Charge! [Gunshot] - Major White, isn't it? - Yes, sir.
War Office told me you were coming.
Regimental Magazine or something.
That's right, sir.
I I'm sorry about that.
The old man is a nuisance.
Would you like a drink? A little early in the day, thank you, sir.
He's a nuisance, but he's harmless.
Not to you, sir.
He made some very strange accusations.
- Accusations? - He said you were a traitor, sir.
Oh! Oh, that! That's because I'm the only one in the family who's not in a cavalry regiment.
He can't understand that the cavalry doesn't exist any more.
He can't adjust.
- Oh, really, sir? - Mm.
Now Major, I I wonder this interview, it's not very urgent, is it? Er t-t-tomorrow, perhaps? I have a very, very bad headache.
It's something I ate.
Something you ate, sir? - Er, certainly, sir.
- I'll call my butler to see you out.
Reeves! Oh Please don't bother, sir.
I'll see myself out.
[Gasps] I I told you not to call me here.
No, I-I haven't chickened out.
Look, look, I can't talk now.
Meet me here tonight.
The study at ten.
I'll leave the windows unlatched.
[Posh voice] No, I'm sorry, sir.
Brigadier Ponsonby-Goddard is at home to no one.
This way, sir.
- Good morning, sir.
- Good morning.
Help you, old boy? I wanted a word of five with Group Captain Miles.
- Out I'm afraid.
- Oh, bad show! - Squadron Leader Blue.
- Squadron Leader Hogg.
Anything I can do? I wanted a word about the old groupie.
Official magazine.
- I'm acting as PRO.
- From GHQ? - BHQ.
- On TTR? JJV.
Seconded from RHB.
- Really? How's the GSM? - A1.
- MOI? - Shifted PPR.
- [Chuckles] Downgraded us to 007, eh? - Upgraded to BB5.
Got his GGQ, then? How's Theo? - OK.
- Oh? Bang on.
Oh, very sorry to barge in like this.
The door was open.
It's that butler, Hemming.
Disappeared again.
- Come in to the office, old fruit.
- Good show! - Like some coffee? - Disappeared? - Eh? - The butler.
Eh? Oh, Hemming! Yes, yes! Disappeared into the conservatory.
Always out there trimming roses or something like that.
- You know, got green fingers.
- Ha-ha.
Well, now, old bean, what can I tell you about the OC? Decent sort of chap.
Officer and gentleman and all that sort of thing.
- A demon for work.
- Oh! Amongst other things, eh, what? - Eh? - Oh! Yes, yes.
See what you mean.
That's Georgie Porgie for you.
- Georgie Porgie? - Yes, the OC.
Group Captain Miles.
That's what the girls call him.
"Georgie Porgie, puddin' and pie" "Kissed the girls and made 'em cry.
" And does he? I don't know about making them cry.
From what I've seen they rather enjoy it.
Runs his amorous adventures like a military operation! Ah, a fresh supply is coming in! - Afternoon, Mr Hemming.
- Good afternoon, Sergeant Moran.
- Champagne, caviar, foie gras.
- Ah, thank you.
- Your gentleman is entertaining tonight? - That is correct.
Another young lady is it? What's it this time? Blond, brunette, redhead? You know perfectly well that I don't indulge in gossip about Group Captain Miles.
[Moran] You don't have to, do you? He's susceptible to a pretty face.
[Steed] The question is how susceptible is he? And that's what you want me to find out.
Mrs Peel, if a man's susceptibilities are to be driven to nerve-jangling breaking point, if he's pushed to the very edge to betraying Queen and country - Who better than you? - Vital you said? No exaggeration to say the fate of the Entire nation was in the balance? That's just about it.
- Defence secrets are being sold to - Other side.
And it must be one of three people.
An admiral who gambles too much, a brigadier who drinks too much, a group captain who - A group captain.
- Name? - Georgie Miles.
- Habitat? Mostly this bar.
Shouldn't be too difficult to pick him up.
He will come to me.
Excuse me, sir, madam, can I get you another drink? I'm sure the lady will.
I have to leave, I'm afraid.
The brigadier's butler has a rendezvous tonight.
I have to hurry if I'm to find out who with.
[Tyres screeching] [Brigadier] What the devil's happening down there? [Major General] Call out the guard! Call out the guard! [ Bugle fanfare] [Phone rings] Hello? [Steed] 'I've been trying to reach you for hours.
Where are you?' - In the middle of the countryside.
- 'Eh?' Just taking a breath of fresh country air.
[Inhales and exhales] - 'What about Miles? Contacted him yet?' - No.
'I hate to interrupt your parochial pleasures, 'but don't you think you ought to get a move on?' It's all in hand.
Ah, five, four, three, two, one, zero.
Operation Fascination has just begun.
Objective, Group Captain Miles.
[Bell rings] Ah! You rang, sir? Coffee, Hemming.
Black coffee.
Very good, sir.
[Bottles clinking] - I say, not quite so much noise.
- Right, sir.
[Bottle clinking] Oh Phew.
- Hemming! - Sir? I I brought a young lady home with me last night? - Er, yes, you did, sir.
- Who was she? Do you know? You did not confide the young lady's name to me, sir.
- Oh.
- Are you all right, sir? Hm? Oh, yes.
- Well? - Well? That's Miles up at the bar now.
Sir, you don't look too well this morning.
A little hung over I'm afraid.
Heavy night, sir? To tell you the truth, I don't remember very much about it.
I wish I did.
You don't seem to be making much progress.
You're here.
He's there.
Darlings, how lovely! What will it be? The usual? The competition's mounting all the time.
Competition? What competition? There I was, you see.
Guns jammed, controls shot away, enemy coming [Glass shattering] I'm dining with him today.
You're remarkable, Mrs Peel.
Admiral Willows and Brigadier Goddard both lost their butlers.
They both got replacements from here.
Hence, I'm thinking of going into service.
You? I shall endeavour to give satisfaction, madam.
I'll give you a good reference.
Don't forget you have a date with Georgie.
Don't do anything I would do.
I must apologise, sir.
I rang the front doorbell, but My name is Steed.
John Steed.
I wish to enrol.
[Bell rings] [Door opens] You rang, sir? [Clicks fingers] Yes, indeed, I did, Benson.
How did this gentleman get in here unannounced? I'm sorry, sir, but I was taking a suit-sponging class and I No excuses, Benson.
You set a very poor example to Mr Steed here! Steed? Haven't we met somewhere before, sir? I'm afraid not.
[Hemming] All right, Benson.
- Er, Benson? - Sir? - Aren't we forgetting something? - Forgetting something? Oh Will that be all, sir? - You may go, Benson.
- Thank you, sir.
Hubert Hemming.
I am the principal here.
But surely you're in service with the Miles household.
"In service with the Miles household.
" Admirable, Mr Steed.
A fine grasp of the vernacular.
Yes, indeed, I do serve Group Captain Miles.
Then if you forgive my asking, how do you find the time to? A labour of love, Mr Steed.
Benson and myself, all the tutors here, contribute what time we can manage on a voluntary basis.
We train raw recruits in the craft of butling.
We also endeavour to raise our own standards in the process.
I see.
Now, you yourself, I take it you wish to enrol.
As soon as possible.
And you've been in service before? Then you have references? The Duke of Duffup.
The Earl of Isley.
And the Honourable Flegghorn.
These really are excellent.
And your general demeanour, your appearance, it's promising.
Most promising.
I think we might make something of you.
It'll not be easy.
You'll find the course an arduous one, but you'll learn many things, many crafts.
You will start at the bottom, learning to polish the master's shoes.
One! Two! And one, two, three.
One, two, three.
Firm, steady, stroke! Watch that welt! One, two, three! One, two, three! Right.
Excellent, gentlemen.
You'll soon be ready to move on to more skilful things.
Pressing the master's trousers.
Poise the iron.
Poise, Jenkins.
Down and along and back and forth.
Back and forth.
And back and forth and back and forth.
And back Well done, Steed.
Nice, easy style, hasn't he? I'm sure I've seen him somewhere before.
Standing groom at a race meeting perhaps.
Or one of Her Majesty's garden parties.
And back and forth Or one of Her Majesty's prisons.
Easy, controlled movements.
But dignity! Dignity at all times.
Splendid! It'll soon be time for you to appear from below stairs and enter the master's living room.
[Rings] [All] You rang, sir? Higher with that tray.
Your waistcoat button's undone, man! You're smiling, Perkins.
Obsequious, man! Obsequious! Nice turn out, Steed.
All right, gentlemen, are we ready? And one, two, three! [All] Dinner is served, my lord.
Now watch that stance.
And turn.
And one, two, three, four.
[All] Your carriage awaits.
Wilson, your head is nodding.
Nodding, man.
You're supposed to be bowing.
Right and one, two, three! [All] A gentleman to see you, sir.
Yes, much, much better, gentleman.
Much better.
All right, at ease.
Coming along very nicely.
I'm proud of you.
But you've still got a lot to learn, a great deal, before you become masters of your chosen craft.
And let us not forget our slogan, gentlemen.
[All] "Better, brighter, more beautiful butling.
" And our masters shall want for nothing at all! Hm Excuse me, sir.
Sir, telephone, sir.
- I'm not here.
- It's the CFEE, sir.
Well, tell them that I CFEE? Excuse me, my dear.
CFEE? Commission for Eastern Europe.
[Knock on door] I beg your pardon, sir, but there is a lady No, no, no.
Consult the card.
There is a Lady Micklebiddie to see you, sir.
Do I know the lady? I think not, sir.
And what does she look like? Young and pretty.
- The lady is young and pre - No, no, no.
A slight cough, a clearing of the throat after "the lady is", implying that this is a delicate matter and you're aware of it.
[Clears throat] The most discreet sound.
Try again.
The lady is [Chuckles] young and rather pretty, sir.
[Chuckles] Splendid, splendid.
" "Rather," I like that.
- Full marks for originality, Steed.
- Hubert? I've just had a call about you.
I can't help feeling you're being rather foolish.
Don't you think you should reconsider your decision? No, no, no.
I gave you my answer.
I'm not leaving and that is final.
As you wish.
Trouble, sir? No, no.
I heard you say something about leaving, sir.
Yes, flattering, really.
I had a very substantial offer to leave the service of Group Captain Miles.
- But you've turned him down, sir? - Yes.
Had you accepted, had you left Group Captain Miles, we'd have to provide a replacement from here, eh, sir? Too much gossip below stairs, Steed! - Get on with your sponging and cleaning! - Yes, indeed, sir.
What the devil do you think you're doing? You practise on those suits there.
These are not to be touched.
Thank you.
- Right, gentlemen.
- After you, sir.
- We're not to be disturbed, Hemming.
- Very good, sir.
[Phone rings] Group Captain Miles' residence.
Yes, speaking.
What? Let's get on with it.
I'd like to discuss the defence installations on the east coast.
Not a word, brigadier.
Not yet.
- Would you care to join me, gentlemen? - Yes.
A new security ruling to foil concealed microphones.
[Muffled conversation] Well, I-I-I can't possibly leave now.
Well, if it's that urgent, I could slip out.
Well, he's in conference.
He'll probably be tied up for a while.
Benson? Benson? [Gunshots] Hemming won't stand in our way any longer, sir.
It's all over.
Allow me, sir.
By the way, sir, the new man, Steed.
I've checked his references.
He is an impostor.
But don't worry, sir.
I'll attend to him, too.
Good night, sir.
[Bell rings] Hemming.
Would you come this way, sir? [Benson] And a cigar.
- Why don't you just shoot? - A cigar.
And a light? Not bad.
Not bad at all.
You know, you make an excellent butler, but a very poor forger.
See, these references here, the Duke of Duffup, the Earl of Isley, the Honourable Flegghorn.
You see, I've checked.
They're all the names of pubs.
What's your story? Kicked out for stealing the family silver? - Something like that.
- Yes, I thought so.
A thief.
A petty thief.
Go on, pour yourself a drink.
Forged references are the best recommendation you could have had.
I'm going to give you the chance to earn real money.
Poor old Hemming is dead.
How will his master manage without him? [Hums] [Sniffs] [Doorbell rings] Good morning.
I have an appointment.
You are anticipated, madam.
May I take madam's coat? May I venture to say that madam looks the cat's whiskers? Emma, darling, you look ravishing.
Ravishing! Come in, my dear.
Steed, you may serve the aperitifs immediately.
You like my etchings? You do actually have some.
The best of the collection is upstairs.
[Steed clears throat] - An aperitif, madam? - Thank you.
A concoction of my own, sir.
I call it Romantica.
Sit down, won't you? Make yourself comfortable.
[Exhales] Let's have a bit of music, shall we? Erm anything in particular? No.
I'll leave the choice entirely up to you.
That's much cosier.
Now let's get to know each other better, eh? [ Jazz music] [Gasps] Oh, I'm terribly sorry.
I've hurt you, haven't I? No, no.
Not at all.
That's a jolly little painting.
- Who painted it? - Oh, Carter somebody or other.
- Oh, when? - Oh, about 1820.
It looks like a Parisian street scene.
- Was it painted in Paris? - I think so, yes.
- Water colour? - Yes.
[Gasps] And what about this one? Engraved by Jonathan Peabody, 1776, copper on wood.
Darling [Clears throat] Would you wish me to serve the first course now, sir? - No! - Right, sir.
[Clears throat] - What the devil is it now? - The champagne, sir.
Would you wish me to serve it now? No! And don't come in again until I ring! [Rings] You rang, sir? Yes.
I think you can open the champagne now, Steed.
As you wish, sir.
[Cork pops] All right.
I'll do that.
You may go, Steed.
[Door shuts] [Sighs] [Grunts] [Groans] Now, then, Georgie.
You and I must have a little talk.
You said you'd do anything for me.
Anything at all? You can't be serious! Betray secrets? That you should think that I would You can't be serious! - No.
I was just testing you.
- Testing me? And I've failed I suppose? - You've passed.
- I don't understand.
Sit down.
We'll get you a nice cup of tea.
And you must be awfully warm in that.
- But, but - Yes? Well, surely you expect me to All the others expect me to.
Corny and very boring.
I say, do you mean that? You really won't mind if I don't try to seduce you? Don't give it a second thought.
Oh, I'd love a cup of tea! It's this terrible reputation of mine.
I don't know how it started.
But now I'm stuck with it.
The full Casanova bit.
It sometimes can be very tiring.
Mm, must be.
Never mind.
Put your feet up.
Have a rest.
Ah There is one thing I'd like to do with you.
[Peel] Ooh! [They giggle] [Phone rings] Group Captain Miles' residence.
Er, yes, sir.
Yes, sir.
I'll tell him.
[Miles] One, two, three, four! - [Peel] Ah! - Hahaha.
Oh, no.
I have another go.
- Two, three, four, five.
- I've got to get the rest [Miles] I'm two up.
I'm sorry to intrude, sir, but there has been a telephonic communication.
- Well, what the devil is it? - A defence conference, sir.
Your presence is requested immediately.
Oh, blast! I was winning, too.
Sorry about this, my dear.
Where is the conference taking place? - Brigadier Goddard's residence, sir.
- Mm.
There's no need for you to rush off.
Stay and have that tea.
Steed will take care of you.
See you later.
[Tuts] We can eliminate Georgie Porgie.
I put him to the test.
- What did you offer? - One, two, three, four, five.
Never you mind.
He's no traitor.
Take my word for it.
I'd already come to that conclusion.
No one knows a man better than his own butler.
- That's what this business is all about.
- The right man in the right household.
- Hemming couldn't be bribed.
- So you took his place.
- Now what's the link between - Defence secrets? Stealing them? And service under stairs? Well, that's a secret they haven't let me into yet.
Hurry up! We haven't got all day! [Muffled conversation] [Steed] All right, Benson.
I've got that.
- What is it? - I've just been told why I'm here.
Georgie Porgie, as soon as he gets back from the conference, I'm to spill wine all over him.
- See you again soon, gentlemen.
- Goodbye.
[Bell rings] Ah! Ha-ha.
You idiot! [Sighs] Have this cleaned up as soon as possible.
Now I'll have to change my shirt.
[Door shuts] By thunder! That's the third uniform you've ruined this month! See to it, man! See to it! - Oh! You ham-fisted ass! - My sincere apologies, sir.
I should think so.
It's ruined! My thoughts were in the clouds.
I'll take it to the butlers' pantry, sir.
- There you are.
- We'll have it restored to its lustre.
- You did it, you attend to it.
- Indeed, sir.
[Benson] I'll take that.
I'll get it cleaned for you.
[Engine running] - Steed! Where the devil? - Please accept my resignation, sir.
[Door shuts] Look, Steed.
A miniature tape recorder.
- Every word of every conference - Recorded for posterity.
[Miles] 'If we tighten up radar stations along the east coast, it should help.
[Willows] 'I'm not so sure.
Don't forget our submarines' We have, as they say, delivered the goods, don't you think, sir? I think we can [Rings] [Clicks fingers] Yes, I'm the boss around here.
Sergeant Moran.
Barman, dishwasher.
"Yes, sir.
No, sir.
Three bags full, sir.
" 20 years' frontline service.
They gave me a medal for it.
And they relegated me to polishing glasses.
Me, Sergeant Moran.
Well, now it's my turn.
Get rid of them.
Somewhere in the grounds.
Very good, sir.
Would you mind? This way, please.
Charge! Charge! Charge! Charge! I don't need a gun to kill a woman.
Go for his left flank! Retreat! Retreat! Outmanoeuvre the man! Close quarters combat! [Silverware clattering] Force home your advantage! [Pants] Bravely fought! Splendid battle.
General, how did you turn up here? Superior intelligence work.
Saw a butler fellow mucking about with young Percy's uniform.
Knew something was up.
I'll see you're mentioned in Dispatches.
Also, and have a word about young girls in the frontline.
Don't like it at all.
Most distracting.
Splendid day.
Might rain, though.
Steed, why don't you say it? - Go on.
I know you're dying to say it.
- Say what? That in spite of all possible suspects - The butler did it.
- Going up.