The Avengers (1961) s05e08 Episode Script

The Hidden Tiger

- Williams was found in here.
- Sir David Harper's butler, I gather.
Butler, valet, general factotum.
His services were terminated just there.
All the family silver's intact.
It's a motiveless murder.
Not a single clue, just a few shreds of evidence.
Whatever did that, Mrs Peel, was wild, inhuman, bestial.
I wouldn't argue on that point.
- Yet it appeared without warning.
- And disappeared without a trace.
Which, I believe, carries it clearly into your territory.
I'm not concerned with my own safety, but you know what I'm running here? - Some kind of experimental farm.
- Dairy products among other things.
- I'm in charge of research.
- And you fear an attack on the farm? We've valuable livestock out there, Mrs Peel.
Whatever killed Williams is still on the loose.
We've got to find it, and quickly.
We'll check around the grounds.
The same way.
No footprints, nothing.
Looks as though it could've been a cat of some kind.
We plead not guilty.
No, Mrs Peel, I think it was something a little larger than that.
There's the devil.
He's whiffed our scent.
Watch him! Watch him close.
I hope my party piece hasn't bored you, Mr Steed.
On the contrary, Major Nesbitt.
It had the full flavour of the hunt.
Giant of a beast, eh? Weighed a quarter of a ton if he weighed a pound.
Had quite a job carting him back.
- You brought him back? - Yes.
- Here? - Yes.
There he is.
- That's him.
- Ha! Reckon I know as much about the big cats as any man living.
- That's why I'm here, Major.
- Ruthless, natural born killers.
Even in captivity, you'll never subdue it.
Nothing walks the earth more cunning, barbarous and savage.
Killed an entire village, this chap.
- This is interesting.
- I used to keep a small cub once.
Got too big.
In London Zoo now.
Couldn't risk him getting out.
A tiger on the loose would create havoc.
One has.
Two of your neighbours were mauled to death not a mile away.
- Hm? - Sir David Harper and his butler.
- Harper? - You knew him? Yes.
Served on several committees.
- Mauled, you say? - Yes.
Impossible, Steed.
This isn't just an ordinary nose.
This is a built-in cat detector.
If there was one on the loose, I'd know it.
Assuming there was one, where would you start to look? Ah Can't remain hidden for long.
A beast that size needs meat and plenty of it.
So this is where Sir David carried out his research? That's right.
New feeding techniques, fertilisers, livestock breeding.
- He tackled them all.
- Very important work.
- Definitely.
- But hardly what I'd call hush-hush.
- Hardly.
- And through here? That's the specimen store.
Morning, Peters.
- Morning, Mr Erskine.
- This is Mrs Peel.
Perishable specimens are stored in here.
Milk, meat, all the facets of our experiments.
- Interesting.
- I think so.
But again, nothing sinister about it.
You're looking for a motive for the murder? I'm just looking, Mr Erskine? Mr Erskine? Mr Erskine? Mr Erskine, sir.
It's the bull, sir, the prize bull.
- What about it? - It's been attacked, sir.
- It's dead.
- Dead? Oh What could do that to a full-grown bull? What indeed? Your security here seems pretty strict.
- How strict? - Stricter than you think.
The farm's ringed with traps.
We put them down to safeguard the poultry against the odd fox or dog.
Nothing could pass this barrier without our knowing.
One foot in the wrong place and Reminds me of the old days in Bengal, what? Ah, is there anything more exciting than hunting the big cats? The shank.
That's the spot to aim for.
- The shank.
- But not my shanks.
I don't fancy my profile up there.
Remember, old man, I bag the head.
Make a nice companion set.
Let's bag the big cat first.
Let's organise a safari, just like the old times, eh? Like old times.
Unusual, old man, woman on a big-game hunt.
Unusual woman.
All set, Mrs Peel? Nor'-nor'-east.
Best to stay upwind of the cattle.
Let's split up.
I'll make for the high ground.
Anything on the prowl lower down, you should spot it from here.
I'll, er, cover the farm area.
On your own? Won't you be lonely? I shan't be on my own.
Erskine's working late tonight.
Came from over there.
It's illogical, Mrs Peel.
Three men mauled to death, and not a single report of an escaped lion or tiger.
Or anything.
If you want my view, someone's heading for disaster.
- Disaster? - Hey! - Oh, sorry.
- My hat! "Humour in Milk.
" "Milk and its Derivatives.
" Have you waded all the way through these? I think the word is skimmed.
What about Sir David's notes? Nothing in them to suggest a motive.
Back on safari.
I'm prepared.
Here, take this.
It'll pick up the slightest sounds so what the eyes can't see The ear may very well hear.
What? - You're not switched on.
- Oh.
You play it your way, the Major can play it his.
- And what has the Major in mind? - A secret recipe.
- What's his recipe? - What did you say? What does it do? Attracts the big cats, Steed, like honey to bees.
They can't resist it.
Never been known to fail.
It carries for miles.
- It looks delicious.
- It is.
- I'm sure, but will it work? - I'd stake my life on it.
Is there enough room in there for a big cat? That's not for the cat, old man.
That's for me.
Be safer inside.
Now, if you'd oblige.
Better make yourself scarce, Steed, and watch the water hole.
Thank you, Major.
Steed, are you there? Are you receiving me? Remarkably loud and clear, Mrs Peel.
Where are you nestling? I'm high up on a hill between the farm and Nesbitt's place.
It's a perfect bird's-eye view.
The miniature mikes are scattered, ready to switch on.
Hold on a second, Mrs Peel.
Ah Cheers, Steed.
Cheers, Mrs Peel.
- I thought everybody had left.
- I had a few things to clear up.
- You still on safari? - Yes.
Want to come along? Not me.
I haven't forgotten that bull, or Erskine.
Who was that? That was Peters, not the most chivalrous of gentlemen.
We're few and far between.
May we now establish radio silence? Mrs Peel? - Do you hear it? - Yes.
What is it? I don't know.
- It's heading your way.
- It's getting quite near.
- Can you see anything? - Not yet.
Mrs Peel! Mrs Peel, are you all right? - Yes, I'm fine.
- What was it? I fell over the empties.
I thought I heard Shh.
Whatever it was was here.
And now it's turning north.
- I've got it.
- And now it's moving west.
Due west.
Towards Nesbitt's place.
I'm on my way.
PURRR? Come on! Ain't got all day.
Were you a friend of the deceased? Not exactly.
He will be sadly missed.
He was always such good company.
Cheshire, Edwin Cheshire.
John Steed.
Yes, he was indeed a true companion.
You may proceed, gentlemen.
Hardly ever spent a night out on the tiles.
Oh, very commendable.
He had his funny little ways, of course.
- Don't we all? - Yes.
Used to love to take a snooze inside the back of this harmonium.
I cured him of it, though, sleeping in the harmonium.
Poked him out with my umbrella.
I smeared his nose with butter.
It's a sure cure.
Rather drastic, I should've thought.
Here he comes now.
Prince Courtney of Chippenham, champion of champions.
Is there a cat lover anywhere who will not mourn his passing? Farewell.
Farewell, faithful, fair and fulsome feline friend.
But life must go on.
- You've come to join PURRR no doubt.
- Indeed.
The Philanthropic Union for Rescue, Relief and Recuperation.
- Of cats? - But of course of cats.
Those leggy, lovable, lithesome creatures.
We care for them, we care for them all.
Oh, it's a great deal of work.
Why, in London alone, our membership stands at 1,110,043.
Ah, Angora, application form for Mr Steed, please.
Thank you.
Now, Mr Steed, the name of your beloved pussy? - Oh, er, Emma.
- Emma.
- Pedigree? - Family tree that long.
Colouring? - Reddish brown.
- Oh, a cuddly bronze tabby.
What a joy for you it must be when she's curled up in your lap.
I've never thought of it that way.
- Sign, please.
- Thank you.
Now, may I offer you a drink? - Well, I wouldn't say no.
- Good.
Let's see, we have homogenised, pasteurised, full cream, dairy special, or perhaps you'd prefer a short.
- Er, well, I - Ah.
I've got some condensed somewhere.
Er, no, it is a little soon before lunch, thank you.
But it's the food of the gods, and gods these creatures are.
Worshipped by earlier civilisations.
Such grace, beauty and intelligence.
It was said that one day cats would inherit the earth.
And one day, Mr Steed, they shall.
One day they shall.
- On the bottle again, Cheshire.
- Ah, Dr Manx.
- May I present Mr Steed? - How do you do, Dr Manx? Dr Manx is our medical advisor.
Sees everything in very cold and clinical terms.
No feeling, no rapport with our feline friends at all.
- I look after them well, though.
- Ah.
There we see eye to eye.
- You joining PURRR, Mr Steed? - Just my cat.
Very wise move.
Mr Cheshire will look after its welfare and I'll look after its health.
Do you deal with all cats? - Naturally.
- All cats are welcome here.
Even the big ones? Don't forget your brochure, Mr Steed.
He went that-a-way.
- A to D? - E to K.
Philanthropic Union for Rescue, Relief and Recuperation of Cats.
A feline paradise run by a man called Cheshire.
- So that's our Mr PURRR.
- Read on.
That'll make you bristle.
You beautiful, bronze tabby.
Sir David, Major Nesbitt, Erskine.
- The three men - Four.
Bellamy was mauled to death about an hour ago.
Penchant for committee members.
Who's for dessert? Mr Samuel Jones, unless we can get to him first.
Ah, Jones.
Jones! - About this Mr Cheshire - Loves cats.
Prefers them to humans.
- They're more cuddly.
- The little ones.
I'd like to know where he keeps those big ones.
- Let's put a pigeon among the pussies.
- Right.
While you're on the wing, Mrs Pigeon, I'll forage through these Joneses.
Mr Samuel Jones Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones.
Have no fear, Mrs Peel.
We'll find your Little John for you.
- I do hope so, Mr Cheshire.
- Oh, yes.
If we can't locate him direct, our vast membership will cooperate.
Come with me.
Now, I've noted your description, and I've built up a composite picture, as you can see.
Now, tell me.
Is that like him? No.
Little John's nose is much more aristocratic.
Of course, of course.
How about that? The eyes are a little too small.
- Is that better? - Yes.
That's him! You see? Our identi-cat system never fails.
I just knew your society could help.
Oh, Mrs Peel.
PURRR is not a society.
It is a union, a union of souls.
We rescue and relieve the lost, neglected and homeless.
- And where do they recuperate? - Through there.
But first, tell me, has your little John any other peculiarities? Well, he's very bad-tempered first thing in the morning, until he's had his first glass of champagne.
Yes Hello? Do I have the right number for Mr Samuel Jones? Samantha? What a charming name.
Yes, but I must find Samuel.
Ah, what a joyous sound.
Almost time for tea.
Come in, dear lady.
Through these portals have passed 100,000 strays.
Our membership includes over 90% of the entire feline population, but I will not rest until every cat wears our medallion.
Aah, look at them.
I must have a look at my tabbies.
Just a minute.
Oh, hello, my pets.
Ready for your tea? Now, then.
Hello, Elfrida.
Wellington! Shan't be long, my petties.
Oh, they're so sweet.
Now, these are Oh, I'm sorry.
The new arrivals are at the far end.
You're the heavyweight champion of where? Oh, there.
I'm extremely sorry to have troubled you.
Take a peep, Mrs Peel.
Well? Is your cat amongst them? Ah, have courage, my dear.
He'll return, I know it.
- And here? - That is our treatment room.
And who is that getting the treatment? Ah, Dr Manx.
Mrs Peel.
Mrs Peel has just lost her dearest companion.
- Not among the new arrivals? - Alas, no.
- What a beautiful cat.
- Oh, that one, yes.
Complete mental wreck on arrival.
Persecution mania.
Thought she was being pursued by a poodle, but after a few sessions of psy-cat-therapy, look.
Psy-cat-therapy? A new form of treatment devised by Dr Manx.
I can hardly take all the credit.
Mr Cheshire is our guiding light.
He supplied the finance.
That reminds me.
A note from the committee.
- Have we a description of your cat? - Yes, yes.
Follow me, please.
Oh? He's away? For how long? 18 months with remission? I am sorry, madam.
Phew! Well, that's all, Mrs Peel.
We'll circulate his photograph in our members' bulletin.
You'll receive your medallion in due course.
- Thank you.
- Don't forget your coat, Mrs Peel.
- I'll see you out.
- Thank you.
- I've brought the van.
- All equipped? - As per instructions.
- Good.
Zero hour's fixed for 23:00.
- Tonight? But I thought.
- You were never employed to think.
Saturation point has been reached, the experimental stage satisfactory.
There is no point in delaying the operation.
There's still Samuel Jones.
Don't panic.
The matter's well in hand.
Where on earth's that woman going? - Mrs Peel.
- You know her? She was at the farm with a man called Steed.
Steed? - You're certain it's her? - Well, if you need confirmation - Leave this to me.
- No.
- But they're onto us.
They must be.
- How? Suspicious, perhaps.
So were Harper and Nesbitt.
But remember, Peters, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
Hello? Yes, this is Samuel Jones.
Yes, indeed, I'm on the committee.
Look, Mr Jones, I can't explain now, but you are in extreme danger.
Yes, I have your address.
Now, bolt all your doors and windows, and I'll be right over.
Really, Mr Steed, I'm quite safe here.
I live in a penthouse flat.
Please do as I say.
Oh, very well.
I'll be expecting you.
You can stop worrying about Mr Samuel Jones.
- He's been dealt with.
- Now for Mrs Peel.
Put that away.
We'll dispose of Mrs Peel as we disposed of the others.
Here, take her to Cheshire.
Peters, aren't you forgetting something? Oh, Steed.
Did you trace Jones? Yes, I traced him but too late.
How did you get on with the cats? Well, there's an odd laboratory there and a van, equipped like a small apartment.
Really? Mrs Peel, I'll call you back.
The cat's out of the bag.
Mr Cheshire! Your sorrows are at an end, dear lady.
The lonely gap in your heart will soon be filled.
No, don't thank me.
The look in your eyes is gratitude enough.
But supposing Little John were to come home? Then your heart will be doubly filled.
Hm? But Mr Cheshire I'm so glad that we've found someone to take care of you.
There's this additional circuit which is intriguing.
It's a recent development called an electrophon.
Transmits brain waves.
- What effect do they have? - On humans? Oh, negligible.
We've too many barriers.
On animals, they release the primitive instinct.
- Would they have an effect on a cat? - Ideal subjects.
If you beam these waves into the brain of a cat, you find yourself with a tiger in your lap.
Puss, puss.
Now, be as quiet as a mouse.
How very obliging of you, Mr Steed.
You saved us the trouble.
Us? Welcome back, Mr Steed.
Now, as you've doubtless heard, curiosity killed the cat.
Well, in this case, the cats are going to kill the curious.
Er, that equipment, it transmits brainwaves into those receivers in the medallions? Inside every cat there's a hidden tiger.
Well, I can release it.
Shortly, I shall blanket the entire country.
Every cat wearing a medallion will revert to its savage ancestry.
Our membership runs into millions.
Few will survive but for those who do, there'll be wealth, unlimited wealth, in banks, safe deposits, diamond vaults, and all by the mere flick of a switch.
Easy, isn't it? I think that was grounds for divorce.
Pity about my governing committee, but they became curious about my expenditure.
Still, they were very useful guinea pigs in the experimental stage.
Now let them out and meet me in the van.
I regret my departure, Mr Steed, but you won't be alone for long.
It's set to transmit in exactly one minute from now.
Goodbye, Mr Steed.
You did say you were fond of cats.
Mrs Peel! Pussies galore! Get that thing switched off.
- Is there a master switch? - Try the lot.
- Shall I put the cat out? - Do.
Angora? Peters? At this moment Angora? No! No, get away from me! We just made it.
Angora? Peters, where are you? Get him out! A man's doodles reveal his psychic character.
Really? Well, what do you think of that? Definitely a repressed personality.
- With extrovert undertones.
- Ha-ha! It certainly took full marks for originality, Dr Manx's scheme.
Fiendishly feline.
Release the savage beast within.
Tear down the barriers of inhibition.
Let the primeval instincts run riot.
Well one thing's for certain.
By acting as we did, we narrowly averted a terrible Catastrophe.