The Avengers: "The Gravediggers"

The Avengers, Series 4
'The Gravediggers'
1965/British/TV/50 min/B&W

Written by Malcolm Hulke
Directed by Quentin Lawrence
John Steed - Patrick McNee
Emma Peel - Diana Rigg
Sir Horace Winslip - Ronald Fraser
Johnson - Paul Massie
Miss Thirlwell - Caroline Blakistan
Nurse Spray - Wanda Ventham
Sager - Steven Berkoff
Dr Marlowe - Lloyd Lamble

Plot Summary

Dr Marlowe is upset with the lack of funding for his projects involving radar jamming. Thus, he stages his own death and retires to a hospital for Retired and Ailing Railway workers.

Steed and Peel track the exhumed coffin to the hospital and go there to investigate. Steed shows a photo of Dr Marlowe to Nurse Spray (Wanda Ventham). She isn't aware who Dr Marlowe is, but as they are talking, Steed notices Marlowe step out of the operating room and then back in.

Dr Marlowe and others have been burying equipment in graveyards of the area to jam the U.K. Early Warning system. Due to Steed's appearance, Dr Marlowe panics and is killed by his co-conspirators.

Peel joins the staff as a nurse. In Wanda's second scene as Nurse Spray, she and Peel engage in small talk, mentioning how 'dreamy' one of the doctors is.

Later on, as Nurse Spray is leaving, she and Peel bump into each other. Spray asks if Peel would like to go the the dance in town.

Peel is tied to the tracks of the miniature railroad on the grounds and is rescued by Steed after he disables the control equipment used to jam the early-warning system.


This is one of the earlier roles for Wanda Ventham, five years before she became a regular on UFO.
Wanda Ventham has a minor role in the episode, and appears in 3 separate scenes.

Steven Berkoff who appears in a few episodes of UFO as an astronaut has a small role in this episode as well.


Nurse Spray, Dr. Marlowe, John Steed

Dr . Johnson, Nurse Spray, Emma Peel

Nurse Spray Going Out on Town, Emma Peel


Plot Summary & Comment by Ron DeMedeiros, Images by Bill Cotter & Keith McLaren.