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The Avengers and Me Paperback – May 1, 1998

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

There have been five James Bonds, but even Ralph Fiennes, star of the Avengers movie admits that there is only one John Steed. When he first donned his iconic bowler hat, actor Patrick Macnee put an eccentric spin on the traditional English gentleman. Witty, urbane, a stickler for etiquette, and able to disarm the most dastardly villain with a casual flick of his tightly furled umbrella, Steed helped London to swing during the heady days of the 1960s.

The Avengers and Me is Macnee's memoir of his time on the cult TV show. Reading the book is like sitting down with the actor over a nice cup of tea as he reminisces about life behind and in front of the cameras. He is particularly gracious in his discussion of the women with whom he shared his adventures: Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson, and Joanna Lumley are all lavished with Macnee's signature charm. He only becomes critical when writing about some of the production decisions that, he believes, compromised the original vision of the show, and he seems to think that The New Avengers was not a terribly good idea. Overall, however, The Avengers and Me is as warm and as witty as the man himself. --Simon Leake


"* "A frank... unmissable read. A definite must-buy." SFX magazine * "Charming... Hats off to you, sir." Uncut magazine" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: TV Books; 1st edition (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575000598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575000596
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,332,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on July 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you are a fan of "The Avengers" series and even have a recollection of "The New Avengers" series, you will love <TheAvengers and Me" (TV Books, 1998) by Patrick Macnee "with" Dave Rogers. Now that I have all the Diana Rigg episodes on VHS and the last season of the Honor Blackman ones on DVD, while my fuzzy copies off late-night tv of the Linda Thorson entries await replacement by commercial ones--well, this book was a wonderful reminder of how much fun it was to await eagerly each new episode when they were still new and unabridged by the increasing time allowed for commercials.
What this book also tells us is how the participants did not particularly have as much fun making the series as we did watching them. When Diana Rigg announced that coal miners were making more than they were--a remark that did not endear her to coal miners--or when the cast of "The New Avengers" found they were not going to be paid--or when Joanna Lumley stood up at a gathering and let the others know how hard the cast worked while everyone else partied, we begin to reconsider what came over the tube in a new light and admire the actors even more for not showing their displeasure before the cameras.
As is common today in "confess all" autobiographies, Macnee is quite honest about his weight and drinking problems; and more interestingly, about his feelings of inferiority before such "real" actors (as he puts it late in the book) as Diana Rigg and Ian McKellen (but not Orson Welles, for reasons that you will find in the last chapter).
This edition boasts lots of good stills, especially the color shots of Honor Blackman episodes which we know only in black and white. I feel it could have used more behind-the-camera anecdotes and I certainly miss an index. But what there is is quite good and fans will certainly love it all.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Peter C.T. Lim ( on September 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
Reading this book is like having a personal chat with Patrick MacNee as he recounts his experiences while making the avengers series. He is unassuming and generous in praising his co-stars, and colleagues although he is critical of some people who were behind the scenes. Patrick downplayed his own capabilities and contribution to the series.
Sure he had the support of many good female partners, but his own character was very integral to the series. Wild and outrageous ladies with this gentleman spy to balance the story.
The author also reflects on how he might handled things differently with his co-stars, vis-a-vis the producers, if he could do it again. As an avengers fan, i always wondered why Diana Rigg did not stay for more than 2 seasons. I also thought that the Linda Thorson series was under-rated. Some answers are offered in this book and i am glad i read it.
Though the stories were fantastic, and sometimes ludicrous, but it was a fun series to watch.
I also think Patrick deserves a little more credit han he has given himself in this book.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By George McAdams VINE VOICE on January 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Macnee is. "The Avengers and Me" gives the reader a true sense of just what type of man Patrick Macnee is, more so, I feel, than his autobiography, "Blind in One Ear."
And while he downplays his role and acting abilities, we all know better. During the past few years, I'd taken to listening to his audio tapes of the "Sean Dillion" (Jack Higgins) stories, and his ability to take other's works and add so much character to them is astonishing. This book will not disappoint.
For true lovers of the show, this is a "must have" book. For those who strive to learn what makes the best actors tick, this is a "must have" book. Finally, if you want to learn a little more about British culture, this is a "must have" book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Nordin on February 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As others have written, this book shows Macnee to be both humble and generous -- and makes you wonder how the show ever got made.

The total lack of support from the network, the grudging contempt towards the actors, the penny-pinching, it's all here in some detail. And lest you think that this is just sour grapes from Macnee, he allows others extensive space to explain their battles with the executives and how the network actually seemed upset that the show was a hit and the actors becoming famous.

Macnee is the same cheerful, positive, unruffled self here we know from "Steed" on the screen. His very rare sniping actually reinforces that image, for it's all on behalf of others. He's genuinely angry that Diana Rigg lost an Emmy award to Barbara Bain of Mission Impossible - and much as I loved MI, Rigg was twice the actress and playing a bigger more dynamic role. For himself, he dismisses his own abilities and minimizes his own contributions to the series. But we know better.

He's also honest about his failure to support Blackman and Rigg in their battles with the execs - a failure he attributes to cowardice on his part. He's also very open about his struggles with weight and diet pills.

I mentioned the space given to others in the book. This provides a wonderful platform for the set designer, the musician and others to explain some of what went into making the show. Unfortunately, none of the female leads are interviewed. I don't know, but I suspect that both Blackman and Rigg have some very bitter memories about how they were exploited on the show. For all that The Avengers put "emancipated" women on screen, the working environment was anything but. (But that was not due to Macnee.)

He covers all incarnations of the series, from before Diana Rigg through to the New Avengers.

Macnee seems like someone you'd love to have drinks with; someone who'd be a great neighbor and friend.
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