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Story One - 'Operation Harem'

December 21st 1963 to February 15th 1964 in Look Westward and The Viewer
February 1st to March 28th 1964 in the Manchester Evening News
February 27th to April 23rd 1964 in TV Post (Belfast)

Part One - February 1st 1964

Steed and Mrs Gale are working undercover as air stewards in the Middle East, secretly guarding the life of Sheikh Abal, an ally of Great Britain.  Unbeknownst to The Avengers, the Sheikh's right hand man Colonel Hassam is planning subterfuge.

Part Two - February 8th 1964

The traitorous Colonel Hassam and his men have hijacked a plane carrying Sheikh Abal.  Steed is caught with a gun in his possession and is held captive.  In the meantime, one of the Sheikh's men is shot by the hijackers.  Mrs. Gale wants to help him, but Steed tells her that he is already dead.

Part Three - February 15th 1964

Sheikh Abal is confused as he believes that 'there is no unrest in my country.   I have no rivals or enemies'.  The plane lands in a desert, and Colonel Hassam's men kill the rest of the Sheikh's men and blow up the vehicle.  Steed, Mrs Gale, the Sheikh and his wives are chained up and forced to march across the desert to an unknown destination.  Mrs Gale surmises that they are in North Africa.

Part Four - February 22nd 1964

As the captured party cross a bridge, Steed works a hand free and, seizing the guns of their captives, The Avengers attempt to gain the upper hand.  Colonel Hassam calls their bluff by threatening to gun down the Sheikh's wives.  The pair are recaptured and led into a fortress.  Inside, Colonel Hassam speaks to a disembodied voice (emanating from a small statuette) who demands that the Sheikh will only be freed when the British oil company in his country agrees to pay half of the Sheikh's royalties into several Swiss bank accounts.   The Sheikh demands to know who his mysterious enemy is, but is kept in the dark.  Steed and Mrs Gale are taken into the dungeons.

Part Five - February 29th 1964

(Note: the microfilm copy of this strip was so badly produced most of the dialogue is unreadable).  Steed and Mrs Gale are put into separate cells in the dungeons.  Mrs Gale is laid on a table which has a set of stocks at the end through which her head and hands are secured.  A poisonous snake is placed in front of her and Steed is told that he has three minutes to tell everything the British government knows about the rebels' plans.  Otherwise Mrs Gale will suffer a painful three-hour death.  Mrs Gale struggles free and strikes down Colonel Hassam.  However, Steed, having agreed to work with the rebels holds her captive. Cathy gags Zoran with her stockings

Part Six - March 7th 1964

Cathy is locked in a cell.  Steed explains that he can be helpful to the rebels by keeping them informed about the actions of the UK government.  Colonel Hassam's lackey Zoran plans to teach Cathy a lesson but she gives him a severe thrashing, ties him up and gags him with her stockings(!).  After freeing Sheikh Abal, the pair fight their way out of the dungeons.  Cathy tells the Sheikh to leave with his wives as she has a few questions for Steed... 

Part Seven - March 14th 1964

Steed seems to be convincing the rebels to take him into their midst by giving secrets to Colonel Hassam's hidden boss.  Suddenly he grabs Hassam and slams him into the wall.  A secret panel swings open revealing a hidden room.  Inside, the disembodied voice is revealed to be Fadi, a cousin of the Sheikh, who feels that he doesn't get enough money from the Sheikh.  Steed holds the treacherous pair at gunpoint and tells them to accompany him.  Cathy overhears part of Steed's conversation from outside the room and, thinking that Steed really has turned traitor, leaves to board the boat with the Sheikh.  Steed deposits his prisoners in the dungeon and comments that 'Mrs Gale has been up to her tricks again' when he sees the bound and gagged Zoran.  Fadi gloats that he has attached a time bomb to the motor launch, which only he can disarm...

Part Eight - March 21st 1964

(Note: the microfilm copy of this strip was so badly produced most of the dialogue is unreadable).  Mrs Gale and the Sheikh have made it as far as the motor launch.  Steed, finding his escape route blocked, starts a fire as a diversion.   He makes it to the motor launch just as Mrs Gale is about to start the engine.   After explaining that there is a bomb on board they all climb into a smaller, non-motorised boat, and take to the sea.  Fadi and his men arrive on shore.   They will only need to disarm the time bomb in order to catch up to the smaller boat... Steed and Cathy share a drink

Part Nine - March 28th 1964

The time bomb disarmed, Fadi and his men are pursuing Steed, Mrs Gale and the Sheikh's party.  As they struggle to mount a machine gun on deck, their boat explodes.  Steed tells Mrs Gale that he'd sabotaged the time bomb before they left shore.  They make it back to the land and begin an overnight trek.  In the morning they are rescued by a desert police patrol.  The Sheikh offers the pair differing rewards: Steed is to become Commander of the Sheikh's personal guard - with his own harem thrown in, Mrs Gale is offered the chance to become the Sheikh's number one wife.  They both decline.

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