The Avengers (1961–1969)
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A Touch of Brimstone 

A modern day Hellfire Club, led by libertine John Cleverly Cartney, plans to incite chaos by killing three foreign Prime Ministers.


James Hill


Brian Clemens (teleplay by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Macnee ... John Steed
Diana Rigg ... Emma Peel
Peter Wyngarde ... John Cartney
Colin Jeavons ... Darcy
Carol Cleveland ... Sara
Robert Cawdron ... Horace
Michael Latimer ... Roger Winthrop
Jeremy Young ... Willy Frant
Bill Wallis Bill Wallis ... Tubby Bunn
Steve Plytas Steve Plytas ... Kartovski
Art Thomas Art Thomas ... Pierre
Alf Joint ... Big Man
Bill Reed Bill Reed ... Huge Man


Prankster Lord Darcy informs Steed about his concerns for John Cleverly Carney, a suave womanizer who has hi-jacked his innocent pranks and turned them into the means of murder. The avengers discover that Carney has revived the eighteenth century Hellfire Club, a libertine organization advocating orgies and mayhem and infiltrate the club as members. Here they discover Carney's plan to blow up Culverston House whilst an international conference is taking place and set out to stop him. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sexual tension | boots | See All (2) »







Release Date:

19 February 1966 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

ABC Weekend Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode inspired part of the Dark Phoenix storyline in X-Men comics, in which a hypnotist using the name Wyngarde transformed Phoenix into his "Black Queen", with a costume based on that worn here by Diana Rigg. See more »


When Mrs Peel is looking in Cartney's appointment book, it is dated January 1944. See more »


Emma Peel: I've come here to appeal to you, Mr. Cartney.
John Cartney: You certainly do that.
See more »


Featured in 100 Greatest Sexy Moments (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Notorious in its day, still splendid today
6 March 2011 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

"A Touch of Brimstone" may perhaps be the most (in)famous episode of them all, pruned before airing in Britain, and banned outright in America, one of five black and white Emma Peel shows that failed to air during the 60's. An episode devoted to sin and debauchery, whose chief villain, John Cleverly Cartney (Peter Wyngarde, later seen in "Epic"), has formed a new Hellfire Club, the 18th century elite organization whose slogan was "do what thou wilt," fronting an attempt to stage a coup by embarrassing the government with childish pranks that eventually turn deadly. Emma Peel's initial reaction to Cartney is a favorable one (driving Steed's jealousy), but after being introduced to the Club, all signs of amusement vanish, and her introduction as the 'Queen of Sin' has even Steed raising an eyebrow. Steed's initiation into the Club provides one of his most memorable moments, as he is required to remove a dried pea from its place before the razor-sharp blade of Roger Winthrop (Michael Latimer, later seen in "The Positive Negative Man") slices it in half with unerring accuracy. If you want to be forgiven for your sins, the first thing you've got to do is sin! (how true). Future MONTY PYTHON beauty Carol Cleveland provides some competition for Mrs. Peel (who supplants her in Cartney's company), while Steve Plytas makes his first appearance since "Immortal Clay" (the best thing about that entry). While Cartney puts his whip to good use on Mrs. Peel (nearly a dozen cracks!), Steed is swordfighting with Willy Frent (Jeremy Young, later seen in "Never, Never Say Die" and "The Forget-Me-Knot"), whose missing fingers were from his (unsuccessful) attempt to remove the dried pea before the axe fell. Colin Jeavons would return for "The Winged Avenger," Robert Cawdron would return for "Murdersville," and Bill Wallis would return for "The Positive Negative Man."

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