The Avengers (1961–1969)
3 user 1 critic

Mission... Highly Improbable 

A car carrying two Ministry officials, enroute to investigate the budget overruns on Professor Rushton's latest project, vanishes under escort. Steed goes to investigate, and discovers the ... See full summary »


Robert Day


Philip Levene (teleplay)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Macnee ... John Steed
Diana Rigg ... Emma Peel
Ronald Radd ... Shaffer
Jane Merrow ... Susan
Noel Howlett ... Prof. Rushton
Francis Matthews ... Chivers
Richard Leech ... Col. Drew
Stefan Gryff Stefan Gryff ... Josef
Nicholas Courtney ... Gifford
Kevin Stoney ... Sir Gerald Bancroft
Peter Clay Peter Clay ... Sergeant
Nigel Rideout Nigel Rideout ... Corp. Johnson
Cynthia Bizeray Cynthia Bizeray ... Blonde
Nicole Shelby Nicole Shelby ... Brunette (credit only)
Nosher Powell Nosher Powell ... Henrik


A car carrying two Ministry officials, enroute to investigate the budget overruns on Professor Rushton's latest project, vanishes under escort. Steed goes to investigate, and discovers the hard way where the money has gone; to build a device capable of shrinking anything to a fraction of its normal size. While Rushton has great science- and industry-oriented plans for the device, his assistant Chivers has plans of his own... to make a profit, and dispose of anyone in his way. Steed, inches tall, manages to telephone Emma with a warning, but she is captured by a co-conspirator of Chivers, and next faces the shrinking machine. How will Steed and Emma get through this one? Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

10 January 1968 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

ABC Weekend Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The only episode of the Diana Rigg both seasons, where John Steed is on the crime scene, at the beginning, without Mrs Peel but with supporting characters. See more »


When Emma Peel is tied up in the Russian's office, there is so much slack in the ropes that she could have easily slipped her legs through and untied herself. See more »


Shaffer: [being dressed in a general's uniform] Josef, as a representative of our great country, am I to appear half naked?
[Josef fails to understand what's missing]
Shaffer: Another medal, you fool!
[as Josef retreats, Shaffer calls after him]
Shaffer: For bravery!
[a beat]
Shaffer: Conspicuous bravery!
See more »


References Mission: Impossible (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Incredible science fiction that doesn't cop out on its premise
6 April 2011 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

"Mission ... Highly Improbable" lives up to its title; whereas previous entries dealt with alien invasions, time machines, or invisible adversaries that failed to deliver on their premises, here we have an invention that miniaturizes objects (remember 1939's "Dr. Cyclops"), with both Avengers brought down to size before it's over. Francis Matthews ("The Thirteenth Hole") plays the villain, Dr. Matthew Andrew Chivers, who uses the machine created by Prof. L. T. Rushton (Noel Howlett) for his own nefarious purposes, shrinking a Ministry official come to audit the project's expenses, then the Captain (Nicholas Courtney, "Propellant 23") who discovers the truth, winding up flushed down the sewer. Ronald Radd ("Bullseye" and "The Outside-In Man") is toplined as enemy agent Shaffer, who shows great interest in Rushton's invention, with brief appearances from Richard Leech ("Traitor in Zebra" and "Dressed to Kill") and Cynthia Bizeray ("Square Root of Evil"). Lovely Jane Merrow provides a nice contrast to Diana Rigg, but one actress who is credited but does not appear is Nicole Shelby, who does actually show up in "They Keep Killing Steed." Both Steed and Mrs. Peel help each other escape using the same desktop set, but it's all in good fun, especially when Emma parades herself before Steed as he examines her 'merchandise' to make sure everything's in place (and with Diana Rigg breaking out with such a winning smile, it is sheer perfection). Emma Peel returns for one final episode, "The Forget-Me-Knot."

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