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THE AVENGERS: A CELEBRATION

An exclusive preview of the new photography book, Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century, by Carl Schoonover; Foreword by Jonah Lehrer. Published by AbramsPosted by Mark Frauenfelder

Click the thumbnails above to see images and captions. Imagery copyright © 2010 CANAL+ Image UK Ltd. All rights reserved

THE AVENGERS: A CELEBRATION Fifty years ago, production began on The Avengers, a TV series that has yet to be rivaled for its wit, adventure and sheer style. Urbane agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee) fought diabolical masterminds with a succession of impossibly cool female partners. These included Cathy Gale (played by Honor Blackman), Tara King (Linda Thorson) and of course the iconic Mrs Peel played by Diana Rigg. The show quickly became a worldwide sensation syndicated to 90 countries, including the US, where it was a prime time hit.

Compiled with unprecedented access to the show's official archive, The Avengers: A Celebration (Titan) is a glorious visual tribute to mark the 50th anniversary of the show that defined 60s television. Written by Marcus Hearn (Hammer Glamour, The Hammer Story), with a foreword by the legendary Patrick Macnee, this stunning, large-format hardback is packed with newly discovered photographs and exclusive memories from the cast and crew.

Diana Rigg surprises her co-star during rehearsals on the set of Henry and Henrietta Throgbottom's keep fit class in "How to Succeed...at Murder"

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

Diana Rigg designed her own costume as the Queen of Sin (in the episode "A Touch of Brimstone"). She was less comfortable with the snake, which spent a day draped over her wrist.

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

Guest star Liz Fraser poses with Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg outside Mrs Peel's giant cage in "The Girl from Auntie."

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

Mrs Peel tackles Major Robertson's potentially lethal initiation test in "The Danger Makers."

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

A tiny Steed clambers out of a miniaturized Saracen armored car and hides on Shaffer's desk in "Mission...Highly Improbably." When Shaffer has left the room, Steed calls Mrs Peel on a relatively giant telephone. "What's happened to you?" she asks. "If I told you, you wouldn't believe it," he replies.

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

A publicity shot - unusually showing Patrick Macnee holding a gun - taken on the set of "Death of a Batman" in August 1963. The studio floor is covered in anticipation of an impending rain shower.

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

"Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Cathy Gale is her relationship with Steed," Honor Blackman told The Daily Mail in January 1964. "Steed and Cathy Gale are not lovers. They are close, working friends. I see Pat every day, and our friendship is more successful than it could possibly be if we were having a love affair in private life."

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

Photo from the pre-title sequence specially filmed to introduce American audiences to The Avengers.

The Avengers: A Celebration, by Marcus Hearn, with a foreword by Patrick Macnee.

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