Steed: An Authorized Biography. Volume One: Jealous in honour by Tim Heald.
(Published 1977 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
197 pages, £4.95. Hardcover).
The authorized biography of John Steed - unfortunately
only this first volume ever emerged.
Unique Selling Point:
Fills in the background on our hero - not sure how
accurate it is with tallying in with various details from the show, but
had input from Clemens and Macnee.
From the dust wrapper:
Ever since an amazed British public was first introduced to John Steed
by Independent Television in the early sixties, he has been at once one
of the best known but most enigmatic figures in public life. Now
for the first time the secrets of his early years are revealed: the dreadful
massacre of his parents on the North West Frontier of India while he was
little more than a baby; the appalling severities of his preparatory school
education; expulsion from Eton; running away to war; secret service in
Occupied France; doomed marriage to a beautiful childhood sweetheart;
From this gripping account
of Steed's life until his first meeting with Cathy Gale (while he was
still a member of a leading monastic order), our hero emerges as an Englishman's
Englishman. He is utterly honourable, extraordinarily gallant, a
crack shot, an uncompromisingly straight bat, and a devotee of roast beef,
real ale and the verse of Sir Henry Newbolt. His story is one of
epic bravery and endeavour spiced with tragedy and even disaster.
Throughout it no lip could be stiffer, no jaw firmer, no gaze as unflinching.
He is the last of the Bulldog breed.
A genuine oddity, this one. Published by Weidenfeld
and Nicolson in 1977, it purports to be the biography of one John Steed
and, being Volume One, it covers the years 1922 to 1946. Subsequent
volumes, if they were planned, never appeared. This covers such
matters as the young Steed encountering both Patrick Macnee's real-life
father, 'Shrimp' Macnee and his encounters at Eton with both the school
bully, a certain James Bond, and Daniel Patrick Macnee ("Later to
become a celebrated actor and television personality under the name
Patrick Macnee. Best known for his portrayal of Steed in the TV
series, The Avengers," it says in a footnote). Very post-modern!!
As far as I know, this only appeared in hardback in the UK, and many of
the copies that do turn up are ex-library copies. This is by far
one of the most difficult to find Avengers-related books, if not the
most difficult to find.
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