Brian Clemens, the screenwriter who made many fine contributions to British film, but especially television, has died at the age of eighty-three.
Clemens will perhaps be best-remembered as the creator of The Avengers, the cult TV series that ran throughout almost the whole of the 1960s. The show starred Patrick Macnee as the bowler hat-wearing, umbrella-carrying John Steed. It made stars of Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg, and brought cat suit-wearing female sidekicks to the screen. Clemens wrote many of the episodes himself and retained creative control over the series.
The Professionals, which brought Martin Shaw and the late Lewis Collins to prominence, was another hit series masterminded by Clemens; as was the fondly-remembered Thriller, an anthology series that saw most of the big theatre and television stars appear in at least one episode during its run in the mid-1970s. He made script contributions to most of the big cult series of the 1960s and 1970s, including The Persuaders! and Danger Man.
For the big screen, Clemens provided the screenplay for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, one of the films to feature Ray Harryhausen’s special effects. It was also the film that inadvertently led to the casting of Tom Baker in Doctor Who.
Clemens’ writing often had a slightly surreal and quirky edge, and he never failed to bring a touch of escapism and adventure to the screen. Writing was clearly in his blood: he was a direct descendant of Mark Twain.