|'Invitation to a Killing'
by Donald James
This ninety-minute episode was originally produced by John Bryce in order to introduce viewers to the character of Tara King. But when Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell were recalled to the production team, they considered the episode to be unsuitable, instead choosing to use ‘The Forget-Me-Knot’ as the episode in which Diana Rigg hands over to Linda Thorson. However, their contract with America had yet to be fulfilled, and they had an extremely short time in which to complete delivery of the episodes; they decided to recycle ‘Invitation to a Killing’ into the episode ‘Have Guns - Will Haggle’.
For this ‘new’ episode, several plot elements were altered, Diana Rigg was called back for four days’ work (thanks to a thanks to a contractual technicality), and new footage was shot so that everything edited together coherently - although if one looks closely, it is possible to note a change in seasons from one scene to the next, as well as some odd transitions from day to night.
In the original episode, the naturally-brunette Linda Thorson had her hair dyed blonde, but the peroxide caused her hair to fall out; for the re-shoot, Tara is seen to wear a blonde wig. This plot-device stayed with the character as a way of disguising Thorson’s condition, until such a time as it re-grew; her natural hair is not seen until ‘All Done with Mirrors’, the eleventh episode to be made.
Before being replaced by Clemens and Fennel, Bryce also managed to complete the unaired episode ‘The Great Great Britain Crime’ (later recycled into ‘Homicide and Old Lace’), and ‘Invasion of the Earthmen’ (which apparently survived relatively intact)
Patrick Macnee (John Steed), Linda Thorson (Tara King)
Directed by Ray Austin
Produced by John Bryce
*Featuring John Steed, and introducing Tara King