Tara King of The Avengers
Tara King Played by Linda Thorson
Tara King of The Avengers TV series first appeared on television screens in the spring of 1968. She was to be the new crime fighting partner of John Steed (played by Patrick Macnee) and the successor to the much-loved Emma Peel.
Although a British agent in a British show - albeit financed with American money - Tara King initially made her debut in the United States, while viewers in the UK had to wait a further six months before they were able to view her first appearance.
Tara was played by Canadian actress Linda Thorson and, from the outset, she came under fire for her portrayal of the role - often unkindly judged in comparison to Diana Rigg's Emma Peel. While Thorson appeared to get off to a slow and somewhat shaky start, she soon grew into the part, once the producers had decided on Tara King's characterization.
I, for one, greatly missed the Emma Peel era of The Avengers and, unfortunately, Linda Thorson would have a lot to live up to. To begin with, there appeared to be no progression with the character of Tara King, but she eventually created her own niche in the series and very quickly I became a fan.
Over the years, Tara's other fans have been highly vociferous about her contribution to this classic and iconic television show, so let's travel back to the late 1960s and discover what the fuss was all about.
She's delectable, she's delicious...(gentleman), I give you Tara King!— John Steed
Tara King Video Montage
Introducing Tara King
A great way to introduce everyone to The Avengers' latest female crime fighter.
In this short video clip, Patrick Macnee narrates an introductory montage of his new partner in crime. Played with zest by Linda Thorson, Tara's character abandoned the kung fu and karate of her two predecessors and instead dispatched her adversaries with a swift punch, kick or brick in the handbag.
There was sometimes an extended scuffle, but even these were more in the style of a knock down fight, rather than a balletic foot in the face or stylized judo hold.
Here is the proof: Tara King, looking good and knocking them out!
Hello, Miss King...Goodbye Mrs. Peel
Back in the day, Emma Peel was one of my favourite television characters. In fact, she still is. It was a sad day, therefore, when her presumed-missing husband returned and whisked her away from her adventures with Steed at the end of her final episode, The Forget Me Not. This was also the story in which Tara King made her debut.
As Agent 69, she was a fresh-faced and wide-eyed trainee who had very recently graduated from spy school. She appeared throughout the episode assisting in the defeat of the bad guys. However, it wasn't until after Emma had left Steed's side for good that we were able to see her formerly become Steed's new partner-in-crime.
By the way, take a close look at Emma's husband in this video clip. Does he look familiar?
An Introduction to Linda Thorson
The following video, filmed in advance of the final series of The Avengers, introduces not only its latest character, but also the actress who played her, Linda Thorson.
Image is Available at AllPosters.com
A Damsel in Distress?
While "something" may have been going on between Steed and his erstwhile partners, from the beginning it was obvious that Tara was in love with him. She was quite obviously much younger, possessing a Sixties "devil-may-care" attitude and candidly demonstrating her feelings for the older man.
However, unlike Mrs. Gale and Mrs. Peel - Steed's two previous partners - Tara regularly encountered circumstances in which she became either imprisoned or drugged, thus needing her companion's help in escaping. Much like the situation shown in the picture to the right.
The Avengers Opening Titles
Two sets of opening and closing titles were produced for the Tara King season(s) of The Avengers. The more common in the UK were known as the "suits of armour", closing with the "card trick" set.
However, the titles below are known as the "shooting gallery" and were included on several episodes sold to the United States - although were seen once in the UK, possibly by mistake. Of the two, these are the ones I have always preferred.
Tara King and Her Wheels
The Tara King Opinion Poll
Much has been made of the comparison between Tara King and her two predecessors, Cathy Gale and Emma Peel. She has even come under fire when Purdey from The New Avengers is added to the mix.So, do you think the criticism that Tara King didn't live up to the Avengers girl criteria is justified, or is Tara just right for you?
Is Tara King your favourite Avengers girl?
If you have an opinion about Tara King, we would love to hear from you in the guest book below.