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Cathy Gale From The Avengers

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Honor Blackman is The Avengers' Cathy Gale

Cathy Gale was John Steed's original female avenging partner in the early years of the British adventure series, The Avengers.

It was 1962 when Cathy walked into Steed's life, starting a partnership that would last two years. She was the one who introduced the black leather fighting suit to the series, dispatching the villains with her judo moves, all the while looking cool and calm.

She was certainly a woman who took no prisoners, something that Steed often discovered in their tension filled working relationship. Having had to look after herself while living in the wilds of Africa, she became a television trailblazer for women's lib long before the second wave of Women's Liberation took a noticeable hold. She was an independent, free thinking woman who had no qualms about defending herself against a man, whether it be mentally or physically.

Honor Blackman played the part with zest and enthusiasm, and fifty years later she is still remembered as the woman who helped create stronger roles for females on television. So, this would be a good time to celebrate Cathy Gale: the original all-action girl.

Intro image: Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale 24x36 B&W Poster Print From Amazon


Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale

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Cathy Gale: Suited and Booted

Honor Blackman is Cathy Gale

I was too young to see Cathy Gale in all of her glory when her episodes were broadcast the first time around. It wasn't until the 1990s, when they were repeated, that I was able to watch them and compare her to my favourite Avengers girl, Emma Peel.

The relationship between Gale and Steed was altogether different to the ones I had seen between he and his later partners. Although you could tell that there was a sexual tension between the two, Cathy Gale's persona was more brusque and cold, with only a hint of the playfulness that Steed enjoyed with both Emma Peel and Tara King.

I later discovered that many of the early Cathy Gale scripts had been written for a man, as the writers did not have time to change them following Ian Hendry's early departure from the series. Ian Hendry was Macnee's original crime busting partner. This explains a lot. However, it helped create a unique character in Cathy Gale.

Although Emma Peel has always remained my favourite, if it were not for Cathy Gale, her fighting technique, independent character, leather outfits and knee high boots, there would never have been an Emma.

A Tribute to Cathy Gale

Cathy Gale With John Steed: Honor Blackman and Patrick Macnee


The Avengers: John Steed and Cathy Gale

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Patrick Macnee & Honor Blackman: Kinky Boots

During Honor Blackman's tenure as Patrick Macnee's co-star, she caused something of a fashion frenzy in the UK with women wanting to buy her leather clothing, and in particular Cathy's boots. Such was the mania for her footwear that the two stars decided to record a tongue-in-cheek tribute song to her Kinky Boots.

With neither of them being the greatest of singers, the single sank without trace in the 1960s. However, it made a surprise comeback in 1990 when a breakfast DJ continually played it on his show. The exposure led this strange, but compelling offering to become a Top Five hit!

The Cathy Gale Debate - What Are Your Thoughts?

Was Cathy Gale your favourite Avengers girl?

Avengers Girl Emma Peel
Although Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale was the prototype Avengers girl, it was her successor Emma Peel, as portrayed by Diana Rigg, who became the most popular...

Tara King
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 (p...

The Avengers: The TV Show
The TV show The Avengers is a blend of espionage, fantasy and occasional science fiction that has appealed to those who enjoy witty, off-beat television. Wh...

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With each article, Richard invites you to step into his world of music, television and entertainment. He will introduce you to British Glam Rock, share The 20 Scariest Film Scores Ever? and even give you an up close look at some classic actors such as Christopher Lee as Dracula.

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© 2011 Richard

Are You A Cathy Gale Fan?

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on February 09, 2015:

Cathy Gale was definitely an enigma when it came to the innovation of the 'new woman' yet to come on the T.V. screens. Initially a demure Feminine type turning on the charm, as Ms Gale progressed into her role as a sleuth for a branch of an unmentioned organisation she became a more assertive Lady taking greater risks. In the first on screen fight with a male adversary which occurred in a graveyard at night. Ms Gale wrestled her opponent to the ground but after a struggle he gained the upper hand. In an acrobatic move she put his neck into a scissors lock with her feet. After releasing her lock he grabbed a shovel but she was swifter and he fell backward into an open grave. Ms Gale 1 ; Villain O.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on March 27, 2011:

I was a Diana Rigg fan, as far as an Avengers partner for John Steed goes, but did watch Cathy some in the beginning of the series. It was interesting to find out that Cathy Gale 'set the standard' for the leather outfits Diana Rigg wore -- which looked great on her! :) I always wished I was 'tall and slender' like her!

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