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.
Are You A Tara King Fan?
Jeff Sullivan on August 24, 2020:
Since grade 2, when I would debate with my babysitter, just who was better, even then , I was on the side of Tara, a true underdog. Years later, all star-struck, I saw Linda Thorson on stage. What an AWESOME comedienne! On the soap opera " One Life to Live" she was still living up to what I had always known.....a brilliant, talented actress who never misses in any of her performances!
Rick Hallahan on April 11, 2018:
I loved Linda Thorson as Tara King! To me she added a new kind of energy - and sexiness- to the role of John Steed's partner!
Dave Smith61 on April 04, 2017:
I am a Tara King fan, the character of Tara has come for so much criticism over the years and has been blamed for the show being cancelled. This is so unfair, most of the issues with Tara were not the fault of Tara, or Linda Thorson, but the producers and story writers, who couldn't make up their minds who they wanted the character to be. The main criticism of Tara was that she couldn't fight, this is absolute nonsense, of course she could fight, in fact she could fight just as well as Mrs Peel, or Cathy Gale, the fight scene in the episode "All done with mirrors", was in my opinion not only the best fight scene in that season, but the whole series.
Its a shame that Linda only got one season to portray Tara, but this season is considered by many Avengers fans to be the most entertaining.
Violin-Student on February 06, 2011:
I was tremendously disappointed when Emma left. And she remained first in my heart. But Tara ranked right up there. Thanks very much for this page.
WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on August 27, 2010:
I fondly remember watching the Avengers but I was a little kid. I actually thought these two actresses were the same person. Thanks for the intro to Tara King.
aishu19 on August 27, 2010:
I don't believe I have heard about Tara King before..but this sounds interesting.
Kathy McGraw from California on August 27, 2010:
Well now I know for sure I am culturally deprived as I didn't know anything about Tara King or the Avengers. Thanks for making me a little bit more intelligent today :) Good stuff Rich really .....
justholidays on August 27, 2010:
Oh, what kind of opinion would I have about Tara King except that I loved her character in the Avengers, she was so... oh, my... like those women of the sixties, free minded, free electron, powerful and sexy!
My favourite ever was Mrs Peel, of course, but Miss King comes right after the beautiful Mrs Peel and I LOVE this page; which I bookmark in my computer so that I can come back over and over again, looking at those series; which were really entertaining and excellent to watch in family!