You pop a tape in the VHS player and wait for the wheels to spin. As the screen lights up, a swanky bongo beat meets the image of two elegant glasses on a table. One is upright, the other is on it’s side: pure drama, my comrades, pure drama. A figure appears distorted behind the glasses, masculine and upright. Mr. Steed’s face is not bothered, nonchalant, perfectly composed as he untwists the wire on a bottle of champagne. With his dapper hat and suit he is the picture of Edwardian nostalgia. His attempt at gentility is justly thwarted by a perfect shot of from Emma Peel’s revolver which uncorks the bottle. Mrs. Peel is dry, sardonic perfection complete with a monochrome jumpsuit, “the sixties hair flip”, and a wry smile. The champagne spouts from the bottle in a frothy white parabolic arc. They make eye contact, both are in on the joke. Their look is one of mutual superiority tinged with sexual tension. They walk their perfectly choreographed walk to the table to pour forth the champagne. The shadows from the table and their bodies are in high contrast. They toast their glasses to one another, to their superior skills. These are two spies who are so confident and nonchalant about both their occupations and the danger involved that you feel much more in awe of their style, charm, and sex appeal than you do about their mystery solving skills.
And how much more British can it get, really?