Mother (The Avengers)

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"Mother" is a fictional character in British TV series The Avengers. "Mother" is a codename. In the series the incumbent in the role is a disabled male British government official who uses a wheelchair. He made his debut in "The Forget-Me-Knot", which was Emma Peel's final episode and Tara King's first. In subsequent episodes he gives orders to John Steed and Tara King. He appears in most episodes of series six, the last season of the series. In the television series Mother is portrayed by Patrick Newell. He is an irascible yet highly intelligent character and is a great admirer of Steed and especially his wine cellar. He has two elderly aunts whom he entertains with stories of his department's cases.

Actor Patrick Newell had played various characters in previous episodes of The Avengers, most recently Sir George Collins, a sometime Minister of the Crown and close relative of the Attorney General, in season five's "Something Nasty in the Nursery".

The 1998 film based on the series, also titled The Avengers, depicts Mother giving orders to Steed and Mrs Peel. In the movie, he is portrayed by Jim Broadbent.

Bases and locations[edit]

In spite of his disability he seems mobile, continuously moving his headquarters from such traditional locations as a stately home to more eccentric ones such as a double-decker bus or under water. Mother has a new base in practically every episode. The plots of several episodes involve attempts to assassinate Mother, so these moves are presumably a security measure.[original research?]

Other family members[edit]

The humor of "Mother" as a codename for a man is emphasized by having a blind female official called "Father" as the second to Mother in rank. Father appeared in one episode of the series and in the 1998 film.

In another episode of the series Mother refers to an associate named "Grandmother".


Mother's assistant is Rhonda, a tall blonde woman who never speaks. Mother commented on this in one episode ("Noon, Doomsday"), saying that her quietness was lovely. When she tried to respond he stopped her, instructing her not to spoil it. In another episode Rhonda appears to speak, but this is revealed to be an act of ventriloquism on Mother's part.

In other media[edit]

In Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, Harry Lime is in command of the British Secret Service acting as M but is nicknamed "Mother" by several agents, including Emma Peel.

In the Tom Stoppard play Hapgood the (female) senior secret agent Hapgood also has the nickname or codename 'Mother'.