I've recently been watching my old Avengers DVD's (following a repeat run of 'The New Avengers' on ITV4). It remains one of my favourite television shows of all time; witty, stylish, funny, ground-breaking and, even today, it remains quite unique. Macnee is a perfect example of a man born to play a role. As John Steed, he utterly nailed that fine balance between charm, playfulness and, when it was needed, cold steel.

As for his partners in crime, it's probably no surprise that Mrs Peel tops the list for me. Purdey's a pretty close second though. And Cathy Gale's contribution to the future of television from her 60's debut can never be underestimated. Without her (and perhaps Honey West on the other side of the water), we might never have had a Buffy, Xena, Nikita and all those kick-ass women who followed in her judo-flipping footsteps.