Patrick Macnee

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Patrick Macnee Pencil Portrait
To see a larger preview, please click the image.

Shopping Basket

The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

P&P is not included in the above prices.


It had been a grand life and Patrick Macnee knew it. He’d readily admitted that ‘retirement’s the most wonderful thing. I get to enjoy all the things I never stopped to notice on the way up. After an extraordinary life it’s time to enjoy my retirement.’

There had been voiceover work in recent times – he narrated all the ‘inside’ documentaries for the 007 double disc DVD remastered series – but insisted he did not miss acting. At the age of 93, Macnee’s memory came and went, as well it might at his age, but he had a fulltime care attendant to make sure he was comfortable. Accustomeed to the best hotels and first-class living since 1960, he hadn’t been on any form of public transport since then.

It had been a life divorced from reality, rather like his fictional alto-ego John Steed, yet there was something about his urbane sophistication that made it difficult to begrudge him such a privileged existence. Whether doffing his hat to the ladies, or handling assassins with his umbrella, the man had style, a quality conspicuously lacking in the modern era. When news of his death came through in June 2015, many probably believed he had died years earlier.

The actor had humility in spades, remaining blunt about his own talents. Interviewed in 2000, he was moved to say – “I was no great Shakespearean actor. I can admire Ian Holm, the shortest King Lear. I can admire Sir Anthony Hopkins, who is superb. I can admire all of these, but they’re not role models…They wanted me to understudy Paul Scofeld. Let’s say the greatest actor who ever lived, who’s still alive is Paul Scofeld, in my opinion…they’re great, great stage actors. Acting is, probably – all in all, you have so much practice, you can’t go to a television studio every day and do Seinfeld and not learn something, can you? You bloody well ought to be good…”

He continued: “People said, ‘Well how do you base your character?’ Well, people talk for hours on Entertainment Tonight on how they play that rather thin, worked-out character…the way life is. You don’t think at the beginning of every day, ‘Now what would my character say if I go out and find the pool is empty?’ You just react. That’s the way to do a series. To just be you, as a person, reacting to the day as life goes. And we had to do that.”\

In 1941, he joined the navy, where he was part of the Eighth Gunboat Flotilla at Dartmouth. He saw action on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, killing eighteen enemy soldiers in three days. The experience was a naturally profound one, ensuring his refusal to ever subsequently appear on screen with a gun. It’s one thing to indescriminately drop bombs on cities but it’s another to see the whites of your victim’s eyes. He soldiered in an era before the advent of post military traumatic stress counselling and like millions of men, kept his thoughts very much to himself.

Understanding how this mental condition materialises is easy but determining why little is being done to prevent it, is much more difficult. There is an intolerance of weakness, which is an essential part of being a soldier. This sometimes makes it difficult for troops to see how anyone develops problems other than the purely physical. If he has his mind twisted by events, it’s sometimes difficult for the soldier to see that. Not all service people return with the condition, but those who do may not display signs immediately. Instead, it can take up to ten years for symptoms to appear, thus necessitating the need for ex-service personnel to have lifelong access to counsellors, to ensure they do not suffer PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for the work they have done. Many actice servicemen find they have litle time to think but upon discharge, life slows down.

The uncertainty of war, and a sense of living life on the edge, may well have been a new experience for the young Macnee, yet his entry into the world was also shrouded in mystery. Born Daniel Patrick Macnee in London on February 6 1922, his mother, a niece of the 13th Earl of Huntingdon and a rather giddy socialite, went into labour at a party and Macnee never discovered from her whether she reached hospital, or if he was born in a carriage half-way down the Bayswater Road!

Recommended viewing

The Avengers : the Complete Series 3 Remastered (7 DVD Box Set) 2011

Few would argue that the enduring legacy of “The Avengers” lies in the overtly outlandish plots so effectively deployed in seasons 4 & 5 – The Emma Peel years. Nevertheless, I retain an affection for the best of the Cathy Gale years – and that means much of season 3 (broadcast between 28 September 1963 and 21 March 1964) – although objective criticism of the series’ production deficiencies remains valid.

Johnny Dankworth’s title music is suitably evocative, but the rest of the sparsely deployed incidental cues add little to the series’ obviously film noirish tone. Worst of all, Honor Blackman’s judo scenes have an over rehearsed balletic quality to them, due in no small part to the all percussive accompaniment. Nevertheless, we must recall that the sight of a woman clad in all leather despatching male adversaries with stylish aplomb, was a new phenomenon in the early 60’s. Equally, the use of videotape and the mainly studio bound nature of the episodes is undoubtedly limiting. Nevertheless, whilst many series can be considered little more than passé after half a century, season 3 still holds its own in many quarters. Why should this be so?

Undeniably, in the hands of a talented director ably supported by excellent production designers, a series shot entirely in the studio can be surprisingly visually inventive. The best episodes from this era have a distinctive flavour of their own, and look a good deal better than most British TV series of their time, with an interesting mix of low-key lighting and stylish set design achieved on minimal budgets.

By season 3, Steed was undoubtedly morphing into the overtly upper-class debonair English gentleman we all remember, a touch of the dandy so to speak, combined with a ruthless efficiency. However, Macnee’s character also remains a more abrasive individual than the foppish toff who would wend his way through the second half of the 60’s. The Steed-Mrs Gale relationship is definitely interesting – rather testy at times – and certainly mistrusting. She obviously only works unofficially for Steed’s agency, and for much of the time she’s either being manipulated or kept informed on a “need to know basis.” Whilst it was obvious that his screen relationship with Emma Peel was much more than platonic, it remains doubtful that he would have made a pass at Mrs Gale.

Brian Clemens’ ‘Build a Better Mousetrap’ is one of the best-ever episodes of ‘The Avengers,’ from any era, and ‘Brief for Murder,’ runs it a close second. A great supporting cast headed by the inimitable John Laurie (Private Frazer of “Dad’s Army” fame) and Harold Scott as a pair of corrupt lawyers, ably complement a script full of ingenious twists as Steed apparently attempts to murder Mrs Gale.

There are clunkers of course, plus unrealised ideas and the occasional wobbly set. Nevertheless, in the overall development of the series, Season 3 is akin to The Beatles on pot. Season 4 and the introduction of Mrs Peel, would herald the transition to LSD.

Recommended reading

Blind in one ear : The Avenger returns (Patrick Macnee and Marie Cameron) 1988


The world of Patrick Macnee

Patrick Macnee

The Avengers Forever!

The ultimate guide for ‘anoraks’.