If you've ever seen The Avengers - and if you haven't you should make the effort to see one of the greatest, wittiest TV shows of its era - you'll recognise at least two people in the shot above, which comes from an episode called The Master Minds. In the foreground is John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and in the background, Emma Peel (Diana Rigg). You can see the sequence from which the still is taken here.
There's quite a lot to be said about chess in The Avengers - in fact, the still below is from an episode in the same series as The Master Minds
and if I ever get round to it, which I don't suppose I will, I might do it myself, but in the meantime, there's something that catches the eye about the set which Steed is pondering in the image at the top.
It wasn't actually my eye it first caught. I was amusing myself by finding chess-related shots from Sixties and Seventies TV series and putting them on Facebook, like this one
from The Adventurer or this one
from Man In A Suitcase.
Anyway when I posted the shot from The Master Minds, Jonathan - who not long ago wrote about chess in The Thomas Crown Affair - noticed the similarity between the set in that famous sequence
and the one that Steed is looking at.
It's not a common design these days.
It's not the same set: the bishops aren't quite the same
while the knights, tiny things in the set Patrick Macnee gets to play with
are much bigger in Faye Dunaway's.
But still, essentially the same thing. I wonder if it's just coincidence, or whether there's any chance that Norman Jewison, director of the 1968 film, might have seen The Master Minds on ABC, liked what he saw and tried to get something similar for the Dunaway/McQueen sequence?