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The Avengers Debacle
on 20 February 2011
This is a message for Amazon and other shop owners. It would help us the customer if you told us which version of the discs you are selling. I want to buy the set but not if I have to send them back to Optimum for replacements. Quite why Amazon has not returned their stock to Optimum for replacements beggars belief. I wonder how many other customers are being put off from making a purchase.
Here are my current thoughts on the ongoing debacle that is The Avengers Series 5. I contacted various sellers asking them if their Avengers Set contained the replacement discs. None of them were able to confirm this. Reading between the lines I think they were reluctant to admit to having faulty product. One company, however, assured me they had the replacement discs so I ordered. Of course the discs turned out to be the faulty ones.
A source of confusion seems to have come from Optimum themselves who posted a notice on The Avengers Declassified site saying:
"You may already have corrected discs. Check the shiny side of the disc near the centre hole for the code number. If the number contains 'V2' you do not need to return your disc as it is already the corrected version."
The discs sent to me did indeed display V2 in the correct location but it was evident to my ears that my beloved Mrs.Peel had had her voice cloned by Betty Boop. I checked around on various forums in case these V2 discs were the final word from Optimum and though still incorrect were improvements on what must have been V1 discs. On various forums including Amazon, posters who had had replacement discs sent to them by Optimum had reported V3 on the shiny side. So, I wrote to Optimum asking them for specific details. They told me that
'All corrected discs should have V3 present on the inner circle of the data side of the disc.'
So all V2 marked discs I'm afraid are faulty. Now, whether or not Optimum have included the corrected discs in Sets that are currently in circulation is something I'm not privy to. I did read on one forum that they would not be doing this until they had exhausted their supply of repressed discs meant for postal replacements. Which they have not as they have told me to send off my discs for replacements.
In an ideal world the sellers should have sent their discs back to Optimum for replacements before advertising them for sale but the world is far from ideal. So I think it should be assumed that most sets for sale contain the faulty discs and that should you decide to make a purchase you should be prepared to send the discs back to Optimum for a replacement. It's not right but I think these are the facts.
As regards the fault itself: the pitch level has been set too high. We in England are used to the pitch level being higher than the Americans because of the difference in Pal & NTSC but apparently the pitch level on The Avengers is 4% higher than what it should be. This makes Steed sound decidedly feminine more often than not and Diana Rigg like an overexcited schoolgirl about to embark on a first date. The pitch level of course has nothing to do with the picture so this issue would not be noticeable if you had never watched The Avengers. The disc cases are agreeably rotten and precisely those that one sees in the local pound shop. The extras look a tad thin on the ground and a lack of subtitles is annoying for those in foreign locales or are hard of hearing.
There is no denying that Optimum are at fault but they have addressed the issue by providing replacement discs for those who want them.
On opening the 'Radio Times' for week ending 20th May 2011, I noticed a full page colour ad by Optimum for The Avengers Complete 50th Anniversary Collection. Also pictured are the 6 individual box sets. In the bottom right hand corner the Amazon.CO.UK label is present so presumably the ad was a co-production. Does this mean Amazon will finally be in receipt of the corrected discs? Fingers firmly crossed for those still waiting.