iO9 has a nice tribute to Patrick Macnee who passed away this week:
In general, John Steed always seemed as though he was ready for anything. Armies of “Cybernauts” (deadly robot soldiers)? Why not. Shrinking rays? Sure. Deadly telepathic mind probes? But of course. The science fiction ideas in The Avengers were frequently far out, but-in a format later copied by Jon Pertwee"s Doctor Who-they were always located in present-day England, and connected to the familiar elements of the modern world.
John Steed"s swashbuckling attitude in the face of an endless succession of scientific abominations seemed to suggest that it would all be okay. And his approaches to rapid technological change and shifting gender roles seemed to be of a piece: Either sort of change will be fine, he seems to suggest, as long as you keep your bowler hat firmly in place. (And your umbrella, with its cunningly concealed sword inside.)