BBC America has introduced us to a sharp, 'Office'-like comedy called 'The Thick Of It' this past Friday. And it shot off a possible Zonk! in its opening salvo.
When government spin-meister Malcolm Tucker heard about an un-authorised program by the Ministry of Social Affairs called the Benefit Fraud Investigation Squad, he dismissed this so-called "Snooper Force" as the "New Avengers".
Sorry, Corey. This is not a comic book reference.
The work of top professional John Steed with his talented amateur assistants (in the case of 'The New Avengers', Purdie and Gambit) wasn't always secretive. But their official affiliation with the government probably was.
Still, those who worked in the cogworks of the bureaucracy probably knew who the "new Avengers" were and most certainly which department they worked for.
And Marcus Tucker, more than anyone else in the government, would have known about them, as he was the Machiavellian puppet-master at the center of the web.
Based on the way he sneered the reference to the 'New Avengers', I think it's safe to say that Marcus did not hold John Steed's service to the Crown in high regard. (More than likely he probably caused their budget to be cut entirely and sent Steed off packing to the old spies home in Battersea.)