1 9 6 3 (UK)
6 x 25 minute episodes
Professional photographer Larry Martin (Denis Quilley) is visited in London by his younger brother Philip (Philip Guard), a soldier on leave from his military service in West Germany.
The brothers are only briefly reunited before Philip receives a mysterious telephone call from an army colleague’s wife – who reveals that her husband, Sean Reynolds, has been killed in a road accident in Hamburg.
Philip leaves shortly thereafter, apparently bound for Dublin.
Larry is shocked to learn the following day that Philip never actually left for Ireland, and his dead body has been found in a riverside hotel (the Royal Falcon) on the outskirts of Maidenhead after an apparent suicide.
Convinced that his brother – a confident and carefree man – did not kill himself, he begins his own enquiries.
The situation becomes even more puzzling when he receives through the post a portrait of Philip which used to be in the display case outside his own studio. In its place, he now finds a photograph of the mysterious Sean Reynolds and his wife.
When Larry is presented with his late brother’s personal effects by the police, he finds a key that was apparently in Philip’s clenched first when his body was found.
Travelling to the Royal Falcon Hotel to investigate further, Larry encounters two parties who are desperate to acquire the key: Mrs Curtis (June Ellis), the hotel owner, and her step-brother, Thomas Quayle (David William) who owns an antique shop.
Their efforts to obtain the key leave Larry with another clue – a torn ticket to a local dance. Accompanied by his secretary Ruth (Renny Lister), he attends the dance and meets Norman and Freda Stansdale (John Flint and Hilary Crane). Larry makes the startling connection that the pair are, in reality, Sean Reynolds and his wife.
The following morning, when Larry is presented with his late brother’s attaché case he discovers it contains a large amount of German currency. A man posing as Inspector Hyde (Hugh Cross) demands the return of the money which he claims is forged.
After a menacing encounter with the imposter and his accomplice, Larry discovers the body of Philip’s girlfriend, Clare Seldon (Shirley Cain), in a deserted alleyway.
Returning to his hotel room, he learns that his secretary Ruth has been kidnapped, and her safe return is conditional on him handing the money over to the man he only knows as Inspector Hyde.
The Desperate People was an adaptation of a Francis Durbridge novel. The labyrinthine plot took some hard navigation to unravel.
Det. Insp. Hyde
Dr Wolf Linderhof
Norman Stansdale/Sean Reynolds
Det. Sgt. Harrison