1 9 6 7 (UK)
5 x 25 minute episodes
Rex Fordham (Patrick Kavanagh), not too generously compensated for property lost in Kenya, has recurring Malaria which often makes him feel sleepy or confused.
While looking for a new farm he is attracted by Brookthorne in a small country village in Gloucestershire and surprised to find that his friend Shelby Jones (Robert MacLeod) is prepared to sell.
Both regard it as a first-class property and the price is not unreasonable. But there is something sinister in the air, with odd bunches of dried thorns found pinned on the front door, and with Shelby’s wife Nancy (Anna Palk) distraught and shut up within herself.
Are the Joneses being persecuted? If so, by whom? And why? And what sinister means are being employed?
The clues he uncovers seem to suggest that, far from persecution, the pair may have become the victims of a cultist witchcraft plot to drive them from the village.
Unable to counter such superstition, Fordham is nevertheless shocked when Shelby dies from a fall whilst riding on his grounds in what appears to be an accident – but upon closer inspection seems to bear all the hallmarks of something far more sinister.
There were suspects galore from the very first episode with its parade of an ageing Colonel confined to his wheelchair (Derek Francis); his nurse companion, “part Indian, some think she’s Burmese”; the newly-affluent grasping landowner and Master of the Hunt; and his elegant hanger-on with a taste for fast cars.
This thriller in five parts from BBC2 first aired at 10:20 pm on 29 April 1967.
Dr Howard Agister
Rev. Philip Nyren