1 9 7 8 (UK)
26 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 8 0 (UK)
28 x 30 minute episodes
Armchair Thriller screened twice weekly in 1978 and 1980, with each story spread over four or six 30 minute episodes – Some were excellent, some were very average.
The series was mainly made by Thames TV, but Southern TV also got in on the act and made a couple of stories.
There were eleven stories in total;
Rachel in Danger
11-year old Rachel (Della Low) travels from Scotland to spend a summer with her father, whom she has not seen for many years. Arriving at Euston, she finds herself involved in a murder, with herself possibly the next victim.
It turns out that terrorists who are planning an assassination at a Royal garden party have killed Rachel’s long-absent father – but she didn’t recognise the body and mistakenly believes that he is the murderer.
A Dog’s Ransom
Anonymous letters are straining the nerves of Edward and Gina Reynolds (Benjamin Whitrow and Zena Walker) – a quiet middle-class couple living in Chelsea – but they are unprepared for the nightmare that follows when Edward takes their poodle, Tina, for a walk and the dog is kidnapped.
Smart young copper Constable Clarence Duhamel (Brian Stirner) tries to help find the dog but runs foul of the CID. He is suspended from the police after accepting an alleged bribe from the bailed Kowajinski (Leon Eagles), and his girlfriend Marion (Susie Blake) is being targeted now too. After spotting Kowajinski spying on her flat, Clarence follows him to finally confront him.
Clarence attacks Kowajinski in a fit of rage, before he himself is attacked and hospitalised by a group of hooligans. With Kowajinski now dead, and the bribery charges dropped, Clarence is living with the Reynolds’ after being dumped by Marion. But, as police investigation into Kowajinski’s death increases, Clarence is their number one suspect.
Constable Clarence Duhamel
The Girl Who Walked Quickly
David Cooper (Denis Lawson), a brilliant and conscientious student disappears. He has been kidnapped by a political group who set about brainwashing him to perform their dirty work for them.
His girlfriend and tutor try to solve the mystery and the investigation turns into a manhunt.
The plot involves bombs around London, a terrorist group intent on overthrowing democracy, and a claustrophobic hero.
Det. Sgt. Bowen
Quiet as a Nun
A nun dies of starvation after locking herself in a convent tower. Jemima Shore (Maria Aitken), a former pupil at the convent school and now a television reporter, is asked to investigate.
Jemima is surprised to discover that the death of the nun is connected with her own television programme. Meanwhile, tales begin to circulate about a ghostly Black Nun that haunts the hallways at night and seems to portend death.
The character of Jemima Shore reappeared in the 1983 series, Jemima Shore Investigates with Patricia Hodge in the title role.
Tom Amyas MP
The Limbo Connection
Film writer Mark Omney (James Bolam) drinks too much, has endless rows with his journalist wife Clare (Suzanne Bertish), and cannot make a living any more. Simply put, his life is falling apart.
Following a car crash, Clare goes missing. Mark tracks her down to Meadowbank Private Clinic but she disappears shortly thereafter, having supposedly discharged herself.
Mark is convinced she is being held against her will at the clinic and makes friends with Blanche (Beatrix Lehmann), an older woman who is both a drunk and a psychic.
Mark contacts the police but they are suspicious that since Mark had blacked out (from drinking) on the night of Clare’s disappearance, that he may possibly have killed her.
Joined by his old girlfriend, Annabelle (Rosalind Ayres), Mark begins to investigate for himself, learning that Clare has left a resignation letter with the newspaper where she works and that there was a connection between Clare’s final assignment and the Meadowbank Clinic.
Dr Walcott Brown
Mr Carson Clark
Mrs Carson Clark
Melissa Carson Clark
Det. Inspector Tarrant
Det. Constable Barnes
14-year old Sue Craig (Lorna Yabsley) is kidnapped and her industrialist father, Vincent (John Shrapnel), negotiates with the kidnapper. He ultimately refuses to pay the ransom and instead goes on the hunt for the kidnapper.
He attacks a disgruntled ex-employee named George Neecham (Bernard Kay), who he believes is responsible for his daughter’s kidnapping, while Sue slowly grows attached to her real jailers, especially young Frankie Martin (David Beckett). But Martin is a psychopathic killer . . .
Chief Supt. Lewis
Dead Man’s Kit
On shore-leave in Lisbon for the crew of HMS Diana, Master-at-Arms ‘Toby’ Toberman (Freddie Fletcher) discovers a foreign exchange officer losing heavily in a casino and having his losses paid for by a woman with a British passport in the name of ‘Z Summers’.
He makes an official complaint about the behaviour of an officer and the following day he is knocked unconscious and thrown overboard. When a verdict of accidental death is brought, CPO ‘Chalky’ White (Larry Lamb) accuses the Navy of a cover-up.
Chalky tries to find more information about the officer at the casino but draws a blank and discovers that the naval police are after him. Going on the run and determined to find the truth – he tracks down ‘Z Summers’, who is in fact WRNS officer Zoe Summers (“Little” Nell Campbell of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame). But after Wren Summers tries to run him down in a car, she is murdered in her flat.
Naval Intelligence finds Chalky and he agrees to co-operate with them when they explain that the mysterious events are due to their attempt to expose an espionage plot by the Russian state. The exchange officer at the casino was a Russian called Kobahl (Maurice Colbourne).
Toberman had written a letter exposing the truth, and posted it in Portugal. Kobahl discovers the letter and takes Toberman’s widow, Jean (Victoria Fairbrother) hostage, demanding free passage to a Russian warship berthed at Portsmouth.
Lieutenant Commander Kobahl
CPO ‘Chalky’ White
MAA ‘Toby’ Toberman
Anthony Skipling (Ian McKellen) meets eccentric naturalist Foster (David Howey) on a train. Foster forgets one of his tape-recordings and leaves it behind but when Skipling plays it – amongst ambient barroom sounds – he hears the hushed tones of two men plotting to kill him on 28 February.
When he goes to the police, all the sounds are there except those of the two men.
Skipling turns to the Samaritans for help. He also turns to his ex-wife, Doris (Gwyneth Powell) but learns that she is now “married” to Mountjoy (Cyril Shaps) – an eccentric millionaire with a voice just like the one heard on the tape.
In his search for the truth, he is befriended by Susie (Kate Coleridge) who used to counsel him at the Samaritans when his wife left him.
28 February arrives and Skipling tries valiantly to behave as if everything is normal. But when confronted by Mountjoy on a railway platform he lashes out and accidentally knocks him into the path of an oncoming train.
Mr Skipling is sent to Broadmoor Prison for murder, while Doris, her chauffeur (actually Foster) and Susie celebrate the success of their plan. They have framed Mr Skipling and will inherit a vast fortune.
Fear of God
Reporter Paul Marriott (Bryan Marshall) sees a girl fall past his window and rushes outside to find she is dead.
He discovers the girl – called Rosamund (Susan Sheridan) – had been squatting in his attic, and becomes suspicious when Special Branch turn up. He discovers the dead girl belonged to a sect called `The Regiment of God’.
Finding his flat bugged, and hearing of the cult’s use of sound as a weapon, Paul is drawn deeper into the mystery of Rosamund’s death.
Paul is assaulted by a mysterious noise in his flat, but manages to make a recording of it before finally passing out. He feels there’s a link to this and the “music room” of the Regiment of God mentioned in Ros’s diary – and also notices he’s being covertly followed by cult members.
He and Rosamund’s sister Nicola (Madeline Church) track down Rosamund’s boyfriend and they all travel to the cult’s HQ to try to find out the truth about her and the music room.
After serving a four-year sentence for manslaughter, Peter Curtis (Ian McShane) sets off on a road trip to the South coast to buy a boat, accompanied by hitchhiker Celia (Wendy Morgan).
He notices a man following him and starts to discover the truth about what happened four years ago – a mystery which takes him to the coastal village of Leremouth.
The four episodes were later bundled together as a made-for-TV movie.
The Circe Complex
Jeweller Tom Foreman (Trevor Martin) has hidden £400,000-worth of jewellery from a robbery and is in prison serving a long sentence for the murder of a policeman. His wife, Val (Beth Morris), has a plan for aiding Tom’s escape.
In Prison, Tom’s health begins to deteriorate and he is diagnosed with a brain tumour. His prison psychiatrist Ollie Milton (Alan David) – who is also Val’s lover – kills him and tries to frame ex-con “Cat” Devlin (Michael Deeks) while he goes slowly mad trying to decipher the meaning behind Tom’s last words on the whereabouts of the loot . . .
Detective Sgt Dave Bannister
Detective Inspector Sayers
Detective Sgt Rees