Home Television Drama Armchair Thriller

Armchair Thriller

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.

The title sequence was excellent and the theme was by Andy Mackay of Roxy Music and Rock Follies fame.

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.

Della Low
Neville Jason
David Cook
Stephen Greif
Eiko Nakamura
Struan Rodger
Police Sergeant
George Waring
Anna Fox

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.

Edward Reynolds
Benjamin Whitrow
Gina Reynolds 
Zena Walker
Leon Eagles
Constable Clarence Duhamel
Brian Stirner
Tom Choley
Paul Angelis
Marion Dowell
Susie Blake

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.

David Cooper
Denis Lawson
Phyllida Nash
Mrs Cooper
Margery Mason
Mr Cooper
Derek Benfield
Clive Merrison
Barry Stanton
John Gregg
Ruth Connors
Rowena Cooper
Det. Sgt. Bowen
Colin McCormack
The Girl
Anna Nicholas

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.

Jemima Shore
Maria Aitken
Sister Edward
Kate Binchy
Tom Amyas MP
David Burke
James Appleby
Mother Ancilla
Renée Asherson
Sister Elizabeth
Brenda Bruce
Sister Lucy
Doran Godwin
Linda Slater
Sarah Webb
Michele Winstanley
Patsy Kensit
Sister Clare
Margaret D’Arcy
Alexander Skarbek
James Laurenson
Beatrice O’Dowd
Mary Healey
Sister Agnes
Susan Engel
Sister Boniface
Sylvia Coleridge

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.

Mark Omney
James Bolam
Clare Omney
Suzanne Bertish
Dr Walcott Brown
Michael Culver
Blanche Terraine
Beatrix Lehmann
Anabelle Fraser
Rosalind Ayres
Colonel Forde
James Berwick
Mrs Forde
Georgine Anderson
Mr Carson Clark
Graham Rowe
Mrs Carson Clark
Patricia Lawrence
Melissa Carson Clark
Tricia George
Julie Villiers
Isabelle Amyes
George Beatty
Tony Mathews
Vass Anderson
Alan Ford
Yvonne Edgell
Det. Inspector Tarrant
Christopher Benjamin
Det. Constable Barnes
Sam Sewell
Mr Dyer
Arthur Blake

The Victim

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 . . .

Vincent Craig
John Shrapnel
Steve Turner
Paul Jerricho
Francis Durrant
Gerald Sim
Frankie Martin
David Beckett
Sue Craig
Lorna Yabsley
Len Trace
Steve Morley
Ellen Craig
Meg Ritchie
Chief Supt. Lewis
Godfrey James
Professor Manson
Edward Burnham
Lyndsay Durant
George Neecham
Bernard Kay
Rodney Marsh
Alan Downer
Zena Heathrop
Priscilla Morgan

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
Maurice Colbourne
Commander Lloyd
Philip Locke
CPO ‘Chalky’ White
Larry Lamb
Jean Toberman
Victoria Fairbrother
Mrs Kobahl
Angela Morant
Paul Kember
Commander Maybury
Clive Merrison
Robert Oates
MAA ‘Toby’ Toberman
Freddie Fletcher
Zoe Summers
Nell Campbell
Cherie Lunghi
Richard Kane

Dying Day

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.

Antony Skipling
Ian McKellen
David Howey
1st Interrogator
Maurice Kaufmann
2nd Interrogator
Prentis Hancock
Anton Phillips
Police Sergeant
Patrick Malahide
Police Constable
Michael Troughton
Kate Coleridge
Peter Childs
Senior Samaritan
Joan Scott
Gwyneth Powell
Cyril Shaps

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.

Paul Marriott
Bryan Marshall
Michael Watkins
Alun Armstrong
Francesca Thornton
Madeline Hinde
Rosamund (voice)
Susan Sheridan
John Aubrey
Peter Settelen
Helen Cooper
Peter Cellier
Chris Jenkinson
Nicola Clay
Madeline Church
Garrick Hagon
Kevin Costello
David Healy
Roger Brierley
Colonel Morgan
Michael Sheard

High Tide

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.

Peter Curtis
Ian McShane
Terence Rigby
Wendy Morgan
Malcolm Terris
Miss Benson
Anna Fox
Kika Markham
John Bird
Mike McKevitt

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 . . .

Tom Foreman
Trevor Martin
Val Foreman
Beth Morris
“Cat” Devlin
Michael Deeks
Ollie Milton
Alan David
Detective Sgt Dave Bannister
James Hazeldine
Prison Governor
Geoffrey Colville
Miss Davis
Maggie Wilkinson
Mr Evans
Eric Francis
Dr Crampton
Gareth Forwood
Derek Ware
Tony Scannell
Detective Inspector Sayers
Victor Winding
Detective Sgt Rees
Neil Daglish