1 9 7 8 (UK)
6 x 60 minute episodes
As the title suggested, the ITV series Scorpion Tales – produced by ATV – was a group of six single plays which shared nothing but the quality of having a sting in the tail (tale). Each story ended with a twist in the final act.
“Easterman” – written by Ian Kennedy-Martin, creator of The Sweeney – featured soon-to-retire Detective Inspector Mavor (Trevor Howard) who becomes embroiled in a case involving a series of murders carried out by the unknown serial killer “Easterman”.
On investigation, Mavor discovers Easterman (Don Henderson) was the homosexual lover of a man he had killed some time ago and is now out for revenge.
“Killing” had computer operator Mark Hawkins (Jack Shepherd) working for a large international merchant bank. While alone on the night shift, Mark is secretly playing a game with the computer to gamble in foreign currencies and has *hypothetically* accumulated nearly two million pounds.
Temptation eventually proves too much for Mark, and he decides to turn his imaginary £2M into reality.
All this is done without arousing any suspicion until the bank decides to investigate replacing their computer with a newer model and sends in systems analyst Martha Fredricks (Angela Down) – whose husband happens to be in the Fraud Squad. The play was written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin.
“The Great Albert” found shy, introverted 11-year-old Matthew Ward (Max Harris) stuck between feuding parents – his work-obsessed antique bookseller father (Kenneth Gilbert) and his adulterous, self-obsessed mother (Lynn Farleigh).
When a 16th-century book on the occult falls into Matthew’s hands, he believes the spells contained within the book hold the key to solving all his problems. The writer was John Peacock.
“The Ghost in the Pale Blue Dress” told the story of Sir Wilfred Grafton (Tony Britton), a ruthless merchant banker who was Chairman of the board of his own company.
His son Toby (Brian Stirner) also sits on the board and is attempting to remove his father. Toby introduces his fiancée Karen (Sandra Payne) to Sir Wilfred.
It transpires she’s the image of Wilfred’s dead wife and the old man believes it’s all part of Toby’s plan to bring about his downfall. Basil Dignam costarred as Clem Laidlaw. Jeremy Burnham was the writer.
Woman-juggling MP Sir Robert Haines (Anthony Bate) was busy giving TV interviews about justice in “Crimes of Persuasion” while simultaneously trying to strike a deal with a very dubious Arab politician (Christopher Benjamin).
Meanwhile, Haine’s mistress, Jean (Susan Engel), realises she is about to be traded in for a younger model and starts to hatch a plan for revenge. Nicholas Palmer wrote the play.
The final play, “Truth or Consequence” – by Brian Phelan – had Lieutenant James White (David Robb) – an operational jet pilot in the Fleet Air Arm – volunteering to take a course at a secret service establishment in the wilds of Northumberland to test his resistance to enemy interrogation. But are the interrogators all they appear to be, and who should he trust?
Easterman | Killing | The Great Albert | The Ghost in the Pale Blue Dress | Crimes of Persuasion | Truth or Consequence