1 9 7 0 – 1 9 7 1 (UK)
10 x 60 minute episodes
1 9 7 3 (UK)
1 x 30 minute episode
This excellent Thames Television suspense anthology series with a chilling Hitchcockian touch featured some of Britain’s most renowned stage and TV performers, including Sheila Hancock, Ronald Hines, Victor Maddern, Edward Fox, Annette Crosbie, Gemma Jones and George Cole.
The pilot episode, Did You Lock Up? – broadcast in 1970 – was about the simple burglary of writer Peter Astle (Michael Craig) who becomes so obsessed with making his house burglar-proof that it nearly destroys his marriage – and ends horribly when he eventually traps the returning burglars (led by Mark MacManus).
Sugar and Spice by John Kershaw starred Sheila Hancock as terrified housewife Anne Brand, with Ronald Hines as her drunken husband, Victor. Suzanne Togni played their 13-year-old daughter Judy (pictured below), who leads her mother and father into an evil web of deceit and confusion.
At Occupier’s Risk by Richard Harris featured Anthony Bate and Annette Crosbie as Mr and Mrs Darbon, an odd couple who run a quiet country hotel. Gemma Jones turns up as an unexpected guest.
The Death Watcher, by Jacques Gillies, starred John Neville as scientist Dr Pickering who commits murder in an attempt to prove there is life after death.
Judy Parfitt co-starred as his research assistant, Emmy Erikson, with Victor Maddern as Pickering’s accomplice, Dawson, a psychiatric nurse.
Repent at Leisure was written by Public Eye creator Roger Marshall and starred Elizabeth Sellars as Isabel, a wealthy and attractive widow who goes on a cruise to cure her heartbreak and falls for the ship’s steward, Harry (George Sewell).
They marry, but she – being naturally neurotic – begins to suspect he may be after her money and planning to kill her for her inheritance.
Return of Favours by Jeremy Paul had lovers Judith (Jennie Linden) and Roger (Robin Ellis) borrowing their friend’s flat for their afternoon liaisons. During one meeting, they are interrupted by a strange man with a bandaged hand (George Cole) who claims to be the real owner of the flat. Judith suspects he has killed his wife and leaves, but Roger discovers the macabre truth about the intruder when he returns to the flat.
The Lesser of Two (pictured) featured Godfrey Quigley as a man recently released from prison for the murder of a child (of which he believes himself innocent). He finds he is unwelcome in his old house as his neighbourhood exacts revenge upon him. Margery Mason co-starred.
White Walls and Olive-Green Carpets was written by Hugh Leonard and had Robert (Ian Bannen) and Lena (Natasha Perry) vacationing in a rural retreat. She is highly strung and suspicious of Robert’s reasons for bringing her to such an isolated location.
It is revealed that they are having an affair, but Robert’s wife has died, possibly committing suicide after she discovered Robert and Lena’s relationship. But Lena still feels something is not quite right.
Sour Grapes, also by Roger Marshall, featured Daniel Massey and Isobel Dean as Mike and Louise – a couple of British holidaymakers in Spain who are held at gunpoint at their rented luxury villa by a laconic German thug (Ray Smith).
Another Roger Marshall episode, Come Into My Parlour, featured macabre goings-on for Deanna Ward (Beth Harris) on her first day in her new job as a door-to-door cosmetic saleswoman. Her first customer is Mr Dalby (Peter Barkworth), a bachelor who promises to buy something for his fiancée.
He places an order and Deanna returns to deliver the items, but something bizarre has happened and she finds herself in a perplexing situation.
The Party’s Over – which didn’t air until January 1973 and was only 30-minutes in duration, unlike all the previous episodes – was set in the 1920s and had adulterous cad John Parker (Edward Fox) devising various ways of frightening his wife, Ethel (Suzanne Neve) to death after her diagnosis with a serious heart condition (pictured).
Did You Lock Up? | Sugar and Spice | At Occupier’s Risk | The Death Watcher | Repent at Leisure | Return of Favours | The Lesser of Two | White Walls and Olive-Green Carpets | Sour Grapes | Come Into My Parlour | The Party’s Over