Home Television Drama West Country Tales

West Country Tales

1 9 8 2 – 1 9 8 3 (UK)
14 x 30 minute episodes

This supernatural anthology drama series was initially based on real-life experiences sent in by viewers in response to a BBC appeal to submit stories of encounters with the weird and the supernatural. The second series used concocted stories rather than stories based on viewer submissions.

Each episode was told largely via narration – often by Keith Barron or Jack Watson – with very little character dialogue.


The Sabbatical

The Reverend Anthony Shaw (Keith Barron) – a zealous puritanical priest – hangs up his dog-collar for a week’s holiday in a West Country village. The break is something of a busman’s holiday as it turns out, for professional interest prompts him to visit the dank little parish church where devilish odd things happen.

Reverend Anthony Shaw
Keith Barron


The Poacher

The poacher (Dave Royal) survives by poaching fish and game on the local lord’s land by night but finds his time-honoured practice threatened by the new arrival of something troubling in the woods.

Narrator 
Douglas Leech
Poacher
Dave Royal
Pan
Michael Venner


The Breakdown

A lone woman (Anita Harris) traveling in the countryside has a car breakdown near a remote house owned by an eccentric man (John Abineri) widely suspected locally of being a murderer.

Narrator 
Keith Barron
The Woman
Anita Harris
The Man
John Abineri
Garage Mechanic
Brian Jennings


The White Bird of Laughter

High above Dartmoor, a solitary bird is on an endless journey. This bird of legend flies on and on and on across an eternity of summer skies, further and further from evil with no destination and no purpose but this, the celebration of its final freedom.

Gillian Miles, Adrian Van Den Bok and Peewee Hunt lead a Dartmoor-set drama about the legendary symbol of freedom.

Narrator
Jack Watson
The Girl
Gillian Miles
The Boy
Adrian Van Den Bok
The Father
Peewee Hunt
The Master
Cyril Epstein
The Mistress
June Bishop


The Visitor

Janis’s husband, a merchant captain, is away at sea. They have recently moved the family home away from London to settle, with their 3-year-old daughter, into a remote cottage on the North Cornish coast. For a while life seems idyllic, then Janis (Janis Winters) discovers a hidden cove that will change her life.

Janis
Janis Winters
Fran
Joanna Foster
Kelly
Kelly Arkless


The Beast

“I raised the gun to my shoulder It felt uncomfortably heavy. My breath was coming in long open gasps, like escaping gas. Then a dark chill spread across my body as I realised the sound was not synchronous with my heaving chest – it was not my breath at all!”

An unnamed narrator (voiced by Jack Watson and played on-screen as an adult by David Gilpin and as a teenager by Jamie Barron, son of actor Keith Barron) recounts how, as a young man in a Cornish village, he had a strange encounter with a strange, Bigfoot-like creature (Milton Reid) in the woods.

After 17 years away in the city, he returns to the village at the request of his cousin, Jenny (Maggie Green) who has taken over the family farmhouse – his childhood home, Foxhollies Farm near Bennetts Wood – with her husband Bill (Steve Tomlin). The couple are being stalked by the same beast that the narrator encountered in the woods years before.

Narrator
Jack Watson
The Boy
Jamie Barron
The Man
David Gilpin
Jenny
Maggie Green
Bill
Steve Tomlin
Delivery Man
Brian Jennings
The Beast
Milton Reid


Miss Constantine

Little Miss Constantine – a confused elderly woman – lives in a vast, rambling once-grand mansion, her thoughts crowded with remnants of a half-forgotten family history. The darker shadows of the shuttered rooms are invaded by mysterious visitors with deadly white faces – “the people from the authorities”.

Narrator
Keith Barron
Miss Constantine
Wynna Evans
Vicar
Martyn Townsend


With Love Belinda

London couple Jill (Wendy Richard) and Peter (Martyn Townsend) move to a large country house for a fresh start after the death of their young son, David (Vincent Helyar). Their attempts to put the tragedy behind them are stymied when their surviving child, Belinda (Charlotte Helyar), keeps insisting that she sees and plays with her brother.

Narrator
Jack Watson
Jill
Wendy Richard
Peter
Martyn Townsend
Belinda
Charlotte Helyar
David
Vincent Helyar


The Wit To Woo

Elizabethan bride, Lavinia (Jenny Hanley) seeks help from a forest-dwelling witch (Jo Anderson) to win back the affections of her unfaithful husband, Robin (Calum Browne).

Narrator
Keith Barron
Lavinia
Jenny Hanley
Robin
Calum Browne
The Witch
Jo Anderson
The Maid
Joan Hanson


Tell it to The Marines

The corporal (Tom Adams) insists it’s going to be “a night to remember”. And that’s just what it turns out to be for Martin (Andy Hart), who does his best, though his heart’s not in it. But the last straw comes when the corporal picks up a lonely widow (Jenny Barnes) and then gives her Martin’s name instead of his own.

Narrator
Jack Watson
Corporal
Tom Adams
Martin
Andy Hart
Widow
Jenny Barnes
Stripper
Samantha Jay


Ring a Ring a Rosy

Ellen (Nanette Newman) is a widow living in rural isolation in the Somerset countryside with her beautiful but fiendish mute daughter, Rosie (Tamar le Bailly). When new boyfriend Paul (Jamie Barron) suddenly vanishes, and young Rosie wanders home with blood on her hands, Ellen suspects the worst.

Narrator  
Keith Barron
Ellen
Nanette Newman
Rosie
Tamar le Bailly
Paul
Jamie Barron


Sarah

The turn of the century and a violent storm hits the south west of England. During the night a rescue flare is seen, but the lifeboat cannot be launched in such heavy seas. Then the coxswain makes a historic decision; 20 brave men will attempt to carry the two-ton boat across wild country to a sheltered bay.

Narrator
June Barrie


The Little Bounder

After seven years indentured to a Dartmoor farmer, Lizzie’s farewell gift from her mother proves, after all, to be a lucky talisman. Gillian Miles plays both mother and daughter.

Narrator/Antique Dealer
Desmond Hawkins
Lizzie/Mother
Gillian Miles


The Healer

He arrives in the village with a briefcase full of money – the result of his latest successful confidence trick. Now it’s time to lie low. But it’s hard to resist the challenge when the place is full of potential victims.

Narrator
Jack Watson
The Healer
Keith Barron