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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Scary
Published 4 months ago by Mr I

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another armchair collection
Broadcast from 1978 to 1981, this is a collection of ten stories, each made up of either four or six, 25 minute episodes.
Therein lies, for me, the most valid criticism of the series, although I quite enjoyed watching most of this I did feel that some of the stories were being stretched to the limit, for example "A Dog's Ransom" was a real stamina test, while I doubt...
Published on 13 Dec 2010 by Colin Smith


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another armchair collection, 13 Dec 2010
By 
Colin Smith (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
Broadcast from 1978 to 1981, this is a collection of ten stories, each made up of either four or six, 25 minute episodes.
Therein lies, for me, the most valid criticism of the series, although I quite enjoyed watching most of this I did feel that some of the stories were being stretched to the limit, for example "A Dog's Ransom" was a real stamina test, while I doubt I will be watching "The Chelsea Murders" again, "The Limbo Connection" was my favourite, surprisingly well-sustained despite being a six-parter. "Dying Day" starring Ian McKellen was another highlight.

The stories feel like extended plays, with more drama than thriller. Its hard to believe that some viewers were actually scared when this series was first broadcast, although "Quite As A Nun" does manage to provide a fairly spooky scene, but the story would have worked better as a four-parter instead of six.
Would I have bought this boxset if I had known what I was going to get? Hmmmm......Yes (at the right price - no more than 30 pound). Judging by the mostly polarised opinions here, I guess I must occupy the middle ground as I generally neither love nor hate this series.

The best advice I can offer is: If you can accept storytelling that's delivered at a very leisurely pace, you may have a chance of enjoying at least some of this, if not its probably best to avoid it.

Picture and sound quality are OK, no extras or subtitles.
Here is a list of the stories, with synopsis (taken from the included information, I have also awarded "Amazon style" star ratings).

RACHEL IN DANGER (4 parts) - Recently returned from South America, Peter Warmington bumps into an old friend called Juan. Unfortunately, Juan is not the friend he seems: he murders Peter, stealing his identity as a means to effect a political assassination. Things are going well until Warmington's estranged ten-year-old daughter arrives....
Starring: Della Low, Neville Jason, Patricia Mason and Stephen Greif. (*** 3 stars).

A DOG'S RANSOM (6 parts) - A Chelsea couple's dog is kidnapped and a ransom demanded. When the ransom is paid but no dog is returned, an ambitious young policeman takes it into his own hands to solve the dognapping. Unfortunately, the dognapper is a vicious sociopath named Kowajinski....
Starring: Benjamin Whitrow, Zena Walker, Brian Stirner, Leon Eagles and Susie Blake. (** 2 stars).

THE GIRL WHO WALKED QUICKLY (4 parts) - When young student David Cooper disappears, his girlfriend and his tutor both suspect he is in danger. David has a paralysing fear of lifts and other confined spaces and, while they are searching for him, his phobia is proving invaluable to a menacing group with a sinister and ruthlessly violent agenda....
Starring: Denis Lawson, Clive Merrison, Barry Stanton and Phyllida Nash. (** 2 stars).

QUITE AS A NUN (6 parts) - A nun starves to death, having locked herself in a tower at a convent. TV journalist Jemima Shore, a former pupil at the convent school who knew the dead nun, is invited by the Reverend Mother to investigate the incident, but as Jemima gets closer to the heart of the mystery, a sinister figure haunts the convent - and will stop at nothing to keep the truth within its walls.
Starring: Maria Aitken, Renee Asherson, David Burke, Brenda Bruce and James Laurenson. (*** 3 stars).

THE LIMBO CONNECTION (6 parts) - Film writer Mark Omney arranges to meet his wife, Clare, at their country cottage. But after treatment for food poisoning at a local clinic, Clare vanishes. As Mark follows the bizarre trail that might lead to her, he increasingly falls under suspicion - but becomes convinced that the clinic holds a terrible secret....
Starring: James Bolam, Rosalind Ayres, Suzanne Bertish and Christopher Benjamin. (**** 4 stars).

THE VICTIM (6 parts) - Electronics business executive Vincent Craig is shocked when his daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom. Though he initially raises the money, the police are appalled when he hangs up during a call from the kidnapper, insistant that he can trace the kidnapper himself....
Starring: John Shrapnel, Paul Jerricho, Meg Ritchie and Gerald Sim. (*** 3 stars).

DYING DAY (4 parts) - When an audio tape left on the train by a strange man informs Mr Antony Skipling that he is about to be murdered he reports it swiftly to the police. When they play it back, however, the murder plot can no longer be heard - is Skipling imagining it, or is he really in danger?
Starring: Ian McKellen, Prentis Hancock, Patrick Malahide and Michael Troughton. (**** 4 stars).

FEAR OF GOD (4 parts) - After seeing a girl fall past his window to her death, London journalist Paul Marriott finds her diary in the deserted attic above. But someone is intent on destroying the diary: it is the only evidence linking her to a mysterious sect, the Regiment of God, and a disturbing experimental project....
Starring: Bryan Marshall, Alun Armstrong, Michael Sheard and Madeline Church. (*** 3 stars).

THE CIRCE COMPLEX (6 parts) - While Tom Foreman serves life for murder, a cache of jewellery he seemingly hid before his arrest makes his attractive wife, Val, a yet-more tantalising prospect. A string of men become her lovers, including her psychiatrist, Ollie. When Ollie finally recognises a mysterious cycle being enacted, he finds a name for his discovery: the circe complex.
Starring: Trevor Martin, Beth Morris, Alan David, Michael Deeks and James Hazeldine. (*** 3 stars).

THE CHELSEA MURDERS (6 parts) - When a barmaid and part-time model becomes a murderer's third victim in Chelsea, the only apparent links are to a local reporter, Mary, and three art graduates financing a film with local part-time jobs. As further terrifying and seemingly random attacks take place, a bizarre common factor emerges: the victims initials all match those found on plaques commemorating Chelsea's former literary residents....
Starring: Michael Feast, Miranda Bell, Dave King and Antony Carrick. (* 1 star).

THE CHELSEA MURDERS (Movie version) (* 1 star).
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Even fans of TV nostalgia may be disappointed. The rest of you - avoid !, 2 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
I wasn't long into watching this DVD before 1978 came flooding back. Unfortunately, it was only then that I remembered I never liked this series in 1978 because I was expecting an equivalent to the 'Thriller' series by Brian Clemens that had finished a couple of years earlier. Thirty years later I made the same mistake and was disappointed all over again.

'Thriller' this isn't. The titles are okay - the Thames logo at night, and the spooky shadow that sits in the chair are both nice, memorable touches, but they also promise a creepiness that is rarely delivered. There is none of that chilling atmosphere that one remembers from the Clemens Thrillers and which is so absent from today's TV.

Only once was I spooked. In probably the most famous story 'Quiet as a Nun', there is a genuinely creepy moment that Clemens would have been so proud of. Sad that the rest of this long, slow and predictable story plays out like a particularly bad episode of Scooby Doo. It does however contain a charming cameo by a young Patsy Kensit, the only child actor in the story that doesn't irritate the hell out of you.

To be fair, the whole structure and objectives of 'Armchair Thriller' are different from 'Thriller', especially in that each story is broken down into either 4 or 6 episodes. Given that, it should be judged on its own merits. Sadly, though, these merits are few and far between and the episodic structure of the stories rarely does them any favours.

'A Dog's Ransom' is a prime example of a promising tale totally ruined by being stretched to breaking point over 6 tedious episodes. A dog is 'kidnapped' from a childless, loving couple, unleashing what is, at first, an intriguing and unpredictable plot. So far, so good until a Scottish detective is wheeled in to talk and talk and describe the plot to us ad nauseum until all we have to do is figure out the dénouement, which I found shockingly ingenious as a youngster in 1978, but which looks painfully predictable 30 years later.

'Rachel in Danger' is about a girl being picked up a father who she has never met and has no idea that the man wearing her dad's glasses isn't her dad, although she gets suspicious pretty quickly. The story never attempts to raise above the level of mediocrity and it succeeds in this objective. The climax is ludicrous, but, unlike many of the stories, it unfolds in only 4 episodes which is something in its favour. 'The Girl Who Walked Quickly' is also 4 episodes, but that can't help it. In a story that walks slowly and goes nowhere. I rather felt that in the end the programme makers were making it up as they went along.

'The Limbo Connection' is much better, mainly because of a driven and compelling performance by the excellent James Bolam who plays a man whose wife has disappeared. In fact the one good thing about this series is the quality of the British actors it managed to find. Bolam holds 'Limbo' together whenever it starts to limp and it was one of the few stories I liked, despite running out of steam by the end.

By the way, the above stories are from 'Season 2'. The box set does not include anything from Season 1, which was made 11 years earlier. I believe 'Armchair Thriller' owes its origins to 'Armchair Theatre' from the 1950s and 60s. Certainly the 'theatre' aspect is heavily apparent. Just a shame the 'thriller' bit is missing.

The best story in the set is 'Dying Day', from Season 3, fronted by a superb Ian McKellen. He plays a lonely, quiet man who discovers a tape recording of a plot to kill him. Utterly unbelievable it may all be, but the story gets away with it - just. Always watchable and I never saw the ending coming.

The box set also includes the following episodes from Season 3:

'The Victim' (Original Air Date--8 January 1980)
'Fear of God' (Original Air Date--26 February 1980)
'The Circe Complex' (Original Air Date--25 March 1980

'The Chelsea Murders' was never broadcast in its episodic version (having tried to watch it, I can't say I'm totally shocked) but it is included here and in its full length version also.

The broadcast quality of this set is fine, but in my view it wasn't worth the money simply because of the generally weak stories that are often poorly told. For nostalgic obsessives only.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
Scary
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable hokum, 16 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
There were several TV shows in the 1970s and early 80s that brought us stories which had a darkly sinister theme to them. i.e Thriller, Tales Of The Unexpected and Sapphire & Steel to just a few, and in 1978 along came this series which probably boasted the most eerie combination of spooky title sequence and equally chilling theme music ever. Watching it now a good thirty or so years later it seems positively tame now, and perhaps the inclusion of the word 'thriller' in the title doesn't seem to do the series justice in that the scare factor is hardly present in some of the stories, but for lovers of TV nostalgia it remains enjoyable nonetheless.

Much of Armchair Thriller is of varying quality in that whilst some stories are well written and brought to the screen with some genuinely scary moments, there are those that don't live up to their premise and end up becoming the weaker ones - A Dogs' Ransom (2nd story of season one) perhaps being the worst example in that despite being a six-part serial the story more or less concludes after the first episode and becomes something of a yawn fest for the remaining five. The following instalment The Girl Who Walked Quickly is mercifully shorter at just four episodes, but on close inspection seems to be nothing more than a leftover The Sweeney script, what with all the car chases and running around involved.

Both Quiet As A Nun and The Limbo Connection seem to get the series back on track in that they contain some elements of suspense and terror - the former especially as it's the one story that everybody still remembers to this day. Memorable though this particular story is, it does however suffer from a weak final episode when the true identity of the mysterious 'black nun' is revealed and any ideas of ghostly manifestations are all but thrown out the window. In other words, it's something of a cop out.

At the time of submitting this review I'm still currently watching season two with two more stories to go, including the two that were produced by Southern TV and are not included in this boxset, Dead Mans Kit and High Tide, both of which I shall review individually later. The series certainly has no end of guest stars during both seasons, with James Bolam, Ian McKellen, Maria Aitken, Michael Sheard, Bryan Marshall, Denis Lawson, Prentis Hancock, John Shrapnel, Michael Troughton, Brenda Bruce and Stephen Greif amongst others all making memorable appearances.

For me the other thing that prevents this boxset from getting five stars is the fact that there are no special features at all - a great shame as a series as iconic as this would have benefited from having a retrospective documentary of some kind made charting its creation. This appears to be the one big failing with most Network DVDs - great though some of their releases may be, a little something in the way of bonus material wouldn't go amiss once in a while.

Armchair Thriller has never been repeated since its final story - The Chelsea Murders - was originally broadcast in 1981 as a one-off feature-length episode, but now thanks to this release all those terrifying moments can be relived all over again. As for my recommendation as to what the best story of the series is, I'll stick my neck out by saying that with two more yet to be watched yes, it's got to be - as people still refer to it years later - 'the one with the nun'... what else?
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4.0 out of 5 stars back to the seventies, 16 May 2014
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This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
Only just remember the series from tv but is a good blast from the past, would recommend for those old enough to remember
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misssing installments, 4 Nov 2008
This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
This set of ten installments appears to be the collected Vol.1 through 10 that are also available individually. "The Chelsea Murders" is released on two disks, which explains the eleven disks in this set.

"The Chelsea Murders" was not broadcast originally, so it's inclusion here is welcome. However there are two other installments listed on IMDB that do not appear to be included despite the set's label as "Complete". These are "High Tide" and "Dead Man's Kit".

Anyone know why are these not being released?
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars untainted by nostalgia, 6 April 2010
This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
I had never seen this before so my view is untainted by nostalgia. First of all, it's an interesting concept to devide a story into six 25 minutes segments and end each episode with a more or less exciting cliffhanger. That however is also one of the drawbacks of this series as the stories are sometimes just not complex enough for six episodes and occassionally seem to be drawn out unnecessarily. The acting is very good indeed, we meet a young and upcoming Dennis Lawson and many other excellent actors. The stories are original and generally well told with the exception of the six episodes rule. But maybe our perception of what makes good timing in a story has changed with the times. My main issue with the series is that overall it looks incredibly cheap with lots of studio scenes shot on cheap video material contrasting hard with the few on set scenes up to a point that it doesn't really sustain the illusion any longer. The overall quality of the picture is okay but I have seen DVDs from that period that were transfered to DVD better. The box set does not have any extras.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to the title, 26 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
It's always a pleasure when something you dimly remember is as good or better than the memory. ARMCHAIR THRILLER is a joy. It has intelligent dialogue with refreshingly adult characters. The stories are shaped in an organic way - how they develop isn't dictated by format (as even good stories are today) which makes it very unpredicatable. Occaisonally, major characters are brushed aside and minor characters step in to become protagonists. And those opening titles! Brr...
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drama, 26 Mar 2010
This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
If you enjoy a good old fashioned play then this is the series for you.
The story lines are extremely plausible and the acting is nothing short of 'top notch".Some of the clothing is a wee bit dated but it does not detract from the quality of these stories, in fact it enhances the atmosphere for me.there are no technical efects" to pad out the stories and the camera work is plain and basic. This all results in a "stage play" effect which we never see any more today with modern tele-movies.
All the stories are at least 4 episodes long and each episode leaves you wanting to view the next one. There is a plethora of British actors many of whom have gone on to bigger and better things in todays era. It is wonderful when you see a child actor in their early starring roles and you can say "they haven't changed much".
So in addition to nostalgia, great content,great acting,great packaging and a fantastic price, I strongly recommend this to all drama lovers.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good!, 26 April 2011
By 
Marie (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
I really enjoyed these thrillers and they were well done. I had watched Brian Clemens Thriller series and wanted more. These were just as good if not better. For those who didn't like A dog's ransom pay more attention. Although a dog is kidnapped this is not what this episode is about. Quiet as a nun, I wonder did I see this sometime in the past. Being in the states I wonder if this was ever telecast on usa tv? Thank you British actors/writers/producers so well done!
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Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD]
Armchair Thriller Vol.1-10 - Complete [DVD] by Robert Tronson (DVD - 2008)
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