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A full list of the stories
on 20 June 2011
The info on the case sums this series up pretty accurately. Produced by Thames TV, this is a collection of 11 plays, a suspense anthology that studies the psychological effects on an assortment of characters who find themselves in a variety of stressful situations, and the increasing cloud of fear that envelops them.
The pace of the stories allows an effective level of suspense to build up. A host of familiar faces give good performances, in stories written by Roger Marshall, (Public Eye) John Kershaw, Richard Harris, Jacques Gillies, Jeremy Paul, Hugh de'Allenger, Hugh Leonard and Roy Harley Lewis.
The series opens with Roger Marshall's "Did You Lock Up?", in which a couple (played by Michael Craig and Gwen Watford) return home to discover that they've been burgled and their home ransacked, the ensuing stress causes the husband to become increasingly obsessed with home security, the return of the same burglars eventually leads to a neat twist ending. As with most TV series I did find some of the stories to be better than others, but taken as a whole I found this to be an enjoyable series.
This complete series was originally broadcast from 1970-73, picture and sound quality are good, the only extra is an image gallery, no subtitles. All but one of the stories are in colour, and all have running times of around 50 minutes, except one (see episode details below). The 3 discs are stored in a single-size case, which features a synopsis of each episode on the inside, which I have replicated below.
*DID YOU LOCK UP? - While Peter and Moira Astle celebrate their wedding anniversary in a hotel, their house is burgled. Returning home, they are shocked to see the wanton damage the thieves have inflicted. Peter becomes obsessed with preventing his house being burgled a second time.
Starring Mark McManus, Michael Craig, Gwen Watford, Malcolm Kaye, Ray Smith and Charles Leno.
*SUGAR AND SPICE - Anne Brand is the anxious mother of Michael, who is missing. It is not the first time. But Victor, her husband, does not take the situation too seriously: their marriage is breaking up and so is his extra-marital affair. And Victor is about to be confronted by what he believes to be a far bigger problem: his daughter.
Starring Sheila Hancock, Ronald Hines, Suzanne Togni, Ivor Salter and Janet Hannington.
*AT OCCUPIER'S RISK - Judith is an unexpected guest at the quite country hotel run by Mr and Mrs Darban, a very strange couple. And a curiously threatening hitch-hiker adds up to a situation of unbearable suspense. It's less a case of wondering what will happen next, than hoping it doesn't happen at all.
Starring Anthony Bate, Annette Crosby, Gemma Jones, Tom Chadbon and John Swindells.
*THE DEATH WATCHER - Why do we shiver when we see ghosts? Perhaps they need heat to energise themselves - and draw that heat from living beings. Many scientists have wondered about life after death, but few have taken their experiments as far as murder to illustrate a point...
Starring John Neville, Michael Hawkins, Judy Parfitt, Victor Maddern, Daphne Oxenford, George Hagan and Ann Way.
*REPENT AT LEISURE - Attempting to recover from a broken heart, Isabel takes a cruise and has an encounter with a man who may or may not be after her money.
Starring George Sewell, Elizabeth Sellars, Peter Cellier and Alethea Charlton.
*RETURN OF FAVOURS - When a stranger intrudes on the privacy of Judith and Roger to give them tea, Judith is sure he's a killer. Roger discovers the truth about the intruder, but cannot reveal it.
Starring George Cole, Caroline Blakiston, Jennie Linden and Robin Ellis.
*THE LESSER OF TWO - A neighbour's disapproval: a brick through a window: cat-calls and jeers: a petition. Throughout the day, a world of menace closes in on Margaret as she tries to adjust to a situation that everyone else finds unacceptable. And she tends to think they're right - until it's too late.
Starring Margery Mason, Godfrey Quigley, Elizabeth Burger, Geoffrey Hughes, Dorothea Phillips and John Rolfe.
*WHITE WALLS AND OLIVE GREEN CARPETS - Lena has her ideal, in the shape of the perfect room in an idyllic country retreat. Robert, too, has an ideal: he believes if you can't live without someone, you must either live with them, or get rid of them - permanently.
Starring Ian Bannen, Natasha Parry and Geoffrey Wright.
*SOUR GRAPES - "A holiday in Spain at a luxury villa for two", read the brochure. But there had been no mention of the visitor who wanted to share the couple's food and accommodation, and who certainly wasn't there for sun and relaxation...
Starring Ray Smith, Daniel Massey, Isabel Dean and Simon Gough.
*COME INTO MY PARLOUR (BLACK AND WHITE EPISODE) - Deanna Ward goes back to her job as a customer representative, Her first customer is a bachelor who promises to buy something for his fiancee. When Deanna returns with the goods, however, she walks into a macabre and terrifying situation.
Starring Beth Harris, Gabrielle Blunt, Peter Barkworth and Peggy Bullock.
*THE PARTY'S OVER (27 minutes approx) - Something evil is happening in the Parkers' marriage. There is terror in the quite suburban house with its locked cellar: murder may not be far away. Or could it just all be in the imagination?
Starring Edward Fox, Suzanne Neve, Philip Brack, Susan Tebbs and Penelope Lee.
Another welcome release from Network.