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Thriller, 1970's TV Series: We Need Shows Like This NOW.


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Old 04-04-2010, 13:40
Truegho
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My all-time favourite 1970's drama TV show was Thriller, which was shown from '73 to '74 every Saturday night. Written by Brian Clemens, this was a fantastic series, with gripping plots with great twists, and a whole host of top actors and actresses, like Robert Powell, Donna Mills etc., starring in each episode. And who can forget that creepy, nerve-jangling theme music that framed each episode (the loney country house depicted through the fish-eye lens).

I finally managed to treat myself to the boxed set of Thriller, and needless to say, I am enjoying reliving again those magical days of the 1970's, when they knew how to make good programmes (not like now, with all this reality rubbish!).

They should bring Thriller back, or at least make a show like it, with different stories each week. There is no excuse, as plenty of new writers are sending in their scripts all the time.

The only series I can think of that has been made recently, and that has featured different stories, was Crooked House, which was first shown at Christmas 2008. But then again, this was more of an Amicus style anthology series than the kind Thriller used to present.

So come on, all you TV producers - get your yourself the boxed set of Thriller, watch all 43 episodes, and assimilate just how good a TV series can be, if you put your mind to it!
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Old 04-04-2010, 14:27
Glenn A
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Quality will out. Who in 36 years time would want to watch a re run of Big Brother or even remember it? TV execs, especially in ITV and Sky, seem to think reality and talent contests are the way forward but these generate nothing in DVD sales, can't really be repeated and most of them can't be exported due to their local nature.
It's time crap like I'm A Celebrity was ditched.
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Old 04-04-2010, 14:45
jules1000
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Yes I agree we need some quality drama.

I remember Thriller it really was quite scary and the music at the beginning was spooky.
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Old 04-04-2010, 14:47
ardmajell55
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My all-time favourite 1970's drama TV show was Thriller, which was shown from '73 to '74 every Saturday night. Written by Brian Clemens, this was a fantastic series, with gripping plots with great twists, and a whole host of top actors and actresses, like Robert Powell, Donna Mills etc., starring in each episode. And who can forget that creepy, nerve-jangling theme music that framed each episode (the loney country house depicted through the fish-eye lens).

I finally managed to treat myself to the boxed set of Thriller, and needless to say, I am enjoying reliving again those magical days of the 1970's, when they knew how to make good programmes (not like now, with all this reality rubbish!).

They should bring Thriller back, or at least make a show like it, with different stories each week. There is no excuse, as plenty of new writers are sending in their scripts all the time.

The only series I can think of that has been made recently, and that has featured different stories, was Crooked House, which was first shown at Christmas 2008. But then again, this was more of an Amicus style anthology series than the kind Thriller used to present.

So come on, all you TV producers - get your yourself the boxed set of Thriller, watch all 43 episodes, and assimilate just how good a TV series can be, if you put your mind to it!
I believe, Truegho, that Irish actress Sinead Cusack was in one of them, from memory. They were all 75 minutes in length, and were consistently good. Don't know which ITV station made them, Probably ATV.
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Old 04-04-2010, 15:45
Glenn A
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I believe, Truegho, that Irish actress Sinead Cusack was in one of them, from memory. They were all 75 minutes in length, and were consistently good. Don't know which ITV station made them, Probably ATV.
I'm sure it was ATV, and Thames made the later and often very good Armchair Thriller.
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Old 04-04-2010, 16:39
pierre_gustave
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I remember 'The Carnation Killer' with Norman Eshley as the baddie.
Great show
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Old 04-04-2010, 17:13
ardmajell55
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I'm sure it was ATV, and Thames made the later and often very good Armchair Thriller.
I thought it was Armchair Theatre, and was in the 60s, or is this a seperate series? I would also like to see some of the 'Play for Today' back, but they've probably been wiped or can't be adapted to new format. You never see them unless they are part of TV history like 'Cathy Come Home' was for the 'Wednesday Play' in the 60s.
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Old 04-04-2010, 17:41
m06een00
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I remember a great London gangland serial thriller on BBC1 in 1979, called Out, starring the late Tom Bell. Also around that time there was G F Newman's brilliant Law and Order drama series, about corruption in the British police and prison system. Both were very non PC and pulled no punches when it came to violent scenes.

Sadly in today's dumbed-down society you are rarely going to see much drama on TV that isn't badly scripted, poorly acted, or just plain weak plot-lines, certainly not on BBC1 or ITV1. Having said that, on BBC2 a week ago with the minimum of publicity, we had the excellent Blood and Oil international thriller, the best drama so far this year. A long time ago ago that would have made it onto BBC1, but the TV execs seem scared to publicise anything that is good or controversial, and banish anything of real quality to BBC2 or BBC4. Consequently the public tend to miss out big time these days.
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Old 04-04-2010, 17:51
DavidT
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I remember a great London gangland thriller on BBC1 in 1979, called Out, starring the late Tom Bell.
Just bought this from Amazon for under 4 quid. Haven't watched it yet. Thinking of also buying The Capone Investment if anyone can recommend that one.
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Old 04-04-2010, 21:08
captainmccoy
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Thriller was made by ATV and ran from 1973 to 1976.
Each episode was shown in a 75 minute slot with a couple of exceptions.

During its run the saturday night broadcasts varied by about an hour between regions - some opting for pre 9pm start and others for a later start

At the end of one series of Thriller a one off play by Yorkshire called Who Killed Lamb was shown under the Thriller billing in the TV Times but it was not a proper episode- its a bonus on the dvd boxset

While the show was in production the series was sold to US tv who wanted to pad out each episode to fill a 90 minute slot.

Unfortunately the way they did it was awful.
They added grossly extended opening and closing credits . The new opening titles often gave away important plot revelations before the show had even started .
They filmed additional footage but obviously could not show the faces of the new actors so it was all a bit stupid.
Other opening titles consisted of hideous video animations and "artwork"

The new closing credits were simply the entire credits list run up the screen v-e-r-y slowly . One episode has 6 minutes of closing credits and FF makes them run at what looks like normal speed.

For completists these dreadful opening and closing titles are extra features on the Thriller dvd set.

Sadly , the original versions of the show were not seen on ITV ever again .
From 1980 the show was repeated around the regions but in the US format , so many used it as late night filler and did not even bill it as Thriller.

It ended on UK tv around 1984.
Over the years the original versions of several episodes were lost .

When Bravo decided to show the series in 1996 the versions with the original opening titles were not available for some .
Bravo showed about 16 before their ITC deal was scrapped by new managers at the channel.

4 came out on video and even more in the US.

Granada released the first season of 10 on dvd but then a few years later Network went the whole hog and released all 43 which had been restored aswell as reconstructing the titles for several episodes where the original versions remain lost.

An even better boxset of the show was recently released in Australia but its still very expensive.


In 1978 Thames made Armchair Thriller as a twice weekly show and this is out on dvd including the 6 part story that was never shown - possibly caught up in 1979's ITV strike.

It was finally shown in a feature length version around 1981 but the dvd collection also includes the 6 parter which is incomplete and has music and some sound effects and voiceovers missing.

In 1980 two 4 part dramas made by Southern tv were shown as part of Armchair Thriller even though they were not intended to be.

These 2 are also available on dvd but are not part of the Network boxset which features all the Thames shows .
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Old 04-04-2010, 21:44
Retrospective
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My all-time favourite 1970's drama TV show was Thriller, which was shown from '73 to '74 every Saturday night. Written by Brian Clemens, this was a fantastic series, with gripping plots with great twists, and a whole host of top actors and actresses, like Robert Powell, Donna Mills etc., starring in each episode. And who can forget that creepy, nerve-jangling theme music that framed each episode (the loney country house depicted through the fish-eye lens).

I finally managed to treat myself to the boxed set of Thriller, and needless to say, I am enjoying reliving again those magical days of the 1970's, when they knew how to make good programmes (not like now, with all this reality rubbish!).

They should bring Thriller back, or at least make a show like it, with different stories each week. There is no excuse, as plenty of new writers are sending in their scripts all the time.

The only series I can think of that has been made recently, and that has featured different stories, was Crooked House, which was first shown at Christmas 2008. But then again, this was more of an Amicus style anthology series than the kind Thriller used to present.

So come on, all you TV producers - get your yourself the boxed set of Thriller, watch all 43 episodes, and assimilate just how good a TV series can be, if you put your mind to it!
Yes I remember Thriller by Brian Clements and Donna Mills. Good quality drama from back then. The seventies was a good time for drama.
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Old 04-04-2010, 21:58
captainmccoy
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Yes I remember Thriller by Brian Clements and Donna Mills. Good quality drama from back then. The seventies was a good time for drama.
Thriller was created by Brian Clemens .
US beauty Donna Mills was in an excellent episode with Jeremy Brett called One Deadly Owner about a haunted Rolls Royce that was trying to inform on the killer of its previous owner.

Clemens lives locally to me although apart from seeing him in a video shop in the 80's I've never had the pleasure.

There is an event on BC coming soon where he will give 2 interviews.
One all about The Avengers and another on his other work .

Its at the BFI South Bank in July
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Old 04-04-2010, 22:34
mal2pool
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Definitely. Sick of all these cop dramas on tv . Need something different with unusual storylines and tension, shock endings. Thriller was brilliant. I remember the beeb had a similar programme at the time called 'menace'. Then we had Hammer house of horror, some good mysteries there too. Theres one on ITV3 called Murder in mind which has some unusual themes too. Thriller was the best imo. I remember episodes called 'Death motel', a sort of psycho homage. Infact Brian was influence by hitchcock with these dramas.
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Old 04-04-2010, 22:37
captainmccoy
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There is actually an episode of Thriller called Murder In Mind with Richard Johnson in.

"Murder Motel" was a blatant ripoff of Psycho and was not helped by being shown the day after the Hitchcock film had been on the BBC (or the week after).

Note that the US reformatted versions would sometimes be given an alternate title to the UK version

Someone earlier mentioned the "Carnation Killer " which is actually called The Colour Of Blood.

George & Mildred fans will need to suspend their disbelief at seeing Jeffrey Fourmile as a serial killer

Best episodes for me are "I'm the Girl He Wants To Kill" with Tony Selby which spends an awful lot of time in an office block with another killer trailing his prey up and down the stairs and lifts - very suspenseful .

And who can forget Diana Dors and Patrick Troughton in Nurse Will Make it Better AKA The Devils Web?

This is one episode where the UK titles had to be reconstructed although some additional scenes included in the longer US version that had been edited for time from the UK version were not put back in - shame

Once the US had started buying the series some episodes actually aired over there months beofre the appeared in the UK
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Old 04-04-2010, 22:47
Flat_Eric
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I sometimes used to be allowed to stay up on a Saturday night and watch Thriller during its original 1970s run.

One episode that really stuck in my mind was the one where, in the opening pre-titles sequence, a bloke is chained to a wall in the cellar of some mansion before being bricked in with only a flickering candle for company, and of course he's absolutely terrified.

Final brick is put into place, candle flickers out and the creepy title music starts.

Scared the crap out of me at the time that did, and haunted me for years afterwards! A couple of years back I bought the complete boxed set and of course that was the first episode I watched - and as I sit typing this, I can't for the life of me remember the title of it!

I agree with the OP's sentiments - they don't make 'em like that any more. Unfortunately.
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Old 04-04-2010, 22:51
captainmccoy
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Was that episode the Jenny Agutter one Kiss Me and Die AKA The Savage Curse?
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Old 04-04-2010, 23:51
Flat_Eric
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Yeah that's the one. Her and a bunch of "seem them in loads of stuff but don't know their name" types.
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Old 05-04-2010, 00:33
CheekyTV
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I remember Central TV repeating some Thriller episodes light night in 1982/83 up against reruns of The Avengers on Ch4 around the same time.

I remember an episode of Thriller about a woman being chased around a Library by an unseen person...can't remember the title of the episode or who was in it but it freaked me out a bit at the time...it was a good show..probably very very dated now!
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:46
mike65
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Just bought this from Amazon for under 4 quid. Haven't watched it yet. Thinking of also buying The Capone Investment if anyone can recommend that one.
The Capone Investment is on the Film24 roster (Sky 157), its not on right now but if you are patient....
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:37
captainmccoy
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I remember Central TV repeating some Thriller episodes light night in 1982/83 up against reruns of The Avengers on Ch4 around the same time.

I remember an episode of Thriller about a woman being chased around a Library by an unseen person...can't remember the title of the episode or who was in it but it freaked me out a bit at the time...it was a good show..probably very very dated now!
ATV was actually the first region to start repeating Thriller in 1980 .
The variations box in the TV Times sometimes listed it as Thriller but at the start of the run it would only show the episode title and bill it as a TV Movie.

The library episode starred Jan Francis and Maureen Lipman.
IIRC John Le Mesurier was the unidentified killer for most of the episode which was File It Under Fear
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:55
linfran
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I've got a complete mental block about this series but it sounds great.
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Old 05-04-2010, 17:45
solare
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I really liked Thriller. It's a shame we don't have more of this type of drama.

"Murder in Mind" from about 10 years ago was also a good series. They've been repeating some of those episodes on Saturday evenings on ITV3.
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Old 05-04-2010, 17:53
ardmajell55
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There is actually an episode of Thriller called Murder In Mind with Richard Johnson in.

"Murder Motel" was a blatant ripoff of Psycho and was not helped by being shown the day after the Hitchcock film had been on the BBC (or the week after).

Note that the US reformatted versions would sometimes be given an alternate title to the UK version

Someone earlier mentioned the "Carnation Killer " which is actually called The Colour Of Blood.

George & Mildred fans will need to suspend their disbelief at seeing Jeffrey Fourmile as a serial killer

Best episodes for me are "I'm the Girl He Wants To Kill" with Tony Selby which spends an awful lot of time in an office block with another killer trailing his prey up and down the stairs and lifts - very suspenseful .

And who can forget Diana Dors and Patrick Troughton in Nurse Will Make it Better AKA The Devils Web?
This is one episode where the UK titles had to be reconstructed although some additional scenes included in the longer US version that had been edited for time from the UK version were not put back in - shame

Once the US had started buying the series some episodes actually aired over there months beofre the appeared in the UK
CaptainMcCoy.
The only TV series i remember Diana Dors from that era was a comedy series called 'Queenie's Castle in, i think '70/71. didn't know then she was a film star before any of that.
Tony Caunter played one of her sons in that. The next time i saw him, was in eastenders, looking about forty years older although he couldn't have been. Time flies.
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Old 05-04-2010, 20:04
DavidT
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The Capone Investment is on the Film24 roster (Sky 157), its not on right now but if you are patient....
Film 24 is a channel I need to keep an eye on more often as it appears to show a fair few TV series comedies and dramas many apparently from the Southern archive. Thing is with a name like Film 24 I forget it shows TV series too.
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Old 05-04-2010, 21:05
captainmccoy
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CaptainMcCoy.
The only TV series i remember Diana Dors from that era was a comedy series called 'Queenie's Castle in, i think '70/71. didn't know then she was a film star before any of that.
Tony Caunter played one of her sons in that. The next time i saw him, was in eastenders, looking about forty years older although he couldn't have been. Time flies.
Queenies Castle ran for 3 series , 70/71/72.

She also had an extremely memorable appearance in the first episode of the final 4th season of The Sweeney - Messenger of the Gods
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