Fear On Four

by Clive Lever

Introductory text reproduced and updated from The Radio Companion, by Paul Donovan (Harper Collins 1991), by kind permission of the author.

Creepy stories on Radio 4, broadcast from 1988-99, performed by actors and introduced by Edward de Souza until 1993. He resurrected THE MAN IN BLACK character with a chilling sense of menace. The final series (1997) and the one-off play "The Blood of Eva Bergen (1999) were dramatised without the Man In Black character.

Sinister storyteller played originally by Valentine Dyall, who from 1943 introduced APPOINTMENT WITH FEAR's late-night plays in cold, hushed tones, designed to make flesh crawl and spines shiver. Then, from 1949, THE MAN IN BLACK was used as the title for a series of macabre stories which included R.L.Stevenson's Markheim and M.R. James's classic Oh Whistle and I'll Come To You.

The sepulchral-voiced narrator was revived in the mid-1980s, this time played by Edward de Souza, when Radio 4 mounted a new series of tales of mystery and horror called FEAR ON FOUR.

Markheim was dramatised again in 2006.

Old Harrovian actor who made his radio debut in 1936 and was best known for playing THE MAN IN BLACK, the menacing-voiced narrator of APPOINTMENT WITH FEAR from 1941 to 1953. The series made a celebrity of him, and he even guested on an edition of the Goon Show. He would later play the part of "Deep Thought" in Douglas Adams radio classic "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Full cast list and production credits:

1988) SERIES 1
The Snowman Killing (3/1/88)
by J C W Brooke:
Imelda Staunton, Brian Hewlett, Alistair White, Altheas Constanturos, Eva Stewart
Dir - Martin Jenkins

William & Mary (10/1/88)
by Roald Dahl, adapted by Jill Brooke:
Joss Ackland, Elizabeth Morgan, Alan Dudley, John Baddeley
Dir - Gerry Jones

The Monkey's Paw (17/1/88)
by W W Jacobs, adapted Patrick Galvin Alan McElvie, Oliver Maguire, Trudy Kelly, Mark Mulholland, Kevin Flood
Dir - Jeremy Howe

Music Lovers (24/1/88)
by Nick Warburton Nigel Anthony, Prunella Scales
Dir - Martin Jenkins

The Beast with 5 Fingers (31/1/88)
by William Fryer Harvey, dramatised by John Keir Cross (possibly a re-enactment of the dramatisation for the original Man In Black with Valentine Dyall):
James Lawrenson, Kim Wall, Cyril Luckham
Dir - Martin Jenkins

Every Detail But One (7/2/88)
by Bert Coules:
Helena Breck, Diana Olssen, Karen Archer, John Samson, Anthony Jackson, Victoria Carling, Paul Gregory, Brian Hewlett.
Dir - Gerry Jones

By the River, Fontainbleau (14/2/88)
by Steven Gallagher Steven Rashbrook, Kim Wall, Michael Tudor Barnes, Diana Olssen, Anthony Jackson, Victoria Carling, Mark straker, steven Tomkinson, Richard Pearce.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

The Face (21/2/88)
by E F Benson, dramatised by Michael Bakewell:
Rosalind Ayres, Rosalind Thomas, David Goodland, Norman Bird, Victoria Carling.
Dir - Gerry Jones

Mind Well The Tree (28/2/88)
by William Ingram:
Nicola Paget, Philip Bond, Myfanwy Talloc, Dilwyn Owen.
Dir - in Wales by Adrian Mawby

Fat Andy (6/3/88)
by Steven Dunstone:
Thora Heard, Sean Barrett, Susan Sheridan, Daryl Back, Norman Bird
Dir - Gerry Jones

A Day At The Dentist's (13/3/88)
James Saunders, based on an idea by Arch Oboler John Castle, Mick Ford, Karen Archer, Joan Matheson
Dir - Martin Jenkins

The Speciality Of The House (20/3/88)
by Stanley Ellin, adapted by Colin Haydn Evans:
Timothy West, David March, Paul Gregory, Tim Reynolds
Dir - Gerry Jones

Snipe 3909 (15/1/89)
by Graeme Fyfe:
Hannah Gordon, Peter Craze, Caroline John, Gregory de Polnay, Peter Tuddenham, Michael Deacon, Peter Sowerbutts, Joe Dunlop, Dominic Rickards, Christopher Scott
Dir - Gerry Jones

The Dead Drummer (25/1/89)
by David Buck, from one of the Ingoldsby Legends:
Ray Smith, Christian Rodska, Glyn Houston, David Buck.
Martin Jenkins

The Dispossessed Daughter (29/1/89)
by Catharine Nicholas:
John Duttine, Vivienne Heilbron, Gareth Armstrong
Dir - in Wales by Adrian Mawby

St Austin Friars (5/12/89) by Robert Westall, adapted by Steven Wyatt:
Michael Maloney, Melinda Walker, Michael Deacon, Geffreu Whitehead, Clifford Norgate, Jo Kendall, David March, Margaret Robertson, Norman Bird, John Moffatt, Michael Graham Cox.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

Dreaming of Thee (12/2/89)
Gwen Cherrell:
Karen Archer, Moir Lesley, David Goudge, Joan Walker, Dominic Rickards.
Dir - Gerry Jones

The Horn (19/2/89)
by Steven Gallagher:
John Castle, Peter Gunn, Philip Sully, Christopher Scott, Cara Kelly
Dir - Martin Jenkins

The Journey Home (26/2/89)
by Bert Coules:
Richard Pascoe, Helena Breck, Crawford Logan, Simon Cuff.
Dir - Gerry Jones

Hand in Glove (5/3/89)
by Elizabeth Bowen, adapted by Elizabeth Troop:
Marjorie Westbury, Kate binchy, Felicity Hayes Mccoy, Mahdath Sharma, Joe Dunlop. Guitarist Peter Bond.
Dir - Peter Fozzard

His Last Card (12/3/89)
by Nick Warburton:
Maureen O'Brien, Mick Ford, Andrew Branch
Dir - Martin Jenkins 10/13:
Survival (19/3/89)
by John Wyndham, adapted by Pat Hooker:
Karen Ascoe, Simon Cuff, David March, Eva Stewart, Michael Graham Cox, Nicholas Courtenay, Richard Tate, Michael Deacon, John Moffatt, Martin Dew, Joe Dunlop.
Dir - Gerry Jones

Soul Searching (26/3/89)
by Martyn Wade:
Bernard Cribbins, Sean Prendergast, Norman Bird, Joan Walker, Rebecca Jones, Steve Hodson.
Dir - Peter Fozzard

A Child Crying (2/4/89)
by James Saunders:
Nigel Anthony, Kim Wall, Ken Cumberlidge, Cara Kelly
Dir - Gerry Jones

The Judge's House (9/4/89)
by Bram Stoker, adapted John Keir Cross (possibly the original dramatisation for The Man In Black with Valentine Dyall); a student moves into a house which has been empty for years.:
David Timpson, Tessa Worsley, Norman Bird
Dir - Gerry Jones.

The Yellow Wallpaper (27/12/90) (1a
by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, dramatised John Keir Cross (it is thought originally for the Man In Black with Valentine Dyall):
Monologue starring Anna Massie.
Dir - Gerry Jones

Green and Pleasant (3/1/91) (1b
by Bert Coules Karen Archer, Nigel Carrington, Rebecca Jones,Jonathan Taffler, Brian Miller, Jenny Howe.
Dir - Gerry Jones

The Monkey's Revenge (10/1/91) (4a)
by Guy Jenkin:
Jenny Howe, Catherine Alexander, Richard Pascoe, Helena Breck, Ronald Hurdman.
Dir - Gerry Jones

Invitation to the Vaults (21/2/91) (postponed from 17/1/91) (4b
by Basil Copper, adapted Wally K Daly:
Sarah Baddell, Roger Hammond, Ian Lindsay, Emma Gregory.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

The Edge (24/1/91) ( 3a)
By JohnPirrito:
Gareth Armstrong, Melinda Walker, Alistair White, Sian Jenkins, Tara Dominic, Vincent Brimbell, Gary Todd, Fraser Carr, Andrew Wincot.
Dir - Gerry Jones

Dead Man's Boots (1/2/91) (3b)
by William Ingram:
Sean Barrett, Jane wittenshaw, James Green, Nigel carrington
Dir - Martin Jenkins

A Routine Operation (7/2/91) (2a)
by Martyn Wade Hannah Gordon, Michael Cochrane, Geoffry Whitehead, Auriel Smith, Danny Schiller, Heather Emanuel.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

Dance in the Underworld (14/2/91) ( 2b)
by Stuart Kerr:
Brian Pringle, Maggie McCarthy, Angus Wright, Jenny Funnell, Simon Treeves, Auriel Smith, Fraser Carr

Gobble, Gobble (24/12/92)
by Paul Burns:
Peter Gunn, Steven Thorne, David Holt, Siriol Jenkins, Jill Graham, John Samson.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

The Next in Line (31/12/92)
by Ray Bradbury, dramatised Brian Sibley:
Peter Marinker, Carol Boyd, Trader Faulkner, Sandra Dickinson, Ann Windsor, Jonathan Taffler, Siriol Jenkins, David Holt.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

Dark Feathers (7/1/93)
by Denise Simms:
Joanna Myers, Emily Richard, Melinda Walker, Matthew Morgan, Siriol Jenkins, Katie Jenkins.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

4/8 Playing God (14/1/93)
by John Graham:
Melanie Hudson, Eric Allen, Nicholas Murchie, Ann Windsor, Margaret Hearie, Peter Gunn, Melinda Walker, David Bannerman, John Church
Dir - Gerry Jones

Vicious Fish (21/1/93)
by John Duchmin and Gregor Gryce:
John Hollis, Paul Copley, Ann Windsor, Nicholas Murchie.
Dir - Martin Jenkins

Hellhound On My Trail (28/1/93)
by Paul Sirett:
Nigel Anthony, Shelley Thompson, Eric Ray Evans, Bert Caesar, John Rowe, Alid Parsons, Sandra James-Young, Victoria Carling, Jonathan Taffler
Dir - Martin Jenkins

Hearing Is Believing (4/2/93)
by Aubrey Woods:
Mick Ford, Keith Drinkel, siriol Jenkins, Jonathan Adams
Dir - Gerry Jones

Life Line (11/2/93)
by Steven Gallagher:

Dir - Martin Jenkins

Net Suicide (4/9/97) By Stephen Wyatt:
Gerard McDermott, Tracy Ann Oberman, John Roew, David brookes
Dir - David Hunter

Tapping (25/9/97)
By Colin Hayden Evans:

Dir - David Blount

The Chimes of Midnight (2/10/97)
-postponed from 4/9/97 and would have been the first in the series.
by Nick Fisher:
David Suchet, John Rowe, Jenny Lee, Christopher Wright, Alison Pettit, Jilly Meers.
Dir - Marion Nan Carrow

Making Sacrifices (9/10/97)
By Nick Warburton:
Caroline Strong, Sarah Rice, Alison Pettit
Dir - Adrian Bean

Tissue Memory (16/10/97)
by Judy Upton:
Rachel Atkins, Kim Wall, Gerard McDermott, John Roew, Carolyn Jones
Dir - David Blount

1/4: The Blood of Eva Bergen (15/2/99)
by Paul Sirett
John Castle, Tilly Gaunt, Giles Fagan. Pianist: Mary Nash.
Dir - Marilyn Imrie

the remainder are from the 1997 series:

"It is pleasant to be afraid when we are conscious that we are ourselves in no kind of danger" (Virginia Woolf).

Dramatisations of The Beast With Five Fingers, The Judge's House and The Yellow Wallpaper had previously been introduced to British radio audiences by the originalMan In Black, Valentine Dyall. The early series of "Suspense", produced for CBS in America, had also included the character, but by the time "Appointment with fear" began its run in 1943, he had been dropped from the programme's introductions. Appointment With Fear ran intermittently from 1943 to the mid 1950s. In the mid sixties, there were series of 30-minute dramas in a similar style, called "The Edge Of Fear", and "Fear In The Afternoon". In 1973, 1975 and 1982, Radio 2 broadcast series in the Genre, entitled "The Price of Fear, starring Vincent Price. These were only slightly different in form, in that they were for the most part written as though Price himself had experienced the stories, usually as the friend or acquaintance of one of the main protagonists. Different dramatisations of The Specialty of the House (Ellin), and William & Mary (Dahl) were commissioned for that series and fear On four. William Ingram is the only author to have written stories for series of both programmes.

In the early 80s, the BBC broadcast a series of ghost stories by Algernon Blackwood, featuring his "ghost-buster" character John Silence. Then Fear On Four ran on and off from 1988) to 1999, the series gradually getting shorter, from the 12 and 13 story series in the 1980's, until the final series, which was in fact just one episode plus repeats from series five.

The thirty minute fear drama works best on radio when the element of fear is not apparent at the beginning of the story, but is introduced first as a hint, gradually building until the denouement by which time it has taken centre stage. Other elements which can add what Edith Wharton described as "The fun of the shudder to the story are:

The taunting of the listener with an insistent sound effect of an instrument of terror; (The hooting of the horn of a lorry in Steven Gallagher's story; the telephone in Snipe 3909 and the drumming in David Buck's story. It therefore always surprised me that Poe's Telltale heart was not given a make-over for this series as it would have been ideal); A sense of claustrophobia - where one party entraps the other and exacts revenge in a two-handed performance (A day at the dentist, Hearing is believing, The Music Lovers, the last of which takes place in one room, and would probably convert well to the stage).

Notes on the plays:

William & Mary

When William dies, his brain and one of his eyes are kept alive in a basin. At first, his widow Mary is shocked, that her tyrannical husband will watch her forever, but then she begins to like the idea in the end:
his eye will have to see her doing everything which he hated during his lifetime, and he won't be able to do anything about it...

The Monkey's Paw:

A classic horror story, first published in 1902.
This production was re-broadcast on radio 4 in a one-off late-night slot as a hallowe'en special on Saturday October 31, 1993. It had previously been dramatised on the similarly-styled Canadian horror series from the 1970's, Nightfall. Set and recorded in Ireland, A man calls on a couple and persuades them to take a talisman, a monkey's paw, which he has brought back from abroad. He tells them, paradoxically, that it brings bad luck to whomever owns it, and they can have three wishes, which will be granted if expressed whilst holding the talisman. It turns out not to be such a paradox after all, because, as they say, you should be very careful what you wish for...

The author, W. W. Jacobs (1863 - 1943) is a relative of the radio playwright Olwen Wymark. He resigned from his job as a clerk in the civil service after the success of his first collection of short stories, Many Cargoes, in 1896. Although he also wrote novels, it was principally his short stories which brought him fame. These also included humorous tails of sailors and country characters, as well as those of a more macabre nature. (Information on W W Jacobs adapted from The Man In Black, Macabre Stories From Fear On Four, BBC Enterprises, 1991

Music Lovers:

Have you ever been to a concert and been irritated by another member of the audience who has a persistent cough? Such ailments can be irritating, even debilitating...but of themselves, they couldn't be fatal...could they? Well, maybe, if another member of the audience is obsessed enough with the idea of perfection in musical performances.

The Beast with five fingers:

A man visits his blind uncle, and notices that one of his hands is writing independently, and seems to have a life all of its own. Then the uncle dies, and soon the hand turns up in the post. It does indeed have a life, and a terrible will of its own.

The story was First published in "The Beast with Five Fingers" 1928. It has been made into a film, and was previously dramatised for radio in the original "Man In Black" series with Valentine Dyall. Apparently another story from the same collection, "Miss Cornelius" is believed to have been scheduled for broadcast, but never went out in Fear On Four series 4, but we have not yet established whether it was ever recorded. Having read the story, I think it would have made a superb episode.

William Fryer Harvey was born in Yorkshire in 188)5. Ill-health, which interrupted his medical training, was exacerbated during the first world war, when, serving as a doctor, he saved a stoker petty officer from a flooded engine room. His lungs never recovered from the fumes and he died in 1937 at the age of 52. A master of psychological horror, his first book was a collection of ghost stories, Midnight House (1910) The Beast With Five Fingers followed in 1928, and Moods And Tenses in 1933.

(biographical text adapted from The Man In Black, Macabre Stories From Fear On Four, BBC Enterprises, 1991

By the River, Fontainbleau:

We all take it for granted that on farms, the animals are owned by the farmers, and fattened up for the sole purpose of being killed and eaten. But to their horror, artists travelling in France discover a farm where this commonplace idea is taken further...

The Face by E F Benson:

As the son of an Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward Frederic Benson caused something of a stir when his candidly anti-episcopal first novel, Dodo, was published in 1893. Benson also wrote light fiction, including the popular Mapp and Lucia novels, some of which have been dramatised for radio since The Face went out on Fear on four. In addition, he wrote biographies and contemporary histories, of which As We Were (1930) is probably his best known.

(adapted from The Man In Black, Macabre Stories From Fear On Four, BBC Enterprises, 1991, with alterations and additional text by CL

A Day At The Dentist's

Arch Oboler's original idea came from a selection of his ideas called "Arch Oboler Shorts". Each one of these lasted between two and five minutes, and was designed to illustrate how different types of horror could be written for radio. This was released on an early Vinyl album, and is available to hear on many American Old-Time Radio websites, the material now being in the public domain. He described his original Day at the Dentist as an example of "Horror with humour." Oboler produced and introduced his series "Lights Out" in America, much in the style of the Man in Black. Most, if not all of Oboler's work has survived. In the book of short stories "The Man in black" the introduction by "The man in black" states that it would be good to hear Arch Oboler's work on radio again one day. I would add that many of his programmes would travel well into the 21st century with a little adaptation.

The Specialty Of The House:

At an exclusive restaurant, all the customers anticipate with excitement the appearance of the Speciality of the house, Lamb Armistan, which they agree is the most succulent meat dish on gourmet menus anywhere...but is it lamb, and how can you account for the empty chair? What a shame its usual occupant will miss the much-anticipated delicacy. First published in 1948.

Stanley Ellin was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1916. His career as a writer began with the instant success of "The Specialty of the House" (1948, which has been described as one of the finest crime stories of modern times. As well as two short story collections, Mystery (1956) and The Blessington Method (1964), Ellin produced several novels, the most successful of which were Dreadful Summit (1948), The Key to Nicholas Street (1964), The Eighth Circle (1958) and Mirror Mirror On The Wall (1972). Stanley Ellin Died in 1986.

At the time of publication of the Man In Black short story collection in book form, Graeme Fife had written two children's books, plays, features and a large number of stories about composers. He had also written a dramatised biography of Vivaldi for radio. His "Arther The King" was broadcast on radio in 1990, and he wrote an accompanying book, Arthur The King: The Themes Behind The Legends. He also regularly contributes to radio 2's Pause For Thought. (adapted from The Man In Black, Macabre Stories From Fear On Four, BBC Enterprises, 1991, with additional information by CL

The Dead Drummer
Haydn Middleton was born in 1955 and educated in Reading and Oxford. His publications include three contemporary novels that deal with the magical history of the island of Britain:
The people in the picture, The lie of the land, and The collapsing Castle.

The Dispossessed Daughter:

The Dispossessed Daughter was Katharine Nicholas' First play for radio. Before that, she had written three morning stories for radio 4 and a history book about the social effects of unemployment between the wars. (adapted from The Man In Black, Macabre Stories From Fear On Four, BBC Enterprises, 1991

St Austin Friars:

There is something strange about Muncaster. It seems to be controlled by a select few wealthy families, as its new vicar discovers, a freemasonry of vampires, who live to ripe old ages - one family has a daughter of 84 going on 30). Robert Westall set this one in a town he calls Muncaster, a setting he used for several of his other short stories. See also the 90-minute play, "Stones of Muncaster Cathedral".

Dreaming of Thee:

Actress Gwen Cherrell wrote her first play for BBC Radio in 1957. Since then she has written screenplays for film and television and scripts for radio plays. Her publications include 101 thingumajigs and How Movies Are Made. Her acting career began in 1944 with Scandal At Barchester in London's West End. She has also featured in many radio plays as a member of BBC drama Rep. (adapted from The Man In Black, Macabre Stories From Fear On Four, BBC Enterprises, 1991

Hand in Glove:

Elizabeth Bowen published her first collection of short stories, Encounters, in 1923. Though born in Dublin and brought up in County Cork, she spent much of her life in London. The best known of her novels are probably The Death of the Heart (1938) and The Heat Of The Day (1949). Many of her stories deal with the supernatural, and she has been described as one of the great writers of the blitz. (adapted from The Man In Black, Macabre Stories From Fear On Four, BBC Enterprises, 1991

The Judge's House:

This classic by Dracula's Creator Bram Stoker was first published in 1891. It develops an idea from "An account of some strange disturbances i Aungier Street" bySheridan Lefanu (1872). It was also dramatised in the 1940's as part of the Valentine Dyall incarnation of the Man In Black. Malcolm Malcolmson takes lodgings in a judge's house, where he hopes to do some studying undisturbed. However, he has company, in the form of a colony of rats. Most of them don't bother him overly, but with the appearance of the king rat, his stay in the big old house is far from undisturbed. In the adaptation, one of the villagers says that the house belonged to "Judge Jeffers, I think his name was". There is no hint of a reference to Judge Jeffries in the Stoker original. The reference seemed unnecessary, and if anything slightly weakens an otherwise excellent dramatisation of the story.


I believe many of these were postponed and re-scheduled because radio 4 had extended its six o'clock news coverage to one hour, and eventually broadcast 24 hour rolling news on FM during the gulf war.

The Yellow Wallpaper (27/12/90) (1a)

The narrator, a new mother, has been brought to a country house for a "rest-cure" by her husband; he selects for her the room with the yellow wallpaper, the (former) nursery, where the "windows are barred for little children" and the bed has been nailed to the floor.

Forbidden to write and think, prescribed for and infantilized, the narrator becomes increasingly dysfunctional. She obsesses about the yellow wallpaper, in which she sees frightful patterns and an imprisoned female figure trying to emerge. The narrator finally "escapes" from her controlling husband and the intolerable confines of her existence by a final descent into insanity as she peels the wallpaper off and bars her husband from the room. First published in 1892.

I know of four different dramatisations of this story, which was first published in America in 1898. The first was part of the 'Suspense' series. The second was from the original BBC incarnation of The Man In Black. The American version still exists, and can probably be downloaded from U.S. Old Time Radio websites, but the Valentine Dyall "Man In Black version is believed to be lost. The Fear on Four version is the third, and a further version was produced for radio 4 in 2006.

The Monkey's Revenge:

When a girl with learning difficulties get's a job, she is so pleased to be looking after animals. But when she finds that she's feeding monkeys in a research laboratory, she takes pity on the animals...with disastrous consequences for her researcher boss.

Guy Jenkin was a regular scriptwriter for the radio 4 satire programme "Week Ending". I know of no more plays by this author.


Playing God:

This story deals with the subject of selling body parts for transplant on the black market, and was perhaps one of the most topical of all of the Fear On Four stories, as there were news stories around the subject within months of the play's first broadcast date.

Hellhound On My Trail

The programme takes its title from a blues classic by legend singer/guitarist Robert Johnson, which features at the start of the play. The lyrics of Johnson's best known composition, "Crossroads", have led to the legend growing up that the singer took his guitar to a crossroads, where he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his talent. The play deals with the fate of a fictitious singer who allegedly has an American chart hit in 1963 with a cover version of the title song of the story, but disappears shortly after, never to be found... A researcher interviews those who knew the 1963 singer, to try to get to the bottom of the mystery of his disappearance. Eventually he learns the secret, but the mystery is not all he gets to the bottom of.

Paul Sirett, who also wrote The Blood of Eva Bergen, has written at least one series of miniature dramas which were broadcast on LBC in the early 90s. One or two of his plays have been broadcast on BBC world service.

Hearing Is Believing

Actor Aubrey Woods writes of a man who is shown around a theatre after all of the staff and audience have gone home, but the stage manager conducting the tour has a terrible score to settle, and a deserted theatre proves a frightening place in which to exact revenge.


Net Suicide

Whilst surfing the internet, a man whose life isn't going according to plan stumbles upon a site where you can arrange to be killed as an alternative to suicide. He signs up to the deal they offer, and then finds everything starts going his way. By the time its his turn to pay for his prosperity, with his life, he no longer wants to end it all...but a deal is a deal, and once made cannot be revoked.

Tapping (25/9/97) By Colin Hayden Evans

The Chimes of Midnight (2/10/97) postponed from 4/9/97 and would have been the first in the series. Written by Nick Fisher

This page has been assembled and written by Clive Lever - many thanks, Clive.

    Footnote by N.D.....SPINE CHILLERS

    During the 1980s, a series of five 'Spine Chillers', similar in style to 'Fear on Four' was broadcast. The titles:

    Origami, by Jill Hyem
    Dracula in White, by Peter Redgrove
    Figures, by Colin Haydn Evans
    Mrs. M, by David Campton
    Witch Water Green, by Don Webb

    These were all 45 minutes long, except the Don Webb, which lasted an hour.

ALL THE DARK CORNERS....2011: Three more 45m chillers

18 Oct 2011: Afternoon Drama - The Desk
By Andrew Readman. A chiller; first in a series of three. Davis Finch is a hack TV writer with aspirations to write a novel. In order to be a real writer he feels he needs a proper desk. He starts to write. Then he finds a secret drawer. Finch.............Graeme Hawley, Harrison.........Tim McInnerny, Rachel...........Karen West, Morris............Greg Wood, Valerie...........Melissa Jane Sinden, Shopkeeper....Russell Richardson. Producer Gary Brown.

19 Oct 2011: Afternoon Drama - Something in the Water
Chiller no. 2: by Paul Cornell. When crusading scientist and committed atheist James Woolmer is sacked from his job as a columnist, he decides to up sticks and move his family to the country to get away from it all. What he finds is a village gripped by hysteria and fear and a lucrative tourist industry surrounding Standlake's resident lake monster, Lachey. Despite the weird skin abrasions and the rumbling in the pipes James is utterly sceptical, until he sees something in the water. This play reminded me of 'Witch Water Green' by Don Webb, from the 80s. James.....James Nickerson, Erica.....Zara Turner, Ben.....Joel Davies, Ruskin.....Conrad Nelson, Peter.....Jonathan Keeble, Batley.....Stephen Hoyle, Helen.....Ruth Alexander Rubin, Producer Nadia Molinari.

20 Oct 2011: Afternoon Drama - The Dying Wish
Chiller no. 3....By Rosemary Kay. Fran and her partner Abe are befriended by a lonely old woman, Joy, who lives in the flat above. Joy persuades them to make a promise - they must perform an ancient ritual after she's died. They unwittingly agree without realising the terrifying consequences of their action. Fran ..... Sarah Smart, Abe ..... Jonathan Keeble, David ..... Robert Pickavance, Joy ..... Janice McKenzie, Jack ..... James Quin. Producer Pauline Harris.

These three plays were repeated during May 2014.

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