Thriller (TV Series 1973–1976) Poster


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The Saturday night thriller!
dgrahamwatson16 September 2005
Thriller was a ground breaking TV series broadcast from 1973-1976 in the Uk on Saturday nights where it kept a regular spot through out it's run. I say ground breaking because this series was produced entirely for TV and was just perfect for the early 70's. By 1973 color TV's were were available to rent, so consequently many households had access to a color telly. Although black and white can often help with the atmosphere in a film, by contrast the color in this series at the time gave thriller a more modern and realistic feel which I think added to it's chilling effect. I know that it sounds ridiculous today with 43" widescreen plasma screens and hundreds of channels to choose from but in 1973 a 19" or 22" colour telly took TV viewing to a new and exciting level which was the real deal back then!

In addition the regular appearance of imported American actors added another dimension to it. It was interesting to see an American actor such as Garry Collins who normally played a good guy in US TV movies acting in the eery and claustrophobic atmosphere of thriller.

With what I can recall when it originally aired was that at no time did you ever really feel safe in thriller, well at least not for long until some sinister event occurred, somebody disappeared or a body turned up. Even when things appeared perfectly normal suddenly you would start to feel that something was about to happen. Another interesting feature was that the stories changed from week to week; some being supernatural, witchcraft, a mystery, a simple crime, murder or some times a combination of two or three.

The creepy and loud music score was certainly memorable at the beginning as well as the during the nauseating moments when you were expecting something to happen was ideal for TV. Yes some of the acting was wooden and even back at the time I thought that some of the expressions and menacing body language was over the top. Having said that the oppressive atmosphere, the dialog, music score, body language, slow camera work was all that producers had back in those days to make it a horror/thriller series.

There was no special effects or huge sets and if you wanted fast cars, fights and action well there was the Sweeney. Also no muscle bound 20-30 year old men here nor women wearing the now obligatory tank tops and spandex pants. Note there was no gratuitous violence ( if you don't count being strangled, stabbed, or shot with a pillow over the nozzle!) and profanity.

Thriller is very dated today but that is because over the last 30 odd years TV has changed so much. What we find entertaining on TV is completely different from 1973. Can you imagine back in the 70's people being entertained by reality TV shows – not a chance ! Thriller probably has a following more for nostalgic reasons than anything else. However, that is understandable because there does come a time when you just get sick of modern TV and the different tone of thriller ironically now appears to provide a refreshing change to the monotonous, identical garbage of soaps, reality TV shows, 24 hour news and our 21st century obsession with celebrities, the internet, computer games and lastly amercian junk TV like jerry springer, sex and the city and desperate house wifes.

Now that thriller is available on DVD I'll certainly check them out and – – – try to watch them on Saturday nights with the lights dimmed!
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Thriller is a Killer!
CosmicDwellings21 March 2007
Classic Seventies VT Drama at it's suspenseful best from one of Television's best-ever writers - Brian Clemens.

Many a youngster who was embarking on their early growing-up years in the mid-70's will no doubt have either vague or very fond memories of this series. These memories will no doubt be of the eerie opening/closing titles and theme music which added to the atmosphere of the stories. "Thriller" does have a vast cult following across the globe and with the lavish 16-Disc DVD Boxed Set now available to buy at a bargain price online, this following will continue to grow. If you're a fan of "Thriller" then you can re-live the magic of what it was like when first watching this on a Saturday night way back when.

The production is certainly of it's time with a combination of VT studio and filmed location footage, along with at least one American Guest Star in, more or less, every episode. Brian Clemens really pulled out the stops with his venture into the supernatural, murder and mystery genre's and kept us on edge with each weekly installment. You'll have your favourites and not-so favourites, but basically there is something for everyone in this British Anthology series. There are plot twists a-plenty in each episode and some less obvious than others, along with some great acting performances from the likes of Robert Powell, Diana Dors, Norman Eshley, Brian Blessed, Hayley Mills et al.

Don't miss out on this one - "Thriller" provides you with a wonderful piece of British Television history that you won't find being shown on Terrestrial TV anymore.
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A classic series, Thrillers galore.
Sleepin_Dragon7 June 2018
I'm almost sad to have completed the series, but all I can say is wow. Thriller deserves its cult status, the best episodes are incredible, even the episodes I like least are still good. It's been fascinating reading the many reviews, and seeing the different opinions, one thing that we all seem to have in common is we all love a thriller, which by definition has a crime and a degree of excitement, the supernatural episodes are probably the bottom of the pile for me, Nurse will make it better, and a place to die for example, they're by no means bad, just lacking the true 'thriller' core. The standout episode has to be A Coffin for the Bride, which is everything a thriller should be, plus it features a standout performance from Helen Mirren. Series Three generally is excellent, Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are is another gem from it. Another favourite is Series Five's 'If It's a Man, Hang Up.'

So many classics to chose from. It is quite amusing watching some of the U.S. titles, naturally made in the U.S they look so at odds, a shame they weren't made at the same time. That's probably the only quibble I can find from a fantastic series, viewers at the time must have loved it, those wonderful opening credits, memorable music, and of course fantastic stories.

They simply don't make shows like this anymore. 10/10
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jeremy-benjamin21 October 2008
I remember seeing Thriller back in the mid-1970's when I was about ten. I found it the most terrifying TV series I have seen before or since! It had a memorable creepy theme tune accompanied by fish-eye lens shots of the locations used in that week's story, with a blood red surround. You never knew what to expect from an episode, some being supernatural, others being real world whodunits or Hitchcock style dramas. Some of the mysteries are very intriguing, and the direction is always good. Thriller can be criticised as being of its time in some negative ways, such as being slow moving, having a lot of stock characters, being predictable, and having plot holes. Also, the great clunking fist of Lord Grade appears frequently in the form of many characters being irrelevantly American to please ABC, who reportedly paid $100,000 per episode! But when you look at almost any good TV series many years later you see these sort of faults, and Thriller is inventive, frightening and enjoyable enough to brush its bad points aside. A few years after its first showing, the series was broken up into stand alone TV films with rubbish music/credits replacing the classic theme with the fish-eye lens shots. This made the episodes easier to repeat, as they were no longer officially a series, but it meant subsequent generations of viewers have been less aware of this fine series, and it would have been forgotten were it not for online fan-sites creating demand for the superb 16 disc boxed DVD set of all 43 episodes.
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Superb suspense anthology ... now on DVD
silverclover-12 September 2005
At last Brian Clemens' wonderful 1970s anthology series has been released in it's entirety in 16 disk Mega DVD set in the UK. This is a Region 2 release and also contains a number of tantalising extras

43 unrelated - but remarkably consistent - hour long thrillers from the fertile mind of Mr Clemens stand testament to the claustrophobic feel of studio taped television drama where the skill of the actor basically decides the pace of the piece in conjunction with the skill of the director using a multi camera set-up (an art probably destined to disappear altogether in another generation).

So many themes, so what to recommend? Well there is hardly a "dud" in there. One "K is for Killing" is rather incongruously a comedy and should really be treated as separate to the main mood of the remaining stories, which take in supernatural tales (especially in the first series), espionage stories and all variants of general crime from psychopathic scheming to killers on the run. It's is hard to isolate the "cream of the cream", the general standard being very high - however there are some that are classics from first viewing and remain forever so ... to my mind these comprise the following stories: (in chronological order)

The Colour Of Blood, The Eyes Have It, I'm The Girl He Wants To Kill, Death To Sister Mary, In The Steps Of A Deadman, Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are, Nurse Will Make It Better, A Killer In Every Corner, Where The Action Is, The Double Kill, The Crazy Kill and The Next Voice You See
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True To Its Name
all-briscoe13 April 2003
A truly-exceptional series that has largely disappeared into obscurity. This is despite it achieving considerable critical and popular approval when broadcast in the 1970's. It is one of the few British series to have achieved success in the USA and it is not difficult to see why it achieved such popularity.

Unlike most series, "Thriller" was an anthology of separate stories, without recurring characters or situations. This allowed great flexibility in terms of style and story-writing but unfortunately made it more difficult to achieve a long-term identity.When broadcast in the USA and given a rare repeat in the UK in the 1980's it was billed as discrete movies, further eroding its identity.

The show had a very unusual length of just over an hour of action. This allowed more chance to develop stories and explore characters, to great effect. However it also created scheduling problems and has probably helped to kill the chance of further repeats. Unlike better-remembered but unquestionably inferior productions of the time, it was shot on video-tape. Once again artistically this was a great success. It made the action darker and more claustrophobic. Unfortunately this also made repeats less likely with filmed action usually seen as more likely to win wider viewer-approval.

Most credit must go to Brian Clemens. He created the series, wrote most episodes entirely and provided the outlines for all of them. His writing was first-class, and well-supported by guest writers such as Terence Feely. He produced highly intriguing, unsettling, often frightening stories. Astutely, violence was largely kept off-screen and the exact motives of characters were frequently well-hidden. Viewers were forced to use their imaginations, making for deeper and more satisfied viewing. Characterisations were very sophisticated but suitably enigmatic. Most stories featured extraordinary twists and some terrifying scenes.

Direction could still have set things back but was immensely strong. A small team of directors kept true to Clemens's intentions and added great atmosphere. Laurie Johnson's music was perfect - extremely chilling and unnerving - and cranked up the tension spendidly. However the producers also knew when to use silence to powerful effect. They were utterly aware that less is often more.

Acting was very fine. The British performers included many of the leading lights of the 1970's and beyond. Unusually almost every story featured an American actor. Although this was almost definitely to help American sales, it brought an extra dimension. The Americans were able to offer more stylish and classless displays than their more traditional and austere (but still exceptional) British counterparts.

There were inevitably some limitations. The depiction of women was very old-fashioned and often patronising, with far too many references to grown women as "girls". There was an over-emphasis upon portraying women as pretty but helpless, dependent on men to save them. However there were some strong, perceptive and assertive female characters. Generally the view of England is very traditional and deferential, focusing on affluent figures in ostensibly idyllic surroundings. Its world-view was more of the 1950's than the 1970's.

Story-development is a little formulaic. For example, many episodes end with men cradling distressed women. However it should be remembered that "Thriller" was intended for a popular audience and not for the avant-garde, and some predictability goes with the territory and is often part of the fun.

The American versions feature filmed titles and music added long after original production by different companies. The music is sometimes very effective but the titles are unnecessarily long, often amateurish or crass, and alien to the main episodes.

However these are minor points. "Thriller" triumphs irrespective of these reservations, and no production is perfect. Any sophisticated viewer lucky enough to see an episode should be hugely impressed with what is seen. One hopes that stories will appear on DVD or video or receive a repeat broadcast so everyone can see what they have been missing!
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mid way through the box set
trpuk196812 November 2008
What a treat for these cold winter evenings... this series is certainly uneven, but got better as it progressed, tightening up on the script and direction. The same world of The Avengers transposed to a series falling into the same generic category of Tales Of The Unexpected / Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense...

I ve just watched several superb episodes. By season 5 this has really got into its stride, abandoning the corny witchcraft and devil worship to favour murder mystery type plots. Check Anthony Valentine s chilling psychopath in The Crazy Kill, along with Denolm Elliot's Doctor. There's so many well loved vintage British actors in this. The Double Kill is another amazing episode, as is Won't Write Home Mum, I'm dead.

I think its because we re a small island nation we produced such quality television, our way of looking at things suits the small screen. The claustrophobia of THRILLER seems to articulate something about Englishness. It presents a bizarre England of country houses and characters stratified through social class. There's an academic paper to be written about how THRILLER works through issues of class, repressed sexuality and how about race? Black people, Orientals, Asians, rendered hugely significant in my view through their complete absence...

Might this series be read as being about terror of the lower social classes as well as fears of contamination by foreigners?
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Would love to see this series again
blanche-217 May 2005
I have happy memories of this series, which was on late-night television where I lived in the states. I thoroughly enjoyed the episodes, which usually had one American TV star, i.e., Barbara Feldon, Donna Mills, etc. and a predominantly English cast. Most of the series, if not all, was written by Brian Clemmens. My favorites were "Coffin for the Bride" and "Lady Killer." Both of these were fabulous. "Coffin" featured a bravura performance by Helen Mirren and "Lady Killer" was a great story with a twist, starring Barbara Feldon and Robert Powell. I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara Feldon, and she said it was absolutely freezing cold and that in one scene, when she's running while wearing her bathrobe, the wind opens her bathrobe and she had all kinds of clothes on underneath! I have both of those on video, but would love to see the other episodes someday.
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A lost television classic!
lonnieedwards6 June 2002
I remember staying up late and watching this show in syndication on WGN-TV in the late 1980's. It was a fascinating series of almost feature-length suspense stories which were written mostly by Brian Clemens and starred a mostly British cast. It was while watching this show that I "discovered" many of my now favorite actors, including Pamela Franklin, Judy Geeson, Hayley Mills, Patrick Magee, Jeremy Brett, Donna Mills, Ian Hendry, Carol Lynley, and Carroll Baker. Sadly though, the series seems to have all but vanished, as it no longer appears in syndication and the selected few episodes that were released to videotape have long gone out-of-print. It would be utterly fantastic if they would release all of the episodes to DVD!
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Brian Clemens is a genius.
okami_ito6 May 2006
I watched this on television as a kid and it scared the hell out of me. Now that i've seen the whole series i know why. If you have a sense for the macabre and eerie you'll find 90 % gold here. The stories are brilliantly plotted, the acting, though sometimes a little bit stagey is superb and most of all: brian clemens, the creator of this mini-series knew how to trigger an unsettling and creepy atmosphere most big-budgeted movies of the genre never approached.The topics range from assassins raging havoc in an institution for the blind to satanic rites, witchcraft, serial killers and haunted houses. A real gemstone with maybe the best soundtrack since "The fearless vampire killers". Don't you dare to miss it.
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Timeless classic with genuine twists
geffers27 September 2005
I am writing this at the time when a DVD has been released, and I've worked through about 3/4 of the long series. I was young when the series first aired, and only vaguely remember any of the stories. Strangely the DVD's are labelled "18", and yet it's hard to see why, because certainly the stories contain no swearing or sex, and the violence is restrained, with barely a spot of blood in sight.

Although there are many mystery and suspense TV programmes, especially made in the 60's and 70's, Thriller has many unique points which mark it out as something special, and to be treasured.

Firstly, each show contains completely new characters so it can go in any direction it likes - it can kill off the main character - the bad guys can win or lose. One thing is sure, things are not what they always seem.

Secondly, the programme has its foot planted firmly in reality. Only once in a while does Thriller put a supernatural hat on.

Thirdly, there's long enough in the 65 minutes to develop a full engaging storyline.

Fourthly it's a chance to see some of the great British actors who were working in the 1970's. The one with Helen Mirren is worth looking out for, because she looks so stunning.

It's possible to compare against Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, but the latter tends to display predictable plots, and once you see where the story is going it goes there - Thriller on the other hand is likely to turn events around, so just when you think you understand what's happening, a new direction is reached, or the final denouement is done in a way you didn't expect.

There are very few lemons in the series, perhaps the occasional sub-part story in the first series.

The only annoying thing is the token American which seems to be in every single story - presumably to make the series attractive to the USA market.
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Now available on DVD
nick-79924 February 2005
Agree with previous comments. Anybody in the UK around 40 - who remembers that haunting theme tune and the blood red fish-eye logo will get a tingle when the word Thriller is mentioned. I remember vividly watching episodes of this fine series with my twin brother while wolfing down our Nan's "cheesy chips". Remember the assassins in the blind school?!!!!!! The series is available on DVD at last and there are plans to release a Series 2. Episodes comprise: 1. Lady Killer 2. Possession 3. Someone At The Top Of The Stairs 4. An Echo Of Theresa 5. The Colour Of Blood 6. Murder In Mind 7. A Place To Die 8. File It Under Fear 9. The Eyes Have It 10. Spell Of Evil. DVD is UK format only - and retails at around £18-00. Buy it! - it will bring back glorious memories of Saturday evening viewing in the 70's and though some episodes are more dated than others - all have something to recommend them.
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Gripping and well written
nrbessmer1 March 2019
Excellent casts and taught story lines. Sort of similar to Boris Karloffs Thriller but British. A lot of American actors. I got my copy on DVD's. From the creator of The Avengers with Diana Rigg.
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Thrilling Anthology Series
NomDeLampoon26 January 2019
I remember watching these late night probably in the early 80s in reruns in the US. I was too young during their original run, (3-7 years old), and we had moved by the time I recall watching these. My mother loved Brian Clemens. I'm on season 1 on Prime and thoroughly enjoying it. I just finished Murder in Mind and guessed it from the start, having been an avid Agatha Christie reader, however, it's so well acted that still doesn't matter. Donald Gee has been in so many things, including Doctor Who. I really miss good mystery and horror anthology series.
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Best UK series of the 70th!
fox7814 March 2018
One of the best english tv series from the 1970th. well known, fine actors in nearly all episodes, and great writing from Brian Clemens. If you,re a child of the 70th, like myself, I only can say: see it and enjoy know: they don,t make stuff like that anymore!
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Criminally neglected series
Jerry Ables22 March 2002
I remember watching this series in syndication in the 1980s with the episodes formatted as TV movies and I always had a lot of fun watching it. The episodes were always very entertaining with plenty of good mystery and suspense and led up to an exciting climax. Brian Clemens displayed a great deal of creative talent with how well written the episodes always were. How sad it is that this series isn't better remembered!
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release in Italian language ?
paolo-sangalli24 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Hi , i'm Italian and i don't speak English very well. So,excuse me for my wrong words. I like very much this TV series. I watch this thriller on my TV in the 1979-80

I'm interested to DVD "Thriller . the complete series " ,but in Italian language.

Do you know if this DVD is also in Italian language or only in English ? Do you know if exist the release in Italian language ? Where do i find it ?

I attend your kindly reply. Thank you very much.

bye Paolo
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An original television series.
alexanderdavies-9938214 April 2017
"Thriller" is a series that makes for tense, suspenseful and exciting viewing.

There aren't many episodes that include plots involving the occult or the supernatural. The episodes feature more in the manner of escaped criminal lunatics and psychopathic killers.

There is a whole gallery of talent on display: Patrick Troughton, Robert Powell, Donna Mills, Ralph Bates, Ian Hendry, Dennis Waterman, Ronald Radd, Jeremy Brett, Diana Dors, Geoffrey Chater, Bryan Marshall, Don Henderson and many others.

I agree with a previous review in that I fail to see the necessity in that every episode has to have the alternate opening credits that American audiences would have seen back then.

A few American actors also appear - Bradford Dillman and Patrick O' Neal amongst others.
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Best Series on TV
les-ven2 October 2013
After viewing the Network Box Set of "Thriller" for the second time, I am surprised at some of the views on certain episodes and also the votes on the "Popularity Chart". Whilst "A Coffin for the Bride" is arguably the best episode, some of those near the top are certainly not my favourites whilst others near the bottom are some of the best. I also thought Series 6 was good apart from "Nightmare for a Nightingale" (a good story spoilt by poor acting especially from Sydney Tafler) and "The Next Victim". In the latter I am sure I have seen a version when the tirade from Maurice Kaufman at the end, was a lot longer, and this improved the storyline. The ending on this seemed quite abrupt. The opening episode "Sleepwalker" was excellent and proved a memorable night as it was screened after the last episode of "Dixon of Dock Green". On first viewing however, I thought the girl was guided in her sleep into a secret room in her house, where there were Gothic acts going on and she was being drugged each time it happened. I may have got this mixed up with another story/programme. "Kill Two Birds" was another highlight. The two episodes featuring Matthew Earp "An Echo of Theresa" and "The Next Scream You Here" were also near the top of my chart. "K is for Killing" and "Kiss Me an Die" were very poor along with "Possession". Two "popular" episodes "Only a Scream Away" and "Screamer" deteriorated a lot after first viewing. However I thought that two of the least "popular" episodes, "Night is the Time for Killing" and "Murder Motel" were two of the best. The only problem with the latter was the dreadful performance from the leading American lady. "The Colour of Blood", "The Eyes Have It", "Sign in Death", "Come Out Come Out, Wherever You Are" and "Good Salary Prospects Free Coffin" were other highlights. The story I cannot remember seeing, either originally, or as TV repeat or by Video, was "File It Under Fear".
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Wistful teenage memories of 'Thriller'
magick_goatgirl10 July 2004
As a teenager back in the 70's, I was a great fan of the 'Thriller' series. I'd so look forward to Tuesday nights, when from 10.30 until midnight, I'd sit up alone, sprawled in my beanbag with a coffee and a chocolate bar, and proceed to devour every episode. They were always so beautifully crafted and superbly acted - and genuinely frightening without the 'blood and guts.' Years later, many of the episodes continue to haunt me...indeed, now as a writer of psychological thrillers myself, I know that 'Thriller' continues to exert its influence on my own work. And so, for twenty-five years, I've been waiting for repeats of 'Thriller' on TV - eagerly scouring TV guides - but all in vain. One day, in desperation, I telephoned Channel 7 here in Adelaide, practically begging for them to replay the series - but I was devastated to learn that the screening rights had long expired. So imagine my excitement when I recently discovered that all 'Thriller' episodes are available on VHS from an equally avid fan in England! I sent my payment off two weeks ago, now I'm eagerly anticipating the arrival of all 43 episodes. It's a dream come true! I'd better buy myself a new beanbag and a boxful of Violet Crumbles - methinks I won't be sleeping much for a while!
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Enjoyable but not a 'Thriller'
langskrimshire12 November 2004
I've been watching the DVDs recently. I have found the series enjoyable but not exactly thrilling.

The acting is very stilted and the dialogue surely would have been dated at the time of broadcast. It's nice to see a few faces from the past and the acting by the more recognizable few seems to be of a better caliber than a lot of the rest of the cast.

It seems like the concept of red herrings is far too complex a plot device for the early seventies as every part of the action is spelled out for the audience and most of the episodes have narrative laid on thick by the characters 'who'd have thought a dynamic doctor from the city and his American bride from Connecticut would be setting up home in the English countryside?' just in case you can't figure out the plot.

The sets are pretty good, very large, but typically unstable like that of Acorn Antiques fame.

All in all it's pretty watchable but not scary.
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thompsonm-0503111 October 2019
If you have trouble sleeping, this is the cure you're looking for. There is nothing at all spooky or "thrilling" about this show. At all. Having filmed it on video makes it look like a soap opera and the "actors" are so British and staid that they convey zero suspense. Just awful.
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Streaming now Free with Amazon Prime
rosepernice-448-28217312 January 2020
This Thriller series was made for British television back in the 70's. There are 6 seasons with 10 episodes in each. I'm enjoying them because I've never seen them before. I don't think they aired in the US. They're written well and acted well too. What's cool is you recognize some of the old actors both British and American when they young. Another quirky thing is the 1970's attempt at technical scares is hilarious. Sometimes I enjoy the simplicity of television back in the day. Something worth checking out for the 70's generation.
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Campy & fun
northernpine3 November 2019
Quite campy but enjoyable screenwriting. Unexpected actors from both sides of the pond makes it fun!
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Too Many Americans
kris-gray24 May 2018
The quality of writing and acting varies but never falls below good. If you can cope with the excessive amount of Americans that populate every episode (They were needed at that time before the Americans would buy into anything British) then you will enjoy the series. It's fun to pick out some future stars in sometimes very small parts, too many to list but I will mention a young Robert Lindsay who makes a brief appearance as a policeman.

The complete series is available as a DVD box set which is well worth buying but you should avoid the US titles extras that are dreadful so say the least, If you want a more in-depth review of each episode check out the rest of the IMDb page

It's difficult to rate the entire series as anything out of ten but I generally feel that on an average it's the seven I have applied, some as low as 5 with the odd one as a 10.

If you remember the series from the original broadcast you wont be disappointed
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