Thriller (UK TV series)

Thriller (UK TV series)

infobox television
show_name = Thriller


caption =UK opening titles
format = Anthology, Thriller
runtime = Various
creator = Brian Clemens
starring = Various
country = UK
network = ITV
first_aired = 14 April 1973
last_aired = 22 May 1976
num_episodes = 43
_imdb_id = 0164295

"Thriller" is a British television series, originally broadcast in the UK from 1973 to 1976. It is an anthology series: each episode has a self-contained story and its own cast. As the title suggests, each story is a thriller of some variety, from tales of the supernatural to down-to-earth whodunits.

Background

The series was created by Brian Clemens, who also scripted the majority of the episodes and storylined every installment, and produced by John Sichel (the first 3 series), John Cooper (series 4) and Ian Fordyce (the final two series) for Associated TeleVision (ATV) at their Elstree studios north of London. It evolved from Clemens' previous work, in particular two films of a similar style, "And Soon the Darkness" (EMI-ABP 1970) and "Blind Terror" (aka "See No Evil" (Columbia 1971). The latter shared plot similarities with the "Thriller" episodes "The Eyes Have It" and "The Next Voice Your See". Original music, including the theme tune, was by Clemens' regular collaborator Laurie Johnson.

The stories are often set in the English home counties "stockbroker belt", but most episodes, especially from the second season onwards, feature at least one American character, mostly portrayed by an imported US guest star, to appeal to the American market. After originally being screened late night in the US under the "ABC Mystery Movie" billing from 1973, in 1978 some episodes were retitled for US syndication and all had additional opening sequences shot, with new titles and credits. Since these were made without the original cast they often feature menacing figures seen only from the neck down. These replaced original UK and US title sequence that featured a sequence of shots through a fisheye lens, bordered in bright red.

Following a worldwide audit in 2003/4, by the then licence holders Carlton, all the original UK PAL fisheye titled original 2" videotapes of "Thriller" were located and remastered onto modern digital tape by the British Film Institute. (One exception was the story "Nurse Will Make It Better" .. however this too exists in PAL/original format as a 1" dub from the original master tape. This version was repeat broadcast on the satellite channel Bravo in 1996).

Episodes

eason 1 (1973)

eason 4 (1975)

DVD and Video release

[The following summaries reprinted from http://www.markmcm.co.uk/~blacknun/thriller]

United Kingdom

Two VHS videos (each containing two episodes) were released on video in the UK in 1993 by ITC entertainment: 'A Coffin for the Bride’/‘One Deadly Owner’ and ‘Someone at the Top of the Stairs’/‘An Echo of Theresa'. These have since been deleted.

Two further tapes were scheduled for 1994: ‘Screamer’/’Sign It Death’ and ‘Where the Action Is’/‘I'm the Girl He Wants to Kill’, but this release was cancelled.

A decade later in September 2004, Granada Ventures released the first ten episodes of Series One on DVD in a four-disc box set. This release has also since been deleted.

Then in July 2005, Networkvideo released all 43 episodes of the entire series in a mammoth remastered and restored 16-disc box set, complete with an array of extra features.

Amongst the most notable ‘extras’, include the supplementary episode ‘Who Killed Lamb?’ starring Stanley Baker. Although it had no connection with the series whatsoever, this 65 minute play (the standard length of a Thriller episode), produced by Yorkshire television, was shown at the end of season two and was billed and fully networked as an episode of Thriller - despite the fact that it lacked the show’s well known ‘peephole’ credit sequence.

Also included is an 11 minute interview with Brian Clemens.

Two of episodes, ‘If It's A Man - Hang Up’ and ‘Nurse Will Make It Better’ no longer exist in their original ATV format and so had to reconstructed from the ABC versions (broadcasted in United States) for the DVD release. This is despite the fact that the original ATV version of the latter was shown as recently in the United Kingdom as 1996. An experimental, extended version (75 minutes) of the former is included as an ‘extra’ - although this version is now believed to be the original broadcast, despite the fact that the sleeve notes states that it has never ever been broadcasted.

Unlike the Granada Ventures release the Networkvideo set doesn’t include English subtitles and is not region free.

United States

A great many episodes were released on video in the United States in 1986 and 1987. Unlike the United Kingdom VHS releases (which had two episodes per tape), these contain an episode per tape. Some of the tapes are ‘extended’ versions and include some 2 to 3 minutes of original scenes not included in the British versions.

The tapes that were released are as follows:

‘Anatomy Of Terror’ (‘An Echo Of Theresa’), ‘The Carnation Killer’ (‘The Colour Of Blood’), ‘One Deadly Owner’ (Extended Version), ‘I'm The Girl He Wants To Kill’ (Extended Version), ‘In The Steps Of A Deadman’ (Extended Version), ‘Screamer’ (Extended Version), ’The Devil's Web’ (‘Nurse Will Make It Better’ - Extended Version), ‘Murder On The Midnight Express’ (‘Night Is The Time For Killing’ - Extended Version), ’Killer With Two Faces’ (Extended Version), ‘A Killer In Every Corner (Extended Version)’, ‘If It's A Man - Hang Up!’, ‘Mirror Of Deception’ (‘Good Salary - Prospects - Free Coffin’), ‘Murder Motel, Cry Terror’ (‘Kill Two Birds’), ‘The Next Victim’ and ‘Death In Deep Water’.

These tapes have since been deleted.

A Region free (R0) NTSC format DVD boxset was released in Sep 2006 by A&E containing the 10 stories of series 1, with seemingly no plans for any further releases (possibly due to poor sales). The design of the packaging (similar to the now deleted Granada Ventures S1 set in the UK) highlights (somewhat inappropriately) the "horror" connotations of "Thriller".New and exclusive extra content on the A&E set includes interviews with Brian Clemens, John Cooper and the most prolific "Thriller" director Shaun O'Riordan, as well as individual introductions (by Clemens) for the 10 stories on the set.

Australia

A new R0 PAL format DVD set - of the first two series only - has been released by Umbrella Entertainment in Australia as of February 2008. This set, marketed again with the inappropriate "horror" motif, comprises cloned content (of the early stories) as they appear on the Network set (the first 6 disks) with no additional extra content new to this release.

France

Series 1 of "Thriller" (the first 10 stories) had been released (in June 2008) in France on R0 PAL format DVD by Studio Blaq Out with both French and English language audio tracks and English subtitles available. The same 11 minute interview with Brian Clemens (recorded in 2003) which featured on the Network UK DVD release is also included as an "extra". The box artwork is blood red coloured and true to the original Thriller fish eye motif.

External links

*imdb title|id=0164295|title=Thriller
* [http://www.markmcm.co.uk/~blacknun/thriller/ "Thriller" website]
* [http://geocities.com/alanbnew/ The quotable Thriller website]
* [http://freespace.virgin.net/peter.culley/thriller.htm "Brian Clemens Thriller" website]


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