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Name:
The Black Nun
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David - Thrillerfancat
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Went to Hull Library again today. Looked through Hull Daily Mails from April to June 1981. Again no mention of 'Thriller'. Although the last week in March and the first week of April were missing.

Take note Rosalyn another example of poor viewing figures. 'Sunset Beach' brought back by Five by popular request at 10.00 am five days a week. Later appears at the time of 3.40 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings because only one million viewers tune in. It has now been removed from Five screens altogether.
Name:
John Allison
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The theme and fish-eye/blood red credits sequence certainly do set the tone for everything else, as Lucas says, so these have to be maybe the memories with the most impact.

Have any of the newer contributors bought the box set on a hunch or just taken a punt on it? Or was it recommended? It would be interesting to hear first impressions from people who only know Thriller from the box set. More memories/insight from me soon, as I'm working my way through the series (again!).

Looking round Preston shops today on lunch break I was pleasantly surprised to see the original Series 1 DVD set in Silver Screen. I had to buy it out of loyalty to the series (even though I've got it). They had it marked as "deleted" and it was priced at £24.99. I bought the original at time of release in HMV Bolton. I think it was £32.99 or even £34.99. I've not seen it anywhere else since until today. Alan did well in 1994 with his Volume 1 video (£5.99!). I remember buying mine (both tapes) in an HMV Manchester sale for £7.99 each. I still love those video cover designs!

Name:
Rosalyn Connors
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>>'Sons & Daughters' was repeated on Channel Five and only finished fairly recently. They did initially screen it at 1.30 pm five afternoons a week, but it was removed due to poor ratings. Five said they would never show it again, but it turned up at 5.10 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings.<<

I think this is a good example of why cautious TV companies are becoming more reluctant to purchase older shows for long repeat runs these days. We cannot keep bemoaning the state of television today. As Blacknun and many others here have mentioned, it's probably going to get worse still. At least we can shut out the world when we watch our DVDs of THRILLER and lock ourselves in our own little timewarp for some really entertaining drama.

Scariest THRILLER moments that stuck in my memory for years? The eye looking through the peephole at the two girls in 'Stairs', that creepy kid and the cat screeching as it is killed. The two startled faces in the kiln as Pamela Franklin looks through the peep-hole in 'Won't Write Home Mom..."


Name:
Mark B
Comments...

I do just about remember seeing some Thriller episodes on their original screenings (i'd have been between 10 and 14 at the time), but recall only a very few specific scenes and plotlines from those days. The images that really stuck in my mind were the "heads in the kiln" sequence from "Won't Write Home.." and the scene from "Sleepwalker" where she looks down on the Edwardian room interior from the balcony. Plus the title music and graphics (UK fisheye ones for me) - seemingly unforgettable for anyone who's seen them, no matter how long ago.
Name:
Alan Briscoe
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Although I happened upon the final part of "Once the Killing Starts" in 1982 I didn't become interested in Thriller until Ian Kerr's excellent articles. My first proper chance to see Thriller was when I found Volume 1 of the ITC videos in Virgin in Brighton on my birthday in 1994 - reduced to £5.99! I recall seeing "Someone At the Top Of the Stairs" and that hooked me. "Echo" followed on the tape and was good but something of an anti-climax. I definitely wanted the other tape (full price - about £10.99) and a few days later got that and it was even better. The episodes on those tapes are (with the exception of "Echo") the ones I've seen the most, and I wouldn't mind betting that they are among the most seen of all.

After that it was Bravo, with "Death In Deep Water" the first "new" episode. I think many fans are indebted to those Bravo broadcasts. Another episode to make a huge impression on me. Probably not coincidence that OTKS, "Someone" and "Deep Water" are all in my top five episodes. Those early episodes can be so influential.

I think "Someone" was a great choice as the first episode on video. It has its flaws but for me it's one of the definitive, most frightening outings of Thriller and i reckon it has hooked many viewers - including back in April 1973.
Name:
Martin M
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The first "Thriller" I saw was the US version of "In the Steps .." and the way the *dead* soldier rose up from his prone counterpart to the sound of discordant music immediately got my attention .. I also clearly remember Betty running and pressing her face to the TV and calling out "Tommy!" at the end of the first scene.

Not long after I saw "The Carnation Killer" and strangely enough the longest memory of that was Norman Eshley sitting the train carriage with the look on his face that you weren't sure just when - or what - he was going to do to his travelling companion. Interesting that of all the possible scenes in that story, that was what stuck in the memory from the first view.

The third was the tense "I'm the Girl .." and the two lifts (elevators) bamboozling "the Man" - one going up and the other down really struck me as a terrific plot device amongst the tension of those office pursuit scenes. The cheery Sam on the front desk made an immediate impact as a character too.
Name:
Lucas Finn
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The (theme) music was so important, it set the tone (literally) for what was to come in the episode. I must've been about 8 or 9, and that theme alone scared me to death, so much it stayed in my mind for decades. Easy to remember, and easy to hum, I've never come across a more effective and terrifying theme.

Name:
John Allison
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First memories of Thriller. I've posted before on here about my memories of the series and eps that stuck in my mind for years. Myself and my brother (9 + 10 at that time, 1973) would watch it at a friend's house, or ours, on alternate Saturdays. Just tremendously exciting to be watching a 'grown up' programme. Now we can analyse each episode for writing and acting, but then it was a 'marvellously' innocent time, just being scared and thrilled by all the great stories.

This is what makes Thriller unique; it must have had a big impact on me, as I spent the next few years looking everywhere for repeats and then snapping up any scraps dropped by the TV companies (the short-lived VHS tapes, Bravo repeats and late-night Granada fillers).

There has not been another series like it since, nor I think will there be again. Episodes (or parts of eps) that stuck with me were Colour of Blood, I'm the Girl and Stairs, but loads of others too.

If anyone's interested, there is a v.positive (4/5) review of the new Saint box set, today on ITV Teletext (p.146).
Name:
Paul English
Comments...

Thanks Martin for the heads up on Where The Action Is.

imdb review now added.

I am two thirds of the way through Acorn's Tales Of The Unexpected Set 3 and must say that the picture quality improves with each box. There is a final set of 20 episodes just out which I must pick up soon. I watched a friend's Network set and noticed some sound-synching problems on a couple of the episodes.

On a separate issue would any of you recommend Network's release of The Ipcress File?

I am also tempted by the recent release of the first series of Howard's Way.....
Name:
Alan Briscoe
Comments...

BTW I don't know if anyone else has noticed but there is a review by Stuart Maconie of the DVD of Tales of the Unexpected in the forthcoming week's Radio Times (p40). A good, positive review - Stuart also highlighted the release of Thriller last year.

Following on from my message below this was a show I saw a little on original broadcast and it made little impression. I decided to give the DVD a go as the show has its supporters on this Board and elsewhere and have been quite impressed. It's not top class but is imaginative and well-done. I particularly liked Roald Dahl's urbane and very well-shot introductions. Well worth a buy.
Name:
Alan Briscoe
Comments...

Going back to one of Martin's points, I do think first memories of Thriller are an excellent topic for discussion. This is particularly true for anyone who saw it back in the Seventies but any era has valuable insights. The movies from the eighties with their "odd" titles are an obvious topic. Maybe the impressions of friends, family or any others who saw the show could be revealing as well. Given Thriller's popularity viewing it may well have been a family or group occasion. Did anyone maybe not take to Thriller at first and only become a fan later? This has happened to me in some instances with other shows although I think our real favorites make a big impression on us from the off.
Name:
David - Thrillerfancat
Comments...

Whilst looking at the Hull Daily Mail today which covers the Yorkshire and Tyne Tees area. I noticed a re-run of Danger UXB in the afternoon schedules. Of course in those days you would have got 'Strangers', 'Cribb' 'The Agatha Christie Hour' to name a few. That was of course before the ITV revamp of the 1980s which lead to Australian soaps, etc.

Although ITV have recently repeated 'Poirot' and are now doing 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' not really that long ago since BBC2 did them. Of course the busiest Private Eye at present must be Jim Rockford of the 'The Rockford Files' solving cases on both BBC2 and ITV1.

I used to love it when Channel 5 (now Five) used to do 'Daily Detectives'. I was sorry when it ended, but did they have to repeat 'Charlie's Angels' so much?
Name:
Alan Briscoe
Comments...

I distantly recall Crown Court and found it quite an entertaining series that would be good to see again. I strongly suspect it will appear on DVD before long as a fondly remembered series covered within the Network deal. If "Indoor League" can get a release then surely Crown Court will do so too!

I think daytime TV was superior in the past. Drama has largely disappeared from the schedules - maybe the makeover shows are a lot cheaper.

It would certainly be good to hear further impressions on Thriller, especially from newer viewers. Opinions on episodes are always very interesting. Maybe there are even some "insiders" who worked on the show, in whatever capacity, or for the TV companies years ago who come across these pages and might like to share their thoughts??

I would definitely echo John's point about scripts. A strong scipt is at the heart of almost every good drama or comedy. In the case of Thriller the hand of Brian Clemens in every Thriller story, even in the few scripted by others, was an enormous advantage. Those who also took part such as Terence Feely and Dennis Spooner fitted in well. With many other shows there is a real lack of consistency between writers. A good script editor though can help to hold things together.

The consistency of Laurie Johnson's involvement was another key factor. Imagine if Thriller, like other shows, had had to rely on library pieces for all its incidental music - it just wouldn't be the same. The dominating influences of Brian and Laurie were key to its success but the faith of Lew Grade was integral to getting it off the blocks. Having the faith to give talent a free reign is a good recipe for success.
Name:
Martin M
Comments...

Quote "Good call, Martin. There used to be some great discussions on here re- acting, writing, atmosphere on Thriller"

Cheers John ... I'd really appreciate some input as you describe. Tis a "Thriller" board after all and with the whole series out on DVD for months now and 43 hour long stories to disect/chat about etc. - even bearing in mind Black Nun's request we avoid major plot spoilers - there should be plenty to discuss! Check out Alan's ever developing site for a really comprehensive looks at aspects of the show for a starting point if you like.

I'll (re)throw in the topics of (a) favourite ad break cliff hangers and (b) the first episode that go *you* hooked to "Thriller" and why? as a couple of possible starters ... but feel free to discuss any other aspects of the series .. over to you folks! Much more fun than decrying modern TV - which is here to stay however much we bemoan the changes of the last couple of decades!
Name:
John Allison
Comments...

Good call, Martin. There used to be some great discussions on here re- acting, writing, atmosphere on Thriller. It would be really good to get back to this and see some new contributors; especially those who are seeing the series for the very first time on the DVDs.

I only mentioned the Professionals of course because of the BC connection; but there are indeed loads of sites catering for classic TV stuff. I'd go with Rosalyn's idea too of preferring to see even 'classic' old soaps than makeovers, cooking shows, etc. Although I'm afraid IMO that most of the shows that Andrew mentioned just were rubbish and wouldn't stand any repeats (although I'd like to see The Long Chase and Chinese Puzzle childrens shows again just to see if they were as good as I remember growing up).

I'm always more interested in the writing/scripts than anything else; the strength of Thriller of course was in having a consistently high standard of scripts from a team of people who had worked on many other series together and knew how to write for TV.

Name:
David - Thrillerfancat
Comments...

'Sons & Daughters' was repeated on Channel Five and only finished fairly recently. They did initially screen it at 1.30 pm five afternoons a week, but it was removed due to poor ratings. Five said they would never show it again, but it turned up at 5.10 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

'The Love Boat' is in and out of Five's schedules. Actually Five's schedule has changed early morning since they dropped movies and 'Sunset Beach'.

Went to Hull Reference Library today. Looked through Hull Daily Mails for January to March 1981 which was interesting but took a lot of time. 'Thriller' hadn't started. Although LWTs 'Saturday Night Thriller' with stories like Blunt Instrument and The Business of Murder went out at 9.00 to 10.00 on Sunday nights.
Name:
Rosalyn Connors
Comments...

Well I'm going to stick up for The Young Doctors. I'd much rather have that and Sons and Daughters back on a weekday afternoon, than what is on now - Jerry Springer type shows, endless cookery and house-buying programmes provide very little escapism from real life.

Why are these things never repeated? I think Andrew, to be fair to the regular TV companies, they probably feel that viewers would rather see new programmes than old ones from a certain era continually repeated - a bit like being stuck in a groove. That and the contractual problems often associated with repeating shows outside of their initial five year window.

Several of the US shows on your list have been repeated recently in the UK. I seem to recall a run of MacMillan and Wife on Channel 5 not that long ago.

I think there is every chance we will see THRILLER back on our screens again, but it's unlikely it will be on any of the main channels - 1,2,3,4, or 5.
Name:
Martin M
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I have soft spot for "Crown Court" too - an effective enough non primetime (i.e. cheap) drama format that isn't a soap ... but I suspect all of those on the list are considerably off-topic to "Thriller". Not too much overlap with Russ Abbot here methinks.

Might be worth posting on a more general forum like "The Mausoleum Club" for discussion of general vintage TV?

How about your thoughts on the aspects of "Thriller" you enjoy the most Andrew? The effective cliffhangers or settings or musical themes or why a particular performance or script particularly made an impact. Which were the most effective locations used? Or the best acting combinations between specific US and UK actors? The possibilites for discussion are endless!

Generally it would be great to hear others pitch in with detailed views on "Thriller" here - good and bad - to couteract any gloom on the state of current TV!
Name:
Mark B
Comments...

I'm tempted to say it's because, with the exception of Callan, they were rubbish. But then again, that doesn't stop the TV companies producing their current output, does it?
Name:
Andrew Balshaw
Comments...

There are some shows that for some reason never seem to get repeats at all, anybody remember these?

The Cedar Tree
Spooner's patch
Manimal
The Brothers Macgregor
Supergran
Mr Pye
Crown Court
The Young Doctors
Warship
macmillan and Wife
Dear John
South of the Border
Me and My Girl
The Love Boat
The Paradise Club
Callan
Lame Ducks
Russ Abbots madhouse
Albion Market
Miss Jones and Son
Fresh Fields
There are tons more too, why are they never repeated???

Name:
The Black Nun
Comments...

Thriller might yet turn up somewhere, possibly in the US. I wrote to UKTV (= UK GOLD Australia) about five years ago and they said they'd have a look at it, but nothing ever came of it.

It would be nice to see it repeated, because even the lowest rating repeat reaches a hundred times more people than a dvd release ever would.
Name:
Rosalyn Connors
Comments...

Hi John.

Yes, my cable provider is Telewest, so better late than never I suppose.

I'm not going to knock any of the ITC programmes that are on ITV4, even if it is The Adventurer or Jason King. They are all good fun IMHO, even if only to have a laugh at both Gene Barry's and Peter Wyngarde's apalling taste in clothes.

Perhaps THRILLER would be better suited to ITV3, if as Martin is suggesting, it is already playing old VT comedy and drama series. I don't think we are ever likely to see another channel like Bravo sadly. It may not have been perfect, but it was far kinder to the archive shows it chose to broadcast and there were not numerous commercial breaks in daft places.
Name:
David - Thrillerfancat
Comments...

Hello everyone

Reading all these comments, I wonder if Thriller will ever be on our screens ever again? Does it fit any channel's format I ask myself?

Why should I worry though, I do have the complete boxset and also some old video cassettes containing episodes in movie and fish eyed format. If I offered to sell them (not at present!) does anyone consider anyone would wish to purchase them?

I suppose Blacknun would class them as bootlegs but they were copied for me to view, I did not copy them myself. Mostly from Channel 7 Australia and Bravo.

Don't worry Blacknun, this is not intended as an advertisement because even if someone did wish to purchase them, I probably wouldn't get around to it at present!
Name:
Martin M
Comments...

Non terrestial/satellite/channels have *always* treated television in that way ... the "Thriller" screenings on Bravo had their logo pasted in the top corner and invariably had the continuity announcer gibbering over the end credits ... so the fact that ITV4 is "as it is" neither (a) surprises me; nor (b) really works me up much.

When UK Gold did screen vintage material c1992-1998 they mostly edited shows to fit the timeslots .. ditto Granada Plus for most of their existance.

I don't really see "Thriller" fitting the proclaimed profile for ITV4 really ... glossy filmed action/sci fi series, football and US chat shows for "lads" - but then I've never really equated "Thriller" with series like "The Saint" or "The Champions" let alone the dreadful "The Adventurer".

ITV3 has about the best mix of vintage material at present they've screened lots from "Raffles" to "Rumpole" and "Rising Damp" to "Hannay" and lots besides - just about the best bet for VT vintage stuff. UKTV Drama is also a channel with some decent vintage drama and comedy material.
Name:
John Allison
Comments...

Thanks Ros for suggesting the Professionals website. I'll definitely have a look at that one.

I agree with all your comments about ITV4. My cable provider is Telewest and ITV4 has only just turned up on there a couple of weeks ago.

I certainly wasn't suggesting that it is an oasis of classic TV. Their treatment of these shows (as I expected) is atrocious. However, at least the ITC shows are on and this may stimulate renewed interest. Compared with UK "Gold", etc. at least it's something!
Name:
Rosalyn Connors
Comments...

ITV4 seem to be showing most of the ITC series at the moment. Just watched a Return of the Saint with Stuart Wilson, playing a menacing foreign villain. No Thrillers yet, if they turn up it will be interesting to see if they chop them up.

Hi John. My cable provider finally added ITV4 to its long list of tat a couple of weeks ago. No real surprises with the ITC shows on there: programmes chopped for time, interruptions for commercials three times within an hour, static ITV4 DOG in the corner,'coming up next' cap-gens and absolutely no hope of reading the end credits or hearing the theme tune. At least some of these classic shows are getting another airing, so I suppose we should all feel grateful
If THRILLER does turn up on there, don't expect it to be treated like your mum's best bone china!

I bought the Contender sets of the Professionals, series 1-4, just £9.97 each at Music Zone's sale. No ad caps/bumpers or extras to speak of, these are from 2002. Picture quality not brilliant, I know these have since be re- re- mastered, but no complaints, as this comes out at about 85p per ep. Great to see these again.
Production notes say that ep.2(Long Shot) in series one was actually shown at no.11 in the run. Looking at TV.com, only 3 eps. on my discs are in the correct place in relation to the original broadcast run(if TV.com is accurate). Does anyone know if these Contender sets are in production order per series, or just random?

You might like to hop over to Dave Matthews brilliant website for THE PROFESSIONALS which covers the issues you mention above in great detail.

http://www.personal.u-net.com
net.com/~carnfort/Professionals/epslist.htm
Name:
thrillerfan
Comments...

Dear Black Nun,

The episodes telecasted in Canada and in France are the same.
There is 13 episodes which has been dubbed in France and
26 episodes dubbed in Montreal by Cinélume. "Sign it death"
has been dubbed in France.
Name:
The Black Nun
Comments...

>>I used to watch ¨Thriller¨ when I was quite young in the `70. It was named Angoisse in French. Radio Canada was broadcasting it during summer>>

That's interesting. I wonder if they were the same dubbed copies that were shown in France? I have seen one French dubbed episode (Sign It Death) and was quite surprised how well done and effective it was!

I've also seen a bit of The Eyes Have It dubbed into German. Not quite so effective.

>>I use online import shops like loaded247.com and store4dvd.com, aren't there similar shops in Australia for R1 imports ?>>

There might be, but they probably wouldn't use tracking either!

>>Maybe we should tell Mr Jason that British TV is in decline and will get worse as years go by>>

Look on the bright side: you could be stuck with Australian tv!

>>ITV4 seem to be showing most of the ITC series at the moment>>

That's interesting. I remember Carlton telling Ian years ago that they were working towards a major relaunch of the ITC catalogue.
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