The Party’s Over is the final episode of anthology series Shadows of Fear and it’s a bit different from the other 10 episodes. It aired almost two years after the others for one thing and is only a 25 minute episode instead of the usual 50 minutes. Unlike all the others this was not set in the present day either, instead taking us back to the 1920’s.
When the story begins John Parker is disturbed to discover that his young wife Ethel has a heart condition. We very quickly learn that Parker is not the loving husband he first appears. He is having an affair with a young woman called Julie and seems almost gleeful that his wife could die at any moment.
In fact in best Gaslight fashion it seems as if John is trying to scare his wife into having a heart attack. In an excellent twist the boot is on the other foot and Ethel sets a trap for John (she lays a tripwire across the stairs and when he takes a tumble in the middle of the night it looks like he has broken his neck) because she is also embroiled in an affair with her doctor and doesn’t even have a heart condition. The twist turns again though as John isn’t actually dead at all but we are left in no uncertain terms that Ethel soon will be….
The half hour format works really well actually, a bit like similar series The Frighteners, the plot doesn’t have time to get bogged down and the story is better for it.
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×25 minute episode / Broadcast Wednesday 31 January 1973 at 11.00pm
Writer: Roy Harley Ellis / Production Design: David Marshall / Director: Kim Mills
Series: Shadows of Fear Episode 11 of 11
Edward Fox as John Parker
Suzanne Neve as Ethel Parker
Philip Brack ass Dr Carmichael
Susan Tebbs as Julie
Penelope Lee as Barbara