TV UK TV

Armchair Thriller: High Tide (ITV 1980, Ian McShane, Kika Markham)

High Tide

In the four part Armchair Thriller story High Tide Peter Curtis is fresh out of prison after serving a sentence for the manslaughter of a businessman called Maxwell who killed his dog. Curtis is on a road trip to the South Coast where he intends to buy a boat. Staying at a hotel Curtis is approached by a fellow guest, Matthews, who makes it plain he knows who he is and that he is a former colleague of Maxwell’s, the man is extremely keen to discover if Maxwell had any dying words. Curtis can’t recall at the time but later remembers Maxwell saying the words “High Tide”.

Heading southwards Curtis picks up a hitch-hiker, Celia, who he discovers is working for Matthews he also meets novelist Cyril and his enigmatic wife Helen who Curtis is convinced knows more about what is going on than she is letting on. When Celia is later murdered he knows he faces a race against time to get to the bottom of what is going on.

Very atmospheric and moody with an excellent central performance from Ian McShane who was extremely cool back in the seventies, very laid back and velvet voiced (an asset which features a lot in this voice over heavy production) and some interesting guest appearances too from the likes of John Bird, Terence Rigby and Kika Markham. Anna Fox who has a small role in episode one played Brian Hammond’s semi love interest in a couple of the early seasons of The Brothers.

High Tide

There is quite an interesting dynamic with Curtis and the women he encounters especially Celia and later Helen who is married to novelist and birdwatcher Cyril. He falls heavily for both of them and in the end you feel he has been completely played by Helen who turns out to be the catalyst for the whole thing.

production details
UK | ITV Network – Thames

RUNNING TIME: 30 Minutes | NUMBER OF EPISODES: 4 | AIRDATES: 11 – 20 March 1980

WRITER: Andrew Brown | STORY: P.M. Hubbard | DIRECTOR: Colin Bucksey

cast
IAN McSHANE as Peter Curtis
WENDY MORGAN as Celia
TERENCE RIGBY as Matthews
JOHN BIRD as Cyril
KIKA MARKHAM as Helen
MALCOLM TERRIS as Maxwell
ANNA FOX as Miss Benson
ANNE HAVARD as Cleaner
PATRICK FIELD as Young Man
TOBY SALAMAN as Smith
JOHN BLAIN as Landlord
MIKE McKEVITT as Fenton