Bat Out Of Hell (BBC-2 1966 with Noel Johnson, John Thaw and Sylvia Syms)

Bat Out Of Hell

In Bat Out Of Hell estate agent Mark Paxton is embroiled in an affair with his boss’s wife Diana Stewart. The pair have hatched a plot to murder her husband Geoffrey. Whilst looking over a prospective new house Mark shoots and kills Geoffrey hiding his body in his car. Before he can get rid of the “evidence” the body goes missing. Diana then receives a phone call from her “dead” husband.

There is more intrigue when Mark finds a cigarette case inscribed on the inside with a note from Geoffrey to Diana saying “you came like a bat out of hell…” The cigarette case though does definitely not belong to Diana. Not only that her friend Thelma Bowen is lying to the police – she tells Diana that Geoffrey has also been in contact with her but denies it to Inspector Clay who is investigating the case. Thelma then turns up dead. Or does she.

Another superbly tangled plot from the master Durbridge, we know right from the start that Mark and Diana have conspired to murder Geoffrey but from there Durbridge layers on intrigue on top of intrigue. When Mrs Bowen is seen dead and then turns up a couple of scenes later you do think Durbridge is playing games with us but by the fifth and final episode it’s clear that someone has been blackmailing pretty much everyone in the cast. Things then move quickly as Inspector Clay realises just who the guilty party is.

production details
UK / BBC-2 / 5×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 26 November – 24 December 1966 black and white

Writer: Francis Durbridge / Story Editor: Roger Parkes / Design: Roy Oxley / Producer and Director: Alan Bromly

Series: Francis Durbridge Presents… Season 6

Noel Johnson as Geoffrey Stewart
Sylvia Syms as Diana Stewart
June Bland as Mrs Houston
John Thaw as Mark Paxton
June Ellis as Thelma Bowen
Stanley Meadows as Ned Tallboy
Dudley Foster as Inspector Clay
David Quilter as Vince
Clive Graham as Sergeant Booth
Emrys Jones as Walter Bowen
Patsy Smart as Kitty Tracey

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