TV UK TV

Count Dracula (BBC-2 1977, Louis Jordan, Frank Finlay)

Count Dracula

Period horror Count Dracula sees Jonathan Harker paying a visit to Transylvania to meet with a Count Dracula who has plans to move to England, it is not too long before Harker discovers just what the count really is – a vampire. Once he does reach England Count Dracula is soon casting his spell, targetting first the sister of Harker’s fiance. Harker returns to England determined to kill Dracula.

Highly faithful to Stoker’s book this lavishly mounted production went very much down the Gothic horror road, although it does have the flavour of one of the BBC’s classic Sunday afternoon serials. The soundtrack was excellent too, very Wyrd Folk in a Wicker Man kind of way.

Whenever Dracula was about to strike a red filter sent the tension up more than a notch and some very cute looking bats were also featured. The gorgeous Susan Penhaligon plays one of the Count’s key victims and she shares a major scene with Frank Finlay whom she had just appeared in A Bouquet of Barbed Wire with as his daughter.

The series was repeated over three episodes in 1979 and repeated on 5 and 8 April 1993. Both times on BBC Two.

production details
UK / BBC-2 – WNET / 1×150 minute episode / Broadcast 22 December 1977

Writer: Gerald Savory / A Gothic romance based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula / Script Editor: Sally Head / Production Design: Michael Young / Costume Design: Ken Morey / Make Up: Suzan Broad / Visual Effects: Tony Harding / Titles: Dick Bailey / Music: Kenyon Emrys-Roberts / Producer: Morris Barry / Director: Philip Saville

cast
LOUIS JORDAN as Count Dracula
FRANK FINLAY as Professor Van Helsing
SUSAN PENHALIGON as Lady Westenra
JUDI BOWKER as Wilhelmina Westenra
JACK SHEPHERD as Renfield
MARK BURNS as Doctor John Seward
BOSCO HOGAN as Jonathan Harker
RICHARD BARNES as Quincey P. Holmwood
ANN QUEENSBERRY as Mrs Westenra
GEORGE RAISTRICK as Bowles
GEORGE MALPAS as Swales
MICHAEL MacOWAN as Mr Hawkins
SUSIE HICKFORD, BELINDA MEULDIJK, SUE VANNER as Brides of Dracula
BRUCE WIGHTMAN, IZABELLA TELEZYNSKA, O.T. as Passengers on Coach