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Francis Durbridge Presents: The Doll (BBC-1 1975, Anouska Hempel, John Fraser)

Francis Durbridge Presents The Doll

In supremely enjoyable Francis Durbridge thriller The Doll publisher Peter Matty meets the enigmatic Phyllis Du Salle on a plane trip. Immediately smitten he arranges to meet up with her once they are back in London. Phyllis seems to be giving Peter the run around somewhat and things get murkier when he does finally spend some time with Phyllis. He lends her his car which is then found abandoned and with no sign of Phyllis.

It’s clear there is something highly mysterious going on and Matty is determined to discover just what is going on with Du Salle, where she has disappeared to, why she has been lying to him and just what is going on with the sinister doll found floating in Matty’s bath tub.

The Doll has a genuine air of mystery about it that’s for sure. In the opening episode Matty travels to the isle of Wight to meet Sir Arnold Wyatt who was supposed to get a visit from Phyllis before she vanished but he claims to know nothing about her. We know Phyllis exists but everybody else seems to think Peter may have invented her. Matty’s brother, Claude, a well known musician and journalist Max, seem to be only ones who believe him.

By the end of the second episode bodies are starting to pile up and the sinister Julian Osborne (William Russell with one of the most outrageous hair-do’s he’s ever had) has arrived on the scene. It soon becomes clear he holds the key to unlocking just what is going on with Phyllis.

production details
UK / BBC One / 3×55 minute episodes / Broadcast 25 November – 9 December 1975

Writer: Francis Durbridge / Producer: Bill Sellars / Director: David Askey

Series: Francis Durbridge Presents Season 9 Episodes 1-3

cast
John Fraser as Peter Matty
Anouska Hempel as Phyllis Du Salle
Geoffrey Whitehead as Claude Matty
Cyril Luckham as Sir Arnold Wyatt
Derek Fowlds as Max Lerner
Roger Milner as Mortimer Brown
Corinna Marlowe as Mollie Stafford
Olive Milbourne as Mrs Frinton
Sheila Keith as Mrs Cassidy
Linda Braithwaite as Sarah Brackett
Paul Williamson as Detective Inspector Lane
Roger Gartland as Detective Sergeant Colford
William Russell as Julian Osborne
Dolly Landon as Sarah
Corinna Marlowe as Mollie Stafford
Ken Kennedy as Taxi driver
Eric Mason as Police Sergeant
John Livesey as Policeman
Linal Haft as Barman
Marjorie Hogan as Mrs Galton
Jacqueline Stanbury as Judy Langham
Alexandra Taylor as Receptionist
George Lowdell as First man
Douglas Jones as Second man