Time For Murder is six stand alone, star studded pychological suspense and mysteries written by some high profile names indeed. Dating from 1986 the 6 hour long stories all share a darkly claustrophobic vibe that genuinely cranks up the tension. The superb Fay Weldon(famous for not only penning the very first episode of Upstairs Downstairs but also such classics as Lives and Loves of a She Devil and The Cloning of Joanna May) contributes the first episode Bright Smiler which is basically a two hander between a heavily made up Jane Asher as a masseuse with murder on her mind and Kika Markham as her client whose stay at a health farm is a little less healthy than she anticipated. The episode sets the tone for the whole batch of stories too with a slightly off kilter world view and an air of creeping menace.
Frances Galleymore’s The Murders at Lynch Cross is a scream filled take on classic Agatha Christie but there is another change of pace with Antonia Fraser’s Mr Clay, Mr Clay is the tale of a bullied teacher at a prep school whose jalousy lets him take matters one step too far; A youngish Aden Gillett is lead but Ian Olgilvy is the real highlight, very smooth!
This Lightening Always Strikes Twice by Michael Robson and with Charles Dance and the legendary Trevor Howard is the best story over all, a tale of a public school teacher who takes on some extra curricular work only to get far more than he bargained for; The Thirteenth Day of Christmas by TVAM newsreader Gordon Honeycombe is a very stagey piece of work and a deranged son taking exception to his father’s Christmas get together with friends. Finally Dust to Dust by the brilliant Charles Wood is a hugely black, eccentric Thriller-esque tale of a female killer who marries wealthy men for their money but finally meets her match. More great casting in this one too with Patricia Hodge, Michael Jayston and a very creepy William Simons.
UK / ITV Network – Granada / 6×60 minute episodes / 1985 Broadcast 9 November – 14 December 1985
Executive Producer: Michael Cox / Music: Paul Lewis / Producer: Pieter Rogers