The Frighteners: The Disappearing Man (ITV 4 Aug 1972, with Victor Maddern)

There is a real Kafka vibe about The Disappearing Man. Middle aged Harry Henshaw is convinced he is going round the twist and that he may actually be disappearing. Everyone one around him barely seem to see him, his wife’s friend talk about him as if he is not there. His boss is convinced he is skiving when he is working and the council department have no record of his long standing bid for a council house after 1952.

A brilliant central performance from Victor Maddern as the troubled Harry and an excellent script from Brian Phelan that turns and repeats on itself until the final inevitability.

Ray Smith plays Harry’s boss who also seems to have trouble seeing Harry.

Besides Maddern there are also appearances from the fabulous Ray Smith and Talfryn Thomas as the tramp who tells Harry he needs to take “drastic action.” When Harry, who has by now taken to carrying a gun with him, fails to see his reflection in a train carriage window it’s tips him right over the edge and he opens fire as the train takes on passengers at a busy station.

The superb Talfryn Thomas as the pram man whose words of “drastic action” are destined to hold great portent for Harry.

classic quote
“If I’m not gonna disappear without trace I’ve got to do something.”

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×25 minute episode / Broadcast 4 August 1972

Writer: Brian Phelan / Director: Henri Safran

Series: The Frighteners Episode 5 (of 13)

Victor Maddern as Harry
Avis Bunnage as Vi
Ray Smith as Guvnor
Ronald Hackett as Ted
John Ringham as Police Inspector
Margo Cunningham as Jenny Davis
Reginald Barrett as Council Clerk
Talfryn Thomas as Pram Man
Mark Moss as Barman
Dorothea Phillips as Shop Asistant
Richardson Morgan as 1st Policeman
Leslie Schofield as 2nd Policeman

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.