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The Frighteners: The Treat (ITV 1 Sep 1972, with Ian Holm)



In The Treat Gordon Breen takes three old men from Paxton House (a home for retired soldiers) out on a day trip in the country. The day begins smoothly enough but soon things take a nastier turn.

Two of the three, Cyril and Henry, have a sinister purpose in mind, they have discovered that Breen is homosexual and intend to goad him into killing the third member of the group, Leslie, so that Cyril can take Leslie’s place in the room that he shares with Henry. It’s interesting that Cyril and Henry target Leslie for his homosexuality when it is clear right from the beginning (with Cyril casually touching Henry’s hand) that there is something between the two of them.

There is a strong touch of the Dennis Potter’s in Douglas Livingstone’s script here, a group of adults “larking about” like children until events get out of hand. The end is signified in the opening shot of a scarf tied around a tree and the atmosphere throughout is nicely unsettling.

The Frighteners The Treat

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

Writer: Douglas Livingstone / Director: Gareth Davies

Series: The Frighteners Episode 8 of 13

Ian Holm as Gordon Breen
Leslie French as Leslie Grant
Liam Redmond as Cyril Futcher
John Barrett as Henry Spine