Curtain of Fear (BBC-2 1964, Colette Wilde, George Baker)

Thriller serial Curtain of Fear was cut from the same cloth as the hugely popular Francis Durbridge Presents thrillers but with an extra helping of espionage for good measure. The plot centered around Clare Linton whose ability to recall entire conversations whilst under hypnosis lead her and her brother to get mixed up with dangerous spies.

Original publicity material from the Radio Times… A new thriller serial by Victor Canning with John Breslin and Colette Wilde: Take a London night club. Add an unusual cabaret turn, “Miss Memory” – lovely Clare Linton, who when her brother has hypnotised her goes into a state of total recall, able to remember everything she ever heard. Add, too, a Russian with secrets to sell, a British agent eager to buy, and a third man with a sinister interest in both. Mix all together, and you have the makings of an exciting new thriller serial, Curtain Of Fear, by Victor Canning: screenwriter, best-selling novelist, and author of the much-praised recent BBC-2 serial The Midnight Men.

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Produced and directed by Gerald Blake, who was one of the directors of the first series of Doctor Finlay’s Casebook and has since directed many Compact episodes, Curtain Of Fear has a strong cast. It includes William Franklyn as Hans Liebert – he was last seen on BBC Television in No Cloak, No Dagger – with Colette Wilde as Clare Linton and John Breslin as her brother, Peter. George Baker, who recently played the dual role of King Rudolph and Rudolf Rassendyll in Rupert Of Hentzau, appears as Clare’s fiancé, surgeon Stewart Caxton.

In tonight’s first episode, the story begins at London Airport and moves swiftly to Whitehall, to an Iron Curtain Embassy and to the Scorpio Room – where Clare and Peter Linton unwittingly become the focus of a drama of espionage and counter-espionage, bluff and double-dealing. A vital code message is at stake, and a man is murdered for it before the evening is out. But it is Clare who, without even knowing it, holds the key in her extraordinary memory; a key which only her brother can unlock through hypnosis. As she says: “It’s a bit frightening, sometimes, as though there were two Clare Lintons – two strangers in the same body”. And soon, she has good reason to be frightened.

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production details
UK / BBC-2 / 6×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 28 October – 2 December 1964

Writer: Victor Canning / Music: Dudley Simpson and The Mick Barker Quartet / Producer and Director: Gerald Blake.

Colette Wilde as Clare Linton
George Baker as Stewart Caxton
John Breslin as Peter Linton
William Franklyn as Hans Liebert
John Harvey as Colonel Powell
George Pravda as Tannikov
Jan Holden as Helen Tovey


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.