Dead Of Night (BBC Two 1972, Peter Barkworth, John Castle)

An anthology of horror stories which included Return Flight written by Robert Holmes and starring Peter Barkworth and The Exorcism by Don Taylor.

Dead of Night was a series of scary stories performed as single plays on the BBC in the early 70s. The Exorcism by Don Taylor is remembered by many as a classic ghost story set at Christmas when a couple invite their friends round for dinner and spooky things begin to happen. The wine turns into blood, the lights go out, the phone goes dead, they can’t escape the house because it’s enveloped in blackness, and then Rachel is possessed by a spirit whose husband was hung 200 years ago and left his family to starve to death. The story ends with a great twist to the tale as a news report tells of four people found dead of starvation despite having food on the table.

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Actors appearing included Anna Cropper, Edward Petherbridge, Peter Barkworth, Sarah Badel, John Castle, Gwen Taylor, Peter Jeffrey, Anna Massey, Ronald Hines, John Lee.

1. THE EXORCISM (5 Nov 1972)
2. RETURN FLIGHT (12 Nov 1972)
3. BEDTIME (19 Nov 1972)
4. DEATH CANCELS ALL DEBTS (26 Nov 1972)
5. SMITH (3 Dec 1972)
6. TWO IN THE MORNING (10 Dec 1972)
7. A WOMAN SOBBING (17 Dec 1972)

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Only three—”The Exorcism”, “Return Flight”, and “A Woman Sobbing”—are known to survive in the BBC’s archives. Another programme made by the Dead of Night production team under Innes Lloyd, The Stone Tape, intended to be the eighth episode, does survive in the archives but was not broadcast under the Dead of Night banner.

production details
UK / BBC Two / 7×50 minutes / Broadcast 5 Nov – 17 Dec 1972

Script Editor: Louis Marks Producer: Innes Lloyd

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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.