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Francis Durbridge Presents: Melissa (BBC-1 1974, Peter Barkworth, Moira Redmond)

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Melissa is a three part thriller serial that sees unemployed journalist Guy Foster the prime suspect when his wife if found murdered. When Guy’s wife Melissa is strangled all the evidence points to him being the killer. The evidence is further compounded when Melissa’s doctor claims that Guy has been to see him and he is convinced he has mental problems, Guy of course swears that he has never even met the doctor before. When a second body is found in Guy and Melissa’s cottage in the country and the doctors receptionist survives an attack on her life but describes Guy as her attacker, it seems obvious to everyone that Guy must be the killer, but is there more going on than Guy knows about.

Another superior piece of entertainment from king of the thriller Francis Durbridge, very convoluted and tightly scripted and with that lovely 1970’s mixture of videotaped interiors and filmed exteriors. It was previously made into a 6 part serial in 1964 and in 1997 a major reworking of the story was mounted by Channel 4 with a script by Alan Bleasdale, this new version of Melissa picked up from a piece of passing dialogue in this original about Guy and Melissa meeting on a boat.

production details
UK / BBC One / 3×50 minutes / 1974

Writer: Francis Durbridge
Costume Design: Juanita Watson
Script Editor: Simon Masters
Production Design: Barrie Dobbins
Producer: Morris Barry
Director: Peter Moffatt

cast
PETER BARKWORTH as Guy Foster
MOIRA REDMOND as Melissa Foster
RONALD FRASER as Felix Hepburn
JOAN BENHAM as Paula Hepburn
PHILIP VOSS as Detective Chief Inspector Carter
RAY LONNEN as Don Page
LYNDON BROOK as Dr Swanley
ZULEIKA ROBSON as Mary Antrobus
ELIZABETH BELL as Joyce Dean
DESMOND JORDAN as Duncan
LEONARD GREGORY as Jackson
RICHARD BORTHWICK as Det Sgt Gibbs
ROBERT KING as Peter Antrobus
GODFREY JACKMAN as Tom Billings
PAT GORMAN as Man
JOHN HORSLEY as Mr Antrobus
GODFREY JAMES as George
MARCIA ASHTON as Carol Stewart
ROY SPENCER as Det Sgt Heston
URSULA HIRST as Mrs Long

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