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Thriller (ITV 1973-1976, Helen Mirren, Donna Mills)

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Thriller was a very well remembered anthology series of twist in the tale stories, mostly written by Avengers/Professionals alumni Brian Clemens. The title is pretty encompassing of all manner of stories, everything from straight forward suspense through to horror and the supernatural. The earlier stories, which tended to be more straightforward are the strongest whilst the later ones tended to be less subtle.

The episodes benefited from a strong title sequence, the infamous fisheye camera shot with a blood red background, there was also typically memorable theme music from Laurie Johnson. Johnson had also composed the theme tune to The Avengers and Thriller’s world actually owes a lot to that environment too, many of the episodes take part in in the kind of idyllic yet sinister English village that the Avengers loved.

A high calibre of UK actors made appearances in the series including the likes of Helen Mirren, Hayley Mills, Robert Powell, Linda Thorson, Jan Francis, John Le Mesurier, Angharad Rees, Dennis Waterman, Ingrid Pitt, Jenny Agutter, Jeremy Brett, Francesca Annis to name just a few, heavy US financing also meant there were plenty of US guest stars including Donna Mills, Bradford Dillman and Caroll Baker.

The above dates refer to the original UK broadcast dates (it being a show of UK origin) but it was usually broadcast first in the USA, dates for which are 18 January 1973 – 4 November 1975 . Incidentally a one off Yorkshire TV play Who Killed Lamb is often cited as being an episode of Thriller, it wasn’t but appeared directly at the end of season two’s run in the UK (and has been included in DVD releases of the series).

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THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE
1. LADY KILLER
2. POSSESSION
3. SOMEONE AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS
4. AN ECHO OF THERESA
5. THE COLOUR OF BLOOD
6. MURDER IN MIND
7. A PLACE TO DIE
8. FILE IT UNDER FEAR
9. THE EYES HAVE IT
10. SPELL OF EVIL

SEASON TWO
1. ONLY A SCREAM AWAY
2. ONCE THE KILLING STARTS
3. KISS ME AND DIE
4. ONE DEADLY OWNER
5. RING ONCE FOR DEATH
6. K IS FOR KILLING
7. SIGN IT DEATH A Coffin For The Bride, Michael Jayston and Helen Mirren.

SEASON THREE
1. A COFFIN FOR THE BRIDE
2. I’M THE GIRL HE WANTS TO KILL
3. DEATH TO SISTER MARY
4. IN THE STEPS OF A DEAD MAN
5. COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE
6. THE NEXT SCREAM YOU HEAR

SEASON FOUR
1.SCREAMER
2. NURSE WILL MAKE IT BETTER
3. NIGHT IS THE TIME FOR KILLING
4. KILLER WITH TWO FACES
5. A KILLER IN EVERY CORNER
6. WHERE THE ACTION IS

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SEASON FIVE
1. IF IT’S A MAN HANG UP
2. THE DOUBLE KILL
3. WON’T WRITE HOME MOM, I’M DEAD
4. THE CRAZY KILL
5. GOOD SALARY, PROSPECTS, FREE COFFIN
6. THE NEXT VOICE YOU SEE
7. MURDER MOTEL

SERIES SIX
1. SLEEPWALKER
2. THE NEXT VICTIM
3. NIGHTMARE FOR A NIGHTINGALE
4. DIAL A DEADLY NUMBER
5. KILL TWO BIRDS
6. A MIDSUMMER NIGHTMARE
7. DEATH IN DEEP WATER

SPECIAL MENTION
WHO KILLED LAMB (This one off play was inadvertantly broadcast under the Thriller banner at the end of season two despite having nothing to do with the series, since then it has become a sort of unofficial entry in the series and so is included in our run down for the sake of completion).

production details
UK / ITV – ATV / 43×75 minute episodes / Broadcast 14 April 1973 – 22 May 1976

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Creator: Brian Clemens / Music: Laurie Johnson


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.

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