Thriller: Rachel In Danger and A Dogs RansomNow
out on DVD two
Armchair Thrillers: Rachel In Danger and A Dogs Ransom...
WHETHER YOU'RE INTERESTED IN HISTORICAL TELEVISION SERIES because
they are nostalgic to you or whether you are coming to it for the first time,
you should take a look at the Armchair Thriller dramas that are coming out on
DVD this month.
First broadcast between 1978 and 1980 by Thames Television, the prime-time anthology
Armchair Thriller notable for the cliff-hangers at the end of each episode
was a big hit (attracting 17 million viewers) and terrified a whole generation.
Network is delighted to announce the release of two Armchair Thriller stories,
which are available to buy separately on DVD for the first time on 21 January
(2008). Reviewed here are the complete, uncut series of both volume 1 and volume
2: Rachel In Danger and A Dog's Ransom.
The opening sequence features the eerie theme tune devised by Roxy Music's Andy
Mackay along with a shadowy figure approaching an armchair and sitting down.
In fact, this shadowy figure reminded me very much of the original Nosferatu
we recently reviewed. Creepy or what!
I thought that Rachel In Danger was the better of the two with the plot
holding together quite well. Don't expect the sophistication of today's dramas.
Back then, this series was very theatrical and melo-dramatic. That in itself
lends a period charm (both were originally shown in 1978).
Directed by the acclaimed Waris Hussein (The Possession of Joel Delaney) and
written by John Bowen (Hetty Wainthrop Investigates), Rachel in Danger
is a four-part drama. Rachel (Della Low) is a ten-year-old girl from a broken
home who travels from Scotland to London to stay with the father she last saw
when she was just two years old. But her father, Peter (Neville Jason) has been
murdered by Juan (Stephen Greif) and when she arrives in London, there is nobody
to meet her.
She is befriended by a WPC (Gwyneth Powell) and when Juan turns up at the station
claiming to be her father, Rachel has no reason to believe he is not who he
says he is. But then she has yet to discover the body in the cupboard…
The man posing as Rachel's father introduces the girl to a woman called Aiyako
(Eiko Nakamura) he says is his wife. But they are actually part of an international
terrorist group that is planning to assassinate a member of the Royal Family
and the plucky little girl is caught right in the middle of a highly-dangerous
situation. Can she lull the imposter into a false sense of security by pretending
she still believes he is her father? And to whom can she turn for help when
the going gets tough?
SECOND DRAMA, A DOG'S RANSOM, is directed by Donald
McWhinney (Rumpole of the Bailey) and is also based on a Patricia Highsmith
novel and adapted for television as a six-part drama by John Bowen. The dog
in question is Tina, an adored white Poodle who is treated by owners Edward
(Benjamin Whitrow, Chicken Run) and Gina Reynolds (Zena Walker, The Prisoner)
more like a child.
Edward and Gina are an affluent middle-class couple living in Chelsea. Their
lives are seemingly idyllic until they start receiving anonymous and strange
letters of abuse. Then Tina is kidnapped and the next note they receive is a
The police don't seem to want to be bothered with the kidnapping of
a dog, but Oxford-educated PC Clarence Duhamel (Brian Stirner) un-officially
offers his help and with the assistance of his girlfriend, Marion Dowell
(Susie Blake), a social worker he tracks down a sinis-ter sociopath,
Polish-born Kowajinski (Leon Eagles).
Clarence is also the subject of homosexual taunts and the fact that he has a
girlfriend and regularly stays at her digs doesn't make any differ-ence. That
sort of name-calling would not be politically correct in today's society.
But is Kowajinski responsible for kidnapping the dog? Will Tina ever be found
alive and well? Clarence becomes as disenchanted with the Police Force as is
Marion and her social worker friends. He becomes embroiled with murder and falls
foul of a corrupt policeman before he
is compelled to face his destiny.
One of the highlights is the scene where clichéd social workers discuss the
Police and social injustice. Very much a sign of the times and especially
in today's troubled times extremely interesting!
Both of these Armchair Thriller releases will appeal to fans of quality dramas
and also previous Network releases such as Thriller and Tales
of the Unexpected.
Network is delighted to announce the release
of these two complete and uncut Armchair Thriller stories Rachel In
Danger and A Dog's Ransom (one per disc) which are available
to buy separately on DVD for the first time on 21 January (2008) at an RRP of
£12.99 each. Approximate running times: Rachel In Danger 100 minutes;
A Dog's Ransom 150 minutes. Screen ratio 4:3. Distributed by Network