Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tales of the Unexpected

Smell the Movies
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Transmitted:March 1979 - May 1988
Country of origin:UK
Genre:Anthology series, Horror elements. Cult classic
Starring:Roald Dahl
No. of seasons:9

This fondly remembered anthology series really has stood the test of time.
Introduced by the man who wrote the stories themselves, raging racist, misogynist and anti-Semite Roald Dahl, this is part thriller, part horror fare, each story involving a nice set-up, some decent character development and, crucially, a twist in the tale.
Though the budget was clearly moderate, still the lure of Dahl's name attached managed to draw in some big hitters of the time, including the likes of Susan George, Brian Blessed and, in one episode alone, the variable acting talents of Joan Collins, Sir John Gielgud and Peter Bowles.
The pace of the stories is gripping, the reliance on dialogue and characterisation really draws you in - indeed, Dahl himself refers to the pieces as plays in his introductions - and the quality of the writing excellent.
Though occasionally you do see the twist coming from some way off - prompting Peter cook to lampoon it in his TV show Peter Cook & Co with a sketch entitled Tales Of The Much As We Expected - that doesn't detract from the impact when it comes.
Blackly comic, occasionally truly horrid, this is genre TV that deserves its reputation in TV folklore, and should be remembered more for the content than simply for the sumptuous title music and opening credits.
Watch it now.

Find an episode guide here:

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