Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Proof of Guilt

I’ve just come across the fact that Tales of the Unexpected are being re-run on Sky Arts channel. I first saw this series in the70s. It began with adaptations of stories by Roald Dahl, including some real classics, and it went on to include a wide range of mysteries. The quality was sometimes uneven, and I only saw some of the episodes, but I enjoyed many of those I did see.

So I decided to take a look at a programme I hadn’t seen before, although I seem to recall the original short story from an anthology. This was ‘Proof of Guilt’ by Bill Pronzini. It begins with a shooting in a locked office room on the sixth floor of a tower block. The victim must have been shot by his visitor – but where is the weapon?

It’s a very neat example of the ‘locked room’ mystery, with a rather witty and appealing solution. This version featured Roy Marsden as the initially confident detective – some years before he became P.D. James’ Adam Dalgleish. Jeremy Clyde played the smooth suspect. As often is the case with 70s shows, the set was a bit wooden, but I found the episode entertaining

The terrific theme music, by the way, was written by Ron Grainer, also responsible for the memorable theme for Doctor Who.


Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - I remember that series! I don't remember the particular episode that you mention here, but I do remember the show. Thanks for the reminder. I'm glad you enjoyed this episode.

Ed Gorman said...

The new Dahl biography is getting widely reviewed over here. I'll see if one of the local libraries has it.

I miss anthology shows. Hitchcock and Twilight Zone and Outer Limits produced some of the more memorable moments in TV history.

Piedmont Writer said...

I remember Tales of the Unexpected. Kind of creepy, scary, Twilight Zone-y and all those things I didn't like back then. I think I was 10 or 12. I'd like to see it now though.

Dorte H said...

I would have loved to see Roy Marsden in a pre-Dalglish role.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments.
Ed, you might be amused to know that many years ago, the future Mrs Edwards invited me to a party thrown by her friend's father - who happened to be Roald Dahl...Very memorable.
Hi Piedmonth Writer, yes, it was a good series, especially the earlier ones.
Dorte, yes, he was pretty good.

Graham Powell said...

I well remember "Proof of Guilt". I guarantee that Pronzini got the idea when he was playing poker and drinking beer with some writer buddies, and he must have said something like, "I can make a plot out of anything! ANYTHING! Oh, you don't believe me?"

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Graham