Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The World of Tim Frazer

The World of Tim Frazer was an enormously successful TV series in the early 60s, which made a a star out of Jack Hedley, who went on to become one of those actors who appeared very regularly on the small screen for the next couple of decades or so. The screenplay was written by Francis Durbridge, and the story-line was packed with his characteristic cliff-hangers.

En route to the Harrogate Festival, I started listening to the CD version which has now been produced - part of a small box set featuring all three of the Tim Frazer stories. They are read by Anthony Head, who has established himself as a very good purveyor of the twists and turns of a Durbridge plot, although at one point in this story he did seem slightly challenged by the surfeit of Yorkshire accents required for a pub scene.

The story is classic thriller material - an ordinary man is plunged into a shadowy world of secret agents and murder. Tim Frazer is an engineer whose easygoing nature veers into naivete when he takes into partnership an old mate called Harry Denston. Harry bankrupts the company and then goes missing. He summons Tim to a Yorkshire fishing village, but does not make an appearance. However, a Russian fishing vessel has been shipwrecked nearby and a Russian sailor is on the point of death when Tim sees him. Before he dies, he utters his final word: "Anya."

A sequence of unlikely events take Tim to Kent, where he visits an amiable couple to return the wife's spectacles, which he had found in Harry's car. The couple are looking after their young niece - a little girl called....Anya. The plot, needless to say, thickens from there. All this makes ideal in-car listening. If you can accept Durbridge's limitations - and I can - the story is great fun.

1 comment:

aguja said...

Must read this one, Martin. Thank you! I have just been indulging in the world of Smiley in two John Le Carré novels (one of which you recommended some time ago). My husband and I both enjoyed them immensely.