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Category:    Home > Reviews > Anthology > Mystery > Suspense > Supernatural > British TV > Brian Clemens’ Thriller – Seasons One & Two (British TV Anthology/Umbrella Entertainment DVD/Region Zero/0/PAL Format)

Brian Clemens’ Thriller – Seasons One & Two (British TV Anthology/Umbrella Entertainment DVD/Region Zero/0/PAL Format)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C*     Episodes: B+



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD is out of print, but any remaining copies can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0/PAL format software.  Madman entertainment has issued an upgraded version of these and all six seasons in a newly remastered Complete Series box set, which you can read more about at this link:




The anthology TV series is pretty much a lost art, sadly lost to a sea of bad “reality TV” and the decline of broadcast TV.  After Rod Serling showed how far such a series could go with when his original Twilight Zone pushed the TV medium to new highs and Outer Limits quickly followed, anthologies became a respected form of TV with top writers all over trying out their ideas in shows that since are sometimes too forgotten fro our own good.  Series like Ghost Story, Night Gallery and more turned out to be some of the best and most underrated of all time.  That extends to England.


After making The Avengers into one of the greatest TV series ever made, Brian Clemens took his turn at such a series and the result is Thriller, a remarkable anthology series and almost lost gem of such a series finally out on DVD from Umbrella.  At this point, Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows, Night Stalker) was not only making Horror genre TV movies and while some were filmed, he was the first to make them on videotape.  Clemens and company followed.


Not to be confused with the Boris Karloff hit of the same name, the series was actually distributed in the United States as a series of syndicated telefilms by ITC and by being a weekly series of TV movies with different characters, was being innovative and cutting edge once again.  Yes, the NBC Mystery Movie (made with Universal Pictures when the companies were separate) had revolving series with hits like Columbo, McMillan & Wife, McCloud and Banacek among others, but they were filmed and were still continuing shows.  For Clemens, after creating some of the finest filmed TV of all time with The Avengers, moving into the then new format of color PAL videotape with such rich material was cause for celebration indeed.


The first two seasons (1973 – 1974) were outstanding ones, with teleplays so strong, they attracted some of the best talent around at the time, names you will still recognize.  Here are the shows, omitting the U.S. alternate titles to save them as a surprise when you get the set:


1)     Lady Killer (with stars Barbara Feldon, Linda Thorson & Robert Powell)

2)     Possession (with stars Joanna Dunham, John Carson & Hilary Hardiman)

3)     Someone At The Top Of The Stairs (with stars Donna Mills & Judy Carne)

4)     An Echo Of Theresa (with stars Paul Burke, Polly Bergen & Vernon Dobtcheff)

5)     The Color Of Blood (with stars Norman Eshley & Katherine Schofield)

6)     Murder In Mind (with stars Zena Walker, Richard Jordan & Donald Gee)

7)     A Place To Die (with stars Bryan Marshall, Alexandra Hay & Lila Kaye)

8)     File It Under Fear (with stars Maureen Lipman & Richard O’Callaghan)

9)     The Eyes Have It (with stars Peter Vaughan & Sinead Cusack)

10)  Spell Of Evil (with stars Edward De Souza, Diana Cliento & Iris Russell)

11)  Only A Scream Away (with stars Hayley Mills, Gary Collins & Jeremy Bulloch)

12)  Once The Killing Starts (with stars Patrick O’Neal and Michael Kitchen)

13)  Kiss Me & Die (with stars George Chakiris, Jenny Agutter & Hunter Russell)

14)  One Deadly Owner (with stars Donna Mills, Jeremy Brett & Laurence Payne)

15)  Ring Once For Death (with stars Barry Nelson and Nyree Dawn Porter)

16)  K Is For Killing (with stars Steven Rea, Christopher Casenove & Gayle Hunnicut)

17)  Sign Of Death (with stars Francesca Annis, Patrick Allen & Sheila Fearne)

18)  Who Killed Lamb? (with stars Stanley Baker, Denis Lili & Peter Salis)




Clemens wrote or co-wrote most of these and it was around the time he and producer Albert Fennell were dipping into theatrical filmmaking (See No Evil, Captain Kronos) using their clout, creativity and talent to tale risks and make remarkable work that is still ahead of most audiences.  I was told by a reliable source that Clemens would meet with the cast, do a read-through of the script and then get the production going.  Terrence Feely and Terry Nation (Dr. Who) had worked with Clemens and Fennell before on shows like The Avengers and they too were trying out new things.


Except for a few minor complaints and maybe a couple of installments that do not work, these feature-length mysteries (sometimes involving the supernatural) hold up shockingly well for their age, setting another high watermark for how good such storytelling can be.  Any serious lover of Mystery/Horror needs to consider Brian Clemens’ Thriller a must-have set and the show was a hit that continued for a few more seasons.  The show is simply classic!



The 1.33 X 1 color image was shot in the analog PAL format and despite some minor flaws and the tape showing its age in general, the shows look as good as any other such TV of the time.  It helps that these DVDs are in PAL too.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also pretty good and clean for their age too, including the great music by Laurie Johnson (The Avengers, Dr. Strangelove) complements the exceptional writing with exceptional music.


*Though there are no outright extras, we will gladly count the special opening and closing sequences included at the end of each episode that shows how each show (sometimes with a different title) that sometimes telegraphs certain story details that they should not have.  However, I remembered many of them and am ecstatic that this great show has finally arrived on DVD.  More seasons are on the way.



You can find many imports exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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