Brian Clemens: Thriller
Update May 26, 2011: Unfortunately, the user removed all the YouTube videos. And I didn’t save them locally. A tragedy!
Back in the 1970s, Brian Clemens — perhaps best known for the classic British TV series The Avengers — wrote most of the scripts for an ultra-low-budget British TV anthology series called Thriller. I recall an interview with him in which he claimed he wrote those scripts in about as much time as it would take to watch them. In other words, about 65-70 pages of script written in just 65-70 minutes!
I saw several episodes of this series when it aired on late-night ABC-TV in NYC. I have to admit I wasn’t keen on many of them. The entire production — exteriors on 16mm film, interiors on harsh videotape — had a cheap and rushed feel that distracted me from concentrating on the stories. The pacing was also slower than I would have liked.
Nonetheless, some madman has uploaded to YouTube the teasers to many of the Thriller episodes and some of them are worth a look.
This one is Brian Clemens at his most brilliant:
Does that make you want the rest of it? Damned right it does!
Here’s an intro where they actually tried to do something other than stage-playing-like shooting:
Ah, Darlene Carr! She was very nice to look at — on TV.
A bit more Clemens teasing the hell out of us:
Notice the ultra-low-budget stage-play-like shooting. Lazy use of zoom. Hardly any cutting (and boy, did it need it!). Two cameras (unless they were really cheap and pulled that off with just one, which is likely). This clip brings up a bit of a mystery too: this teaser is drastically different than the one found in a transcription here.
This is a very nice piece of work. The director could do something because it was all outdoors and he could use film instead of those nasty studio-floor videotape cameras:
I love that typical Clemens title too! This teaser also has one:
(I had to use that. It features the lovely Carol Lynley!)
This is a Clemens specialty:
No dialog! Clemens and his other English TV writer counterparts were an education in the rule of shutting up and letting the action speak for itself. (And yet, this teaser is a mystery too; it is quite different than this description.)
Here’s another wordless one:
Clemens liked to write about women in distress.
It’s only fitting to end this with a knock-out punch of a teaser:
That one was probably talked about by caregivers the next day all across the country!