Chiller TV series on DVD

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 00:00

Yorkshire Television decided to take a bite into the genre of horror anthology with this series from 1995. Not being one of the ‘big hitting’ networks, its negotiating powers on scheduling for what was a new series were not exactly overbearing. You can see from our episode guide below that its meagre five episodes took eight weeks to be transmitted.  After getting its first two episodes screened over consecutive weeks, the last three were shown every other week.  You can imagine the parlour game of the time: “Guess when Chiller is on”.

The era it came from was that of the dawn of The X Files. You can only be stumped by the schedulers not seeing the potential for audience cross-over – albeit anthologies have the disadvantage of no regular characters for a dedicated audience to become fanatical about. That said, for a series that is a set of self-contained 50 minutes stories, its characterisations and performances are some of its best assets.

Chiller - almost forgotten but now on DVDThe writers are admirable as well – we have friend of Cult TV Stephen Gallagher contribute a pair of scripts – you’ll know him from the likes of Crusoe, Eleventh Hour, Oktober and Bugs. Also weighing in with a brace of episodes is Anthony Horowitz, he of Foyle’s War, Murder In Mind, Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Crime Traveller and Anna Lee. Weighing in to word the other episode is Glenn Chandler, who cut his teeth on Crown Court, Angels and Dramarama, and went on to Taggart, and Dalziel and Pascoe.

The cast list is impressive across the series with John Simm of Life on Mars fame, Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), Sophie Ward (Heartbeat), Nigel Havers (Dangerfield) and Kevin R McNally (Dad) all taking a turn.

Chiller also features the direction and production talents of Lawrence Gordon Clark – best known for his direction of the BBC’s classic Ghost Story for Christmas thread during the early 1970s. All in all, this is an interesting long-lost series, tightly produced and performed, and with a twist in many of the tales. It’s a  shame the team was only allowed a handful of episodes, as for the time it really did push the envelope, particularly in its use of children in its plots.  And, for once, the little nippers live up to the expectancy of acting craft required of them.

 

Chiller is a two DVD set, with a running time of 250 minutes approx, an ’18’ certificate, and a RRP of £20.41, or less, and available exclusively from the Network online shop.

 

CHILLER – EPISODE GUIDE

 

01. PROPHECY

A woman takes part in a séance with some friends. Five years later, disaster begins to overtake them. Can she discover the source of the destructive power?

Starring: Sophie Ward (Francesca Monsanto), Nigel Havers (Oliver Halkin), Fergus O'Donnell (Jonathan Mountjoy), Adam Levy (Sebastian Holland), Zienia Merton (Maria Monsanto), Tony Haygarth (Father Spode), Matthew Eggleton (Max Gabriel), Kate Isitt (Meredith Minns), Victoria Alcock (Phoebe Hawkins), Samantha Holland (Susie Verbeeten), Tom Piccin (Edward Halkin), Mark Aiken (Declan O'Hare).

Writer: Stephen Gallagher; Story by Peter James

Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark

Original ITV Transmission: 9 March 1995

 

02. TOBY

A pregnant woman loses her unborn child in a car crash. On becoming pregnant again, she is convinced that she is haunted by his malignant spirit.

Starring: Serena Gordon (Louise Knight), Martin Clunes (Ray Knight), Rosemary Leach (Mrs Leslie), Ralph Nossek (Mr Canfield), Alan David (Dr Getty), Brigitte Kahn (Dr Rawlings).

Writer: Glenn Chandler

Director: Bob Mahoney

Original ITV Transmission: 16 March 1995

 

03. MIRROR MAN

A young homeless man is compelled by a mysterious friend to murder the elderly social worker who is trying to help him.

Starring: Phyllis Logan (Anna Spalinsky), John Simm (Gary Kingston), Paul Reynolds (Michael), Rebecca Callard (Sonja), Alex Knight (Ronnie), Anna Keaveney (Wendy Francis), Mark Arden (Johnny), Matthew Scurfield (Trevor), Cheryl Maiker (Michelle), Christopher Routh (Boy), Caroline O'Neill (Estate Agent).

Writer: Stephen Gallagher

Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark

Original ITV Transmission: 30 March 1995

 

04. THE MAN WHO DIDN’T BELIEVE IN GHOSTS

A writer who regards the supernatural with cynicism moves into a supposedly haunted house. He sets out to prove ghosts do not exist.

Starring: Liz Whiting (Maggie), Tobias Saunders (Matthew Cramer), Mel Martin (Sophie Cramer), Miles Anderson (Peter Walker), Peter Egan (Richard Cramer), Angela Rippon (TV Presenter), Romy Baskerville (Jane Cross), Jon Harding (Charles), Helen Caldwell (Rosemary Walker).

Writer: Anthony Horowitz

Director: Rob Walker

Original ITV Transmission: 13 April 1995

 

05. NUMBER SIX

In Helsby, a small Yorkshire town, police are desperately searching for the child killer who strikes at full moon.

Starring: Kevin R McNally (Jack Taylor), Don Warrington (John Mayburne), Sara Griffiths (Helen Bradbury), Kate Rutter (Mrs Brownslowe), John McEnery (Mr Keegan), Barbara Ewing (Mrs Keegan), Victoria Scarborough (Janet), Gillian Bevan (Mary Watkinson), Lorraine Ashbourne (Susan Taylor), Patrick McGuire (Johnny Taylor), Maggie O'Neill (Emma Holman).

Writer: Anthony Horowitz

Director: Rob Walker

Original ITV Transmission: 27 April 1995

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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