It's Dark Outside: on DVD

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 00:00
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It's Dark Outside - out on DVDIt's Dark Outside is the second series in Granada's cult crime/suspense trilogy featuring the character of Charles Rose. In this format, we see William Mervyn reprising the role of the charismatic Inspector, first introduced in The Odd Man. Although two series of It's Dark Outside were made, the second was thought completely lost until research for this release unearthed two episodes, which still existed on film. Newly transferred, these episodes have been included alongside all those from series one.

Here, we follow the sharp-witted and memorably prickly detective as he tackles a fresh batch of cases. Assisting Rose in Series One is the more amenable DS Swift (played by a sprightly Keith Barron), with John Carson as solicitor Anthony Brand and June Tobin as Brand's journalist wife, Alice. For 1960s television, the subject matter is very edgy, touching into the arenas of racism, wrongful hanging of innocent people, cult sects and gambling addictions. There is even the spectre of adultery, as Swift and Alice find themselves tragically attracted to each other.

Series Two sees Rose verbally sparring with newcomer DS Hunter, formerly of the Kenyan Police (an in-joke, as William Mervyn was born in Kenya), played by cult favourite Anthony Ainley (the 1980s version of The Master from Doctor Who). His girlfriend Claire Martin (Veronica Strong) is also in the mix, whereas Fred Blaine (John Stratton) is a cynical journalist, who Claire looks after like a father.

It’s indeed a big loss having six of these eight Season Two episodes seemingly lost for good. It could have been worse if the two surviving episodes hadn’t materialised.  We get to see the debut episode as this is one of the two saved, allowing us to witness the introductions of the new trio of characters which will support Inspector Rose.

As usual with productions of this era, we get to see some TV heavyweights at early points in their careers.  The casting call includes Aubrey Morris, Diana Coupland, Patrick Newell, James Bolam, John Abineri, Brian Wilde and Sheila Steafal. Unfortunately, some of the lost episodes featured the likes of Oliver Reed, David Hemmings, Judy Parfitt, and Mary Morris, the reality of viewing we can now only dream about.

A lot of nonsense is spoken about this version of the Charles Rose character, which we would subsequently see in the Mr Rose series. In that later format, the character has been released from the formal shackles of being a policeman, so is obviously going to be more relaxed and easy going, regardless of the plotlines that encircle him. In It’s Dark Outside, you cannot expect him to be so jovial. What is definite, having seen both series now, is this is the same character at different periods of his life.

I have previously described Charles Rose as ‘Jason King for the Blue Rinse Set’.  Much as the Jason King series originated out of the earlier Department ‘S’, so Mr Rose derived from The Odd Man and It’s Dark Outside. The parallels continue in so far as the earlier series had a more restrained and formal approach, whereas their self-named sequels both let the shackles off their lead characters.

As historical documents, It’s Dark Outside demonstrates that ITV of the mid-1960s was quite prepared to challenge its audience with some very serious subject matter. The print quality is far from being pristine, but as with all the pinnacles of television, the scripts and the acting elevate the viewing experience far beyond any technical limitations.

It’s Dark Outside is out now from Network Releasing. This three DVD set has a ‘12’ certificate, a running time of 500 minutes approx, and a RRP of £29.99, or get it for less at



William Mervyn as Chief Inspector Charles Rose

Keith Barron as Det Sergeant Swift (Series 1)

John Carson as Anthony Brand (Series 1.01-1.03, 1.05-1.08)

June Tobin as Alice Brand (Series 1)

John Stratton as Fred Blane (Series 2)

Veronica Strong as Claire Martin (Series 2)

Anthony Ainley as Det Sergeant Hunter (Series 2)


Theme Music: Derek Hilton

Script Editor: Marc Brandel

Designer: Roy Stonehouse

Producer: Derek Bennett

A Granada Production


1.01 “The Grim World of the Brothers Tulk”

Does the Brothers Tulk, a musical hall comedy act, hide a macabre secret? Inspector Rose intends to find out.

Guest Starring: Jane Barrett (Joan Tulk), Richard Butler (Arthur Tulk), Aubrey Morris (Harold Tulk), John Comer (Constable), Doris Wellings (Woman in Street 1), Norma Wilson (Woman in Street 2), Bill Croasdale (Constable – Police Station), John Moore (O’Connor), Alick Hayes (Asst Commissioner), Michael Barlow (Det Constable Cowan), Elna Pearl (Sally)

Writer: Andrew Hall

Director: Derek Bennett

Original ITV Transmission: 3 January 1964


1.02 “One Man’s Right”

The Third Annual Conference of Human Rights International is the backdrop for a scheme by the British Union of Nazis to take out Brissac, the guest of honour.

Guest Starring: Ronald Radd (Raoul Brissac), George Pastel (Dimitriades), Wendy Gifford (Justine Clare), Drewe Henley (Joseph), Philo Hauser (Van Lincke), Marigold Sharman (Receptionist), Margaret Elliot (Woman in Bath), Paul Gillard (Fascist), Alick Hayes (Asst Commissioner), John Saunders (Host), Alan Downer (First Reporter), Roy Maxwell (Second Reporter), Vincent Pearce (Head Porter)

Writer: H V Kershaw

Director: Gerard Dynevor

Original ITV Transmission: 10 January 1964


1.03 “Speak Ill of the Living”

A woman confesses to a murder, for which a prostitute was already found guilty and hanged for.

Guest Starring: Patricia Healey (Dolores Dacosta), Godfrey Quigley (Seth Danby), Michael Meacham (Allen Day), Brian Phelan (Scooty Williams), Malcolm Douglas (Wimpole), William Wymar (March), George Ghent (Rogers)

Writer: Marc Brandel

Director: Derek Bennett

Original ITV Transmission: 17 January 1964


1.04 “More Ways of Killing a Cat”

A parcel bomb arrives for Detective Swift, it has a live detonator with a dummy explosive - the first of nine.

Guest Starring: Kenneth Colley (Hammond), Edward Jewesbury (Dr Harvey), Emrys James (Det Sergeant Jones), Diana Coupland (Landlady), Jack Woolgar (Arthur), Wilfred Downing (Taffy), Norman Mitchell (Police Constable Felix), Henry Moxon (Major), Geoffrey Reed (Corporal), Harry Carter (Old Man), Diana Davies (Telephonist), Rex Boyd (Radio Announcer)

Writer: Dennis Woolf

Director: Gerard Dynevor

Original ITV Transmission: 24 January 1964


1.05 “Wake The Dead”

Lucian Claud is a charlatan, conning people out of their cash with promises to contact relatives who have ‘passed over’. Rose thinks there is a link between Claud and a suspicious death.

Guest Starring: Liam Redmond (Swallow), Patrick Newell (Lucian Claud), Noel Hood (Mrs Lamp), Gerald Sim (Wisden), Marie Hopps (Lady Geraldine Mosher), Bill Croasdale (Det Constable Roberts)

Writer: Marc Brandel

Director: Derek Bennett

Original ITV Transmission: 31 January 1964


1.06 “A Room with No View”

Detective Swift discovers a rent racket involving threats to coloured immigrant tenants.

Guest Starring: Nora Nicholson (Julia Rossiter), Tony Steedman (Miller), Aimee Delamain (Maude Rossiter), Charles Hyatt (Alfred de Souza), Donald Eccles (Colonel Westbrook), Jerome Willis (Bobby Bascombe), Dan Jackson (The Leopard)

Writer: Paul Erickson

Director: Gerard Dynevor

Original ITV Transmission: 7 February 1964


1.07 “A Case For Identification”

A racist is using Swift's name and rank to gain the confidence of young foreign girls, but then terrorizes them. Swift needs to clear his name, but has distractions that are compelling.

Guest Starring: James Bolam (Wilfred), Tony Steedman (Miller), Michael Collins (Kletz), John Abineri (Janek), Graham Rigby (Hotel Manager), Bill Croasdale (Det Constable Roberts), Eva Haddon (Meta), Angela Morant (Annette), Liane Aukin (Gina)

Writer: Louis Marks

Director: Derek Bennett

Original ITV Transmission: 14 February 1964


1.08 “You Play the Red and the Black Comes Up”

Rose sends Swift to investigate a casino where it appears Brand has been bouncing cheques, but the trail leads back to Miller.

Guest Starring: Tony Steedman (Miller), Marne Maitland (Chandra Bhutan), Peter Stephens (Club Manager), Roy Maxwell (Croupier)

Writer: Marc Brandel

Director: Derek Bennett

Original ITV Transmission: 21 February 1964


2.01 “The Guilty World of Hosea Pitt”

Pitt’s business is in trouble, and is being encouraged to leave his wife by ‘The Chosen Persons’ sect. Is he being coerced to murder?

Guest Starring: Brian Wilde (Hosea Pitt), Valerie Hanson (Chosen MacDavid), Delena Kidd (Fleure Pitt), Pamela Ann Davy (Ruth Mahl), Anna Stuart (Sarah), Rex Boyd (Sergeant Pritchard)

Writer: Marc Brandel

Director: Derek Bennett

Original ITV Transmission: 26 February 1965

Next Friday 9.40: “Specimens Walk on Their Hind Legs, Too” (2.02)


2.02 “Specimens Walk on Their Hind Legs, Too”


Original ITV Transmission: 5 March 1965


2.03 “Arrangement in Black and White”


Original ITV Transmission: 12 March 1965


2.04 “A Dream of Magic, A Greed of Money”


Original ITV Transmission: 19 March 1965


2.05 “A Slight Case of Matrimony”

George can’t stop marrying women, so how does Rose reign in a serial bigamist?

Guest Starring: Jane Barrett (Joan Blane), Betty Huntley-Wright (Mrs Worthing), John Franklyn-Robbins (George Swallow), Freda Dowie (Martha Singer), Sheila Steafel (Sheila Barrett), Roger Rowland (Kapp)

Writer: Marc Brandel

Director: Derek Bennett

Fight Arranger: V I Wallwork

Original ITV Transmission: 26 March 1965

Next Friday 9.40: “The Party”


2.06 “The Party”


Original ITV Transmission: 2 April 1965


2.07 “The Prevalence of Liars”


Original ITV Transmission: 9 April 1965


2.08 “The Gatling’s Jammed and the Colonel Is Dead”


Original ITV Transmission: 23 April 1965



Last modified on Sunday, 24 March 2013 19:27

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