IMDb > "Thriller" The Next Victim (1976)

"Thriller" The Next Victim (1976)

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Overview

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Director:
Writer:
Brian Clemens (writer)
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
17 April 1976 (Season 6, Episode 2)
Genre:
Plot:
A woman confined to a wheelchair is terrorized by a sadistic killer. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
No escape See more (4 total) »

Cast

 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)

Carroll Baker ... Sandy Marshall

T.P. McKenna ... Frampton
Ronald Lacey ... Bartlett
Maurice Kaufmann ... Derek Marshall
Max Mason ... Tom Packer
Ian Gelder ... Small
Brenda Cavendish ... Betty Tyler
Martin Benson ... Spiros Lemke
Anita Sharp-Bolster ... Mrs. Bluther
Paul Haley ... Doctor

Andrea Allan ... Janet Cunningham
Martin Fisk ... Mr. Sheldon
Dorothea Phillips ... Mrs. Firth-Benham
Harold Bennett ... Blind Man
Sally Harrison ... Joyce
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patsy Dermott ... Barbara
Alan Gerrard ... Mr. Firth-Benham
Felicity Harrison ... Mrs. Adams
Margo Reid ... Laura Lemke
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Episode Crew
Directed by
James Ormerod 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Brian Clemens  writer

Produced by
Ian Fordyce .... producer
 
Editorial Department
Peter Charles .... video tape editor
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
No escape, 16 February 2005
Author: all-briscoe (ab001j6152@blueyonder.co.uk) from Lancashire, England

This is an episode of "Thriller" from its sixth and final season. By this time the show was displaying signs of fatigue and it comes through in the uneven quality of this installment. All the same it is good fare and rather better than initial impressions might suggest.

Sandy Marshall is an American woman married to a successful British insurance agent. She is also confined to a wheelchair after a terrible accident in which her new sports car crashed. A heatwave has hit Britain but she is less than delighted. She cannot get out of her flat and her husband has gone away on business, leaving her alone. A number of local women have been strangled and she is very anxious. She tries to reassure herself but without success. Her friend Betty offers support and promises to meet her for a drink. However Betty never arrives and Sandy fears the worst. A visit from a personable neighbour, Tom, seems to offer protection - or does it?

The story premise above promises a very gripping tale but doesn't quite deliver. Essentially it is a "whodunit", not unlike the earlier "If It's a Man, Hang Up!" but lacks the latter's quality, never quite seizing the imagination. However there is much more there than might first be apparent. The final part of the story, mostly occupied by Sandy and Tom, is very good as both characters slowly lose their composure while the police finally feel they have their man. The conclusion is quite clever and delivers a fine twist which within a stronger episode would have been even more satisfying. It is spoiled a little though by a strange final shot which doesn't really wrap up events properly.

Characters and acting performances are quite good without reaching any heights. Tom Packer, well conveyed by Max Mason, is probably most interesting as Sandy's neighbour. Tom appears very friendly but there is more to him than meets the eye. He is capable of great perception, offering some powerful, if discomforting insights on her accident. His mother was confined to a wheelchair and this provides a bond between him and Sandy. However it does make him anxious and at times disturbing.

Bartlett, the caretaker (or janitor as he is referred to throughout in deference to the Americans!), is very intriguing and an obvious suspect. Not only is he lazy, not attending to problems in the building, but he has a disturbing fixation on mothers and babies, covering his office with pictures of them cut from magazines. A very creepy character very well-acted by Ronald Lacey. This role isn't dissimilar to the suspect caretaker in "If It's a Man" but is a rather more sinister figure.

TP McKenna, who appeared in the very first outing of "Thriller" returned, this time as the detective Frampton. The show almost always portrayed detectives in eccentric, somewhat ambiguous, lights and this is no exception. Frampton seems happy to let his assistant do almost all the work while he lounges around, scoffing at the "police college" theories offered. However he does hit on some smart insights. Not memorable but still interesting - like the story in general.

Carroll Baker as Sandy must have been one of the biggest American names to star in the show. She does a good job as the vulnerable and anxious Sandy. However she doesn't convey the same warmth and therefore inspire the same feeling as other "Thriller" "damsels-in-distress". Brenda Cavendish, best known for her part as Nell in the fifth series of "Public Eye", does well as Sandy's friend Betty.

The direction (by James Ormerod) and music are well up to the usual high standard. Altogether a capable if not outstanding outing which might have been more successful with better casting and a little improvement in the writing. Omitting the dreadfully wooden news reports would certainly have helped!

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