Tales of the Unexpected: Season 2, Episode 2

Skin (8 Mar. 1980)

TV Episode  |   |  Horror, Thriller
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 71 users  
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In post-war Paris Drioli, an elderly down-and-out, sees a painting for sale by his old friend Soutine, who is now a best-selling artist. Thirty years earlier Soutine tattooed a portrait of ... See full summary »



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Title: Skin (08 Mar 1980)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Himself - Introduced by
Lucy Gutteridge ...
Donald Pickering ...
Gallery Owner
Teris Hebrew ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Webb


In post-war Paris Drioli, an elderly down-and-out, sees a painting for sale by his old friend Soutine, who is now a best-selling artist. Thirty years earlier Soutine tattooed a portrait of Drioli's wife onto his back and it has become extremely valuable. But it is on his back and therefore worthless. How come it is eventually on public exhibition? Written by don @ minifie-1

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Horror | Thriller

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8 March 1980 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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OK tale of the unexpected.

Tales of the Unexpected: Skin is set in Paris during April, 1946 where 61 year old Russian tattooist Drioli (Derek Jacobi) is a penniless tramp walking the streets & searching trash cans for food, then he notices a painting by his Russian friend Soutine (Boris Isarov) which is being sold for 1000's of Francs. Drioli has an idea because in 1913 he managed to convince his friend Soutine to tattoo a painting on his back of his wife Josie (Lucy Gutteridge), the tattooed painting is worth a fortune but what use it is when it's on his back? Unusual situations call for unusual solutions...

Episode 2 from season 2 this Tales of the Unexpected story originally aired here in the UK during March 1980, the third of nine episodes from the series to be directed by Herbert Wise I didn't think Skin was anything special & was rather disappointed with it. The story by Roald Dahl was dramatised by Robin Chapman & has a decent central premise but nothing is made of it, the twist at the end is very abrupt & not that satisfying & the build up is rather laboured & dull as it seems to take an age to get where it's going & at only 25 minutes in length this should not drag or feel dull. I didn't like any of the character's, the dialogue is sometimes hard to make out since everyone is trying to speak with a French accent & Skin is one of the more disappointing Tales of the Unexpeced stories based on a work by Dahl.

I usually criticise Tales of the Unexpected for being so blandly made but I have to hold my hands up here & say Skin is easily the best looking Tales of the Unexpected episode I've so far, it was shot entirely on film (probably 16mm) so it looks good, it was obviously shot on location in France so that helps & the 40's period detail like costumes & cars are well realised so this actually has a cinematic quality to it which is something I never thought I'd say about a Tales of the Unexpected episode! Unusually for a Tales of the Unexpected episode Skin has some skin in it, to be more specific Josie gets her breasts out & Soutine has a fondle as you would... The cast is good as usual with Derek Jacobi the obvious stand out.

Skin is probably the best looking Tales of the Unexpected episode I've seen but the story is lacking with a very rushed twist ending which Dahl actually narrates just to speed things up even more, the story had potential but it's not realised here I'm afraid. This could have been really good.

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