The Reverend Justin Somerton, a scholar of Medieval history, and his protégé Lord Peter Dattering are visiting an Abbey library. Studying a stained glass window they uncover clues leading to a treasure hidden by a disgraced Abbot.
Man of leisure Sir Richard (Edward Petherbridge) receives notification that his Uncle has died, bequeathing him his stately country manor and all its lands. On his return to England he ... See full summary »
Lawrence Gordon Clark
A young orphan, Stephen, is sent to go and live with his strange, much older cousin at his remote country house. Once there, Stephen experiences terrible dreams in which he sees a young girl and boy who are missing their hearts.
Lawrence Gordon Clark
While cataloging the library of Barchester Cathedral, a scholar finds a diary detailing the events surrounding the mysterious death of an Archdeacon some 50 years earlier. The first of the BBC's famed 'A Ghost Story for Christmas'.
After placing his ailing wife Alice (Gemma Jones) in a care home elderly academic James Parkin (Sir John Hurt) goes to stay at a wintry out-of-season hotel which they used to visit together... See full summary »
In order to authenticate some historical papers in a cathedral town, Oxbridge academic Anderson stays at a local hotel in room 12, initially disregarding the lack of a number 13 as ... See full summary »
Horror legend Christopher Lee hosts and narrates a series of four half hour ghost stories all based on stories by M.R. James. 'The Stalls of Barchester', 'The Ash Tree', 'Number 13' and 'A ... See full summary »
A research team from an electronics company move into an old Victorian house to start work on finding a new recording medium. When team member Jill Greeley witnesses a ghost, team director ... See full summary »
The Reverend Justin Somerton (Michael Bryant), a professor of Medieval History, is approached by a former pupil - Lord Peter Dattering (Paul Lavers). Dattering fears that his widowed mother is being exploited by a couple of charlatans posing as mediums and offering her the chance to commune with her late husband. Somerton agrees to attend one of their séances and outwits the fraudsters. Somerton tells Dattering of the research he has been conducting into the history of a monastery and shows him a book which details the exploits of a former Abbot - and of the treasure he is reputed to have hidden somewhere within the catacombs of the monastery. The two find a number of clues to the location of this treasure, not just in the Latin texts but in a stained glass window. They ignore the warning that the treasure is protected by a guardian - shaking Somerton's rational beliefs to the core.Written by
GHOST STORY FOR Christmas: TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS (TV) (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1974) ***
An interestingly historical and enjoyably deductive episode of this yearly series adapted, as were several entries, from an M. R. James short story – which apparently also inspired the Dario Argento production THE CHURCH (1990) – about the search for a treasure hidden away years before in a monastery catacombs. The seekers are a current member of the religious order (Michael Bryant) and his enthusiastic young pupil; the latter's mother often employs the services of a would-be medium to conduct séances with the object of contacting her late husband but, in an early highlight, Bryant exposes the proceedings as a sham by interrogating the spirit – supposedly of a past man of the cloth – in both Latin and French to confirm or disprove his veracity. Their investigation of the treasure's whereabouts take them to a chapel with tell-tale illustrated windows and stony gargoyles seemingly pointing to the hidden loot. Since the clues are given out in the form of Latin riddles or quotations, it can prove somewhat heavy-going at times and the scenes depicting the attacks of the slimy guardian are very hurriedly dealt with, the panic-stricken Bryant being left with the burden of projecting the real horror of what he had in fact confronted. The climax – in which Bryant is about to get his comeuppance by supposedly meeting the abbot face to face while convalescing wheelchair-bound in a garden – takes place off-screen but still provides a satisfyingly creepy coda.
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