(ITC Movie title "Possession")
Original UK transmission: 21st April 1973
Original US transmission: 12th April 1973
WRITTEN BY: Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: John Cooper
PRODUCED BY: John Sichel
MAIN CAST: John Carson (Ray Burns), Joanna Dunham (Penny Burns), Hilary Hardiman (Cecily Rafting), Athol Coats (Mr Filson), James Cossins (Kellet), Richard Aylen (Inspector Miles)
The camera pans across a stretch of countryside and closes in on a large house; inside a radio is tuned to a broadcast concerning Eisenhower. A woman scurries past, and a hand reaches for a carving knife on the kitchen wall. Moments later, the same hand switches off the radio and the woman's body is dragged down a flight of steps into the basement. Whistling the tune of "Greensleeves", the unknown figure gives a curious click of the fingers - upstairs, a blood-spattered calendar reveals the year to be 1953.
Businessman Ray Burns finally achieves a lifelong ambition and moves into a handsome house in the country with his wife Penny. They have barely arrived however when a series of strange disturbances make it appear that the house might be haunted. Shortly after, the body of a woman who had once owned the house is found buried in the cellar, and a medium is called in to investigate. Believing that the spirit of the murdered owner is still wandering the house, Penny becomes increasingly concerned that it is taking over the mind of her husband. However, both the house and the past hold secrets that she cannot begin to imagine.
Well remembered by a lot of people, this first venture into the supernatural may not be an absolute classic but definitely has some chilling moments. The basic idea is ingenious and is kept well-camouflaged until the very end, and there are several good shocks along the way. Hilary Hardiman gives a convincing performance as the medium Cecilia Rafting, and John Carson is excellent in the lead role of Ray Burns (indeed, he would return in Season Three's Come Out Come Wherever You Are). Well worth seeing.
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