(ITC Movie title "Sign It Death")
Original UK transmission: 9th March 1974
Original US transmission: 9th April 1974
WRITTEN BY: Terence Feely based on a story by Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: Shaun O'Riordan
PRODUCED BY: John Sichel
MAIN CAST: Francesca Annis (Tracy Conway), Patrick Allen (Richard Main), Moira Redmond (Janice Main), Edward Judd (Bill Lewis), Gerald James (Barnes), Barry Stanton (Quinn), James Bate (Detective), Sheila Fearn (Prudence Claire), Jackie Tong (Sally), John Arnatt (Mr Robinson), Leon Eagles (Mr Seddon), Jeremy Pearce (Sergeant), Carmen Blanck (Mrs Vinkel), Alan Bennion (Mr Carter), Sonia Graham (Mrs Carter), Lisa Young (Miss Carter), Jimmy Gardner (Caretaker)
In a field a farmer tends some cows, as the camera pans across the landscape to a country house. A husband and wife are seated at a table ready to have dinner, as someone wrestles with a jammed door handle. The door opens and their daughter enters with the meal, but unbeknown to them a figure is concealed behind a curtain, wielding a pair of scissors and listening as they converse. The wife suddenly stares in bewilderment as the intruder appears, and watches in horror as her husband is stabbed before her very eyes. A moment later, she too is struck down and the daughter, terrified, scrambles for the broken door but is unable to escape before the scissors strike again. Slumped over the table in agony, the father falls to the floor, dead. Calmly, the unseen killer replaces a candle on the table and proceeds to tidy up with a vacuum cleaner...
Tracy Conway lives in a romantic fantasy world where a dashing boss sweeps her away to a life of married bliss. But Miss Conway also has a dark side, as becomes evident when she sets her sights on Richard Main, head of the multinational Main Enterprises. Believing that it is her destiny to marry the great man, Tracy schemes her way into the building and becomes his secretary, ruthlessly eliminating any competition she encounters along the way. But at her heels is a detective from the North who believes he recognises her handiwork, and knows the true scale of what she is actually capable of.
This is a great episode, with Francesca Annis in fine form as the starry-eyed romantic Tracy Conway who performs her murderous duties with the same clinical efficiency as her secretarial ones. The whole thing may be a bit on the sexist side, but this was the early 'seventies after all and the same complaint could probably be levelled at every other contemporary program. The direction by Shaun O'Riordan (who handled a whole bundle of episodes) is excellent and full of poignant moments, such as when Prue's screams blare out via the intercom into the busy street but no one hears them, and when the dinner candles are extinguished just after her death. Great stuff.
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