(ITC Movie title "Dial A Deadly Number")
Original UK transmission: 1st May 1976
Original US transmission: 18th November 1975
WRITTEN BY: Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: Ian Fordyce
PRODUCED BY: Ian Fordyce
MAIN CAST: Gary Collins (Dave Adams), Gemma Jones (Helen Curry), Beth Morris (Sally Kirby), Linda Liles (Ann Curry), Cavan Kendall (Tim Foster), Peter Schofield (O'Hara), Richard Warner (Baxter), Charles Lamb (Caretaker), Dennis Blanch (Paul Kirby)
Late at night, a man strides up to the front of a large manor house. He heads towards the back entrance and emerges inside, looking carefully about. Seeing no-one around, he heads cautiously up a stairwell, knocks timidly on a door and opens it; suddenly a knife slashes through the darkness and strikes him repeatedly in the chest. He falls to the bottom of the stairs - dead. At the top stands a woman wielding the knife, her nightdress steeped in blood...she screams, but then wakes from her dream. Crying out, she sits upright in her bed, and studies her hands in anguish.
(NOTE: In the movie version this sequence is intercut with extraneous US footage of a figure in a nightdress wandering about the house).
Failed actor Dave Adams unexpectedly gets the opportunity to rebuild his bank balance when a distraught young caller misdials and mistakes him for a psychiatrist. Bluffing it out, Adams arrives at the house to find that the girl Helen is wealthier than he could have imagined. Suggesting that he treat her privately in her home, "Doctor" Adams attends his new patient daily and learns of the recurring nightmare where Helen finds herself steeped in blood after having murdered a man. Despite the disgust shown by his flatmate Tim, Dave insists that there is nothing wrong with the girl and that he is doing no harm, and even becomes involved with Helen's attractive sister Ann. The situation seems perfect, but when several people go missing after having visited the house, Adams begins to wonder if Helen might actually be dangerous. Resolving to drop the facade, he is unable to resist the temptation to play his hand one last time, with devastating consequences.
Gary Collins makes his third and final appearance in Thriller (see also Only A Scream Away and The Double Kill ), and once again it's a corker. The central premise is irresistible, as one wonders just how long the likeable Adams can get away with the deception. Gemma Jones (of The Duchess Of Duke Street fame) as Helen Curry is suitably neurotic-looking and creates a very convincing character. Linda Liles returns in a low-key part following Season Four's Nurse Will Make It Better. The only miscast member of the cast in my opinion is Cavan Kendall as Tim, who does just a bit too much huffing and puffing and looks as if he's on the verge of starvation. This is a minor gripe however, as this is an un-missable episode.
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