Tales of the Unexpected Classic TV Show
A series of half-hour dramas originally created by Roald Dahl. The quality of the programmes when originally broadcasted was reflected by their star studded list of performers. Each tale has a twist, often of the macabre.
Tales of the Unexpected Fan Tributes26 Mick from Australia: I'm not sure if this was a TOTU but one episode where a radio broadcaster had a weekly spot reading a tale and he kept getting calls to stop or something would happen! Can anyone help as to what this was called - terrifying and brilliant.
25 Ian from Doncaster: My dad once said that while they were building the motorway near here in the early 1970's, they filmed an episode on the unopened road about a ghost hitchhiker or similar. Apparently you could see our old house in the episode too. Any idea which this episode may be? Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
24 Greg Dixon from Galax VA. USA: I wish someone would help me with this. The episode I most remember was one in which this girl had something like a T.V. upstairs in the attic that talked to her and told her to get parts to complete the set. She had a cat that got into the attic and was killed by the T.V. monster, and at the end of the episode it turned out that aliens were using the girl to make a portal so they could come thru. Does anyone remember this? It is driving me crazy trying to find it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
23 Terry from Largs, Scotland: As a young boy my Mother allowed me to stay up late to watch this original, yet very cleverly written TV series. I recently purchased the box set, and it brings back fond memories of cold winter nights at home watching this enchanting though at times disturbing show. I am at episode 23 just now out of 112, and I agree with the American girl. So far the Landlay episode is my favourite. Sinister and authentic in its simplistic presentation. Why can't TV be original and creative like this anymore. Thanks Terry.
22 Steve Godrich from Swansea: I loved this show while growing up. Now I've grown up, I have all the DVDs, set up a forum to discuss the show and try and watch an episode or two as and when I get time.
A few points:
Roy from Norwich, the last two episodes you describe are "The House that Dripped Blood" and "The Thirteenth Reunion" from Hammer House of Horror.
The lady dancing in the titles is Karen Standley.
Luke from Hartlepool, the episode is called "Fat Chance".
Jo from Newport, that doesn't sound like a TOTU episode.
My own favourite episode? "The Eavesdropper"
21 Roland Rae from Wilmslow: Love the show very much, got all the DVD's, best show for me was 'Moles a Cracker'
20 Jo from Newport: I think most of the episodes are pretty good but there is one scene from one episode that scared me to death. It was right at the end and there was a man sitting at the opposite end of the table dead, he had been in the freezer I think, he had a yellow shirt on and the woman sitting opposite him I think was holding his hands across the table suddenly looked up at him and started screaming. I've no idea which episode that was though.
19 musa sa'id from kano,nigeria: You can never predict what happens next
18 sue from blackpool lancshire: the dancing lady is a friend of mine she lives in blackpool she still dancing
17 Lola from Sheffield: Does anyone actually know who the dancing lady was at the begining of the programme??
16 webb from essex: awesome series, love parsons pleasure and flypaper, much better than tv nowadays, go buy the boxset
15 paul from USA: Can anyone tell me how the intro line goes ,"A wise man believes half of what he sees... and expect the un expected."??
14 shelley from redditch: my favourite episodes the fly paper, the landlady to name a few brillient tv
13 Barry Stewart from Brisbane: Show I saw was a newspaper man wanting to feel what it would be like to be sentenced to death row. But lose contact with his people controlling his situation.
12 Jackie chapman from Norwich: Sir john mills in the epsoide the umberella man
11 Caroline from London: Just as a follow up to the message left by Roy Wright from Norfolk. One of the episodes wasn't a Tales of the Unexpected. It was called The House That Bled To Death and was one of the Hammer House Of Horror TV series shown in the 80's. I picked it up on DVD a couple of months ago.
10 Roy Wright from Norfolk: There are so many moments from the series that spring to mind. Certainly the first episode, where the guy bets his little finger against the Jag that he can light his lighter 10 times in a row. The weird house where (I think) Nicholas Ball pretends the house is haunted in order to write and promote a book, as a kid it freaked me when the blood spurts out of the pipework. Oh yeah, and the werewolves convention. Wasn't there one where a group of cannibals get together for a meal and "invite" the main course?
9 LUKE FORSTER from HARTLEPOOL: THIS SERIES IS SO ORIGINAL AND A BIG PART OF MY CHILDHOOD. MY FAVOURITE ONE, UNFORTUNATELY I DONT KNOW THE TITLE BUT IT STARS ANTHONY VALENTINE AND HE ATTEMPTS TO POISON HIS WIFE SO HE INJECTS POISON INTO A BOX OF CHOCOLATES. A VERY ODD, SURREAL ATMOSPHERE.
8 Tiwanna Ellerbe from United States of America: I LOVED this series when I first saw it back in the early 1980's, the first episode I saw being "Royal Jelly". I am a huge fan of Sir Derek Jacobi, who was in two of my favorites: "Skin" and "Stranger in Town". I also love Bud Cort, who was in "Nothin' Short of Highway Robbery," which I didn't ever get to see. Sigh.... How I wish I could get my hands on copies of those 3 episodes! I do have 1 and 3/4 of the Jacobi ones, (as I, sadly and accidentally, erased the first 5 minutes of "Stranger") but am having a hard time finding the Bud Cort one. Hopefully, "Tales of the Unexpected" will be made available for sale to the US home video market, or be re-broadcast on a regular or some cable TV station. I really do miss this series!
7 Jeremy Donald from Glasgow, sunny Scotland: Surely the best was the one where Joan Collins gets her head stuck in a Barbara Hepworth style sculpture, and after much to-ing and fro-ing, someone comes up with the novel idea of freeing her head by chopping it off with an axe! Also, who else was frightened by the Royal Jelly one?
6 Stephen M from New York: My favorite is "Shatterproof" as Eli Wallach brilliantly turns his own murder by a hired gun into the elimination of the contractor of the hit. The ending 'twist' is exceptional.
"Taste" is a superb close second - view them both!
5 Peter Weatherley from Camberley, Surrey: My favourite episode is Parson's Pleasure. John Gielgud is an absolute delight to watch as he poses as a Vicar, and goes door-to-door on the lookout for antiques which he can snap up cheaply. He finds a very valuable piece at a farm and tricks the owner(Bernard Miles)into selling it for a few pounds because, he claims, he "might be able to use the legs." He goes off to quicky phone his contact at an antique shop and then returns to the farm to find that the owner and his sons have cut the antique to pieces! They hold up the legs and smile broadly at the phony Parson as he emerges from his car. The look of complete horror on Gielgud's face is a picture. The music in this episode is delightful too. A really lovely story by Roald Dahl.
4 paul from Hull , Yorkshire: I remember Tales of the unexpected even though I am only 28.
The moment I remember is when a conman disguised as a vicar tells some old brothers that their side board is only worth pence however he wants to buy it just for the legs he tell them (the item really is priceless and has being missing for years) so he agrees a price with them he says I will get the car if you lot would be good enough to get it out the house for me. So he gets the car as they struggle to get this thing out of their old farm house so they get fed up and when the con man gets out of his car all four of them are each holding a leg up and smiling (what they have cut off) the conman seeing this has an heart attack.
3 Micaela from Italy: The BEST and most frightening tale was certainly THE LANDLADY, from a Roald Dahl short story!! It's probably the scariest tale ever and the filmed version in the TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED with its disturbing atmosphere cannot be compared!!!
2 julian smith from warlingham,surrey: the best episode was blue marigold starring Toyah Willcox
Its Toyahs silver jubilee this year,how about dedicating a special night to her?
1 Rebecca Smith from Manchester: I love the series, as it reminds me of my childhood - I was allowed to watch the begining titles of the dancing lady because I loved the theme tune, and then I had to go to bed! There is nothing better than watching Tales of The Unexpected on a winter's night with the lights turned down, the fire glowing brightly and a plate of cinnamon toast to eat.
Tales of the Unexpected
A host of stars from the U.K and America.
Telly Savalas, Sharon Gless, Michael Brandon, Glynis Barber, Don Johnson, Eli Wallach, Sir John Mills, Sir John Gielgud, Janet Leigh, Joan Collins, Sir Ian Holm, Peter Cushing, Joseph Cotten, George Peppard, Van Johnson and Leslie Caron.
Tales of the Unexpected won the 1980 Edagr Allan Poe award for best TV show.
If you know of a web site for Tales of the Unexpected, or run a fan site, tell us about it here.
Click here for more Tales of the Unexpected Memorabilia at Amazon.
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