Murder In Mind
BBC 2001 - 2003
TX : 22nd April 2001
Director : Coky Gledroyc
Script : Anthony Horowitz

Cast : David Suchet (Edward Palmer), Gillian Kearney (Catrin Palmer), Richard Ridings (Detective Chief Inspector Quarry), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Detective Sergeant McCorkindale), James McAvoy (Martin Vosper), Mark Letheren (Jack Seddon), Kiran Dadlani (Jan), Paul Chahidi (Mike Stott), Delon Watson (Carol), Shenagh Govan (Mrs Wilson), Joanne Unwin (The Reporter) and Stanley Kaye (The News Vendor).

Publicity : They are words that have escaped all our lips under duress - "I could have killed him!". But just what does it take to drive apparently ordinary human beings to murder someone else? That is the thrust behind a unique collection of dramas which take viewers on a journey into the psyches of a disparate collection of killers. The star-packed season of films, Murder In Mind explores this ultimate crime through the eyes of the murderer and asks not whodunnit? by whydunnit?.

"Murder should be about murderers," insists series creator Anthony Horowitz. "So our first rule was that the killer should take up most screen time. That's why I knew we would attract the best talent - the murd8erer is the star - not just the plot mechanism". Each of the seven stories in the first series boasts a nail-biting script with breathtaking twists and turns, plus some of the cream of British acting talent. "They all turn in virtuoso performances," says Anthony. "We can spend a lot of time on screen with one person which is very appealing to an actor. Given another twenty minutes tacked on to any of these dramas and they could be put into the cinema - they are feature films for busy people".

The BBC's Controller of Continuing Drama Series, Mal Young, promises that viewers will be in for a weekly treat. "Every script is a roller-coaster ride where you are kept wondering what's round the next bend. Murder In Mind feels very fresh because we have broken the convention that the same characters come back each week," he says. "It's like a Play For Today. Viewers love to play the game of guessing how a story's going to end and not be able to second-guess the script. They love seeing their favourite stars doing something different. The willingness of those big names to take part in these films is a tribute to the talent of our writers - we never got turned down". Series producer Paul Knight agrees. "These are riveting, good yarns with chunky, challenging parts for major actors. Everyone gets a touch of the voyeur about a juicy murder, but there is a warning in the title - these are strong meat and not for the overly squeamish!". Anthony Horowitz - who wrote three of the scripts in the first series - explains that each story takes a totally different tack.

"There are episodes where you see the murder in front of your eyes, but you don't know it's happened. There is a murder that seems totally motiveless and a couple where you even have sympathy for the murderer. We quickly realised that the variations on our theme are almost limitless. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg in the variations we can do. There is a wonderful sense of liberation in these pieces because our writers, directors and stars have been given enormous freedom". Adds Mal Young: "In this first series we have already stretched the concept from the darkness of Vigilante, about the killing of a suspected paedolphile, to Neighbours, which is a wonderful black comedy. The question we ask is, `What would make you want to kill someone?' and we often don't know if the police will solve the crime, or even be involved. If they are, then they are seen entirely from the point of view of the killer - and to a killer, a policeman is God". (Paul Knight Productions Publicity)

Synopsis :
Edward Palmer is a respected headmaster. One night, a minor indiscretion on a council estate leads to the accidental death of a young man. A witness who knows who he is then starts blackmailing him.

TX : 29th April 2001
Director : Nick Jones
Script : Stephen Leather

Cast : Steve McFadden (Joe Waterman), Keith Allen (James Napeworth), Sharon Maiden (Sandra Waterman), Ryan Philpott (Angus Thompson), James Puddephatt (Frank), Gary Lammin (Roger), William Vanderpuye (The Station Officer), Charles Haydn and Nadia Cameron-Blakey (The Detectives), Richard Douglas (The Estate Agent), Jimmy Loughnane (Eric) and Frederic Otchere (Jimmy).

Publicity : Through the eyes of the killer, Murder In Mind explores the psychology of the darkest and most compelling of human crimes. In each of these chilling, self-contained stories, the viewer is led to the edge of an abyss and told to step into the unknown. What is it like to kill? What drives a person to such extremes? And what it is like to live with the knowledge of what you have done? (BBC Publicity)

Synopsis :
After discovering his wife is having an affair, fireman Joe Waterman makes contact with a mysterious man who offers to solve all his problems - with a gun. But when their carefully crafted plan begins to go wrong, Joe finds himself the prime suspect in a double murder case.

TX : 6th May 2001
Director : Frank W Smith
Script : Anthony Horowitz

Cast : Reece Dinsdale (Michael Davies), Susannah Harker (Barbara Davies), David Ross (Detective Chief Inspector Edwards), Angela McHale (Detective Sergeant Harrison), Clare Matthews (Dana Goodhew), Josie Kidd (Sheila Matthews), Christopher Driscoll (Sam), Kate David (Mary Goodhew), Steve Wickham (Derek), Matthew Odell (Jack), Sophie Trott (Sandra), Martine Niven (The Secretary), James Curran (The Vicar) and Jon Croft (Mr Mather).

Synopsis : When Michael and Barbara's babysitter comes back downstairs from putting their baby to bed, Michael stabs her. The police are not convinced by their story of a break-in, but what motive could there be for killing an innocent teenager?

TX : 20th May 2001
Director : Ferdinand Fairfax
Script : Anthony Horowitz

Cast : Timothy West (Doctor William Collins), Judy Parfitt (Margaret Collins), John Gordon-Sinclair (Bannister), Veronica Lang (Alice Young), Nicholas Sidi (Graham Oakes), Lucy Black (Sarah Collins), Michael Medwin (Doctor Whitfield), David Quilter (Robert Fraser), Linda George (Karen) and Tony Longhurst (The Driver).

Synopsis : County General Practitioner Doctor William Collins agrees to assist in his wife's suicide after she suddenly develops symptoms suggesting a rare brain disease. However, when Detective Chief Inspector Bannister investigates, the cracks begin to show and a terrible truth is exposed.

TX : 3rd June 2001
Director : Frank W Smith
Script : Stephen Leather

Cast : Ian Kelsey (Liam Taylor), Tim Healy (Detective Chief Inspector Duggan), Alan Stocks (Jack Dobbs), Tom Goodman-Hill (David), Andrew Barrow (Henderson), Sarah Preston (Sandra), Dorothy Atkinson (Julie), John Macaulay (The Sergeant), Archie Panjabi (Women's Police Constable Jill evans), Russell Richardson (Police Constable Williams), Robert Hudson (The Landlord), Anthony Taylor (Scene Of Crime Officer), Barbara Edwards (Mrs Henderson) and Jackie Fielding (Mrs Evans).

Synopsis : One night, after a heavy drinking session, Liam Taylor becomes involved in the murder of a suspected paedophile. But Liam is a policeman, and when he is assigned to assist Detective Chief Inspector Colin Duggan on the case, he sees a chance to stay one step ahead of the game.

TX : 10th June 2001
Director : Ferdinand Fairfax
Script : Simon Sharkey

Cast : Kevin Whately (Nigel Liddy), Caroline Goodall (Joanne Liddy), John Thomson (Alan Squires), Denise Van Outen (Debra Squires), Mirren Delaney (Sue), Stewart Wright (Steve), Seela Indrani (Kate), Kammy Darweish (David), Jon Cartwright (Glen), Scott Chisholm (Craig Squires) and James Lyden (Dean Squires).

Synopsis : A man considers the ultimate solution to the problem of his selfish, inconsiderate neighbours. The lives of a suburban couple are blighted by the arrival next door of a brash, Conservative-voting couple - and a dangerous siege mentality begins to develop.

TX : 17th June 2001
Director : David Innes Edwards
Script : Guy Burt

Cast : Keeley Hawes (Deborah), Scot Williams (David), Ed Stoppard (James Hillier), Ginny Holder (Caroline), Claire Price (Corrie), Nitin Ganatra (Riaz Chowdry), Christopher Good (Doctor Tate) and John Gilmour (The Restaurant Manager).

Synopsis :
Postgraduate student Deborah's sleep is interrupted by inexplicable bouts of sleepwalking, and after consulting a psychologist, she becomes convinced that her boyfriend James is having an affair. Following a blazing confrontation, James storms out, and the following morning Deborah awakes to find a blood-splattered claw-hammer lying beside her in bed.

TX : 5th January 2002
Director : Gerry Poulson
Script : Simon Sharkey

Cast : Pauline Quirke (Jane Saunders), Mark Womack (Stephen Croft), Angela Ridgeon (Michelle Croft), Lucy Davis (Kerry), Rebecca Egan (Lisa), Racheal Joseph (Meg), Perry Blanks (The Security Guard) and Jeremy Nicholas (Mr Green).

Synopsis :
A lonely spinster falls in love with her married boss and decides to remove the competition by murdering a co-worker and framing the boss' wife for the crime. After the wife is convicted, the boss leaves the company, presenting the spinster with another unfortunate dilemma.

TX : 26th January 2002
Director : Frank W Smith
Script : J C Wilsher

Cast : Rob Brydon (Barry Coates), Geraldine Somerville (Angela Coates), Steven Pacey (Alex Cunningham), Helen Pearson (Sophie Cunningham), Kate Crutchley (Ma), Kenneth Hadley (Pa), Alan Graves (Matthew Cunningham), Eric Graves (Simon Cunningham), Estelle Williams (The Executive), Anthony Mark Barrow (Police Constable Morgan), Blair Plant (Detective Inspector Curry) and Syreeta Kumar (Detective Sergeant Sita Wickes).

Synopsis :
A man's comfortable life is turned upside down when he learns of the adulterous affair between his wife and brother-in-law. Rather than destroy his current cosy domestic setup, he opts for drastic action, and plots to commit the perfect murder.

TX : 2nd March 2002
Director : David Innes Edwards
Script : Anthony Horowitz

Cast : Neil Dudgeon (Edward Buttimore), Annette Crosbie (Rose Buttimore), Maggie O'Neill (Samantha Johnstone), Ross Boatman (Detective Sergeant Pryce), Raffaello Degruttola (Standring), Guy Scantlebury (Gareth Johnstone), Naoko Mori (Naomi), Philip Bird (Frank), Barbara Bolton (Jean), Polly Nayler (Gail Stephens), Timothy Gleed (Michael Johnstone) and Jack Cooper (Charlie Johnstone).

Synopsis :
Bachelor Edward Buttimore becomes involved in an argument with another driver that has life-changing consequences for all involved.

Swan Song
TX : 20th March 2002
Director : Frank W Smith
Script : Anthony Horowitz

Cast : Samantha Robson (Tara Stevens), Danny Webb (Derek Stevens), Michael Greco (Mark White), Jessie Birdall (Detective Superintendent Mike Garrett), Jemma Churchill (Detective Sergeant Jane Shepherd), Colin McFarlane (Ray Marker), William Ely (Euan Davies), Arthur White (Harry), Kim Evans (Vicki) and Zac Benoir (Doctor).

Synopsis :
A nightclub singer urges her lover to murder her unpleasant but rich husband. A series of clues quickly leads the police to conclude the lover's guilt and he is convicted. But it later transpires that the detective leading the case and the singer were in a relationship all along, and when the lover is killed in jail, the singer realises she has bitten off more than she can chew.

TX : 23rd March 2002
Director : Ferdinand Fairfax
Script : Anthony Horowitz and Stephen Leather

Cast : Nigel Havers (Nicholas Chadwick), Art Malik (Paul Asher), Patsy Kensit (Angela Stephenson), Jamie Foreman (Stuart Jackson), David Hemmings (James Hendon), Lisa Stevenson (Louise Jackson), Laura Rees (Rebecca Harvey), Terry Burns (Duncan), Sakuntala Ramanee (Doctor Alia Hussein), James Smith (Doctor Filbin), Christopher Adamson (Detective Stetford), Olivier Pierre (Judge Penrose) and Harry Eden (David Jackson).

Synopsis : A murdering barrister frames one of his clients.

TX : 6th April 2002
Director : Audrey Cooke
Script : Guy Burt

Cast : Neil Stuke (Colin Edwardson), Camilla Power (Emily Stapleford), Frances Grey (Lucy Slater), Lachelle Carl (Doctor Ringfield), Marc Small and Alice Selwyn (Police Officers), Sarah Edwardson (The Murder Victim) and Julian Protheroe (The Television News Anchor).

Synopsis :
A struggling playwright turned landlord becomes a murder suspect when two of his female tenants, Lucy and Emily, grow suspicious of his behaviour. Lucy's anxiety is heightened when personal items disappear from her room, and she begins to keep a diary of Colin the landlord's movements. Meanwhile, Emily tries to calm Lucy down and makes an effort to befriend Colin.

TX : 20th April 2002
Director : Nick Jones
Script : Stephen Leather

Cast : Neil Pearson (Stuart Wilshedr), Anne Stallybrass (Mary Wilsher), Rebecca Lacey (Jenny Wilsher), Bella Enahoro (Doctor Anna Redford), Amelia Lowdell (Young Mary Wilsher), Rob Spendlove (Richard Croft), Bernard Gallagher (Jimmy Greenham), Jackie Fielding (The Female Detective), Mark Leadbetter (The Male Detective), Nicholas Hoult (Andrew Wilsher), Ewan Cameron (Jake Wilsher) and Heather Cameron (Sarah Wilsher).

Synopsis :
A successful paediatric surgeon is tormented by a recurring dream in which a young boy meets his death after being pursued through dense woodland by a faceless individual. His wife persuades him to see psychiatric help - but nothing can prepare him for the shocking memories he recalls from his early childhood.

TX : 28th May 2002
Director : Gerry Poulson
Script : Simon Sharkey

Cast : Dennis Waterman (Ken Grendle), Tony Haygarth (Dave Bowring), Matthew Marsh (Brian Balfour), Samantha Beckinsale (Christine), Raymond Waring (Perry), Caroline Lee Johnson (Ms Rosser), Phil Cornwell (Jim Broutaby) and Kim Taylforth (Audrey Grendle).

Synopsis :
Ken Grendle, a hard-working businessman, pleads with his bank for financial assistance, but to no avail. When attempts to recoup his losses from a regular customer come to nothing, he finds himself planning the ultimate revenge.

TX : 25th January 2003
Director : Coky Giedroyc
Script : Anthony Horowitz

Cast : James Wilby (Daniel Morton / Sir Richard Morton), Tara Fitzgerald (Elizabeth Morton), Paul Rhys (Matthew Hopkins), Matt Bardock (Charles Merrick), Jasper Britton (George Blakeney), Kate Magowan (Eloiose Duvall), Ann Ogborno (Ella), Martin Jenkins (David Lewis), Joanna Scanlan (Diana Spearman), Peter Gordon (Registrar), Andrew Rajan (Dan Wetherall), Jeremy Young (Guest) and Tina Martin (Mrs Wilson).

Synopsis :
When a nineteenth-century skeleton is discovered in the garden of a couple's new home, the woman becomes sure the house is haunted and starts investigating the circumstances of the death, with the help of a psychic.

TX : 2nd February 2003
Director : Frank W Smith
Script : J C Wilsher

Cast : Gary Kemp (Jamie Holt), Gaynor Faye (Alyson Holt), Phil Davis (Chaz Hadley), Gary McDonald (Jed Culshaw), Charlotte Avery (Nadine Hadley) and Bruce McGregor (Wayne Dugdale).

Synopsis : An escaped convict with a new life and family is tempted by an old friend. He offers him enough money to clear his debts if he'll kill a man suspected of having an affair with the friend's wife.

TX : 16th February 2003
Director : Gerry Poulson
Script : Gregory Evans

Cast : Neil Morrissey (Stephen Kite), Natasha Little (Hat Vezey), Barbara Flynn (Grace Fisher), Edna Dore (Grandmother Kate), Rakie Ayola (Cally), Daniel Flynn (Pete), Andrew Hallett (Sergeant Gary Young) and Carla Du Bois (Women's Police Constable Liz Drew).

Synopsis :
A woman finds herself drawn into a terrifying and vulnerable situation which calls for desperate measures when she gently rebuffs the attentions of a man.

TX : 22nd February 2003
Director : Sven Arnstein
Script : Simon Sharkey

Cast : Diana Rigg (Jill Craig), John Bowe (Graham Brody), Nick Reding (Scott Martin), Rachel Bell (Eleanor Bailey), Steve Toussaint (Detective Constable Hewson), Kerry Godliman (Detective Constable Rhys), Liz May Brice (Mel), Suzanne Sinclair (Sue Brody), James Allen (Police Constable Maple), Kaleem Janjua (Young Scott Martin) and Jonathan Timmins (Andrew Brody).

Synopsis :
When a young boy is driven to suicide by school bullies, the effect on his parents is devastating. Years later, the body of a woman is found, apparently also a suicide.

TX : 3rd April 2003
Director : Adrian Bean
Script : Guy Burt

Cast : Adam Faith (Terry Cameron), Jamie Theakston (Simon Talbot), Raji James (Anthony), Andrew Clover (Greg), William Chubb (James Carlson), Christine Adams (Chloe), Alex Hassell (Jules), Jennifer Draper (Lecturer), Laura McNair (Secretary), Christopher Godwin (Mr Lewis), George Williams (Young Professional), Alex Harcourt-Smith (Young Dealer) and Martin Herdman (Barry).

Synopsis : Three city slickers enlist a hitman to help them dispose of their boss, who knows they have committed an elaborate fraud set to rake in millions of pounds.

TX : 11th May 2003
Director : David Thacker
Script : Simon Sharkey

Cast : Nicholas Lyndhurst (Alan Willis), Ruth Gemmell (Liz), Al Hunter Ashton (Tim Jolly), Garry Cooper (Detective Constable Slater), Robert Cavanagh (Detective Constable Parry), Amber Sainsbury (Claire McGregor), David Balir (Ben Stacey), Garron Mitchell (Carl) and Jello Edwards (Phyllis).

Synopsis : An unscrupulous landlord leases a dangerous flat to an unsuspecting student, with terrible consequences.

TX : 19th June 2003
Director : Alrick Riley
Script : Eric Deacon

Cast : Adrian Dunbar (Tom Robbins), Helen Baxendale (Helen Robbins), Colin Salmon (Alex Treeve), George Jackos (Giorgios Mihalis), Carli Norris (Ally Mihalis), Adrian Sharp (Mickey Heath), Amanda Driscoll (Franny), Stephen Manwaring (Gaz Neame), Joy Blakeman (Delia), Nicole Arumugam (Viv), Jamie Martin (Police Constable Lane), Francis Johnson (Mr Allen), Jacqueline Clarke (Mrs Powell) and Abby Racki-Plott (Holly Robbins).

Synopsis :
A man's obsessive tendencies are laid bare when he is humiliated by a gang of local youths. His actions lead to tragedy.

TX : 29th June 2003
Director : Menhaj Huda
Script : Stephen Leather

Cast : Tim Healy (Inspector Colin Duggan), Bhasker Patel (Sanjay Patel), Nina Wadia (Meena Patel), Jeff Mirza (Manji Patel), Gurdeep Singh (Ricky Patel), Sushil Hunjan (Sujata Patel), Tim Faraday (Ronnie Brown), jake Wood (Karl Kruger), Albert Moses (Keshav Singh), Hajaz Akram (Arnie Singh), Steve Chaplin (Derbyshire), Kal Aise (Young Waiter), Kavita Kaul (Kavita) and Michael Elkin (Traffic Cop).

Synopsis :
Mild-mannered Sanjay Patel runs a successful convenience store, but is pestered by a racist thug who demands protection money. When Sanjay decides to stand up to his tormentor, a terrible sequence of events begins, resulting in death.


Mal Young
described Murder In Mind as "an intriguing, fresh concept which is superbly crafted by Anthony Horowitz. Each film is linked only by one common theme - death in suspicious circumstances. Cold, calculating and in search of the `perfect crime', the killer selects a different method of murder which includes euthanasia and a contract killing. Each week, the cast is completely different. A major star assumes the role of the would-be killer in a series reminiscent of the successful Play For Today".


Whilst the claim to fame with reference to Play For Today is somewhat dubious, this largely hit-and-miss anthology series remains, surprisingly, the most successful anthology-thriller series since Brian Clemens' ITV success Thriller in the 1970s. The two programmes are not dissimilar, in that both spun complicated tales of murder and intrigue around the thematic link of whodunnit and whydunnit motifs.


Whilst Clemens' series remains a high-quality example of the concept in full flight, Murder In Mind tended to tread the same threadbare path week after week (in one famous instance, two episodes in a row relied upon a complication revelation - first an anagram, then lottery numbers - for the twist at the end of the tale), and after three series (sporadically transmitted, as the BBC failed to grasp the concept of the term "anthology" and elected to pursue the phrase "gap filler" instead).

Swan Song.

Undeniably, the scripts were of a high calibre and were extremely diverting. The performances from a remarkable collection of talent (ranging from David Suchet to Dennis Waterman, from Nicholas Lyndhurst to Diana Rigg) certainly lifted the profile of the series, yet the series was hamstrung by its own premise: there are only so many variations upon the theme of murder which can be successfully executed, and as such there are only so many times a motive can be revealed over the course of an hour, or storylines which unfold whilst interspersed with flashbacks and the like.


On the whole, the programme was a diverting piece of weekend hokum (and the assorted critics greeted it as such), and the series certainly harked back to days when an anthology series would command high ratings figures and an audience following.


However, these days had long since passed by the time this - effectively the most recent of its type to appear on British Television - series was transmitted, and news that further episodes would not be produced at the conclusion of the third series hardly raised an eyebrow with audiences and critics alike. The series was globally exported, and was released as a boxset DVD in 2005.


The series was devised and created by Anthony Horowitz. The series was produced by Paul Knight. Executive Producer for the series was Mal Young.

Text © Matthew Lee, 2004.