ACTION TV ONLINE EPISODE GUIDE
EPISODE GUIDE INDEX
COLONEL MARCH OF SCOTLAND YARD
ITV 1956
The Sorcerer
TX : 29th February 1956
Director : Bernard Knowles
Script : Paul Monash

Synopsis :
When psychoanalyst Doctor Patten is murdered in strange and inexplicable circumstances, Colonel March's investigations lead him to discover a shadowy, darker side to the dead man's character. With Gerald Heinz (Doctor Patten), Lily Kann (Mrs Patten), Eileen Erskine (Mrs Cusby) and Phil Brown (Brian Hayes).


The Abominable Snowman
TX : 7th March 1956
Director :
Bernard Knowles
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Olaf Pooley (Carlmeddy), Doris Nolan (Mary Gray), Alec Mango (Narbu), Ivan Craig (Osborne) and Peter Bathurst (Major Brian Forbes-Williams).

Synopsis :
Colonel March is called upon to investigate strange and threatening activities surrounding the Himalayan Mountaineering Club, the members of whom appear to be threatened by a creature resembling the Abominable Snowman, who is reported to have recently been seen on Mount Everest. When he himself receives a visitation, and afterwards discovers a strange footprint seemingly left by the beast, he wonders whether he has become part of an elaborate fabrication …


Present Tense
TX : 15th March 1956
Director :
Bernard Knowles
Script : Peter Green

Cast : Mary Parker (Emily), Peter Reynolds (Ernest), Phil Brown (Gordon), Doris Hare (Lydia) and John Laurie (Doctor Brandon).

Synopsis :
Colonel March becomes engaged on an unusual case of the supernatural when young widow Emily believes she has come into contact with her recently-deceased husband Ernest, who died in a plane crash on the eve of her requesting a divorce from him.


At Night All Cats Are Grey
TX : 21st March 1956
Director : Philip Brown
Script :
Leslie Slote

Cast : Christopher Lee (Jeanpierre), Frances Rowe (Madame Jeanpierre), Isobel George (Fleur) and Eileen Moore (Ivette).

Synopsis :
When the body of a young model is discovered in a London flat, Colonel March realises that the murderer has made a fatal mistake common to colour blindness. His investigate leads to the fashion house where the girl was once employed.


The Case Of The Kidnapped Poodle
TX : 28th March 1956
Director : Bernard Knowles
Script : Arthur Berstock

Cast : Michael Shepley (Sir Nigel), Doris Nolan (Linda), Kit Terrington (Willie), John Boxer (Heather), John Boxer, Eliot Makeham and Cameron Hall.

Synopsis :
Despite the fact that his attention should be solely directed towards the pursuit of the parties responsible for the ambitious theft of the renowned Fairway Diamonds, Colonel March seems far keener to locate a newspaper' boy's missing poodle.

The Invisible Knife
TX : 28th March 1956
Director : Terence Fisher
Script : Leslie Slote


Cast : Henrietta Edwards (Alice), Mark Baker (The Salesman), Leslie Weston (Hays) and Hubert Gregg (Pennacott).

Synopsis :
Colonel March puts his own life on the life when he sets in motion an elaborate plot to become Pennacott's sixth murder victim as a means of ensuring he can be brought to justice for the murder of five of his previous business partners.

The Strange Event At Roman Fall
TX : 2nd April 1956
Director : Bernard Knowles
Script : Paul Monash


Cast : Russell Waters (Hocksby), John McLaren (Peter Ford), Philip Friend (Professor John Hamilcar), Rachel Kempson (Helen Rune) and Lionel Murton (Ben Crowder).

Synopsis :
When Colonel Marsh hears Helen Rune and Professor Hamilcar deep in discussion of plans for them to live together at the expensive of her famour author husband, he is later surprised to discover that the man in question has fallen from a cliff at "Roman Fall". He is soon called in to investigate the circumstances of the "accident", but he is only-too-aware that he is not the only person to have overheard the conversation …


The Headless Hat
TX : 11th April 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : By Leslie Slote

Cast : Marne Maitland (Inspector Toro), Miki Averi (The Customer), Donald Cashfield (The Waiter), Ina de la Haye (The Shop Assistant) and Betty Paul (Mrs Sargeant).

Synopsis :
Even on holiday in the South of France, Colonel March cannot escape being lured into an investigation after a visit to a store in the nearby village at which he is enjoyed a relaxing vacation.


The Second Mona Lisa
TX : 25th April 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Peter Green

Cast : Alan Wheatley (O'Brien), Robert Ayres (Wyatt), Eric Polhmann (The Emir), George Margo (Rogers) and Frederick Leicester (The Constable).

Synopsis :
In Paris, Colonel March encounters O'Brien, an unscrupulous swindler engaged in a nefarious deal to sell the Mona Lisa to a Middle Eastern dignitary.


Death In Inner Space
TX : 9th May 1956
Director : Philip Brown
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Rosalie Crutchley (Annette), Peter Illing (Lavois), Michael Alan (Phillipe) and Christopher Rhodes (Rochell).

Synopsis :
A murder in France draws Colonel March into the world of astronomy.


The Talking Head
TX : 16th May 1956
Director : Paul Dickson
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Peter Asher (Andrew Barton), Hugh Williams (Harold Hartley), Hugh Griffith (Doctor Ivy), Mary Clare (Mrs Wrigley) and Helen Christie (Mrs Phyllis Barton).

Synopsis :
In a bizarre case of the supernatural, Colonel March is called in to investigate the circumstances surrounding several attempts having been made on the life of Harold Hartley, who once shared a partnership with the late John Barton. His investigations uncover a strange phenomenon: Barton's son Andrew appears to be executing instructions delivered by his dead father from a marble bust of the man himself …


The Devil Sells His Soul
TX : 6th June 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Arthur Berstock

Cast : Patrick Barr (Leeland Horton), Ann Hanslip (Emily Horton), Basil Appleby (George Trevors), Patricia Laffan (Jane Corwin), Alfred Burke (The Minister) and Michael Alexander (Doctor Walker).

Synopsis :
When Lord Telford seemingly dies from natural causes, his retinue of sycophantic supporters who had resided for so long at his castle are all-too-prepared to point the finger of suspicion at one another. Unable to bear the strain, Emily Horton calls upon Colonel March to perform a mass hypnosis of the group as a means of identifying their activities on the night of Telford's death. In so doing, March, who adopts the role of Telford during the session, nearly finds himself meeting the same fate as the recently deceased …


Murder Is Permanent
TX : 13th June 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Elspeth Gray (Joanna Greer), Patrick Holt (Paul Chalford), Margaret Halstead (Mrs Greer), Neal Arden (Josef Latour), Paul Shiel (Annetre) and Nora Gordon (Mary).

Synopsis :
Colonel March moves in the circles of high society in pursuit of a murder amongst eminently respectable company.


The Silent Vow
TX : 20th June 1956
Director : Bernard Knowles
Script : Peter Green

Cast : Zena Marshall (Madeleine), Anton Diffring (Francois), Marne Maitland (Gaston), Martin Benson (Jacques Dupont), Eugene Deckers (Philippe), Carl Jaffe (Father Mendes) and Stan Watson (The Guitarist).

Synopsis :
Colonel March's holiday in the South of France is interrupted when he is called upon to investigate the murder of a young man, Philippe, apparently at the hands of his friend Francois, a man absent without leave from a Pyrenees monastery.


Death And The Other Monkey
TX : 27th June 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Gudrun Ure (Nell), Percy Marmont (Sir George Watkins), Victor Platt (Clarence), John Schlesinger (The Dutch Cook) and Richard Burrell (Guy).

Synopsis :
Colonel March and Inspector Ames are faced with obstructive staff at a scientific research laboratory, responsible for carrying out experiments on live animals, at which one of their number has met an unpleasant end.


The Stolen Crime
TX : 4th July 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Paul Tabori

Cast : Glyn Houston (Peter Ridgeway), Walter Horsbrugh (The Butler), Amy Dalby (Aunt Josephine) and Josephine Douglas (Jennifer Lane).

Synopsis :
When Peter Ridgeway confesses to a brutal murder, Colonel March elects to pursue his own lines of enquiry to prove the man's innocence.


The Silver Curtain
TX : 10th July 1956
Director : Bernard Knowles
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : John Chandos (Doctor Herbert), Christine Pollon (Eleanor), Anton Diffring (Davos) and Arthur Hill (Jerry Winton).

Synopsis :
Colonel March becomes involved in a strange case of blackmail when Jerry Winton, an American student holidaying on the French Riviera, loses his money at a casino and is offered a substantial sum to undertake a specific project for a man called Davos …


Error At Daybreak
TX : 17th July 1956
Director : Philip Brown
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Adrienne Corri (Clara), Lloyd Lamble (Kane), Patricia Marmont (Marion) and Robert Brown (Hastings).

Synopsis :
Colonel March, assisting a small boy on a beach to find a lost ball, discovers a body and is soon embroiled in a murder investigation.


Hot Money
TX : 24th July 1956
Director : Donald Ginsberg
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Ronald Leigh-Hunt (Mr Bowler), Joan Sims (Marjorie Dawson) and John Hewer (John Parrish).


The Missing Link
TX : 31st July 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Helen Cherry (Evelyn Innes), Stuart Lindsell (Sir Henry Danier), Peter Coke (Tom Grafton), Joseph Tomelty (Braden), Peter Goss (The Technician), John Watson (The Policeman) and Douglas Herald (The Guard).

Synopsis :
Colonel March and Inspector Ames, in pursuit of a thief and a murder, become embroiled in the theft of a skull which may prove Darwin's theories correct, and are greeted by unusual behaviour from men of distinguished learning and an unusual couple in an investigation which culminates in a museum laboratory.


The Case Of The Misguided Missal
TX : 7th August 1956
Director : Bernard Knowles
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Jane Griffiths (Nancy Pembroke), Trader Faulkner (Garrick), Antony Newley (Ned Young) and John Arnatt (Professor Wesley).

Synopsis :
Colonel March becomes involved in the mysterious case of a medieval Missal, which continually appears and disappears from Professor Wesley's locked safe whilst on University premises. Garrick, who gifted the establishment with such a prized possession, calls on March's assistance to find an answer to the curious case.


The Deadly Gift
TX : 14th August 1956
Director : Bernard Knowles
Script : Paul Monash

Cast : Sandra Dorne (Rosie), George Colouris (Harwood), Tommy Duggan (Lawton) and John Gabriel (The Jeweller).

Synopsis :
Colonel March is called to attend the reading of Johnny Blake's will, some ten years after his death. In attendance is Rosie, a barmaid from The White Unicorn Public House who hopes to hear something to her advantage.


The Case Of The Lively Ghost
TX : 21st August 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Genine Graham (Madame Richter), Virginia Downing (Mrs Fortescue), Susan Buret (The Nurse), Enid Lorimer (Victoria Hibbing), Tristan Rowson (Lord Hibbing) and Tony Wright (Terry Fortescue).

Synopsis :
Colonel March becomes interested in the activities of Madame Richter, a professional medium who, despite her fake methods, appears to have summoned a genuine spirit into existence.


Death In The Dressing Room
TX : 28th August 1956
Director : Donald Ginsberg
Script : Leo Davis

Cast : Sheila Burrell (Joan Forsythe), Richard Wattis, Sonya Hana, Dagmar Wynter and Joan Sims (Marjorie Dawson).


The New Invisible Man
TX : 4th September 1956
Director : Donald Ginsberg
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Patricia Owens (Betty Hartley), Joan Sims (Marjorie Dawson), Roger Maxwell and Anthony Forward (Jim Hartley).


Passage At Arms
TX : 11th September 1956
Director : Arthur Crabtree
Script : Leslie Slote

Cast : Laurence Payne (Dollus), Rachel Curney (Martha), Bruce Seton (Hartnett), Michael Godfrey (Charles), Paul Hansard (Rene), Gaylord Cavallaro (Lawrence), Marc Sheldon (Marcel) and Edward Cast (Carter).

Synopsis :
When a wealthy widow is found murdered, suspicion falls on the British and French fencing teams engaged in a high-profile international tournament staged in London. Colonel March's investigations lead him to become referee in a duel which will, he hopes, culminate in the unmasking of the party or parties responsible.



Based on the John Dickson Carr / Carter Dickson collection of short stories, from the 1940 collection The Queer Complaints, Colonel March Of Scotland Yard proved to be ITV's first home-grown police series and featured the legendary Boris Karloff in the title role of Colonel March, who headed up the Queer Complaints Department, a division responsible for the investigation of cases which had baffled the regular officers (in essence, in a similar vein to BBC Television's Waking The Dead).



An urbane, thoughtful and determined detective, Colonel March was one of the more unusual sleuths to appear on British Television in that he had one eye (the missing one covered in a black eye-patch which, far from making the character unique, merely added credence to the already unusual portrayal by Karloff). His investigations, rather than the standard police procedurals, often touched upon matters of the supernatural, with the man in question engaged in seances, mass hypnotism sessions and studies of the psychology of crime rather than the perpetrators. His companion was Inspector Ames (Ewan Roberts), an equally dogged sleuth but with his feet firmly on the ground.



Over the course of twenty-six half-hour episodes, ITV audiences were afforded nicely diverting if somewhat predictable fare, with scripts contributed by Leslie Sloate, Paul Monash, Arthur Berstock, Peter Green and Paul Tabori. Produced by Hannah Weinstein and her company, the series enjoyed global exportation, becoming popular on both sides of the Atlantic in particular, but was has never been commercially released.



Directorial turns from Arthur Crabtree, Bernard Knowles and Hammer films auteur Terence Fisher underlined the calibre of the production, which also featured notable supporting performances from the likes of Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Olaf Pooley, Christopher Lee, Marne Maitland, Rosalie Crutchley and Peter Asher.

The theatrical release Colonel March Investigates was a compilation of three episodes: Hot money, Death In The Dressing Room and The New Invisible Man. Only twelve episodes of the series still exist as 35mm monochrome prints, the rest have been junked.


Characters
Portrayed By
Colonel March
Boris Karloff
Inspector Ames
Ewan Roberts

The series was A Criterion
and Panada Productions drama production for ITV based on the stories by John Dickson Carr (credited as Carter Dickson). Transmission dates are for the ATV Midlands region. The series was produced by Hannah Weinstein and the theme music was by Edwin Astley.

Text © Matthew Lee, 2005.