ACTION TV ONLINE EPISODE GUIDE
Another entry in a long line of highly successful thriller serials, The Desperate People was one of the rare adaptations of a Francis Durbridge novel to be transmitted in the tea-time early-evening slot on BBC 1. The serial opened with Larry Martin (Denis Quilley) overjoyed that his brother Philip (Philip Guard) had returned home from the Army to see him. The pair were only briefly reunited before he received a mysterious telephone call from an army colleague's wife - who revealed that her husband had been killed in a road accident in Hamburg - and left shortly thereafter, apparently destined for Dublin.
Larry, a professional photographer, returned to his busy shooting schedule, but was shocked to learn from the police the following day that his brother's body had been found in a Maidenhead hotel room, and the authorities suspect he committed suicide. Larry cannot believe that his brother, a carefree man brimming with over-confdience, would commit suicide and suspects foul play. The situation becomes even more puzzingly when he receives a photograph of Philip in the post - a picture precisely the same as the one he used to display in the shop-front window of his photographic studio. Even more puzzling is the fact that Philip's picture in the window has been replaced by a photograph of his ex-Army colleague, Sean Reynolds, and his wife. When Larry is presented with his late brother's personal effects by the police, he finds a key which was apparently in Philip's clenched first when his body was found. Confused, he sets off to Arundel in Sussex (the scene of the crime) to investigate still-further, and it is here that he encounters two interested parties who are desperate to acquire the key: Mrs Curtis (the hotel owner) and her step-brother, Thomas Quayle. Their efforts to obtain the key from Larry leave him with yet another clue - a torn ticket to a local dance. In the company of his secretary Ruth (Renny Lister), the pair attend the dance and meet Norman and Freda Stansdale (John Flint and Hilary Crane), and Larry makes a startling connection - the pair are, in reality, Sean Reynolds and his wife.
The following morning, when Larry is presented with his late brother's attaché case (the contents of which are a large amount of German currency), he confronts a man posing as Inspector Hyde, who demands the return of the money (which he claims is forged). After a menacing encounter with the imposter and his accomplice, Larry later discovers the body of Philip's girlfriend, Clare Seldon (Shirley Cain), in a deserted alleyway, and upon returning to his hotel room he learns that his secretary has been kidnapped, and her safe return is upon the condition that the money is handed over to the man he only knows as Inspector Hyde
The Desperate People, hailed in the novel as featuring the central character coming up "against those who cheat; who rob; those who will go to any lengths to achieve their aims. It brought him hard up against the desperate people: those to whom murder is a way of life", was a superbly scripted drama production will all the characteristic Durbridge hallmarks of suspense, a scattering of clues and red herrings combined, and a labyrinthine plot which took some hard navigation to unravel.
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The series was created and written by Francis Durbridge, based on his novel of the same title. The series was produced and directed by Alan Bromly.
: Episodes were originally transmitted 4:55pm 5:20pm on BBC 1. The series
was transmitted under the banner headline of Francis Durbridge Presents
: The Desperate People: In tonight's second episode of the new Francis
Durbridge thriller-serial Larry Martin's enquiries into the death of
his brother Philip are leading him ever further away from his life as
a professional photographer. Philip, a soldier serving in Germany, had
arrived home to spend a leave with Larry, but left almost immediately
- apparently for Dublin. A service friend, Sean Reynolds, had been killed
in a Hamburg car accident - or so Philip claimed - and he wanted to
see the man's widow. But Philip never reached Dublin; instead, he was
found dead in a hotel near Maidenhead - seemingly by his own hand. Larry
(Denis Quilley) cannot accept the verdict of suicide, particularly because
of the strange business of the photographs: he has received through
the post a portrait of Philip which used to be on display in the showcase
outside his own studio. And in its place he has found - a picture of
the mysterious Sean Reynolds and his wife
(Radio Times, February
: Larry Martin has been given a key found in his dead brother's hotel
room. Two people are interested in gaining possession of this key: Mrs
Curtis, the hotel owner, and her step-brother, Thomas Quayle. On a visit
to Quayle's antique shop in Arundel, Larry's talk with him is interrupted
by a customer.
: The Desperate People: Photographer Larry Martin, the man at the centre
of this Francis Durbridge thriller serial, tonight continues his quest
for the truth about his soldier brother's death. He has come by a key,
found among his brother's effects, but is it the key to the mystery?
His unknown adversaries certainly seem to think so, judging by their
efforts to take it away from him. However, their last attempt to do
so has instead left Larry in possession of another clue - a ticket for
a dance. And that is why in tonight's episode Larry (Denis Quilley)
and his secretary Ruth go dancing - and meet the Stansdales, a couple
whose faces seem very familiar. (Radio Times, March 14, 1963).
: Larry Martin collects an attaché case which belonged to his
murdered brother. The case is filled with German bank notes. Shortly
after this incident Larry is visited by a man who poses as a colleague
of Inspector Hyde. Larry discovers that the man is a fake, and after
getting the upper hand of him, awaits the arrival of the man's accomplice.
: After arranging to meet Clare Seldon, Larry finds her body in a deserted
lane. On returning to his flat he finds evidence that leads him to believe
his secretary, Ruth, has been kidnapped.