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The World Of Tim Frazer
BBC 1960 - 1961
The World Of Tim Frazer (Part 1)
TX : 15th November 1960

Publicity : Francis Durbridge - The creator of Paul Temple and author of many successful thriller serials in sound and television, including Portrait Of Alison, My Friend Charles, The Other Man, A Time Of Day and The Scarf, introduces his latest television spell-binder … The World Of Tim Frazer: Shortly after the production of my last television serial The Scarf I started planning the Tim Frazer series; creating the characters and devising the whole eighteen episodes which comprise the three separate Tim Frazer adventures. Although in the past I have, of course, been solely responsible for the writing of my television and sound radio serials I decided, because of my work as Executive Producer on the series, that it was necessary for me to have script associates on The World Of Tim Frazer. I was lucky enough to persuade two top television playwrights, Clive Exton and Barry Thomas, together with novelist Charles Hatton, to work with me on the writing of the episodes. It was a new and happy experience. What kind of a man is Tim Frazer? Let me start by saying that he is not a Private-Eye. Nor is he a tough, gimmicky, trigger-happy, dame-slapping, mid-Atlantic character of no fixed abode. He is, to be perfectly frank, rather like the chap you met the other day. You know the man I mean - the fellow who arrived late at the theatre, upset your daughter's chocolates, borrowed your programme, and then - to crown it all - smiled at the wife. (Yes, of course she smiled back; Tim Frazer's that sort of character).

After being educated at a minor English public school, (didn't do frightfully well, I'm afraid, except for languages), Frazer spent four years in the Middle East with an engineering company, finally returning to England to start a small machine-tool business of his own. Unfortunately the firm went broke and Frazer's partner, Harry Denston, disappeared - owing Tim a fair sum of money. In pursuit of the money - and Harry Denston - Frazer suddenly finds himself engaged in a considerably more hazardhous and dangerous occupation than engineering. I am delighted that the part of Tim Frazer is to be played by that excellent actor Jack Hedley; that Alan Bromly, who has been associated with my previous serials, will be producing the first, and that the second and third adventures are to be produced by Terence Dudley and Richmond Harding. The three complete stories covered by The World Of Tim Frazer move swiftly through a variety of backgrounds as widely contrasted as Amsterdam and Tiger Bay. Apart from Jack Hedley, Ralph Michael also plays a leading part, while the cast for the first story includes Heather Chasen, Gerald Cross, Barbara Couper and Redmond Phillips. (Radio Times, November 10, 1960 - Article by Francis Durbridge).

Cast :
Heather Chasen (Helen Baker), Gerald Cross (Doctor Killick), Fred Ferris, Karal Gardner, Donald Morley (Crombie), Frank Pettitt, Steve Plytas, Ann Way, Alan Rolfe and Janina Faye.

Synopsis :
Tim Frazer visits the fishing village of Henton in search of his old friend and ex-partner, Harry Denston.

Notes :
Episodes were transmitted 8:00pm to 8:30pm on BBC 1. The World Of Tim frazer Parts 1 - 6 were written by Francis Durnbridge and Clive Exton.


The World Of Tim Frazer (Part 2)
TX : 22nd November 1960

Cast :
Heather Chasen (Helen Baker), Barbara Couper (Ruth Edwards), Redmond Phillips (Donald Edwards), Janina Faye (Anya), Donald Morley (Crombie) and Brian Wilde.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer, mystified by the disappearance of his ex-business partner, Harry Denston, is offered a job by a certain Mr Ross. The Government department of which Ross is the head is very anxious to find Harry Denston and engages Frazer to search for him. Frazer's enquiries lead him to Talltree Cottage, the home of Mr and Mrs Edwards. Outside the house Frazer meets a girl named Anya … the name is startlingly familiar.


Notes : The World Of Tim Frazer was transmitted on BBC-1 under the banner title of Francis Durbridge Presents …

The World Of Tim Frazer (Part 3)
TX : 29th November 1960

Cast :
Brian Wilde (Tupper), Donald Morley (Crombie), Heather Chasen (Helen Baker), Gerald Cross (Doctor Killick), Barbara Couper (Ruth Edwards), Redmond Phillips (Donald Edwards), Alan Rolfe, Maurice Durant, Neil Hunter, Donald Pelmear, Steve Plytas and Fred Ferris.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer has been engaged by a special Government department to find Harry Denston, Frazer's ex-business partner. Harry's car is in Frazer's possession; a man called Tupper wishes to buy the car and Frazer arranges to sell it to him. In the meantime, on arriving home, Frazer finds a colleague, Crombie, stabbed to death - and on his mantelshelf a newly-placed but not unfamiliar object - a model sailing vessel.

Notes : Clive Exton, script associate for the first The World Of Tim Frazer story, played an influential part in Agatha Christie's Poirot during its formative years. He has also been responsible for contributions to such popular series as Survivors, The Inspector Wexford Mysteries, Jeeves And Wooster and Rosemary And Thyme.

The World Of Tim Frazer (Part 4)
TX : 6th December 1960

Publicity : Tim Frazer: With the fourth episode of The World Of Tim Frazer due tonight, we thought we'd take a quick look at the world of its star, Jack Hedley. In several ways the two worlds are similar - "It's refreshing," says Jack, "to be given a part in which I can wear smart clothes, drive fast cars, and have a mews house in London. It certainly makes a change from the schizophrenics and neurotics I've played in the past". BBC viewers will remember him in Mine Own Executioner, and The Small Back Room and many other television productions, but he has not always been an actor. Until 1952 he was in the Royal Navy, then went into advertising, and finally decided to make the break by going to R.A.D.A. He landed his first part on the day he left the Academy and has been working regularly ever since. (Radio Times, December 1, 1960).

Cast : Heather Chasen (Helen Baker), Gerald Cross (Doctor Killick), Barbara Couper (Ruth Edwards), Fred Ferris, John Dearth, Ann Way, Vi Stephens, Brian Wilde, Peter Hammond, Arthur R Webb, Frank Sieman and Anthony Wingate.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer's search for his ex-business partner, Harry Denston, has taken him back to the "Three Bells" in the small fishing village of Henton. Frazer believes that Doctor Killick may be able to help him in his search for Harry. While he is there, Frazer receives a telephone call. The voice at the other end is Harry Denston's …

The World Of Tim Frazer (Part 5)
TX : 13th December 1960

Cast : Heather Chasen (Helen Baker), Gerald Cross (Doctor Killick), Barbara Couper (Ruth Edwards), Fred Ferris, John Dearth, Ann Way, Vi Stephens, Brian Wilde, Peter Hammond, Arthur R Webb, Frank Sieman and Anthony Wingate.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer discovers that Ruth Edwards has information which may throw light on the disappearance of Frazer's ex-business partner, Harry Denston. Ruth Edwards decided to tell Frazer all she knows, but is anxious to conceal their meeting from her husband. Frazer drives to Talltree Cottage to talk to Ruth while her husband is spending the day in town. On his way there, Frazer stops at the scene of a motor accident. A woman had been seriously injured. It is Ruth Edwards.

The World Of Tim Frazer (Part 6)
TX : 20th December 1960

Cast :
Heather Chasen (Helen Baker), Gerald Cross (Doctor Killick), Redmond Phillips (Donald Edwards), Fred Ferris, Jack Rodney, Karal Gardner, John Dearth, Christopher Rhodes and Peter Hammond.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer has been engaged by a Government department to search for his ex-business partner, Harry Denston. Following investigations Frazer reaches the conclusion that Harry's fiancée, Helen, knows far more than she admits. He forces Helen to tell him where Harry is hiding.

The Sallinger Affair (Part 1)
TX : 27th December 1960

Cast :
Gerald Cross (Doctor Killick), Redmond Phillips (Donald Edwards), Francis Matthews (Lewis Richards), Patricia Haines (Barbara Day), Christopher Rhodes, John Dearth, Maurice Durant, Gertan Klauber, Alan Rolfe and Hamish Roughead.

Synopsis : For the past six weeks, Francis Durbridge has been keeping millions of viewers on tenterhooks in the Henry Denston affair. Tonight sees the winding-up of the matter, and finds Tim Frazer involved almost immediately in another story of suspense and mystery. A new director, Terence Dudley, and a new co-author, Barry Thomas, take over for the next six weeks. Tim Frazer's search for Harry Denston is almost over. Returning to Henton, Frazer has received a call from Harry suggesting that they must meet on the jetty. After being involved in a fight for his life Frazer is aboard the cabin cruiser Anya. Unknown to Frazer, Harry Denston is also aboard.

Notes : The Sallinger Affair Parts 1 - 6 were written by Francis Durnbridge and Barry Thomas.

The Sallinger Affair (Part 2)
TX : 3rd January 1961

Cast :
Patricia Marmont (Vivien Gilmore), Michael Aldrirgde (Arthur Fairlee), Francis Matthews (Lewis Richards), Patricia Haines (Barbara Day), Hamish Roughead (Leo Salinger), Donald Stewart (Martin Cordwell), Robert Henderson, Victor Brooks, Brian Vaughan, George Street, Anthony Bate, Veronica Wells and Bridget Armstrong.

Synopsis : Tim's new assignment has taken him to Amsterdam to follow Barbara Day. One of Ross' agents, Leo Salinger, was killed in a street accident in Amsterdam and Barbara Day was the driver of the car involved. Tim returns to London convinced that the accident was a genuine one. However, Ross still has doubts. When Tim arrives at Barbara Day's flat in answer to her telephone call, she is not there. Instead, Tim finds the body of Martin Cordwell, an American tourist - and a metronome.

The Sallinger Affair (Part 3)
TX : 10th January 1961

Cast :
Patricia Marmont (Vivien Gilmore), Michael Aldridge (Arthur Fairlee), Francis Matthews (Lewis Richards), Patricia Haines (Barbara Day), Veronica Wells, Bridget Armstrong, Anthony Jennett, Anthony Bate, Richard Rudd, Cameron Hall and Kenneth J Warren (Gordon Dempsey).

Synopsis : Leo Salinger was killed in a street accident in Amsterdam. Was it a genuine accident? Tim Frazer believes that it was and that Barbara Day, the driver of the car, is innocent. But later an American acquaintance of Barbara's is found murdered and Frazer wonders whether this has any connection with the Salinger affair. Later, in a coffee bar called "The Dyke", Frazer meets Barbara's business partner, Vivien Gilmore.

The Sallinger Affair (Part 4)
TX : 17th January 1961

Cast :
Michael Aldridge (Arthur Fairlee), Francis Matthews (Lewis Richards), Patricia Haines (Barbara Day), Kenneth J Warren (Gordon Dempsey), Lee Richardson and Anthony Bate.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer is trying to discover the identity of "Ericson" - the head of a diamond-smuggling organisation. During his investigations Frazer is mistaken for a friend of Ericson's and is instructed to visit a certain Mr Gordon Dempsey. Dempsey questions his visitor and finally, to Frazer's amazement, produces a metronome.

The Sallinger Affair (Part 5)
TX : 24th January 1961

Cast :
Patricia Marmont (Vivien Gilmore), Michael Aldridge (Arthur Fairlee), Victor Brooks and John Gill.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer is trying to discover the identity of Ericson, the head of an international diamond-smuggling organization. Maintaining his close watch on Barbara Day, Frazer invites her out to dinner. A telephone call warns Frazer to "skip the coffee" on this occasion. Barbara cancels their dinner date but asks Frazer to her flat later on in the evening - just for coffee …

The Sallinger Affair (Part 6)
TX : 31st January 1961

Cast :
Patricia Marmont (Vivien Gilmore), John Gill and Cameron Hall.

Synopsis : In an attempt to discover the identity of Ericson, the leader of an international smuggling organization, Tim Frazer manages to sell diamonds to Ericson through Gordon Dempsey, a member of the organization. Dempsey arranges to meet Frazer on Wimbledon Common. Frazer arrives to find that Dempsey has been badly hurt …

The Mellin Forest Mystery (Part 1)
TX : 7th February 1961

Publicity :
Jack Hedley as Tim Frazer and Ralph Michael as Charles Ross in The World Of Tim Frazer at 8:15pm: There's no doubt about the ability of Francis Durbridge to catch and hold an audience with his subtle twists and turns of plot, and although tonight sees the winding-up of the current mystery there will be few viewers who will want to miss their next six Tuesday appointments with the third and last of the adventures, which begins with an unexplained murder in Wales.

Apart from Jack Hedley's unusual and intelligent portrayal of a modern "hero", the performance of Ralph Michael as Charles Ross has also attracted a great deal of favourable comment. As the cool-brained, calculating head of a branch of MI-5, his authority and power have always been behind Tim Frazer's somewhat tentative and unprofessional ventures into the world of danger and mystery. Ralph Michael is, of course, a distinguished actor, with a long career of big successes on the stage and many notable performances in Shakespearean roles. He made his first of many film appearances in 1937 in John Halifax, Gentleman. His wife is actress Joyce Heron. (Radio Times, February 2, 1961).

Cast :
Michael Aldridge (Arthur Fairlee), Jack Watling (Major Lockwood), Francis Matthews (Lewis Richards), Ellen McIntosh (Miss Thackeray), Patricia Haines (Barbara Day), Clifford Cox, Victor Brooks, Howell Evans, Martin Boddey, Edward Palmer, Prysor Williams and Hazel Hughes.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer has discovered that Vivien Gilmore is a member of the organisation controlled by the unknown Ericson. Vivien Gilmore arranges a deal between Ericson and Frazer and asks Frazer to meet her at a house in Maida Vale. At the house Frazer discovers the body of Gordon Dempsey. Later, on returning home, Frazer is confronted by an unexpected caller.

Notes : The Mellin Forest Mystery Parts 1 - 6 was written by Francis Durnbridge and Barry Thomas.

The Mellin Forest Mystery (Part 2)
TX : 14th February 1961

Cast :
Jack Watling (Major Lockwood), David Langton (Roger Thornton), Ellen McIntosh (Miss Thackeray), Laurence Hardy (Elwyn Roberts), Hazel Hughes, Walter Horsbrugh and Douglas Blackwell.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer's new assignment has taken him to Melynfforest where the police are investigating the murder of Elaine Bradford. Ross has informed Frazer that the murdered woman is a Miss Thackeray, who was working for their department in Hong Kong. What was she doing in Wales and why was she murdered? Frazer arrives at St Bride's Guest House where "Elaine Bradford" spent her last days and hears some strangely familiar music.

The Mellin Forest Mystery (Part 3)
TX : 21st February 1961

Cast :
Jack Watling (Major Lockwood), Laurence Hardy (Elwyn Roberts), David Langton (Roger Thornton), Ellen McIntosh (Miss Thackeray), Douglas Blackwell, John Glyn-Jones, Alan Stuart, Walter Horsbrugh, Hazel Hughes, Prysor Williams, Meurig Wyn-Jones and David Lander.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer is investigating the murder of Miss Thackeray, known to the population of Melynfforest as "Elaine Bradford". After a meeting with estate agent Roger Thornton, Frazer visits a cottage in which Miss Thackeray was interested. Whilst there Frazer receives a call from someone wishing to speak to the murdered woman. On his way home Frazer discovers the body of Eve Turner, the estate agent's secretary. The murder weapon is familiar.

The Mellin Forest Mystery (Part 4)
TX : 28th February 1961

Cast :
Laurence Hardy (Elwyn Roberts), Patrick McAlinney (Laurence James), David Lander, John Glyn-Jones, Alan Stuart, Edward Brooks, Ballard Berkeley (The Chief Constable), Prysor Williams, Hazel Hughes, Walter Horsbrugh and Helen Lindsay.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer is trying to find out why Miss Thackeray was murdered and what she was doing in Wales at the time of her death. Another murder occurs. The victim is the Estate Agent's secretary, Eve Turner. Frazer finds a cablegram addressed to the murdered girl which leads him to the Kowloon Hotel in the Tiger Bay area of Cardiff. Frazer is looking for the person who sent the cablegram - a man called James.

The Mellin Forest Mystery (Part 5)
TX : 7th March 1961

Cast :
Jack Watling (Major Lockwood), Laurence Hardy (Elwyn Roberts), David Langton (Roger Thornton), Patrick McAlinney (Laurence James), Walter Horsbrugh, David Lander, John Stevenson Lang, Colin Douglas, Helen Lindsay and Murray Evans.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer is trying to find out why Miss Thackeray was murdered and what she was doing in Wales at the time of her death. During his investigations Frazer obtains information about a man called Laurence James. Shortly afterwards he receives a telephone call from James asking Frazer to meet him at the Kowloon Hotel in Tiger Bay. Frazer is instructed to bring his overcoat …

The Mellin Forest Mystery (Part 6)
TX : 14th March 1961

Publicity :
The End Of The World Of Tim Frazer: Tonight brings to an end the longest serial ever put out by BBC Television, and judging by the public reaction to it, one of the most successful. Eighteen weeks have elapsed since viewers were first introduced to Francis Durbridge's unusually human hero, Tim Frazer. For Jack Hedley it has meant some twenty weeks of work, with ten weeks of filming time interwoven with rehearsals and transmissions. "Somewhere in the middle," he said when we spoke to him recently, "I was involved in four episodes at the same time - with one just about to go on the air, another in rehearsal, and filming for two others being carried out in the mornings. Fortunately I had no trouble with my words, but it got a little tricky. After this," he added, "I'm going into a play at the Arts Theatre, but first I'm taking a week's holiday in just the place Tim Frazer would choose - the south of France".

Francis Durbridge, who has had during the serial, the collaboration of these writers, Clive Exton, Charles Hatton and Barry Thomas, and three producers, Alan Bromly, Terence Dudley and Richmond Harding, is delighted with the success of Tim Frazer. "It has established a new type of hero - a fairly conventional man behaving in a way that is believable". "As believable as possible," added Jack Hedley. "After all Frazer had to go through quite a lot". With the end of The World Of Tim Frazer, there begins next week a series of six plays, all set in London, and all with a boy-meets-girl theme, under the title They Met In A City. (Radio Times, March 9, 1961).

Cast :
Jack Watling (Major Lockwood), Laurence Hardy (Elwyn Roberts), David Langton (Roger Thornton), Patrick McAlinney (Laurence James), John Stevenson Lang (Kurt Lander), Murray Evans, Colin Douglas, Helen Lindsay, Hazel Hughes, Walter Horsbrugh, Prysor Williams, John Glyn-Jones, Robert Croudace, John Pike, Thomas Gallagher and Balrina.

Synopsis : Tim Frazer has discovered the reason for the death of Miss Thackeray. After helping the scientist, Kurt Lander, to escape from China, Miss Thackerway was murdered and Lander fell into the hands of Laurence James. On instructions from his department, Frazer meets Laurence James and arranges to "buy" Kurt Lander. They agree to meet the following morning to complete the negotiations; but an "accident" has been prepared for Frazer as he drives to the rendezvous.

Characters
Portrayed By
Tim Frazer
Jack Hedley
Charles Ross
Ralph Michaels

Executive Producer for the series was Francis Durbridge. Series 1 (The World Of Tim Frazer parts 1 - 6) was produced and directed by Alan Bromly, series 2 (The Sallinger Affair Parts 1 - 6) was produced and directed by Terence Dudley and series 3 (The Mellin Forest Mystery Parts 1 - 6) was produced and directed by Richmond Harding.

 



Prolific crime-thriller writer Francis Durbridge, who was already responsible for firmly etching the popularity of writer-turned-detective Paul Temple onto the British psyche through a serial of popular BBC radio plays, devised and created the series The World Of Tim Frazer, partly as a means of approaching the genre from a different angle, and partly in response to the rising popularity of NATO agent John Drake in ITV's series Danger Man (Durbridge himself went to great pains to describe Frazer as "not a Private-Eye. Nor is he a tough, gimmicky, trigger-happy, dame-slapping, mid-Atlantic character of no fixed abode" in the Radio Times).



Owing to his responsibilities as Executive Producer for the series (a relatively unheard of role in BBC Television productions of the time, whilst relatively commonplace on ITV), Durbridge, who had always scripted his serials himself, approached Clive Exton, Barry Thomas and Charles Hatton to serve as script associates so that he could devote more time to the production aspects of the serial. Durbridge provided the basic story outlines to the three writers (the third of which was a popular novelist) and left them to their own devices whilst he set about casting Jack Hedley in the lead role, and Ralph Michael as Charles Ross (as a semi-regular character who would appear throughout the series).



The programme, which would feature three six-part stories, marked a radical change in BBC Television's schedules as it was, until the emergence of Z-Cars as a popular weekly serial in 1962, the longest-running serial the network had ever previously transmitted (running to a sum total of eighteen episodes). In another radical change, the climax of stories would actually take place in the opening episode of the following serial, so as not only to ensure audiences were permitted the opportunity to "dip a toe" into the unchartered waters of the new storyline, but to also neatly tie together the strands of separate storylines.



It also provided a logical reason why Frazer, an engineer reluctantly drawn into the investigate of suspicious and often nefarious activities, would continue to tread this path (the logical next-step for Frazer was that he was recruited by a secret government department as an undercover agent which enabled him to continue his engineering work in his spare time - what little of which remained at the conclusion of each case).



The opening story (appropriately entitled The World Of Tim Frazer), concerned Frazer's initial pursuit of his ex-business partner Harry Denston, who had left him "high and dry" with a bankrupt business (the financial proceeds of which Denston had spirited away to fund a new life in the North of England). His investigations into Denston's whereabouts eventually drew him into the path of the government department which would eventually recruit him (headed by Charles Ross), and at the conclusion of the first story Frazer was sent on a mission by Ross to Amsterdam to monitor the activities of Barbara Day (Patricia Haines), a woman believed responsible for the death of an agent in a car accident which he initially believes was purely accidental.



The third and final serial, The Mellin Forest Mystery, saw Frazer sent to Wales to investigate the strange case of the suspicious death of an undercover agent. He is drawn into the "cover story" life of a woman by the name of "Elaine Bradford", who was also known as "Miss Thackeray". The series, as compellingly addictive as any of Durbridge's serials, utilized all the best elements of the master crime writer (cliffhanger endings, numerous red herrings and a delightful sense of timing).

The programme, whilst highly regarded, failed to eclipse the popularity of Paul Temple, and has since receded into the mists of archive television. The series was successfully exported, but has not been released in any commercial format.


Text © Matthew Lee, 2004.