A first time visitor to London undergoes strange changes in his personality. RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES investigates this episode of Brian Clemens’ classic British anthology series.
TITLE: Thriller – An Echo Of Theresa
BROADCAST: 5th May 1973
STARRING: Paul Burke, Polly Bergen, Dinsdale Landen
WRITER: Brian Clemens
DIRECTOR: Peter Jefferies
American businessman Brad Hunter (Paul Burke), on his first visit to London finds himself unexplainedly acting like another person altogether, and drawn to the address of a woman named Theresa, despite the two of them having never met. Much to the dismay of his wife (Polly Bergen), his behaviour becomes more erratic, and it seems that a few individuals with a mysterious past have an interest in his movements. Is Brad mad? Is he possessed? Or is the explanation more earthbound? Private investigator Matthew Earp (Dinsdale Landen) decides to take on the case…
Only part way into the first series, this story already sticks out like a sore thumb. Although not entirely without interest (none of the episodes was a complete loss), it’s fair to say that the outlandish storyline and conclusion would have been much more at home in one of Clemens’ other creations, The Avengers, whose running time would also have suited it better – there are very few episodes of Thriller which could be accused of dragging, but this is sadly one of them. There’s also the niggling feeling that this is a back-door pilot for the character of Earp to land his own series (indeed, the character would appear again in series 3). Still, the London locations are interesting to see in their 1973 state, especially EMI’s headquarters of the time at 20 Manchester Square, weakly disguised as “Demi House”.
For its later, recut TV Movie incarnation, the episode was given the singularly misleading title Anatomy Of Terror. The replacement opening and closing sequences were particularly poor, even by the usual standards of these rehashed versions. To call them woefully inept would be a compliment.