Worst & Best Tales of the Unexpected Episodes/List

About the Series

Genre: UK Mystery/Fantasy/Horror Series
Series: 9
Episodes: 112
First Transmission: 1979-1988
Channel: ITV

Tales of the Unexpected is a British television anthology series.

Each episode told a different story, often with sinister and wryly comedic undertones, with an unexpected twist ending. Most of the episodes of series 1, series 2 and series 3 were based on short stories by Roald Dahl collected in the books Tales of the Unexpected.

The series was made by Anglia Television for ITV with interior scenes recorded at their Norwich studios whilst location filming mainly occurred across East Anglia. The theme music for the series was written by  Ron Grainer.

Throughout its run of 112 episodes, many famous British actors and some American actors made starring roles.


Best Episode [ S3 Ep1 ]

The Flypaper – The police are dragging the marshes for a missing school-girl and a sinister man is being looked for after approaching other young girls. Schoolgirl Sylvia is on a bus on the way home when a friendly old man begins to talk to her.
9 August 1980


Worst Episode [ S7 Ep8 ]

Wet Saturday – It is a wet Saturday and  Mr Princey learns that his daughter Millicent has hit and killed the man with whom she was obsessed with a croquet mallet. Mr Princey cannot afford a scandal so he tries to cover it all up. Nothing will go wrong. Will it?
7 July 1984



Full Episode Guide

Blue episodes rated above par.
Brown episodes rated below par.

Season One

Man from the South (1979) –
A man makes a bizarre bet.
Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat (1979) –
Mrs Bixby’s lover has bought her a fur coat, but how can she wear it?
William and Mary (1979) –
William’s will stipulates that his brain be kept alive after his death.
Lamb to the Slaughter (1979) –
Mary kills her cruel husband with a frozen leg of lamb and then has to dispose of it.
The Landlady (1979) –
Billy weaver’s landlady has something odd about her.
Neck (1979) –
Outrageous philanderer Lady Turton gets her head stuck in a valuable statue.
Edward the Conqueror (1979) –
Is Louisa’s cat really the reincarnation of a great composer?
A Dip in the Pool (1979) –
William Botibol tries hard to win a bet but pays the ultimate price.
The Way Up to Heaven (1979) –
Mrs Foster will do anything to be punctual!

Season Two

Royal Jelly (1980) –
Bee-keeper Albert Taylor gives his baby Royal jelly – the effects are weird.
Skin (1980) –
A penniless beggar is walking around with a valuable painting on his back!
Galloping Foxley (1980) –
William Pekins is sure the new man on the train bullied him relentlessly at school – but is he?
The Hitch-hiker (1980) –
American Paul Duveen gives a pickpocket a lift.
Poison (1980) –
Harry is petrified when a poisonous snake sits on his belly.
Fat Chance (1980) –
Mary Burge is fat and her husband wants to be rid of her.
Taste (1980) –
A pretentious wine expert makes an outrageous bet.
My Lady Love, My Dove (1980) –
Pamela Beauchamp gets her husband to bug their guests’ bedroom but hears more than she bargained for.
Georgy Porgy (1980) –
One day a shy vicar finds that women are madly attracted to him.
Depart in Peace (1980) –
An art collector becomes entangled in a struggle between two beautiful women.
The Umbrella Man (1980) –
An elderly con-man inadvertently exposes a couple who are cheating on a woman’s husband.
Genesis and Catastrophe (1980) –
In 1889, after having lost three children, an Austrian woman is concerned that her newborn baby boy is ill.
Mr. Botibol’s First Love (1980) –
Mr Botibol is obsessed with Classical music and builds a concert hall in his house, to which he takes a woman with a love of music.
Back for Christmas (1980) –
A man plots a seemingly foolproof way to murder his wife, but she manages to avenge herself from beyond the grave.
The Orderly World of Mr. Appleby (1980) –
Mr Appleby has married and murdered three wives. The fourth one is determined not to be a victim.
The Man at the Top (1980) –
A young seaman fights and kills another man. His friend, Diane, sets him up with someone who can help.

Season Three

The Flypaper (1980) –
Sylvia, a quiet, teenage girl, is being pestered by an old man. A woman steps in to help and takes her to her caravan to call for the police.
A Picture of a Place (1980) –
A con-man buys a valuable picture from a woman at a knockdown price.
Proof of Guilt (1980) –
A police inspector investigating a murder can find no evidence against the suspect even though he was there at the time of death.
Vengeance is Mine Inc. (1980) –
Two out-of-work actors in London set up a scheme whereby they take revenge on a newspaper critic, Lionel Brewster, for money.
A Girl Can’t Always Have Everything (1980) –
A sugar-daddy invests in the play of two struggling actresses, Pat and Suzy. Suzy seduces and is then unfaithful to him, so Pat takes revenge.
Parson’s Pleasure (1980) –
A crooked antiques dealer masquerades as a clergyman.  He encounters a farmer who sells him an antique piece worth a fortune.
The Stinker (1980) –
Tinker gets a job from the millionaire Harold Cutler, who used to bully him at school, but he suspects that he is having an affair with his wife.
I’ll Be Seeing You (1980) –
Roland Trent, married to a rich woman, is having an affair with a blind girl. He comes up with a plan to keep the money and leave his wife.
The Party (1980) –
Harry Knox, the manager of a toy factory for 40 years is uneasy when the company is taken over, so he burns it down.

Season Four

Would You Believe it? (1981) –
Two archaeologists in Jordan discover the statue of a woman and try to smuggle it out of the country.
Vicious Circle (1981) –
An elderly woman catches a thief in the act and then tries to set him on the straight and narrow.
The Boy Who Talked with Animals (1981) –
A boy on holiday in Jamaica disappears with a turtle washed up on the beach.
The Best of Everything (1981) –
Charlie Prince helps Arthur with his shyness with women in return for a room. But now Charlie has outlived his usefulness.
A Woman’s Help (1981) –
Arnold is financially dependent on his rich but much older wife but is having an affair.  He devises a plan to kill his wife to get her money and remarry.
Shatterproof (1981) –
Gerry Williams’ wife has hired an assassin to kill him. Can he turn the tables?
The Sound Machine (1981) –
Mr Klausner believes that his machine can detect the screams of flowers when they are being cut.
Never Speak Ill of the Dead (1981) –
Bob and Sim believe that their friend, David, has killed his wife.
The Best Policy (1981) –
Harry Flock becomes acting manager of his local bank due to his strong work ethic – but is he too good to be true?
The Last Bottle in the World (1981) –
Kyros Kassoulas buys an expensive bottle of claret for a dinner party, but he is fully aware that his wife is being unfaithful.
Kindly Dig Your Grave (1981) –

A commercial art gallery in Paris is run by the unscrupulous Madame La Grue, who is exploiting the artists she employs.  She soon realises that she has met her match, however, when one of her artists falls in love with the model he is painting.

Completely Foolproof (1981) –
Joe Brisson, a ruthless self-made millionaire, plans to kill his wife to keep his assets.
There’s One Born Every Minute (1981) –
When Margaret inherits some money, her husband, Arthur, decides to invest it in a property scheme.  This, however, proves the turning point in their relationship.
Bosom Friends (1981) –
Nell and Emma are old school friends who meet up again for the first time in years.  Emma moves in with Nell but she turns out to be penniless and is happy to drag Nell down with her.
A Glowing Future (1981) –
Jack devastates his partner by announcing his departure to Australia with his new girlfriend.
The Way to Do It (1981) –
Roger Carson takes to gambling and comes up with a way to kill his aunt and inherit her money.
Hijack (1981) –
An airplane is hijacked and an air stewardess held hostage in the toilet.

Season Five

Blue Marigold (1982) –
Blue Marigold, a fashion model, comes back years later and finds that things have changed.
The Eavesdropper (1982) –
When Moira overhears a conversation between two women, she is convinced that one of them is having an affair with her husband – she takes drastic action.
Operation Safecrack (1982) –
Sam, an ex-safecracker, is challenged to crack a new safe as part of an advertising campaign.
Run, Rabbit, Run (1982) –
After World War II, a U. S. Army interpreter boarded at the house of the bully Hector and downtrodden Nathalie.  Ten years later, he returns to the house and meets Nathalie, but Hector is mysteriously absent.
Stranger in Town (1982) –
An eccentrically-dressed stranger arrives in town, endearing himself to the local community – but he has an ulterior motive.
The Moles (1982) –
Two businessmen on the verge of bankruptcy devise a plan to rob a bank with the help of an experienced criminal.
Decoy (1982) –
Police officer Mary Bryan goes undercover to investigate a killer who has murdered a number of women in the city.
Pattern of Guilt (1982) –
Keith Briscoe wants to get back with his second wife and wants to get back with his first, Faye. Murder is the only way!
A Harmless Vanity (1982) –
A woman is tipped off by a friend that her husband is having an affair, so she sets up a meeting with the woman at a beach party.
Death Can Add (1982) –

Alan Corwin, an auditor in a city investment firm, is approached by Oliver Platt, another member of the firm, to cover up his use of company money.  For a price, he agrees, but Corwin’s secretary and girlfriend is ignorant to the arrangement.

Light Fingers (1982) –
Ralph is concerned when thefts begin to occur at his glove factory, so he hires a private detective to catch the culprit.
Death in the Morning (1982) –
Karen marries a rich landowner.  Upon moving into his large house, Karen has an uneasy feeling and confides in her neighbour that the place is haunted.
What Have You Been Up to Lately? (1982) –
Two old actor friends meet up for the first time in 25 years. Together they ponder their unsuccessful lives.
The Absence of Emily (1982) –
Norma believes that her sister has been killed by her husband Bob for an insurance payout after she disappears.  Norma and a detective investigate.
In the Bag (1982) –
Cara is determined to get back her family jewels, which are residing in a safe. Hiring a safecracker, she goes along with him undercover.
A Man with a Fortune (1982) –
American John Smith is visiting England to track down his family roots. While in London, he meets two girls who befriend him. Then one girl disappears.
Who’s Got the Lady? (1982) –

An art gallery owner has received a priceless work of art on loan. He sets up a robbery with a supposed fake being put in its place. He then gets his girlfriend to make a copy of the painting to sell it as the real thing.

The Skeleton Key (1982) –

Max, an arrogant young man, plans a holiday with his girlfriend Emma, but he needs an emergency operation beforehand. Andy, a kind-hearted radiologist at the hospital, builds up a friendship with Emma.
Max is being very bad tempered, so she finds she has a decision to make.

Season Six

A Passing Opportunity (1983) –

Frank Jesmond and Peter Madison are former schoolmates with very different lives.  Jesmond is tough but broke, while Madison is rich and successful.  Jesmond is desperate for money, but Madison wants to see how desperate.

The Memory Man (1983) –
Coln Mearns has a gift for memory, but is struggling financially. He meets a shady character who is desperate to remember the combination of a locker. Mearns soon becomes curious to what the locker contains.
A Sad Loss (1983) –
Claire Hawksworth runs a Caribbean hotel with her boyfriend and plans to kill her aunt before she changes her will.
Clerical Error (1983) –
Paul Standing, the son of a recently deceased doctor, receives a bill from a bookshop for thousands of pounds worth of pornography. Paul is highly suspicious.
Heir Presumptuous (1983) –
George Devon, a wealthy rancher, is found murdered. One of a pair of identical twins committed the crime but which one?
Where’s Your Sense of Humour? (1983) –
George Forester is a compulsive prankster, but one day he goes too far.
Down Among the Sheltering Palms (1983) –
Gerry Armstrong, an American soldier in World War II, returns after 40 years to Norfolk. While there, he attends a dance and meets a beautiful woman, but she is not all she seems.
The Vorpal Blade (1983) –
An old man called Von Baden discusses with a friend a duel that took place 50 years ago in Heidelberg, Germany. A secret he has kept all these years is about to be revealed.
The Wrong ‘Un (1983) –
A German businessman who is staying at a hotel meets up with Molly, an attractive but strange girl. Despite being warned about her, he takes her to his room.
The Luncheon (1983) –
Struggling writer Tony Medway takes a woman out to lunch in the hope of getting a lucrative offer for his book.
The Tribute (1983) –
Three former miserly colonial English ladies hear about the death of a former servant invite the woman’s niece out to lunch.
Hit and Run (1983) –
Doctor Roger Ashburn’s wife disappears after a dinner party. Roger is desperately worried, but a surprise is in store.
Youth from Vienna (1983) –
Caroline Coates, a news anchorwoman, tries an experimental youth formula.
Turn of the Tide (1983) –
Slade, a criminal lawyer,  asks Spalding to cover up a crime. Spalding refuses, so Slade needs to dispose of him.

Season Seven

The Dirty Detail (1984) –
Fred Pearson, a Vietnam veteran, is a broken man after years of punishment from his sergeant.  When the sergeant turns up, he decides to get revenge.
The Best Chess Player in the World (1984) –
Shaw, the rich owner of a newspaper, is controlling and very rich. When Shaw finds out his wife is having an affair, he decides to act.
Proxy (1984) –
Three men are being blackmailed by a woman. One day, she is found murdered and the three worry that they will be suspected. Her chauffeur, however, has a plan.
Have a Nice Death (1984) –
Successful writer Sam Luke is being targetted by feminists for his book and is now getting death threats.
Number Eight (1984) –
After a hitch-hiker is picked up, the car radio announces that a serial killer is at large.  The driver notices that the description given matches the hitch-hiker’s.
The Last of the Midnight Gardeners (1984) –
A magazine editor has a wife and a secret lover. He launches a competition for a story involving the perfect murder and his wife encourages him to enter it himself.
The Gift of Beauty (1984) –
Elizabeth kills her husband because she wants to be with her younger lover. Insecure about the age gap, she opts for an antiaging process known as the Gift of Beauty.
Wet Saturday (1984) –
George Princey’s daughter kills a man. Now he must cover it up to prevent a scandal.
Sauce for the Goose (1984) –
Olivia kills her husband to be with her lover, Stephen. However, Stephen soon starts to philander.
Bird of Prey (1984) –
Jack and Edna’s parrot lays a large, oversized egg. What emerges later, exudes evil.
I Like It Here in Wilmington (1984) –
On the verge of bankruptcy, Harry decides to kill his wife to collect the insurance money.
Accidental Death (1984) –
Steve and Jane are con artists, but they are about to underestimate an old man.
The Reconciliation (1984) –
James’s wife will never divorce him, so he hires a detective to prove her infidelity. A surprise awaits him!
The Mugger (1984) –
Gerald Overton falls for a beautiful woman he met at a party. Subsequent events put his entire political career in jeopardy, so Gerald decides to take the law into his own hands.
The Open Window (1984) –
At a hunting lodge in Connecticut, a young man climbs through the window and when he emerges, he finds himself in a strange new world, unlike anything he has ever seen before.

Season Eight

People Don’t Do Such Things (1985) –
Gwen Carter goes off with Terence Reeve and is later found dead, but did Reeve really commit the crime?
In the Cards (1985) –
Madame Myra is a poor fortune-teller but she is about to meet a man who wants to help her – but should she trust him?
Nothin’ Short of Highway Robbery (1985) –
During a trip through the desert, a husband and wife stop at a diner and are told their car is in need of repair.
Scrimshaw (1985) –
Brenda is a lonely alcoholic living in Florida and then her old friend, Eric, turns up.

Season Nine

Skeleton in the Cupboard (1987) –
Robert Smythe killed a little girl in a hit-and-run twenty years ago. He takes drastic steps to prevent exposure.
The Colonel’s Lady (1988) –
Colonel George Peregrine’s life is disturbed when his wife writes a bestselling raunchy novel. On reading it, he becomes convinced that she has been having an affair.
The Surgeon (1988) –
Doctor Robert Sandy receives a huge diamond from a grateful patient – an eastern prince.
The Verger (1988) –
The Dobsons are harbouring a secret and it is about to be revealed.
The Facts of Life (1988) –
Nicholas gets some lessons in life while competing in a fencing competition in London.
Wink Three Times (1988) –
Jeremy Tyler, a shy solicitor, gets mistaken for another man by a woman on a blind date.
The Dead Don’t Steal (1988) –
Ken Johnson kills his wife in temper and buries her – but then he gets a phone call from her.
The Finger of Suspicion (1988) –
Steve Baker lives happily in a Middle Eastern country, then his past comes back to haunt him.
A Time to Die (1988) –
Yves Drouard tries to kill his wife with an explosive device, but there is something he has overlooked.
Mr. Know-All (1988) –
Archaeology professor Max Kelada is a notorious womaniser and is open about the tricks he uses to seduce women.