Orson Welles' Great Mysteries

Orson Welles' Great Mysteries was a British television series originally transmitted between 1973 and 1974, produced by Anglia Television for the ITV network.[1]

The series is an anthology of different tales. Each episode is introduced by Orson Welles, the only regular actor in the series, whose appearances were confined to the introductions.[2] In the opening titles, Welles appears shown in silhouette walking through a hallway towards the camera, smoking a cigar and outfitted in a broad-brimmed hat and a huge cloak. When he actually appears on-screen to introduce the episodes, his face is all that is shown, in extreme close-up and very low lighting.

Episodes were directed by Alan Gibson, Peter Sykes, Peter Sasdy, Philip Saville, James Ferman and Alan Cooke. The theme music for the series was composed by John Barry.[3]

Orson Welles' Great Mysteries
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series1
No. of episodes26
Producer(s)Anglia Television
Running time25 minutes
Distributor20th Century-Fox Television
Original networkITV
Picture format576i 4:3 (SDTV)
Original release1 September 1973 –
24 February 1974


  1. Captain Rogers (starring Donald Pleasence)
  2. The Leather Funnel
  3. A Terribly Strange Bed
  4. La Grande Bretèche
  5. The Dinner Party
  6. Money to Burn
  7. In the Confessional
  8. Unseen Alibi
  9. Battle of Wits
  10. A Point of Law
  11. The Monkey's Paw
  12. The Ingenious Reporter
  13. Death of an Old-Fashioned Girl
  14. For Sale - Silence
  15. The Inspiration of Mr. Budd
  16. An Affair of Honour
  17. Farewell to the Faulkners
  18. The Power of Fear
  19. Where There Is a Will
  20. A Time to Remember
  21. Ice Storm
  22. Come Into My Parlour
  23. Compliments of the Season
  24. Under Suspicion
  25. Trial for Murder
  26. The Furnished Room


The series is, at present, not available on DVD. The home media rights are held by ITV Studios. In 2019 Network Distributing announced that they will be releasing the series on DVD.


  1. ^ BFI - Orson Welles' Great Mysteries
  2. ^ Orson Welles
  3. ^ John Barry Themependium

External links

1973 in British television

This is a list of British television related events from 1973.

Alan Gibson (director)

Alan Gibson (April 28, 1938, London, Ontario, Canada – July 5, 1987, London, UK) was a Canadian director active in British film and television. Particularly notable in his early years for his work in horror, cinematic films directed by him include Journey to Midnight (1968), Crescendo (1970), Dracula A.D. 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974), Checkered Flag or Crash (1977), Witness for the Prosecution (1982) and A Woman Called Golda (1982) starring Ingrid Bergman. His television work includes Eh Joe (1965), The Capone Investment (1974), Churchill and the Generals (1979) and The Charmer (1987).

Alan Gibson came up with the idea for The Flipside of Dominick Hide (1980), a Play for Today he co-wrote with Jeremy Paul and directed. As a child he had overheard his family discussing a recent UFO report and thought to himself: "Since there had been sightings of flying saucers recorded throughout history, it occurred to me that they were man-made machines, time machines from the future". The two men collaborated again on its sequel Another Flip for Dominick (1982). "The Flipside of Dominick" Hide attained viewing figures of 5.3 million and a reaction index of 75 - compared to an average Play for Today score of 59. The Radio Times letter editor claimed that "No other single new BBC TV play in 1980 attracted so much correspondence" - highlighting the public's affection for the show.

Anthology series

An anthology series is a radio, television or book series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode or season. These usually have a different cast each week, but several series in the past, such as Four Star Playhouse, employed a permanent troupe of character actors who would appear in a different drama each week. Some anthology series, such as Studio One, began on radio and then expanded to television.

Christopher Lee filmography

The filmography of English actor Sir Christopher Lee (1922–2015) began in 1948.

David Ambrose

David Ambrose (born 21 February 1943) is a British novelist and screenwriter whose credits include at least 20 Hollywood films, three stage plays, and many hours of television, including the controversial Alternative 3. He was born in Chorley, England, and attended Blackburn Grammar School and Merton College, Oxford. He is married to artist Laurence Ambrose and lives in Switzerland.

His screenplay for The Survivor (directed by David Hemmings) won the Best Script award at the International Film Festival of Catalonia.

Dean Stockwell

Robert Dean Stockwell (born March 5, 1936) is a retired American actor of film and television, with a career spanning over 70 years. As a child actor under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he first came to the public's attention in films such as Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Green Years (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and Kim (1950). He earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Married to the Mob (1988).

As a young adult, he played a lead role in the 1957 Broadway and 1959 screen adaptations of Compulsion and in 1962, Stockwell played Edmund Tyrone in the film version of Long Day's Journey into Night. He appeared in supporting roles in such films as Paris, Texas (1984), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Blue Velvet (1986), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), The Player (1992), and Air Force One (1997).

His television roles include playing Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci in Quantum Leap (1989–1993) and Brother Cavil in the Sci Fi Channel revival of Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009). Following his roles on Quantum Leap and Battlestar Galactica, Stockwell appeared at numerous science fiction conventions.

Donald Pleasence

Donald Henry Pleasence, OBE (; 5 October 1919 – 2 February 1995) was an English actor. His best known film roles include psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis in Halloween (1978) and four of its sequels, the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), RAF Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe in The Great Escape (1963), SEN 5241 in THX 1138 (1971), Clarence "Doc" Tydon in Wake in Fright (1971), and the President of the United States in Escape from New York (1981).

Donald Wilson (writer and producer)

Donald Boyd Wilson (11 September 1910, Dunblane, Scotland – 6 March 2002, Gloucestershire, England) was a British television writer and producer, best known for his work on the BBC's adaptation of The Forsyte Saga in 1967 and co-creating the series Doctor Who.

He attended the Glasgow School of Art, following which his first jobs were as a newspaper cartoonist and sketch writer.His initial career was in the film industry, including working for MGM at Elstree Studios, where he was Assistant Director of such films as Jericho (1937) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). During the war he served with the Cameronians and the 43rd Wessex Division before afterwards returning to the film industry, and then in 1955 was recruited to BBC Television by the then Head of Drama, Michael Barry. As the Head of the Script Department, Wilson was ultimately responsible for overseeing the commissioning and development of all the original scripts and adaptations transmitted by BBC Television.

When the Script Department was rendered redundant by Sydney Newman’s radical shake-up of the BBC Drama Department after his arrival as its head in 1962, the highly respected Wilson was given one of the most senior positions under Newman as Head of Serials. In this position, Wilson was responsible for overseeing the creation and development of a series that Newman himself had originally conceived; an educational science-fiction serial entitled Doctor Who. It was Wilson, together with Newman and staff writer C. E. Webber, who co-wrote the first format document for the programme.

Wilson was responsible for much of the early development work on the show, although he did strongly attempt to dissuade producer Verity Lambert from using writer Terry Nation’s script featuring a race of aliens named Daleks. However, once the script had been made and transmitted to great success, he called Lambert into his office to admit that she clearly knew the show better than he did and told her that he would no longer interfere with her decisions.

In 1965, Wilson gave up his position as Head of Serials to concentrate on realising a long-held ambition of bringing The Forsyte Saga to the screen. Acting as both adapter and producer, Wilson created one of the BBC’s most popular and successful drama serials of all time, which was a huge hit on its eventual screening on BBC Two in 1967, and was quickly repeated on BBC One. Later, he acted as adapter and producer again on such prestigious costume dramas as The First Churchills (1969) and Anna Karenina (1977), and also worked for Anglia Television on their series Orson Welles' Great Mysteries in 1973.

After his work on Anna Karenina he retired to Gloucestershire, where he died at the age of 91 in March 2002.

Gennie Nevinson

Gennie Nevinson is an Australian actress. She is notable for her appearances in Muriel's Wedding. She also appeared as Eva, part of a kidnapping gang in the hard-hitting British police drama The Professionals; episode The Acorn Syndrome (1980), and in the first two series of Minder, in the part of Terry's girlfriend Penny.

Hildegarde Neil

Hildegarde Neil (born 29 July 1939), also credited as Hildegard Neil, is an English actress.

Isabel Dean

Isabel Dean (born Isabel Hodgkinson, 29 May 1918 – 27 July 1997) was an English stage, film and television actress.

John Barry (composer)

John Barry Prendergast, (3 November 1933 – 30 January 2011) was an English composer and conductor of film music. He composed the scores for 11 of the James Bond films between 1963 and 1987, and also arranged and performed the "James Bond Theme" to the first film in the series, 1962's Dr. No. He wrote the Grammy- and Academy Award-winning scores to the films Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa, as well as the theme for the British television cult series The Persuaders!, in a career spanning over 50 years. In 1999, he was appointed OBE for services to music.

Born in York, Barry spent his early years working in cinemas owned by his father. During his national service with the British Army in Cyprus, Barry began performing as a musician after learning to play the trumpet. Upon completing his national service, he formed his own band in 1957, The John Barry Seven. He later developed an interest in composing and arranging music, making his début for television in 1958. He came to the notice of the makers of the first James Bond film Dr. No, who were dissatisfied with a theme for James Bond given to them by Monty Norman. This started a successful association between Barry and Eon Productions that lasted for 25 years.

He received many awards for his work, including five Academy Awards; two for Born Free, and one each for The Lion in Winter (for which he also won the first BAFTA Award for Best Film Music), Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa (both of which also won him Grammy Awards). He also received ten Golden Globe Award nominations, winning once for Best Original Score for Out of Africa in 1986. Barry completed his last film score, Enigma, in 2001 and recorded the successful album Eternal Echoes the same year. He then concentrated chiefly on live performances and co-wrote the music to the musical Brighton Rock in 2004 alongside Don Black. In 2001, Barry became a Fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and, in 2005, he was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Barry was married four times and had four children. He moved to the United States in 1975 and lived there for the remainder of his life until his death in 2011.

John and James Woolf

Sir John Woolf (15 March 1913, London – 28 June 1999, London) and his brother James Woolf (2 March 1920, London – 30 May 1966) were British film producers. John and James founded the production companies Romulus Films and Remus Films, which were active during the 1950s and 1960s, and the distribution company Independent Film Distributors (known as IFD), which was active 1950–59 and handled the UK distribution of films such as The African Queen and Gift Horse, as well as several films made by their two production companies (such as Room at the Top).

José Ferrer

José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón (January 8, 1912 – January 26, 1992), known as José Ferrer, was a Puerto Rican actor and theatre and film director. He was the first Puerto Rican-born actor, as well as the first Hispanic actor, to win an Academy Award (in 1950 for Cyrano de Bergerac).

In 1947, Ferrer won the Tony Award for his theatrical performance of Cyrano de Bergerac, and in 1952, he won the Distinguished Dramatic Actor Award for The Shrike, and also the Outstanding Director Award for directing the plays The Shrike, The Fourposter, and Stalag 17.

Ferrer's contributions to American theatre were recognized in 1981, when he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. In 1985, he received the National Medal of Arts from Ronald Reagan, becoming the first actor to receive that honor. On April 26, 2012, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp in Ferrer's honor in its Distinguished Americans series.

La Grande Bretèche

La Grande Bretèche is a short story by Honoré de Balzac published in 1831. It is one of the Scènes de la vie privée of La Comédie humaine.

List of television programmes broadcast by ITV

This is a list of television programmes that are either currently being broadcast or have previously been broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom.

Orson Welles filmography

This is the filmography of Orson Welles.

Phil Davis (actor)

Philip Davis (born 30 July 1953) is an English actor, writer, and director.

Richard Johnson (actor)

Richard Keith Johnson (30 July 1927 – 5 June 2015) was an English actor, writer and producer, who starred in several British films of the 1960s and also had television roles and a distinguished stage career.

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