Appointment With Fear/The Man In Black.
BBC Radio Series between 1943 & 1955.

Fear On Four Page
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Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5
Series 6
Series 7
Series 8
Series 9
M.I.B
Series 10
Return of TMIB

Introduction

Valentine DyallIn 1943 a regular series of Mystery and Suspense plays started to be broadcast on the BBC. American writer John Dickson Carr contributed mostly original radio plays along with a few adaptations of classic short stories. In fact, many of his plays had been produced on the C.B.S radio series Suspense in the USA during 1942. For example, the debut episode of AWF  - Cabin B-13 had been broadcast in the US 6 months before. In addition to sharing a number of Dickson Carr stories with the US series, AWF also shared the theme music and the character of the story-teller/narrator, The Man In Black. Played throughout by the silky voiced Valentine Dyall, excepting the 2nd series where his father Franklin Dyall took the part. Later series were characterised by more adaptations of classics, along with original stories by a number of new writers. Dickson Carr's contribution to the series, dropped away after 1945.

Val Gielgud and Martin C. Webster were the early producers, and they made sure that the productions had quality casts. Film actors such as Constance Cummings, Eric Portmann, Linden Travers and well known radio names like Laidman Browne, Grizelda Hervey, Marjorie Westbury are just a few who graced the series.

In 1949, The Man In Black was given his own, very similar series. This time, John Keir Cross contributed one original story, and adapted a number of all time classics.

After a lengthy break, a final Appointment With Fear series featuring all Dickson Carr stories was broadcast in 1955. 10/1 & 10/3 had been broadcast in the US in the 1948 C.B.S series Cabin-B13, the others were new to radio.

The title Appointment With Fear seems to have been revived in a series of plays in the 1970s and more memorably, The Man In Black was reborn in the form of actor Edward de Souza, in Fear on 4** from the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

**Episodes from the series that were broadcast on BBC World Service went out under the banner title of The Man In Black for obvious reasons.
 
 

Episode Log.

Series 1
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
1/1
Cabin B-13
11/9/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/2
The Pit and the Pendulum
18/9/43
Edgar Allan Poe
John Dickson Carr
1/3
Into Thin Air
21/9/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/4
The Body Snatchers
30/9/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/5
The Customers Like Murder
7/10/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/6
Will You Make a Bet With Death?
14/10/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/7
The Devil's Saint
21/10/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/8
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
28/10/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/9
The Phantom Archer
4/11/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/10
The Man Who Died Twice
11/11/43
John Dickson Carr
 
1/11
Menace In Wax
18/11/43
John Dickson Carr
 
   
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Series 2
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
2/1
Vex Not His Ghost
6/1/44
John Dickson Carr
 
2/2
The Tell Tale Heart
13/1/44
Edgar Allan Poe
John Dickson Carr
2/3
The Room of the Suicides
20/1/44
John Dickson Carr
 
2/4
The Sire de Maletroit's Door
27/1/44
Robert Louis Stevenson
John Dickson Carr
2/5
Dragon in the Pool
3/2/44
John Dickson Carr
 
2/6
The Man Who Was Afraid of Dentists
10/2/44
John Dickson Carr
 
   
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Series 3
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
3/1
The Speaking Clock
13/4/44
John Dickson Carr
 
3/2
Death Flies Blind
20/4/44
John Dickson Carr
 
3/3
A Watcher by the Dead
27/4/44
Ambrose Bierce
John Dickson Carr
3/4
The Pit and the Pendulum
4/5/44
Edgar Allan Poe
John Dickson Carr
3/5
Vampire Tower
11/5/44
John Dickson Carr
 
3/6
The Clock Strikes Eight
18/5/44
John Dickson Carr
 
   
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Series 4
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
4/1
I Never Suspected
5/10/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/2
The Devil's Manuscript
12/10/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/3
Death Has Four Faces
19/10/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/4
The Purple Wig
26/10/44
G.K Chesterton
John Dickson Carr
4/5
He Who Whispers
2/11/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/6
The Curse of the Bronze Lamp**
9/11/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/7
The Great Cipher
16/11/44
Melville Davisson Post
John Dickson Carr
4/8
Vex Not His Ghost
30/11/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/9
The Curse of the Bronze Lamp**
7/12/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/10
The Gong Cried Murder
14/12/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/11
Lair of the Devil Fish
21/12/44
John Dickson Carr
 
4/12
The Oath of Rolling Thunder
28/12/44
John Dickson Carr
 
  **probably delayed till 7/12/44
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Series 5
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
 
5/1
Into Thin Air
11/9/45
John Dickson Carr
 
5/2
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
18/9/45
John Dickson Carr
 
5/3
The Man Who Died Twice
25/9/45
John Dickson Carr
 
5/4
The Clock Strikes Eight
2/10/45
John Dickson Carr
 
5/5
Cabin B13
9/10/45
John Dickson Carr
 
5/6
Will You Make a Bet With Death?
16/10/45
John Dickson Carr
 
 
See Notes on Series 6. 
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Series 6
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
6/1**
He Wasn't Superstitious
23/10/45**
Ambrose Bierce
John Dickson Carr
6/2
The Man With Two Heads
6/11/45
John Dickson Carr
 
6/3
The Case of the Five Canaries
13/11/45
John Dickson Carr
 
6/4
And The Deep Shuddered
20/11/45
Monckton Hoffe
 
6/5
The Case
27/11/45
John Slater & Roy Plomley
 
6/6
Death at Midnight
4/12/45
Robert Barr
 
Notes:
Producer for series 5 & 6:
Martin C. Webster. Radio Times bills Series 5 as a "request series" & 6 as being separate series, despite following on directly.
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**Also billed on 30/10/45 therefore appears to have been delayed by a week.
 
         
Series 7
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
7/1
The Nutcracker Suite
26/3/46
(play by) E. Crowshay-Williams
J. Leslie Dodd
7/2
Black Mamba
2/4/46
Hugh Barnes & A.R Ramsden
 
7/3
The Cask of Amontillado
9/4/46
Edgar Allan Poe
Laidman Browne
7/4
A Watcher by the Dead
16/4/46
Ambrose Bierce
John Dickson Carr
7/5
The Man Who Knew How
23/4/46
Dorothy L. Sayers
Ronald Cunliffe
7/6
Dead Mans Teeth
30/4/46
Richard Fisher
Charles Hatton
7/7
Experiment With Death
7/5/46
Harry Bunton
 
7/8
Death Takes a Honeymoon
14/5/46
Mileson Horton & W.L Catchpole
 
7/9
Renovations at Merrets**
21/5/46
Honore de Balzac
Rankine Good
7/10
The Monkey's Paw
28/5/46
W.W Jacobs
Louis N. Parker
7/11
Cottage For Sale
4/6/46
T.J Waldron
 
7/12
A Mind in Shadow
11/6/46
Kenneth Morgan
 
Note:
**La Grande Breteche
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Series 8
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
8/1
Mrs. Amworth
25/2/47
E.F Benson
?
8/2
Sink Or Swim Together
4/3/47
?
?
8/3
The Last Pilgrimage
11/3/47
T.J Waldron
 
8/4
The Bell Room
25/3/47
Edgar Allan Poe
Lester Powell
8/5
The Diary of William Carpenter
1/4/47
John Atkins
Patric Dickinson
8/6
The Treasures
8/4/47
Gilbert Frankau
Charles Hatton
8/7
The Hands of Nekamen
22/4/47
Kathleen Hyatt
Lester Powell
8/8
All Cats May Snarl
29/4/47
J. Vernon Basley
 
 
Producer: Martin C. Webster 
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Series 9
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
 
9/1
The Clock Strikes Eight
14/1/48
John Dickson Carr
 
Note:
Producer: Martin C. Webster 
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The Man In Black
     
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
adapter
mib/1
Markheim
31/1/49
Robert Louis Stevenson
John Keir Cross
mib/2
Oh Whistle And I'll Come
To You,  My Lad
7/2/49
M. R James
John Keir Cross
mib/3
The Middle Toe Of The Right Foot
14/2/49
Ambrose Bierce
John Keir Cross
mib/4
Our Feathered Friends
Thus I Refute Beelzy
21/2/49
Philip MacDonald
John Collier
John Keir Cross
mib/5
The Judge's House
28/2/49
Bram Stoker
John Keir Cross
mib/6
The Yellow Wallpaper
7/3/49
Charlotte Parkins Gilman
John Keir Cross
mib/7
The Beast With Five Fingers
14/3/49
W.F Harvey
John Keir Cross
mib/8
The Little House
21/3/49
John Keir Cross
 
Notes:
Producers:
1,2,3,4,7 
Martin C. Webster & David H.Godfrey
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Producers:
5, David H. Godfrey
6, Martin C. Webster
8, Cleland Finn
 
         
Series 10
       
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
 
10/1
The Man Who Couldn't Be Photographed
26/7/55
John Dickson Carr
 
10/2
White Tiger Passage
2/8/55
John Dickson Carr
 
10/3
The Dead Man's Knock
9/8/55
John Dickson Carr
 
10/4
The Sleuth of Seven Dials
16/8/55
John Dickson Carr
 
10/5
The Villa of the Damned
23/8/55
John Dickson Carr
 
10/6
Till the Great Armados Come
30/8/55
John Dickson Carr
 
Note:
Producer: David H. Godfrey
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Notes:
The early series were broadcast on the Home Service, From 1945 all episodes went out on the Light Programme.
Series 8: The Radio Times was not published for 8/1 & 8/2. Hence the lack of writer credits.

**Special Thanks to Ian Beard for his contribution to the log, especially to the writer/adapter & producer credits.**

REFERENCE:
'The Door to Doom and Other Detections" by John Dickson Carr edited by Douglas G. Greene published by the Hamish Hamilton Ltd 1981.
The bibliography proved very helpful with regard to the first series, and to some writer credits for S2 & 4.


The Return of the Man In Black.
Broadcast by Radio 4 as two Archive Hour specials on October 24 & 31 1998. The documentaries were presented by Ramsay Campbell, and covered the history of fear & suspense on BBC radio. During the programmes, 2 complete episodes were presented:
The Pit and the Pendulum (from Appointment With Fear) and The Beast With Five Fingers (from Fear On 4). also featured:

Episode 1.
Stuart Hibbert talking about  A. J. Alan.
A. J. Alan reading Wattie.
Valentine Dyall on Appointment With Fear.
Sir John Martin Harvey in The Bell's (1933) based on a Henry Irving play.
recordings of John Dickson Carr, Algernon Blackwood. An excerpt from Blackwood's The Woman's Ghost Story (August 1947).
Val Gielgud rehearsing Belle Chrystal & Laidman Browne in a scene from Cabin B13.
excerpts from the Appointment With Fear episodes:
The Clock Strikes Eight &The Speaking Clock.

Episode 2.
Beowulf, Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Price of Fear, Fear on 4, The Woman In Black.
and the voices of Dennis Wheatley, Kim Newman, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Vincent Price, Martin Jenkins, Edward de Suza & Susan Hill.
excerpts from the Fear On 4 episodes:
The Monkey's Paw & A Day At the Dentist's.

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