Fear On 4/The Man In Black.
BBC Radio Four Series

Update June 2002
Appointment With Fear Page
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Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5

Introduction

    January 1988 saw the return of The Man In Black to the airwaves as the narrator/story-teller of Fear On 4. While the BBC had produced 100s of suspense, mystery & horror stories since the days of Appointment With Fear, other than Vincent Price's series The Price Of Fear, they tended to be unrelated "one offs". The new series featured Edward de Souza as the Man In Black in each episode and was a blend of original stories and adapted classics. Many of the episodes were also broadcast on BBC World Service under the title of The Man In Black.

A selection of listings from The Radio Times.
Fear On 4
The Man In Black, Edward de Souza introduces 13 plays of horror and suspense.
The Snowman Killing by J.C.W. Brook. A Young mother's fear is intensified by her children's fascination with an eyeless snowman. With Imelda Staunton as Anne Makepiece Snipe 3909 by Graeme Fife. The telephone can be a vital lifeline in our lives. A lifeline, however, that can become horribly tangled. With Hannah Gordon as Mary.
William and Mary by Roald Dahl dramatised by Jill Brooke. William is made an offer he can't refuse, then wishes with all his heart that he had. Except, of course, he has no heart. The Beast With Five Fingers by W.F. Harvey dramatised by John Keir Cross. Horror arrives in a small box left to a distinguished scientist in a will.
Every Detail But One by Bert Coules. A strange voice bursts into Jenny's life. A voice making demands that can set Jenny on a journey to terror - and beyond. By the River, Fontainbleau by Stephen Gallagher. A young painter's obsession with a potential model leads him into a world of degradation and self-disgust.
The Face by E.F. Benson, dramatised by Michael Bakewell. In a lonely hotel a woman, terrified and praying for release from mounting fear, is told all will be well - but it isn't and she stands the prospect of coming face to face with the final terror. Mind Well the Tree by William Ingram. Aunt Hestor's bequest of an old border mansion worries David Hollis, but his wife is captivated by the spirit of their new home. Literally.
Fat Andy by Stephen Dunstone. Many years ago, Fat Andy was involved in a certain crime, a crime that now comes back to haunt him. Andy prays to God to save him from a mounting horror - but are prayers enough and is God listening? A Day at the Dentist's by James Saunders based on an idea by Arch Oboler. A Man gradually relaxes in a dentist's chair unaware that the dentist is bent on a dreadful revenge.

 
Image by Richard Parerd from The Radio Times January 1988.
Snowman Killing
"No one is going to make you build a snowman, darling... it was only a silly dream... and dreams don't mean anything and they can't hurt you." 
Radio 4, 6:30pm Fear On 4: The Snowman Killing.
Image by Robin Jacques from BBC Worldwide magazine March 1993.
Yellow Wallpaper
11:30 The woman in The Yellow Wallpaper is obsessed by the strange patterns on her wall which seem to change form - and even too smell...

Titles such as The Monkey's Paw, The Yellow Wallpaper & The Beast With Five Fingers, had all featured on either Appointment With Fear or The Man In Black. In a couple of cases it may be that John Keir Cross's 40s adaptations were used? The Man In Black lasted for four series, though when Fear On 4 returned in 1997 in a new series, it was narrator less. Fear On 4 as a series seems to have ended at this point, though at least one play - The Blood of Eva Bergen went out under this title.

A listing for one series on BBC World Service
The Man In Black
Edward de Souza is the sinister story-teller in a series of spine-chilling dramas directed by Gerry Jones and Martin Jenkins.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Parkins-Gilman. A sick woman spends hours alone in her room. The patterns on the wallpaper disturb her - but is her fear merely the product of a fevered imagination. Green And Pleasant by Bert Coules. A man rings a phone-in programme and claims he has kidnapped the rock star Sarah Lovecraft, to teach her a lesson about environmental issues.
Dead Man's Boots by William Ingram. An estate agent persuades Richard and Myra Duncan that a 19th century terraced house in south London is a bargain. The Duncans buy it - and get more than they expected. Invitation To The Vaults by Basil Copper. An unscrupulous literary agent robs a widow of her husband's letters, the publication of which will make his fortune - and ruin her life. She plans her revenge.
The Monkey's Revenge by Guy Jenkin. A scientist thinks he has made a major breakthrough in his work on human mortality. If he is right, Man could live for ever. Unfortunately his research requires a number of dead monkeys... Dance In The Underworld by Stuart Kerr. Victor has to make an agonising decision - whether or not to give permission for the life-support machine that keeps his son alive to be switched off. Five years later the decision still haunts the family.

Episode Log.

Series 1
 
 
 
 
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
Adapter
1/1
The Snowman Killing
3/1/88
J.C.W. Brook
 
1/2
William and Mary
10/1/88
Roald Dahl
Jill Brooke
1/3
The Monkey's Paw
17/1/88
W.W. Jacobs
Patrick Galvin
1/4
Music Lovers
24/1/88
Nick Warburton
 
1/5
The Beast With Five Fingers
31/1/88
W.F. Harvey
John Keir Cross
1/6
Every Detail But One
7/2/88
Bert Coules
 
1/7
By The River, Fontainebleau
14/2/88
Stephen Gallagher
 
1/8
The Face
21/2/88
E.F. Benson
Michael Bakewell
1/9
Mind Well The Tree
28/2/88
William Ingram
 
1/10
Fat Andy
6/3/88
Stephen Dunstone
 
1/11
A Day At The Dentist's
13/3/88
Arch Oboler
James Saunders
1/12
The Speciality Of The House
20/3/88
Stanley Ellin
Colin Haydn Evans
 
 
Top
 
 
 
Directors:
Martin Jenkins
Gerry Jones
Jeremy Howe
Adrian Mourby
     
 
 
 
 
 
Series 2
 
 
 
 
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
Adapter
2/1
Snipe 3909
15/1/89
Graeme Fife
 
2/2
The Dead Drummer
22/1/89
David Buck
 
2/3
The Dispossessed Daughter
29/1/89
Katherine Nicholas
 
2/4
St. Austin's Friars
5/2/89
Robert Westall
Stephen Wyatt
2/5
Dreaming Of Thee
12/2/89
Gwen Cherrell
 
2/6
The Horn
19/2/89
Stephen Gallagher
 
2/7
The Journey Home
26/2/89
Bert Coules
 
2/8
Hand In Glove
5/3/89
Elizabeth Bowen
Elizabeth Troop
2/9
His Last Card
12/3/89
Nick Warburton
 
2/10
Survival
19/3/89
John Wyndham
Pat Hooker
2/11
Soul Searching
26/3/89
Martyn Wade
 
2/12
A Child Crying
2/4/89
James Saunders
 
2/13
The Judge's House
9/4/89
Bram Stoker
John Keir Cross
 
 
Top
 
 
 
 Directors:
Gerry Jones
Martin Jenkins
Adrian Mourby
Peter Fozzard
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Series 3
 
 
 
 
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
Adapter
3/1
The Yellow Wallpaper
27/12/91
Charlotte Parkins Gilman
John Keir Cross
3/2
Green And Pleasant
3/1/91
Bert Coules
 
3/3
The Monkey's Revenge
10/1/91
Guy Jenkin
 
3/4**
Invitation To The Vaults
21/2/91**
Basil Copper
Waly K. Daly
3/5
The Edge
24/2/91
John Piirto
 
3/6
Dead Man's Boots
31/2/91
William Ingram
 
3/7
A Routine Operation?
7/2/91
Martyn Wade
 
3/8
Dance In The Underworld
14/2/91
Stuart Kerr
 
**Note
postponed from 17/1 to 21/2
Top
 
 
 
 Directors:
Gerry Jones
Martin Jenkins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Series 4
 
 
 
 
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
Adapter
4/1
Gobble, Gobble
24/12/92
Paul Burns
 
4/2
The Next In Line
31/12/92
Ray Bradbury
Brian Sibley
4/3
Dark Feathers
7/1/93
Denise Sims
 
4/4
Playing God
14/1/93
John Graham
 
4/5
Vicious Fish
21/1/93
John Duquemin & 
Gregor Grice
 
4/6
Hellhound On My Trail
28/1/93
Paul Sirett
 
4/7
Hearing Is Believing
4/2/93
Aubrey Woods
 
4/8
Life Line
11/2/93
Stephen Gallagher
 
 
 
Top
 
 
 
 Director:
Martin Jenkins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Series 5
 
 
 
 
Episode
Title
Date
Writer
 
5/1
Net Suicide
4/9/97
Stephen Wyatt
 
5/2
Tapping
25/9/97
Colin Haydn Evans
 
5/3
The Chimes Of Midnight
2/10/97
Nick Fisher
 
5/4
Making Sacrifices
9/10/97
Nick Warburton
 
5/5
Tissue Memory
16/10/97
Judy Upton
 
 
 
Top
 
 
 Notes:
Directors:
David Blount
Marion Nancarrow
Adrian Bean
 
 Minus The Man In Black.
 
 
 
 
 
 
No Series
The Blood of Eva Bergen
15/2/99
Paul Sirett
 
Director
Marilyn Imrie
**Thanks to Ian Beard for log & Radio Times details & Norman Milburn for more RT listings.**

REFERENCE:
'BBC Worldwide Magazine" March & April 1993.
'Radio Times" January 1988 & January 1989. 1