It’s the cheap Sherlock Holmes rip-off.
(CONTENT WARNING: This story will deal with sexual violence and mental illness. See Help Links for more information about these issues.)
KATY: Hello everyone, this is Katy Froade. I’m joined once more by my lovely friend Amanda Cadewell.
KATY: This is the cheap Victorian story. I think it’s copied from Sherlock Holmes. But it’s not very long so I hope it’ll be more exciting than the last one.
MANDY: Now, this one was directed by Vere Lorrimer, who was quite a character.
KATY: That’s one way of putting it.
MANDY: Vere got everyone’s names wrong. He always called me Sally.
KATY: I was Amy. It was very confusing. It looks like we’re wearing the same clothes as last time. Oh!
MANDY: This bit looks very dramatic, but really the horses were so docile that it was quite a job to make them look as if they were bolting.
KATY: It’s just like the old Hammer films. Oh, panic over.
MANDY: This is a lovely scene. I’ve always loved working with horses.
KATY: We had to go again here because one of the horses had the wind. I hope the out-takes will be on the DVD because some of them are brilliant.
MANDY: I think the horses are telling me something important.
KATY: You and your empathy.
MANDY: We’ve got to go with them.
KATY: This looked very funny, because we could see the horsemaster leading them on with Polo mints, but of course he’s out of shot. …
MANDY: Now, when we get out, we’re supposed to be looking at a building, but there wasn’t really anything there.
KATY: And … cut to the studio. The horror!
MANDY: This was a bit gruesome. It still gives me the heebie-jeebies. I can understand why Mary Whitehouse was upset.
KATY: She was always upset.
MANDY: This shot took a long time to set up. First they locked the camera off, and we played the scene on one side, then we had to lie down on the other side and play dead. Then they used some wizardry to mix the two shots together, so it looks like we’ve found our own bodies.
KATY: And we had to do some very quick changes. I was so out of breath that I couldn’t keep still when I was supposed to be dead.
MANDY: My dresser wasn’t there and it made me late. Brian was furious.
KATY: You shouldn’t have taken it when it wasn’t your fault. Now this is the real us dressing up as the other two.
MANDY: … This hall was where they trained all the technicians, so it was always easy to get.
KATY: Ted Furnage is the butler. He always turns up.
MANDY: And who’s this? He’s very tall.
KATY: This is Robert Swann. He didn’t get many big parts on telly but he was a very good character actor. Did lots of Shakespeare too.
MANDY: Oh, and there’s Michael Sheard. My children were very frightened of him when he was Mr Bronson, but he was lovely really.
KATY: Yes, I think the cast for this one had very good chemistry. Doesn’t Michael look funny in the dog collar?
MANDY: He’s being very shifty. It’s a wonderful performance.
KATY: Now into the study for all the boring plot stuff.
MANDY: Sir Charles has to explain why he needs help. It draws the audience into the mystery.
KATY: It isn’t much of a mystery, is it?
MANDY: It would be for the little ones.
KATY: … Urgh, this dialogue!
MANDY: You’re acting your socks off in the background.
KATY: I’m sorry if I upstaged you. I didn’t have any lines in this scene, so I went over the top with my reactions. … Now, for anyone who hasn’t guessed that Michael is the baddie yet.
MANDY: But who is he talking to? And why are they in the cellar? The plot thickens.
KATY: Dinner time!
MANDY: I always look forward to dinner scenes. Sitting down is bliss.
KATY: Oh, here’s Carry John! I adored her.
MANDY: We were very lucky to get her. She’d not long since had Tom, and she wasn’t working very much. She said that she liked doing Time Girls because she always had someone to go shopping with.
KATY: We liked to tell one another our horror stories. I don’t think Barry was always as women’s lib as he thought he was.
MANDY: Well … Caroline John, of course, sadly no longer with us.
KATY: It’s such a shame. I do miss her.
MANDY: … I suppose this curse is where the title comes from.
KATY: Oh dear. The camera loves my cleavage.
MANDY: That dress does suit you.
KATY: I could hardly breathe in it.
MANDY: You’re very flirtatious. That isn’t how you usually played Gemma.
KATY: I know. Vere was convinced that she wanted to marry Sir Charles. It wasn’t in the script and it doesn’t make any sense.
MANDY: Love can be mysterious.
KATY: It was certainly a mystery to Vere Lorrimer. … Oh no, Gemma! Don’t go outside on your own!
MANDY: … Ah, the old hanky over the face trick.
KATY: I think really she’d hear him coming and beat him up.
MANDY: Where have you gone?
KATY: I’m tied up again. That tree was very uncomfortable. … Oh! That’s such a grotesque mask.
MANDY: Now, it’s often said that there weren’t any coloured people in things like this, but you see, they did get their chance sometimes.
KATY: It’s a terrible part. He doesn’t get any lines.
MANDY: Well, it’s work. We all have to take what we can get.
KATY: Did he ever get anything else?
MANDY: I’m not sure who it is. Will we see his face later?
KATY: We’ll see his name in the credits.
MANDY: I think he’s going to sacrifice you. Look! He’s doing his dance!
KATY: (THROUGH GRITTED TEETH) Oh God, it’s so embarrassing. It’s like the Black and White Minstrels.
MANDY: Now, a funny thing about the Black and White Minstrels. People did complain, so they got rid of the make-up and kept the songs, but then it wasn’t as popular, so they had to bring it all back.
KATY: If lots of people like minstrels and golliwogs, that doesn’t make it right.
MANDY: When I was a little girl, I had a golliwog and I didn’t think it was racist at all. It was rather sweet.
KATY: There was still one on the jam until not very long ago. That was a bit much.
MANDY: I can imagine that seeing it in the supermarket could be a little awkward for some people.
KATY: I’d be terrified.
MANDY: I must say, you don’t look terrified here.
KATY: I blame the director. He told me to imagine that I was in Zulu and that there were “thousands of them” coming to get me. I was so appalled that I could barely play the scene at all.
MANDY: I don’t think he meant any harm.
KATY: That’s the trouble. He did harm without thinking. Oh, cliffhanger! I don’t think Mary Whitehouse ever complained about-
MANDY: Watch, Katy, watch. We need to see who it is.
KATY: … There!
MANDY: Oh, Jules Walters. He was in-
KATY: That’s awful! His character doesn’t have a name. He’s just “Witch Doctor”.
MANDY: Different times, Katy. Different times.
KATY: More racist times.