Beside the seaside in the long hot summer of 76.
(CONTENT WARNING: This story will deal with sexual violence and mental illness. See Help Links for more information about these issues.)
MANDY: Hello, this is Amanda Cadewell once again.
KATY: And I’m Katy Froade, I think.
MANDY: This is the last story in the first series. It’s called Terror From the Deep, so I think it must be the one at the seaside.
KATY: Oh, that was all copied, wasn’t it?
MANDY: Yes. Mac Hulke was very cross when he saw it, but the solicitors sorted everything out.
KATY: And I think this is the only one that was all on film.
MANDY: Of course, we were supposed to do a different story. In the studio. We rehearsed and rehearsed for two weeks, and it was all going rather well. But then there was a strike at the studio and we lost the recording days. There was no way to make them up, and so the only way was to do a different story on film.
KATY: I was a bit put out, but now I think I was being selfish. I didn’t support the unions until later.
MANDY: I always voted for Harold Wilson, but I didn’t like the militants.
KATY: I used to imagine that working class men were all like Eddie Booth.
MANDY: Now he was funny.
KATY: I don’t think he’s a believable character now.
MANDY: It was only a sitcom.
KATY: I think it did more harm than good. You still hear people saying “You’re being oversensitive”.
MANDY: You see, the women were the voice of reason.
KATY: So racists should tolerate black people a bit, and black people should tolerate a bit of racism?
MANDY: Well, you are right, but … This is a beautiful view. We shot all this down in Kent. It was very picturesque.
KATY: It’s boring. If we made a theatre audience stare at scenery for this long, they’d walk out.
MANDY: It’s an establishing shot. It gives a sense of place. I did this voiceover afterwards. I think it helps to set the scene.
KATY: It’s because the script didn’t make any sense when we were shooting.
MANDY: It was a bit last minute.
KATY: The shoot was chaos. I’m amazed that anything came of it. They hadn’t written the script when we started. We had no idea what the story was.
MANDY: We knew there would be sea monsters. But we did have to improvise a lot.
KATY: And we had to stay in those grotty little guest houses.
MANDY: We were lucky to get what we did. A lot of the crew were over in Herne Bay because there wasn’t room anywhere else.
KATY: Mine was like Fawlty Towers. Except that it wasn’t funny.
MANDY: It was a shame that we couldn’t stay together. Usually on location we had wonderful camaraderie because we were all in the same hotel. … Oh, it’s you.
KATY: Yes, I’m a long way off but I can tell. All that running around was murder. It was so hot.
MANDY: I know, but it could have been even worse. It wasn’t the hottest part of that summer.
KATY: Being all in black didn’t help at all. Sometimes I felt quite sick, but we had to carry on.
MANDY: You were very brave.
KATY: Oh. Hello boys.
MANDY: It is a bit gratuitous. And I felt very exposed in that bikini top.
KATY: At least there’s no slow motion. Oh, why are you in the sea?
MANDY: Well, I am a mermaid. I had the tail on again in this one. I wasn’t very happy, but it had to be done.
KATY: Oh yes! Now I remember them carrying you around.
MANDY: It was very awkward.
KATY: This is another very long shot. Who’s that in the distance?
MANDY: We’ll have to wait until he gets closer. …
KATY: Oh, Glyn Owen.
MANDY: Of course, he was in Howards’ Way later on.
KATY: Were you ever in that?
MANDY: No, but I was in Trainer once.
KATY: What was that?
MANDY: It was the same sort of thing as Howards’ Way. But with horses instead of boats.
KATY: I see. … Ohhhh dear.
MANDY: This is Talfryn Thomas, isn’t it? He always played funny Welshmen.
KATY: It’s supposed to be funny, but it isn’t. … We haven’t seen my face in this scene.
MANDY: I think the back of your head looks lovely. Not that your face doesn’t.
KATY: I suppose it’s better than the single-camera things they do nowadays. It’s as if they’re playing tennis with the close-ups. It makes me feel dizzy.
MANDY: They had to do this one like a documentary because there was so little time.
KATY: Your hair’s all wet. It wasn’t a moment ago.
MANDY: A big wave came in and knocked me over, so we had to go again. There wasn’t time to dry my hair. I don’t think the water was very clean.
KATY: I know how that feels. At the end of one day, the cameraman tipped a bucket of sea water on my head. I was livid, but the crew just laughed.
MANDY: It wasn’t very nice.
KATY: They always picked on me more than you.
MANDY: I know. It wasn’t fair. Oh! What have we seen?
KATY: We didn’t even know at the time.
MANDY: No, because when we shot this bit, the monsters hadn’t been made. No-one knew what they would be like. We all had to pretend we’d seen something and react to it as best we could.
KATY: I think it’s all like that these days because they put the monsters in later with computers.
MANDY: It must be very hard for the actors.
KATY: Well, sometimes it was hard to keep a straight face when we saw the monsters.
MANDY: Some of them were very frightening, but I suppose some weren’t quite as frightening. This one looks rather good, I think.
KATY: Yes, it’s copied from The Prisoner, of course, but it works.
MANDY: Do you know, I’ve never seen that.
KATY: I used to watch it with my dad. He always wanted me to explain it because I was brainy, but sometimes I couldn’t.
MANDY: Oh whoops!
KATY: Another twisted ankle. The mud was foul. They called it a beach but there wasn’t any sand.
MANDY: Look out! It’s coming! …
KATY: It’s still coming. …
MANDY: I’d have thought it would have finished by now.
KATY: It’s got to soon. … Any minute now. …
MANDY, KATY: Cliffhanger!
MANDY: Well, that was different, I suppose.
KATY: It didn’t make a great deal of sense.
MANDY: I did enjoy the music.
KATY: I didn’t enjoy any of it.