Back in 2007 I wrote:
What is the most frightening television programme you have ever seen?
For me it is probably the episode of Sexton Blake in which the hypodermic-wielding villain measured Tinker for his coffin while he was still alive. Mind you, I may have been as young as seven when I saw it.
After that. it is undoubtedly a play I remember from the early 1970s. Two wealthy couples were spending Christmas in a country cottage - the second home of one of them. Gradually they become aware that they are trapped in the building and the red wine they are drinking has turned to blood...That play, as I had just discovered when I wrote that, was The Exorcism by Don Taylor.
Thanks to BBC Genome I can reveal exactly when I watched it. It was on the evening of Sunday 5 November 1972, which means I was 12 years old.
And you can now buy The Exorcism on DVD:
After years of unavailability, the three surviving episodes from the legendary BBC horror anthology series, Dead of Night, finally comes to DVD. Originally screened on BBC2 in 1972, and rarely seen since, Dead of Night has been highly sought by fans of the BBC and British Horror for decades.It is one of three episodes of Dead of Night to survive. The DVD cover shows Anna Massey in another of them.
The Exorcism has long been available on Youtube, though I have never been brave enough to watch more than opening few minutes.
What they show is that it is very much a play of the 1970s - it is written by a Marxist and Clive Swift's cravat has to be seen to be believed.
It comes over like an upmarket and even more horrific cousin of Abigail's Party.