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West Country Tales was an early 1980s supernatural drama series based on "real-life" experiences submitted by viewers in response to a BBC appeal. Of the hundreds of letters received, 8 stories were selected and and turned into TV scripts.

Exec. Producer: John King / Producer: Kevin Crooks.

 

1. THE VISITOR

A young woman, Christine, lives with her two young children in an isolated cottage near the Cornwall coast. While out walking near the cliffs she discovers a little secret cove. She starts to explore the place but, feeling strangely uneasy, hears what may be a cry coming from some rocks near the sea.

On returning to the cottage she finds that an old friend, Fran,has turned up to stay. But there is something odd about her and she mysteriously disappears after leading Christine and her children back to the secret cove. There Christine discovers an unnerving parallel between current events and a shipwreck that took place off the coast 130 years earlier.

Writer: Elizabeth Elliot.

 

2. THE POACHER

Bernard is a old poacher steeped in the ways and lore of the West Country. He is also well-known in the locality as a "Charmer - one who can heal minor afflictions using traditional plants and spells. Recently he has been down on his luck - the traps and snares he has been setting for years remain strangely empty. Then a bizarre encounter in the woods turns his fortunes around...............

Writer: Tom Salmon. With DAVE ROYAL as the Poacher

 

3. THE BEAST

A teenage boy lives at Foxhollies farm with his family. While out illicitly hunting he encounters a strange creature, neither human nor animal. Twenty years later he returns to the farm at the request of his cousin, only to find that the "beast" is still at large.

Writer: Kevin Crooks.

 

4. THE BREAKDOWN

Bill lives alone in a large house in unspoilt countryside halfway between two villages. His wife was murdered some time ago and the finger of suspicion pointed at Bill for a while but nothing was proved. Nevertheless the locals give him a wide berth. One day a car breaks down outside his house and the woman driver calls at the door for assistance. But her seemingly innocent inquiry conceals a more sinister purpose.

Writer: Josephine Poole. Featuring: Anita Harris.

 

5. MISS CONSTANTINE

Miss Constantine lives out her days in a big old tumbledown mansion with only memories for company. One day she complains to the local vicar that her home has been invaded by young people. Concerned, he visits the house but can find no trace of any other occupants. He finally agrees to conduct a blessing ceremony to give the old lady peace of mind.

Writer: Josephine Poole.

 

6. THE SABBATICAL

Anthony Shaw, a stressed-out clergyman, is sent on a relaxing sabbatical in the country by his Bishop. He stays at a guest house in the village but finds the attitude and behaviour of the locals unnerving.

While out on a walk he comes across an old, disused chapel and a little girl picking flowers in the graveyard. When he returns the next day he gets trapped in the chapel and spends a terrifying night battling against the forces of darkness.

Writer: Josephine Poole.

 

7. WAITING FOR SIMON

As a young lad, Simon is evacuated to the country house of Mrs Grey after his family's home is bombed during the war. He becomes obsessed with the portrait of a young woman hanging in one of the rooms, so much so that, in later years, he returns to buy the very same house.

Writer: Josephine Poole.

 

8. THE WHITE BIRD OF LAUGHTER

Period drama based on a Dartmoor Myth. A young man goes to stay at a country house in the wilds of Dartmoor. He falls in love with a poor country girl. But her drunken father's reacts angrily when he finds out about the affair and tragedy ensues.

Writer: Josephine Poole.