The best script that ever came my way was one I was to direct for THE AVENGERS.
It was called THE HOUR THAT NEVER WAS written by Roger Marshall. THE HOUR and another of his scripts DIAL A DEADLY NUMBER, directed by Don Leaver, have been top of the Fan Club lists ever since.
Both shows were featured recently at a Fan Club reunion at Chichester University. I hear that THE HOUR is playing at the Barbican on November 30th, and I hope to be there!.
Roger told me he got the idea from the strange true story of The Marie Celeste, the deserted yacht found drifting in the Pacific with very recent signs of life but no one aboard….
In the show, Patrick McNee, and Diana Rigg go to an airfield for a cocktail party because the place is due to be mothballed. They find it deserted. The jukebox and the pinball machine are still playing, cigarettes are burning in the ashtrays and the froth is still on the beer, but no people.
The plot was about a devious double agent doubling (!) as a dentist who had put the entire unit to sleep, in order to brainwash them by broadcasting the high pitch of his dentist drill over the camp loud speaker system.
We shot most of it at Bovingdon Aerodrome, the place was littered with visuals for me to pick off. The day after it aired I got an offer from a New York producer who had watched it in his suite at the Savoy and I got a retaining contract from my old angel Sidney Box. I turned down the New York script, but happily signed up again with Sidney.
Here’s first part of the show in … see the rest on YouTube here