The Tyrant King

1968 | United Kingdom

Mystery thriller in which three children and their dog track a villian around London after finding an empty wallet in a dark old house and overhearing a strange telephone call about the mysterious "Uncle Gerry". 

The children involved are Peter Thorne, Bill Hallen and his sister Charlotte. Philip Madoc starred as "Scarface". The series was adapted for television by Trevor Preston from a book by Aylmer Hall, the full title of which is The Tyrant King a London Adventure, which was published by British Transport! Indeed, one can only wonder if they (or the London Tourist Board) commisioned it in the first place as the adventure takes in all the London sites one might be able to travel to by bus or underground train - such as Buckingham Palace, down the Mall to St. James's Park, Westminster Abbey and The War Museum. 

The series is memorable for those who watched it for its contemporary soundtrack which included music from The Rolling Stones, The Nice, The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. And there the tale might end, except The Tyrant King has a very significant place in British television history. It was the first of three series produced by the newly formed Thames Television to be shot on location on 16mm film as an experiment to test the viability of setting up a small film production unit within the company. The subsidiary company would eventually be called Euston Films and would go on to produce some of Britain's best loved drama series such as The Sweeney, Minder and Widows

Although originally shown in black and white, Network DVD released this in December 2011 in colour for the first time, having transferred it from original film materials.

Published on February 9th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.