Tales of the Unexpected (TV series)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
List of Tales of the Unexpected episodes

Tales Of The Unexpected is a British television series originally aired between 1979 and 1988, made by Anglia Television for ITV.

The series was an anthology of different tales, initially based on short stories, collected in a book of the same title, by the author Roald Dahl. The stories were sometimes sinister, sometimes wryly comedic, and usually had a twist ending.

The upbeat theme music for the series was written by the prolific film and television composer Ron Grainer.


The series originally adapted various stories from Dahl's anthologies such as Kiss Kiss and Someone Like You. Despite the low budget the series attracted guest stars of the highest calibre, such as Brian Blessed, Anna Neagle, Timothy West, John Gielgud, Elaine Stritch, John Mills, Julie Harris, Wendy Hiller, Joseph Cotten, Derek Jacobi, Janet Leigh, Andrew Ray and Siobhán McKenna.

Dahl introduced all of his own stories himself, giving short monologues explaining what inspired him to write the story.

Later series

Midway through the second series, episodes ceased to be written by Dahl and other authors' stories were adapted for all episodes following. The title reflected this when it became Tales of the Unexpected - Introduced by Roald Dahl. From series three, Dahl no longer introduced the stories and the series continued this way until the end.

By 1988, critics felt that the quality of the series was starting to dip, and after the ninth series in 1988, the series was axed.

In the US, John Houseman succeeded Dahl as the opening narrator.

In 2006, ITV3 began repeating the series. Series 1 to 8 have been released on DVD.

In 1980, Peter Cook starred alongside a host of celebrities in the LWT special "Peter Cook & Co.". The show included many sketches including a Tales of the Unexpected spoof titled "Tales Of The Much As We Expected", which involved Cook as Roald Dahl explaining why he dropped the "n" in Ronald, the sketch ends with the fireplace spreading over the room.

Way Out

Dahl had hosted a practically identical series for the American CBS network called Way Out in 1961, which was similar in concept and themes to Twilight Zone for 14 episodes on Saturday nights and actually used some stories which would later be adapted for Tales of the Unexpected.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tales of the Unexpected (TV series)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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