Tuesday 18 November 2014

Who Killed Lamb? (1974)

Who Killed Lamb? is a 1974 British television movie that is included as an extra in Network DVD’s boxed set of Brian Clemens’ 1970s Thriller anthology series. At the time it was broadcast in the same time slot the week after the last of the second season episodes of Thriller, which apparently led many people to think it was part of the same series. Which seems a bit far-fetched to me since not only the subject matter but the entire tone of Who Killed Lamb? is very very different compared to Thriller. Be that as it may it’s difficult to complain when it comes as an extra to a series I wanted to buy anyway. And when it stars Sir Stanley Baker there’s really no reason not to watch it. Which I did.

It’s a straight-out police procedural. A prosperous, respected and apparently well-liked businessman is found shot to death. Detective Chief Superintendent Jamieson of New Scotland Yard (Stanley Baker) takes charge of the murder inquiry.

There’s the usual assortment of suspects, all with apparently convincing reasons to have committed the murder. As the investigation proceeds it uncovers the murder victim’s secret life, and that ill prove to be the key to solving the case.

Who Killed Lamb? in some ways illustrates quite strikingly both the best and the worst of 1970s British television. On the plus side it’s extreme well-made, generally reasonably well-written and very well-acted. On the minus side it’s a bit too obsessed with the seamy side of life and writer Anthony Skene is much too inclined to fall into the trap that so many lazy writers have fallen into since that time, that of portraying any character who seems to be conventional and respectable as a smarmy hypocrite.

Stanley Baker was a superb actor and his performance cannot be faulted. His performance is backed up by an array of very capable supporting players. Visually it’s very much of its time, feeling very studio-bound.

On the whole it’s not really a program that I would recommend to anyone if they had to buy it individually but if you do happen to buy the Thriller boxed set it’s probably worth a watch if you have nothing better to do, especially if you’re a Stanley Baker fan. The transfer is acceptable although far from sensational (and definitely not as good as the transfers for the actual Thriller episodes).

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