Scotland Yard was a series of 39 films of around half an hour in length. They were made between 1953 and 1961 with the intention of being shown in cinemas as a support for the main feature. They focused on true crimes, but the names were changed undoubtedly, as they used to say on Dragnet, to protect the innocent.

Title 'Scotland Yard' (1953) 1.1

Episode 1: The Drayton Case was made in 1953 when police cars still had bells and the nights were much darker. Cities were lit with feeble sodium lights and shadows were black and abyssal. Set in 1941 during the early years of the war, a body is found on a bombsite. It seems Charles Drayton (Vincent Platt) murdered his wife some years before and tried to pass her off as a victim of German bombing.

John Le Mesurier is in charge of getting to the bottom of this heinous misdeed as the last hours of Mrs Drayton (Hilda Barry) are reconstructed for our perusal. Described as between 40 and 45, she frankly looks like an old lady. The only conclusion is that the war aged people much more rapidly. Her hair is white and wispy and she must have lived a pretty unrewarding life, especially being married to the lumpen, irascible Charles Drayton.

Every episode is bookended by Edgar Lustgarten in his comfortable office offering considered words of wisdom about what we are about to see, and then at the end tying everything up with a choice moral epithet. The perfect way to round off a Film Night.


Elizabeth and Charles Drayton (Hilda Barry and Vincent Platt)



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