Tales of the Unexpected

The BEST episodes of Tales of the Unexpected

Every episode of Tales of the Unexpected ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Tales of the Unexpected!

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 episodes were based on the short stories collected in the books Tales of the Unexpected, Kiss Kiss and Someone Like You by 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.

Last Updated: 8/7/2022Network: ITV1
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The Flypaper
star
8.47
15 votes

#1 - The Flypaper

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 8/9/1980

A young girl is being followed by a stalker and is glad to take shelter with the elderly Miss Harrison, who lives in a caravan - but the girl is still in danger, and she disappears.... what has happened to her, and who was the stalker? At the end of the programme, an old man joins Miss Harrison in her caravan, and we see that it is near a lake...

Directors: Graham Evans
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The Hitch-Hiker
star
8.39
44 votes

#2 - The Hitch-Hiker

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 3/22/1980

Paul Duveen gives a lift in his ultra-fast new BMW to an elderly hitch-hiker on his way to Epsom for the Derby. Duveen, cajoled into taking the car to its limit, is promptly booked for speeding. In the course of the remaining journey, the passenger reveals his astonishing skills as a professional pickpocket - his name for himself is a fingersmith - and before they finally part, the fingersmith has a little present for Duveen...

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The Tribute
star
8.13
8 votes

#3 - The Tribute

Season 6 - Episode 11 - Aired 6/25/1983

Three English ladies who served the Empire in distant places, Fanny Soane, Mable Ince, and Lady Eleanor Benson, hear of the death of Nanny Dench, who had served all of them. The three ladies decide against the expense of a notice in The Times and plan instead to meet Nanny's niece for lunch. But a shock is in store for them...

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A Harmless Vanity
star
8.10
10 votes

#4 - A Harmless Vanity

Season 5 - Episode 9 - Aired 6/20/1982

Mary Hitchman's disbelief turns to curiosity when a friend tips her off that her husband George is having an affair with a pretty young secretary. Mary arranges a chance meeting with her rival at a beach party - and George does not foresee what is coming to him.

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The Verger
star
8.00
10 votes

#5 - The Verger

Season 9 - Episode 4 - Aired 1/22/1988

Albert and Milly Dobson have given sixteen years of devoted service to their parish church, but a new Vicar arrives who does not like the old ways and has little time for the Dobsons. Following radical changes, a secret Albert has hidden for years causes consternation. In defiance, the couple build a new life... Of course, God moves in mysterious ways.

Wink Three Times
star
8.00
7 votes

#6 - Wink Three Times

Season 9 - Episode 6 - Aired 4/15/1988

Jeremy Tyler, a timid provincial solicitor, is visiting a smart London hotel on a business trip and becomes embroiled in a curious case of mistaken identity. Babs Colport has arranged a blind date through a dating agency. Jeremy, looking for female company, tries to seduce her.

The Orderly World of Mr Appleby
star
7.93
14 votes

#7 - The Orderly World of Mr Appleby

Season 2 - Episode 15 - Aired 6/7/1980

Arthur Appleby's orderly world centres on his quiet antique and curio shop. He has just married for the fourth time, and his new wife, Martha, discovers Appleby's dark secret - he murdered all her predecessors. But the new Mrs Appleby has a plan to turn the tables on her husband.

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Skeleton in the Cupboard
star
7.91
11 votes

#8 - Skeleton in the Cupboard

Season 9 - Episode 1 - Aired 12/18/1987

Robert Smythe is a ruthless executive with a dangerous twenty-year-old secret... An echo from the past prompts him into a new cover-up of the truth, but his wife becomes suspicious.

Proxy
star
7.89
9 votes

#9 - Proxy

Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/26/1984

A millionaire media tycoon and two of his lawyer friends are being blackmailed by a scheming woman on account of past affairs with her. When the woman is found murdered in her apartment, the men fear that the police inquiries will lead to one or all of them, and they will be ruined. But then the tycoon's faithful chauffeur, William, thinks up a brilliant way out...

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The Wrong 'Un
star
7.88
8 votes

#10 - The Wrong 'Un

Season 6 - Episode 9 - Aired 6/11/1983

Helmut Weinrich is a German business man staying in a hotel and looking for a good time after a successful deal. Helmut meets the beautiful and enigmatic Molly, a girl with an edge of danger about her. He ignores the warnings of the hotel's security officer, buys Molly dinner and invites her up to his room...

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The Mugger
star
7.88
8 votes

#11 - The Mugger

Season 7 - Episode 14 - Aired 10/14/1984

Gerald Overton is an ambitious politician with the tough job of cracking violent crime. But a chance encounter with a beautiful woman at a dinner party leads him into a nightmare, and his whole career is threatened... Gerald surprises himself when he decides to take the law into his own hands.

Directors: Peter Hammond
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Mrs Bixby and the Colonel's Coat
star
7.82
34 votes

#12 - Mrs Bixby and the Colonel's Coat

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 3/31/1979

Bixby is a New York dentist. Once a month, for many years, his wife goes to Baltimore by train to visit her aunt. She does not tell Bixby about her affair with the Colonel, a single man with a big house near Baltimore, who is the real reason for all these visits.One Christmas, Mrs Bixby gets a parting gift from the Colonel - a splendid mink coat. So that she can explain the coat to her husband, she devises a complicated scheme which depends on pawning the coat and then 'finding' the pawn ticket... but the best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley.

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The Stinker
star
7.81
16 votes

#13 - The Stinker

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 12/7/1980

Jack Cutler is an arrogant millionaire, and in middle age he runs into the meek Harold Tinker, a fellow he was at school with - Tinker remembers being bullied by Cutler, who called him ""Stinker Tinker"". Cutler offers Tinker a job, and, to please his beautiful wife, Tinker accepts. But his old resentment and loathing for Cutler have not gone away, and when he suspects his wife is having an affair with his new boss, something explodes...

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The Dirty Detail
star
7.78
9 votes

#14 - The Dirty Detail

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired 5/12/1984

Fred Pearson is a Vietnam war veteran, but he came out with a miserable service record, thanks to the bullying of Guedo, his sergeant, who constantly gave him dirty detail punishments and broke his nerve. Since discharge, Pearson hasn't been able to keep a job and feels the world is against him. Years on from Vietnam, and after an unsuccessful day of looking for work, Pearson goes to his favourite bar to drown his sorrows and finds Guedo boasting about his time in the army. Pearson sees a chance of revenge...

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Stranger in Town
star
7.73
11 votes

#15 - Stranger in Town

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired 5/23/1982

A bearded, simple-minded stranger, wearing a top hat and a multi-colored coat, appears in a village performing conjuring tricks and is soon a favorite with the village children. They call him Sir Columbus, and he seems delightful and harmless. One day, Columbus talks his way into the office of a local business man, reveals himself as an unexpected visitor from the man's guilty past, and commits what seems to be the perfect murder. (This episode is noted for providing a young Jennifer Connelly with her first screen credit.)

Directors: Wendy Toye
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Parson's Pleasure
star
7.64
14 votes

#16 - Parson's Pleasure

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/30/1980

Cyril Boggis is a rogue antique dealer who goes around posing as a clergyman and describing himself as President of the Society for the Preservation of Rare Furniture. Cyril makes a handsome living by buying valuable antiques cheap and selling them to Storker, another dealer. One day, Cyril calls on old Farmer Rummins and buys a piece of furniture from him which he knows is worth a fortune. He looks forward to making a huge profit on it - but his luck may be about to run out.

Watch Now:Amazon
Lamb to the Slaughter
star
7.63
38 votes

#17 - Lamb to the Slaughter

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 4/14/1979

An enraged detective's wife kills her husband by smashing in his skull with a heavy blunt instrument - but no murder weapon can be found, and the police are baffled. The answer to the riddle lies under the detectives' noses - or, rather, it did...

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The Party
star
7.62
13 votes

#18 - The Party

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired 12/19/1980

Christmas is in sight, and for Harry Knox, the elderly manager of a toy factory, it is always an unhappy time of year. But this Christmas looks even worse when Harry hears a rumour that the factory is being taken over by foreigners. Then comes the news that young Leighton is organising an office disco the night before the staff party which Henry has been running for many years. The writing is on the wall for Henry's party and his job - he decides his bosses want to push him out, after forty years of loyal service, and he is so enraged that he sets fire to the factory. But there was more to the planned party than Harry realized...

Watch Now:Amazon
The Eavesdropper
star
7.62
13 votes

#19 - The Eavesdropper

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired 5/2/1982

Donald Henderson gives his wife, Moira, a unique watch, and then it goes missing, so Donald offers to replace it. As a result, Moira is in a store looking for a similar watch when she overhears a young woman telling a friend about her affair. It seems the stranger is meeting a married man - and she goes on to show her friend the beautiful watch he has given her. Unhappily, it looks just like Moira's. Moira puts two and two together and gets herself into a rage, and things soon get terribly out of hand...

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There's One Born Every Minute
star
7.57
14 votes

#20 - There's One Born Every Minute

Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired 6/5/1981

Arthur and Margaret Pearson are a quiet middle-aged couple. Arthur is dull, but double-dealing, and when his wife Margaret inherits £50,000 he reluctantly agrees to gamble the money on a dubious and highly speculative property deal.As a result, the Pearsons' lives (and their relationship) begin to change significantly.

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Light Fingers
star
7.56
9 votes

#21 - Light Fingers

Season 5 - Episode 11 - Aired 7/4/1982

Joan Stackpole wants a quiet life. Even talking to her husband Ralph is an ordeal she prefers to avoid. Meanwhile, Ralph has a big problem - someone is stealing the gloves from his glove factory, and the pilfering is throwing all his staff under suspicion, including Cotter, his designer. When Ralph can take no more, he hires a private eye, who forms an ingenious plan to catch the thief, and Ralph tells Joan about it over breakfast. Ralph swears he will get rid of the culprit - but then traces of the thief start turning up in unexpected places...

Watch Now:Amazon
Back for Christmas
star
7.55
11 votes

#22 - Back for Christmas

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired 5/31/1980

James Carpenter is a successful doctor at the peak of his career and is also an orchid fanatic, much more devoted to his flowers than he is to his elegant wife, Hermione. And Carpenter is also in love with a younger woman, Samantha. Then a research posting to the U.S. gives the doctor the idea for the perfect murder... Alas for Carpenter and his mistress, the victim has a trick up her sleeve, even from the grave...

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Vengeance Is Mine Inc.
star
7.54
13 votes

#23 - Vengeance Is Mine Inc.

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 8/30/1980

Tom and George, two young college graduates who are out of work in New York, offer satisfaction to the victims of Lionel Brewster, the city's most scurrilous gossip columnist - for a price. Mrs Wilbur has a job for 'Vengeance is Mine Inc', but she gets rather more for her money than she asked for.

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The Best Policy
star
7.54
13 votes

#24 - The Best Policy

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired 5/31/1981

Harry Flock has had a temporary promotion as acting manager of a branch bank. Harry is honest and meticulous to a fault, but he is in danger of losing his job when head office gets anonymous complaints about alleged embezzlements. Harry's accounts are immaculate. In fact, they seem too good to be true...

Watch Now:Amazon
Hijack
star
7.54
13 votes

#25 - Hijack

Season 4 - Episode 17 - Aired 12/26/1981

Captain Waterhouse has to deal with a man on board his airliner who seizes Milly, a stewardess, takes her and a bottle of nitroglycerine into a tiny lavatory, and demands one million dollars in ransom money, plus a parachute for himself. The hijacker believes both have been delivered to him, and he jumps out... However, the story is not over yet...

Watch Now:Amazon

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