Tales of the Unexpected

The Anglia Television anthology series Tales of the Unexpected first aired in th UK on March 24 1979 and since then has been sold to more than 70 countries. When the series was launched, it proved to be the most popular drama that Anglia Television had produced up to that time.

The initial £1.5 million contract to produce a series of twist-in-the-tale stories written by Roald Dahl was the result of a serendipitous meeting between Dahl and the film producer Sir John Woolf at a Christmas party in 1976.

Roald Dahl & Friends

Anglia Television had approached Sir John Woolf (producer of films such as The African Queen, The Odessa File and The Day of the Jackal) to develop for television a drama series which would appeal not only to British audiences, but also internationally.

Tales of the Unexpected was produced from 1979 until 1984, with each episode running for 30 minutes. Roald Dahl hosted the show for the first two seasons. The producer of the show is John Rosenburg, and the executive producer is John Woolfe. The dancer in the iconic opening title sequence is Karen Standley, with the original theme music by Ron Grainer.

The early episodes which were adapted originally from Roald Dahl's own output of short stories attracted many famous Guest Stars, such as Sir John Gielgud, Elaine Stritch, Sir John Mills, Sir Derek Jacobi, Janet Leigh, Siobhan McKenna, Timothy West, Brian Blessed and Peter Bowles.

Roald Dahl introduced all his own stories; in the form of brief monologues, Dahl explains to the viewer his inspiration for a particular story. When all Roald Dahl's work had been exausted, other authors' stories were adapted for the series, which became Tales of the Unexpected - Introduced by Roald Dahl.