Intruder, The (TV) (Blu-ray)
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Network
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (5th November 2022).
The Show

Adapted from John Rowe Townsend's award-winning novel and produced by BAFTA winner Peter Plummer, whose credits include the highly-acclaimed adaptation of Alan Garner's The Owl Service, this unsettling and atmospheric mystery series won the prestigious Harlequin award at 1973's BAFTAs. Starring James Bate as an isolated teenage boy who undergoes a disturbing loss of identity and Milton Johns as his unlikely nemesis, The Intruder is featured here as a brand-new High Definition remaster from original film elements in its original fullscreen aspect ratio.

Arnold Haithwaite pursues his strange and solitary profession on the Cumbrian sands beside the Irish Sea. He is a sand pilot and, like a sea pilot, must know his way about; he must have a strong sense of both locality and identity. This is called into question by another figure that haunts this strange landscape: a sinister intruder who claims to be the real Arnold Haithwaite.


A well-regarded UK television serial that was completely new to me, one that I hadn't even consciously heard of nor read about in forty plus years of being anfan of classic telly.

Seemingly shot almost entirely on location and in 16mm, this 1972 production is a much better looking production than the concurrent Network Blu-ray of The Owl Service (1969) released at the same time. This is almost certainly down to the quality of the surviving elements. Another production shot entirely on film as opposed to the fairly common mix of PAL 625 line videotape with 16mm film for location work. As the liner notes booklet hasn't been provided for review and IMDB has no technical detail regarding how this was made I'm going on my assumptions above.

Watching this right after The Owl Service highlights how strong The Intruder looks with plenty of detail, decent more layered contrast and strong black levels. Colours are slightly more muted than Owl Service but not by much. Primaries, when they appear are strong and flesh tones are ruddy and naturalistic, just don't expect Californian tans!

Fine grain is present and generally well handled by the encode although I wouldn't be surprised is some light DNR has been applied. There is some minor print damage throughout in the form of occasional, minor speckling. Overall this is a strong presentation and a pleasant surprise ('A-').

1080i50 / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.37:1 / 197:11


English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz)
Subtitles: English HoH

Sound is a notch better than the The Owl Service but is still of very limited range and perhaps not quite as good as I've come to expect from the BBC's range of Doctor Who classic Blu-ray releases. There is the odd moment of sibilant hiss, mild tinniness and clipped sound. Ambiance is present but ebbs and flows in effectiveness, perhaps down to how sound was recorded on location. A solid track that gets the job done. The hard of hearing subtitles are generally fine although occasionally hit and miss. At least this time the image never has that washed out quality that makes the small, white text hard to read as with The Owl Service ('B').


Audio commentary on "The Stranger", "Norma", "Jane again" and "Me" with writer and broadcaster Tim Worthington (2022)

Another excellent set of commentaries from Worthington with plenty of eccentricity, chattiness, humour and wit. Everything you could possible want to know is covered here with all four tracks packed to the gills with interest for fans. There's lots of personal reminiscences and riffing on his personal experiences of being a fan of series like this, reading about them etc. Presented in uncompressed LPCM.

"The Messengers: Writers' Gallery - Brian Trueman Talks to John Rowe Townsend" 1972 interview (20:44)

Townsend (1922-2014) begins by discussing whether there is a difference between children's fiction or adult or whether it's all just fiction etc. Townsend does state he is a parent, has reviewed children's books and keeps children very much in mind when he writes. Other topics covered are his writing style ("simply and directly"), the difference between journalist work vs writing books, how he conceives of his books, his thoughts on the (then) state of adult fiction and many other topics. Rrue,an (b 1932) is an intelligent and personable interviewer. I'm not sure if this is presented as a standard def upscale or merely in standard definition, I'd guess the former. In any case, it was originally captured on PAL broadcast standard video with 16mm for the credits. Sound is uncompressed LPCM 2.0 mono.

"Remembering Ravenglass" 2022 interview with Simon Fisher Turner (21:36)

A newly created piece specifically shot for this release presumably in HD and 1080i50 because my player didn't have the 24p flag. Sound is uncompressed LPCM 2.0 stereo. Turner (b 1954) doesn't remember much about the script or plot of The Intruder, just that it was scary, dark and popular. He's got more memories of the cast, costuming, that he read NME on location, stayed in a local hotel, had no official chaperone (he says he was 15 at the time, but was really 16-17) but actress Jean Hodges (director Mike Hodges wife) looked after him in that capacity and memories of the location and how he befriended girls in the village. As recalls more and more other anecdotes come flowing.

Image Gallery (2:14)

Decent HD still gallery of promo photos.

Liner notes booklet by TV historian Andrew Pixley
Limited edition O-card if purchased via Network's website

Sadly, both are not provided for review but I'm sure the booklet will be up to the usual high standards we've all come to expect from Andrew Pixley, one of the leading writers in the field of British television research.


Unknown as not provided for review.


This rarely screened but fondly remembered children's serial from the Granada archives gets fine image and sound quality with some very good, choice extras. Not a production I was familiar with but a very welcome release none the less. Network have been doing excellent work releasing vintage British telly on DVD and Blu-ray from over twenty years and long may they continue ('

The Show: B Video: A- Audio: B Extras: A- Overall: B+


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