Introduction Biography Addresses Portraits
Books Short stories Stage plays Film and TV Radio and audio
Quotations Fishing Poetry Food Settings Dedications Narrative style Canning in the OED Reading lists Articles on Canning
Centenary News Links Availability

Film and TV

A survey of the nine films
made from Canning's books
along with two script adaptations
which were never filmed
A survey of Canning's TV ouput
and two scripts
which were never broadcast

Films and television programmes from Canning's novels and short stories

Very few of these items are available through standard commercial channels. Where they are, I have put in a link to

NB: The symbol shows a link to an entry in the Internet Movie Database.

The chasm, Hodder and Stoughton, 1947. This book was scheduled to be filmed under the title Monte Falcone but the film was never completed.

Panther's moon, Hodder and Stoughton, 1948. Filmed as Spy Hunt in 1950.

The golden salamander, Hodder and Stoughton, 1949. Filmed in 1950.

"A Matter of Time", short story, 1950. Broadcast on 14 October 1958 at 22.45 on BBC Television in Personal Playhouse as "The Man who Hated Time", with Bernard Braden in the main role and heard as all the other characters.

Venetian bird, Hodder and Stoughton, 1951. Filmed in 1952 from his own script.
It was also the basis for two episodes of the TV series "Mannix" in 1975 under the title Bird of Prey.

"Chance at the wheel". Argosy, June 1955. Filmed by Joseph Losey in 1955 as Man on the beach with a screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.

The House of the Seven Flies, Hodder and Stoughton, 1952. Filmed in 1959 as The House of the Seven Hawks.

"Young man on a bicycle". Cosmopolitan, October 1955. Televised as “Man on a Bicycle” / General Electric Theatre (CBS, 11 Jan 1959). Dir: Herschel Daugherty. Screenplay: Jameson Brewer. Cast: Fred Astaire, Roxane Berard, Stanley Adams. No copy of the recording has been reported, in spite of this being a top target for members of the Fred Astaire appreciation society.

"The Goldini Bath". Televised as “Girl in the Gold Bathtub” / The U.S. Steel Hour (CBS, 4 May 1960). Dir: Allen Reisner. Scr: Robert Van Scoyk. Cast: Marisa Pavan, Jessie Royce Landis Edward Andrews, Johnny Carson. Probably missing.

Castle Minerva, Hodder and Stoughton, 1955. Filmed as Masquerade in 1964.

His bones are coral, Hodder and Stoughton, 1955. Filmed as Shark in 1970.

"Disappearing trick". Argosy, September 1957. Televised in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents... series, season 3. (CBS, 6 Apr 1958). Dir: Arthur Hiller. Scr: Kathleen Hite. Cast: Robert Horton, Betsy von Furstenberg, Perry Lopez.

"Trouble in Limoy". Published with "Delay on Turtle" in Star Weekly, Toronto, 17 May, 1958. TV Script entitled The orchid hunter based on this novella is held by the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. There is no record of any broadcast.

The Limbo Line, Heinemann, 1963. Filmed in 1968.

The Scorpio letters, Heinemann, 1964. Filmed in 1966.

Queen's pawn , Heinemann, 1969. Film treatment by Carl Foreman prepared but the film was not made.

The runaways, Heinemann, 1972. A TV film version was made in 1975.

The Rainbird pattern, Heinemann, 1972. Filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as "Family Plot" in 1976.

The doomsday carrier, Heinemann, 1976. A film treatment was prepared by John Peacock with the title Summertime for Charlie, but the film was not made.


Original television scripts

A superb review of Canning's work for television by Tise Vahimagi has been published on the Mystery File blog site. I have also included links to the site Action TV which has informative episode guides for some of the serials. I have checked for information about British TV recordings. Sadly almost all of Canning's contributions are missing. I have also made use of a new site,, which has archived entries from the Radio Times, full of plot summaries and cast lists.

Your jeweler’s showcase: Never trust a lady. (CBS, 9 June 1953). Dir: Ralph Murphy. Scr: Howard J. Green, adapted by Frank L. Moss; from original story by Canning. Cast: Marcel Dalio, Ray Teal, June Vincent.

Appointment With Adventure: A Thief There Was (CBS, 18 Mar 1956). Dir: Paul Stanley. Scr: Victor Canning, from story by Abby Mann. Cast: Christopher Plummer, Jason Robards, Constance Ford.

Miracle on Mano. Play of the Week, ITV, 14 Aug 1962. Dir: John Hale. Cast: Patrick Magee, Derek Francis, Alan Tilvern. Extant.

Double stakes. Play of the Week, ITV, 7 May 1963. Dir: John Hale. Cast: Nigel Davenport, Jane Hylton, Richard Shaw. Missing.

The midnight men, Six thirty-minute episodes, starting 24 June 1964. Title music composed and played by Larry Adler. Parts 1 and 5 are believed to have survived in a BBC vault, but the other episodes are probably lost.

  1. The Man from Miditz
  2. The King shall die
  3. Time of danger
  4. The proxy
  5. The King's business
  6. Promise to Kill

Curtain of fear. GB, 1964. All episodes missing.
Six 30-minute episodes transmitted on BBC 2 from 24 October to 2 December 1964. Prod/Dir: Gerald Blake. Cast: Colette Wilde, George Baker, John Breslin, William Franklyn.
Broadcast on German TV as Verräter in three one-hour episodes in 1967.

  1. The Rassilov code
  2. The Liebert question
  3. The Tannikov dilemma
  4. The Linton compact
  5. The Shand solution
  6. The Regan resolution

Contract to kill. Six 25-minute episodes broadcast by the BBC from 3 May to 7 June 1965. Prod: Alan Bromly. Dir: Peter Hammond. Cast: Jeremy Kemp, Pauline Bott, Ronald Radd. All episodes missing.

  1. Demand for vengeance
  2. Death in Cologne
  3. Interlude in Rome
  4. Voice from the past
  5. The man in the photograph
  6. Time for killing

Come into my parlour, single drama broadcast in "TV Playhouse" series, 11 July 1965. Produced by Quentin Lawrence, directed Stuart Latham.

Das ganz grosse Ding. Play by Canning broadcast on German TV, 1966.
Now available on DVD in Germany.

The ratcatchers Series 1. Three 30-minute episodes broadcast April 1966, Rediffusion.

The ratcatchers Series 2. Three 30-minute episodes broadcast in December 1966/Jan 1967, Rediffusion.

Breaking point. Five 30-minute episodes broadcast by the BBC from 22 October to 19 November 1966. Producer Alan Bromly, director Douglas Camfield.

This way for murder. Serial; BBC, 3 June-8 July 1967; 6 x 25 mins. Prod: Alan Bromly. Dir: Eric Hills. Cast: Hugh Cross, Terence Longdon, Isobel Black. The recording is believed to have survived, but it has not yet been re-issued.

Man in a suitcase: Episode 10 - Blind spot. GB, 1968. Published on DVD by Granada Ventures.

“The Alpha Man” / Codename. BBC, 9 June 1970. Dir: Ronald Wilson. Cast: Clifford Evans, Anthony Valentine, Alexandra Bastedo.

Paul Temple, series 4 episode 4, "With friends like you, who needs enemies?". BBC, 30 June 1971. Dir: Michael Ferguson. Cast: Francis Matthews (Paul Temple), Ros Drinkwater (Steve), George Sewell.

The Man Outside, Series 1, episode 6, "Cuculus Canorus". BBC, 16 June 1972. Dir: Raymond Menmuir. Cast: Rupert Davies (intro); Anthony Hopkins, Gerald Flood, Michael Gambon.

“Never Trust a Lady” / Of Men and Women (TV special; ABC, 6 May 1973). Dir: Lee Phillips. Scr: Harry Musheim, from Canning’s story. Cast: Jack Cassidy, Barbara Feldon, Mary Jackson.

Stopover in Sotara. No record of any broadcast. Script held by the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Power point
This title is mentioned in Canning's Who's Who entries, but no information about channel or transmission date is given, nor does it appear in the British Film Institute’s listings. It is likely that, as with most of his TV output, both script and recording have been lost.


Acting credit

According to the IMDB, in 1967 Victor Canning took part in one episode of Dixon of Dock Green, playing the character Ben Chambers in the episode called "The Mercenary", scripted by Nigel Crisp. This is apparently a mis-reading; the actor in question was Victor Winding. In any case, surely Canning would not have been able to appear without an Equity card.


Information compiled by John Higgins, updated October 2018