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Time for Murder Bright Smiler (1985– ) Online

Time for Murder Bright Smiler (1985– ) Online
Original Title :
Bright Smiler
Genre :
TV Episode
Year :
Directror :
David Carson
Cast :
Janet Suzman,Jane Asher,Alison Skilbeck
Writer :
Fay Weldon
Type :
TV Episode
Time :
Rating :

Avon Eve, a successful writer for films and television, checks into a spa for a week of rest and relaxation. There, she is assigned a masseuse, Sonja, who the director of the spa calls the ... See full summary

Time for Murder Bright Smiler (1985– ) Online

Avon Eve, a successful writer for films and television, checks into a spa for a week of rest and relaxation. There, she is assigned a masseuse, Sonja, who the director of the spa calls the Smiler for her constantly pleasant and smiling disposition. Sonia has heard of Avon and is particularly enchanted by one of her works for television - one that Avon thinks is quite dreadful. As they spend more time together, Sonja begins to remember a failed love affair with Sir Jonathan Sibley who claimed to have loved her but refused to marry. When her old love arrives at the spa with his wife - and fails to even recognize Sonja - she becomes unhinged and plays a terrifying game of Russian roulette.
Episode complete credited cast:
Janet Suzman Janet Suzman - Avon Eve
Jane Asher Jane Asher - Sonia
Alison Skilbeck Alison Skilbeck - Sara
Jeremy Nicholas Jeremy Nicholas - Sir Jonathan Sibley
Jackie Smith-Wood Jackie Smith-Wood - Lady Tania Sibley
Emma Vansittart Emma Vansittart - Maria (as Emma Watson)
Renée Asherson Renée Asherson - Helen, Lady Sibley

User reviews



A videotaped work of less than one hour, this item is from a British television programme entitled "Time For Murder", a studio situation series comprised of six crime related melodramas, of which this is the weakest because of Fay Weldon's screenplay wherein the novelist unsuccessfully attempts to infuse constituents of fantasy and satire in the service of her habitual feminist subject matter. Avon Eve (Janet Suzman), renowned screenwriter working in Hollywood, returns to her native England to restore her energy level at the Bolton Hall Health Hydro, there undergoing a chain of imposed treatments, such as fasting, yoga, and mud packs, receiving as well ministrations of masseuse Sonja (Jane Asher) who is patently unbalanced and who tells the writer a story about her former connection with Bolton Hall. Sonja's account, seen largely in flashback and with frequent employment of voice-over commentary by Avon, relates of her 11 years of painstaking effort while reconstituting the original Bolton to a restored state, a labour of love as Sonja is exceedingly smitten with the owner of the property, Sir Jonathan Sibley, who convinces her to forsake a promising career in ballet before jilting her, and who has returned to the site as a client, along with his wife for whom he threw over the masseuse, now maddened to an apparently homicidal level. The actors perform their largely undemanding roles very capably, Asher an engaging standout as the titular character, playing Sonja during several stages of her life, and there is a pleasingly jaunty score from Paul Lewis, but the real star of the production is makeup artist Glenda Wood whose work here with age related characters is top-flight; 'tis unfortunate that such skills as are in evidence are victimized to the sacrifice of believability and logic, each to a didactic exigency of providing what is an unduly predictable script.


A Hollywood screenwriter goes to a luxurious British health spa for a few days' rest and relaxation; what she gets instead is an unhinged, perpetually smiling (hence the title) masseuse who idolizes her and wants to tell her her sad life story.

At first you may think this is meant to be a black comedy, especially with Jane Asher's grotesque make-up that makes her look almost like the Joker, but gradually her character becomes more sympathetic as you begin to understand the reasons for her "madness". The best thing about this tale is that it's far from black-and-white morally: the answer to Asher's burning question "Who is to blame?" seem to be "Everyone" - including the outsider-screenwriter herself. A good start to the "Time For Murder" series, as long as you get used to the extremely limited production values. *** out of 4.
Arabella V.

Arabella V.

Avon Eve lives a stressful and busy life, a successful writer, with a Hollywood pedigree decides she needs a break, where she books into the Bolton Health Hydro. A reluctant visitor, Avon books into a massage with head masseuse Sonya, Bright Eyes. Avon sees Sonya as a sad case, a woman living a rather mundane life, someone perhaps with a constant smile and little else. Sonya realises who her famed client is, and talks of her love of a character in one of Avon's early works, a work Avon is embarrassed by. As the time goes by Sonya recounts the woeful story of her life, how she'd given up a love for the handsome and wealthy Sir Jonathan Sibley, who after eleven years of commitment ditched her for a new love. Coincidentally the pair are guests at the Spa, Sonya's anger begins to escalate to the extreme as she recounts the story, suggesting even murder.

I love the work of writer Faye Weldon, an undoubted talent, best known for 'the lives and loves of a she devil.' Overall, I thought this was a bit of a mixed bag, the performances can't really be faulted, Janet Suzman, a very capable actress, perfectly suited to the slightly four character. Jane Asher I loved, managing to add elements of menace, mania and sympathy. I didn't recognise her initially, so the biggest success would be the makeup artist. The story itself is interesting, although could have been further developed.

The production values aren't great, it looks like it was made on the cheap, it has a slow pace, and feels a little predictable. When the She Devil was made they captured Weldon's dark sense of humour, combining drama and humour wonderfully. This lacked any sense of humour, which would have benefited enormously.

I loved how it ended in an ambiguous way. 6/10