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Poison Pen 

1:30 | Trailer
Whe a malicious poison pen writer targets both new and old residents of a small village, the prime suspect hires Hetty to find the real writer.


Roger Bamford


John Bowen (creator), John Bowen | 1 more credit »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Routledge ... Hetty Wainthropp
Derek Benfield ... Robert Wainthropp
Dominic Monaghan ... Geoffrey
John Graham-Davies John Graham-Davies ... D.C.I. Adams (as John Graham Davies)
Sue Johnston ... Helga Allowby
Ronnie Stevens ... Mr Cullimore
Linda Broughton Linda Broughton ... Mrs Garbet
Barbara Keogh Barbara Keogh ... Beryl Pacey
John Pickles John Pickles ... Jim Pacey
Stephen Tomlin Stephen Tomlin ... John Winterton
Kate Rutter ... Janet Bransby
Nick Bayly Nick Bayly ... Ben Harrow
Nicola Barnfield Nicola Barnfield ... Geraldine Harrow
Alison Swann Alison Swann ... Mandy Salthouse
Susan Porrett Susan Porrett ... Joyce Parmby


Everyone in her village thinks nosy spinster Helga Allowby is sending noxious poison pen letters. Some recipients move out of the village, one man attempts suicide, and mistrust pervades the village. Helga wants Hetty to prove her innocence, so she comes undercover as Tara Hall, a visiting painter and asks Helga to send her similar letters to lower the villagers' suspicions. Meanwhile Robert and Geoffrey take a case on their own: checking out the fiancée of an older rich man. They set a trap for her with a handsome friend of Geoffrey's--will she or won't she? Hetty begins to think Helga IS the author of the letters, but there may be another candidate, even more unlikely. Written by jeaneva

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Did You Know?


D.C.I. Adams: [Telling Hetty his priorities regarding the poison pen letters] Anyway, it isn't a case for forensics. It's not logical - it's psychological. Twisted motives. Think laterally. Don't get me wrong, Mrs. Wainthropp, I'm delighted you're taking it on, but, to tell you frankly, you're on a highway to nothing.
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References Street Fighter (1994) See more »


Sweet Georgia Brown
Music by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard and lyrics by Kenneth Casey (1925)
Instrumental version heard at village dance.
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User Reviews

Nasty letters do the rounds in a small village.
17 January 2020 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

Hetty is called in by a woman who stands accused of spreading poison pen letters in a small village.

The Advent of the internet boom means that people don't send letters in the same way, and as such people no longer send poison pen letters, great in a sense, but sad for tv drama, there have been some great stories over the years, thinking of Agatha Christie's The Moving Finger.

This is a fine episode, a very good story, which sees Hetty go undercover, and Derek and Geoffrey go rogue on a case together, they clearly had to find some use for the pair with Hetty busy.

The Village is beautiful, some glorious properties.

She Johnston in that black wig truly looks the part of a femme fatale. Routledge is excellent as always, great in her artist's disguise.

A mix of drama and fun. 8/10

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Release Date:

30 November 1996 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Darwen, Lancashire, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC-TV Productions See more »
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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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