Rarely seen classic Murder in Reverse, starring William Hartnell in the lead role, will be on archive movie channel Talking Pictures TV this weekend

Before he became the Doctor in Doctor Who, William Hartnell had already established himself as a character actor. But audiences best knew him for his supporting roles. These included Darrow, consigliere to David Attenborough’s mob boss Pinkie in Brighton Rock. Or as the detective trying to uncover the bizarre misadventures of Jon Pertwee in comedy Will Any Gentlemen…? But now one of his few starring roles is getting a rare outing thanks to archive TV channel Talking Pictures. Murder in Reverse, released as Query in the United States, is a classic British take on the film noir genre. It centres on Hartnell’s anti-hero as he sets out for revenge, hunting down those who wronged him many years before.

Prefiguring the plot of later Hollywood film Double Jeopardy, Murder in Reverse sees William Hartnell play Tom Masterick. Convicted of a murder he did not commit, he’s finally released from prison after twenty years. But Masterick discovers that his ‘victim’ isn’t dead at all and actually conspired to frame him for a crime that never took place. So begins a hunt for revenge by a man determined to commit murder. A murder for which he’s already been tried and convicted. Made in 1945, it offers a chance to see William Hartnell in action his early thirties. Also among the cast is Dinah Sheridan, who would later play the Time Lord Chancellor Flavia in The Five Doctors, as Masterick’s daughter Jill, and Cyril Luckman, who’d play the White Guardian, in a small role as a bar patron.

You can check out the trailer for Murder in Reverse here:

Murder in Reverse will premiere on Talking Pictures TV on Saturday the 8th of October at 6.25pm. There’s also an encore showing on Thursday the 13th of October at 3pm. This will be fans’ first chance to see the future Doctor Who in one of his most dramatic roles since its British Film Institute screening a decade ago.



  1. I wrote to Leslie Halliwell, twice, in the mid eighties – when he was the film procurer for Channel Four. I asked if there was any chance of this film being shown. Halliwell replied that they were looking for a copy so that they could show it. He wrote his second reply on a piece of torn scrap paper; ending with a tersness that indicated irritation: “Please be patient !” Mr Halliwell died in 1987.


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