13 Against Fate (1966)

Concept and creative process

Opening titles for a British mystery thriller series, featuring stories by the writer Georges Simenon. The brief for the opening sequence was to create an atmosphere of suspense and intrigue that would be appropriate for all of the stories in the series. Charles McGhie’s design concept was to create a surreal sequence, featuring a faceless, bowler-hatted, Magritte-like character, viewed from behind in silhouette in various interior and exterior settings. These he shot as black and white stills which he then filmed on a rostrum camera, with carefully plotted and choreographed camera movements, synchronised to the jazz soundtrack. A good example of how BBC designers learned to create motion sequences with economic means, as they explored the possibilities of the medium during their steep learning curve in the early 1960s.