I’d like to start this continuation of the Dark Shadows discussion from the old board with a look at some of the new and upcoming Dark Shadows audio stories from Big Finish Productions. There aren’t nearly as many Dark Shadows audio adventures as there are Doctor Who ones, but the Doctor Who series has been around longer. The Dark Shadows audios are a mixed bag. The first release was a full-cast sequel titled “Return to Collinwood”. Later they began to release a series of interconnected sequential stories grouped in short “seasons”. More recently they’ve been going back to the timeline of the original television show and telling interstitial one-shots. As the Dark Shadows series seems to be catching on, Big Finish seems to be ramping up their production schedule. “Curse of the Pharaoh” was released in September, and the next four are set for monthly release beginning in January at a special subscription rate.


“Curse of the Pharaoh” stars Nancy Barrett (reprising her role as Carolyn Stoddard) and Marie Wallace (perhaps best known as “Eve” on the TV show) in a new role, famed Egyptologist Dr. Gretchen Warwick. The story doesn’t specify, but I assume it takes place shortly after the end of the series original TV series, circa 1970 or so. Both actresses are kind of rusty and sound as old as they are, not as young as they (Caroline, anyway) are supposed to be. Barrett was always a better actress than Wallace, and that remains true. Wallace’s shortcomings are spotlighted in this “dramatic reading” in which she plays other bit parts, most of the male (Bob the bartender at The Blue Whale, Eliot Stokes on the telephone, Carolyn’s father in flashback), which she performs in a gruff kind of storybook voice as if reading aloud to a child. The story itself is a sequel to the unpopular “Leviathan” television storyline. If you’ve never heard a Dark Shadows audio and thinking of trying one out, there are better ones to start with than this.

KEY: OB = Old Board; UR = Un-Reviewed

Return to Collinwood - 169

S1.1 The House of Despair - 1
S1.2 The Book of Temptation - OB
S1.3 The Christmas Presence - OB
S1.4 The Rage Beneath - 7

SEASON TWO: Kingdom of the Dead - 7


1. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 1 - OB
2. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 2 - OB
3. Clothes of Sand - OB
4. The Ghost Walker - OB
5. The Skin Walkers - OB
6. The Path of Fate - OB
7. The Wicked & the Dead - OB
8. Echoes of Insanity - OB
9. Curse of the Pharaoh - 1
10. Final Judgment - 1
11. Blood Dance - 1
12. The Night Whispers - 1
13. London’s Burning - 2
14. The Doll House - 30
15. The Blind Painter - 87
16. The Death Mask - 88
17. The Creeping Fog - 89
18. The Carrion Queen - 89
19. The Poisoned Soul - 96
20. The Lost Girl - 96
21. The Crimson Pearl - 114
22. The Voodoo Amulet - 129
23. The House by the Sea - 170
24. Dress Me in Dark Dreams - 154
25. The Eternal Actress - 162
26. The Fall of House Trask - 163
27. Operation: Victor - 166
28. Speak No Evil - 166
29. The Last Stop - 166
30. Dreaming of the Water - 167
31. The Haunted Refrain - 167
32. A Collinwood Christmas - 167
33. The Phantom Bride - 167
34. Beneath the Veil - 167
35. The Enemy Within - 167
36. The Lucifer Gambit - 167
37. The Flip Side - 167
38. Beyond the Grave - 168
39. Curtain Call - 168
40. The Harvest of Souls - 170
41. The Happier Dead - 168
42. The Carriage Damned - 168
43. The Devil Cat - 168
44. The Darkest Shadow - 173

SEASON THREE: Bloodlust - 170-172, 181

45. Panic - 173
46. The Curse of Shurafa - 173
47. In the Twinkling of an Eye - 173
48. Deliver Us from Evil - 173
49. Tainted Love - 173
50. ...And Red All Over - 175

Echoes of the Past - 176

Blood & Fire - 176

Haunting Memories - 177

Phantom Melodies - 178

Dreams of Long Ago - 178

The Mystery at Crucifix Heights - 179
The Mystery of La Danse Macabre - 179
The Mystery of Flight 493 - 180
The Mystery of Karmina Sonata - 180

Trio - 180
Honeymoon from Hell - 180
Retreat -180
1:53 AM - 180

The Girl Beneath the Water - 180
The Sand That Speaks HIs Name - 180
The Hollow Winds That Beckon
The Paper to the Flame

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I wonder how Barnabas' story was meant to end back when he was meant to be a temporary character.

The out-of-continuity theatrical release House of Dark Shadows contains the ending originally intended for television. Basically, it goes right up to when Julia's experiments age him to his true age, then he is staked. As it actually played out on TV, due the the character's immense popularity, Barnabas survived.

Back in the ‘90s, Innovation released nine issues of Dark Shadows based on the revival television series. The second issue incorporated an arial map of Collinwood I’m mostly happy with. In the Dan “Marilyn” Ross universe, however, the grounds surrounding Collinwood hold an amazing number of deserted and/or ruined sites. For example, Dr. Padrel and his daughter Maria lived in a “white mansion” in 1862 (#12); Lady Claire Duncan stayed at Stormcliff, which burned to the ground in 1870 (#12); newlyweds Christopher and Paula (Collins) Jenning moved into Cranshaw Mansion in 1910 (#9); and #13 will introduce yet another hitherto unknown building on the Collins estate.

On TV there was Seaview Terrace (where Nicholas Blair lived), as well as the mansion called “Rose Cottage” by Carrie Stokes and Tad Collins. Also, Victoria Winters and Burke Devlin once considered buying a house elsewhere on the property from Mrs. Stoddard. [I think that the previous owners of these latter two properties were identified, but so far I haven’t been able to track down the exact episodes in which they were named.] The house in which Dr. Lang conducted the experiments which led to the creation of Adam was also said to be Seaview Terrace, but that may not be strictly canon. It may be simply assumed because the main floor set was redressed, or it may even be a retcon from Big Finish. Big Finish also considers the house Burke and Vicki were considering to be Seaview Terrace, although the sets (and the exterior shots) used on TV were different.

If it were up to me, I’d simplify the whole matter by placing all of the action at the same location, “Seaview Terrance” let us say (except maybe Stormcliff, which burned).

I think you need to consider the possibility that you have given more thought to Dark Shadows continuity than the people that wrote it ever did.

"Continuity was what the writer could remember on a given day"  - Terrance Dicks (1935 - 2019)

"Oh, kettle, thou art black!"

But you're probably right.

Terrance Dicks, too.

I agree, Bob. I also think you both have overactive imaginations. It is an interesting adventure, knowing you two. All good, of course. 

The Baron said:

I think you need to consider the possibility that you have given more thought to Dark Shadows continuity than the people that wrote it ever did.

When I first watched Dark Shadows all the way through, I was impressed at the strong continuity throughout. My second time though, however, I noticed glaring plot holes. I don’t think fans of the day, watching in real time, would have necessarily noticed. This was a daytime soap opera, designed to be seen once; it was never intended to hold up under the scrutiny of syndication, VHs and DVD. I have my own “theories” to account for these discrepancies, however, as I do with Doctor Who as well. I use time travel to explain the creation of multiple alternate realities for both of these shows.

In Doctor Who, for example, more recent Doctors are more concerned about “the web of time” and “fixed points in time” than Hartnell and Troughton ever were. My theory is that when the first Doctor stole a TARDIS and went blundering about in time, he inadvertently and unknowingly did as much harm as good. The encroachment of the rogue planet Mondas into Earth’s solar system in 1986 would seem to be a “fixed point in time” if anything is. Yet when we got to 1986: no Mondas! I think the Doctor’s blunderings must also somehow be responsible for the differing origins of the Daleks (“Kaleds” instead of “Dals”) and the like.

In Dark Shadows, even early on, certain characters inexplicably… change. For example, Sam Evans changes form Mark Allen to David Ford in episode 35; Matthew Morgan changes from George Mitchell to Thayer David in 38; Willie Loomis changes from James Hall to John Karlin in 206; Burke Devlin changes from Mitch Ryan to Anthony George. And no one notices! My own theory is that these changes are due to multiple characters jumping back and forth in time which, at the time of then changes noted above, hadn’t even happened yet! (Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.) Another of my pet theories is that the pedestrian “killed” by a drunken Roger Collins in 1956 (for which Burke Deviln was convicted) was actually… the Doctor!

“A down-on-its-luck ballet troupe holds a performance at a deserted chapel on the Collins estate. The star ballerina is found murdered and her replacement, Diana Samson, juggles a love affair with Barnabas and the threat of her own murder. “

COMMENTARY: Some of these paperbacks are less “Dark Shadows” than they are a standard gothic horror featuring a vampire. For example, in #8 a movie is being shot at Collinwood (and the vampire happens to be Barnabas Collins); in #13 a ballet troupe is performing at Collinwood (and the vampire happens to be Barnabas Collins).


Mary Wentworth: Manager of the ballet troupe.

Stefan Emmon: Writer of the ballet being performed, Roxanna.

Mavis Norrad: Female lead, Stefan’s sister.

Peter Norrad: Male lead, Mavis’s husband.

Diana Samson: Mavis’s understudy.

Alex Carter: Another member of the troupe, having an affair with Mavis Norrad.

Eleanor: Another member of the troupe.

Hank Sheldon: Handyman fired by the Collins family. It is he who is causing trouble, or is it the ghost of Mario Renzie?

Joshua Haig: Police chief of the nearby town of Ellsworth.

Taking an interest in the arts, Elizabeth sponsors a ballet and lets the troupe stay on the estate rent free. Maggie, Carolyn, David and Amy don’t play a large role, except to introduce the new characters and learn information about the ballet. The story is set during the summer season. Although the paperback was published in January 1970 and the year is not specified, I’m going to assume the story takes place during the summer of 1970 because #11 took place in July 1969. (Also, #10 and #12 had framing sequences set in August and late fall, respectively, of that year.)

There is a lot of drama (and melodrama) in this one. Seen wandering in a daze, Eleanor falls from Widows’ Hill, but not the very top so she did not die. She was discovered to have strange red marks on her throat afterwards. Diana discovers that the graves of Abel Collins and Mario Renzie have been desecrated. (Was it vandals, or did something dig its way out?) One day, Mavis is found hanged in the chapel, an apparent suicide. Diana heard the bell ring, but no one else did. The tolling of the bell is attributed to the ghost of Mario Renzie, who killed Abel Collins and vowed revenge on the family 100 years ago.

There are plenty of suspects in this one and, frankly, I would not have been surprised if any one of them had been revealed to be the murderer. The twists in the first couple of paperbacks were well-played, but the one in #11 came from so far up Ross’ arse that I thought the culprit in this one was going to be Chief Haig. There was something I wanted to say about the motive, but I finished this book on Thursday then was offline Friday-through Sunday and I forgot what it was.

EDIT: Oh, I remember. The motive was grave robbery. what Diana supposed to be ghosts digging out of their graves was actually the murderer dinning in. Also, in an unexprected twist, Chief Haig and his main suspect, Barnabas, were actually working together.

COLLINS FAMILY TREE: Anya Collins was in love with Mario Renzie, but her father, Abel, didn’t approve. Mario left for Boston to make his fortune, entrusting his friend to explain to Anya. The friend got drunk and forgot, and Anya hanged herself in the chapel on what was to have been her wedding day. Soon after Mario’s return, he vowed vengeance on the Collins family, killed Abel Collins, and rung the chapel bell.

The backstory is difficult to place because it took place “about 100 years ago,” and I’m only guessing that the main story took place in 1970. Exactly 100 years ago would place it in 1870, when Barnabas Collins and Clare Duncan were staying at Stormcliffe. There’s some wiggle room, however, because the family was away for the events of #7, and there is an eight year gap before and a ten year gap after.


In #8, a movie is being shot at Collinwood; in #13, a ballet troupe is performing at Collinwood.

The situation with the actions of Mario Renzie (a ghost) possibly being attributed to Hank Sheldon is similar to the actions of Derek Collins (a zombie) possibly being attributed to Tim Mooney (#5) and the actions of Elaine Collins possibly being attributed to Stella Hastings (#1).

The relationship between Diana and Eleanor in #13 is similar to that of Paula and Lizzie in #9.

The heroine of #12 is Diana Hastings (I wonder if she’s related to Stella Hastings?); the heroine of #13 is Diana Samson.

Mavis Norrad (#13) is unfaithful to her husband; Rachel Francis (#2) is unfaithful to her husband (#2).

The name of the ballet, Roxanna, is reminiscent of TV’s Roxanne Drew.

Heroine does not end up with Barnabas, but it is not explicitly stated she ends up with anyone else (in this case ,Stefan).

In the Marilyn Ross universe, Barnabas was never chained inside his coffin and it is generally known among the people of Collinsport that the “first” Barnabas Collins left under suspicion of vampirism. Although, whenever he returns, Barnabas is often suspected of being a vampire, too, no one ever comes to the conclusion that the current Barnabas and the original one are one and the same. In #13, he confides in Diana Samson that he is, in fact, the same Barnabas Collins in the portrait and that he has passed himself as many different generations of decedents. It would be interesting (albeit impossible) to determine which is “Second [Generation] Barnabas,” “Third Barnabas” and so on.

Burke Devlin attacks Captain Kirk...

CASTING SHADOWS: Barnabas’ servant, Hare

In the Marilyn Ross universe, Barnabas Collins has had two servants named Hare: one a deaf mute around the turn of the century, the other a mute in the late 1960s. I like to think of the second being descended from the first, although that’s never been firmly established in canon (in fact, there is no “canon” in the Marilyn Ross universe). Before I get to Hare, though, I’d like to take a look at Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard’s servant, Matthew Morgan, on TV. Two actors played Matthew on TV.

The first was George Mitchell:

The second was Thayer David:


Both of these Matthews were fiercely loyal to Mrs. Stoddard, but whereas George Mitchell’s was merely taciturn, Thayer David’s was slow-witted and homicidal. David’s portrayal was more appropriate for what the character evolved into: he murdered Bill Malloy and kidnapped Victoria before being frightened to death by the ghosts of the “wailing widows” of Widows’ Hill.

When Ross began writing the paperback series, Matthew was a character, but it seems unlikely Ross knew anything about the fate of Matthew on TV. Ross didn’t even seem to realize that the character was referred to exclusively as “Matthew” on TV, never simply “Matt.” I suppose Ross must have thought a handyman would more likely be known as “Matt” rather than the more formal “Matthew.” In any case, “Matt” even stayed on in the books long after his TV counterpart would have lasted, even after Victoria was written out. It is for this reason that, when I think of “Matt” in the paperbacks, I picture George Mitchell.

I have already said that I picture Clancy Brown (specifically as he appeared in the film The Bride), as the turn-of-the century Hare. This being Dark Shadows, I could just as easily picture him as the Hare from the ‘60s as well, but that one wasn’t described as being quite so brutal. Because Thayer David is not being used as Matthew Morgan in my mind’s eye, I cast him as the 1960s Hare: slow-witted and fiercely loyal (to Barnabas), although not necessarily homicidal.

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