I remember listening to a really creepy dramatised horror story on the BBC when I was a child (probably 1985 – 1995). It featured a couple driving through an eerie countryside who climb a tower (might have been a church tower), but on descending find that the stairs go on forever downwards. I think it ended with them trapped on this endless staircase. Possibly there was a clock on the top which struck at some point.

I thought it was part of the Man In Black / Fear On Four series, but having looked through all the episode descriptions, I haven't found it.

  • Not The Tower? "...Ro and Zee, who stumble into a world where time has stopped"
    – Valorum
    Oct 25, 2015 at 10:29
  • @Richard Thanks. It certainly sounds like it's the one, but I heard it as a kid (I'm now 36) and that looks like a new one. It wan't on the episode list I was looking at which covered earlier years, but I wonder if they remade them. Oct 26, 2015 at 8:28
  • Are you sure this wasn't a nightmare you had?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 26, 2015 at 11:55
  • Here is a list of all BBC radio horror stories. Do any of them ring any bells for you?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 26, 2015 at 12:00
  • @randal'thor I'm starting to think maybe it was. Actually that's exactly how I remember it - it had the quality of a nightmare or at lease a disturbing dream that you carry with you all day. Thanks for the list. I'll work my way through them, but looks like there are quite a lot of gaps. Oct 26, 2015 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


I definitely remember reading a short story which is exactly as the first writer describes, and have also been trying to track it down. The bit I remember is the couple counting as they descend, puzzled at first when they get to beyond the number of stairs that was mentioned in the guide book, and then just going on and on. But no idea who wrote it. Definitely was NOT a dream.

Got it! It's The Tower by Marghanita Laski. An excerpt from a review:

She hopes to discover a unique Italian landmark that her husband has not yet found. Di Ferramano's Tower seems just the ticket. The Tower is barren, however. She decides to undertake the long climb up all 470 steps to the top, but it is a harrowing experience. I'm not going to share the twist but will only say the journey down those 470 steps seems endless to Caroline.

  • Thank you. This is the one, and pleasingly, it is as good as I remember. You can listen here: youtu.be/SXVynUx_VAA. Aug 11, 2019 at 7:27
  • I remember it as well, found it again recently The Tower Fri 2nd Jan 1987, 22:15 on BBC Radio 4 FM by Marghanita Laski.
    – mycroft
    Aug 24, 2021 at 22:22

Echoing my comment above, could this be "The Tower", part of the BBC's 'Man in Black' series of late-night-radio horror stories?

The (very small) blurb seems to tick most the points you've mentioned;

"The story of Ro and Zee, who stumble into a world where time has stopped".

  • I'm going to leave this question open for the time being. The Radio Times site clearly says this was first broadcast in 2009 so if this is the right story, it must have been an older version I heard. Oct 26, 2015 at 10:11
  • 1
    I managed to have a listen to this, and it definitely isn't the one I remember. It's different characters and a different storyline. Oct 26, 2015 at 10:28

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