British manned space flights; an insidious threat from outer space; a man mutating into an evil alien, his human consciousness being eaten away; and a scientist - utterly anti-Establishment, courageous and cerebral - the only man who can fight it. No, not Doctor Who, but his highly distinguished predecessor, Prof Bernard Quatermass. A decade before Doctor Who first aired, the The Quartermass Experiment was the first science-fiction TV serial produced for adults, and a live-to-viewers BBC production, to boot. The show ran for six episodes in 1953, of which only the first two episodes are known survive. The short sci-fi series spun off three original sequels and a radio drama-documentary, along with movie re-makes of the first three series by Hammer Films. BBC brought back live TV with a 2005 adaptation of the original 1953 series. You can watch the various series on online (in parts on Daily Motion), thanks to fans of The British Rocket Group. [more inside]
The Kneale Tapes (1, 2, 3, 4) documentary about British science fiction screenwriter Nigel Kneale. [more inside]
Behind the Dark Door [Google cached copy] might prove a valuable resource to science fiction aficionados, or interesting to fans of quality television drama. It provides insight into the mind of Nigel Kneale, writer of The Quatermass Experiment. Last Saturday's gripping and technically impressive update was based largely on his original scripts, and was the BBC's first live TV drama in more than twenty years. Another chance the pimp David Tennant, The Quatermass Experiment 2005 was much more satisfying than the BBC's other science fiction drama with which Tennant has been linked.