Monday, December 04, 2006

The Quatermass Experiment (repeated on BBC Four)

I caught BBC Four’s The Quatermass Experiment. In my teenage years, I’d picked up a Quatermass and the Pit paperback novel in a second hand bookshop, and was immensely frustrated to find that the last page had been torn out … and I only discovered when I’d finished reading the penultimate page. Arghh.

Collapsing the original six half-hour episodes into a single two hour show, BBC Four acted and broadcast The Quatermass Experiment live back in 2005, and repeated it at the end of November 2006.

The original Quatermass serials was broadcast live in 1953 – as there was no way of prerecording in those days! But it’s a long lost skill.

ER and The Bill have previously experimented with live drama broadcasts. Something that the BBC hadn’t tried for twenty years. It’s like doing theatre, with the technical challenges of keeping the crew in sync with the actors. A very different skill to recording sitcoms, soaps and films.

In an interview, the director Sam Miller, pointed out “how the themes of the piece - space and the unknown and biological weapons - still feel relevant today”. Though there’s no promise of remaking the rest of the Quatermass trilogy

Great science fiction. And mainstream TV too in 1953. Preparing the way for Doctor Who. Makes me want to return to finish watching through the Blake’s 7 DVDs!


Jett Loe said...

Wow a Blake's 7 fan? Do ya have the DVDs? And how come you've never asked me what it was like to work with Paul Darrow???

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

I picked up a fascination when BBC2 showed the first (two?) series of B7 on Saturday afternoons about 6 years ago. No doubt in an attempt to pick up the audience that had previously been entertained by Airwolf on ITV in the same slot.

Then they stopped showing it - can't believe that show jumping and cookery had more viewers? - and I picked up the DVDs when they were released a year or two later.

I've the first two series now - though only watched the first so far.

Didn't Paul Darrow feature in your FutureScape series? You mentioned on LTA that the last episode was particularly "whacky", but never got around to uploading it!

He's just recorded voiceovers for a new BBC 7 radio "sci fi kids sketch show" called I'm An Alien Beam Me Off Here!".

You'll want to tune in at 4pm on the 11th to hear!