The Quatermass Experiment


GB, 1953
di Rudolph Cartier
Sceneggiatura Nigel Kneale – Interpreti Reginald Tate, Isabel Dean, Duncan Lamont, Hugh Kelly

Only the first and second episodes (from an original six) survive of this television milestone, the first science fiction series aimed specifically at an adult audience. it was also the first work by Nigel Kneale (who was then working as a staff writer at the BBC), who wrote it as a critique of what he saw as the crude, unimaginative American science fiction cinema that was then in the ascendant. Transmitted live from the BBC’s alexandra Palace studios, the nature of the medium made special effects problematic, hence the concentration on a strong narrative and characterisations. An experimental three-man space ship designed by Professor Quatermass crash lands in London with only one survivor on board. Having been infected with an alien life-form the sole survivor has already absorbed the other crew members and then proceeds to mutate into a giant creature as it absorbs further human victims ( effects were obviously necessary in this latter section of the series, which were by all accounts crude to say the least). Successful with viewers beyond all expectations, two sequels were produced by the BBC in the 1950s, “Quatermass Ii” (1955) and “Quatermass and the Pit” (1958-59). As it was live television, the two surviving episodes survive as telerecordings, which are not of the highest quality.