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THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT (05)

QUATERMASS (79)


THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT
1953

Part available on DVD

The Quatermass Experiment



Series Overview
  1. Contact Has Been Established
  2. Persons Reported Missing
  3. Very Special Knowledge
  4. Believed To Be Suffering
  5. An Unidentified Species
  6. State Of Emergency




Professor Quatermass
Reginald Tate

Judith Caroon
Isabel Dean

Victor Caroon
Duncan Lamont

John Paterson
Hugh Kelly

James Fullalove
Paul Whitson-Jones

Gordon Briscoe
John Glen

DI Lomax
Ian Colin

DS Best
Frank Hawkins






OTHER QUATERMASS SHOWS
The Quatermass Experiment (2005)
Quatermass (1979)







Series Overview

The first rocket into outer space comes back with two of the crew missing and the third seriously messed up. The British Experimental Rocket Group's leader, Bernard Quatermass, learns that the final astronaut, Victor Caroon, has been taken over by an alien being that has absorbed his two colleagues and a cactus and is now turning into something that threatens the whole future of mankind.

THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT is now best known for its big screen incarnation since all but the first two episodes have been lost thanks to the BBC's habit of wiping videotape so that it could be later reused for other productions. The first two episodes, though, show the imagination of the show's writer, the inestimable Nigel Kneale, whose ideas overcome the monetary and technical limitations of the time to create a thrilling, gripping story.

Though some of the acting creaks a bit (it's a sign of the times) Reginald Tate makes for a pleasing Quatermass and Duncan Lamont is convincingly messed up as Victor Caroon.

Because of the cinematic version of the tale and the existence of the scripts for the remaining episodes, it is possible to see that this was a truly revolutionary televeision show.

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Contact Has Been Established

The control room crew of the British Experimental Rocket Group are hopeful when they re-establish contact with the rocket that was recently sent up into space, but was lost to radio and radar contact for some 50 odd hours. Now, they are able to remote control it back to Earth, bringing it down in the south of London. Whilst the nation celebrates the achievement, group leader Bernard Quatermass waits to make contact with the three man crew inside the rocket.

This is the first episode in Nigel Kneale's impressive first Quatermass story. It starts by setting up a thoroughly believable atmosphere within the control room, instantly banishing thoughts about the productions limited means when comparing this against the NASA control rooms with its technical speak and convincing characters. Then the scene shifts to the devastated house where the rocket crashlanded and again a very real sense of place and event is conjured up. Having drunks wandering around the crash site and allowing the press so close to a red hot rocket might stretch credibility a little bit, but there is a palpable tension as the time for the rocket to open edges closer.

Reginald Tate has the presence to play Quatermass, though some of the others of the BERG team all merge into a received pronunciation blur that is a sign of the times. The gentleman reporter is easily the least convincing journalist we have ever seen.

That said, this episode grips from early on and builds up to a truly exciting climax.

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Persons Reported Missing

Now that it has been confirmed that Victor Caroon is the only one of the rocket's crew left inside, the police move in to investigate, much to Quatermass's disapproval. He too, however, is in need of answers and the shocked Victor is the only source of those answers. He sets up a film show to try and bring Caroon's memory back, but elicits an altogether more surprising discovery.

This episode is much more static than was the first with most of the action consisting of characters stood in small rooms talking to each other. After the crash site of the opening episode this is a bit disappointing.

Nige Kneale still has some surprises in store, though, as it becomes clear that the two missing astronauts disappeared from within sealed spacesuits and Victor has suddenly shown the ability to speak German and know more about engineering than he ought to.

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THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT (05)

QUATERMASS (79)

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