1 9 6 1 (UK)
7 x 45 minute episodes
1 9 6 2 (UK)
7 x 45 minute episodes
Set in the future (1970!) A For Andromeda told the tale of a giant radio telescope in the Yorkshire Dales detecting a signal from the constellation of Andromeda in a distant galaxy.
The signal – which had taken 200 years to reach Earth – was decoded by brilliant young scientist John Fleming (Peter Halliday) and revealed instructions to build a highly sophisticated supercomputer.
The computer was constructed under top-secret government supervision on a remote Scottish island, following the alien instructions. A battle then broke out between good and bad scientists, government agencies and a Swiss business cartel called Intel (ahem), for the use of its powers.
Through collaboration with amoral biologist Madeleine Dawnay, the computer succeeded in developing an embryo, based on the biological blueprint of Christine, a lab assistant it had electrocuted. The embryo rapidly blossomed into a replica of the girl (though blonde, not brunette as Christine had been) and was given the name of Andromeda (Julie Christie in her first starring role).
Unfortunately, the replica girl was mentally linked to the computer and became its agent.
The supercomputer eventually became dangerous after Fleming tried to interfere with it – which it would not tolerate – but Andromeda eventually rejected her mechanical master and the world was made safe once more.
This science-fiction series was written by astronomer Professor Fred Hoyle and John Elliot, and the scientists were played by Esmond Knight, Peter Halliday, Frank Windsor and Mary Morris.
A sequel series – The Andromeda Breakthrough – was made in 1962, in which Fleming, Dawnay and Andromeda were kidnapped and imprisoned by the evil Kaufman (John Hollis), who worked for Intel, and who had built another of the computers in the Middle Eastern country of Azaran.
Weather systems had been disrupted, violent storms were raging around the globe, and the Earth’s atmosphere was being eaten away.
The BBC’s refusal to pay an option to retain the services of Julie Christie resulted in the part of Andromeda being recast, with Susan Hampshire taking over the role (pictured above).
Although all of The Andromeda Breakthrough exists in the BBC archives, only about 11 minutes of A For Andromeda has survived.